If the Bulls have a chance to draft either Julian Wright or Joakim Noah, who would you take to try to slow down LeBron? He looks like he is going to be a force for the next 10 years but the Bulls could have Deng, Thomas and Noah to send at him. --Jim Harlan, Chicago
There are no LeBron stoppers. I like Noah and would take him if he is available. He has some personality, which we like in the media, and while he's not a scorer or shooter, I think he'll annoy big guys with his hustle and enthusiasm. You get the feeling he'd actually try to play Shaq and have some fun with it. Though what's with the hair? I had been considering that style but it seems passé now.
Do you think the Bulls will change the infamous headband rule over the off-season? I remember John saying it would have been a different story had Ben approached him before the season starte. --Nick Russell, Tampa, Fla.
I think it would be a good time. As I've never seen anyone in the media wear a headband, I've always assumed it applies to us as well. And I'm ready for a new look, as I said, dude.
Does John Paxson have the courage to step up and acquire Kobe Bryant? I think this is the Bulls best chance to win a championship again and with what we can offer it's the Lakers best chance to redefine their team. I propose we trade Gordon or Hinrich, the No. 9 pick and sign and trade Nocioni and PJ Brown to balance the $. --Bill Mergenthal, Glava, Ill.
Yes. Can he? No. As I've said before, I don't see Kobe being traded for any reason. It makes no sense at all for the Lakers. And despite what some have written, I don't see the players the Bulls have as appealing to the Lakers. The Bulls have some good players, but what the playoffs showed as much as anything was you have the best chance to win with a star. I'd keep Kobe and I'm quite sure the Lakers will as well. But I'm also quite sure Paxson would deal anyone to get him.
Kobe Bryant for Sefolosha, Luol Deng, and Ben Wallace, plus the ninth pick. Then we have Kirk, Gordon, Bryant, Thomas and re-sign PJ Brown. I know I'm dreaming. --Dave, Trevor, Wis.
Go back to sleep.
I am absolutely (absolutely) crazy about Corey Brewer. I think he may be the best defensive player I've ever seen and I'm pretty sure he'll be gone by the ninth pick. What do you think the likelihood of them trading up (Nocioni sign and trade?) to get him? --Pat Fox, Villa Park, Ill.
None. Let's not get too carried away by Nocioni. He's a nice player to have, but a reserve or bit starter. No one is going to give up a pick and potential star player (and this draft has a half dozen or more of them) for him. The Bulls also don't have a history of moving up and giving up a player. They've always viewed that as too costly. I don't think the Bulls are as enthusiastic about Brewer as you since they have Luol Deng at that position.
I don't get the infatuation with Nick Collison. He's not really much of an offensive threat other than put backs. With the Nuggets not going far in the playoffs, what do you think the odds are that Nene would be available? What would it take to get him? --Khyle, Lindenhurst, Ill.
Collison could be available, which is reason enough. He's a hard worker and committed player who can score some, if not tall enough to meet the Bulls' main frontcourt needs. They liked Nene a few years ago when there was some chance he could be available. I seriously doubt he will be again. The Nuggets have floated Marcus Camby's name, but he has a big contract and small scoring game. Next!
I'm a UW Husky grad, fan, season ticket-holder. I can tell you that Spencer Hawes is a stud not unlike Brandon Roy. It hasn't been seen, because he was sick, lost a lot of weight, played alongside a rebounding machine in John Brockman and was forced to play an uptempo game. But when the ball was in his hands he delivered. He simply manhandled Aaron Gray of Pitt heads up and showed his range with a overtime forcing three-pointer against USC. He should be the third pick in the draft and the team that lands him will find a player much like Roy -- skilled, athletic and of high character. --Marc Taylor, Seattle
As long as you have no bias. I assume he's on the Bulls' radar, but he is awfully raw. At No. 9, he fits the profile of the kind of player the Bulls need, a potential low-post scorer. But I've heard he's exceptionally weak and obviously inexperienced and Aaron Gray is a second rounder, anyway. No one consults me on these things, but I'd pass since I think he is way too far away and given the Bulls' situation and the way the East is, I see the Bulls needing more immediate help.
