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March 11, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Nick Friedell

Nick Friedell
  (1:07 PM)

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

ed trotter north adams MA [via mobile]

With Derrick Rose playing like an mvp as well as boozer and noah being very productive of late do you feel with all there hard play as of late and there schedule that come playoff time the bench will become a bigger factor and can they handle it?

Nick Friedell
  (1:10 PM)

The bench has played great over the last few weeks. They outscored Charlotte 51-35 the other night. Can they do the same in the playoffs? Only time will tell -- but they have certainly improved and appear to be finding a niche for themselves recently. They team has a lot of confidence in that group.

Floyd (Cubeville)

With 19 games left in the season and 1.5 games out of 1st (and a 2 game lead on 3rd), is it reasonable for the Bulls to catch the Celtics for 1st?

Nick Friedell
  (1:12 PM)

With the way they are playing -- absolutely. The Bulls truly believe they can beat any team right now. If the Celtics slip up the Bulls definitely feel like they can pass them. They want the one seed badly -- they play with a different level of confidence at the United Center.

Tony (Chicago)

Nick, I just watched the "NBA 411" video that featured the Bulls. Way to be the only reporter who actually cleaned up and shaved.

Nick Friedell
  (1:12 PM)

Thanks, Tony. I do what I can.

Mike (SLC)

What's the latest on Booz's ankle? Do you think his absence will trip them up a bit or do you see the bench stepping up to fill in?

Nick Friedell
  (1:14 PM)

If I were guessing, my guess would be that Boozer is out about a week. The Bulls don't need him to win this week anyway. They can beat Atlanta, Utah, Washington, New Jersey and Indiana without him. They need him healthy for the playoffs. They have faith in Taj.

Ryan (Chicago!) [via mobile]

Love your columns on ESPNChicago, from your insight, do the Bulls go after a free-agent or something in the offseason? Gar and John better not trade Gibson/Asik though

Nick Friedell
  (1:15 PM)

Appreciate it, Ryan. The Bulls don't have enough cap space to go after a game changer this summer. I think they are waiting to see what happens at next year's deadline. They don't want to trade Taj/Omer but they would if the right deal comes up.

Bob (Chi)

Trade Boozer in the offseason for a 2g. Or a backup point and another bench player. Then insert Asik into the lineup, perhaps acquire free agent. Thoughts?

Nick Friedell
  (1:16 PM)

Nobody wants that Boozer contract. It's not as bad Alfonso Soriano's deal, but it will be in the same realm if Boozer gets hurt.

Moe (Chicago)

Nick, do you think D Rose is a lock for MVP?

Nick Friedell
  (1:17 PM)

Not a lock, yet. But he's definitely the odds on favorite.

SteveFitz (Chicago, IL)

Big night tomorrow night at halftime at the UC. What sport coat will you be sporting?

Nick Friedell
  (1:18 PM)

Good question. I'm not sure yet, but I'm definitely going to have to get a good one for Saturday. Everybody will be bringing their A-game.

Derek (Country Club Hills)

Nick, if the bulls get the number 1 seed in the east, how could you possibly keep saying they dont have a chance to win it all?

Nick Friedell
  (1:20 PM)

I never said the Bulls had zero chance ... I just don't think the chances are very high this year. If they get the one seed they will be in great, great shape. But I still don't think they win it all this year. They are on the right track, though ... and only getting better.

jim (uptown)

if the bulls win it all, what will your sign at the parade say?

Nick Friedell
  (1:21 PM)

Party at Silvy's. Free beer for everyone.

Adam (Indiana)

Nick, where has Kurt Thomas been lately? I expected him and his 6 fouls to show up against Howard and nothing? What's the deal?

Nick Friedell
  (1:22 PM)

So did I. Thibs said he didn't want to upset the rotations he already had in place after Noah came back. He decided to keep Omer with the second team. I'd still expect to see Thomas play in the playoffs, though.

