What is the future for Drew Gooden, Ben Gordon and Larry Hughes with the Bulls? Hughes doesn't seem to fit the Bulls offensively; he seems best in a Golden State-type of offense. There must be something wrong with Gooden; he is constantly being traded. Gordon thinks he is a superstar. Can this group be worth a good player or lottery pick? --Ernest Tamura; Port Orchard
We shall find out. Moving out Ben Wallace was the right thing to do. Hughes will be harder to deal with, because of his contract, but easier than Wallace. Gooden, on his last season on his contract, will be in great demand. They can be useful players, though Hughes strikes me as a Ron Mercer type. Different game, sure, as Hughes has a greater shot range. But just another guard who'll be inconsistent. If I were any of the three, I'd be renting for now.
The Ben Wallace trade landed some younger athletic players. With the current group of athletic players -- Tyrus Thomas, Luol Deng, Den Gordon, Larry Hughes -- why not turn the Bulls into the Golden State or Phoenix of the Eastern Conference? --Tony Marro; San Diego
It's a thought, though you need to upgrade at point guard to do that because the teams that push and run have creative point guards. I doubt the Bulls would ever fully commit to that because their organizational philosophy always has been defense first, even with Jordan. It also depends in large part what they do about a coach. I've long thought the Cavaliers with LeBron James should play faster, but they don't have the point guard. In the end, I don't see the Bulls heading in that direction.
I think Larry Hughes is not going to play well for the Bulls. Wouldn't it be a good idea to trade him along with a second round pick in 2010 to Memphis for Mike Miller and Darko Milicic? All three contracts expire at the same time, but the Grizzlies would save a few million dollars and it would work with the league's salary cap guidelines. The Bulls could follow that up by taking a chance on Jermaine O'Neal, sending Andrew Nocioni (no longer would be in the first year of a new deal), Drew Gooden (an expiring contract), Tyrus Thomas, and the Knick's second round pick to the Pacers. Indiana could then begin to start over. It worked in the NBA Live videogame, it might work in real life. --Travis, Wheaton
What better proof than a video game? Trading season is over for now. The Bulls will explore numerous possibilities, as I've said, but you better hope Darko isn't among them. He's going down as the bust of the decade. He's just awful. The Pacers would love to deal O'Neal and tried mightily, but with his physical problems and contract there were no serious takers. If that worked in your game, it needs new software.
Even if things don't work out with Ben Gordon and possibly Luol Deng, I don't think Larry Hughes is in a position to succeed with Chicago. If the Bulls waived him, would they have to pay his full salary? Any rumor of buying out his contract? --Ben Hertz; Brandon, South Dakota
Hey, give the guy a week, anyway. The Bulls are not going to waive him with all that money ($26 million for two more seasons after this) and they won't buy him out. He could well be with the Bulls next season. My guess is Gordon won't be, so Hughes could be a good sixth man or decent in a three-guard rotation. He has good size, is a competent defender and since he wasn't injured taking his physical, maybe he's healthier than I recall.
If you see John Paxson, could you shake his hand for me? All I really needed from this team was something to give me hope, and this trade did just that! I'm sorry to see Joe Smith go, but this trade answers so many of the Bulls problems. Size in the backcourt, solved. Perimeter defense, answered. Low post presence, much better. Am I the only one who thinks the Bulls ripped off the Cavs? --Steven Schnakenberg; Waymart, PA
Paxson needed that one, but I believe even he would think you are a tad on the optimistic side. The backcourt issues remain because of the logjam. Hughes is a risk because of his injury history, though he has had some success on defending certain guards like Richard Hamilton. If the Bulls make the playoffs, it's difficult to see them past the first round as they see Cleveland four more times. I think this is a sign of just how much fans really hated Ben Wallace that I've gotten so many positive emails since the trade. It's remarkable how far Wallace fell so fast and the depth of dislike for a Chicago-type blue collar player. Wallace became the most despised free agent in Chicago sports history. The Bulls biggest moves, though, are ahead.
