Chat with Nick Friedell
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Nick Friedell covers the Chicago Bulls for both ESPNRadio 1000 and ESPNChicago.com.
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Nick Friedell (1:03 PM)
What's going on, everybody? The Bulls actually made the playoffs -- can you believe it? Let's get this chat rolling ...
Jeremy (Southside Chicago)
IF the Bulls beat the Cavs in the first round. Do you see LeBron coming to Chicago. Just slight chance if any?
Nick Friedell (1:05 PM)
LeBron isn't coming to Chicago. Forget it. Meanwhile, does anyone really believe the Bulls are going to beat the Cavs in a seven game series?
Jeff Henderson (Wesmont)
Being around the team like you are, what is Del Negro and the rest of the coaching staff focusing on for preparation to face the Cavs?
Nick Friedell (1:07 PM)
Jeff, They're trying to figure out what the rest of the NBA has been trying to figure out for years -- how to stop LeBron. I don't think you can though. But I'm sure VDN and company are going to put Gibson and Deng on LeBron and at least attempt to slow him down.
Nick, tell me there is a chance the Bulls can somehow pull off the upset?
Nick Friedell (1:09 PM)
Erik, you must be a Cubs fan. Look, I actually think the Bulls are going to be competitive in this series and I really do think they will win at least one game, maybe two. But, I don't see any way the Bulls pull off the upset. The Cavs have a better supporting cast and a deeper bench. Rose and Noah have been great, but there is no answer for LeBron.
sam (my bed)
what is the importance both physically and emotionally of joakim noah to this team?
Nick Friedell (1:12 PM)
Sam, First of all, do you really live in your bed?The answer to your question is this: incalculable. Rose is without question the most talented player on the roster but Noah is the heart and soul. When he is out the Bulls don't have much of a chance to win at all. He gives the team a spark that no one else can.
Hey Nick, what do you think maybe putting JJ on Lebron some? He seemed to do a pretty good job when guarded him the 3rd time we played them.
Nick Friedell (1:14 PM)
Ryan, I like Johnson but I don't think he is ready for a matchup like that. LeBron would eat him alive if he is matched up with him.
Mark from the 60623 (Denver)
How big will the experience the Bulls got in the 7 gmae thriller last year be this year? Also, (considering part one of the question) the Bulls chemestry on the floor seems to be peaking and they fought just to get into the playoffs, are they primed for emotional burnout or build on the toughness?
Nick Friedell (1:17 PM)
Mark, I think last year's experience will prove to be very big for guys like Rose and Noah. Nothing about this playoff experience will surprise them. I agree the chemistry on the floor is peaking. The team is focused only on each other at the moment and has done a good job in blocking out all the craziness around them. I think they are emotionally ready for this series.
Nick,What is your take on the VDN and Paxson shoveing match?
Nick Friedell (1:19 PM)
Two feisty guys who obviously don't see eye to eye and haven't in a very long time. This story isn't going anywhere and I fully expect it to linger for the next few months even after VDN is replaced, in all likelihood, after the season.
Jason (Good Ole Gurnee)
Nick, through all of Vinnys struggles I really think hes done a fine job with the Bulls. A young team witha rising star in D. Rose and he gets them to the playoffs in his rookie and sophmore year of coaching. And the sophmore year was full of injuries. I feel Pax has never given him a chance to succeed and we should keep him around. Your thoughts?
Nick Friedell (1:22 PM)
Jason, As I've said many times, I think Vinny has done a solid job this season given all the circumstances. This team could have easily folded its tent but VDN continually got them to keep playing and there is something to be said for that. Having said all that, I think the decision to fire Vinny was made a while ago, long before all the speculation regarding an altercation between the two started. I just don't see any chance of Vinny being back next year.
What are the chances the Bulls can get Eddy Curry back after 2011 to fill the role of always injured but never motivated bench warmer?
Nick Friedell (1:23 PM)
Oh, you mean the role Jerome James played so well here this season ...
