Ask Sam Mailbag: 01.04.19

I'll start off by saying nothing changes if nothing changes. I would like to see some changes. I was thrilled to get Parker. At the time the legend Of Chicago high school basketball was second on the team in scoring behind Zach Lavine. Suddenly Portis comes, Hoiberg is gone, and apparently so is Jabari. Teams seem willing to put up with a player who seldom scores as long as he plays defense, so why is it so hard to stick with a guy like Jabari who can score? I don't understand why we're not playing him at all. The kid is bound to have limitations after two surgeries. If his defense is suspect, don't coaches teach anymore? Tell him, show him, teach what you want him to do on defense. What did they see when they signed him for $20 million a year that they don't see now?? The starting lineup and the rotation has made no changes either. Holiday still starts even though he struggling. Carter still start even though he always gets into early fall trouble. If he came off the bench he could watch and learn for six or seven minutes and then go in against their subs not their starters. I suppose like anybody else maybe we are setting the stage to get Zion. What a huge huge huge move that would be for the Bulls or anyone who would get him. If we are trying to get lottery and first round draft picks, I get that. But I would also like to see a team that would make that guy want to be here.

Jo Morrison


Let's give credit where credit is due! Garpax just acquired two borderline NBA players and two second round draft picks for Justin Holiday. Justin Holiday is an ideal teammate, a model citizen, and a smart player. So Memphis hit the jackpot if they're looking for a Scalabrine type for the end of the bench. If they're looking for a basketball player, they should keep looking. In 22 out of 38 games this season Justin Holiday shot below 40% from the field. And he shoots 7 threes a game! This is a man that can single handedly bring down your team shooting percentage on any given night. I, for one, am glad he's gone. But I'm sure Boylen is crushed and trying to find creative ways to play Robin Lopez at the 3.
Yuriy Fomin


What is your prediction on what the bulls do with:
Parker - will they trade him out for something? Or hold until the end of the season and not renew? Gee the Bulls management handled this situation terribly. Should have sugar coated him and played him but from the bench. Now we have driven his value to rock bottom.
Lopez - see no logic in a buyout. Might as well clear him at seasons end
Holiday - also Rock bottom value and don't see a valuable asset to trade him out for his 4.5 mil
Portis - the best of the bunch but we have probably seen his ceiling. Hopefully offer him a lesser contract than earlier or a higher salary (12 mil/yr) but on a 2 yr deal. I was so excited at the start of the season. Now we'll be looking at a no.5-6 pick in an average draft.
Andrew Brown

You want your young players in close games and have a chance to develop habits when the game is being contested. Yes, it would be great to get a top college kid. Really, really great. But it's hardly guaranteed with the bottom three teams having the same odds for the top pick, about 14 percent. Even if you have the fifth poorest record, you have a 10.5 percent chance for the top pick instead of 14 with the poorest record. Is that worth throwing away an entire season? Though with these trades the Bulls may be more so on that path. It is coming time to keep Carter and Chandler Hutchison in games and perhaps get a look at some hungry G-league guys. The move with Holiday assures that if you are not part of the future group, it's time to start making changes. Here come the kids! But it remains a balancing act with the messages the new coach and management still want to send. It doesn't happen in just a few weeks without a summer and a training camp.


How much will dunn make with his new contract? 15 million a year? We always hear “what the team and he agree he is worth" but that doesnt equate to good business. See felicio and jabari. Terry rozier is in line for 15-20 million. Dunn isnt that yet but there are a lot of similarities....rozier shoots the three better and dunn has more length though. Imo hes the most important part of this rebuild....he plays defense unlike lavine or markannen. He also carries a ton of risk due to his inabilities to score in the past. Will the bulls give him market value?
Jake Henry


This season is becoming so frustrating. I actually miss Hoiberg and Randy Brown. Is Boylen going to start coaching based on the players he has or continue trying to force this style that he's dreamed and understandbly waited for. However you have build your scheme based on the players you have, including Jabari Parker. Zach Lavine is not turning into John Starks (93') over night. But they owe the fans an apology if they are trying to lose games.
Paul Taylor

I know some see flaws in LaVine with his shots and passing, but I actually heard a lot of the same stuff in the 80s with that Jordan guy; you know, takes selfish shots, doesn't move the ball enough, makes turnovers. Yes, but he could score. No, Zach isn't defending like Jordan, but Zach can score. He can get to the basket better than anyone on the team, creates contact the best, has an excellent shooting touch and can make tough shots and plays for himself better than anyone on the roster. One of the issues the opposition has been taking advantage of has been the rotations. The Bulls lately have employed too many non-shooters when Markkanen and LaVine haven't played together. So the ball swings, but then ends up with Shaquille Harrison or Lopez or Hutchison. I'd force feed LaVine more shots because with Markkanen standing on the perimeter more, LaVine is really the only one who is getting to the line, making those tough shots and whom defenses fear. Then you get others going since Zach will pass. I can see things then becoming somewhat less frustrating. You're trying to develop a star, and LaVine and Markkanen seem the closest now.


