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Ask Sam | Week of 07.26.10

Sam Smith opens his mailbag daily Monday-Friday to respond to the latest round of e-mails from his readers.
Sam Smith at Bulls.com

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

Regarding all the talk of potentially trading for Rudy Fernandez for Taj Gibson — knowing that Tom Thibodeau is really keen on Taj, how much say will he or any coach for that matter have in the process? Does it depend on the coaches status i.e. Phil Jackson, Greg Popovich would have a lot of control as opposed to a Tom Thibodeau or Vinnie Del negro?

Andrew Robson

Sam: It's one of those depends. Generally, the philosophy is management picks the players and the coach coaches them. There's a good reason for that distinction as well. The coach is paid and conditioned to win the next game. The GM or player personnel guys have to look long term for the franchise. It's why the coach/GM combo has rarely worked because guys doing that get too caught up in winning today's game and forget about the future of the organization, consciously or not figuring they won't be there long coaching, anyway. It's why Larry Brown teams have struggled after he's left because he has so much player influence and builds teams toward the players he wants and can coach. Phil would suggest players he wanted, but rarely had any final say. Popovich has a stronger position as he was the GM and has a close working partnership with R.C. Buford. Some coaches, like Larry, you have to accommodate to enable them to be successful, like Scott Skiles. The Bulls ceded to Skiles often, especially with players he didn't want. Given Thibodeau is new, he won't have that much influence, but management will try to work with him and bring in players he is comfortable with. Management likes Taj as well and is invested in him for having chosen him and done well with such a low pick and will be reluctant to part with him quickly.

Am I the only one who feels like the Bulls shouldn't be begging to give up Johnson and a draft pick for a player that his own coach can't stand? I know Johnson wasn't that great last year, but wasn't he supposed to go through some growing pains? He wasn't a very developed product out of Wake Forest, and the Bulls knew that when drafting him. When he did play, I thought he brought a lot of energy and could develop into a great defender if he would stop fouling every ten seconds. Has he done something that has made the Bulls so willing to shop him this off season?

Jack Wilson

Sam: Part of the issue is given his slow development — and he didn't have much chance — with the numerous additions, it's difficult to see where he'll get time. Thibodeau will be trying to make a great impression to open and won't be playing experimental players. Plus, the Bulls have been trying to change his position to shooting guard. But because of all that and last season his value has gone down to zero and there is no market for him. So the Bulls may as well keep him now as they'd have to give him away otherwise for maybe a conditional second and I wouldn't do that.

If the Bulls are able to acquire Fernandez does he get the starting nod over Brewer or Deng? Or does he come in off the bench? I feel the Bulls should have went after Rudy before they traded for Watson (although I do like Watson).

John Noelke

Sam: There have been multiple issues with Fernandez. First, the Trail Blazers have generally refused to trade him or consider any offer until now. Plus, he hasn't done much, even when he got a chance to start with Brandon Roy hurt. He's a bench player, mostly unproven, but the kind of player, I believe, who can elevate your second unit. In this NBA, not many teams have deep benches. The Bulls are on the verge of having a terrific one if they can add a veteran potential impact player like Fernandez, and when I say impact, I mean impacting on a second team level. The Bulls can make up with their depth the superior starting talent of teams like Miami and Boston. Which is also why if they cannot get someone like Fernandez, I might hold the money and see who comes available midseason.

I don't agree with a Rudy trade. If we sign him, we are not going to have more wins because of him. The Bulls have the line up all set, we should go on free agency to sign. Why lose a 1st round pick for him?

Alexandre Rayel

Sam: You clearly are in the fan minority, but I think there is an issue with giving up a first rounder, which could be used later to get another player if someone is hurt. I'd give up the first as I like Rudy and feel he would upgrade the bench, but it's not unreasonable to keep the pick given things occur during the season and having a No. 1 could be more valuable than Fernandez as it gets closer to the draft.

Rather than pay service to all these desperate pleas to make a move on Rudy Fernandez or another potential 'game-changer' before the season even starts, wouldn't it be wiser to wait until mid-season to make a move? We can see how the current (but very new) team gels, assess where we are in the standings, see who becomes available at a discount, consider injuries, etc.

Joe Panozzo

Sam: Gar, is that you again?

Are the Bulls looking into the possibility of Xavier Henry at all? Since they don't want to pay his full scale, could we offer a future first and whatever and net him (Charlotte's first)? I know that Henry probably will never be great, but he can shoot and he can play D. Also, I know it is not likely, but would a Taj/Deng/next year's pick land a Danny Granger? Pacers need frontcourt help bad and Taj would help. Granger would allow us to play Brewer without problems.

Kevin States

Sam: I liked Henry in the draft, though more than I think the Bulls did. The word out of Memphis is they are intent on making a stand and don't feel any urgency to move Henry. And there isn't. Charlotte sat Gerald Henderson all last season. I get a lot of those Deng/Granger questions and wonder why. The Pacers have so little talent they are not about to give up the only talent they have, especially for a guy with a similarly long contract who isn't as accomplished. They are in the process of shedding their contracts not taking on new ones or exchanging them.

With our focus on another SG and a 12th man, what about giving Rashad McCants a workout? The guy is young, and was on the verge of breaking out before getting injured and being booted of the Timberwolves. Maybe being out of the league has taught him a few lessons and now he's hungry again. Plus, we can get him cheap (maybe even for multiple years) and not give up anything like we may have to do for Rudy (who I'd love to have on the team but not if it means giving up Gibson who will be invaluable off the bench and as a replacement for Boozer during his annual injury spell). If we can workout that loser McGrady, we should give Rashad a chance and do all of our due diligence. Other teams give players second chances all the time for various reasons and can get players who turn out to be very productive while on a low maintenance salary or for a cheap trade (i.e Josh Hamilton, Birdman Anderson, Ricky Williams, Randy Moss etc.).

Nitin Malhotra

Sam: It's not a halfway house. McCants is a huge, huge risk given several years of questionable behavior. Suggesting someone understands because of events is quite the stretch as McGrady obviously hasn't. I'd be surprised if McCants plays in the NBA again.

You get any word on why Tom Thibodeau got rid of Pete Myers? I liked him. He always seemed like he was a player's coach and well respected by the guys. Also, I'm kind of disappointed that no one will be back from last year's staff. It would have been nice to have one familiar face on the bench for the players from last year. I'm just confused why all of a sudden he was let go.

Branden Sampson

Sam: No reason to be. I think highly of Pete and the players always have. But a new coach always has the right to name his staff, sort of the guys to go to battle with thing. Teams don't generally let coaches pick the players; but they get to pick who they'll work with day to day. Given Thibodeau is such a known workaholic, you obviously don't want him sitting around with guys he's not sold on. It's rather routine for staffs to be dismissed when a new coach comes in. I would liked to have seen Pete on the staff, but it's Tom's staff and that's the way it is with all teams. I assume Pete goes back in team personnel where he previously worked.

