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Bulls' GM Paxson says he's staying

2/19/2009 - NBA Chicago Bulls

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- After a week of rumors that he'd be out
after the trade deadline, John Paxson made it short and sweet: He's
not going anywhere.

"I'm the GM of the Bulls. I'm not resigning," he said
Thursday. "I'm here and I'm going to be here, and that puts an end
to it."

"It's over with. I'm the GM of the Bulls and that's final."

Before the All-Star break, rumors flew that Paxson would resign
-- either immediately or at the end of the season -- running the team
he won three titles with as a player in the Michael Jordan era.

Fans have been especially critical the past few seasons of
Paxson's perceived reluctance to trade for a star player and his
inability to acquire a low-post threat. Some even booed him during
a halftime ceremony honoring longtime broadcaster and former coach
Johnny "Red" Kerr last week.

After making three deals in the past 36 hours, Paxson spoke to
the media and reiterated that he's still the boss.

"I have no control over stories and rumors that are printed at
all," he said. "I don't feel an obligation to respond every time
something comes up about me or a trade or anything like that, so I
left it alone."

The Bulls sent forward Andres Nocioni, center Drew Gooden and
reserves Cedric Simmons and Michael Ruffin to Sacramento on
Wednesday for center Brad Miller and swingman John Salmons.

And Chicago sent Larry Hughes to the New York Knicks on Thursday
in exchange for Tim Thomas and reserves Jerome James and Anthony
Roberson.

The Bulls also got a first-round pick in this June's draft from
the Oklahoma City Thunder for shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha.

"I thought we had two very productive days," Paxson said. "We
got quite a few things accomplished on our end that I think help us
a lot as a basketball team right now, and moving forward will give
us an opportunity to be better as well."

The Bulls are 1½ games behind Milwaukee for the eighth and final
playoff spot. Paxson said he thinks the team is better than it was
two days ago.

"We didn't give away a starter and we added components to make
the team better right now," he said.

The Bulls went from 49 wins to 49 losses last season, and they
have struggled this year despite the arrival of No. 1 draft pick
Derrick Rose, a favorite for Rookie of the Year.

Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf even called the season "a disaster"
and "embarrassing" during an interview with Comcast SportsNet
three weeks ago and said he's been tempted to stand up and boo, but
he also made it clear he didn't blame Paxson.

"If there's one person that is not responsible for what's going
on right now, it's John Paxson," Reinsdorf said in that interview.
"I have tremendous confidence in John Paxson."

Paxson played on the Bulls' first three championship teams in
the 1990s and delivered a memorable shot during the 1993 finals
against Phoenix, burying the series-winning 3-pointer with 3.9
seconds left.

He later served as an assistant coach and broadcaster before
replacing Jerry Krause as the general manager in April 2003.

Paxson drafted Kirk Hinrich with the seventh pick that year,
took Ben Gordon with the third pick in 2004 and acquired the rights
to Luol Deng from Phoenix. They formed the core that led the Bulls
to the playoffs in 2005, '06 and '07 before things fell apart.