Who is the best big man not named Oden in the draft that can suit the Bulls best and complement Big Ben's defense? And has the offensive threat that we need? --Jayvy Cristi, Marikina, Philippines
Probably Al Horford, the Florida power forward. He should be gone in the top five, and I don't see him getting to No. 9 in any scenario.
It has become fashionable, almost de rigueur, to invoke advanced statistical analysis on various NBA blogs across the internet wasteland. Even pundits in the mainstream media have begun to rely on seemingly sophisticated statistical aggregates. Recently, I read an article that indicated some NBA teams have hired statisticians to gauge player performance. What is your take on advanced statistical tools such as PER, the Roland rating, and various other metrics? Based on your experience with the Bulls, how do Skiles and Paxson view those tools? --Nicholas Secco, Chicago
My advice is not to read the writers who use those. They are tools; the problem is people who use those extensively don't watch and often miss the finer points of the game. I recall one of those on plus/minus listing Ben Gordon as the Bulls' best defender. There's the old line about lies, damned lies and statistics. And the story of the man who drowned in a pool that averaged three feet deep. There are some useful points made in those analyses about certain players in certain situations, but they are better applied to baseball, which is more an individual sport. What occurs in basketball--played right--involves players doing things to help one another and the team, things that can't be measured in those analyses. I find most to be way off base. As older school types, I don't think the Bulls rely them extensively, though they are made available to the staff and can be of some curiosity.
What's the chance of Paxson going after Rashard Lewis this summer to fill that post presence? While he is an awesome perimeter player, the guy does have a lot of good back-to-the-basket moves if needed. He could be like a younger, more athletic Rasheed Wallace to complement Ben and Tyrus. --Ancel, Santa Ana, Calif.
Not the Rashard Lewis I know. He's more the perimeter player and shoots a lot of threes. He wants to make an eight-figure annual salary and the Bulls have no salary cap space. He plays the same position as Luol Deng and the Bulls have no one to truly match him in a sign and trade. Other than that, there's a good chance.
Can we stop with the whole Zach Randolph trade scenarios? If we add him to play the four, we have Deng, Randolph, and Wallace as our frontcourt. They are all 6'9! In case everyone has forgotten, our main problem is size. That is why we lost to the Pistons. Look at how close the Cavs played them. They are bigger than us, not a better defensive team. If we can't swing a deal for a legitimate big man such as Gasol, Garnett, O'Neal, what do you suggest we do with the ninth overall pick? Please tell me Spencer Hawes, because I might cry if they draft Noah. --Vick, South Orange, N.J.
As Question Mark and the Mysterians said, "96 tears." I'm for Noah, though that rarely sways the Bulls. I reiterate: I just cannot see them taking a big man so inexperienced after the issues with Curry and Chandler and with their run at Wallace last summer. That was for now, not the future. I still think they'll consider dealing the pick, though I expect possibilities we haven't thought of will arise around the draft as teams get more excited about getting into the draft.
As I watch the great play of Tim Duncan, I can't but think back to the bizarre game in which Joe Crawford ejected Duncan for what appeared to be no reason at all. Any updates on the status of Crawford for next season? Do you believe he'll be reinstated? --Scott Kelnhofer, Iola, Wis.
I believe he will be reinstated. The commissioner has said nothing and hasn't given much hint of it. But I've heard Joey is contrite and wants to return and I can't see Stern being that mean. Other than to the Suns.
