Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

February 10, 12:30 PM ET
Chat with Nick Friedell

Nick Friedell
  (12:34 PM)

What's going on, everybody? Greetings from Charlotte. Let's get this chat rolling ...

Michael (Chicago)

Will Thibs ever develop how to manage a game. He seems to overuse timeouts and leaves Gibson and Asik in longer than they should.

Nick Friedell
  (12:38 PM)

When you cover a team that's 22-6 these are the types of questions that everyone wonders about. The bottom line is that Tom likes playing his starters big minutes. I haven't heard a lot of people complaining about Taj or Omer being in to long. I have heard them complain and Rose and Deng being in too long. Tom is who he is. Until one of his starters gets hurt late in a blowout, nothing is going to change.

Jay (Chicago)

Any word on when Rip will be back? And can he be counted on to stay on the floor the remainder of this year and the next two?

Nick Friedell
  (12:41 PM)

Nothing definitive yet. I still think it's going to be a little while. Thibs isn't going to put him back on the floor until he's back to 100 percent. As for him staying healthy long term, he turns 34 in a few days. I don't think anyone can predict that. The Bulls are going to have to keep a close eye on him.

Ajak (Garang)

LU finally getting the respect he deserves. Sudan is proud of you!

Nick Friedell
  (12:43 PM)

Luol was very humbled by the honor -- although he admitted that he thought there were several years he could have made the team. If you get a chance, you should watch the video that will be on soon. He was very reflective. He talked about how much it hurt that everyone questioned his toughness a couple seasons ago.

Javier (Cicero, Il)

With Deng getting the All-Star nod, do you think this builds his confidence and helps to fuel his determination to play at a higher level? Have we even seen the best of Deng or has he reached his best?

Nick Friedell
  (12:46 PM)

I'm not sure how much better Deng can play. He's been solid on both ends of the floor. He's the Bulls' best perimeter defender and he can go off for 20 whenever he wants. I think we've seen the best Deng has to offer. If he keeps playing like this, the Bulls will be extremely happy.

Carlos Boozer (Chicago)

Nick, any idea why I fade away on every jump shot, even if no one is in my face?

Nick Friedell
  (12:47 PM)

Ah, another question that everyone asks about, but nobody has an answer to. That's just the way Carlos shoots, I guess.

Patrick (Chicago)

Do you think Gibson will ever make it into the starting lineup? I think he is flat out better than Boozer. Money aside, the best players should play. Agreed?

Nick Friedell
  (12:48 PM)

Gibson is a very good player, but the Bulls are still convinced Boozer gives them a better option in the starting lineup because he can go off for 20 on most nights. Yes, I know he'll give up 20 (or more), but Thibs is not going to put Taj in the starting lineup unless Boozer gets hurt. Period.

Adam (Chicago), me and my aunt Sofia could beat the Bobcats. Why on Earth is Rose playing or being allowed to play? Not every game is game 7 of the NBA Finals. A 22 - 6 team can afford to burn a few. Please don't say "that's just the way Thibs coaches." Sooner or later the way he coaches will cost the team dearly, especially in this compressed season.

Nick Friedell
  (12:51 PM)

Adam, you don't want me to say it, but it's the truth. If Derrick says he can play, Thibs will play him. I don't really agree with it, and neither do a lot of fans, but it's Thibs' call.

Chris (Glen Ellyn, IL)

I'd like to give a shoutout to Korver's improved defense this season. What has Thibs said about Hot Sauce playing both ends of the floor so well?

Nick Friedell
  (12:52 PM)

Korver really has improved defensively. That was one of Tom's big messages to him before the lockout started. Kyle knew he had to get better on that end of the floor and he has.

HiM (Chi-Town)

Hey Nick, you are great covering The Bulls! Do you see the Bulls making a serious run at Dwight Howard to supplant Miami in the playoffs?

Nick Friedell
  (12:53 PM)

Ah, the Dwight Howard question. No, the Bulls have not given up on getting Howard. And no, I still don't think he's going to come to Chicago.

Matt (Oswego)

With Rip being sidelined, Jimmy Butler seems to get some sporadic minutes. Can we expect any offense from him? Does he have a signature shot or is he still trying to find his shot in the NBA?

Nick Friedell
  (12:57 PM)

Jimmy has been working on his shot, but he doesn't have a lot of confidence in it still. It will come with time, though.

chicagofan68 (bloomington, in)

based on this first (almost) half of the year, what is the most positive sign from the bulls to you, and what do you expect is most important to be fixed or improved upon in order to contend?

Nick Friedell
  (1:01 PM)

The Bulls' defense is on point almost every night. That has to be the most satisfying part for Thibs. They will continue to improve on that front. The biggest issue for him is to try and find another consistent option on the offensive end if Rose goes cold. That's why Hamilton's return is so important.

David (Racine (WI))

Nick, Once the "disney" road trip ends Sunday, the bulls will have played twice as many road games as home games. With that said, they will only have 13 road games remaining, and 23 home games left. How much will being able to stay close to the UC during the second half of the season affect their ability to lock up home court advantage, and maybe more importantly, how much do you think this will impact the teams ability to get healthy, and stay healthy?

Nick Friedell
  (1:05 PM)

I think it's absolutely huge for the Bulls. Most of the players feel like they've actually caught a break with the schedule. They think the second half will be great because they'll be well rested ... and at home, of course.

Tom (Chicago)

Thibs "nice try Nick" was classic... what area would the bulls focus on in the draft? i hear Brewer could be gone, anyone else most likely not back next year?

