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Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Mailbag: So, is he coming here or what?

By Nick Friedell

James
No one knows for sure where LeBron James will end up other than the man himself.
Let's take a dip into the mailbag and see what's going on. Take a guess which question was asked the most ....

Q: Nick, do you think the Bulls will honestly claim the rights to LeBron James? -- Matt, Iowa

A:The only people who truly knows the answer to this question is LeBron himself. Everything else is pure speculation/opinion. My opinion is that the Bulls have a 50-50 chance of landing LeBron. After all his tours to various cities, I really do think it will come down to whether he wants to play for the Bulls or Cavs. If he is truly serious about winning championships then there is probably no better fit for him than coming to Chicago. I just don't think he is going to be able to leave his home. He has too many close ties to people in Cleveland and Akron, and I think he will be a Cav for at least a few more years.

Q: Hey Nick, I love your work for ESPNChicago.com. I was wondering if you feel the Tom Thibodeau hiring affects LeBron James' decision. I've always felt LeBron was going to sign a three-year deal with Cleveland all along. -- Phil G., Willowbrook, Ill.

A:I don't think the Thibodeau hire affects LeBron's decision much one way or another. My colleague Melissa Isaacson reported last week that the organization felt essentially the same way. Obviously, the connections between James' representatives and Thibodeau's representatives (they are represented by the same group -- headed by power agent Leon Rose and basketball kingpin William "Worldwide" Wesley) can't go unnoticed, but I just don't think it's as big a deal as it seems. I could be wrong, but as I said before, I still think LeBron stays in Cleveland. The Bulls clearly liked what they heard from Thibodeau, and I think it forced them to act quicker than they had planned on once it became clear that the New Orleans Hornets were going after him as well.

Q: Hey Nick, I believe that James Anderson out of Oklahoma State is a good pick for the Bulls in this year's draft, but my buddies disagree. Can you contribute to this debate? Who would you pick? -- Leif, M., Bloomington, Ind.

A:Wow! A draft question? I am shocked. I didn't think many Bulls fans cared about the draft. Usually the only questions I get are about LeBron. Anyway, I think Anderson would be a good fit for the Bulls. I also think Larry Sanders (no, not that one, the one from VCU) would be a solid fit as well. The Bulls are just hoping to get lucky and land another Taj Gibson-like player. Still, if the organization lands LeBron or another one of these big-time free agents, nobody will care whom the Bulls draft.

Q: Nick, I think I'm a pessimist when it comes to the future of Derrick Rose. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy's talent, but I can't seem to get other terrific scoring point guards who had great starts to their careers and then all of the sudden the big drop off (Stephon Marbury, Penny Hardaway, Steve Francis). Is there anything that sets Rose apart from those guys? -- Darrius, Aurora, Ill.

A:I wouldn't worry about Rose much if I were you. He is one of the hardest working players in the league. His work ethic is what will set him apart. He wants to get better and the key is that he is willing to do whatever it takes to get to the next level. A few months ago, I think it was after the Phoenix game in late March, he told me he was headed back to the Berto Center to get some more shots up. How many other players in the league are willing to put in that kind of effort? Not many.

Q: So me and my friend are in this disagreement I need your help on. I say the Bulls will win it all next year if they get LeBron, my friends thinks otherwise. What do you think? -- AO, Palatine, Ill.

A:It will all depend on the other pieces the Bulls put into place around James, Rose and Joakim Noah. If James is the only person they add this summer, then no -- I don't think they can win a title next year. But if they add James and say Chris Bosh or Carlos Boozer, then yes, I think they can win a title next season. That will take a lot of creativity with the salary cap, though.

That's it for this week, guys. Send in more LeBron questions for next week's edition. And if you have any more draft questions send those in as well.

The next time we talk the Bulls will have already introduced their new head coach. The Thibs era is upon us.

Enjoy Game 7.