I would like to ask you do you know if the Bulls are going to sign Matt Bouldin, a 6' 5" guard from Gonzaga? He was with the team in Vegas and the coaches liked what they saw from him. Has a great poise for the game, a very good defender, has a nice jump shot. He can play both, shooting and point guard. That's something that the Bulls would like to have now after Hinrich is gone. He is much taller and younger than John Lucas who can play only point guard and can not guard shooting guards in the NBA. He seemed really unselfish trying to play team basketball.

Dejan Jankovic

Sam: I did hear the coaches liked his overall play, but I get the sense if they take someone from the Summer League team and he makes it through training camp, it might be Lucas. Thibodeau seems to like him from Houston and at the end of the roster it seems to me you should accommodate the coach if you can.

I've waited for the dust to settle on the Miami Heat, hoping that someone would point out the one thing wrong with that team. Do a case study on championship teams in the modern game of basketball (with more rules on the perimeter) and Big Three's in particular, you'll see that talent alone is not the key to success. In today's game, interior defense is absolutely crucial. A defensive post presence favors the success of perimeter defenders more than the other way around, by far. I could see Miami winning somewhere in the ballpark of 65 games this year and still struggling in the playoffs unless Chris Bosh morphs into a Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, or Ben Wallace level defender.

Justin Werrbach

Sam: Which is why the Lakers don't seem too worried. I believe they will have some playoff issues as rebounding equals rings, according to Pat Rley, and that's not their specialty.

Speaking of Durant, overall, do you think he should have signed an extension to stay with the Thunder? Will they have enough cap space, since being an expansion team, to add pieces around Durant?

Devin Duffy

Sam: I think Durant did exactly the right thing as I expect Derrick Rose to do as soon as he can. If you are smart in pro ball, you take the money the first chance you get and set yourself up for life. Then if you are a star level player you'll always get a shot at a second contract and then you can play it out for free agency or take some chances or out of the box possibilities. But bank a big contract first, and Durant did. Good for him. They have been very careful with their payroll and picks. I wouldn't be surprised if they moved Jeff Green and you can see them trying to fit everything they do in personnel around Durant, which is smart. And it does give hope for small markets, which the NBA needs.

Given the Chicago mustache theory (in order to win in Chicago, you must have a mustache), is there any chance coach Thibodeau will grow a mustache? Joel Quenneville, Ozzie Guillen, Phil Jackson, and Mike Ditka all have won in chicago, and all of them had mustaches or at least some facial hair. Unless I am forgetting someone, I think George Halas was the last one in 1963 to win a championship in Chicago and have no facial hair. Ditka has "Da-stache", Quenneville has the "Q-stache," and I think Thibs should have the "T-stache." Winning is about sacrifice, and I think Thibs needs to step up to the plate. Also, although the former staches had an intimidation factor, I think a mustache on Thibs would be so hilarious that the other team would not be able to concentrate fully, giving us at least an extra basket each game. Perhaps a full handlebar should be sufficient.

Aalok Shah

Sam: I know most people come here for incisive basketball analysis, and this is another example. I told Skiles the refs never would let a bald guy win. Anyway, this probably makes it an appropriate time for me to sign off in this section for the summer since I also have read my 10,000th email requesting a Rudy Fernandez trade. That's all folks.

Let's play the "IF" game. If the Bulls get Fernandez in a sign and trade, where does that put the Bulls in the Eastern Conference? I know it would depend on what they send to Portland and I'm hoping Gibson is not included. It would give them great depth at the SG and SF position. Deng, Korver, Brewer and Fernandez is pretty deep and would be very productive! What are the odds of a trade going through?

Victor Devaldivielso

Sam: From what I've heard it's in Portland's hands now for what they want. I've heard the Bulls have a pretty good shot, but nothing matters until it's done. Let's not overstate Fernandez, who always has sounded better than he has performed. But he'd be an excellent addition, and as I wrote Monday the No. 1 guy I'd still pursue.

I, unlike many other Bulls fans, am not opposed to trading Taj Gibson. I don't think the Blazers have any need for James Johnson, so they aren't going to accept him in any package. I would like to see a trade that looks like this:

Portland gets:
Taj Gibson
2nd Round pick (or a 1st if there is much of a fight. The Bulls 1st rounder won't be that high if all goes as well as I hope they will.)

Bulls get:
Rudy Fernandez
Jeff Pendergraph

I personally don't feel that Taj is going to get a whole lot better than he already is. He was an old rookie with college experience, which is why he played as well as he did. He is a solid player, and I like him, but I think there is an unrealistic expectation that he is going to improve a great deal. I don't see it. I do think he will get better, but not all that much. I think Rudy adds exactly what the Bulls need. A good shooting sg that can also handle the ball. He is a good athlete and is much better than he has shown so far. He is used to starting, from his time in the Euro league, and coming off the bench makes it difficult for him to get into a rhythm. He will see more minutes in Chicago, which should allow him to find more of a groove. I also think Pendergraph is closer to Taj than many think.

Andrew Forgue

Sam: As I've said previously, Fernandez would be my first choice to effectively finish the roster with a shooter. I know fans are most excited with offense, but it would be too much to give up Gibson. He's a very good defender at his position and can make a shot. He's a good team player and hard worker and willing to play a role off the bench. He'd be more difficult to replace than you think and far better than Pendergraph, whom I have not heard available, anyway. You can move in Taj if Boozer misses some games, which he always does. Giving up a first would be fair to me for a guy the Trail Blazers cannot use because they have Wesley Matthews. But the Bulls continue to try from what I have heard.

What do you think about trading Gibson for rudy Fernandez and then sign Amundson to replace Gibson? That would be a hell of a lineup with Rose/Rudy/Deng/Boozer/Noah and your bench with Watson/Brewer/Korver/Amundson/Asik. The problem with Bulls through the years is that they fall in love with their players too much like what happened with Hinrich, Deng and Tyrus Thomas to the point that they give them away when their value went down. Trade gibson now because while he has value or else this is John Salmons and Tyrus Thomas scenario all over again. Be realistic Bulls everytime you have a chance to trade your backup for a potential starter do it!

Irymarc Gutierrez

Sam: It's also a reasonable scenario, though I also have gotten no firm indication the Trail Blazers want Gibson. I've never been much of an Amundsen fan, seeing him a lot in Phoenix as a fan pet who came in, threw his body around and never accomplished much. Gibson is hardly an untouchable, but I've heard Portland's main interest is a No. 1. I cannot be see giving Gibson and a No. 1 for Fernandez, but as I said I've heard the Bulls have a strong shot and may be the leader in the clubhouse now for getting Fernandez, though we know it's not a deal until it's a deal.

