Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 12.28.2012

What are your thoughts on the Avery Johnson termination? Do you think Williams had a big factor on this, similar to Sloan's situation in Utah? Also do we know if Sloan is interested in coaching again? If so, which team(s) do you think would be the best fit for him? Abram Bachtiar

So Avery Johnson is fired now. I didn't realize Deron Williams was a good enough player to get rid of multiple coaches. They are going to gauge Phil Jackson's interest. Deron Williams does not fit the bill for that type of point guard. Really, who is out there that is a better option. Matt Reev

Do you think if the Lakers had not passed on Phil Jackson, that D'Antoni would be the right candidate to coach the Nets now that Avery Johnson has been fired? In looking at the Nets roster, they are certainly built more for the run and fun style D'Antoni likes. Alex Coleman

If the Bulls had been able to keep Omer Asik, would he and Noah have been able to play together? Couldn't Noah have played a Kevin Garnett type role with Omer a better Kendrick Perkins? It worked for Thibs in Boston. Why didn't he give it more of a try when they had Omer? Or did they try it sometimes? Greg Fullerton

Is Hinrich more hurt than he lets on? He's never been a good shooter but even he is plumbing new depths. And no, I don't want to trade him. Greg Young

Have you seen Royce White's twitter? He's constantly retweeting the most negative, hateful, belligerent tweets from so called "fans," whereas I'll see countless positive tweets involving him go unmentioned. It's painful enough to read them, but having him retweet them? I don't know if this is his way of motivating himself, seeking out sympathy from other people, or a way to feel sorry for himself. Take a's something I've really never seen before. Arman Fathi

I read discussion boards and see various tweets from fans/bloggers delighting in the fact that the Suns supposedly have interest in Rip and want him gone. I'm not on board with these guys. I think Rip is too valuable from a leadership standpoint, he has championship experience, and is a reliable scorer for an otherwise anemic offense. These critics also point out to Marco's "emergence" as of late. His stats since starting and Rip's: Belinelli: 15 points per game, 43% shooting, 40% from 3pt, 88% FT, 3 rebounds per game, almost 2 assists per game, just over 1 steal per game, 1 turnover per game, and is playing 36 minutes per game Rip: Almost 14 points per game, 45% shooting, 37% from 3pt, 93% FT, 2.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, .8 steals. negligible blocks, 2 turnovers per game in 27 minutes per game Rip's stats are still better in most areas and isn't it very possible that Marco's production is nothing more than playing with a quality point guard and getting more minutes? Also, who else could replace Rip? It isn't like the '90s when quality SGs were everywhere. Ultimately, the decision will be financial, but I hope management actually considers winning for once. Brandon Pence

Is Kyle Lowry a possibility for the Bulls? Orlando Cruz

Nick Young is the SG answer. Ben Feldman

Some would say that this is absolutely crazy. High risk, high reward. The Bulls should trade for Demarcus Cousins. One of the most talented young bigs in today's game. He's in a terrible situation. However, put him in a better organization and locker room and with Rose and he should be fine. He was very productive for Coach Cal. If you can get him for cheap, why not? That would be the key to the deal, obviously. Bob Mestjian

Do you think the Bulls would go for Eric Gordon? If you talk about buying low, now is the time. His scoring ability would make the Bulls have a scary back court for years to come. Sean Kelly

What are your predictions for Deng's free agency in 2014? Anything can happen in a year and a half, but let's just assume he maintains his level of play and is healthy. Will he be looking at about the same amount of money? More or less? Paul George will be restricted in 2014. I assume he'll get overpaid by someone and the Pacers will be inclined to match a lot of offers but I wouldn't mind spending a little too much on him. He'd be a great fit. He's a really good defender and now he's putting up some impressive offensive numbers. Along with Mirotic, he'd take a good deal of pressure off Rose offensively. Do you think we'll be interested and able to afford him while keeping Deng around? Kyle Gibson

So is this Bulls team actually coming together and an Eastern Conference finals contender or do they just have a good matchup with New York? Long-Giang

I've been a Bulls fan for over 20 years now. I grew up watching MJ and Pippen and I was accustomed to a very high standards of excellence in basketball. Back in the day, nothing less than a championship was acceptable. Why do we continue to settle for mediocre players? It seems that lately, we're always trying to get the cheaper players that are on their tale end of their career. We've been in desperate need for a shooting guard for over 5 years now. I'm really getting tired and impatient of how our management continues to believe that shooters that are over the hill will help win us a championship. Amr Bakr

What's your assessment of Jimmy Butler this season and where do you think his "ceiling" is as a player on the Bulls? On one hand, I watch him and think that he's one of the smartest men on the floor. His shot selection, his FG percentage, his unselfishness, his efficiency, and his defensive intangibles attest to this notion. On the other hand, I fear that he's either too smart for his own good and/or he may not blossom into a solid sixth man or starting shooting guard. Where do you think he ends up? Phil Przybylo