Adam (Upland, IN)
Nick, do you think Luol has been playing as bad as I do? Not only offensively, but defensively...I'm not excited to see him try and guard LBJ. Do you think James Johnson will get more time to see him on Lebron? I think he's our best matchup on the MVP...
Nick Friedell (1:26 PM)
Deng is hurt and has been for a while. That's why he has been struggling more lately. Still, if it came down to Deng or Johnson I would rather see Deng on LeBron. Honestly, what makes you think Johnson is the best matchup against James? He hasn't played very well all year and he has a torn fascia in his foot.
Why has Hakim Warrick fallen to the end of the rotation?
Nick Friedell (1:28 PM)
That is a good question and one we've asked VDN about a lot lately. He says that it all comes down to matchups. I just don't think Warrick has done a good enough job consistently rebounding and playing defense the way Gibson has all season. Warrick gets pushed around underneath and VDN seems much more comfortable with Flip Murray on the floor alongside the other starters.
DRose will average 35 a game, LeBron will CHOKE and the Bulls will win the series 4-3. Ya, i'm reading the book The Secret and my boy from Angels in the Outfield, JP, once told me, "Hey, it could happen." No, i'm not drinking at work.
Nick Friedell (1:28 PM)
Is the Rocky soundtrack playing in your office, too?
Dave (Glendale Heights)
Hey Nick...looking back at such an up-and-down season this year, in your opinion, what was the high point for this team and what was the low point? Losing to NJ at home? Blowing a 35 point lead to Sac at home? Getting spooked by ghosts in OKC?
Nick Friedell (1:30 PM)
High point has to be that west coast swing in January when they won five in a row. That came out of nowhere. The low point has to be the 35 point collapse against the Kings. The team was in misery and that is when the scrutiny surrounding VDN was at a fever pitch.
Game 1 - Bulls surpise the Cavs (who are still trying to gel together after the Shaq injury, LeBron resting, etc.) and win in Cleveland.Game 2 - Deng slows down LeBron, gets him off his game a little. The other Cavaliers are forced to step up, but those jumpshots tighten up with the playoff lights being just a little too bright. Bulls, shockingly, take a 2-0 series lead.Game 3 - Bulls lose. You can't legitimately expect to sweep the Cavs.Game 4 - Bulls learn from Game 3, come out passionate and give it their all. LeBron might get his, but another key component of the Cavs has an off game, opening the door to a Bulls victory. Bulls lead series 3-1.Game 5 - Bulls lose. The Cleveland crowd and LeBron were just too much to handle for the Bulls. LBJ scores 40 .Game 6 - With the passion and energy of the UC crowd behind them, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah have absolutely monster games. Noah 20 /10 , Rose with a near triple-double (40 /9/7). Bulls shock the world and steal the series from the Cavs. Yep.
Nick Friedell (1:32 PM)
Wow. Vinny, is that you?
John ((Wicker Park))
Nick - If we get swept in bad fashion, how does that affect the offseason with regards to how the free agents analyze whether or not they'd consider coming to the Bulls? Is a minimum of a 5-game series necessary?
Nick Friedell (1:34 PM)
How the Bulls fare against the Cavs will make no difference in free agency. How the Bulls clean up the circus surrounding their coach and Executive VP will.
I think the reason why fans here and all over have been 'clamoring' for JJ for SOME minutes...is because we know Luol can't defend. Plus now, he's hurt so he's lacking on offense as well. We 'Fans' just think JJ is more agile and can stay with Lebron more athletically. And if he fails, then we can take him out.
Nick Friedell (1:35 PM)
Understood. But Johnson is hurt and he hasn't exactly proven to be consistent in any part of his game. I'd still take my chances with Deng.
Nick, right now my hopes aren't too high for the Bulls in the first round but should I be getting my hopes high for a possible D Wade D Rose combination next year?
Nick Friedell (1:36 PM)
No. Wade is not leaving Miami.
