Ask Sam Mailbag: 04.14.17

I don't remember such parity in an 8 team playoff seeding. Only 12 wins separate #1 versus # 8. In the west it's 26 wins!

It seems as if the Bulls might have a chance as the Celtics are not a truly dominant #1 seed and the Bulls big 3 all have deep playoff experience. How do you see this series playing out?
Jeff Lichtenstein

Bulls vs Celtics!! For two reasons: first...If the Bulls end up wanting to trade Butler, what better way to raise his value than to beat the Celtics in the playoffs. Ainge would feel the heat in the off season. Second...I think the Bulls can beat them in a series. Am I a delusional Bulls fan?
Victor Devaldivielso

So, there seems to be this perception the Bulls are stealing the playoff spot that rightfully belongs to the Miami Heat because the Nets rested their main players. I'm sorry, didn't the Hawks and Wizards, who the Pacers and Heat were playing, rest their main stars, too? Would it not be an unfair advantage if the Bulls played someone's top roster and the other two played their benches? Why isn't that mentioned?

Also, why did the Bulls have the tie-breaker over the Heat? Oh, yeah--because they beat the Heat more than the Heat beat the Bulls. And since the Heat are so deserving of that playoff spot, let's do a little comparing on quality wins: Heat are 1-1 against the Warriors. So are the Bulls. Heat are 0-2 against the Spurs. Bulls are 1-1. Heat are 3-1 against the Cavs. Bulls are 4-0. Heat are 1-2 against the Raptors. Bulls are 3-1. Heat are 0-4 against the Celtics. Bulls are 2-2. So, aside from the warmer weather and the fact that the same coach who oversaw an 11-30 Heat record managed to get them back to .500, what exactly makes the Heat more worthy of a playoff spot than the Bulls? And why is it the Nets aren't allowed to rest their players when other teams are? Ask the Bulls about the Philly series when Derrick went down--you really want to risk your top players to injury in what is literally a meaningless game?
Chris Feldman

I think the Coach needs to figure out a nine man rotation and stick to it unless injuries and just horrible play dictate otherwise. I say Wade-Rondo-Butler-Lopez-Mirotic-Portis-Felicio-Valentine-Grant.
Randall Sanders

Harden and Morey already are crying about the MVP. Both saying MVP should be considered by wins.
Bob Ding

Free Agency: Derrick Rose signs with the San Antonio Spurs.
Bill Junaid

Does Niko have any trade value given his status as a restricted free agent? While he has performed better the past thirty days he is very inconsistent/unreliable, and a gangly non athlete who lacks a fundamental understanding of the game. With his defensive limitations and age/experience, it’s difficult to project beyond what you see is what you get. Apparently he was shopped before the trade deadline but has his “improvement” changed his value?
John Petersen

I like Joffrey Lauvergne. Any chance of him joining us next year?
Rex Doty

Where is Judge Landis when you need him? Do the players have a hotly contested secret shuffle board tournament imminent in Palm Springs? The Nets resting? Why, to prepare them for really good rest?
It's the single most cynical thing I've seen in this trend. What exactly do they think they're getting for Jeremy Lin (among rumors the Nets held he, Booker and Lopez out to trade them so they wouldn’t get hurt)? That stale box of cracker jacks and a sideline dancer to be named later? Lopez I might buy, but I take it from the other angle. Let him show that he can play against tough teams that have to win. It'd up his value, even if just a little. It's as close to throwing an NBA game as I can remember seeing. It looks like someone in the Nets organization had it in for Riley or something equally as goofy. A facet of this that's exceptionally disjointed is that this particular issue blew up pretty big a little more than a month ago. So now Brooklyn gets out a real sharp stick and pokes everyone in the eye?
Pete Zievers

The dad (UCLA’s Ball dad) says white guys can’t play. Now the kid said he doesnt care if he goes #1 as he just wants to play for the Lakers. I told you weeks ago that teams will want no part of him because of his father. I heard now he's trying to get his youngest son's high school coach fired. Guy is a lunatic.
Mike Sutera