Ask Sam | 01.29.10

Sam Smith opens his mailbag to respond to the latest round of e-mails from his readers.

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You mentioned how both Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah might be suffering from plantar fasciitis. Second, you talked about how a couple of teams have done studies on sleep deprivation and its effect on game readiness. That second part lead me to think, have teams conducted studies on current shoe styles and their relation to plantar fasciitis (which I understand is still a relatively mysterious condition)? I bring this up because I recently read "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. In the book, he writes of several university studies that seem to point towards the fact that shoes might have become TOO technologically advanced, actually cushioning and supporting our feet so much that we've started to run unnaturally, heel to toe. Just kick off your shoes and run 15 yards barefoot and you'll see that you naturally run on the balls of your feet and running heel to toe is uncomfortable. The book's focus is long distance runners but I think the same would hold true for any sport with sustained running and movement. The #1 indicator of whether a person was likely to suffer injuries was the cost of the shoes they were wearing. The surprising part...the higher the shoe price, the more likely someone was to suffer injuries. I'm assuming most NBA players wear the high end shoes with air pockets, extra heel padding, and whatever else shoe companies have come up with lately. I'm hearing about plantar fasciitis more and more in the NBA so I was wondering, do you know of any teams or any particular players who prefer low-end simpler shoes?

Scott Orr

Sam: It’s the shoes, eh? I’ve actually wondered about this also since you hear Phil Jackson making fun of Ron Artest’s shoes from a China manufacturer with Artest also suffering from the affliction. It’s somewhat common in the NBA as many players have experienced it over the year. I haven’t talked to any team doctors about this, but I did talk to Gibson and Noah. Gibson wears Nike’s, which are the most popular in the NBA. But Gibson did switch styles. Gibson said he was wearing a style called Hyperflex, which was, well, more hyper flexible. He switched to a model called Blue Chips, which is harder to bend and he said it’s helped his condition. Noah wears a French shoe brand, Le Coq Sportif. The “Rooster,” he calls it. Noah also is very protective of his shoes and his country. When I asked if the shoes were an issue, he said quickly and boldly: “Definitely not. These are the best shoes in the whole world. They’re roosters. I like my shoes. I’m hoping it’s not the shoes.”

Chicago sports talk has taken this Amare to the bulls and talked about it up and down, but I have to question about this,

1st. The talk show host are saying if you were to trade Hinrich, Ty Thomas and Pargo for Amare and Amare then leaves at the end of the year the bulls would have enough cap space to sign 2 max players , I don't see how that works , are they correct?

2nd. Say Kerr pulls a Danny Ainge and helps his old team by doing the above trade, would the Bulls own Amare's bird rights and then be able to first sign say Wade to a max deal and then resign Amare to a max deal because you go over the cap to resign him?

Frank Coleman

Sam: I am glad sports radio is talking Bulls and the NBA for a change. They must have taken a 10-minute break from discussing Bears assistant coaches. I travel around and listen to sports radio and I never have heard such a limited concentration of topics as you hear in Chicago. That said, you don’t want to go by any “facts” you hear on sports radio. If you did that deal, you would not have close to the amount of money for two free agents if Amar’e left. Actually, you’d just then have enough for one. As it stands now, the Bulls have to make another deal to bring in an expiring contract to have the money for one full maximum deal, and they will do that, I am quite sure. Steve has no interest, as far as I know, of helping the Bulls. If he were to do that, which he won’t, he’d help the Cavs as Danny Ferry is one of his closest friends. And they do like to do deals together. I would watch for that on some level. If you trade for a player, he brings his Bird rights to resign with you for the maximum, which is why if you trade there’s a good chance the guy may not opt out. The complication is until you sign the player he’s under a “cap hold” which is about 150 percent of his salary, so your cap is filled and you have no chance to sign another player, like you propose. Plus, if your roster is under 12, you have to have cap holds for minimum players who are not yet on your roster, which also takes away from your ability to sign another player. As you can see, it will be hard to just get one guy.