If there are any players that the Bulls traded in the past 5 years that you would want back, who would it be? --Omar, Manila, Philippines
No one, really. The statute of limitations on Elton Brand has expired. I initially bought in to the Curry/Chandler thing because I was assured--bad intelligence as I claim a Democratic congress excuse--they were Shaq and Garnett. It turns out closer to Charles Shackleford and Bill Garnett. Though Paxson cleaned house, I don't see it hurting the team. I did like Chandler because he hustled and cared, but it wasn't working with Skiles and someone had to go. Plus, Chandler's contract set too high a bar to get the other players signed at more reasonable rates to give the team flexibility for other deals. Crawford was too undisciplined and defensively-challenged; likewise Curry. And I'd still do Jalen Rose for Ron Artest and Brad Miller seeing the mess they've made of the Kings franchise and Artest before that in Indiana. I thought Jalen could have been handled better, but was the kind of player the Bulls needed in a scorer. He'd just lost too much too quickly at the time.
Assuming Pax isn't able to secure a quality veteran big man on draft night, do you think they'll be able to trade some combination of their three picks to move up between two and four picks? I remember that the Bulls had the 16th pick last year and moved up to 13 to get Sefolosha. --Joseph, Oak Park, Ill.
I doubt it. The seconds aren't great. I think they got a steal moving up for Sefolosha. That doesn't happen often.
What do you think of signing Milicic this of season? I don´t think it will cost a lot, and probably he will be cut in Orlando. Maybe now he can be a dominant player, like Carlos Boozer in Utah this year. -- Gonzalo Panisell, Santiago, Chile
He's an interesting case since to re-sign him, it will cost the Magic much of their salary cap space and a chance at a potential big scorer like Vince Carter or Rashard Lewis, both likely free agents. If I were the Magic, I'd try for them and let Darko go. It's not like the Magic don't make regular personnel mistakes. Of course, being the Magic and after the Billy Donovan mess, you never know what they're thinking. I don't care for Milicic as a player a she seems disinterested too often. But he is tall and can score some inside. If you can get him with the exception, I might take a shot. But so will a lot of other teams and I think he'd be better in the West.
How come no more Kevin Garnett-to-the-Bulls talk? It seems like a real possibility he'll get traded this summer, and why wouldn't he want to go the East, where he has an easier road to the Finals? Bulls could give Gordon, Thomas and the No. 9. Wolves get a big-time scorer in Gordon, a starting power forward to take Garnett's place (he won't fill his shoes but should grow into a star player) and a valuable pick to rebuild the team with. Bulls have a Garnett-Wallace-Deng frontcourt that will be one of the league's best. Everyone wins. --Josh Lash, Naperville, Ill.
Tell it to Kevin McHale. I've backed off because it no longer makes much sense to make a big Garnett deal. He can opt out of his contract after next season, so how could you offer two players, probably starters, and a lottery pick for a guy you might have for one season? The Timberwolves blew it last summer when the Bulls offered Chandler, Deng and the No. 2 pick. Having Garnett two years with Ben Wallace would have been worth the shot. It doesn't seem to be anymore, and I think Minnesota now rides it out, lets Garnett leaves and says they did everything to keep him and hope that assuages the fans. It won't. Figure the Lakers make a run at him after next season, though all they have is the exception. He's made $200 million in salaries. Would he go to play for $5 million? He might, and you can't take the chance he'd bolt on you.
Why do people believe that Nocioni and Duhon have value? Every mailbag people keep suggesting that by packaging those two with the draft pick you have enough to get a top big man. Noc is over-rated, he plays hard (when healthy), but he's role player - not an every minute, every game player. And Duhon is terrible. I wish people would realize that the only people anyone would be interested in is Deng, Gordon, and Hinrich and that's that. --Sean Coughlin, Schaumburg, Ill.
Sad but true. Fans fall in love with their players. You can be sure the Bulls are realistic and understand what value they have, which is why it will be difficult to make a major deal. The key with P.J. Brown was he'd come off the books if traded by the trading deadline. He still could be in a sign and trade, but a team would have to take him for big money for a year. The Bulls players are looking at extensions, and teams don't often take those kinds of players. I suspect in the end the Bulls use the pick and pick up a veteran big somewhere and perhaps deal Duhon for some future pick.
