The latest rumor surrounding the Chicago Bulls only serves to underscore this point.
In at least some circles, John Paxson has been maligned over the last couple of years for his abundance of patience, for his unwillingness to pull the trigger on deals that would have allowed his Bulls to acquire an established star in exchange for parts of their stable of young talent.
Whether or not such criticism has been merited is not particularly relevant to the future, except perhaps to those evaluating the man's job security.
But whether it is Pax or any other individual in the executive suite for the Bulls in the days to come, the fact is that this very same patience will be integral to doing what is best for the Bulls.
The latest rumor out of Sam Smith's mailbag has the Bulls involved in discussions with the Sixers regarding a deal centered on swapping Kirk Hinrich for Andre Miller. If ever there were a move suggested simply for the sake of making a move, this one would be it.
Miller is 32 years old, gone at the end of next year and due to make just a few million dollars less over those two seasons than Hinrich is. Meanwhile, for all his struggles this season, Hinrich is still the 27-year-old only months removed from still being anointed as the Bulls' franchise point guard going forward. He has finally begun to turn his game back toward its old level with a run over very good games (particularly scoring-wise) over the past few weeks. Hinrich is also the only member of the Bulls' three premier young talents who is locked up long-term. Bringing MIller to a team that has been built on youth also doesn't ring true. Moving Hinrich for Miller would make no sense.
In fact, making any sort of rush moves simply wouldn't make any sense for this team.
Dealing some of the existing young talent for an established veteran playing at a slightly higher level right now is not going to vault this team to a championship, nor is it going to set the Bulls up well in the long-term. Dumping young players for the sake of dumping them ignores the fact that this is still largely the same team that swept the Heat and took the Pistons to six in last year's playoffs. There is always an outside shot that getting the unsigned players back on board, bringing in a new coach and giving everyone a new start at the beginning of the season might be all this team needs to return to contending form, at which point the last-minute tinkering moves will come into play once more.
Yes, the team ran into trouble with its inability to re-sign Ben Gordon and Luol Deng prior to the beginning of this season, but that doesn't mean that they won't be able to do so in the summer. However, should the Bulls make the decision that they will only be able to sign one of the two, the course of action to be taken seems rather self-explanatory (but we'll help anyway): Deng must be signed at any costs. He is the player with the versatility, youth, athleticism and head to become a superstar.
Ben Gordon, on the other hand, may be the type of player who is forever more valuable as a trading piece than as a player on the floor. Undoubtedly, he scores the basketball well, but there are no shortage of swing players in this league who can do that. Beyond that, however, there isn't much of anything to separate Gordon in a good way. He isn't a great ball-handler or passer, and at an undersized 6-foot-3, he runs into all sorts of trouble on the defensive end. If the Bulls can find a team that falls in love with Gordon's energy or shooting, perhaps they can finagle a couple of draft picks or young players out of him, which would be a solid enough move.
But beyond that, there isn't much for John Paxson to do right now but wait. Wait until the offers intensify as we get closer to the trading deadline. For those players under contract for the foreseeable future, Pax can wait until the summer. He has built this Bulls team largely on skilled players possessing both youth and character, and there isn't a big enough deal player on the market to merit going away from that philosophy at this point. Whether it always worked in the past is questionable. That it is the way to go now doesn't seem to be so.