I just found out that the Bulls might trade Taj Gibson to the Trail Blazers for Rudy Fernandez. With all do respect, I think that is a horrible trade for the Bulls because Taj Gibson is a great player and can help out when Boozer or Noah takes a break. Kurt Thomas is an older player so he gets tired faster and we haven't seen what Asik can do in the NBA so he might be a bust. Taj is already a great player and is still learning the game. He is a great defensive player and should be kept.

Brandon Tillman

Sam: I don't know about great, but valuable, a player the new coach really likes and wants to have around and a guy who works exceptionally well with Noah. You need role players in basketball and Taj is an ideal one. You can't have Noah being the only guy who might set a pick or give himself up.

Love the Rudy option, especially with Deng's questionable health the last couple of years. However, assuming health, are there enough minutes to go around for the team as assembled, if they were to pick him up?

Dave Berg

Sam: Too many good players should not be an issue for the Bulls. Though the point you get to is valid. Rudy was a pain when he didn't get enough playing time and Nate McMillan said with a player like Rudy he has to play a lot to get into rhythm or isn't very useful. That's right, sometimes if it seems too good to be true it is. Which is another reason you don't disrupt your team and give up rotation players.

I read that you openly endorsed the Bulls in trying to acquire Rudy Fernandez. However, to be fair since you openly criticized the possible signing of Tracy McGrady, but isn't it a bit hypocritical to knock McGrady's potential in possibly becoming a locker room cancer when Rudy has just about done the same at Portland? Rudy is on the trading block because he has pouted about his role and playing time on the team, even going as far as threatening to move back in Spain which forced the Blazers' hand this Summer. How would the situation improve any better for Rudy as the 12th man on this roster? He also made over $5.6 million in salary last year on a 4-year contract. So still think McGrady is a bigger risk at a short term non-guaranteed contract near the veterans' minimum than this guy? Amazing how some people fall in love with a name from overseas sometimes.

Edgar Rivera

Sam: We here in America just want to do right by immigration. Yes, you have a point as despite the huge outpouring of 'We Have to Have Rudy' emails I've gotten, I have heard he's been a bit of a turd at times. He's just not as experienced at it as McGrady and is healthy, which McGrady doesn't seem to be. If McGrady pouts again, that's all you get. If Rudy pouts again, you may also get some good play, though it also is why I don't want to give up too much. Nate McMillan is one of the better coaches in the league and I hear doesn't want any part of him. After all, they loaded all that money on Wesley Matthews to make Fernandez expendable. The irony for Chicago fans lusting for Rudy is in Portland the fans feel the team fell too much in love with Rudy and now has blown it as they won't get much and should have traded him a year ago before he flopped in the playoffs when given real playing time for the first time after complaining and whining for two years. Sound familiar? So we'll go with the new situation theme for Rudy being a steal for the Bulls and a poison for the Blazers, who have been a pretty smart organization. The interest isn't foreign romance as the Bulls history with international players is awful. It's a guy with a live body, experience and skills who is 25 and healthy. And you know we love yelling, Rudy, Rudy, Rudy in the Midwest.

I'm sorry, but this has gotten out of control. The Bulls have signed like what, six free agents this summer? I haven't heard of any of them besides Boozer. You're telling me that they're willing to waste money on these no-names while letting the likes of Shaq, Iverson, T-Mac, and Marbury go unsigned? Am I the only one who is appauled by these decisions? We need a proven winner on this team if we're serious about contending. Personally, I think signing Shaq is a no-brainer. He has won four titles! Give the big man three years/$25 million and the Bulls are back in contention. It's time to give the Big Fella another chance!

Briano Molinaro

Sam: I'm sad to say I'm still getting my share of these Shaq/Iverson/McGrady emails. If you haven't heard of any of the guys they've signed but Boozer my guess is you haven't heard that Shaq is now known as "the granddaddy."

I think we should rethink this McGrady situation, if Rudy Fernandez is out of the question why not get McGrady why are the Bulls looking at Keith Bogans and Roger Mason both are 29-30 years old both averaged what 6 to 8 points(maybe). The Bulls need a slasher and a shooter I think they should take a second look at McGrady.

Darryle Rogers

Sam: I know there are still many McGrady fans, but what you all seem to forget is it's not totally Tracy's fault. He's been seriously injured. He's had the worst kind of knee surgery that hasn't healed. Tracy even referenced Penny Hardaway in his comments after working out for the Bulls. Penny had his career shortened in the same way and was a similar player to McGrady. Penny was basically done at 30, but kicked around a few more seasons to finish up his contract. If you watched McGrady and didn't know who he was you'd say he doesn't have the talent to be in the NBA.

I hear Sasha Vujacic is available. Do you think the Bulls should make a move for him?

Angel Cirilo

Sam: The Lakers would probably loan you the Lakers' girls and Buss' dates for a week to give cheerleading lessons if you'd take him, which requires trading them a player making $5 million. He's way too erratic and not worth a player making that much.

I think its interesting reading some of the revisionist history on Hinrich that is coming out now, about how it was a mistake letting him go, how the Bulls will really miss him and that trading him as they did was an unnecessary gamble on free agency. We all know it was a necessary gamble to be a real player in free agency, but for the past two years since drafting Rose, Hinrich was already the proverbial "bad contract" that management had been trying to unload unsuccessfully I'm sure management feels some resentment and regret if they were told (maybe by Worldwide Wes) that getting rid of Hinrich would lead to LeBron and Bosh. However, the real mistake they made was waiting until the draft to trade Hinrich and costing themselves a first round pick in the process when they could've dealt him at the trade deadline for expiring contracts and kept Salmons. Now the Bucks have become a strong division rival while the Bulls are still searching for a player just like Salmons to really put them in that contender category in the East.

Anuj Lal

Sam: Everyone knows I've long liked and defended Kirk, but you are right. I got mail for years to get rid of Kirk and now there's all this stuff about what a mistake it was and they should have kept him. Kirk produced ambivalent reactions and was never as good a shooter as he seemed. But I agreed with keeping him over Salmons, whom the Bulls never would have paid so much as the $8 million he got from the Bucks. Plus, the Bulls would have had to move him as well to get the shot at LeBron/Wade/Bosh. As I've long noted, you could not have LeBron or Wade saying they would have come but the Bulls didn't get rid of Kirk/Salmons. The larger second guess was getting rid of Deng a year ago or more and missing the playoffs and burying last season. If the Bulls had room for three players would they all have come to Chicago? Some among their coterie say yes. Was that just another tease knowing the Bulls couldn't?

