Did John Paxson just admit the Bulls are tanking?

John Paxson Bulls logo
Dec 6, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; A view of the Chicago Bulls logo on a pair of game shorts at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons won 102-91.Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson gave some interesting fodder for fans and the media to chew on Tuesday.

Discussing the trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves — a trade many thought was severely one-sided in favor of Minnesota — Paxson seemed to admit the Bulls are going into tank mode.

The first comment that gave us a clue was when Paxson said, “If you’re thinking about it in terms of winning and losing, it’s the wrong way to look at it,” in response to the negative press regarding the trade, per Sean Highkin of The Athletic.

“We made the playoffs nine out of 10 years, it wasn’t good enough. We had to reset,” Paxson said. “We’re not satisfied being in the middle of the pack, so we defined our direction.”

By any objective standard, that redefined direction is down, not up.

In addition to trading away their best player, the Bulls are reportedly¬†considering a buyout of Rajon Rondo’s contract. Dwyane Wade is a player that could also be on his way out via buyout, though Paxson said Tuesday such a deal would have to be “advantageous” to the Bulls.

Regardless of what happens with Rondo and Wade, the Bulls aren’t going to be better next year than they were this past season. So, the Bulls may as well go balls to the wall on a tank job, which certainly sounds exactly like what Paxson is talking about.

Anything less than a tank job will fail to generate a new direction.

Tank away, Chicago.