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January 28, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Nick Friedell

Moderator
  (1:03 PM)

Welcome everyone. Nick is with the team in New Orleans and should be joining us any second.

Moderator
  (1:14 PM)

Sorry about this guys, I'm having trouble getting a hold of Nick. Give us a couple of more minutes.

Moderator
  (1:21 PM)

Guys, we're having trouble getting a hold of Nick. We're going to have him answer all of your questions in an extra mailbag tonight. Sorry about this inconvenience.

Moderator
  (1:22 PM)

Wait!

Moderator
  (1:22 PM)

Just found him. Sorry for the inconvience. He'll still give you an hour.

Nick Friedell
  (1:24 PM)

What's going on, everybody? Greetings from New Orleans! Sorry for the mini-delay. We are having a few connection problems down here. Let's get right to the questions ...

jack (ny)

is devin brown going to have any impact or he is just going to sit on the bench like gray.

Nick Friedell
  (1:27 PM)

Jack, I think Brown is going to have a much bigger impact than Gray did. He can shoot and he has the ability to play defense. I watched Gray airball a two footer last month at the end of a blowout and start laughing. Brown will actually help out in some way before the season is over.

Bobby (Macomb, IL)

Where did this recent consistency from Rose's jumper come from? I understand that he has been working on his floater and his jumper lately but is this just a hot streak or will he continue to make these shots from here on out?

Nick Friedell
  (1:29 PM)

Bobby,There's no question Rose is playing with a lot of confidence right now and that has a lot to do with it. But I do think this is more than just a hot streak. Rose is constantly working on his jumper after practice. He is usually the last player to leave the floor. I think the jumper will only get better over time because of that work ethic.

tim (chicago)

This bulls team really seems to have great chemistry now versus the start of the year. what do you think has been the biggest difference aside from rose's emergence this past month?

Nick Friedell
  (1:32 PM)

Tim,They are finally learning how to play with one another. Without question the number one reason is that Rose is playing with more confidence, but I think Tyrus deserves a lot of credit as well. Joakim Noah admitted last night after the game that when Turus is engaged in the game and giving the Bulls everything he's got, they are a tough team to beat.

Pavan (Dominica)

I hear a lot about the Bulls trying to trade Hinrich or Salmons, but shouldn't the Bulls just keep this team together for know and see how far they can go? Especially since the Bulls have been much better after Hinrich was inserted into the starting lineup. Don't they still have a lot of spending money for the offseason even if they don't dump Hinrich's contract?

Nick Friedell
  (1:36 PM)

Pavan,Yes, the Bulls are going to have a lot of money to spend this summer, but I still believe that if they are confident that they can actually sign TWO big name free agents and get significantly better they should deal Hinrich and/or Salmons if given the chance. The team is playing great right now, but in the end I still don't think they have nearly enough to win a title. Adding two mega-stars to a roster with Rose and Noah this summer would give them a better chance.

Sean (Skokie)

Would you rather make a deal of Bosh that you had to include Noah in? Or deal for Amare without including Noah but knowing you had to give him a max contract with his health issues?

Nick Friedell
  (1:39 PM)

Sean,First of all, the Bulls aren't moving Noah. He is too valuable to the team and has improved too much over the last year for them to do that. Personally, if it game down to giving Amare a max deal I wouldn't do that either. He is a very good player, but he's not as great as he can be right now. His defense is not consistent enough.

Jeff Henderson (Land Of Noah)

As great as Rose has been playing as of late I still feel that Noah has been the most integral part of their team. His attitude and determination is contagious and has helped turned the team around. What are your thoughts?

Mike Sage (Chicago)

Nick, why is there no love for Joakim Noah to make the All Star Game? He is putting up good numbers, his defense is great, and since Rick Smits retired the East is a wasteland of big men.

Nick Friedell
  (1:43 PM)

Guys, First of all, I think Noah is getting plenty of love around the League for an All Star berth. Unfortunately for him, I think he is going to come up just short, but that shouldn't discount what he has done this season. He has elevated his game to another level. He will get his due soon enough.

Corey (Chicago)

Derrick's crossover on Thabo last night was filthy, and his floater is becoming impossible to block. If he gets into the lane, its over. Can we now say this is 100% Derrick's team? If Vinny pulls him out of the 4th quarter anymore, I may throw my TV out the window.

Nick Friedell
  (1:45 PM)

Corey, I think the days of VDN pulling Rose out in the fourth quarter are over. Yes, the Bulls are Rose's team and he's knows this. The good news for Bulls fans is that he is slowly getting more comfortable in the role of being "the go-to guy" late in games. He actually seems to enjoy taking the big shots late now.

Dan (Glen Ellyn)

Do you see the Bulls making any big trades before the deadline? I would like to see a scoring 2 guard or power forward, but the team is really gelling right now.

Nick Friedell
  (1:49 PM)

Dan, I do think the Bulls will make another deal or two before the deadline, but like everybody else, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what that will be. The team is playing so well at the moment that people just seem to enjoying the turnaround at the moment.

