I recall that at the time of the Tyson Chandler trade, many people predicted that the Bulls would regret getting Wallace in a year or two. He was already slipping. Also, obtaining Wallace did not mean the Bulls had to give away Tyson Chandler for almost nothing (one year of PJ Brown). The Bulls dealt Chandler to save money and that trade was/is regarded as a steal by the Hornets. Would anyone gives the Bulls a signed, developing, young, athletic 7-footer capable of getting 20 rebounds in a game for one year of Ben Wallace so they can write off a big contract? --Tom, Miami Beach, Fla.
It was short-term thinking, but it was much welcomed at the time. And it's still talked about around the Bulls if they'd won that last regular-season game in New Jersey and gotten into the other bracket, they could have been in the Finals, undeservedly like Cleveland. That was the thinking after failing to get Kevin Garnett. Everyone was tired of development and Wallace appeared to be instant credibility. If he'd given them two good seasons, I don't think there would be regrets. Would Chandler have developed the same here? That remains in question and it probably would have ended in his screaming for a trade last summer if he had stayed. He was quietly when he was traded. What would one more season in Chicago been like? Some guys need a new environment. He did.
Do you think the Suns would accept a trade for Amare Stoudemire and Marcus Banks for Kirk Hinrich and Ben Wallace? -- Rheneir Mora, Cebu, Philippines
No. Should I go on? I've gotten a spate of these trade-for-Stoudemire things and it's ridiculous. The Suns are not going to trade Stoudemire. Why would they? He's their best and only real big man. He's a perennial All Star and Olympian. Is he unhappy? As far as I can tell, he often is. Kobe, too. You just don't deal great talent. You put them on the court and they'll play. I could name three dozen people now miserable at The Tribune. They're not going anywhere. OK, that's a little different as the company might soon begin trading them, though I don't think they want anyone in return. The point is workers everywhere often are unhappy. But if they are pros, they play. Stoudemire is. Plus, he lives in Phoenix, is hugely popular, has his own restaurant and plays with the best point guard in the NBA. Why, exactly, would he ever want to be with the Bulls? For the nice January weather? There have been some internet reports and speculation about Stoudemire. Don't believe any of it. Imagine these media people who speculate about trades. Don't they have anything to do?
It seems that the general consensus among the national media is that John Paxson should have drafted LaMarcus Aldridge instead of Tyrus Thomas. I couldn't disagree more. In hindsight, wouldn't Brandon Roy have been the better choice? It seems that a starting backcourt of Roy and Hinrich would have eliminated some major problems that the Bulls currently have, most notably, a big guard that can score as well as defend and an athlete that can take it to the hoop and get to the foul line on a consistent basis. --Tony M., San Diego
He was my choice then, but I have to admit Paxson gets more right than I do in the draft. The Bulls commitment then was to going big and it was hard to disagree. They desperately needed size. I recall the debate well. The fear was Aldridge was soft and too much a perimeter big man like Channing Frye. They decided to take a chance on talent and athleticism, which they hadn't before. I believe Paxson is kicking himself now for varying from his own formula and beliefs. I think he probably was influenced by people saying he'd been too conservative and you can't get a star like Stoudemire that way. That's who they hoped Thomas would be. We'll see if he gets more time, though now, yes, it does look like the wrong pick.
With the rumor mill circling about with Pau Gasol's name coming back up what would it take for the Bulls to get him, and would they do it? --Josh Stapleton, West Jordan, Utah
I believe they'd do it, but Memphis will need the bottom to fall out more. Beating the Bulls the way they did hardly figured to give them motive to try to get more Bulls players. I don't think the Bulls make the deal because I think they'd like to use their so-called extra pieces like Noah, Thomas, Sefolosha, etc., and Memphis at least for now continues to overvalue Gasol. He could be dealt elsewhere. I've long thought Atlanta has the pieces and Billy Knight, who traded for the rights to Gasol when Knight was with the Grizzlies.