What do you think of Gilbert and Colangelo's missives against their lost free agents? I think both of them come off very badly in their comments, much worse than the players. It's extremely petulant to complain about a player that has, as Stern would put, simply "exercised their right as free agents to leave." Calling LeBron and Bosh 'quitters' when you would have signed them to maximum contract in an instant is incredibly hypocritical. At least Gilbert came across as a guy who just lost it in the heat of the moment, but Colangelo was even worse: he premeditated his comments. All that stuff about "we could never build a good team around Bosh" makes the GM of the team look worse than the player. Just because Bosh isn't Tim Duncan doesn't mean that it's his fault that the team stinks. I don't doubt that Bosh checked out a bit near the end, but Colangelo makes it sound like Bosh was the problem, and he's not (just like Gasol was not the problem in those bad Memphis teams, or Garnett in Minnesota). What do you think?

Alejandro Yegros

Sam: I agree, though I did like the Benedict Arnold birthday thing for the LeBron posters. More subtle. Both Gilbert and Colangelo contributed greatly to what occurred and when it is in great part your fault you need to shut up and take it. Bad form, as Ben Gordon would say when using his British accent. They came off as sore losers and guys who are spoiled and unaccustomed to people not living in fear with heir very presence. I winced reading both their comments.

Why doesn't the NBA have a rule/regulation about an active player involved in the business aspects of another active player? There is something unsavory about LeBron having any role, even an indirect one, in the marketing, advising, or representation of Chris Paul. Its not unsavory, it downright smells. There was already some mention that Paul should stay in the West, to form a rivalry and/or super team there, presumably to make for a better Finals with the Heat or to start a Boston-LA type rivalry! This probably came from one of LeBron's homeys at LRMR or double-wide Wes, but such manipulation to keep the Heat's path to the Finals free and clear of another super team or very good team, is extremely troubling.

Paul Zukor

Sam: It probably never occurred to the NBA — at lot doesn't — that players would interact that way. I agree it's something that needs to be cleaned up and clearly seems to have a strong element to tampering to it that the NBA can crack down upon. The issue thus far is the NBA views players like LeBron as their primary "assets" and marketing selling points. So they worry about casting him in a bad light and perhaps souring the public on him, though LeBron has done a good job himself on that. I expect this to be seriously considered and something done about it as the league never anticipated players running companies for other players. Though they should have begun to figure it out with Jordan's prominence with putting players with Nike. As well as in his movie, as Jeff Van Gundy once noted. Several teams also are already asking the league as well to address this rich-getting-richer thing of star players potentially all pairing off in a few markets, which will be somewhat more difficult to deal with.

I'd like to know how much you have seen Kyle Korver play. I haven't watched him very much at all, but the little that I have seen it seems to me that he is wearing a piano on each foot rather than just carrying one on his back.

Robert Vujica

Sam: I heard he really could make sweet music with his shot. I guess that's what they really meant.

I just watched a replay of the Suns-Lakers playoff series on NBA TV and the notion that Amar'e only plays well with Nash, or he is a pick and roll only guy always bothered me. The Lakers always had trouble guarding him, especially when he is isolated on the block against Gasol and Bynum. He practically dominated Lakers' front court offensively with 35-40 pts games and 15 plus rebounds, and he scores lot of points on his own, where as Boozer always struggled against L.A's front court. I think Amare should've been Bulls first choice this summer. Yes, he is a liability defensively, but so is Boozer. He is injury prone, but so is Boozer. On the other hand, Amar'e is couple of years younger than Boozer, is more athletic, has a better jump shot, and it seems he matches better against 4s and 5s in the league compared to Boozer. How come the Bulls did not try to get this guy?

Bobby Grbevski

Sam: Amar'e generally was regarded as a bigger risk, so they went for Boozer. There are a lot of questions around the NBA regarding Amar'e's potential need for another microfracture surgery. It's why the Suns wouldn't offer him more than three guaranteed years. You worry when the team that knows him best and is regarded as having perhaps the league's best medical staff backs off a long term commitment. And he ended up costing a lot, lot more for a lot, lot fewer rebounds. Boozer is no great defender, but better than Stoudemire. They had to make a choice. I'm OK with the one they did, though I also have had my doubts about Boozer. Basically, they had to guess who gets hurt less. We'll see if they were right.

1996 Clippers Lorenzen wright, Bison Dele, Malik Sealy, Kevin Duckworth, Rodney Rogers is crippled.

Mike Sutera

Sam: And Dwayne Schintzius was diagnosed with leukemia. There always has been a joke about the curse of the Clippers, but this is sad and scary.

I hardly ever email with thoughts on another team but I have to ask- what the heck are the Knicks doing these days?? Correct me if I'm wrong, but couldn't the Knicks have made the same offer to Amar'e without mortgaging their future like they did with the T-Mac deal? I mean just to get rid of Jared Jeffries' contract (which by the way expires after this year) they basically gave away 2 lottery picks to the Rockets... So they cleared a lot more cap space and didn't even use it to get better after the Amar'e deal. Why not spend some of their extra cap space they created on a second tier FA to go along with Amar'e? Like many of your readers, my dream job is to be a NBA GM and I just don't understand how some of these GMs can be so stupid and careless with the way they run these teams. Why doesn't Donnie Walsh take the same amount of heat as Isiah did when he was GM? Walsh has made just about as many dumb moves since he took over. Whenever I'm down about being a Bulls fan, I just need to always remember it could be worse, I could be a Knick fan.

Billy Habibi

Sam: Racism? That’s always too easy and divisive. Walsh is starting to take some heat and will this season when they miss the playoffs again. But Donnie is a great object lesson for everyone in sports and public life. Being a nice guy does help. It’s kept Rod Thorn in business for decades. Isiah, whether ordered on him or not, didn’t talk with the media. So they turned on him. Donnie got it in writing the Knicks couldn’t enforce a media policy on him, so he chats up reporters there every day. They love it and cover for him. Yes, even those New York tough guys. The Knicks had the right idea and it didn’t work as LeBron, et al, had their own plan. But he blew it taking all that crap from Golden State. I have no idea what they are up to, but it is always comforting to see a New York team collapsing.

It's shocking how many fans want McGrady on the Bulls even after his post-workout remarks. Being confident and wanting to start is great, but I think people fail to realize the dynamics of a team. We're paying Brewer to be the starting SG ( three-years, $12.5 million), therefore it would be foolish to pick up another player looking to start because it could potentially hurt team chemistry and turn into an ever-changing lineup similar to what Vinny did at times. A young team like the Bulls needs solidarity, not open tryouts. Our starting lineup is set, now we need role players who can come in and eat up some minutes and not screw things up, and maybe even score a few points. Everyone on an NBA roster does not need to score in double digits, which seems to be the main argument for acquiring McGrady, that he can score 10-20 ppg. The reason Mason or Bogans would work is that they accept their roles and don't try to do more than what is required of them. Acquiring a player to be the 11th man on a team who is used to being #1 is foolish; as you've said many times this isn't a fantasy league or a video game. I feel confident that Gar & Pax understand this, I just wish more fans did as well.