Jonathan Peak (Carbondale)
Do you think D Rose at times during the 82 game season just goes through the motions.... it seems like the past few games and last years playoffs he plays like a different man?
Nick Friedell (1:37 PM)
I don't think so. I think Rose enjoys playing the game too much to do that. He definitely steps his game up to another level at times, but I certainly don't think there are times when he just goes through the motions.
Would you agree with me that the key to the Bulls actually winning a game or two would be Brad Miller? I think his ability to bring Anderson and Ilguaskas and possibly Shaq away from the basket by making shots can open up the lane for Rose and help us win maybe a game or 2. Thoughts?
Nick Friedell (1:41 PM)
Miller is going to be a big key, but I think the biggest key for the Bulls revolves around Rose. If the team wants to compete, he has to elevate his game the way he did on Tuesday night -- every night. He has to be able to go off for at least 30 and open up the floor for the rest of his teammates.
Karim (Kansas City )
If VDN is gone next season, who do you think will replace him?
Nick Friedell (1:43 PM)
Anyone who tells you they know the answer to this question right now is lying. If the Bulls do decide to make the change I have no doubt that they will look at a bunch of candidates, but I have no idea who they would be at the moment. It's all speculation.
Hey Nick... Clearly Vinny is gone after the end of the season, but do you think that the pushing/tie-grabbing altercation could end up costing Pax his job too?
Nick Friedell (1:45 PM)
It might depending on what these independent lawyers find out. Paxson has a well-known intensity that has boiled over numerous times over the years. At some point he, or the team, may just decide that enough is enough.
Is Kirk also a big wildcard. If he's making shots and gets into Mo Williams defensively it will give the Bulls a huge boost.
Nick Friedell (1:46 PM)
Kirk is always a wild card. If he is making shots the Bulls are a completely different team. Like Rose, Hinrich ability's to hit open jumpers opens up the court for the rest of his teammates.
Will the rift between mgmt. and coach end up have long-term ramifications? I'm afraid FAs will vew the Bulls as a dysfunctional franchise.
Nick Friedell (1:48 PM)
I really don't think that is going to be a problem as long as the Bulls clean things up in short order. I think players around the league will look at the city first, then the players they will be playing with. The Bulls organization has proven over the years that it can win, so as long as they get back on track internally, I don't foresee this episode being an issue for any big time free agents.
Benny T. Bull ((West Side))
If you had your choice of hanging out with Noah at Lollapalooza or going out with the hottest Luvabull, what would you rather do?
Nick Friedell (1:50 PM)
Benny, Always good to hear from you my man. Noah is a cool dude and would probably be fun to hang out with, but I'll take the LuvaBulls any day of the week.
i dont know why you (the media) is not really respecting the bulls chances they actually match up well with the Cavs besides Lebron nobody really scares me of course Jamionson and maybe mo will but with the way Rose has been playing with Noah and *maybe Kirk it might be closer than you think
Nick Friedell (1:52 PM)
I already said I thought it would be closer than some people think. But in the end it boils down to this -- the Cavs have LeBron James. The Bulls do not.
Doc Rivers (Boston)
Am I coming home to Chicago to coach the bulls if i leave the Cs?
Nick Friedell (1:53 PM)
Doc, I think it would be tough for you to come back to Chicago right now since you and Vinny are such good friends. In a different year maybe, but not this summer.
Nick - Any idea what "Plan B" might be if the Bulls don't sign one of the big name free agents this summer?
Nick Friedell (1:54 PM)
Pretend that the entire 2009-2010 season was just a bad dream.
If Nick Friedell were GM, who would he chase in free agency, Bosh or Joe Johnson
Nick Friedell (1:56 PM)
Bosh first. Then Johnson. Bosh gives the team a low post scorer and would complement Rose very well. There's no doubt Johnson would too, but I would still go after Bosh first.
Nick Friedell (1:57 PM)
All right everybody, I am out of here. It was great talking with you guys as usual. I'll talk to you all again next week before Game 3.