Isn't it kind of funny that if the Bulls do trade for Stoudamire, they essentially have what Krause envisioned with Curry and Chandler--an offensive powerhouse teamed with a defensive powerhouse. That said, outside of his injury history, is there any reason the Bulls wouldn't make that trade for Amare sending anyone short of Rose/Noah? For years the Bulls have said they needed a low-post scorer--apparently they're hard to get. If one's available, why not get him? Don't forget, the Bulls won 47 games one year with Curry at center and Antonio Davis at power forward. Isn't an Amare/Noah combo better than that?

Chris Feldman

Sam: There are millions of reasons why the Bulls wouldn’t make that deal. Let me be clear about this: The Bulls will not trade for Stoudemire! First of all, he’s not who you or Dennis Green thinks he is. He’s not a post player. He’s a face up jump shooter and pick-and-roll slasher. He’s arguably the poorest big man defender in the NBA and one of the worst rebounders for someone his size in the NBA. Have you checked his rebounding totals of late? He gets generally five and six a game. He’s got a history of serious injury and isn’t anywhere near as explosive as he once was. He’s not a bad person, but he’s a selfish player. Plus, you can likely get him in free agency next summer if you want him, so why give up players? The Suns have been getting, from what I’ve heard, very limited offers. If he is such a star, how come he’s been on the market for two years and his team is barely holding onto a playoff spot?

There has been a lot of rumors concerning Amar'e Stoudemire. I'm not sure about whether or not the bulls should pursue him.
 He is without any doubt one of the better players in the league and would make a good rebounding frontcourt paired up with Noah. He would also provide that low post scoring threat. However I don't think you make yourself a real contender adding him to the team. Obviously it is a risk to wait for the free agency, but you have a shot at the big prizes that would make you into a real contender: Lebron, Wade and maybe Johnson. By the way the suns would want Deng in the deal.
What is your recommendation to the Bulls if they have a shot at Stoudemire?

Thomas Wellens

Sam: My recommendation squares with what I believe is the Bulls trade plan: Just say no. I know the issue is a worry about getting shut out next summer, but I see Stoudemire as a sort of a booby prize, somewhat like Carlos Boozer. You likely can get one, but who knows where either gets you and whether they’ll be healthy very much as both have missed years of their deals and not months. I’d take a shot in trade at Bosh if he is available because he clearly is an A-list guy along with Wade and LeBron. The way the Bulls have played of late, maybe they have a chance for a nice finishing kick and could interest a better player. Given how much the Bulls have sacrificed to take a chance for that, I think you have to ride it out for now. That said, I wouldn’t object if the Bulls could trade for someone like Rudy Gay or set their sights on someone like Joe Johnson and committed to him even at the expense of, say, Wade because Johnson would be a good fit.

Is there any way to trade luol deng while his stock is higher. Getting rid of that salary would be great especially if we could get a star player in return like bosh or stoudemire. How about deng and thomas to toronto for bosh. That gives toronto 2 young good players for someone who may leave next year for nothing. This would also give the bulls enough cap space to sign another max player over the summer, if they get rid of salmons.

Richard Sebastian

Sam: Deng is having a very good season and has been one of the most consistent players on the team. He’s proven to be a good rebounder and scores without much offense directed his way. That said, if the Bulls could get Bosh for that package I’m quite sure they’d do it. I doubt Toronto would at this point. Toronto will figure if Bosh wants to go to Chicago, they could get that deal after the season in a sign-and-trade. You figure if Toronto is dealing Bosh, they’d look for a defensive big man. Now if you’d include Taj in a deal, I could see Toronto going for that. But if I were the Bulls I’d worry about weakening my team too much. The plan, to me, should be to keep as much of the current core as you can and add to it. If you don’t get LeBron, really, you probably aren’t a championship team yet and might still need other pieces beyond even what you have now. So I’d be cautious about giving up too much of what I have now. Let’s remember. With a decent supporting cast, Bosh’s teams are under .500 combined the last two seasons.

Please tell me the Bulls are not serious about dumping Hinrich for cap space? If so, they are clearly not keeping track of the free agent market. Bosh looks like he will end up with Wade in Miami. Lebron looks to stay with the Cavs. Now, with Amare on the trade block the free agent market becomes Johnson, Boozer, and Lee. If the Bulls can't sign Johnson they will have let Gordon and Hinrich go for the right to pay Lee or Boozer a max contract! The Bulls would also have a massive void at SG and no cap room. I'm not a huge Kirk guy, but he plays well next to Rose. I would prefer to move the expiring contracts at the deadline to improve the team rather than gut the team and beg a free agent to come this summer.

