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January 13, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Nick Friedell

Nick Friedell
  (1:11 PM)

What's going on, everybody? Greetings from Boston. Sorry I'm a little late. Let's get this chat rolling ...

Mike (Chicago)

Latest on Rose's toe? Noah's thumb? Hamilton's groin? Sigh.

Nick Friedell
  (1:14 PM)

Derrick told Ric Bucher he was playing. Tom sounded hopeful. Noah's thumb looks fine -- he was getting some extra shooting work this morning. Rip is still probably going to be out a few more days. It sounds like CJ could be back either tomorrow or Monday.

justin adams (clearwater fl)

what the heck is up with noah!!!!!!!

Nick Friedell
  (1:17 PM)

I think I've gotten this question more than any other this week. At the moment, the biggest thing is that I think he's lost some confidence. He knows how well he played at the beginning of last season and it's driving him crazy he can't be the same player. I disagree with anyone who says he wasn't in shape heading into camp. I think he was in the best shape of his life. The big issue is that he has been getting into foul trouble and seems very hesitant on the offensive end. He knows he has to find a way to play better with Boozer -- but even he isn't sure what the problem is between the two players.

Sanford (Ann Arbor)

What's the view of the Bulls as currently constructed? Do people around the league think they can beat the Heat in the playoffs or need to make another move somehow?

Nick Friedell
  (1:19 PM)

I think people around the league think the Bulls are the second best team in the league -- behind Miami. The Bulls can beat the Heat, but they would have to catch a break. LeBron or DWade would have to turn an ankle or something. As for another move, I think the only move that could put the Bulls over the top is trading for Howard. But as we all know at this point, he doesn't want to come to Chicago.

jaybdoubleyou (chicago)

frieds -- tried this one last week, but didn't get answered. what is the deal with Boozer's constant need to touch the basketball after the other teams free throws, before inbounds plays, after timeouts, etc. just wondering what the story is with that...seems kinda weird.

Nick Friedell
  (1:20 PM)

It's just his thing. He is consistent about that. Every single time -- whenever he gets the chance -- he will touch the basketball.

rainshaft2004 (chicago)

i love listening to your radio shows my question is the games where hamilton has played boozer and noah have been the most affective so how much are both there struggles right now because hamilton isnt playing

Nick Friedell
  (1:21 PM)

I agree that Hamilton's presence makes the offense move better, but I think Noah and Boozer were going to have these problems regardless. They just don't seem to fit well on the floor together and they both know it.

josh (tempe)

hey Nick,i think it's very possible that the media/fans are overreacting to the noah/boozer situation. lockout shortened season has everyone's scoring numbers down, and noah's rebounds are comparable to last season when accounting for reduced minutes. asik and gibson have proven a more reliable combo on defense, but is it possible, in a weird reverse sorta way, that thibs might start playing noah/booze more in the 4th when games aren't on the line? i think it's simply a matter of time before their numbers get back to normal.

Nick Friedell
  (1:24 PM)

Gar, you're back! Look, the media has been know to overblow stories -- but I don't think that is the case here. Boozer and Noah really haven't clicked since Boozer came to Chicago. When one isn't on the floor, the other one does well, and vice versa. When they are both on the floor, neither one seems to have a good game at this point.

Jason (Wrigleyville)

What is your take on Ronnie Brewer? Do you think he should start the remainder of the season even when RIP is healthy? I think he has earned the spot.

Nick Friedell
  (1:25 PM)

Ronnie has been great so far this season, but in listening to Thibs, I think whenever Rip is ready to go -- he will be back in the starting lineup.

Jorge Arellano (Chi-town)

Why don't the Bulls try to start Asik or Gibson, I haven't seen the Noah/Boozer combo work. Maybe splitting them up would spark the team more, and they sit every 4th quarter anyway.

Nick Friedell
  (1:28 PM)

Thibs said today he isn't doing that. So everyone can forget that idea.

jimmy (chicago)

10-2.. people need to stop complaining about everything. your thoughts?

Nick Friedell
  (1:31 PM)

The Bulls are a victim of their own success last year. Everybody knows they can beat pretty much every other team in the league on any night. As Mike Wilbon wrote the other day on ESPNChicago.com, the Bulls' whole season is viewed up against Miami. Sure, the Bulls are winning -- but the question is can they beat Miami? I don't see how they can if Noah and Boozer can't figure things out.

Pavan (Atlanta)

A turf toe is the type of injury that tends to nag players all season long so should the Bulls be more concerned about this injury then they seem to be so far?

Nick Friedell
  (1:32 PM)

The Bulls are going to have to watch this injury very closely. I know Thibs said it wasn't turf toe, but he's also the type of coach who will do anything to protect his players. The bottom line is that Rose's toe is going to be an issue all year that the Bulls are going to have to keep a close eye on.

Joey (Madhouse on Madison)

Hey Nick, I'm already concerned about the Dengbang's minutes. Is there not someone on the team to sub in for him a little longer so he isn't playing 42-45 minutes a game? He has already looked completely drained in some games his year. Its about the playoffs, not the regular season!

Nick Friedell
  (1:33 PM)

Joey, I agree. Thibs loves having Luol out on the floor though. Until Deng tells him he can't play any longer, Thibs will keep running him out there.

Travis (Iowa)

I hear everyone complaining about Boozer and Noah. Boozer is beginning to come around and I think Noah eventually will too. I think the biggest concern is where has Deng been? With Rose hurt and Rip out, I haven't seen the production from Deng that I thought I would. Could you explain?

