Only seven weeks or so until the trade deadline. In the meantime, here's another batch of answers. Keep the questions coming.
K.C., in the most recent RosenBlog he "mentions" that the players have lost respect for Vinnie. Being around the team as much as you are, do you see this happening? If so, what do we do from here? Vinnie will have no shot at getting them to play harder if he's lost them already. --Bill, Skokie
Talk about a lack of respect: You misspelled his first name. I think the majority of NBA players test whatever coach they have to see his limits. Del Negro has been pretty clear in fining players or talking to them when those limits are crossed. I do know both players and Del Negro have talked openly about how he never had coaching experience at any level before this hire.
I think it's pretty normal human nature for players to question Del Negro at times because of that lack of experience. And it's pretty obvious with a rookie coach and a rookie point guard, the Bulls are trying to establish simplified offensive and defensive concepts and principles. At some point, though, players have to look in the mirror. If their behavior is similar to how two previous coaches who have been fired were treated, then it's on them.
Who is the bulls all time triple-double leader? --C. Mitchell, Sauk Village
I know you're going to find this hard to believe: Michael Jordan. He tallied 30 in his career, including an astonishing seven straight from March 25, 1989 to April 6, 1989. I remember talking to my former colleague Sam Smith about this stretch, and he just shook his head in amazement at the accomplishment. Especially because Jordan made a conscious effort to post more triple doubles because he was tired of people calling Magic Johnson a winner and Jordan just a scorer. Take that, huh?
Since we're a full service answer bank, Scottie Pippen ranks second with 19. And Nate Thurmond posted the only quadruple double in Bulls history when he dropped 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocks on Atlanta on Oct. 18, 1974. Making that day even better? I turned 7.
Last week (or perhaps the week before), you mentioned that the Bulls need a big man, more for defense than for offense. To that end, it seems that Hasheem Thabeet may fit the bill in the same way that the young Mutumbo did for the Nuggets the year they were the first No. 8 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed. Of course, this assumes they don't get pick No. 1 and take Blake Griffin. Your thoughts? --Tony Alam, Falls Church, Va.
I don't follow college basketball until NCAA Tournament time and then closer to the NBA draft. He's tall, right? I'll take your word for it. Maybe it could help keep Ben Gordon around to chat about their shared alma mater?
When Kirk Hinrich returns, do you expect a trade shortly thereafter? If so, who's most likely to go: Hinrich, Larry Hughes, others? Personally, Hughes is my first choice. Of the players with selfish play, he is the worst. Witness the ill-advised three-pointer late in the . --Eric Harrell, Crownsville, Md.
I took that game off, but I believe I heard the audible groan emanating from the United Center when Hughes rose for that shot in our north side home. The Bulls are shopping Hughes aggressively, and I'm starting to revisit my thinking that his contract will be impossible to move.
The reason I say thisand this is strictly speculation on my partis I'm starting to believe the Bulls will take virtually anything beyond ridiculous long-term contracts to move Hughes. They want to open up more opportunity for Sefolosha and also ease the glut of guards in the backcourt.
I like the energy that Tyrus Thomas shows and I can see improvement offensively from last year. Why can't he get 35 minutes a game? Isn't it time to see what we have with him? --Mitchell C., New York
I'd start preparing for that very scenario and I agree with the move. Tyrus makes some silly circus moves occasionally but if you leave him out there and he can avoid foul trouble, I believe he can contribute consistently. And you can't give away the second overall pick in the draft for nothing.
How long is the grace period for Vinny? I like the guy and don't think he should be fired. But how long before there's talk of him on the hot seat with blowout losses and losses like the one to Minnesota? Would the bulls consider cutting short their experiment with Del Negro to bring in a guy like Eddie Jordan, who is generally respected and now available? --Bradley, Chicago
You can't change coaches that quickly, nor do I think the Bulls should. The Bulls knew that they were entering with a rookie coach with no experience. I think Del Negro has showed some signs of being a strong coach. I like how he has handled playing time. He has been firm but fair in holding people accountable for mistakes. And he communicates well.
Scouts say the Bulls run extremely basic offensive sets and they obviously don't have a strong defensive identity (hurt, also, in part by their poor shot selection at times). But some of that is by design because they have a rookie point guard and a rookie coach. Yes, there are growing pains. But he's making just $2 million per year and has a short-term deal and changing coaches now would be a mistake.