Karl Maszaros

Sam: I don’t believe, at least for now, the Bulls are planning to move Hinrich. Yes, he’s certainly done well starting with Rose and as I noted in a column this week the team’s numbers reflect his importance with and without him. I wouldn’t count anyone out quite yet even though your scenario is the conventional wisdom. The Bulls are not going to move the expiring deals because they are committed to pursuing someone major this summer. If they cannot make another move and can’t get to the maximum number to pay a top free agent by the trade deadline, Hinrich could be moved. But I don’t believe it’s a priority to move him out.

I just saw this "rumor" on ESPN Insider (although, as is often the case, it seems to be more of a fan proposal than an actual rumor), and I found it interesting. The rumor has Kirk Hinrich going to the Lakers (stop me if you've heard that before) and three expiring contracts coming back to Chicago: Jordan Farmar, Adam Morrison, and Josh Powell. Personally, I like this deal. I think you get a temporary back-up point guard in Farmar and a little bit extra depth at the center position with Powell. And if the Bulls end up finding a taker for Salmons, newly acquired Devin Brown could start at the two and the Bulls could use some combination of Morrison and James Johnson in mop-up SF duty. Plus this deal would all but ensure the Bulls being able to offer a max contract in the offseason. So my question is two-fold: one, does this deal have any chance whatsoever of happening, and two, would you do it if it did? I love Kirk, and he's looked fantastic on this road-trip, but I think I'd pull the trigger if I could.

Ben Mebane

Sam: I’m glad you put “rumor” in quotes since that’s what it is, at least for now—made up speculation. Actually, it’s not that much made up as copied from one of my suggestions a few weeks back of deals that were possible. And I mentioned at the time I also heard suggestions like that from readers. The Bulls have not had any discussions with the Lakers about that scenario. As I said above, if the Bulls became desperate closer to the deadline of not being able to have enough money for a max deal this summer, anything but moving Rose or Noah is possible. If the Bulls do deal Hinrich, they will have to get a guard back because they don’t want to give up the season, but I’ve also heard the Lakers are loath to take on another contract because they are over the luxury tax and if they were to take Hinrich’s deal, it would cost them $18 million annually because his deal is doubled by being over the tax. I frankly doubt they would.

The salary cap situation as you've laid out does make it seem like Hinrich may need to be dealt in order to sign a max free agent but I think this is long-term bad for the team. The other options to clear salary are much better, like trading Salmons and others instead. Trading Hinrich, unless it brings in a valuable player, would be bad for the Bulls on the court as well as on the books. Hinrich not only plays very well with Rose but also takes pressure off of him on not only defensively, as Hinrich is a fantastic defensive player, but also on offense as Derrick doesn't have to start the game as the only ballhandler. Kirk is also our point guard insurance for when Derrick needs a rest or, God forbid, if he were to get injured. I know Kirk is a starter in this league and should be, but he's accepted coming off the bench before and his style of play would allow him to fit with the team no matter who the Bulls sign. If I'm not mistaken, Hinrich’s contract actually decreases in salary every year. Even with a superstar the team will need capable veterans and role players and the good ones don't come cheap. Considering Kirk's ability to defend, play point and also shoot he's a pretty good player and in the final two years of his contract Hinrich will be a bargain. Shouldn't his contract be seen now as an asset for that reason? Does the Bulls front office recognize this and has anyone acknowledged the value Kirk's contract may have going forward?