Nick Friedell
  (1:34 PM)

I think Deng is still producing well. The issue is that he is just tired after games. He plays more minutes than anyone, even Derrick.

kon (Death Star)

Nick...what are your thoughts about the Bulls actually getting Rasheed if he becomes available? I know you tweeted a few things about how Thibs likes him, he played with Rip in Detroit, but do you think he's right for this team with the chemistry?

Nick Friedell
  (1:36 PM)

I don't think Rasheed would be a problem in the locker room. In talking to and hearing some reports about Rasheed though, I think there is a major question as to whether or not he will even be able to get back into playing shape.

Tom (Pingree Grove, Illinois)

Hi, Nick: If Boozer's struggles continue, and Noah and he remain ineffective playing together, do you think that the Bulls will exercise the amnesty clause with Boozer after this season? There is simply too much at stake, a championship, to play this out over the term of Boozer's entire contract if his play and pairing with Noah do not improve. Thank you.

Nick Friedell
  (1:37 PM)

Boozer is not getting amnestied after the season. Everyone can forget that. Do I think Boozer will eventually get amnestied down the line? It's very possible. But I don't think it will happen until the final year of his deal, if it does.

bigerk (chicago)

Why do people keep refering to the rose injury as turftoe when Thibs emphatically stated it was a strain and not turftoe?

Nick Friedell
  (1:38 PM)

The big reason why is because Thibs hasn't always been particularly forthcoming with his injury updates. Let's just all agree to call it a toe injury for the time being.

Ryan (Iowa)

Nick, I see on the front page of ESPN.com, Rose says he will play tonight. Do you expect him to take it easy or do you think he will be able to go full throttle?

Nick Friedell
  (1:39 PM)

If Rose plays, he will only play at one speed -- full throttle.

Courtney (Chi Town)

Hey Nick where is the Rose post game?

Nick Friedell
  (1:41 PM)

It's still in his arsenal, but we haven't seen it much this year because he really hasn't had to use it much for the Bulls to be successful.

Kevin (Rolling Meadows)

I just want to go on record as saying that Noah will have his best game of the season. The Boston fans hate him and Noah thrives off it. Noah gets a double double and frustrates Garnett all game.

Nick Friedell
  (1:43 PM)

The Bulls are praying that you are right. Noah has had several good games in the Garden over the years ...

Mike (Old Town)

Nick, do you think that the team will eventually start to tune Thibs out, a la Scott Skiles, due to his constant intensity?Great work by the way. Keep it up.

Nick Friedell
  (1:44 PM)

Internally, I think that is a concern down the line. But not right now. The Bulls are winning and Derrick respects and listens to Thibs. As long as those two things don't change, Thibs isn't going anywhere.

PJ (McDonalds Bathroom(free wifi!!!))

Even if Dwight became available could we afford to give up Deng? I say no, our main goal is to get past the heat, and he is our most consistent player and a great lebron defender

Nick Friedell
  (1:46 PM)

Again, the Bulls would give up anyone not named Derrick Rose to get Dwight Howard. Period.

Sam (Lemont)

Hello Nick, My concern hasn't been with Noah's offense, we shouldn't expect much besides tip ins and a occasional post. His Defense has been very inconsistent this year. If he's not defending and rebounding as strong as in the past then the team is in trouble. Have you noticed the amount of passes the big guys fumble or drop? It has to cost the Bulls 3 to 5 TO a game. Instead of 6 to 10 easy points.

Nick Friedell
  (1:49 PM)

I have noticed and so have the coaches. It's been an ongoing theme for the Bulls -- what they've tried to do with Omer is have him catch tennis balls in practice. It hasn't helped him much though.

Peter (Fort Bragg, NC)

I don't get whats up with boozer. He is a completely different player since signing with the bulls. What happened to him? Some people say that he's mailed it in since he got his contract? Your thoughts? Great work btw, forget the haters Nick

Nick Friedell
  (1:52 PM)

Peter, All the concerns you just raised are the same ones that Bulls' personnel are having at the Berto Center. He doesn't look like the same player that he was in Utah and he definitely doesn't look as aggressive. Has he mailed it in? I think that may be a little harsh because I do think he's bothered by the perception of him out there -- The question is: What will he do to change it? The answer at the moment is that nobody in the organization is quite sure. Either way, he definitely hasn't lived up to the contract he signed.

Mike (Old Town)

Nick, do you think that Butler will slowly start to spell Deng as the season progresses? I haven't seen a lot of him, but he seems like a good athlete and competent defender, and Luol has look exhausted the last few games.

Nick Friedell
  (1:54 PM)

The Bulls' coaching staff really likes Butler -- but I think the only way he sees the floor is if Deng goes down with an injury.

@concussiontest (santa monica, ca)

Besides your theme song the biggest thing I'm worried about is what our stamina is going to be like with all the minutes being played and the compressed season! How will we not be too tired in the playoffs again?

Nick Friedell
  (1:58 PM)

Come on, buddy. The theme song is good. As for the minutes, I think every team is going through it. As Charles Barkley said the other night, injuries are going to have a lot to do with the NBA championship. Whichever team can stay healthy is probably going to win. I think every team will be a little more tired this time around.

Paul (NJ)

Nick, with all the injuries and 4 games in the next 5 nights do you think Thibs should consider sitting Rose tonight or tomorrow and playing the rest of the starters limited minutes. Seems like possibly taking a loss is a good trade off if it gets your core healthier.

Nick Friedell
  (2:01 PM)

Unless Rose got significantly better in the last couple of days -- I would sit Rose tonight if I were Thibs. There's no reason to risk him hurting the toe more in a game that doesn't really mean that much in the grand scheme of things.

Nick Friedell
  (2:02 PM)

All right everybody, I am out of here. I will talk to you guys next week from Cleveland. If you're at the game tonight, come by and say hello.