You are watching too much NBA and not sleeping enough. I think the Bulls will get back in the middle of the race for the fourth through seventh playoff spots.
What are the chances of Kobe and the Lakers barging into the top four of the Western Conference playoff seeds? Or if they fall, who is the best matchup? --Larry Ngo, Manila
The Lakers look like a good bet for No. 4 or 5 now, though I think they'd love another crack at a small Phoenix team now that the Lakers are bigger and have beaten the Suns twice already.
I understand Jim Boylan is trying to get the Bulls back into the playoff picture, and he is also tying to win himself a long-term deal. But isn't he hurting himself and the Bulls long term? First off, if he does not get Thomas some real minutes, I think he will lose Thomas forever. And if he keeps playing Joe Smith this many minutes, he may end up on the injured list in the near future. Is this all about winning games, or is this about showcasing some of their players for trades? --Jose, Chicago
Winning first. Remember, Boylan also wants the job, and the best way to get it is to win. I know Paxson talked about developing players, but not if the cost is losing. Smith actually complained quietly that Skiles didn't play him enough. So we'll see. Players recover. When Thomas plays and if he produces, he'll be fine, and he's only in his second season.
What do you think happens with Gordon? A. Is traded before deadline? B. Re-signs to a five-year, $58 million contract? C. Takes a one-year tender? D. Leaves and the Bulls get nothing? I like Gordon, but I think he'll ask for too much money. --Carlie Armstrong, Harbor Springs
He remains the tough one. I think come summer they'll look to include him in a deal. But he remains their best scorer, and you'd better get scoring back if you do that.
Scottie Pippen (a.k.a. "No Tippin' Pippen") is remembered as one of the best basketball players in Bulls history, and one of the biggest jerks. Even implying that he would be a viable candidate to lead the Bulls, or any franchise, is silly. He is the antithesis of a leader. I just don't understand how you could even contemplate backing the idea of him as a head coach, especially of a group of emotionally fragile players like we have in Chicago. Utter silliness. --Jordan Marsh, Chicago
Would you feel that way if your name were Pippen Marsh?
Pippen has earned a shot. What about Cliff Ray as assistant? Pete Myers as defensive expert? Would these guys fit with Pippen? Let's get the lobbying for Pip going! --Stu Scudder, Lake Forest
It's something I threw out there, and it's generated a lot of comment, both pro and con. I don't think Pippen is ready because I do believe you have to do some coaching to be a coach, even if you have a feel for the game as good as he did. But teams could think a bit more out of the box on candidates instead of recycling so many of the same old names.
After watching fairly impressive YouTube footage of Scottie Pippen playing in Finland, I must ask: Would Pippen still be an upgrade over Chris Duhon, and would Paxson ever consider it? --Farhan, Rio Rancho, N.M.
Been there, paid for that, and I think they regret it as it didn't work four years ago.
What are the chances that the Bulls bring back Marcus Fizer to try to solve our low-post scoring woes? I know he was injury-prone, but I didn't think the Bulls gave Fizer's flower enough chance to bloom. --Hansel, Bergen-Belsen, Germany
Sure they did. But there was fertilizer everywhere he went.
Sam Smith's NBA mailbag
The Tribune's pro basketball reporter answers reader questions
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