In a shocking development leading up to yesterday’s NBA lottery, Bulls VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson apparently tried to tamper with the draft order to get the top pick.

The Bulls improbably won the draft lottery two years ago, selecting All-Star guard Derrick Rose and altering the franchise’s fate for years to come. It turns out Paxson lobbied NBA Commissioner David Stern to get the top pick in June’s draft.

A phone conversation Paxson had with Stern just days below is transcribed below:

Paxson: Hey Dave, how’s it going? How are the kids?

Stern: They’re fine, John. We’re right in the middle of dinner. Please, call me David. What can I do for you?

Paxson: Oh, well then, I’ll make this quick. You remember when we got that top pick in ’08? That was really great.

Stern: Yeah, I remember … [muffled, to someone else] … I’ll be right there, honey. Turn the heat down on the roast.

Paxson: Well, anyway. That was really great. And I was just thinking … If you hadn’t promised the pick to anyone else this year …

Stern: Yeah, it doesn’t really work that way, John.

Paxson: Yeah, I know. But the thing is, we’re really trying to get LeBron. And it would really help …

Stern: Sorry John, not much I can do

Paxson: Dave, sorry. David, we all know how it goes. Remember Ewing? That was totally rigged. And I’m really close to getting fired over here. Throw me a bone! I got a family to fee –

Stern: Goodbye John. [Hangs up]

By Matthew Wood, intrepid reporter