What's going on, everybody? I'm coming at you live from the O-rena in Orlando. Let's get this thing started.
With the recent slide the Bulls are on, it seems like they need to make a change and fast. With the new acquisitions it seems like they are pushing the Ball more, but why are they not trying to run every chance they get?
Jeff, I think VDN and his staff are still trying to figure out exactly what move they want to make with the roster. The problem is that they are dealing with so many injuries right now that they have to play different styles almost every night.
Hey Nick...if the Bulls make the playoffs this year, do you think that buys Vinny another season at the helm or will that not really factor into whether or not he's back next year?
Dave, It certainly can't hurt VDN's cause if the team makes the playoffs. Ultimately though, I don't think it will have as much impact as it might have a few weeks ago. There's no getting around the fact that the Bulls have been bit by the injury bug hard. If the organization decides to make a change it will be because they don't feel like Del Negro is the guy who can get them to the next level.
Nick, I just want to get your opinion on Taj Gibson. I see him as a solid backup PF. Do you see him being the Bulls starter next year and years to come?
Carlos, If you had asked me that question earlier in the season I would have said Taj would probably be a solid backup as well for years to come. But, the more I watch him play the more I think he has a chance to become a solid starter in this league for a while. He's young, he plays solid defense and is jumper is improving. If he stays healthy he has a chance to become a double-double guy every night.
Does Deng have a Grade I or Grade II strain? How long will he be out?
Amit, VDN said he had between a I and II strain. Luol said after shootaround today that he hopes he can come back by Tuesday's game in Memphis.
Hey Nick, Just wondering... have you ever asked Derrick about his defense, or scene vinny in shoot-around say " Derrick you're going to have to step it up defensively." When he first came out of college he was raived about as an awesome defender. I'm one of his big fans, but i guess disapointed at times on the defensive end when I see all the potential physically he has. Thanks Nick.
Isai, Derrick knows he has to work on his defense and the I have no doubt the coaching staff is helping him along in that process. I haven't seen VDN specifically call him out about it, but I think that's a good thing for the time being because Rose is still just 21 years old and is still trying to figure out how to defend in this league.
Nick...i've been having this debate with my friends and wanted to get your thoughts...you mentioned that making the playoffs this season won't really affect our chances at free agents, but in your opinion, is it more beneficial for the Bulls to sneak into the playoffs, even if it means a 1st round exit, just to get the young guys playoff experience or would they be better off missing out on the playoffs, ending up with a lottery pick (maybe even a top 3 with some more crazy luck) and then having another asset in the offseason for either a sign-and-trade or drafting a player w/ a chance to really contribute?
Playoffs. Playoffs. Playoffs. Any experience D. Rose and company get in a playoff setting will only help them down the line. A playoff berth is even a little more important now because the Bucks have the ability to trade picks with the Bulls this season after the John Salmons trade.
With Noah, Deng, Hinrick, Gibson, and Miller all hurt which younger guy, besides Rose, do you expect to step up and tak some of the slack?
The guy who is going to get a few more minutes is James Johnson. He is the player the Bulls need to have step up, especially if Deng has to be out for an extended stretch. Look for Johnson to get a major opportunity tonight against the Magic.
nick, with deng out are we going to see any Joe A or are we still going to see the three guard lineup with Flip
I still don't think Alexander is going to see much time, if at all. I would expect to see a lot of Murray, Warrick and Pargo off the bench.
Do you think the Bulls should have tried to do more to free up even more space for next year or do you think they did all they could realistically do?
Murf, The only other move they probably could have made was to unload Hinrich but I don't think they really wanted to do that. They got enough space cleared out so that they can make a run at a big time free agent. If there is a chance to sign another guy this summer in a sign and trade, I'm sure they will find a way.
Hey Nick, how low can the Bulls go? I don't see a winnable game in the coming weeks.
Derrick, It's not going to get better any time soon. The Bulls have a tough stretch over the next week and I'd be surprised if the losing streak didn't reach at least 9 or 10. Having said that, if the Bulls can get Noah back and play a little better, a playoff berth is still attainable because the schedule gets a little easier heading into April.
Hi Nick, who do you think is a better fit for the Bulls: Boozer or Amare?
If I were picking between those two guys I would say Boozer. The reason why is because he is much more focused on defense than Stoudemire. I think he would be a nice fit with the Bulls if they can't land Wade, James, Johnson, Bosh, etc.