Many people wrote and stated that Asik would not be worth the contract he signed. I was disappointed the Bulls put themselves in a position not to resigned him or not to get any compensation for loosing him. Please don't spin doctor the loss of Asik, like most of the press in Chicago has espoused. The question I have is, now that the season is more than a quarter done, does the mad scientist moves made by Houston make them look like they know what they are doing? Is it possible the Rockets make the playoffs and the Lakers don't? Thomas Allen

Me and my friend were debating Nate Robinson the other day as it pertains to him being a good 'locker room' guy or not. My friend was on the side of Nate Robinson being a bad locker room guy, and I had to disagree. I think you can tell by body language that he's well received with the Bulls players. There seems to be good camaraderie on the floor, between plays, and during introductions when he dances and everyone hoots and hollers. Ken Gorski

Omer's looked very good so far this season and its a testimate to the Bulls ability to develop players, still I could not help but notice the major void his loss gives the team this season. I still say another big with a defensive mindset would help the club stay competitive this season. What are the prospects on these guys: JuJuan Johnson, Hassan Whiteside, Sean Williams. Craig Chandler

Would this work? Bulls receive: PF Kevin Love, PF Dante Cunningham, SF Chase Budinger Timberwolves receive: SF Luol Deng, PF Taj Gibson, PG Marquis Teague, the rights to F Nikola Mirotic, future protected first-round pick from the Bobcats Shaun Chalmer

I am amazed about how many people want to get rid of Boozer, be it amnesty or trade or simply by throwing him out of an airplane. In my mind he is simply fantastic and in many ways invaluable for this team. I know that his defensive efforts are sometimes questionable and that he does have off games but seriously, who doesn't? The reasons why I believe him to be such an asset for this team are mainly: 1) He is team-oriented and professional. This is a guy who is being paid a starters salary and coming from a system where the offense often was based around him and here he is often sitting the 4th quarter and not getting the ball and do we hear him complain? No, never have we heard him say anything against the organization or the other players. He just does his job. 2) His partnership with Noah. This is simple really, He just makes Noah a much better player. I don't think that Noah would be putting up the numbers he's been doing without Boozer. Boozer is a great passer and often finds Noah. I really really think that people should give him some slack. Martin Ágústsson

The New York Knicks finally have a team now. The amazing thing is, they're having much success playing eight guys worth $51.34M next season. If the Knicks can get rid of Amare Stoudamire and Marcus Camby, they can grab Paul Millsap out of free agency and add the likes of Antoine Jamison. Not only they have a better front-court, they can avoid paying the luxury tax too. Peter Jimenez

Do you think the summer of 2014 will see several elite talents changing teams, similar to 2010? I did a little searching and found that LeBron, Bosh, Wade, and Carmelo all have player options that summer. Throw in Stephen Curry as a free agent. Deng's contract will expire and Boozer will have just 1 year left on his deal, making him a potential amnesty candidate. It just looks to me as though the landscape could start to shift, and perhaps the Bulls will have an opportunity to put that star player next to Rose and Noah that could put us over the top. Dan Michler

With the luxury tax penalties being so strong do you think the Heat would be willing to break up the big 3 for young talent? If so here is a 3 team trade that may help all teams. Heat get D.Cousins, T.Evans, and J.Salmons Suns get M.Thornton Kings get D.Wade, J.Anthony, J.Dudley, and 1st rd picks from the Suns and Heat. D’Angelo Lopez

And now for something completely different. Sign Nikola Pekovic this offseason as a free agent (if possible), amnesty Boozer (if successful), and move Noah to the 4. You can only hide Boozer's defense so much against strong competition and Noah suffers offensively, defensively, and on the glass against size, but has the athleticism to defend stretch fours in the fashionably small NBA. Len Covello

I know the Bulls will get blown out this year at times (like they did by Atlanta and Houston), and will have trouble winning the Central from Indiana and Milwaukee, but after those wins against New Jersey and New York, I'm giving them a pass. They are a team you can be proud to root for. They have a passion for the game. And I am going to stop my bashing of Carlos Boozer also. For a guy who gets paid max dollars, he doesn't act the diva and complain about being benched at the end of games, and works hard at being prepared to play his minutes. John Giovanni

Baseball fans saw what happened this past season with Stephen Strasburg, the wunderkund starting pitcher for Washington Nationals, as his team restricted his play with an innings limit due to his recovery from Tommy John surgery. When Rose returns, are we going to see a similar minutes limit? What’s realistic? Or is this going to be a scenario when Derrick only returns when the doctors clear him for 30+ MPG? I’m not suggesting Reinsdorf would shut Rose down in any case, but what’s your feel? I have a feeling a minutes limit will be dominating sports talk in Chicago post-All-Star break. Ashok Selvam