What's going on everybody? Hope you guys are doing well. Let's get this chat rolling ...
If you were Gar and Pax, would you trade Deng during the season? If so, what is reasonable asking price for him?
No -- I would not. The Bulls wouldn't get anything close to market value for him because he would could walk at the end of the season and other teams know that. Plus, if you deal Deng it's an admission that this team, as constructed, isn't good enough to win a title. The Bulls believe they can win a title this year so I don't see them making that move. If they were going to deal Deng they should have done it a couple years ago -- not now.
Nick, how many minutes do you see Jimmy Butler playing this year? I'm hoping it won't be the epic minutes like last playoffs.
I think Jimmy is going to play a ton of minutes. The coaches love that he worked on his game over the summer and came into camp in good shape. They expect him to take another step in his development.
Hi Nick,Taj looked darn good shooting the ball in the first game. Do you expect that to continue into the season? I cringed last year when he put up shots.
Taj says he has put a lot of time into his game this summer -- and it has showed early on. I'm interested to see how his body responds throughout the season after putting on the extra weight. He said he put on about 15 pounds of muscle this summer. He knows there are a lot of expectations on him this season because the new deal kicks in. I expect him to have a better year than he did last year.
Nick, how is Tom Thibodeau managing the expectations of his players, given all the hype and anticipation surrounding Derrick's return and a (hopefully) healthy Joakim & Luol?
Thibs has tried to keep all the expectations in check. He said during the first couple days of camp that he thought his team was a little undersold last year and may be a little oversold at the moment. I promise you that Thibs will use the fact that many pundits are picking the Heat (and the Pacers) to beat the Bulls in the playoffs as motivation for his team.
Hi Nick, with Nate and Marco gone from the bench, do you think our second unit will take a hit offensively?
I think the second unit is as solid as it has been in a while. The key for them is: Can they stay healthy? Given recent history that is probably going to be tough.
Hey Nick,I'm concerned about Noah and his health. To make a push, we'll need all our big three (Rose, Deng, and Noah) to be healthy. Do you expect his health (foot) to linger?
Noah believes he has put the feet problems behind him. He changed shoes to adidas and has tried different things to keep himself on the floor -- but only time will tell. After dealing with it for so many years it's hard to believe that it will suddenly go away completely.
Is the "rift" between Gar Forman and Thibodeau overstated?
Do I think Gar and Thibs are going to go out to dinner and watch football with each other any time soon? No. But I do think they are trying to push past their differences to try and win a title. They know they are better off together, with Derrick Rose, than they are apart. Obviously, if they don't win a title this year things could change and it's absolutely a story worth watching. Right now, I think they are just trying to see how many wins they can rack up together and go from there.
Besides miami who is the bulls biggest threat
The Pacers. But they don't scare the Bulls as much. The Bulls respect the Pacers but the only team they are truly concerned with is Miami.
Nick,Fast forward to next year - Luol and Kirk are gone. Boozer is amnestied. The team is being built around DRose, Joakim and Jimmy. Who is the guy via trade or free agency that is a realistic acquisition that elevates this team to champion contenders in the eyes of the brass?
They don't know right now. It all depends on who becomes a free agent and who ends up on the market. Obviously, LeBron would be that guy but I don't think he wants to come to Chicago. The answer right now is -- wait and see.
Nick, going off your recent answer that the Bulls believe they can win the Title with their current roster, does that imply they have little interest in the trade market this season? And is it a lock that they amnesty Boozer this summer?
I don't foresee the Bulls making a major deal in season but things could always change if somebody gets hurt. As for Boozer, I still think the safe money is on the final year of his deal being amnestied. But if there isn't a guy they can find on the market who could make them that much better it's not out of the realm of possibilities that they could keep them. That's a lot of money for any team to eat. Still, I think he will be gone at the end of the year.
Hi Nick, do you expect Thibs to manage the players minutes this year like the Spurs and Heat do in order to keep the stars fresh for the playoffs? I love Thibs menality of getting everything out of his players each and every game, but it seems like the teams that go deep in the playoffs are able to manage regular season minutes effectively.
I think Thibs knows that he has to keep his players as healthy as possible heading into the playoffs. He's already said he is going to cut Noah's minutes down. At the same time -- I'll believe it when I see it. Thibs wants to win every game badly. If he can take his foot off the gas ever so slightly I believe it would help the Bulls in the long run.
Are you buying or selling the Nets?
Selling. They're a better team than they were but I still don't think they can beat the Heat or the Bulls in a seven game series.
Do you see Dunleavy having any meaningful impact on the floor? His preseason showing still looks rusty.
Yes, I do. I think Dunleavy will be a solid addition for this team and is going to space the floor out even more for Rose.
Nick, I wanted to mention that even without Deng/Hinrich and if Boozer is amnestied, we still only have around 11-12 million. That's either one good player, or a decent player and Mirotic. Next year's team may very well be viewed as worse than this year's squad.
There's the problem for the Bulls front office. Depending on how the final numbers shake out, they still won't have enough to add a max free agent in free agency. That's why they have to look at all the trade possibilities and see what's out there. The only untouchable on this roster is Rose -- although Noah is a close second.
Will Mirotic be with the Bulls next year?
That's what the Bulls are hoping. But it all depends on how much Mirotic asks for next summer.
I heard that Taj was working a lot on his shot and hinted at shooting from three point land. Do you think he'll start putting up shots like that this season?
Taj wants to extend his range. All he has to do is start knocking down the 16-18 foot jumper this year with more consistency and Thibs will be happy.
Moment of truth. Who wins in a seven game series: Bulls or Heat?
My opinion on this hasn't changed in four years. Do the Bulls have a chance to beat the Heat? Absolutely, especially if Butler can take the next step in his progression this year and the rest of the team can stay healthy. But if I were taking my own money to Vegas I would still put it on the Heat to win. LeBron James is the best player on the planet right now and I think he will be the ultimate difference.
Hey nick! I know it's way early to really know but by seeing derrick play these last two preseason games.Should I have any regrets on buying my drose authentic jersey for the long run? Or is he back?! For good!
I think Rose is going to come back and have a huge year. I think he was frustrated by the criticism he got last year for his decision and wants to prove to everyone that he is the same player he was before -- if not better.
All right everybody I am out of here. I will talk to you guys next week. If you're at a game next week come over and say hello.