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March 30, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Nick Friedell

Nick Friedell
  (2:02 PM)

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

Mark (Schaumburg)

what's the outlook for Rose on Sunday?

Nick Friedell
  (2:03 PM)

Ah, the question of the week. The Bulls would love for Derrick to be back Sunday, but I think he's going to need a few more days of rehab before he sees the floor again. My guess is early next week.

Steve (oak park)

do you think a team will offer asik a lot of money this offseason

Nick Friedell
  (2:06 PM)

Oh yeah. I think there will be a team that signs Omer to a huge offer sheet. Jerry Reinsdorf has said in the past that he will go over the luxury tax -- this summer he will probably have to prove it if he wants to keep some of the talent on the roster, especially Omer.

Dave (Chicago)

Any worries about Butler come playoffs? He's made some big plays so far through the regular season but are people in the locker room worried about his lack of playoff experience? How much can we expect to see him in the postseason?

Nick Friedell
  (2:07 PM)

The Bulls really like Butler, but I don't think we'll see much of him in the playoffs.

DAVE (NYC)

NF Sir, Who is the NMVP (next most valuable player) on this team?

Nick Friedell
  (2:08 PM)

Luol Deng. If the Bulls lose him, they won't be able to win the title.

Dave (Bloomington, IL)

Many of the top contenders have started double teaming the Bulls' PGs at the top of the key, are the players working on breaking these double teams in practice? Seems like this could be pivotal to postseason success this year.

Nick Friedell
  (2:11 PM)

Thibs is going over this in practice (and in post-practice video sessions) with his guys all the time.

John (Chicago)

Nick with the way Thibs pushes the team to perform their best each game as if it were a playoff game. How will they be able to hit the next gear as most playoff teams tend to do come playoff time?

Nick Friedell
  (2:16 PM)

Good question -- I'm not sure the Bulls have another gear to hit. They play as hard as they can every single night. They absolutely can win it all this season -- but teams like Miami have another gear they can rely on. The Bulls really don't because Thibs maximizes his roster every night. It's a credit to his system, but it's also a reason Bulls fans should worry heading into a potential rematch with Miami.

Alex (Chicago)

Why does Boozer seem to play better with Rose out of the lineup?

Nick Friedell
  (2:16 PM)

He's much more aggressive offensively. He looks for his shot a lot more.

Bulls or Bust (Chi)

Rip is coming back tonight....D Rose soon. Will 10 games provide enough time for the starting lineup to gel and form a strong chemistry?

Nick Friedell
  (2:18 PM)

That's the plan as far as the Bulls are concerned. They feel like if they can get 10 games with everyone together they will be in good shape.

Michael (San Francisco)

Nick, I remember hearing when Brewer signed that his third year was non-guaranteed. Do you think that the Bulls can slide Jimmy Butler into his role next year, considering Gar/Pax will need to be a lot more cap conscious with Rose, Deng, Noah and Boozer all getting paid?

Nick Friedell
  (2:20 PM)

I think this could absolutely happen in the off-season. The Bulls like Brewer, but Butler is younger and cheaper.

Shady grady54 (Wahington DC)

Do you think the bulls are mentally tough enough to beat the heat.

Nick Friedell
  (2:22 PM)

Absolutely. The Bulls believe they can beat any team in the league. It may be touger to beat Miami, but they believe they can do it.

Justin (Chicago)

Is Lucas making a case for the backup PG for the playoffs? He's been outplaying CJ consistently and has made a lot of great contributions of the bench with his scoring.

Nick Friedell
  (2:24 PM)

When push comes to shove in the playoffs, I still think Tom will go with C.J. before he plays JL3 big minutes.

Mark (Schaumburg)

Are the Bulls working on posting up Boozer more throughout every game? After all, the guy was brought here to be a low post scorer. Although his jump shot is effective, a post up closer to the basket is a higher percentage shot by far.

Nick Friedell
  (2:26 PM)

Boozer has been playing well lately and deserves a ton of credit for being able to start every game in this crazy season, but the days of Boozer being considered a low post threat are gone. He doesn't consistently post up anymore. He loves the 18 foot fadeaway.