I have always liked John Paxson, and loved him as a player. But why is there never any talk about him getting fired. He absolutely has to go if the Bulls are going to ever make a move in the right direction. He has only made two good moves: Jay Williams (not Paxon's fault about the accident) and Derrick Rose. Our rosters since he has taken the job have been like a circus show. When is it going to finally be enough to get him out of here and start taking winning seriously? Nobody ever seems to put any blame on Paxson. --Ryan, Naperville
Ah, the ol' weekly question where my answer makes me look like a Bulls apologist. There's no question you can look at the summer of 2006 and point to several reasons why the Bulls have dropped off the last season and a half. Those are looking like Paxson mistakesthe Ben Wallace signing, the drafting of Tyrus Thomas over LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy, the Tyson Chandler trade for an expiring deal in P.J. Brown that wasn't parlayed into a larger deal. (Although Brown, also, was arguably the Bulls' best player in the Detroit playoff series.)
So let's review: He took over for Krause in 2003. The 2003-04 season was a transition season in which he got his coach in place, changed the roster and had an ugly record. Then came a string of three straight playoff seasons in which everybody praised Paxson, loved his draft picks, loved his coach. Last season's train wreck turned matters sour. And, like I said, I believe last season came as a direct result of those misses in the summer of 2006. Then the Bulls lucked into the No. 1 draft pick. Pax and his staff got that right. You have to remember that Paxson signed off on hiring both Mike D'Antoni and Doug Collins, neither of which is here.
If you've got a problem with Del Negro, I'd say that's more of an issue with Jerry Reinsdorf than Paxson. The argument that Paxson might have overvalued his players and held on to them too long is valid. But I also defend Paxson against criticism for not trading for Kevin Garnett and Pau Gasol. The Bulls arguably made a better offer to Minnesota the summer before the Timberwolves traded Garnett to Boston and Paxson didn't want to include Deng in the original Gasol deal. Then, when Memphis traded Gasol a year later, it was strictly a salary dump.
There are good moves and bad moves by all GMs. Paxson has made both. What I would like to see is a more definitive plan as to how to get Rose help, but I think that could be coming between now and the Feb. 19 trade deadline. My own take is give Paxson a season or two to build around Rose and try to recover from his 2006 missteps.
I don't get to watch many Chicago Bulls games, but when I do, I always notice that Tyrus Thomas tends to hang around the perimeter and even behind the three-point line. I've also noticed that Tyrus is 43-48 from the free throw line since December including a perfect 14-14 in 2009, so it begs the question, why is he not attacking the basket? The Bulls already have enough jump shooters, if Tyrus can just attack the basket he could probably draw more fouls, and he's proving that he can knock down the free throws. Why haven't the Bulls coaching staff forced Tyrus to attack the basket? Tyrus is too athletic to be just settling for jump shots and hanging around the perimeter. --Belal Tiba, Dearborn, Mich.
I have no problems with Tyrus taking the occasional jumper if it's in rhythm of the offense and he's open because, as you allude to with his free-throw shooting, he has good form. What I have a problem with is when Tyrus tries to create on his own offensively. He's not that kind of player. Lately, I think he's doing a much better job of playing to his strengths. And the more he plays, the bigger comfort zone I think he will find.
K.C., just wanted your opinion on some bold changes for Paxson to try: Send Hughes, Joakim Noah, and Cedric Simmons to Golden State for Stephen Jackson and Corey Maggette. Then send Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, and Tyrus Thomas to Phoenix for Amare Stoudemire, Leandro Barbosa and Alando Tucker. --Jerome Bowers, McDavid, Fla.
Congrats, Jerome. You win this week's spit-take award.
K.C., I heard that Derrick Rose is introduced as being from "Chicago" at home games, even though he went to Memphis. I know he didn't graduate, but neither did Jordan (till later) and Michael was always from "North Carolina". So why is this done? --Rob, Flossmoor
I wrote about this early in the season. It was Derrick's idea, and of course, the Bulls' marketing staff ate it up. Derrick knew he'd catch some heat from his fans in Memphis for his decision, but it makes sense. This is his home. This is where he is now. And this is where he has played most of his basketball.
So the Bulls need a big man, I guess. But for what? Offense or Defense? I hear a lot of talk about the Bulls needing to be able to score in the paint, but they seem to put up points ok without a post presence. Can Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas improve enough on defense that we can funnel perimeter guys to them they way the Magic do with Dwight Howard? Or will that never happen? --Brad, Chicago
I don't see it happening consistently, which is why I'd like to see size added for defensive purposes more than offense. You make a good point: This team has actually always done OK with points in the paint even without a traditional big man. And unless you get the right big man, he actually could hurt what you're trying to do offensively with Rose. The perfect big man, to me, would be Marcus Camby, an athletic defensive machine who would seal down the paint defensively without hurting a Rose-led offense. Too bad he's not available.
