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NOT MILWAUKEE, Jan. 23, 2007 -- Folk, guess what you're getting this week? That's right, a mailbag.

OK, OK, settle down. I know, you wanted some prescient insight on trade rumors (I'll let the New York Post's Pete Vecsey handle the hottest one). But I rarely get a chance to dip into the mailbag and see what nuggets I can unearth. Plus, you're getting a bonus CI this week as this Cheesehead returns to Milwaukee for the Suns-Bucks game, which should be interesting to say the least.

Despite the game being at the BC, all the factors will be working against the Bucks: they're injured (and healthy teams struggle against the Suns) and they're tired (coming back from a West Coast swing). I'll be live blogging the game, and hopefully we'll have a surprise guest or two during the evening. You'll be able to see the page tomorrow.

In the meantime, before the game, I plan to get a bowl of chili here and a couple of scoops of frozen custard here. (Add a bratwurst, brat (pronounced braht) to the mix, and I missed my path to fortune; I should have been a cardiologist in Milwaukee.)

But enough about Milwaukee's gut-busting gastronomy, I'm gonna go all Peter/Larry King on you. Here are some random Central Division thoughts:

  • I think Detroit will be OK with Webber
  • Indiana's Orien Greene has the ugliest free throw stroke for a guard I've ever seen
  • The Cavs need a shot in the arm, or as our pal Joe G. suggests, maybe in the legs
  • The Bucks played tough in Portland on Sunday, but they just don't have the horses right now
  • I saw the Bulls playing a little zone against Indiana. Isn't that the basketball equivalent of wearing a headband?
  • The Pacers and the Bulls can play average basketball for the next two weeks, and no one in their towns may notice much because of a little game called the Super Bowl. That being said, this Packers fan says: Go Colts!
  • Now, on to the missives!

    No less than three Bulls fans wrote me about Chicago's need for The Third Man, sorry, third scorer. Let's go to the letters.

    "While I will agree that the Bulls lack something, I do not think it is a third scorer. Someone always seems to step up for them whether Gordon or Kirk or Nocioni or Deng. I believe their biggest problem is the lack of a main go to guy when they need a bucket. Despite Gordon's streaky shooting and hot hand a lot of times they still lack a legit, post scorer. While they are gritty and tough they have no go to post presence. As much as I like the Bulls I think they will come up short until they can get a legit inside-outside punch."
    -- Steve from Cincinnati writes

    Inside-outside, good point. I was about to write the following: "Well, the championship Bulls didn't have much of an inside presen..." and then I remembered, Michael and Scottie could get to the rack damn near any time they wanted to. Sure, they had Cartwright, Wennington and Longley manning the middle, but I'm sure no opposing coached schemed for them.

    When Cartwright was around, the Bulls would run the first play of the game through him and never seemingly go to him again, unless Michael or Scottie penetrated, the center rotated over to help on D and Cartwright was wide open underneath. At least that's how I remember it.

    As for now, the Bulls have four -- FOUR -- players who average 15.0 points per game or better: Gordon (21.3), Deng (17.9), Nocioni (15.7) and Hinrich (15.1). Maybe my call for a third scorer has been less-than-accurate. (I was thinking of a third guy who can be consistent night in and night out regardless of how your top two guys perform.)

    "I thought you raised an interesting point about the Bulls' lack of a third scorer. I don't believe it's necessarily true though. Both Hinrich and Nocioni are very capable and relatively consistent scorers, and their field goal %'s are way up this year. I think the problem is not that the Bulls lack a third main scorer, but that they have virtually no one else who can step up every night and be a solid 5th option. You have 5 guys on the floor, you want them ALL to be threats, or it's just 4 on 5. P.J. Brown or Michael Sweetney could be that low post threat, if they did anything else consistently. In conclusion, the Bulls gotta get a post player, or Tyrus "TnT" Thomas has to step it up sooner rather than later.

    "P.S. What do you think of Thabo and Viktor? I love watchin' 'em, but they really are never allowed to get into a rhythm in games, not enough playing time."
    -- FishnetGusGus, Oak Park, Ill.

    Gotta agree with you Gus-Squared (as I agreed with Steve from Cincy). They need an offensive presence near the hoop, but whom do you want? And as important, whom do you want to give up to get what you want.

    As for Thabo, nice player, but needs time to develop, and I haven't seen enough of Viktor to comment. (What, did you want me to lie?)

    "I think Chicago Bulls have to trade for Pau Gasol. He want to go out of Memphis, and if the Bulls get him, they're gonna be in the Finals immediately."
    -- Skranser, Madrid, Spain

    Whoa, whoa, whoa, Skranser. Pau would give the Bulls a shot in the arm, no doubt, but I'm not sure I'd use pen when writing their name on the Eastern Conference side of the Finals ledger. Pau would be great inside, but what would you lose on the defensive end "I agree the most with the Pistons having the jury still out on them until the last week of the regular season or so. There is discord with Rasheed Wallace and Nazr Mohammed that needs to be resolved."
    -- David, Alameda, Calif.

    That it does, David, and that's probably why Nazr will be shipped by the trade deadline on Feb. 22. As for Sheed, who knows? Has anyone been able to figure him out?

    "Great work Rob,

    I was wondering if you could put your ear to the ground and give us heads up on any rumored trades within the Central...

    The Cavs really need some more pop in their lineup, and I wouldn't think they would have to give up too much to get a guy like Steve Francis.

    The Bulls (as you said) need a big guard who can get >20 every night and play wing enough to get Ben and Kirk their minutes (maybe Jason Richardson or Richard Jefferson).

    The Bucks are pretty set, and really need rehab doctors more than players.

    The Pistons have some extra pieces to use in a minor deal, and might be wise in bolstering their bench with a few more vets.

    As far as Indy, I hear they would love to move Tinsley but can't find any takers.

    I'm not expecting this to be posted, but would love a little insight on potential deals about to go down within the Central before the deadline.

    Keep up the great work."
    -- Scott, Madison, Wisc.

    Scott, such cynicism about me posting your e-mail. For shame. You blew your chance to ghost write CI. And such good analysis, too.

    And finally, from Bruce in the Nation's Capital.

    "What about those Wizards? You mentioned the Cavs, and Pistons, the Heat, Magic, whom the Wizards but away very easy in there house. I think you should give them their props... Or Agent 0 may pay your sorry picks a visit."

    Not the cleanest e-mail I've ever received, and considering it had a .gov e-mail suffix, I'm inclined to ask for some of my tax dollars back.

    But you're right Bruce, the Wizards are a playoff team and we've nothing but love for Agent Zero here at .com, especially for a dude who calls out his next 50-point game. I feel nothing but shame for my leaving them out of the mix, though I don't think they're making the Finals.

    (Then again, a Wizards-Suns Finals would be this writer's dream match-up.)

    Anyway, catch CI on Friday when we live blog from Milwaukee.

    Thoughts? Complaints? E-mail us. We'll try to work the mail in next week. Also, you can listen to Rob Peterson on NBA Radio, Sirius 127 every Monday at 7:30 a.m. ET, and every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.