You mentioned that the Bulls' locker room needs some personality. Tell me about it. Surely the Bulls as a team give the most dull interviews of any team. First, you have the coach. Nuff said there. Then you have Kirk who is so guarded that he probably wouldn't tell you which road he took to get to the stadium. Then there's Tyrus Thomas. Nuff said. Then you have Ben Wallace who speaks about the Bulls as if he's not even on the team. Then you have Ben Gordon who really tries to hide the fact that's it not all about him. Andreas Nocioni still says the same words over and over--he hasn't learned any new English yet? And, let's not forget Mr. Monotone Luol Deng. I think the key to finding the next draft pick and free agent is just to find the most boring, least informative player interviewee, and you'll predict who'll be in the next Bulls uniform. --James, Lake in the Hills, Ill.
You have been watching the post-game show? As I've said, it's a wonder to me sometimes why they put guys like Thomas on camera and think they have something. I don't understand why TV isn't insulted when players repeat that stream of clichés. I don't think the Bulls search out these players, and privately several are actually funny and interesting. Not Thomas. That's another reason I like Noah. He has some panache. Though the Bulls don't always like panache. There's also some risk with guys who enjoy life a little too much, and this is a conservative Bulls organization. It's sort of that old A-to-B-to-C thing. The Bulls have gotten where they are with hard-working, serious guys who are committed to the game. After what they went through, it was a good way to go. But many of those guys are restrained. I'd say Tim Duncan as well, but you'd take his vegetable personality. One issue that has developed which does have the team concerned is the lack of vocal leadership because no one ever says much. It's not essential, and there have been winning teams without that. But it's an element the Bulls want. It's hard to say they haven't come out and competed, so that isn't vital. Maybe Dennis Rodman can replace Andre Barrett and sit the bench all season.
Those of us who have been around since the before the beginning of the NBA realize that it takes at least two superstars to win championships. Larry/Kevin, Julius/Moses, Michael/Scottie, Magic/Kareem, etc. That's why Kobe's plight is so agonizing. He and Shaq won a few and broke up. Now he wants a new dance partner. Great. While the Lakers are deciding to sign a top player, or not, it might be a good idea to acquire a good supporting cast. That is where the Bulls come in. Giving up Hinrich, Nocioni, and maybe the 2007 No. 9 draft pick for Andrew Bynam would solve major problems for both teams and possibly set up a string of future LA and Bulls championship encounters. --James Westbrook, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Well, LeBron is there as one. Though that is the East. And I'm not sure who that second is on the Spurs. Maybe Ginobili, though now a sixth man. Bynam is an interesting name because some people around the NBA believe he's going to be an All Star low-post scoring center. Many believe several years from now, Kobe included. I don't see the Bulls taking that step back and don't see the Bulls dealing Hinrich unless they have a sure point guard replacement.
The word out here is that Zach Randolph just needs to be surrounded by good people to behave and the Bulls might provide that. But my question is what do you think about the Bulls getting Przybilla instead? He plays hard, defends, can score when called upon and has a good attitude. Sure he's not a big scorer, but he might be the best 7-1 guy realistically available right now. -- Andrew Heckman, Portland, Ore.
Seems too injury prone to me. He was in Milwaukee out of college and always hobbled. He's making reasonably big money now and is a non-scoring center. The Bulls already have one of those.
I imagine that the Kobe Bryant trade story really has you jacked up. What do you think of this: Gordon, (sign & trade), Ben Wallace and Tyrus Thomas (I know you don't like him) and a swap of first-round picks, plus our 2008 first rounder for Kobe and Bynum? -- John Jenkins, Archdale, N.C.
I hate that I had to start knocking down my own potential deals. Even I couldn't make it work.
How come every time a former Bulls leaves for another team, they have a breakout season the next year? Elton Brand, Ron Artest and now Tyson Chandler. Now he's on the US team this year. --Hughes, Las Vegas
As I scan that list, I don't see anyone in the playoffs this season.