Explain to me why no one has talked about trading Ben Wallace for Zach Randolph straight up? --Nick Shaw, Indian Trail, N.C.
A lot of my e-mailers do. I actually think Randolph is the keeper in New York and they'll eventually try to move Curry because Randolph finishes the games. They could keep Curry since his contract isn't ridiculous, but Wallace doesn't do much for them. David Lee does that stuff and is much better. I know we all think the Knicks are dumb, but it's still more wishing and hoping.
It appears that Joakim Noah isn't getting the ball when he had open looks. --John K. Anderson, San Francisco
I have heard this from some fans, but don't see it myself. I think it's a combination of things. One is Noah is awkward with the ball and they don't look to him much. Opponents are not sure, so they guard him more than they do Wallace, who is open and gets the ball at times. Also, one of the issues the team long has is a lack of true decision makers on the perimeter and often they don't see guys come open. And while it is lessening, there was more individual play from Deng and Gordon after their contract rejections and the turmoil with Skiles. I think that is getting better. No, I don't believe they ignore Noah, but he's not exactly an offensive option.
Now that Kobe said with his own mouth that the Lakers are a championship-caliber team with Andrew Bynum in the lineup, do you expect him to force a trade out of L.A. if things go wrong now that Bynum will be out for 8 weeks? --Ralph, Los Angeles
It no longer matters. No matter what he says, the Lakers now know they art a highly competitive team with Kobe and Bynum. So neither is going anywhere no matter what they say. It's like parents with children who are brothers. They can fight all they want, but there's nowhere to go. I would now say with fair certainty that Kobe will be a Laker for the rest of his career, which seems to me hardly punishment. Also, when you look around the NBA and see the arenas emptying as teams lose, it's more vital than ever for the Lakers to have an attraction. And that's Kobe. So enjoy.
I was upset at first that Joe Dumars didn't offer Ben more than $12 million a year but I bet Joe D had some sleepless nights wondering if he made the right decision, letting a piece of his championship team go to his archrival. But as you can see, things have worked out quite nicely for Detroit. But that doesn't mean Joe hasn't screwed up. I bet he regrets the Darko pick. Chris Bosh would of looked good on the Pistons now. Dumars has made more good decisions than bad ones, live, learn, and move on. --John, Detroit
That's the point. Talent evaluation is tricky. Dumars may be the best right now, but hardly perfect. Carmelo Anthony was the pick, but he had Prince and he was better than we thought. Had they taken Anthony, they'd have a better player now, but they might not have won once with Anthony's issues when he came to the NBA and without Prince's key defense since Anthony isn't a very interested defender. Yes, you could say Bosh or Wade, but few had them at the time as can't-miss talents. He took a shot at Darko for upside, just as Paxson did with Tyrus Thomas. Sometimes it doesn't work. No one gets them all except the fans after the fact.
I have noticed Thabo's minutes have increased with Hinrich's recent back spasms. Is there or would there be any interest in Kirk as far as a trade is concerned? I know his value is low and his contract is high, but I believe he has plateaued as a player. I would like to see JamesOn Curry come up and give us some minutes. --Russell, Lansing, Ill.
Hinrich will be one of the big questions post season. Hardly the only one, I should add. Hinrich isn't a classic point guard, and the Bulls have been concerned about whether he can fill that role. He's more a Danny Ainge type and probably could be more effective in an old Phil Jackson-style two guard front. But his value isn't low. Teams like him for his work ethic, but you don't get stars or top big men for combo guards. One of the Bulls biggest issues is no one quite knows who their best player is. They have to solve that.
Do you think that it is time to change the Bulls' defensive philosophy in regards to their double teaming? It seems that the guards constantly help the post and against drives, but their attempts to help defend are usually poor. Then, as the defense collapses the opponent's shooters are left wide open on the three-point arc. Isn't time for the Bulls players to stay on their men? --Brian Katz, Lawrence, Kan.