John Paxson knows how much Derrick Rose means to his team. But will he have to change course now that the star is injured?
It's safe to say Chicago Bulls fans are distraught over the unfortunate injury that befell star point guard Derrick Rose in the final minutes of Game 1 of the NBA playoffs.
Imagine how the organization feels.
"I was stunned," Bulls Executive VP of Basketball Operations, John Paxson said about watching his super star go down in agony.
Paxson recalled sitting in the Bulls executive suite with other executives like Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and General Manager Gar Forman while Rose was on the ground clutching his knee, writhing in pain. Paxson's heart sank and his colleagues had the same reaction.
"It's tough. He means everything to our franchise," Paxson said.
Paxson said he didn't get angry seeing Rose playing the final two minutes in a game they led by double digits. And that there were no angry words with Coach Tom Thibodeau like he had March 30, 2010 with then Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro over Joakim Noah's playing time returning after from injury.
"I can tell you whether you are on the floor or on the sideline for a playoff game, you are never secure with a win ... I'm sitting on that sideline I'm probably doing the same thing Tom's doing" Paxson admitted.
Rose faces a long rehabiliation -- possibly 6-9 months -- after surgery to repair a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament. That means another half season or more without their MVP.
While there is no replacing Rose, he was and still is the centerpiece the Bulls were built around. Do they change direction? Do they add more superstars so all is not lost when one goes down like the Heat & Celtics have done?
The team is handcuffed financially.
Derrick Rose's new 5-year $94 million contract kicks in next season, giving the Bulls less money to spend elsewhere.
Injury clauses could free up some funds, but the Bulls haven't decided which direction to turn.
"At some point we're going to have to look and see what we can do to upgrade our roster" Paxson agreed.
The good news is team medical personnel don't believe Forward Luol Deng, who has been battling injury all season, "necessarily" needs to have wrist surgery.
It's still an option after he competes for Great Britain in the London Summer Olympics, but he's getting used to playing with it as it is. If he chooses not to undergo surgery, a complete overhaul of the roster may not be necessary.
But, evaluation of the current roster is necessary, while Paxson hopes for one of the greatest comeback stories to be written on Rose.