I think John Paxson knows it's time to split up these Bulls and look to get the best player possible via trade. Also, what players on the Bulls do you think are untouchable? --Sean; Lawrence, KS
I think the Michael Jordan statue is untouchable. And Johnny Kerr. That's about it. My guess is John Paxson is finishing up the worst season of his life. Remember, just about nothing has never not worked for him in more than 20 years around the NBA: First-round draft pick, traded to the Bulls, played with Jordan, became a Finals hero, then a coach, broadcaster and general manager. This is probably the first time in his life he has been criticized, certainly like this. Paxson gave this group every chance and allowed them to stay together and offered to pay them. This is what he got. So no one is untouchable. I believe he'll look with a jaundiced eye this time and look to be more creative than ever in making some major moves.
Isn't the Pau Gasol deal just a Jerry West thing? He dissuades the Bulls by asking for too much, and then, goes back to the Lakers as a consultant, and pulls off this outrageous deal. First McHale, now Jerry. When is David Stern going to wake up to this chicanery and put an end to it? --K. G. Anand, Naperville
It's a good story, though the real story was that Pau came from Area 51 in New Mexico and not Spain. This was a Michael Heisley thing. It was no secret Pau was available as I wrote about it almost every week for two years. The Lakers outsmarted everyone. Good for them. For me, I'd rather see himin L.A. than Cleveland. From everything I've heard, West was not involved but it has become clear that GM's like Minnesota's Kevin McHale and Seattle's Sam Presti are helping their former teams. Their owners are the ones who should be concerned. West, by the way, is not on the Lakers' payroll, but I wouldn't be surprised if he comes back to the NBA and unretires. Guys like him don't stay out too long. And while Memphis is a mess now, when West was there they did become a 50-win type team. Wwho would ever have imagined that after the Stu Jackson mess in Vancouver...
Can you please explain to me why some Chicago fans have turned on John Paxson so quickly. Have people forgotten the days when Jalen Rose and Eddie Robinson were our 1-2 punch? I admit that Paxson may not have made the best decisions the past couple of years but maybe everyone should take a deep breath and relax. --Jake, Chicago
I believe they are starting to. No one was celebrated like Jordan, but there have been few ever appreciated like Paxson. People would recoil if you ever criticized him. And then there was this torrent of hate. I liken it some to booing a good team, like I heard with the Suns on Sunday after three games with Shaquille O'Neal. Fans here were set up for a big season and when it wasn't delivered someone had to pay. Skiles was fired, so Paxson was next. Though I wouldn't have let Skiles go so quickly, Paxson did put himself in the crosshairs sooner as a result. What Paxson found is he had to learn on the job; I believe he'll be a tougher negotiator. I think he came into the job recalling his contract days, which weren't pleasant and he was determined to give the players the benefit of the doubt. He worried about his players' feelings and the chemistry, so was hesitant to look three moves ahead. Being a good GM is like being a good chess player. Paxson has learned years of painful lessons in one season.
Do you think that there's any chance that the Bulls make a run at Lebron James in the Summer of 2010? If so, do you think James would have any interest or would he rather stay in Cleveland or head to New York? --Doug Heiser; Lincoln, NE
I don't see the Bulls in that sweepstakes with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The Bulls have a lot of house straightening to do, and if LeBron goes (and you can see with the way the Cavs are spending they fear he will), he's going to New York ( Brooklyn with the Nets). One intriguing possibility is Phoenix. If this doesn't work with Shaq, he and Nash will be off the books and the Suns could take a run at James. If the Bulls begin to pay extensions, like to Luol Deng, they're going to find themselves over the salary cap when James comes up. I don't believe this fan base wants much more of what the team experienced this season.
I'm looking ahead to next year, and I have a proposal. I think the Bulls should make a deal with Miami for Shawn Marion, possibly a sign and trade for Luol Deng, Drew Gooden or Joakim Noah. Then, have a starting lineup of Kirk Hinrich, Larry Hughes, Marion, Tyrus Thomas and Gooden. Then have Gordon (hopefully re-signed), Andres Nocioni, Thabo Sefolosha and Aaron Gray off the bench. --Dan Giles; Groton, CT
None of that makes much sense for the Bulls, though I am interested in what Miami does with Marion. It appears the owner has pulled in the reins on Pat Riley financially. I think Miami will wait out Marion for one more year, get the lottery pick for this and next season and make a run at a free agent like Elton Brand and then hope D-Wade doesn't hate them by then for ruining his reputation and still wants to stay.
