Bulls GM Paxson takes wait-and-see approach by making no trades

Nothing big, nothing small. The Bulls made no moves before the NBA trade deadline hit on Thursday afternoon.

There wasn't much they could have done anyway, with so many players young, injured, on bad contracts or some combination of the three.

"We weren't going to trade Zach (LaVine), Lauri (Markkanen), Wendell (Carter), Coby (White) because we don't know what we have yet," vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said. "And we need to see. We've known that all year long.

"A lot of people make mistakes in this league. I know the balance is not hanging on too long, but it's also not giving up on guys too early."

Paxson didn't necessarily preach about a brighter future. But he does want to see the Bulls playing at full strength before this season ends.

"Our expectation is the way these guys are working right now is that Lauri, Otto (Porter) and Wendell will be back sometime around the end of the month, the first of March," Paxson said. "And if we can do that, then you've got 20, 22 games that they can play and see where we are."

Paxson was asked about a couple of other guys that could have been on the move - veteran Thad Young and Denzel Valentine, who seems to have no future with the Bulls.

"I don't feel like we're in the business to just give somebody away for nothing, and nothing presented itself," Paxson said. "That's just the truth."

Markkanen a cornerstone:

John Paxson responded to speculation that Lauri Markkanen is not happy in Chicago. The truth is, everyone on the team is probably disgruntled with the Bulls' 19-33 record heading into Thursday.

"Lauri, we believe in at a high level and we view him as a cornerstone player," Paxson said. "It's our responsibility to help him become the type of player we believe he can be. We've had direct communication with him, with his agent ... we've never been told Lauri doesn't want to be here."

Markkanen has another year left on his rookie contract. He will be eligible for an extension in the fall or he could become a restricted free agent in 2021.

Young, Valentine stay put:

Thaddeus Young insisted Thursday was just another day. He wasn't hung up on whether or not he'd be traded.

"Everybody wants to play for a contender, but at the end of the day, I didn't think too much about it," Young said. "I just continued to move on with my day. There have been plenty of times when I've been talked about being traded and it didn't happen. There's been a couple times when I have been traded. It doesn't change what I'm out there to do."

Denzel Valentine, who sat out Thursday's game with a hamstring injury, took the high road when asked about finishing the season with the Bulls.

"I try not to think about (trade possibilities) too much," he said. "I'm so grateful to be a Chicago Bull. This franchise is legendary and historic and I'm in the NBA. So I'm excited to be here, I have great teammates. We'll see what happens at the end of the year."

Bulls horns:

Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was tabbed as the replacement for ex-Bulls guard Derrick Rose in the skills contest during All-Star Weekend. ... Thad Young on whether any trades surprised him: "(Andre) Drummond going to Cleveland, that was very surprising." Young said he was also texting Lou Williams about their former Sixers' teammate Andre Iguodala getting traded to Miami.

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Hard to imagine any trades that would improve Bulls

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