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October 1, 12:30 PM ET
Chat with Nick Friedell

Nick Friedell
  (12:35 PM)

What's going on everybody? I'm coming at you live from the Berto Center. Let's get this chat rolling ...

Nick Friedell
  (12:35 PM)

What's going on everybody? I'm coming at you live from the Berto Center. Let's get this chat rolling ...

Jeff Carey (LA)

Hi Nick. What is scaring John Paxson away from the Carmelo trade? It seems his foresight is significantly lacking. Melo could be reinvented in Chicago. Consider that the biggest knock on him and the Nuggets in the last five years was their lack of focus and instability, and yet somehow all those years George Karl avoided blame. Melo was the best player on Team USA at the Olympics and World Championships under coach K and won with Jim B at Syracuse. He needs discipline and focus from a strong coach. In a new system with Coach T and the leaders in place in Chicago he could be a MUCH better overall player than what we saw in Denver. Yes, giving up Noah would definitely hurt, but pretending he is more valuable than obtaining a potential future hall-of-famer is pure folly. Plus, getting the Luol Deng contract off the books would be huge for the Bulls. I don't get it. Why does Pax always sit on his hands in situations like this? (i.e. Garnett, Gasol)

Nick Friedell
  (12:40 PM)

The Carmelo rumors just won't go away so let's try to get them cleared up one more time. The Bulls just don't want to move Noah. They are getting closer to a contract extension and one should be done before the regular season begins. Melo is a great, great player, but as I've said repeatedly: How much closer are the Bulls to a title if they have to give up Noah, Deng and Gibson and/or Johnson picks and cash to land Melo? Noah is expected to be the anchor of Thibodeau's defense and I have a hard time believing he'd sign off on that deal.

Evan B (Champaign, IL)

Is it realistic to expect D Rose to be mentioned with Deron and CP3 in the top 3 PG's in the NBA right now?

Nick Friedell
  (12:42 PM)

Not right now, but he's getting very close. After another All-Star season or two he should be right there with them. He just needs to improve his shot and his defense (both of which he focused on in the summer)

Rey (Chicago)

How worried should the Bulls be about the Ronnie Brewer hamstring issue? During his intro press conference he said his hamstring was fine.

Nick Friedell
  (12:43 PM)

A little bit. He struggled with the hamstring issue in Utah and it's clear it isn't going away. Having said that, Thibs doesn't sound too concerned at all. He was on the floor walking through sets with Brewer long after practice ended yesterday.

Juan Fyve (Palatine)

What, other than Boozer staying healthy, do you think is the biggest X-factor for the Bulls being a serious contender this season?

Nick Friedell
  (12:45 PM)

1. Noah being able to stay healthy. 2. Brewer becoming the lockdown defender the Bulls need and proving, once again, that he can score 12-15 points a game, if needed, like he did a couple of seasons ago in Utah.

Nick Friedell
  (12:46 PM)

1. Noah being able to stay healthy. 2. Brewer becoming the lockdown defender the Bulls need and proving, once again, that he can score 12-15 points a game, if needed, like he did a couple of seasons ago in Utah.

Pavan (Atlanta)

How are the Bulls adjusting to Coach Thibs system?

Nick Friedell
  (12:49 PM)

I think they like him a lot, at least after the first few days. They know how hard he works and how much time he spends watching film so they know when he speaks they should listen. He is good about going around to each individual player before, during and after practice, and helping them with a specific aspect of their game.

Eli (Chicago)

I keep hearing about the improved jumper of Rose, but where was it in the FIBA games? Even with the closer 3 pt. line, he was shooting bricks for most of the tournament.(Aside from 1 game against Angola)

Nick Friedell
  (12:51 PM)

It's a long process -- that's the easy answer. I know he's spent a lot of time this summer working with on his shot with Thibs and his personal trainer. But nobody should expect him to come out and shoot 40% from behind the arc. It will be a little while longer before he truly gets comfortable with that shot.

gabe (bucktown)

how good will the bulls be this year? this is my first year watching!!!

Nick Friedell
  (12:53 PM)

Gabe, The Bulls are going to be very good this season, but I still don't think they make it out of the second round of the playoffs. They don't have enough right now to beat Orlando, Miami, Boston or the Lakers in a seven game series. You picked a good year to start following the team though.

Sergio (Chicago)

Hey Nick, big fan of your work. I wanted to know a couple of things: one being about the guys that are on the training camp roster like Scalabrine and John Lucas III if they are being considered for the opening day roster. Also, is there anything new on how Omer Asik looks right now?