Kevin Wick

Sam: It’s fun to project, dream and fantasize. This time it’s good for the fans the Bulls are more serious than that. I wonder whether anyone will pick up McGrady, Shaq and Iverson. My best guess is that Iverson is done. Shaq will play for one more season, though again ending badly. And McGrady for a few more months and then done, perhaps in Miami.

The things McGrady said left me saying "What?" Also, this idea of a non-guaranteed contract is a Faustian bargain. Yes, you can cut him when you want if things don't work out but by that time the internal damage has already been done. You can't take the chance.

Michael Nikolas

Sam: Actually, the overwhelming majority of my mail changed from “Give him a chance” to “Is he nuts?”

I can't believe T-Mac said the things he said yesterday. Despite his gracious compliments about the city,fans,and organization, he obliterated the team!. By saying we're a 500 team without him and Boozer is ridiculous! If Noah didnt get hurt last year, we had a shot at 45-48. I agree Boozer makes us better than that, but come on! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that all he had to do was say the right things in the interview, and the Bulls would've probably signed him. He could've said he'd take a bench role, and then showed the world he's still got it by taking the 2 spot. Play speaks for itself, so why didn't he just say the right things and then battle his tale off for a starting spot if he's still that good? Why not get the contract, get on a team that you say you want to be with, and and then prove everybody wrong? Why say it first, and then cost yourself a job?

Ryan M. Grace

Sam: Because he’s Tracy. That’s what I’ve been trying to explain. He cannot change who he is, which is why all the franchises he left have offered a good riddance. Can we move on now?

Keith Bogans or Roger Mason?

Edwin Moncien

Sam: I don’t know, and there are several options the Bulls are exploring in free agency and trade for that last shooting spot, but if I had to guess now, I’d say it’s Bogans. Are you surprised at the "public" manner in which the Bulls have allowed the TMac proceedings to transpire? While Bulls management hasn't commented publicly about the prospects of signing McGrady (which I think we all agree are nil), they did publicly disseminate the information about the workout, which in turn has inspired somewhat of a mini-circus about what will ultimately be a non-event. In doing so, they seem to have made a 180 degree departure from their customary way of doing business, under which, among other things, they don't comment about who they're talking to, who they're working out, or even who they've signed until the ink is dry on the contract and the physical passed. I don't think there was this much fuss in LA when McGrady worked out for the Clippers. Is this all a nod to Tellem where they essentially said "OK" to allowing McGrady to get a lot of free publicity out of this? Maybe it was all inevitable, but I'm looking forward to the relative non-event when the Bulls sign Keith Bogans...

Dan Toll

Sam: So likely are the Bulls. I think it caught them by surprise as I heard they had no intention of advertising the workout, per usual. McGrady and his people apparently did. He tweeted about it to fans and I heard contacted media about it and leaked stories to the effect the Bulls were seriously interested, perhaps to put pressure on them to sign him. Not too smart. I don’t think that helped his case with the Bulls, who seemed to be somewhat surprised and a bit taken aback by the media fascination. After all, they thought they were looking at a 12th man candidate.

I hear the Bulls have a little over $3 million left under the cap. The question is should the Bulls spend this money? The 12th and maybe 13th spots on the team are not overly meaningful. I would rather they sign one or two guys for the minimum and go into the season with as much cap space as they can. This way if a player who could really help the team becomes available during the season, you have cap room to work with and don't have to do one of these dollar for dollar deals. Or the Bulls could help another team pull off a trade and get back some much needed draft picks.

Jose Pepe

Sam: I actually believe the Bulls are thinking that way to some extent. I know the fascination with fans is to find someone and fill up the roster, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did that as they like that so called flexibility angle, and it’s not a bad idea to have come trade deadline. If you can’t get a big time performer, say like Rudy Fernandez, I’d probably go that way.

I am Canadian and have been watching Chris Bosh for his entire NBA career. You are underestimating his abilities. He has been a 20 - 10 guy with very little help. He has been counted on as the first option on offence and was also needed as the main rebounder and low post defender most nights. He did practically everything for the Raptors and almost solely carried the team to the playoffs. He is arguably the best power forward in the league, with probably the best shot of any playing that position. All he needs is a little scoring and defending help and he will dominate his position even more than he has. This year, with Lebron and Wade doing the scoring, his defense and rebounding will increase, and he will score at will as well, when the first two superstars get double teamed. Just watch, he will be starting the all star game (he has always been better than Amare) and he will be strongly considered as a first team all star. It's not just a 2 man show in Miami.




Jeff Dueck

Sam: Well, it doesn’t look like his former boss, Bryan Colangelo agrees, as he basically said he quit on the team and was so selfish you couldn’t make a team with him. He has been an All-Star and Olympian, so we know he has talent. The question is whether he has heart, desire and dedication. Almost making the playoffs? Now, that’s quite an achievement in the East. The fact is the Raptors had a lot of talent with Calderon, Bargnani, Turkoglu, Jack, Marion or O’Neal, Parker. Frankly, it’s almost inconceivable you could be an all-league player and miss the playoffs in the East with those teammates.

Pargo to Golden State? That’s perfect for him.

Mike Sutera

Sam: Isn’t NBA life great? Jannero finds a two-year deal for maybe $2.4 million with the team dedicated to taking every bad shot imaginable. And great Dungeness crab. I consider Pargo the free agency winner. He’s a good guy, so good for him.

“I'd fit in well. I bring what I know about the game and my athleticism and versatility. Knowing my smarts for the game, leadership, anything I can add to get these guys over the edge. Without me, without (Carlos) Boozer, they're a .500 club. With the guys we added, we'll be 30 better."

If that doesn't say, "I'm ready to be a twelfth man" I don't know what does.

Andrew Hartnett

Sam: Yes, Tracy let everyone know who he still is and what he’s still about. I think he saved everyone a lot of time. Did he really project 70 wins with he and Boozer? Delusional may be a bit kind. I’d speak softly around him and try to soothe him. He seems to have serious issues.

"I'd fit in well. I bring what I know about the game and my athleticism and versatility. Knowing my smarts for the game, leadership, anything I can add to get these guys over the edge. Without me, without (Carlos) Boozer, they're a .500 club. With the guys we added, we'll be 30 better."

"If I was the player I was in a Knicks uniform, I would have no problem coming off the bench," he said. "But I have worked extremely hard and I'm far from that player. It's up to me in training camp to prove I'm a starter. Please, Gar and Pax, stay far, far, away from him. This is Rose's team, now. Bring in a guy like Mason to fill out the roster and call it a day.

Chris Baran

Sam: I’m quite sure they got the message as well.

