K.C., call me crazy, well don't, but don't you think that the Bulls would be dumb to actually use their No. 1 draft pick instead of looking to trade it for experience and an already proven star? They have done the draft lottery thing now for many years and look where it's gotten them. Their best lottery pick is Hinrich, and he was only drafted because of the Jay Williams mishap! --Brian Zisook, Skokie, Ill.
I won't call you crazy. I'll call the Bulls crazy if they use their pick. I agree with you. And I think John Paxson agrees with you. But he won't trade the pick just to trade it. He has to find the right deal, and look for him to offer it with a variety of players depending on what draft slot they get in good ol' Secaucus.
Could the real problem with the Bulls be the fans? The Bulls rank 28 out of 29 in the win/loss category, but rank third in attendance. If ownership is selling tickets and making money, is there really any incentive to make any improvements? --Muddy Grimes, Chicago
I will call you crazy. The Bulls are over the salary cap. It's not like this team is trying to be on the cheap and not win games. Granted, that was the plan in the first few years after the breakup of the dynasty. But this team is over the salary cap and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf authorized Paxson to sign Scottie Pippen to the full mid-level salary cap exception for two years despite his age and bad knees. You can rip the Bulls for a lot of things, but being cheap isn't one of them.
After watching Kirk Hinrich lead the third-quarter comeback against Memphis, I was expecting a well-rested Jamal Crawford to enter the fourth quarter and continue the Bulls' run. Regardless of what happened the prior three quarters, how does Ronald Dupree get minutes in the final quarter of a tight game and the Bulls' leading scorer does not? --Jeff B., Eagan, Minn.
We asked Scott Skiles about this and he answered by saying that he typically likes to reward those players who have been part of the comeback with extended minutes. He added that all players should be able to be in the type of condition that allows them to play extended minutes, disputing our theory that perhaps the subs got tired. But I agree with you on this one.
K.C, to me it seems to me like the Bulls have some flexibility this summer. They can get rid of the contracts of Marcus Fizer, Jay Williams, Corie Blount, Pippen, Dalibor Bagaric, Kendall Gill, Rick Brunson, Ronald Dupree and Linton Johnson. That's eight players and around $14-$15 million. Am I way off? --David, Monterey, Calif.
A little bit off. Even if they get rid of Pippen via a buyout, his salary counts against the salary cap. Ditto for Jay Williams and possibly Bagaric, who got bought out last summer. I can't remember if his deal went into next season or not, although I'm pretty sure it didn't. But no matter what, it's better for the Bulls to be capped out and be granted the mid-level salary cap exception, which this summer is being projected at closer to $5 million. So trimming all those salaries won't do them much good.
How long should the Bulls stick with Eddy Curry and/or Tyson Chandler before they realize they are good enough for the NBA or not? Sometimes it takes five or six years, which would make them only 23 or 24 years old, which is still very young. Look at Jermaine O'Neal of Indiana. I never thought he would be as good a player as he is. Krause was right about that guy. --Alex Gibbons, Chicago
Krause was right about which guy? If you say Jermaine O'Neal, then he shouldn't have low-balled him in the free-agent market a few summers back. As for Curry and Chandler, I'm one of the few who still believes that you need to hold on to these guys, although I'm more a fan of Curry than I am of Chandler. They're 21! Yes, this season is terrible. And, yes, there are warning signs of lack of work ethic and not wanting to pay the price. But especially in a center-deprived conference, both of these guys are tall, athletic players who are just figuring out how to play the pro game. Why give up on that?
Hey K.C., why is it that everyone keys in on Jamal whenever trade rumors start or we near the deadline? Is it simply because he has the most tenure among the "Bull-tentials" and, because of that hasn't contributed enough? It's hard enough to determine what he's worth to the team when his first 2 1/2 seasons were, at best, a limited showcase of what he can do for the Bulls, let alone the time spent trying to mold him into a strictly traditional point guard. What's your take on his value? -- Kurt Caldwell, Aurora
My take on his value is that he was certainly available before the deadline and he's still a Bull. That should answer that. That said, I do think he will attract interest in the free-agent market this summer, although I'm not sure he will receive an offer that the Bulls aren't willing to match. If he gets something over $6 million in the first year of an offer, the Bulls are expected to let him walk.
Why is Antonio Davis still getting huge minutes when in the last 15 games he couldn't hit the side of barn -- he's shooting 34 percent in those games? And please don't give me this veteran presence, defensive rebounding speech. I believe there is a huge double standard. If Curry had played like that the last 15 games, he would be riding the pine and getting booed out of the stadium. Chandler and Fizer should be getting all those minutes! --Van Yeutter, Chevy Chase, Md.
Curry gets booed because the expectations for him are greater than they are for Davis. I'd like to see Chandler get more minutes, although Skiles is adamant that no players will be given entitlement minutes down the stretch. Playing time, as always, will be based on work ethic and performance. That's why Fizer is playing some now.
Can you please explain Scott Skiles' dissatisfaction with Marcus Fizer and, to a lesser extent, Eddie Robinson? I understand both players may be poor defenders, but both have also proven to be capable of scoring consistently when given regular minutes. How can Dupree and Brunson get minutes every night while Fizer and Robinson have often been benched for entire games? --Ruth Zolla, Chicago
I'm not sure which games you've been watching, but Dupree and Brunson certainly don't get minutes every game. And E-Rob has been getting some of the most consistent minutes off the bench of any Bull. Even Fizer has gotten back in the rotation a bit. Maybe all your games are coming on WCIU-Ch. 26, which we affectionately call, "The Fuzzy One" in honor of the old UHF days.
Thanks for your questions. Talk to you next week,
K.C. Johnson on the Bulls
The Tribune's Bulls writer answers readers' questions each week throughout the NBA season
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