Basharat Ahmed

Sam: Those are good points and why, in the end, I hope they can keep him. That decreasing contract is a good point because as he gets toward the end that expiring contract would be even more valuable if the Bulls wanted to make a move. I know people feel the Bulls won’t pay the luxury tax, but I don’t believe that. It is not an issue at all when you are trying to get under the cap to sign a free agent, so it won’t be an issue next summer. Every indication I’ve gotten is when they are closer, like with the White Sox, they’ll make the financial moves. The Bulls have always said they wouldn’t when they were not in position to make a title run, and it is almost impossible to get into the tax and then get far enough below for free agents, so it wouldn’t have made sense and been too big a risk for this season. The Bulls value Hinrich, and I know the coaching staff does as Vinny is a huge fan. So was Skiles, which must say something. The Bulls improved defense is no fluke. It has a lot to do with Hinrich’s play on the perimeter as you see him more often now playing the better guard, like Westbrook against the Thunder Wednesday, and Hinrich is the kind of player you just need tell what system you are playing that night, where you are overplaying, where you are pushing toward help. He’s a smart player and aggressive and of value to whatever team the Bulls would put forward for next season.

What's with the wraps on Derrick Rose's knees? Are those braces or just knee wraps? Does he have a history of knee problems, or is it just for style? He doesn't seem to have any knee problems watching that dunk against the Suns.

Ramon Lopez

Sam: They are a product of Derrick’s tendinitis. You may remember before his first season with the Bulls he missed some summer league with that issue. He has it, but it’s fairly common around the NBA. He also wears a protective shield under his uniform to avoid rib injury and when he’s getting dressed after a game he looks like a medieval knight taking off all his armor.

I’m sure that I’m in the minority in thinking this, but I think the bulls should try to add a couple really good free-agents this summer instead of one superstar. Can you provide your readers with a list of second-tier free agents (like Marcus Camby, Ginobli, etc.)

Bryant Williams

Sam: It is a minority because it’s generally considered you need stars. But the Bulls could have an edge here as maybe Rose is star enough, like LeBron or Kobe, to take on some high level extras like Gasol and win. Probably not for a few years, and given Rose’s nature I know he’d much rather have another great player to pass to. As I wrote in the Rose coverage, having Rose legitimized as an All-Star has to make Chicago that much more appealing, or at least reasonable for free agents. There are plenty of guys you talk about and you can get them anytime as consolation prizes. You try for the big teddy bear and then if you miss they give you something. But you have to try, and the Bulls are, and that’s the way to go.

I like the trade of Gray for Brown, but just want some clarification. Do you think the trade:

A. Guarantees that Hinrick and or Salmons get traded before the deadline.
B. Provides insurance in case a trade happens.
C. Simply strengthens the bench till the end of the season.
D. Was done so Gray could go to a club where he can be a solid starter and contributor
If that last one is the answer, then please let other teams know that we have some other fresh legs in Hunter that we would be willing to sacrifice for some other tired starter!

Jonathan Ramirez

Sam: I go with A and B mostly and some C. Hey, point A to B to C. It’s an insurance move when the Bulls make a move as they’ve got to, as I’ve reiterated, move another contract for an expiring deal for more cap space. I know the Bulls are considered perhaps a dozen different scenarios, so I don’t get into it much because it changes from day to day. I heard of one big deal they had a few weeks ago—and when I say big I mean more in quality than quality—but both teams added more terms and preferred to wait until closer to the deadline. But what it does tell me is there are things the Bulls believe they can do, so now are just waiting to see if something better comes along. The keys for this trading season are when McGrady moves and then if Stoudemire does and perhaps Bosh.

From what I've seen and read, I'm feeling optimistic about this trade. Do you think Vinny will trust Brown as a utility guard more than Pargo? Additionally, considering I know little about Brown's game, can you give me a side by side comparison between Pargo and Brown in the categories of defense, shooting, effort level, and ability to adapt? (what I mean by ability to adapt is the willingness to do whatever is asked of you. Using D-Rose as an example, although he's a budding star, you can see in his personality that he would just as soon come off the bench if it was for the betterment of the team.

Arman Tathi

Sam: I honestly don’t know Brown well as he’s bounced around and had irregular minutes for the most part. He’s an insurance piece, as I said, and for now I question if he plays ahead of Pargo, who doesn’t play much at all, because Vinny likes to support his regulars. But Brown is a bigger and stronger and seems to have a good attitude. He was very upbeat when I talked to him and seemed eager for advice from coaches as he’s been around the team. Pargo hasn’t had much of a season, but he also hasn’t played much to have a chance. I assume Brown gets his at some point, and Vinny will go with who produces.