Giving big benefit if the doubt that T-Mac is willing to play team ball, does he have anything left? Or is this Jerry Krause's 1986 George Gervin all over again?



Jeff Lichtenstein

Sam: I think the Bulls were doing McGrady’s agent a favor back in the beginning of the month thinking that by now McGrady would have signed somewhere. But, what do you know, no one is that interested and he showed up for the Bulls. Everything we’ve seen the last few years suggests he has way less than George at that time. But that’s a great memory, if a really dysfunctional team. Gervin, Woolridge, Smrek, Greenwood, Banks, Macy. Those were some cool huddles.

I dont know if Tracy McGrady is the answer. But I know that Roger Mason isnt. I hardly think signing a McGrady for 2 million should be such a big terrible mistake as you are continually alluding to. That he would "poison the well". We won 40-41 games the last two years . What arrogance the Bulls have. If McGrady could become 70 pct of what he was by midseason, shlould he "accept" or be expected to sit behind players he is much better than? Will Ronnie Brewer ever be what McGrady was? You need players who can get you over the top. In my mind this was an easy no brainer signing. The Bulls are so arrogant. Let me just say, that they were a better team two years ago with Deng-Tyrus- Noah-Rose- Hinrich- Miller Gordon and Salmons than this euphoric new unit they are so proud to have amassed. McGrady, a former superstar who could become a no. 3 or 4 scoring option if he continues to heal (like Amare eventually did from microfracture) for 2 million dollars. Chemistry killer? We havent won a championship since MJ left and we won 40 games last year. If ever there was a no risk signing , it was McGrady. If it failed you cut bait. Who else that they sign for their 12th man is going to potentially make a difference?

Kenny Cohen

Sam: There will always be some who see McGrady for what he was and not what he is. Other than McGrady, of course. McGrady’s comments should be enough to show anyone he still believes he’s an all-NBA player. I think it’s clear based on McGrady’s workout that he isn’t likely to be much help, and if he is so good how come no one else seems to want him for the minimum? Every indication is McGrady is not going to be with the Bulls this season. I guess come March if he’s still not signed, they could take a chance. Still, I don’t expect it. Sometimes a guy can hurt you more than anyone else can help you. See: Iverson. The Bulls gave McGrady a chance, which most teams don’t seem to be doing.

I was 100% behind you about Tracy McGrady being washed up and being a cancer to the team but I'm starting to soften my stance. If he is in shape and healthy, don't you think he could help? I mean he could at least challenge guys in practice and make everybody earn their minutes.

Terrence Wells

Sam: Why would anyone take McGrady seriously since he doesn’t seem able to play? I guess he shot OK in the workout, but couldn’t jump or run much or move particularly well. I know defense is boring, but with a defensive minded coach and philosophy, it seems ludicrous to bring in a player who moves on one leg. As McGrady has said for 13 years, “Second round or bust.”

I am hoping that the Bulls will not sign T-Mac. The guy that they should pick up for their 12th man is Joey Graham. As a lifelong Bulls fan who is only a couple of years younger than you and who has lived in Denver for most of the last 30 years, I got to watch Graham play with the Nuggets last year and am certain he would be a real positive asset for the Bulls. At 6'7 225lbs, he is a very tough player on D and could be useful particularly for around the 12 MPG he played last year for Denver against LeBron. He would play him very physically and both help wear him down and provide extra fouls for Brewer.

Tim Flynn

Sam: It’s actually a good name and I heard it last season as the Bulls had some trade talks involving him in some multi-team deals and nothing ever came of it. But I can see him as a possibility as he also can make some threes, which suggests there are a lot of guys who’ll be out there and there is no real rush.

Do you think the Bulls would have interest in Delonte West if the T-Wolves waive him or do you think he would disrupt the team much like McGrady or Shaq?

Michael Rottinghaus

Sam: Let’s see: Gun possession charges, emotional problems which had the Cavs shelter him and not allow him to speak with media or anyone. Long periods of him sitting alone and staring onto space. And then apparently so upsetting LeBron in the playoffs LeBron virtually quit playing. Yeah, where can we get two of him?

Is Chris Mullin going to make the Hall of Fame? Considering the HOF combines college and pro, I don't understand why he hasn't been selected yet. John Wooden Award as nation's best college player (1985), three-time All-American, St. John's all-time leading scorer, two gold medals (1984, 1992), 5-time All-Star, 5-time All NBA and legacy as one of the best shooters to ever play the game. How has Joe Dumars made it and not Mullin?

Josh Hendricks

Sam: There are always a lot of apparent omissions, and Chris likely is on the outside for now because of a lack of titles. It’s generally considered the tiebreaker for guys in the fence with the Hall of Fame and eventually I believe he’ll get in and should.

Have the Bulls looked into acquiring Gilbert Arenas to start alongside Rose in the backcourt? At 6-4 his size is not ideal but not awful either and he did average over 22 points and seven assists last season and is on his way to being a star again in a star driven league. Obviously there are character issues involved and he has been a ball-dominating point guard most of his career, but there are many other players that have major character flaws in this league and he could easily transition to a two guard.

Nik Busch

Sam: No. For many, many reasons other than his gun arrest, which may be a factor as well. You probably can get him for virtually nothing as the Wizards would like nothing more than to play their No. 1 draft pick unencumbered. But Arenas makes some $20 million for the next four years and in addition to matching salaries, which would cost you several players, with a new labor deal he’ll likely be one of the top three highest paid in the NBA. I assume that will be the last question like this.

Do you think Lebron ( Yeah I know another James question), because of his decision falls out from Jordan - Bryant conversation forever ? He does in my book. I mean no matter what he averages next season ( It could even be a triple double ) or how many championships he wins with the "Heat" he will always be know as a player who couldn't achieve that without being the sidekick . I know he didin't want to be "The Man" but I think because of his talent he one day could have been compared to those guys.

Lukas Holsanskis

Sam: Yes, that debate is officially over. LeBron made it so. He could have come to the Bulls and taken on that challenge with a team that would be good enough to win, but he obviously screamed to everyone to leave him alone and just let him play and don’t hold him to any standard. He’ll get is wish. Which isn’t that bad for all of us, including me as I won’t have to answer those who’s better Michael or LeBron questions anymore.

This kid John Lucas looks real good! Do you think the Bulls will sign him?

Brett Siegel

Sam: I suppose it’s possible as a 14th man, a backup who’ll be happy to be on an NBA roster. Rarely do summer league players make it as they’ll often go to Europe, but the coaching staff liked him and he might have a shot.

Am I crazy to think that the player who gets the most out of the Miami bonanza is Chris Bosh? If LeBron wants to be a facilitator and Wade is willing to give some of his game over for the team concept, aren't they going to keep feeding the post until someone stops them? If you're going to pick your poison, isn't Bosh the poison you pick?