The Bulls really need a big man. Do you think there is any chance John Paxon can put together a trade to get Tyson Chandler back? He could trade Larry Hughes and Joakim Noah --Richard Martin, Alsip
I printed this so Chris Paul could have a spit-take.
I've heard the comment made in several media outlets that nobody on the current roster besides Derrick Rose will be in Chicago when the Bulls are contending again. I think that's underselling the roster a bit. I personally see four players besides Rose who could be in the long-term plans: Drew Gooden, Ben Gordon, Andres Nocioni, and Aaron Gray. Gooden is a solid post player, Gordon is instant offense, Nocioni is a hardworking guy who gets under the opponents' skin and Gray is a respectable center option (although probably better suited as a backup). None are stars, but they are each the type of guys you hear teams say, "I wish we had a guy like _______ to fill a role." Well, I think we have them. I've often felt the Bulls were a great supporting cast with no one to support. I'd hate to see us trade away a player that fills a need now, just to try getting another player like him later. Am I off base with that, or just overly sentimental about the current team? --Chris, Dubuque, Iowa
I think you're on to something, although I don't see Gooden with this team long-term. But you're dead on about all four of these players being able to exist with Rose. Gray is a solid player when used correctlya 10- to 12-minute backup role. He'll be in the league for years. But he definitely can't start anymore.
Luol Deng struggled last season and has struggled this season after signing a big contract. If this continues how long do you see the Bulls waiting before he is shopped around the league in trades? --James, Phoenix
Rather than dumping Deng, which would be very difficult anyway because he's in the first year of a large deal and his contract is base-year compensation, I say you commit to him. Get him going. Call plays for him. Move the ball on offense rather than just run screen-and-roll all the time. Set some pindown screens for him. Let him cut to the middle. Deng needs to be resuscitated, not released.
Do you think Thabo Sefolosha will continue to remain the odd guy out when Luol returns? It's a real shame the Bulls can't seem to get this guy on the court more. On a terrible defense team, he is one of the bright spots defensively and a MUCH smarter player than his draftmate Tyrus Thomas. Hopefully when all the smoke clears in Chicago, he remains and has a chance to get better. Your thoughts? --Jennifer Bailey, Richmond, Va.
This is just speculation on my part, but when and if this team gets to full strength, I see Thabo moving past Larry Hughes in the rotation. That will make Hughes unhappy and also make perfect sense. You have to let Thabo play to see if he fits moving forward.
I laugh. And bow to your brilliance. And as a budding guitarist, I appreciate the strumming.
I am a long time Bulls fan and realize it's not easy building a winning team and we all should be patient, but I am starting to get bored with this Bulls team. I love Derrick Rose and think he could be a superstar if you build a solid group around him. Obviously, I think the Bulls need to make a trade and there already have been a number of stars and starter "type" players traded. What is Paxson waiting for? In my opinion there are two options: Trade for starter talent, which I think is very difficult or dump salary and prepare for the "BIG" free agent class of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and company. What do you think the Bullies should do? --Tod, Indianapolis
I think they should make a trade. You have to change the culture of this season's team. You have to shake things up. You have to balance the roster. And waiting for the summer of 2010, when there are no guarantees, is risky.
I'm completely sick of Joakim Noah and his fake hustle. brought up points I have been making recently. Since when does screaming obnoxiously equal playing hard? He is an out-of-shape bum that gets pushed around constantly on the court. He shoots free-throws like a girl. When simply touched by a defender, he flails his arms wildly skyward, screams, and loses the ball. What can Paxson do to get this bum out of here? --Matt, Evanston
Actually, Noah is one of the leading rebounders in the league in rebounds-per-minute. I think hustle is his best attribute and perhaps his only one. He's good at keeping balls alive on the offensive end. He definitely needs to get stronger. And I'd trade him, too. But the knock on the false hustle is erroneous, in my opinion.
What's going on in the locker room? This past week's fines tell me that some of the players have problems with authority. Two different coaches (and styles) but the same result! What's up? The Bulls won't reach the next level is this continues. --Bill, Homer Glen
The reason I wrote about that incident is for that very point: It shows a repeat pattern of behavior that needs to be addressed. Del Negro did and I think it will be over with quickly.
Bet you don't have the answer. When will Reinsdorf fire John Paxson? --Waldemar Reichert, Chicago
I always have an answer: Not this season.