What's the point about Rudy Gay? Did you just go there to have West say some complimentary things about Derrick, or do you think he would be a free agent steal/option as a hybrid four for the Bulls(?) as the other big three or four will be gone. Also, is it just me or does James Johnson looked like he's scared of his own shadow out there? It looks like every time he touches the ball he's fumbling it away before the defender even reaches for it. Embracing the cheerleader role seems positive, but it's as if he's assured his time will come. I don't think he should be so sure.

Mark Norman

Sam: I threw Gay’s name out there because I cannot believe in that market and with that financial philosophy they will match a huge offer, and I think Rudy will get one assuming James and Wade stay put. So if you’re Chicago or New York or New Jersey or someone, you throw big money at him. Fearing that, would Memphis move him now? It doesn’t appear they will as they seem enamored with some success once again and believe if you win they will come. We’ll see. As for Johnson, he does look like he has no idea what to do and how to play. I know he doesn’t play much, and a number of so-called high risk/high reward guys taken about there he was, like Earl Clark and Gerald Henderson haven’t done or played much, either. There’s no need to make a judgment on him now, but at some point you figure Vinny has to reduce his minutes again as he could lose all confidence. He should be in the D-League gaining a game that translates to the NBA and some confidence.

I really enjoy following Taj Gibson. His ability to rebound and play great team defense is awesome, especially for a rookie. Do you think with improvement in his jump shooting and maybe if he gained a few more pounds, Taj Gibson can be the next Horace Grant? Minus the goggles.

Chris Cabebe

Sam: Assuming he doesn’t get poked in the eye. Taj is shorter than Horace, and Horace really worked to build himself up. Taj comes in at an advanced age, but he’s been a marvel and deserves his starting job. I’ve had coaches tell me they think Taj and Noah could be the best interior defensive tandem in the league. Taj has been the surprise of the season and I wouldn’t doubt anything he could do now.

Hello from Cyprus! Unfortunately I haven’t watched a Bulls game live since last years’ series with the Celtics, as there is only one or two games live on tv every week and most of the time not a Bulls game. Sometimes when I read your Ask Sam column I find it really frustrating reading negative comments from some Bulls funs. I am disappointed they do not have faith in their team. What did they expected? Going to the Finals? We have a 0.500 team and we have to be satisfied if we are close to the 0.500 mark. I believe we can finish with around 45 wins if we keep this momentum. What is the realistic target for the Bulls for this year and the following 1-2 years and how do you think they can accomplish that?

Stefanos Panayiotides

Sam: I think I was optimistic in my preseason prediction after picking them to miss the playoffs last season, and they would have if not for the midseason trade. I think I said the Bulls could get fifth or sixth and maybe 44 wins, though I thought Salmons would work better at shooting guard. That prediction looks like it could be close, though things can change a lot come trading deadline. I think the Bulls can shoot for sixth or seventh in the East this season and become a team with one good addition that will compete for a top four spot in the next two years. From there it’s a lot of luck and good health and falling into the right cheap role player.

It's a fact that MJ has 6 rings and Lebron none, so it will take 6 years for LJ to accomplish as much in basketball as MJ, and very likely will never happen. However, "who accomplished more?" is not the same as "who was the better player?"; if it were, Russell and not MJ would be the greatest ever. Do you really think "who is the better player" is a no-brainer? You are right that nobody on LJs team could have started on MJs teams--but it's worse than that: nobody on LJs team could start on THIS year's .500 Bulls team. And yet one man will have taken this team of mediocrity to the league's best record for the second season in a row! (MJ did not do this with his early Bulls teams--probably nobody in league history has won so many games so relatively by himself). And any concern you had over LJ in the 4th quarter, with deferring too much, with FTs..... aren't these gone now? In close games doesn't he almost routinely dominate the ending, take the last 10 shots or so, score the last whatever he needs to score, and shuts down Tyreke Evans, Wade, Durant, even Kobe? Isn't MJ vs LJ a real question?