Kevin (Park Ridge)

Although I think James Johnson is the best cheerleader on this team, I feel this guy can potentially be great in this league. When do you think JJ will get his shot on this squad?

Nick Friedell
  (1:53 PM)

Kevin,You are an optimist, my friend. James is one of the nicest guys on the team, but he isn't going to see any significant playing time until he starts playing better defense and hits his jumper on a more consistent basis.

Brandon (Chicago)

Has any player in the history of the league gotten more mileage from the pump fake than Brad Miller?

Nick Friedell
  (1:56 PM)

The only guy I can think of is Terry Catledge. He used to pump fake five or six times before putting up a shot. Seriously though, Miller deserves a lot of credit for his play over the last week. The main reason the Bulls won that game last Saturday in Houston is because he stepped in for Noah and played great.

D (the other side of the tracks)

What is the ceiling for the Bulls team this year with the current roster? Assuming we make the playoffs, which of the top four teams (CLE, BOS, ATL, ORL ) would we have the best chance at beating. Let's also assume a moderately healthy C's team.

Nick Friedell
  (1:59 PM)

D,I think the best this team can hope for with the present roster is to upset somebody in the first round and advance into the Eastern Conference Semifinals. They have the ability to do that. I'm not sure they have the depth to do anything more than that, though.

Rick (Chicago)

Other than Rose and Noah, who do you think has made the biggest difference on this team? Especially with this streak they are on right now.

Nick Friedell
  (2:02 PM)

If I had to pick just one guy, I'd probably pick Luol Deng. He has been solid in almost every game on the trip and has quietly played very well defensively. Kirk Hinrich has also played very well, though. To borrow a VDN cliche: "It's everybody. Everybody's chipping in."

Sean (Skokie)

Why in the world can't anyone convince Luol Deng to shoot more 3's? He's over 40% on the season and it's a much more efficient shot than his constant 20-22' jumpers. Plus that added space he would create by forcing guys to come out and guard him would increase his opportunities to pump-fake and drive.

Nick Friedell
  (2:04 PM)

Sean, Solid point. Luol just doesn't seem very comfortable taking that extra step or two back behind the line. I'm sure over the summer he will work on it even more, but fans should be happy with what he is giving the team right now no matter what. Don't forget that he is still playing with a fractured thumb.

Jay (VA)

What's the deal with Salmons? His scoring is way down. Is he in a slump or an over-achiever? Does he have any trade value?

Nick Friedell
  (2:06 PM)

Jay, I still don't think he's regained all the confidence he lost when he was benched earlier in the season. He's played a little bit better lately, but he's still not the same player he was when the Bulls acquired him last year. The only way he has significant trade value is if he declines the player option he has on his contract for over 6 million dollars next season. That's not going to happen, though.

Franky J (Skokie)

Nick my man whats up brother love your work. Is D-Rose the best dunker you've seen on the bulls since M.J.?

Nick Friedell
  (2:08 PM)

Franky, He's one of the best in-game dunkers I've seen in a long, long time. I still can't believe that dunk he had last week in Phoenix. Crazy. I asked him last night why he wouldn't get in the dunk contest. He said he wasn't creative enough. I don't buy it.

rick (chicago)

how is the team looking after 4 win in row

Nick Friedell
  (2:10 PM)

Rick, This really is the most confident the team has looked all season. They come into each game expecting to win right now instead of hoping. There is an air around the locker room that is much different than in the last few months. They are playing their best basketball of the season right now.

Harrison (Buffalo Grove)

Nick, with Derrick looking like a closer for DA BULLS, do you think Gar/Pax are changing their need for a 2 like Wade/Joe Johnson and may try to make a deadline push for Amare/or Bosh if available? Someone that will not demand the ball at the end of the game?

Nick Friedell
  (2:15 PM)

Harrison, I don't think Derrick's emergence as "a closer" is going to change the front office's thinking much, if at all. They know they need to find another scorer (or two) and they realize that they will only be better with a player like Wade/Johnson, etc. I'm sure D Rose would happy take a couple fewer shots at the end of games if it meant he got to play with Wade, Johnson, James ...

Jimmy (Chicago)

Why do you think Salmons won't opt out?

Nick Friedell
  (2:16 PM)

Who else is going to pay him over six million dollars to play basketball next season?

Chad W. (Dallas)

Is coach Del Negro off the hot seat now?

Nick Friedell
  (2:18 PM)

I don't think there's any question about that. I'm still not sure whether or not he'll be back next year, but I would be absolutely stunned if the Bulls decided not to let him finish out the season at this point. For as much grief as VDN has taken over the last few months, he deserves a lot of credit for keeping his team together and getting them back on track.

Nick Friedell
  (2:21 PM)

All right, everybody. I'm out of here. As usual, it was great chatting with you guys. I'll talk to you all next week. In the meantime, keep checking the site for all the latest news. If/when D. Rose or Noah officially makes the All Star team we'll be there to get their reaction. In the meantime, if you have any more questions for me, put them into the mailbag ... I'll be answering those questions in the next day or two. Talk to you guys soon!