Ankur (Lombard)

any Rasual Butler updates? Deng supposed to be out tonight?

Nick Friedell
  (1:25 PM)

Butler will be active tonight. Boozer is out. Deng is a game time decision because of a thigh bruise. I still don't think Butler will see much action either way, though.

Kabir (D.C. transplant from CHI)

Feelings on Charlie Sheen?

Nick Friedell
  (1:26 PM)

He's going to find plenty of other ways to make money.

Joseph (tempe, az)

i think that for us to really be a tough team to beat come playoff time, korver has to shoot more often. i know this late in the season no starting lineups will change, but what do you think Thibs would consider starting him or brewer in a 7 games series if bogans isn't productive in game 1, 2, etc.

Nick Friedell
  (1:28 PM)

I seriously doubt Thibs would change the lineup at all. He's stuck with Bogans this long, why switch it up now? Korver is going to be in games late if the Bulls need a bucket -- I think you'll see Thibs make the offense/defense switch, kind of like he lately with Boozer and Taj to get Korver out of there on the defensive end.

Corey (Chicago)

What's it like being in Michael Jordan's presence, for all of us regular folks?

Nick Friedell
  (1:29 PM)

As cool as you would think. It's pretty awesome talking to that guy.

Dave (CHI)

What are your Final Four Picks?

Nick Friedell
  (1:29 PM)

Syracuse and three other teams that aren't as good.

jon argoudelis (chitown az)

Do you think MJ commenting on Derrick being an MVP this year will sway the people look at him at all?

Nick Friedell
  (1:31 PM)

I think plenty of people are looking at Derrick already. People know who he his. An endorsement from MJ can't hurt, though.

SB (chi)

Nick - everyone always claims that Korver is a terrible defender, yet from a season ticket holder and someone who has watched 90% of the games this year: he doesn't seem bad at all?! Am I crazy? I'm not saying he can guard LBJ/Kobe/Melo one-on-one, but it seems like he really does a pretty good job at staying in front of offenders, and he tries very hard on D (something which cannot be said for all our players - ahem Booz, looking at you). What you think?

Nick Friedell
  (1:34 PM)

Korver tries as hard as he can defensively. I wouldn't say he is a particularly good defender, but he definitely tries hard. Teams still look to exploit him when he's on the floor.

Adam (Chicago)

Rose's Dragic dunk or Rose's ally-opp against the Knicks. Which did you enjoy more? Give me the Dragic one. It turned "Dragic" into a verb, as in "watch D Rose Dragic this clown..."

Nick Friedell
  (1:35 PM)

Dragic. End of discussion.

Stephen (Dallas)

Nick, Have you noticed the nervous twitch that Thibs has with his hand when he is courtside coaching? Just curious what you thought, if anything.

Nick Friedell
  (1:40 PM)

Thibs is a very, very intense guy. He right hand shakes constantly during Bulls defensive possessions.

Jay (Chicago)

In 20 years, is the second greatest player ever to wear the Bulls uniform going to be Pippen or Rose?

Nick Friedell
  (1:41 PM)

Not sure about the second greatest, but I think the second most popular will definitely be Rose.

Mitchel (NYC)

Will not getting C. Lee come back to haunt the Bulls in the playoffs?? Do you think the poor shooting at SG will be the Bulls fatal flaw?

Nick Friedell
  (1:44 PM)

If the Bulls don't win a title this year -- yes, I think a lack of a consistent scoring 2-guard will be their fatal flaw. But the Bulls didn't trade for Lee because they have their eyes set on the future -- not just this year. I know that frustrates a lot of people, though.

elliott (sacramento, ca)

bulls fan since birth. for years people have been saying that deng is a joke, that he's no good, terrible contract, etc. I think that, aside from superstar small forwards out there (and we all know who they are), deng would be very high on my list. There are few players that are good enough to guard melo, lbj, pierce etc and i think we have a great asset in deng. do you think his worth was undervalued coming into this season?

