John Paxson knows the Chicago Bulls need a second star to pair with Derrick Rose, and said the organization's inability to find one so far isn't for a lack of effort.
"The fact that … we haven't gotten another superstar to go with Derrick hasn't been through a lack of making phone calls and having dialogue with other teams," Paxson, the Bulls' executive vice president of basketball operations, said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "We're not out there promoting when we talk to people. The fact that we haven't been able to do that, we'd like to do that. We understand as well as anybody that it's been proven over the years that one great player is not going to get you a championship."
In recent years, the Bulls were rumored to have been interested in superstars who wanted out of their longtime NBA homes such as Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony, but nothing materialized.
Of course, right now the Bulls have no superstars since Rose is sidelined as he recovers from knee surgery. Whenever he does return, assuming the roster remains as is, he will again be expected to carry the load for the Bulls in an NBA which has trended toward superstar players teaming up.
Ray Allen joined the Big Three in Miami. Steve Nash and Howard joined Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol with the Los Angeles Lakers. Joe Johnson is teaming with Deron Williams in Brooklyn, and Jason Kidd is running the point in New York alongside Amare Stoudemire and Anthony. And Boston recovered from losing Allen by adding Jason Terry and Courtney Lee and welcoming back Jeff Green, who was acquired last year but missed the entire 2011-12 season with heart issues.
Paxson is well-aware of the trend -- he tried unsuccessfully to attract LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to Chicago as free agents -- but he is confident in the plan the Bulls have with Rose leading the way.
"A couple of years ago we went hard after some of the free agents that were out there, and we weren't able to connect on that to try to place with Derrick," Paxson said. "I understand, but I don't want to get caught up. ... I think sometimes as an organization we talk too much about the past and what happened. Those championships are great, but that's not what fans want to hear. It's not the reality anymore.
"Just two years ago we were three games away from getting to the Finals, and unfortunately this past year we had the most significant injury that we possibly could have. I think as we look forward, we've got to project that Derrick is going to be back better than ever and try to continue to find pieces that play well with him, that can win us a lot of games and get us deep into the playoffs and ultimately what every team wants, and that's to win it all."