K.C., Does Vinny have an idea on how to develop anyone who is not a guard? I saw Patrick Ewing sitting on the bench watching his student, Dwight Howard, lead the Magic against the Bulls; the Lakers have Abdul-Jabbar as their big man coach. The Bulls big man coach is former Bulls guard Pete Myers. Del Harris, the guy who couldn't do anything with Shaq, is Vinny's assistant coach. Just doesn't really seem to make a whole lot of sense. Why not try to get a coach for Noah, Thomas and Deng, someone who understands the PF/C positions? --Andrew Majors, Chicago
The Bulls hired former Bull Mike Brown late last season as a big man's coach but didn't keep him on this season's staff. I'd like to see a former player serve as a big man's coach as well.
Is Derrick Rose really a true point guard? Every time I watched a Bulls game, he's had a shoot first mentality and doesn't really seem to be running the offense. He is the same as he was at Memphis and even Simeon. Everyone wants him to be that special leader to pull the team with him but I think he is just a more talented cross between Gordon and Hinrich and no defense. Thoughts? --David, Chicago
My thoughts are this: Derrick appears to be that special talent that can read what the game needs. Some games, he seems to defer more to his teammates. Others, he realizes he needs to carry more of the scoring load. I think as this team begins to trust him more and/or more All-Star talent is placed alongside Rose, he would pass more. For now, he definitely has a more shoot-first mentality.
I'm asking this seriouslyno joking Why can't the Bulls make a run at LeBron James in 2010? Wouldn't he have any interest in playing in the city where his No. 23 was made famous? If Kobe Bryant was possible, why not James? They could clear some cap room and bam, Rose feeding James for years to come. --Adam, Chicago
I appreciate the earnestness. My feeling is James will either re-sign with Cleveland, which can pay him the most, or go to the bright lights of New York.
Deng just stands around in the corner waiting for the ball. Why is the coach so high on him? He should be tradedor given away. --David Martenson, Gilbert, Ariz.
He's standing there because that's where he's supposed to be in this offense. The Bulls need to get him more involved and show better ball movement to take advantage of his cuts.
Three "surprise" questions: 1) What has been your biggest surprise about the Bulls team/performance so far this season? 2) What/who has been the biggest surprise in the NBA so far this season? 3) What could the Bulls do/not do by the trade deadline that might surprise (or please) Bulls fans? --Terry, Schaumburg
Derrick Rose has been even better than advertised. I've covered a ton of high profile lottery picks. I've never seen a rookie so quickly adapt to the NBA game. I'm surprised Cleveland is this good. You look at that roster and think: Besides LeBron, they're not that good. But LeBron is having one of those transcendent seasons and the other players are playing their roles well. Move Larry Hughes.
I read a blogger's statement that we should try to get Eddy Curry back. I was shocked and asked if he was on crystal meth. I refuse to believe that Paxson would revisit such a player but with the Bulls in need of defense and post offense why would anyone ever consider the Dough Boy? Right now who is the best big man that the Bulls can hope to get now or when the 2010 class comes out? Do you think we have any chance of getting Amare Stoudemire? --BullySixChicago, Oxford, Miss.
No. I think somebody like Brad Miller or Chris Kaman is more possible, although I wouldn't say either of those is a guarantee either.
Hey K.C, I have always wondered: Who you got, Cubs or Sox? --Sascha Lauer Ruf, Apple Valley, Calif.
I grew up in Evanston, Ill., as a Cubs fan. I now root merely for good stories, not teams.
You have said that the Bulls can't defend the paint like they did in 2007 and while I was glad to see Ben Wallace go, do you think they undervalued his defensive presence? --Eric, Aurora
I doand received quite a bit of heat for this. I was probably Ben's biggest supporter. Look, I'm not blind; I know he wasn't the player he was in Detroit. And it probably couldn't have worked out for him here because he doesn't like being in the spotlight. Cleveland is the perfect situation for him because he can just play his role and let LeBron do his thing. But what happened here is that people judged Ben by his salary. It's not his fault the Bulls paid him that much money. And even though he wasn't nearly the player he was in Detroit, he still served as a defensive presence who altered shots and thwarted penetration.
Do you realize how foolish you look with that backpack on? You look more like a fan that won a contest than a reporter. --Pat Fox, Hillside
I assume you saw me at O'Hare and I'm so glad you asked because it gives me the opportunity to slam my wife publicly. Plenty of NBA road trips are "there-and-back" affairs, meaning you fly mid-afternoon the day of the game, land, cover the game, sleep in a hotel for four hours and take the first flight home. For years, I did these trips with just two things: My computer bag and a plastic Jewel bag with a toothbrush, book, socks and boxers because that's all I needed for the 14 hours or so I'd be gone. My wife called this tacky, saying the Jewel bag made me look silly. So she prohibited the move. And now I look even sillier with the backpack. And you also know far more about me than you wanted.
Thanks for your questions. Talk to you next week,
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