David Poweska

Sam: I suppose it’s possible, though I’ve never seen Bosh as a player you could count on and he’s never been a player who has had any expectations. He’ll have them now, and I don’t believe he can stand up to them. In the end if there are issues he could be getting a lot of the blame.

It's Rose's third year. Where do you project him in relation to the rest of the league. You mentioned in your mailbag on Friday that the Bulls would never trade for Paul because "Derrick Rose is better." I love Rose, but if that's management's view, aren't we over-valuing him? Paul's game is so much more complete, and his stats until his injury last year were off the charts.

Alejandro Yegros

Sam: That is my view. And I don’t think I am overestimating him. Paul has gotten a lot of publicity, but Rose led his team to the playoffs his first two seasons with much less talent than Paul plays with. And you have to ask yourself with Paul’s latest behavior about his character and about his injuries as he’s missed the large part of two seasons and been in the playoffs two seasons in five. Paul is terrific. Don’t get me wrong. But I believe because of his uncanny athletic ability which Paul doesn’t have Rose will be a transcendent star you can build around.

I don't know the rules on sending players with time on an NBA roster to the NBDL, but I noticed that Hasheem Thabeet was sent down in the middle of last season. Have the Bulls considered sending James Johnson down for a couple months or longer during the season? I didn't get to see any summer league games, but Johnson didn't seem to stick out on the stat sheets. I think he has a lot of physical tools, but he needs experience that can only come from actually playing so he can iron the kinks in his game out and gain some confidence.

Dan Giles

Sam: First and second year players can go to the D-League. The Bulls toyed with it last season but decided the roster was too short and kept him. It might be an idea for this season if he cannot get minutes and it’s shaping up like he might not get enough to learn a new position, which would be shooting guard. He has the ability to play somewhere and seems to have improved his work ethic. But the Bulls are too deep now and well balanced to spend too much time experimenting with him. If he cannot get time, a stint there may be inevitable this season.

What about Devin Brown? He has size, used to be a decent off-the-bench spark for Spurs and provided some consistent offence for Hornets last season before traded to Chicago, but I feel like he was quickly lost in rotation due to early mistakes and Vinnie never give him a chance later?

Sergiy Smirnov

Sam: I thought he’d help and Vinny did bury him for no real reason, though he didn’t shoot well in his few appearances. But then he pretty much gave up as well and I’m told shot some good rounds of golf on some of the late season road trips. I think both sides had enough of one another.

If Lakers, Nuggets or Knicks can't sign Caracter, word is two Italian teams, one Israeli club and Olympiakos have interest.--he's a young big man--but I hear he is good--the Bulls need another big man--and he could come relatively cheap. Once they sign him, The Bulls could trade him for a shooting guard or an experience big, huh? This kid may even be a keeper.


Edward Miller



Sam: From what I heard from scouts leading up to the draft, he’s one of the most inappropriately named players to come along.

I'd just like to add one more voice [of] "please, god no" on the impending McGrady signing. Aside from all the basketball reasons you've listed in the last days and weeks, I don't want him for the same reason I wouldn't want a broken down Wade or LeBron 10 or 12 years from now (actually a lot sooner than that for Wade). He screwed us when we needed him most, now let him slum it up for the Clippers or some other franchise dumb enough to sign him. For the Bulls, this is the rare "subtraction by addition."

Jack Murphy

Sam: Despite what you may have read, this is just a look see with no promises and it being unlikely the Bulls are very serious. I wrote about this in some detail in my Monday NBA column, which I believe will be the last one for the long, long season. There is one slight scenario for signing him, but it is risky given his history and more significantly his physical condition. You can have the heart, which always has been a question, anyway, with McGrady, but if the body won't do anymore there's not much you can do.

Ok so I am no Chris Broussard (though I probably have just as legit many sources as he does, none!) but I have a couple of mine to offer. Don't get me wrong, I am not in the camp of "bring McGrady to the Bulls," but funny story is that one of my good friends happens to be McGrady's personal trainer for the entire summer. Literally traveling with him, keeping him in shape and working with his injuries, etc. My friend was skeptical when he went out there to work with him, he had heard in the press that T-Mac might not have a great work ethic. But my friend told me he is really surprised how well McGrady is moving and he even went as far as to call him a "workout beast!" Saying they train 3-4 times a day and that McGrady might be one of the most impressive athletes he has worked with. I know... I know... that doesn't mean he has any interest in playing defense. Anyways, that is all I have (not much). If I worked for ESPN I'd be giving a "Breaking News" update on SportsCenter citing myself as a league insider, but instead I just have to email it to you.

Daniel Castorani

Sam: Thanks for the inside information. Can I consider you a source who may or may not know? Though you do seem to have a strong working knowledge of inside NBA information. We have heard all sorts of stories about McGrady, and if by some miracle he is healed — I assume it's not faith healing — and he does want to go to the Bulls and is happy being a 10th man for the least money almost anyone is making in the NBA... I'd be very surprised. But you never say never in the NBA. Stranger things have happened, though I cannot think of many at this point.

Lighten up will ya. I know Tracy McGrady has had all kinds of attitude issues and injury woes in the past, but at his best he was one hell of a player. Let's stop dwelling on the past and let the Bulls find out what he has to offer. That's what this is all about, today and the 2010-2011 season. The Bulls have proven to be very thorough this summer in their evaluation of players and I don't see that taking a look at and sitting down and talking to McGrady to see if he's worth a small 1 season investment will hurt anything they've done this summer. If McGrady shows that he has enough left to warrant a one year deal then I say go for it. If it doesn't work we'll know very early in the season and they can cut their losses.

Gary Paige

Sam: I know that's the prevailing wisdom of a lot of fans, and someone wrote me to say on one of the Bulls blog sites it's 80-20 for McGrady, though I'm told there is a plus/minus polling error of 50 percent. Yes, I have been tough regarding McGrady, if only because it has been a good summer for the Bulls and it's setting up as a good bunch that fits together well and seems coachable. In fantasy basketball, it's just numbers. But when you bring in a guy with a big head and no longer a big game (see Iverson, Shaq), it generally undermines the team and the coach, and despite Thibodeau's experience he is a rookie head coach. You want him to have the group he best feels he can work with. He's not the kind of guy who ever publicly criticizes players — No, we won't be hearing anything from him like 'Curry doesn't jump' or 'Tyrus never runs' — but I'd leave it to him completely. He was in Houston with McGrady, so he knows him, but when McGrady was healthy. It's easy to say cut him, but with a guy like McGrady it comes with recriminations, at least in the past. You better be sure the risk is worth it.