Nick Friedell
  (1:06 PM)

HaHa. Yeah, Tom enjoyed making fun of me. As usual. As for the draft, it's probably too early to say. The Bulls are doing their scouting as we speak. I'd look for them to try and find a big man who could provide front-court depth. Obviously, finding one of those guys is easier said than done.

Corey B (Brookfield)

Hi Nick, are the Bulls seriously considering amestying Boozer after the year? If so, would that help them sign Taj & Omer long-term?

Nick Friedell
  (1:07 PM)

The Bulls are not going to amnesty Boozer after the year. My guess is they will at some point in the next couple of years though.

Josh (Chicago)

Rose only played 22 minutes Wednesday, but we finally saw one of his post up moves he has been working on. New he would be working on the fade away but I like to see that he has a little back down hook shoot that he releases similar to his floater. Hope we see more of it. Thoughts?

Nick Friedell
  (1:10 PM)

The post up game is coming along nicely for Derrick. He kept saying that it would be there at some point this year. I would think Thibs will use it more as we get closer to the playoffs -- in order to give the Bulls one more offensive wrinkle.

Justin (Chicago)

The Bulls still haven't addressed the biggest issue from last season, a shooting guard to help take the scoring burden off of Rose. Rip will soon be 34 and has missed more games than he has played. Why haven't we heard anything about the Bulls going after J.R. Smith? Wouldn't he be a solid addition?

Nick Friedell
  (1:12 PM)

The Bulls believed Rip would be a better fit than Smith. It's too early to pass judgement on Rip. The only reason he was brought in was to help the Bulls in the playoffs. Nobody will remember he was hurt most of the year if he helps the Bulls get past Miami.

jaybeedoubleyou (chicago)

sup frieds... which concerns you the most: derrick's toe & back, rip's groin, or Lu's ankle?

Nick Friedell
  (1:12 PM)

It has to be Rose's injuries. If Rose goes down for an extended amount of time, the hopes of a title goes with him.

BON (Earth)

Do members of the front office ever travel with the team?

Nick Friedell
  (1:14 PM)

Gar is on almost every trip. Although he's been scouting a lot lately.

Matt (Libertyville)

I feel like three-quarters of the teams out there are just terrible, and the Bulls only play a quality opponent like once a week. Am I imagining things, or is the league really imbalanced this year?

Nick Friedell
  (1:14 PM)

No, there are a lot of terrible teams in the league this year.

AJ (Tennessee)

My man Nick, how long do we have to wait for our draft pick Nikola Mirotic to put on a Bulls uniform. Is there any way the Bulls get him earlier than expected?

Nick Friedell
  (1:15 PM)

Mirotic is still a few years away from being in Chicago. Be patient, everybody.

Michael (Chicago)

I love how some of these fans get on you for writing the truth about the Bulls. They seem to be delusional in thinking the Bulls will never lose another game again. Does this bother you, or do you not pay attention to those unintelligent fans. They seem not to realize that the Bulls have some holes in their roster.

Nick Friedell
  (1:17 PM)

One of my mom's favorite parts of the day is reading the comments section in all the stories. She keeps me updated. She thinks the back and forth is hilarious, both good and bad. So keep them coming ...

Jason (Chicago)

You look like you are awful at basketball, any game?

Nick Friedell
  (1:18 PM)

They used to call me "Nick the Pick"

Corey B (Brookfield)

I have been impressed by the number of Bulls fans that are turning out at almost every road game. How are the players re-acting to all the attention? Is it becoming rock-star type attention that MJ's Bulls received?

Nick Friedell
  (1:19 PM)

The players love it. I think they genuinely appreciate all the support. It makes a difference in how they play sometimes, too. Especially in Milwaukee.

Sean (Chicago )

Excuse my french nick, but wtf Roy Hibbert seriously ? I figured they would reward the pacers by putting in granger. Not Roy i truly feel like Noah should have made the team, he started off slow but he's back to the normal jo. Not to mention their where other players with slow starts that made the team

Nick Friedell
  (1:20 PM)

If Jo had played early this season like he did early last season, there is no doubt he would have been on the team, especially with Al Horford out. Knowing Jo, the fact that Hibbert made the squad is really going to motivate him in the second part of the year.

Tom D. (San Diego, CA)

If it came down to it, and Dwight for some reason said "trade me to Chicago," after the All-Star break, does Garpax ask Rose for his input? What if Rose says he'd rather keep Joakim than get Dwight?

Nick Friedell
  (1:21 PM)

Gar and Pax would talk to Derrick, but I don't think there's much doubt they would make the trade for Howard.

chris (aurora)

do you see cj leaving the bulls next year to find a bigger role with another team??

Nick Friedell
  (1:22 PM)

Yes, especially if another team comes to him with a bigger offer and a guaranteed starting spot.

Don (Chicago)

They great majority of media here have two contentions 1.) the Bulls aren't as good as the Heat and 2.) Thibs plays the starters too many minutes. If overall talent isn't as good as the Heat isn't reasonable to thing the home court in the Playoffs may balance out the talent gap? If so doesn't that justify Thibs rolling with his best every night?

Nick Friedell
  (1:23 PM)

The home court argument is a valid one, and make no mistake, the Bulls' players desperately want homecourt advantage. But, if it were such a big deal, it would have helped the Bulls more last season. They lost two games at the United Center in the Eastern Conference finals.

Tom D. (San Diego, CA)

I'm here for the Deng Bang!

Nick Friedell
  (1:24 PM)

Somebody needs to make an All Star edition t-shirt and give it to Luol.

Nick Friedell
  (1:25 PM)

All right, everybody. I will talk to you guys next week from the Berto. See ya later. If you're at the games this week, come by and say hello.