If the Hawks offered Marvin Williams and the No. 3 pick for KG (and throw in Mike James for PG stability), don't both teams benefit? The Wolves can accumulate a solid young core and build for the future, and the Hawks are instant contenders with Johnson, Josh Smith and Garnett. A similar thing could work with Milwaukee giving up their pick and Villanueva, leaving them with Mo Williams, Redd, Bobby Simmons, KG, and Bogut. This makes sense to me, but I don't see McHale looking up from fishin' hole any time soon. --Bill, Chicago
As I said above, I think the Timberwolves stick it out and if Garnett goes to a bad place, and there's few worse than Atlanta for basketball, he'll likely leave. But this won't stop the speculation this summer, which I applaud.
Would you agree that Kobe's demand for a trade takes him off the "Michael Jordan path" to greatness? I think Colorado already did that and the Shaq trade almost underlined it, but now with the crazy trade demand, he is never going to reach Jordan status. Sure he cares about winning and all, but instead of just lifting his own team, he's still crying about 2004 and the Shaq trade. I know MJ cribbed a lot about Krause but I don't recollect ever hearing the words "I'm out of here if you guys don't shape up." I hope Kobe doesn't get traded to the Bulls, because that will mean I can never root for the Bulls again. Maybe he can get traded to the Nuggets? I hear he has a big fan base in Vail. -- Adithya Rao, Atlanta
Ouch. Though you are right about the legacy. The public doesn't embrace that kind of behavior and while Kobe is closest (including LeBron) to Michael as a player, you'll see LeBron pass him with this Finals appearance. There are an awful lot of fans who refuse to forgive Kobe for past indiscretions. Michael was hardly perfect, but he was well liked. And when you are you get excused. I liken him to the basketball Ronald Reagan, though, to me, Jordan was much more effective. The point is the public wants to like its stars. They liked Michael and Kobe makes it more difficult. Though if Kobe gets back to the Finals and gets on a run, I believe much of that can change.
I'd be pleased to know your opinion about this: Horace Grant was a core player in a team that won three titles in a row, and clearly their best frontcourt player. Have the Bulls been fair to him by not retiring his number? Do you think he deserves that honor, or, in other words, did Jerry Sloan and Bob Love contribute more to the organization than Grant? --Jon, Spain
Horace was a terrific role player and key component of the team that won three championships. I think it was obvious how valuable he was when he left and went to Orlando and they beat the Bulls. The Bulls focus became getting a power forward, which they did with Rodman. But Horace left on bad terms in a contract dispute and that's not likely to happen. Many believe Chet Walker and Artis Gilmore also deserve the honor, but I think the Bulls are done retiring jerseys for some time.
What's happening with Brad Miller? Though his short stint with the Bulls came during the ugly Tim Floyd era, he seemed to be one of the few bright spots back then. And he played well for the Sacramento Kings early on, too. What is his contract status with the Kings? And with his size and offensive skills around the post, would he be a good fit for today's Bulls? --Ed G., Rockford, Ill.
Brad's skills are in serious decline along with his body. The Kings gave him a big contract, which is good for him. But they're stuck with it now and he's just part of a franchise heading toward a major rebuilding down the road when the big contracts, like his, begin to expire or can be dumped. He's much too slow for the Bulls.
Re-examining the Curry Trade: Now that Curry didn't nab us Oden or Durant, what is your take? Are we winners or losers? TT and No. 9 for Curry. I say we are losers! Curry would have been the inside presence to put us over the top. --Mr. Jinx, Chicago
I say even. If the Bulls had gotten 1 or 2, it would have been heavily weighted to the Bulls with Thomas. Getting two lottery picks, Nos. 2 and 9 for Curry seems fair. I don't see Curry as that inside presence to fit the Bulls style and it's probably fair the way it worked out.
Do you have any kind of relationship/friendship with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and/or Phil Jackson? -- Palash R. Ghosh, New York
Not with Jordan, who rarely speaks to the media anymore, anyway. I did have a good relationship with Jordan until I wrote "The Jordan Rules." I still feel it wasn't unfair to him and I've always gotten the impression he never read it, but because it was so controversial back then in 1991, I think he took it as a betrayal. Though I must say afterward he always treated me professionally, including when he went to Washington. Though I know he wasn't happy about the book, he answered my questions like he would any other, making eye contact and the occasional joke. A lot of players wouldn't deal with it so well. We just didn't make small talk anymore, which was appropriate. Though I always did like him. I talk to Scottie and Phil regularly and have been able to enjoy a nice, professional relationship with both. I'm closer with Phil as I've known him since before he came to the Bulls, but have done some social things with Scottie as well. They both are interesting in certainly different ways.
