Updated: March 9, 2012, 3:17 AM ET

1. Will Bulls Regret Not Dealing For Dwight?

By Matt McHale
TrueHoop Network

Do the Chicago Bulls need Dwight Howard?

It's hard to say. Before their 99-94 home loss to the Orlando Magic on Thursday night, the Bulls had the league's best record despite a season-long plague of injuries to key players.

Yet that loss illustrated the dangers of Chicago's one-star system. Derrick Rose was flat broke (6-for-22). Ditto for Joakim Noah (3-for-7) and Luol Deng (1-for-9). Carlos Boozer picked up some slack by scoring 26 points on 12-for-20 shooting, but he has always been the kind of player who provides numbers without controlling tempo or dictating outcome.

It was enough to conjure visions of last season's Eastern Conference finals loss to the Miami Heat. When Rose couldn't convert down the stretch in that series, the Bulls were helpless. And, despite their impressive knack for compiling regular-season wins, there's nothing to suggest the outcome will be any different if the Bulls have another postseason showdown with the Heat.

But look! There's Howard, like a mirage in the desert, seemingly available if the price is right. Whether it happens by this season's trade deadline or during the offseason, it seems likely that Howard's time in Orlando is coming to an end.

So I ask again: Do the Bulls need Dwight Howard?

It's a "What if" game.

What if the Bulls don't try to acquire Howard and end up getting eliminated from the playoffs by the Heat again? What if the Bulls do acquire Howard, but it compromises their depth and ruins the team chemistry that makes them so great? Or what if they get him and they still aren't good enough to beat Miami? What then?

Therein lies the problem with true championship contenders. When a championship is the only outcome that will suffice, almost every "What if" leads to possible disappointment.

Whether the Bulls need Howard or not, it seems highly unlikely he will ever end up in Chicago -- Howard hasn't shown any interest in taking his talents to the Windy City and management appears satisfied with the roster as is -- which means the Bulls will have to hope their current roster will be enough to win a title. If it isn't and Howard does end up leaving Orlando, the Bulls may spend most of the next decade wondering why they didn't do everything they possibly could to make the Howard-Rose combination happen.

Matt McHale covers the Bulls for By The Horns, part of the TrueHoop Network.

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