Is it safe to say that the Bulls and Ben Gordon both miss each other equally? As a Celtics fan, I'll tell you that last year's playoff series was what it was because of the shooting wizardry of Gordon. He scared me every time he touched the ball. The Bulls are really missing that threat this year.
Anthony, I'd agree with that. But, looking back, while the Bulls certainly miss Gordon badly this year, I think they were smart in not signing him to such a long-term deal because it allowed them the ability to be a part of the free agent bonanza this summer. If I were running the Bulls though, I would have probably kept Gordon and found a way to deal Hinrich, but that's just my own personal opinion.
Bill Simmons, a colleague of yours, says he "would bet his life" that Lebron is going to Chicago. Why do you feel differently?
First of all, I never saw where Bill actually made that statement. Either way, I just don't think he's leaving Cleveland. His situation is too good there. It's home. The team is solid. They can give him more money. He has single-handedly turned the franchise around and I think he would like to see it all the way to the end. The list goes on ... I just don't see him leaving the Cavs.
If the Bulls can't land James, Wade, Bosh, or Johnson, would it make sense to save the cap space and make a run at Melo in 2011? Neither Boozer nor Amare deserve max contracts. The Bulls need a scoring threat and Melo would finally get national attention in a big market. What are your thoughts?
Mark, For most of the same reasons I just discussed about James, I don't think Carmelo is going to leave Denver. The Nuggets are really, really good and have a chance to knock off the Lakers if they add one more piece. I think Melo enjoys himself there and I don't really think he wants to go anywhere else right now.
do you think the bulls should go after boozer? hes expressed a lot of interest in the bulls and im sure hed sign for a good price
Like I said, I think Boozer would be a nice fit, but I don't think he will be a top priority like Wade, James and Bosh. Also, what makes you think he'll sign for a good price? I think he wants to get paid just like everybody else.
Nick, I hear you're from Orlando. How does it feel to be home?
It's awesome. Although, I've never had so many people ask me for tickets to a game in my life. I can't get any tickets, so find your own way in, guys.
Do you expect any retaliation for Howard's foul on Derrick last month?
No, I don't. I think Rose and everyone else involved knows that Howard was just trying to make a play on the ball. I'm sure all the TV crews will replay the incident, but I don't think the players are putting much stock into that at all.
How far do you expect Syracuse to advance?
If Onuaku is OK, they're still going all the way -- even though I know they lost today. They'll be fine. Boeheim will get them back into shape.
Do you think the Bulls have already made up their minds about whether they want Vinny back?
Annie, very good question. It sure seems that way, but I don't think anyone knows that answer for sure. If the Bulls continue to fade down the stretch badly, the decision to make a change will probably be made much easier for the organization. But, like I said, no coach could do much better right now with the situation that VDN finds himself in with all the injuries.
Is tonight's Bulls starting lineup the worst you've seen from any tema this season?
No way. The Bulls still have D. Rose. Any starting lineup that features him in it can't be THAT bad.
Am I crazy for thinking that Joe Johnson may be a better fit for the Bulls than Wade? Don't get me wrong, Wade is clearly the superior player, but he dominates the ball in Miami. Can we be sure he'd be that good off-the-ball? Wouldn't Johnson's 3-point shooting spread the floor a bit more for Derrick? Thanks, Nick.
Bryan, You're not crazy. But, I am sure that if the Bulls had the choice they would take Wade 100 times out of 100 and figure out a way to have Rose and Wade play together.
Can you imagine Stephen Curry next to rose....deadly right? or is it another Gordan???
That would be a great pair, but both guys would need to improve their defense or else that team would give up a 120 points a night and get crushed on the perimeter.
Silvy says they need a SG like Wade; Waddle says big man like Bosh. Who's right?
A case can be made for both. But if I had to pick just one guy I'd still take Wade. He can totally dominate the game whenever he wants. The same cannot always be said about Bosh. I'm sure he would help a great deal but I think the Rose/Wade pairing would be too good to pass up.
Nick, aren't your legs sore from running through my dreams all night long?
HA! I didn't realize I was that popular in Oronoco, MN. I think it's time for me to get out of here. Thanks for all the questions. Maybe the Bulls will have actually won a game by the next time we speak next week ...