What are the Bulls chances of acquiring Jermaine O'Neal? --Anthony, Lombard, Ill.
Little or none. It would cost too much and the Bulls aren't giving up two major pieces for him, which is what the Pacers generally are asking.
I emailed you 15 games into the NBA season this year, and said that the Wolves should not trade K.G. After this season provided me with 20/20 vision, I will now admit this is the best the Wolves can do with K.G. It's time for the future Hall of Famer to go. Some around here liken him to Kirby Puckett, yes and no. Yes, he is a tremendous player and positive attitude. No, doesn't have any rings (Puck had 2) and really doesn't extend himself to local media as Puck did time and time again. K.G. views himself above the local fray. I would liken K.G. to another Twin, Rod Carew. Yes the hit machine. Great stats, no rings. Rod's best years as a Twin were in 69-71, when he had Killerbrew, Oliva, and Kaat talent like Cassell and Spree. So, like the Twins did with Rod, great player and super stats, they traded him to the Angels. K.G. needs to move on like Rod. Sad but true. Give K.G. the chance go elsewhere. But unlike the Carew deal, the Wolves need to make the greatest blockbuster in team history; with Carew we didn't get talent in return. Thanks Rod for helping us refocus for 1987, and thanks K.G. for helping the Wolves refocus for 2012. --Aaron, Maple Grove, Minn.
I have gotten a lot of email over the last few years from Minnesota fans about how they'd never want to see KG go. I don't get many anymore. The problem, as I've said, is I don't see blockbusters anymore. It's the issue with teams like the Pacers and O'Neal and the Grizzlies and Gasol. They are their best pieces and they want a lot. But when you don't make the playoffs, teams aren't offering that much with the thinking that, "If he can't even take that team to the playoffs, how much impact could he really make?"
What happened to Jamaal Magloire? He used to be decent and now entering his prime (age wise) is dropping of? What about a trade of Carter for Kirilenko? And what exactly was the reason Viktor Khryapa has not gotten much playing time? -- Nick Hantke, Würzburg, Germany
It seemed Magloire was more athletic at one time. Now he's an offensive black hole with mechanical moves around the basket -- too slow for the game these days. I don't fully know what happened with Khryapa, but he got on Skiles' bad side and never recovered. I do respect him for his professionalism all during the frustrating period. Vince is a free agent and while there can be a sign and trade, I doubt Utah is his choice destination. He could be going to Orlando as he's from Daytona Beach.
I've seen some highlights with the new Chinese sensation, Yi Jianlian, and I think he is way over-hyped. At best he might be comparable to Toni Kukoc. --Dave, Omaha, Neb.
It's always difficult for me to figure these guys out because I don't see them and they play against woeful competition. I downgraded Bargnani last year and he's been OK. He's worked out well, though I have my doubts. Most of the scouts seem to think he's top five to seven.
I like to think there are more of me but not sure. I listened on the radio as a young child in Frankfort, Ill., when the Bulls played back in the very early '70s. I kept stats and the whole nine yards on a piece of paper. Howard Porter was my favorite player and he came off the bench on a team with Love, Walker, Sloan, Van Lier and Ray. He would always light it up for instant points when needed. I wish I could have met him. I have lived 30 miles south of Sarasota since 1974 and that was Howard Porter territory. I like to read that he was well liked by people who knew him. Thanks Howard for some good memories during a great Bulls era. --Howard DeVries, Sarasota, Fla.
Thanks for the nice recollection on Howard. He had a tough run, but turned his life around and became a great addition to the community. It was evidenced by . He defined hope for a lot of Bulls fans back then, and his life reflected it.
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