Sheldon Hirsch

Sam: No, because it’s all about winning. I’ve served on some committees for the Hall of Fame years back and I always remember as we’d go over resumes for nominations, the guys in the Hall of Fame always would ask how many championships the guy had. LeBron is terrific, perhaps the most difficult matchup in league history because of his size and abilities. It was like when Magic Johnson played. Who do you defend a 6-9 point guard with? Currently, I’d rate LeBron behind the likes of Oscar and West, who were as big or bigger stats producers as LeBron, but whose teams met better competition. LeBron hasn’t won a game in the Finals yet. So LeBron’s not even competing with Michael. He’s competing more with Rick Barry and Dr. J, and playing in a very watered down league in which you play high level competition just a few times a season. So, no, as of yet, it’s not even close.

Does Tyrus make everybody crazy? I mean one minute he is doing something incredible and the next he is turning the ball over or he is drifting on the perimeter. Do the Bulls keep him, trade him or save him for a sign and trade in the summer?

Jim Harlen

Sam: You can imagine because he does with you as well. The problem is when they see those flashes and see how good they can be when he’s doing that, I think they fear him leaving and the light bulb going on and getting second guessed forever. I’d say the Bulls look to make a move with him in the summer.

Yeah, another email about Tyrus Thomas. When Thomas says he's engaged what I think he really means is that he wants to hustle and show effort which isn't quite the same thing as engaged. Hustling and working hard is the easiest thing to do in sports. Especially if you know what to do. In fact hustling is trivial if you know what to do. Just do it. A player can have all the passion and desire to play hard, play for the team and to win but if a player doesn't know what to do at any moment of a game then either he is going to do nothing or do the wrong thing. Does this sound familiar? Tyrus Thomas knows how to block shots and jump for rebounds. When there is an opportunity to block a shot Thomas is all over it and looks like he is hustling and working hard. He knows what to do when it comes to blocking shots. When a rebound comes near him he leaps into action after the ball. When a three point shot goes up Tyrus stands there and watches until the ball hits the rim. He doesn't block out, fight off from being blocked out or run to the rim if there is no one near him. This is why his rebounding numbers aren't as high as you would expect given his athletic ability. It doesn't mean that he doesn't want to rebound or is lazy. He just needs to play smarter. How do you think Rodman got all those rebounds, especially late into his career? Was it just because he hustled? No, he was a smart rebounder and knew what to do. Hustling for rebounds was trivial for Rodman. I don't mean to pick on Thomas's ability to rebound, I was just using it as an example. Having said all this I believe Thomas is improving with experience and is worth keeping beyond this year. He seems to be learning and growing, all-be-it slowly.

David Yuen

Sam: You make quite the case for him. I can’t imagine why the Bulls wouldn’t want to give him a huge extension. You just don’t tell someone to play smarter. That’s really one of those got it or doesn’t things. I know he started playing basketball late, but he’s been in the NBA now in his fourth year and they practice and have shootarounds about every day and if you can’t figure out basics in that time, how are you ever going to get it? I know coaches and fans think it’s easier than it is, like yelling for soccer players to run. It is hard work. And it doesn’t seem that easy since as Skiles famously said Tyrus doesn’t do it. And then he has one of those great quarters that can carry you and you think, “Only if.”

If these last four games represent what the Bulls really are,
I'd have to lean more towards Carlos Boozer as the missing piece than a
scoring two (Wade or Johnson). Rose is emerging as a closer and Hinrich
is playing terrific all around ball. As good as Wade and Johnson are,
the Bulls backcourt production overall is very strong right now.
Boozer's scoring from the forward spot would balance their attack and it
should give them a better chance in the playoffs by having a guy inside
that can stop the bleeding when the other team makes a run. As we've
seen, it's tough to win in the post season as a predominately jump
shooting team. 

Tim Payne

Sam: I don’t disagree of the need for an interior presence, though I’ve always had my doubts about Boozer and probably would stay away if it were me. The guy conned the Cavs into letting him be a free agent with the promise he’s resign with them and left. Then he went to the Jazz and missed maybe 40 percent of his games until his contract season when he’s been playing again. He strikes me as full of con and if you pay him for a long term deal as he’s approaching 30 you could be watching him sitting around waiting to heal again. If you are spending that kind of money and have one shot at it you better be sure, and Boozer is the least sure shot out there, perhaps other than Stoudemire.

