Chicago Bulls

Paxson heads south for pre-draft camp

Late May is not the ideal time for a Florida excursion, but the Bulls’ brass is happy to make the journey.

The NBA pre-draft camp today through Sunday in Orlando is the first step in the postseason scouting process of prospects leading up to the June 28 draft.

All the same, the price of drafting as high as the Bulls will draft – No. 9 overall – is knowing this trip probably will not be as productive as hoped.

“Unless you’re choosing lower down in the first round,” general manager John Paxson said, “you pretty much know you’re not going to get much out of the main portion of the camp as far as [scouting] your options at that pick.”

Any player the Bulls will consider at No. 9 – Washington center Spencer Hawes, Florida forward Joakim Noah and Kansas forward Julian Wright are prime examples – will not participate in drills and scrimmages this week.

The most prominent names who are scheduled to take part include borderline first-round prospects such as Ohio State guard Daequan Cook, Pittsburgh center Aaron Gray and Boston College forward Jared Dudley.

Even some of those players might opt out by the start of the camp, joining headline names such as Greg Oden and Kevin Durant in opting only to undergo physicals.

Meanwhile, most of the premier international prospects will wait until the Reebok Eurocamp to perform for scouts.

It is a disappointing development for the NBA, which hoped a rules tweak would spur more players to take in the entire camp.

The league this year has prohibited teams from hosting players for private workouts until after the Orlando camp. It hoped more prospects would see the camp as an opportunity to make a good first impression.

Instead, despite the narrower window, the individual workout sessions that begin the second week of June again will be the primary showcase for elite college players.

“A lot of agents just feel their [players] have more to lose than they have to gain by performing at this point,” Paxson said. “It’s just how it is, and I don’t see it changing unless they go so far as to ban [private] workouts altogether.”

The Bulls should get to see a slew of second-round prospects who will be possibilities when they select at No. 49 and No. 51. Both choices came from Denver last year in return for guard J.R. Smith (the Bulls’ own second-round selection went to Portland in the draft-night trade involving Tyrus Thomas and LaMarcus Aldridge).

The camp, which overflows with coaches and scouts from all 30 teams, is a time for Paxson to begin preliminary exploration of possible trades. He has said he will be open to dealing out of No. 9 in return for a veteran who can contribute immediately.

“You do get some conversations going,” Paxson said. “Obviously, if we’re a still a month away, it’s nothing too substantial.”

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