I truly think that the Bulls could use Eddie Curry's low post moves in there offence.Think there's any interest in bringing him back home? --Jeff Cohen, Minneapolis
I'm told the Knicks have a lot of interest. It's interesting to hear what goes on with Eddy and the Knicks as he plays little, especially late in games. I know from having grown up in New York that New York is deaf. Meaning it doesn't matter what you say, if you don't say it in New York they don't listen. So it's been a revelation to media and fans there that Eddy can't rebound, doesn't rebound. Perhaps jump, as Skiles so eloquently put it. But they are finding out what we knew about Eddy. He's a wonderful young man who isn't a basketball player. But Eddy will never have the enthusiasm for the game, and that is a big part of being a player. That's why I lobbied so often for him to be traded. I really like him, but he will forever frustrate you because of what he could be. Hey, the Suns went and got Shaq. The big man will always rule. Eddy is not that big man.
Now that Ben Wallace is gone, here's the interesting question: Any chance of Scott Skiles pulling a Phil Jackson and returning to the Bulls at some point in the future, presumably not in 2008? --Peter Manis, Chicago
If he wears one of those "Benny the Bull" heads. Skiles will always be in the minds of the Bulls, as they're paying him through the end of the 2008-09 season. It's easier to return when you have nine championships instead of the one from Plymouth High School. Skiles will get a job in the NBA, but this bridge was burned and is flaming like Atlanta was after the union troops left.
I have read in a few articles it is likely the Bulls will look to trade Andres Nocioni in the upcoming off season. I think this is a terrible idea because a) Nocioni is a unique player whose hustle, intensity, scoring, and help defense cannot be replaced in a single player, and b) even though the NBA is a business, he took less money to play for the Bulls. At a time when the Bulls are floundering and the fans are losing faith in them, is it really wise to trade a fan favorite who is such a hard worker and willing to do anything for the franchise? --Fish; Sugar Grove
I'm sure Noce appreciates your support, but when your team is spending the season 10 games under .500 there is no more loyalty. Noce didn't take less to return here; he got paid more than the Grizzlies were prepared to offer. There was no better offer. He is, in truth, a reserve player given he's too small for power forward and too slow for small forward. He's a wonderful asset and luxury to have, but $8 million is a lot for a reserve. The mistake the Bulls made in hindsight was not cashing in some players when their value was high. Noce is probably the one with the highest value relative to his contract now, so that's the reason he could be moved.
Doesn't it seem like "Small Ball" is starting to die out? The Suns traded for Shaq, the Lakers got Pau Gasol to go twin towers, and Cleveland wanted Ben Wallace to go with Big Z. It seems like the contenders all wanted to get bigger inside. What direction do you expect the "new" Bulls to head? Paxson has caught a lot of criticism for individual moves, but he also deserves credit for starting with a philosophy, getting a coach and players that fit that philosophy and making it work --Peter, San Francisco
I'm not sure that's going to work for the Suns. The truth is the big man always dominates and determines in the NBA. Sure, Jordan was the difference in Chicago, but they needed Bill Cartwright and then Horace Grant on the offensive boards. The Pistons only became a champion when they got Rasheed Wallace not Ben Wallace. I think the Cavaliers-Bulls-Sonics trade was meant more for the shooters for Cleveland than for Big Ben. The Bulls are caught in the middle with Noah looking like a center but lacking offense. I believe the Bulls look to remain a defensive team and get some more size up front, someone like a Carlos Boozer (though not him because he's unavailable) who can post-up and score.
Bring in Scottie Pippen to coach now. --Michael Petan, Chicago
I don't think Scottie is on the short list. He needs to go on someone's bench and work some before he can be a head coach. He is smart and sees the game better than most players I've been around. Jerry Krause got a big pass on trading Elton Brand. Paxson gets another shot with his next group, as Krause did. We'll see how that turns out. But you can now be sure he sees the problems. I trust by the community reaction he knows he's on the clock with the fans.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times