Nick Friedell
  (1:46 PM)

A little bit. Deng has thrived in Tom Thibodeau's system. If Deng were making say, $8 million instead of $11-$12 million, I don't even think we're having this conversation. Deng's contract put a bullseye on his back that he just won't be able to outrun for some people ... no matter how well he plays.

Rob (Chicago)

Is it just me or has Ronnie Brewer been knocking down some long-range jumpers with a little bit of consistency lately??

Nick Friedell
  (1:46 PM)

It's not just you. Ronnie has been working hard on that shot. He appears to have more confidence in it as well.

David (Brennan)

In your opinion, is it worse for an owner or a player to arrogantly predict "at least 4 championships"? Does this necessarily put a target on Rose and Bulls?

Nick Friedell
  (1:47 PM)

I think the players and coaches had no problem with Reinsdorf's statements. They liked the fact he had so much confidence in them.

Koji (Moscow)

Who do you got in a street fight, Joakim or Anderson Varejao

Nick Friedell
  (1:48 PM)

I'll put my money on Jo. You don't want to mess with that guy. How is Moscow?

PDZ (630)

How's, covering the bulls been for you in general nick? The experience of it, versus other jobs etc...

Nick Friedell
  (1:50 PM)

This job has been great because there are some genuinely good guys to deal with every day. The team legitimately likes each other -- so that's always a plus as well.

elliott (sacramento, ca)

speaking of noah, he looks crazy ripped when he goes insane after a power dunk. are you impressed by his strength and ability to finish around the rim?

Nick Friedell
  (1:52 PM)

There's probably not a player on the team who worked harder this summer to re-define his body than Noah did. He is in the best shape of his life and it is showing on the floor. In a couple weeks, I think his wind will be back to where it was before he got hurt.

Stephen (Dallas)

Watching Korver when he comes into games I really feel he can do some damage with his clutch shooting. Is he as good as everyone thinks or underrated in some respects?

Nick Friedell
  (1:54 PM)

I think he's exactly what everyone thinks: He's a streaky shooter. When he's hot, there can't be two or three guys in the league who are better pure shooters. When he's not, he still stretches out the floor. As much as he has tried defensively, there are definitely still times when his presence hurts the Bulls on that end.

Tim (Oak Park)

I noticed Noah took a couple of jumpers in that Bobcats game, is comfortable again taking that shot in games now?

Nick Friedell
  (1:55 PM)

He's getting there. I think he'll be shooting even more in the next few weeks.

Gabe (Jersey)

Nick, I asked you this before and you said you would find out and get back to me.... Who comes out on top in the Joakim/Scal one on ones? For the love of God please tell us already!

Nick Friedell
  (1:56 PM)

Seriously, I think they came to a draw most of the time. Each guy would win a couple. I miss watching those games. They were more intense than a vast majority of NBA games.

Pavan (Atlanta)

Is there anyone else in the NBA that guards D. Rose better then Hinrich?

Nick Friedell
  (1:57 PM)

Maybe Russell Westbrook -- just because those two train in the off-season together.

Anthony (work)

i ask you this every week, so i'm asking again. will there be a full season, half season or no season in 2011? just based on your gut..

Nick Friedell
  (1:58 PM)

I think there will be a season, but it may be abbreviated.

Tony (Peru, IL )

When LeBron covers Derrick, he seems to shut him down, don't you agree?

Nick Friedell
  (1:59 PM)

True, but he only does it a few possessions a game.

Elias (IL)

If Scal can take Noah 1 on 1, isn't he good enough to get some PT?!

Nick Friedell
  (1:59 PM)

Ah, yes. The White Mamba fan club is always present.

Ryan (Elmwood Park)

So, if Boozer and Deng don't play tonight, who will play? Will we see some Scalabrine?

Nick Friedell
  (2:00 PM)

Ha. All right, everybody. A great chat as usual. I will talk to you guys next week from Indy. If you come out to a game this week, come over and say hello. Talk to you later.