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Greetings from Phoenix!
The weather here is miserable. The Chicago Bulls are totally frustrated. Needless to say, this has not been a solid start to the road trip for coach Vinny Del Negro and company.
The problem is that it's only getting tougher from here. They've got back-to-back games against the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets on Friday and Saturday and still have to play the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Hornets. Yikes.
To take your mind off of all the possible gloom and doom lurking over this road trip, let's dive right into the first edition of the Bulls mailbag ...
Word is that one reason the Bulls haven't made trades is because teams involved (Houston, Toronto Raptors) want Joakim Noah. Are the Bulls open to giving up Deng instead?
Byrdbz (Washington, DC)
First of all, let's get one thing clear from the start: The Bulls are not going to trade Joakim Noah any time soon. He is well on his way to becoming one of the best centers in the League and is averaging a double-double every night.
Now that we've got that straight, I would think the Bulls would be open to giving up Luol Deng if the deal was right, but who is going to want to take that contract in return? He is guaranteed more than $51 million over the next four years. Do you think a lot of teams will be excited to talk about that contract? Didn't think so.
How active are the Bulls in the trade market?
Christopher (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Speaking of the trade market, like most teams I think the Bulls are kicking all the tires and trying to figure out where they can upgrade and/or clear more space off the books in advance of this summer's free agent class. The rumors have been floating around Tyrus Thomas and Kirk Hinrich for a while and it will be interesting to see what happens over the next month. I would guess that the Bulls will make some kind of deal before the deadline.
Do you think it's time for Tyrus Thomas to find a new home? He is good off the bench when he wants to be, he just has to throw that mid-range "jumper" out of the window.
Joe Jao (Buffalo Grove, Ill.)
I feel like "The Tyrus Question" has become this season's version of "The Ben Gordon Question" from last year. Aside from trying to figure out who the Bulls are going to sign this summer, people want to know what the team is going to do with Thomas. I've said this before and I'll say it again now. There's little doubt that Tyrus is inconsistent and can frustrate fans and coaches alike. But, I think most people forget that he is just 23 years old. 23!
Unless the Bulls are positive that they can no longer wait around for him to get better, I think it would be best for them to just wait this season out and see if he can mature on the floor at all. As for the jumper, he hasn't been hitting it much over the past few weeks, but Wednesday night against the Clippers he hit several. So, as usual with Tyrus, you never know what to expect.
Do you think D-Rose will be able to develop a good 3-point shot? It seems as if he could consistently get more arc on his shot, his range will only get better. He will be better than, let's say, Jason Kidd, right?
I do think at some point in his career Rose will be able to develop a solid 3-point shot. He works hard on his game and is usually the last guy in the gym taking jumpers after practice. Having said that, I don't think that particular shot is a priority for him at the moment. He seems to be focusing more on the mid-range jumper and the floater. But yeah, I do think he will become a better shooter than Kidd is as his career rolls along. Much like Thomas, Rose is still just 21. He has a long time to improve.
It's been a problem for the Bulls for the past couple of years... why can they play up to the teams that they "shouldn't" beat and then later play down to teams they "should" beat? Drives me nuts!
Joe Jao (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Joe makes a second appearance this week because his question is one that has been asked by numerous fans across the city. The problem is that there is no clear cut answer to this question. Relating specifically to this season though, I don't think there are many teams on the Bulls schedule where you know for sure that they can get a win. There aren't many teams that they "should beat." For the most part there are either teams that clearly have more talent or are usually evenly matched with the Bulls. Maybe in a year that changes. But for right now, every game is going to be a battle, to borrow a favorite phrase from VDN.
All right, thanks for all the questions, everybody! Send in some more this week.
In the meantime, I'll leave you with this question -- When we talk again next week, what will the Bulls record be on this road trip?