You said watching the NBA is like a soap opera right? Well looks like we are gonna have to spin the "McGrady to the Bulls" story line as hopefully McGrady had a "moment of clarity." Perhaps he will come in like he's had a near death experience. Looking on the bright side we survived Milton Bradley. How about T.O. to the Bears while we're at it? Heres the question, if you had to take one of the three, McGrady, Shaq, or Iverson, who's your man?

Jesse Dunn

Sam: Well, you didn't survive Milton Bradley as the Cubs have gone downhill since. That's a good example of a guy capable of disrupting a team. He didn't perform well, but if McGrady were to average eight points it would be a shock. And speaking of Owens, it seems to me he mostly disrupts teams and mostly the fans and media seem to enjoy it for the storyline and the team gets made fun of and becomes a caricature. That said, of the three I'd take McGrady as he probably would do the least damage if he went bad because he's had the least success and the least would be expected of him. Doesn't sound like a great reason.

Check out Jordan's post game interview after the Bulls lost a Game 7 to the Pistons in the 1990 conference finals: It's very easy to remember Jordan as the ultimate winner, but this was back when people were still saying scoring champs can't win titles and that Phil Jackson was an unreconstructed hippie running something called "the triangle" for an offense. Looking at the way Jordan played, the way the Pistons played him, and the incredibly gracious, positive, determined, sportsmanlike way he handled the post-game interview (around the 10 minute mark in the clip), I was really struck by how truly different he was from LeBron, Bosh, and the fading "superstars," like McGrady, Carter, and Iverson. I know he was not the same behind the scenes, but when I think about how LeBron stormed off the court two years ago and his pathetic showing in the playoffs this year, I find myself appreciating Michael the most for the way he played as he was on his way to the top — much more so, in fact, than the decade plus-long "victory lap" he's been taking since hitting that shot in Utah (after pushing off of Bryon Russell). My question is this, I see Derrick Rose as closer to this Jordan than any of the stars out there. Correct? P.S. Judging from how many "Bulls should sign McGrady/Iverson/Shaq" emails you get in your mailbag, I'm now officially against letting fans vote for the All-Star game.

Josiah Barnes

Sam: It's a good point with Derrick and I tend to agree some, though Derrick isn't quite as sophisticated and at ease with the media and public as Michael. In Derrick it comes through because he truly is humble while being supremely self confident, something of a contradiction. It's also why none of these guys will ever be Jordan. You have it right. It's not only the winning; it's the professionalism, the understanding and responsibility to the game. None of them really have it, certainly not LeBron or Wade. Kobe has a bit of the understanding, though a dark past and attitude and an inability to find exactly who he is as we see those silly acts in the playoffs when he pretends to be nasty because he believes that's what nasty looks like. Guys like Wade and LeBron and lesser lights like Bosh, Stoudemire, Chris Paul and Anthony never really understood as Michael did a responsibility to the game. I'd always hear Michael say no matter how tired or disinterested he was if we were at a preseason game in a non NBA city or Western Conference city that he knew this was the only time he'd be there this season and he owed the fans. He got that from guys like Erving before him and understood. These guys are as talented or more so than Michael, but they believe the game owes them rather than the other way around. Which is why we can stop comparing these guys to Michael. As for the p.s., as I've always said, only I should vote.

Since the Bulls are looking for a shooter, why not look for Jon Scheyer? I mean, he is an excellent spot-up shooter, deadly from 3 point-range, a proven leader, high basketball I.Q. and can play PG and SG.

Eric Narvarte

Sam: I'm not sure what he did in Summer League, but from what the scouts say he's more a specialist like Jason Kapono and thee Bulls need a better all around player who can defend as well. He's a questionable NBA talent.

Let's sign Jon Scheyer. He's hungry to play in the NBA and he is a consumate winner. As the last man on the bench, he couldn't be worse than Lindsey Hunter. And as the hometown kid, when we're winning in garbage time the crowd can start chanting his name.

David Holland

Sam: That's the other reason you really don't want him on the team. You don't want one of those guys who is a fans' pet who chant their name in blowouts. It seems humiliating, and it makes the efforts of the other guys a joke. I know there's some value in guys like that, like Boston's Brian Scalabrine or maybe Phoenix's Lou Amundson. For a 13th or 14th guy you want someone grateful to be in the NBA and a practice player and not someone trying to push his way into the lineup and mumbling about minutes. I guess Scheyer can be that kind of guy, but I'd rather have a player who will work hard and perhaps earn some time just on merits without the distraction of being the pet rock.

I haven't heard of any coaches that Coach Thibodeau has hired on yet. I heard he was planning on hiring some pretty good coaches I was excited about like Mo Cheeks. Have we hired any assistant coaches yet?

Tony Ayala

Sam: Yes, Thibodeau has a good teaching staff, which I think will be very good. Ron Adams, a former Bulls assistant who turned around the Thunder defense, is top assistant. He also brought in Andy Greer who was once at NIU and in the NBA the last decade or so and a highly regarded guy. Pete Myers returns and he has been great with players and the in your face guy every staff needs. Also, Mike Wilhelm is one of the best advance scouts, and Randy Brown and Sidney Green have NBA playing experience.

Do you think now Dwight Howard will think twice before he commits any more cheap shots on Rose? Also, did Brad Miller's refusal to protect Rose contribute to his departure from Chicago? Or was it mainly that Houston gave way too much money for a center who shoots 43%?

Warren Fisk

Sam: It's tough in this era to come back at a guy, and with Brad it was the money. Kurt Thomas at $1 million is way better than Brad at about $12 million guaranteed. What could Houston be thinking? Must have struck oil again there, and Brad's going to shoot all their wild game. But Kurt Thomas is known to have guys' backs and I'd like to see someone make a statement to Howard early as those were cheap shots and not clean plays despite what even Rose said.

Since most of the top-line shooting guards are off the market, and I heard Philadelphia may be looking to save some cash, what would you think of a Deng/James Johnson/Cap space for Andre Iguodala/Andres Nocioni swap? Nocioni could take Deng's minutes and Iggy would provide an athletic 2. The 76ers get a comparable player to Iggy in Deng, a young prospect in Johnson to develop, and save millions.

Chris Feldman

Sam: I actually get a lot of these trade for Iguodala emails as well as ones for Danny Granger. I'm not sure where all this comes from. Iguodala looks like he'll make the USA team and is the best player on the 76ers roster. Why would they take Deng with just as long a contract? Doug Collins didn't go there to coach cap room. Same with Granger. They are going for cap room, but who's going to Indiana? People! I will accept trades proposals, but they have to make sense. At least to me.

I'm from Lima, Peru and I can't remove from my head, is it true when you turn the Bulls icon upside down, you can see a "devil monk" reading a black book, with long sleeves, even though you can notice his hands... how much is that true?

Rafael Quintana.

Sam: Given you are in the Southern hemisphere, I assume everything up here looks upside down to you. My advice is to watch the games from now on standing on your head.


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