In your story on Wendell it's notable that he views himself as a power forward and “short" at 6'-10". It's doubtful if Lauri would ever evolve into a real five if that is even desirable and Portis also seems to be a better fit at the four even at 6'-11". This seems like your power forward comparison to a Kennedy rush hour traffic jam. There have been references to Wendell as a version of Al Horford but do you recall examples of a successful Lauri & Wendell type combo? They are certainly not the Houston Twin Towers. I note that Davis of NOLA also is also listed at 6'-10" and as a four but he seems to be a better leaper/jumper and, for comparison, is a much more experienced six year vet. Ongoing do we need a Lopez type or even Lopez who is only thirty and a helpful vet? Do we wait for a true center in the draft, sign a less expensive free agent to replace Lopez or even trade?
John Petersen


What are the chances Kevin Durant shocks the world and signs with the Bulls next Summer? I'm thinking of LeBron's 2015 return to Cleveland. Maintaining his legacy and building a career narrative seemed to be the main reasons for his return to Cleveland. Sure, he won the two rings in Miami, but he cemented his legacy and became universally beloved by winning in 2016 for his hometown, blue collar, long-suffering, Midwest city. This came after he was perceived as selfish and preferring the easy way out by teaming up with superstars. Analogous to a KD-to-Chicago scenario perhaps? He still needs a championship that is uniquely his own, as I see it.
Mike Toner


I am really sick & tired of the Boo-Birds. Today (reading comments after the Orlando game) I ‘learned' that Boylen is not an NBA coach. He's too negative & pessimistic and can't inspire players… so we need Hoiberg back. I also found out that Zach needs
to pass to Lauri and let him take all the shots, or we should get rid of him. (Last night, they both played 28 minutes. Lauri was 6-12. Zach was 6-10 w/ 3 assists.) And of course – as we already knew – Gar/Pax have to go. (I agree. They lost that game. Neither of them scored or rebounded even once.)

Art Alenik


After a game like last night, hard not to think “Man we suck right now." But Jim is now 4-5. Extrapolate to 82 and that almost makes the playoffs in the East. Break up the Bulls?
Chris Granner


I love to recognize former Bulls from previous teams and several years ago. These players are still having long term careers and often have found more success playing roles elsewhere. I feel like the Bulls have missed out on opportunities to keep some of these very quality players to build around for extended periods of time and keep a positive reputation around the league. The players that come to mind are:
Elton Brand
Tyson Chandler (Never should have signed Ben Wallace and TC is still playing)
Jamal Crawford (Moved on too quickly)
Ron Artest - Needed more time to mature
Tabo Selfalosha - Prime prospect
Roger Mason Jr/Matt Bonner (Spurs years)
Omer Asik (Rockets- should've matched)
Kyle Korver (All star w the Hawks, still playing)
Tony Snell (Nice reserve role shooter)
Spencer Dinwiddie/DJ Augustine (perfect Backup PGs for right now)
Taj and Derrick (The ultimate fan favorites and quality guys
Jimmy (I understand moving on from him)
Trades occur but I feel like Gar Foreman and John Paxson have not been able to fully maximize the potential of the careers of these players and this could've changed the course of our franchise then having to go through the multiple rebuilds and find other guys. Otherwise they Gar/Pax don't bother me. They are excellent at drafting quality players.
Josh King


I seem to be suffering from a malady predominantly seen in Chicago Bulls fans/players, "Basketball Whiplash." In a period of a few days the Bulls go from emphasizing an uptempo, fast-paced offense to a slow-paced, walk-up emphasis on defense. We hire Hoiberg to help us join the popular, uptempo, 3-ball trend. We hire Jabari Parker hoping to ignite his offensive skills to fit this offense as he appears to believe that emphasizing defense is outdated. We are waiting for key players to return from injuries to see if this is going to work. Just before the players return Hoiberg is fired and Boylen is hired. We go into reverse emphasizing defense and a slow tempo basketball style. Jabari Parker is out of the rotation. Players appear lost in this abrupt change in philosophy. I wonder if you are also suffering from Basketball Whiplash?
Bruce Roberts