He's not big. The Bulls once coveted Harrington, and it's how they got Deng. They bought the No. 7 overall pick from Phoenix to trade to Indiana for Harrington. The Pacers then asked for No. 3, the deal fell apart and the Bulls used both picks instead. I think they ended up better off.
Do you think Boylan will be hired as permanent coach, or are we better off getting Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown, Hubie Brown or Doug Collins? --Abram, Phoenix
Boylan has a chance, but, of course, it depends on the season and playoffs, as I believe they'll be there. I don't see any of the others, as they're all the tough-guy, demanding types, which is too close to Skiles.
How about this trade: Thomas, Noah and Thabo to Sacramento for Ron Artest. Then Gordon, Hinrich, Smith and the No. 1 pick (probably lottery) to the Clippers for Brand and Maggette. If it doesn't work, you can always trade Sam Smith for future considerations. --Rafael, Lima, Peru
Since there's virtually no chance, my guess is it becomes me for a box of used socks.
Maybe it's just me, but it looks like the Bulls have most of the pieces for a championship ballclub in the NBA. I believe that if the Bulls could get T-Mac in a Ben Gordon and Ben Wallace trade that the Bulls could win now. When T-Mac is healthy he can lead a team, and he is a go-to player. The team then would have Kirk, T-Mac, Luol, Andres and Aaron Gray. I know there is no way to compare, but the team would look a little bit like Michael's Bulls. Only without Michael. I think all they need is a go-to guard who can take over games. What do you think? Why are people saying the Bulls need a big man then? Why can't they just draft or get a great guard? --Matt, Aledo, Ill.
Well, he was the best guard. Also, McGrady never has been healthy. One of the Pistons was reported to have called McGrady "Half man, half a season." He's the Western Conference's Larry Hughes. He breaks down; that's just part of the deal with him. Sorry, but McGrady, Hinrich, Deng, Noce and Gray isn't quite Jordan, Paxson, Pippen, Grant and Cartwright. Nice try, though. The Bulls appreciate your optimism.
I was appalled at Boylan's play-calling at the end of the Orlando game. They kept having Wallace run pick-and-rolls with Gordon. Gordon is small and not a good passer, and Wallace is no threat rolling down the lane, so all they accomplished was leaving Gordan double-teamed by one of the league's biggest and best defenders. I was surprised to see a player raving about Boylan's X's-and-O's skills in the paper when Boylan had just killed their chances for a big win with some very bad play-calling. --Ron Fisher, Sugar Grove, Ill.
I see it as more than one game. Boylan shouldn't have to be doing it, but he's trying to win back Wallace. Yes, $15 million a year should be enough, but Wallace seems to have gotten his feelings hurt, and Boylan is putting Ben out late in games and involving him in offensive plays to try to wake him up. It may pay off in the long run. It's too bad he has to do it that way. Larry Brown got the most out of Wallace by always drawing up a few plays for Wallace. He couldn't complete them, but he liked to be involved. Flip Saunders told Ben to get out of the way since he couldn't shoot, dribble, etc. If Boylan pulls it off, he may get to keep the job.
Noah seems to be the favorite big guy off the bench in the Boylan era. So what is Paxson going to do with Tyrus Thomas? It makes sense for him to be used in a trade, but can any GM face the pressure of letting go of his No. 1 pick? --Mike Lojkovic, Monterey, Calif.
As you can see, it changes game to game. I don't believe after all that's happened that Paxson worries about that anymore. I believe he'll trade anyone if he gets the right deal. Right now, Thomas' value is down, and they'll probably keep him awhile or include him in a multiplayer deal if there is one.
What's your gut on Boylan? Does he have the experience and the team to make a run this year? If not, will the Bulls concentrate on improving the team first before spending a lot on a coach, or will they bring in someone with a reputation and price tag to match under the assumption that the talent is already in place? --Steve, Denver
I think Boylan is a solid guy. He asks me about my golf sweaters, which I consider the height of sophistication. I don't believe they have anyone in mind now. I think they'll look to build a team a certain way and then either keep Boylan or get a coach and tell him to do the job. I think they tried to accommodate Skiles too much. It worked for a while, but they may feel they let go of or passed on players who could help in the future.
Glad to see the venerable Ask Sam back on the site. It was no fun bouncing wacky trade proposals off my family and friends. How about Chris Duhon and Ben Wallace to Miami for Shaq? Miami gets a point guard and some defense in the middle. The Bulls get a guy who can draw the defense in a bit and give the shooters some room. Provided Shaq heals soon, which team would be the first to veto the trade? --Geoff, Chicago
I came back for questions like this. And stop calling me vulnerable. Shaq is the 800-pound gorilla in the room for a lot of reasons. One is he appears to play like he's 800 pounds. And the Heat cannot say it wishes he were gone. He has two years left on his deal, and the latest thinking is he'll stay around because he's getting divorced and will give up quite a bit of money in that. He's had a great, Hall of Fame career. But he's past his time, especially as the game speeds up. It's sad to see him being abused on the court as he is. The Heat is a mess with and without him. It's not like teams are feeling bad for Pat Riley, but no one wants his problem.
I was wondering what ever happened to playing Deng at shooting guard. I think it might be a good fit. They could bring in Noce, or even Tyrus Thomas or Joakim Noah (granted, the last two are a stretch) into the starting lineup and get a little bit bigger. --Dan, Grand Rapids, Mich.
It was talked about in preseason, and Skiles never embraced it. It was one of many reasons he's gone. I believe once the Bulls right themselves, perhaps get back to .500, Boylan will begin taking a look at things like that.
It seems frosty between Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrick on the floor. Is this really the case? --Kim, Iowa
I don't think so. Ben always looks like that. The rumor was he and Deng didn't hit it off, but Ben mostly goes his own way with his own people and works awfully hard and is in the gym a lot shooting. I know, I know, then how could he be so bad to start the season? I don't know, but he does work at it.
Since Boylan has taken over, turnovers seem to have drastically fallen. Nothing kills a team like turnovers. So why are they down? Motivation? Coaching? Changed offensive sets? Is it temporary or not? --Bob, Norfolk, Va.
Sam Smith's NBA mailbag
The Tribune's pro basketball reporter answers reader questions
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