Nick Friedell
  (12:57 PM)

Sergio, I think only one of those guys have a chance to make the opening night roster and my guess right now would be Lucas. But I don't think either will make any kind of serious impact any time soon. As for Asik, the coaches like him. He's physical and he doesn't mind throwing his body around in practice. He's still a project though -- I don't think he'll contribute much early in the year.

Darius (Chicago)

I know he's gone through this before (See: Bryant, Kobe), but how is Luol reacting to a summer highlighted by the Bulls trying to sign LeBron to replace him and more recently being offered as a no-brainer in the 'Melo trade talks? Any sign that his confidence might be down or that he feels unappreciated? And what are you expectations for him this season?

Nick Friedell
  (1:01 PM)

He literally started laughing about all the speculation when we asked him about it during media day. Like you said, he's been through it all before. I don't think his confidence will suffer much at all. As for expectations, if he stays healthy (and that's always a big if) he should score 20 points a game and get a lot of open looks with Rose and Boozer on the floor.

Nick (Wisconsin)

I disagree with your assessment of who is the team's "x factor" I think if you ever expect your team to do well then having players (Noah and Boozer) stay healthy is a given, I think the "x factor" is Deng. I think good ole Vinny misued Deng and got away from what Skiles did in making him a great player. I think if Thibs gets him back to that form as a 3rd option on this team, then we can be deadly.

Nick Friedell
  (1:09 PM)

Deng averaged about 20 points last season until he got hurt, what would you have had him do differently? He disappeared at times during games and as much as Vinny gets blamed, I don't think he should be blamed for that. Bottom line: If Noah gets hurt the Bulls are a completely different team. They lost 10 in a row without him last year. Rose is the best player on the team, but they have an insurance policy for him this season with C.J. Watson. They don't have one for Noah, unless you count an unproven Asik and an ancient Kurt Thomas.

pizzaken (Arizona)

Nick, Would the Bulls have the assets at the trade deadline to add a premier 2 that might be on a team looking to cah in their season? Would the newly aquired players be eligible to be traded?

Nick Friedell
  (1:11 PM)

I believe December 15th is the date when the newly acquired players can get dealt. I do think the Bulls would have some pieces, but in order to pull off a blockbuster somebody would have to take on Deng's contract. Obviously, that is going to be an extremely hard sell.

Adnan (Burbs)

I think the thing the team is going to miss the most with Hinrich gone, is how he would always give direction on the court about the offense/defense sets. Who is going to step up in that regard?

Nick Friedell
  (1:15 PM)

Noah is always going to be the vocal leader on the floor, but I think the person you're going to hear a lot more from is Rose. He is working on being louder. He has developed enough respect around the league so that now when he speaks, people listen.

Omer's coming yo (Chicago,Il)

I have always been a Asik fan since he was drafted.Is it really true he is giving Noah a hard time in practice? They didnt call him Lord of the paint for nothing in Europe

Nick Friedell
  (1:17 PM)

I haven't heard that Asik is giving Noah trouble, but it should be noted that Noah did praise Asik after practice a few days ago, telling the media that Asik was "huge" and they should get a ton of rebounds down low.

Sunny B (Chicago)

Do you believe Rose in his 3rd year will be like how D Wade was in his 3rd year? I see thier games becoming very similar. If this is the case, and he takes the "next step", won't we have our own big 3, in boozer, noah & rose?

Nick Friedell
  (1:20 PM)

The Bulls believe Rose is going to take the proverbial "next step" this season. They know he is probably the hardest worker on the team and is only going to improve. As for the Wade comparisons, the biggest difference at this stage of their careers was the fact that Wade was a better shooter and defender at this time. Rose knows he has to improve on those things and that's why he's been living in the gym all summer.

Dave (Glendale Heights)

Hey Nick...the Bulls led the NBA in rebounding last year, right? And they've now added Boozer, one of the better rebounding power forwards in the NBA, so would you expect them to repeat as the best rebounding team this season?

Nick Friedell
  (1:21 PM)

No question. The Bulls rebounding should still be the best in the league.

Ric (Chicago)

Other than the starters, which 5 man unit are you excited to see play together?

Nick Friedell
  (1:25 PM)

Ric, On paper, the Bulls have one of the deepest benches in the league. I think CJ Watson and Kyle Korver were great additions and will work very well alongside Taj Gibson. The biggest question mark is how Kurt Thomas will hold up over an 82 game season. That's why the Bulls are banking on Asik to become a solid backup at some point this season.

Nick Friedell
  (1:26 PM)

I've got to get out of here, guys. Time to go talk to Thibs and co. Talk to everyone next week.