Rob (Champaign)

I know Thibs has been keeping Scalabrine on the bench all year so other teams won't have film on him, thus allowing Scal to dominate the playoffs. Are you worried he'll be rusty the first few games and only average 30 or so points/game?

Nick Friedell
  (2:27 PM)

Scal will be ready when he needs to be. 30 might be a stretch though ...

Dave (Chicago)

Is the feeling in the Bulls locker room that if they beat the Heat, they'll automatically win the Finals? I have a feeling the Bulls are underrating OKC. Your ideas?

Nick Friedell
  (2:30 PM)

I don't think Thibs will allow them to underrate any team, but I'd say this: As much as they wouldn't want to admit it in front of Thibs, the players have been focused on beating Miami ever since last season. It's their focus. The fear would be that if they got past Miami they would struggle to get up for a Western Conference team. Only time will tell.

Rob (Chicago)

Is Chicago interested in drafting a shooting guard in this years draft ?( Dion Waiters )

Nick Friedell
  (2:34 PM)

As a proud Syracuse alum, I'd be happy if the Bulls drafted Waiters, but I don't think there is any way he will still be on the board when the Bulls make their pick. The Bulls have the luxury of being one of the deepest teams in the league, so it's another case of drafting the "best player avaialble" regardless of position.

David (Joliet)

how high is Omer Asik's ceiling? it seems like lately he has been posting up and has shown a nice touch around the basket. great to see him working on his offense!

Nick Friedell
  (2:37 PM)

Omer has gotten himself back on track recently. He looks more comfortable offensively which is a great sign for the Bulls. As far as his ceiling goes, the Bulls still believe he will end up averaging a double double every night.

Daniel (Champaign)

Do you think the Bulls have benefited from Rose and Hamilton being out of the lineup (as it has given some of their backups more playing time and helped Boozer and other regulars work more offensively)?

Nick Friedell
  (2:40 PM)

I actually think it has in this sense -- the Bulls' reserves now have even more confidence that they can play major minutes in big games. The Bulls still need Rose, Rip and Deng healthy in order to win, but it can't hurt that The Bench Mob feels better than ever right now.

Dan, Frankfort [via mobile]

What's up Nick? Great theme song btw... I remember in the beginning of the season seeing John Hollinger say that rip would be better suited coming off of the bench due to the scoring he could provide the bench mob since they struggle offensively at times. Then I thought it was a horrible idea now not so much, your thoughts?

Nick Friedell
  (2:43 PM)

I don't think Thibs is as opposed to it as he used to be. Having said that, I still think Rip will end up starting once the playoffs begin ... if he's healthy.

Dan (Bloomington, IN)

Does Thibs deserve to be the first coach to ever win back to back COYs? With how this team has played among staggering injuries, plus things like fastest coach to 100 games, not losing back to back games in over a year....is there anyone who has a better chance?

Nick Friedell
  (2:46 PM)

I think Thibs will win the award again this year.

Kelly (Chicago)

It seems to me that the Bulls don't get the same credit from the national media as the Thunder and Heat, even though they've proven they're on the same level? Why are so many of your ESPN counterparts so quick to dismiss them?

Nick Friedell
  (2:48 PM)

I don't think the Bulls have been dismissed at all. I think they've gotten a lot of credit from the national media. Thibs has been getting plenty of praise for the job he's done without Derrick this year.

Nate (Chicago)

Nick, have you seen a decline in Noah's play lately? Seems like his minutes are getting shorter as well. What may be the reason?

Nick Friedell
  (2:54 PM)

Jo hasn't been playing well lately. It's that simple. I think he gets frustrated too early in games sometimes and that stops him from playing well. He will be a factor in the playoffs because Thibs needs his energy, but if he doesn't start playing better down the stretch we may see more of Omer late in games.

Dom (Urbana)

If the bulls lock up the #1 seed early enough, do you see thibs resting the starters more?

Nick Friedell
  (2:56 PM)

If the Bulls lock up the one seed, even Thibs will start resting his guys. He wants them ready for the stretch drive.

Nick Friedell
  (2:57 PM)

I am out of here everybody. I will talk to you guys next week. If you're at a game come over and say hello.