I love seeing Noah's emerging leadership in various forms, like when he shoved Tim Duncan out of their "huddle" during the Spurs game. However, the Spurs' announcers on the televised feed I was watching, pointed out that the Bulls were huddling with Del Negro on the court during a stoppage in play - it was not during a timeout. As such, my impression is that Duncan had a right to be there if he wanted to be. What are the applicable rules in this situation?

Tom Roberts

Sam: I don’t know of any such rule and Tim wasn’t violating any other than sportsmanship, which was the surprise. And it’s not like the opponents don’t know the plays. As soon as a team makes a play call, the opponent shouts out their version of it and what they call it so everyone knows what’s coming. Then it comes down to making a play, executing as the coaches like to say. I thought Tim was just having some fun, but the Bulls were serious about the game and about time since in the past they’d have been laughing with Tim. It makes a difference and why guys like Noah are so valuable. Jordan would have laughed, too, but then accused Duncan of disrespecting the legacy of Shaler Halimon and gone out and scored the next 25 points.

There is all this talk 
about this Wall kid from Kentucky. They say he's 
like Rose, but better? If thats even possible. Of Calapari's last 3 
star guards (Rose, Evans, Wall) who do you think is going to turn out 
to be a better player and star in the long run?

Paule Nowartsky

Sam: Rose. I haven’t seen much of Wall and I know Evans is a big time, strong scorer. But you never see the stuff Rose does with power and speed. Evans is pretty tough, but I favor Rose’s athleticism, and maybe we should wait until Wall wins a tournament game before his Hall of Fame election.

Now that both Arenas and Critteton are suspended for this season, is there a way to trade Hinrich and a throwin to the Wizards for Antwan Jamison? I've always been a big fan of his because he's a very creative yet consistent scorer and plays a lot bigger than he is.

Jay Choi

Sam: Maybe they throw in their championship trophies, too. I don’t see the Wizards making a deal that does anything for them this season given their season is about done. They have to make good trades now to have any chance to retain their jobs with new ownership coming. I’ve gotten suggestions regarding trading Hinrich for Mike Miller, who has an expiring deal, and that perhaps makes more sense for the Wizards.

Now that Rose is an allstar, and assuming that the bulls do relatively well in the playoffs and are successful moving salmons' contract for example, do you see any other franchise under the cap having better chances of signing one of the 5 marquee free agents next summer (james, wade, bosh, johnson and amare) than chicago? I know you said you think that wade and james will stay in miami and cleveland, but if they don't, do you see any other team more appealing than the bulls?

Paulo Ferreira

Sam: I think the Bulls have a good story to tell, though they felt they did in 2000 and that didn’t exactly work out. I believe they’ll get someone, though I cannot predict whom.

I’ve been a fan of a certain NBA team for almost 25 years. I watched them grow into one of the great basketball dynasties and, for almost ten years, play hard night in and night out. Then, when they trashed their roster, I got used to watching them lose game after game with a bunch of high school kids who were in way over their head. I could handle both of those scenarios because I knew what I was going to get. Now, though, they’ve put together a pretty good team that’s proven capable of beating just about everyone in the league, provided the best teams are having a bit of an off night. At the same time, they’ve proven they can also lose to the worst teams just as often. Now I never know what to expect. Can you help me sort this out? How am I supposed to react to a team that can be this good one night and this much of a train wreck the next?

Joe “Losing Sleep in Lakeview” Kraus

Sam: I’d say lucky you. How great is it to have all that drama almost every night, never knowing what will happen and how good or bad it would be. It has to be exciting just looking forward to it. Let me know the team.

I look back at the home games... I have noticed a good part (if not majority) of the time the Luvabulls wear colors that the opposing team is wearing or represents (during one half or sometimes both halves). i.e. They've worn blue against teams that have blue in their scheme. Just take a look back. I'm assuming this is by coincidence and dumb luck that the majority of the times the Luvabulls planned ahead for their wardrobe, it just falls like that. Do you think they should be a little more careful? Maybe they should just stick with the Bulls colors only. Good thing the Bulls are on a winning streak, since the United Center has been quiet at times and when the team doesn't hear the fans cheering, the Bulls may forget where they are playing just by seeing the opposing color on the sideline. Or am I just crazy? :-)

Keith Lasken

Sam: Luvabulls double agents. I should have seen it myself.


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