CHICAGO (AP) -Chicago Bulls general manager John Paxson remained on the job Friday, despite mounting criticism of the team's performance and his ability to make the necessary personnel moves to field a contender.
Although the Bulls have played better of late, they're 10th in the Eastern Conference and fourth in the Central division at 23-30.
Fans have been especially critical the past few seasons for Paxson's perceived reluctance to trade for a star player and his inability to acquire a low-post threat. Some even booed him during a halftime ceremony honoring longtime broadcaster and former coach Johnny ``Red'' Kerr on Tuesday night.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported on its Web site that Paxson would step down but the timing was not certain, while the Chicago Tribune reported he was strongly considering resigning - likely at the end of the year.
Team spokesman Tim Hallam said Friday that Paxson had not resigned and was in Phoenix for the league's competition committee meeting.
Paxson did not return calls to his cell phone.
49 wins to 49 losses last season, and they have struggled this year despite the arrival of No. 1 draft pick Derrick Rose, a favorite for Rookie of the Year.
Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf even called the season ``a disaster'' and ``embarrassing'' during an interview with Comcast SportsNet two weeks ago and said he's been tempted to stand up and boo, but he also made it clear he didn't blame Paxson.
``If there's one person that is not responsible for what's going on right now, it's John Paxson,'' Reinsdorf said in that interview. ``I have tremendous confidence in John Paxson.''
Paxson played on the Bulls' first three championship teams in the 1990s and delivered a memorable shot during the 1993 finals against Phoenix, burying the series-winning 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left.
He later served as an assistant coach and broadcaster before replacing Jerry Krause as the general manager in April 2003.
Paxson drafted Kirk Hinrich with the seventh pick that year, took Ben Gordon with the third pick in 2004 and acquired the rights to Luol Deng from Phoenix. They formed the core that led the Bulls to the playoffs in 2005, '06 and '07 before things fell apart.
high-profile courtships with Mike D'Antoni and former coach Doug Collins fell apart.
One stroke of good fortune came when the Bulls landed the No. 1 draft pick and went with Rose, but recent first-round picks have not fared as well. Some promising flashes aside, 2007 first-rounder Joakim Noah has struggled. The same goes for Tyrus Thomas, whose rights the Bulls acquired from Portland after taking LaMarcus Aldridge with the second pick in 2006.
The Bulls also lured free agent Ben Wallace away from Detroit with a four-year, $60 million deal in July 2006, but he never showed the form that made him a four-time Defensive Player of the Year. The Bulls traded him to Cleveland last season in the deal that landed Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes, who they're now trying to deal.

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