I really don't have any comment on your " NBA Power Rankings" blog. I just like reminding you that you have a blog. I'm sorry -- I guess I just have a cruel streak. --Craig Berry, Park Forest, Ill.
I am not a blogger! OK, it's time to explain this. I have expressed my opinion about blogging before and I'm told got considerable heat about it on the blogosphere. Though since I believe that is beyond Uranus, I had no idea where to find it.
I remain shocked that even my favorite newspaper, the New York Times, quotes bloggers. That's a haughty reference, by the way, to show how smart I really am. Bloggers are guys (and women, I suppose) commenting on things they basically read in newspapers. You are not a blogger if you work for a newspaper since you are held, on some level, to the traditional rules of journalism. Newspaper blogging is just informal writing and an attempt by newspapers to skew younger by giving feature and column writing a different name -- and also to put stuff on the internet so people sitting around all day not working have something to read. If you work for a newspaper, you can't swear in a blog or condemn the editors. I know. I've tried.
Anyway, this became an NBA issue this week when Mark Cuban, the great Cubs savior for local media types here, decided to ban bloggers from covering Mavs games. Cuban decided -- and the NBA is still dealing with it -- that blogging is not traditional media and shouldn't be entitled to the same privileges. I'd agree with that, especially since Cuban fancies himself a blogger. The "blogger" Cuban banned was an employee of the Dallas Morning News who happened to criticize the Mavericks and coach Avery Johnson. This is the guy who loads of media guys here are lobbying to be allowed to buy the Cubs. I hope he is able to and can't wait for their first critical columns.
The writer from Dallas who blogs also helps the beat reporters gather quotes and writes an occasional bylined story in the paper. Cuban didn't much care. Cuban said he had an obligation to be fair to all bloggers, who generally are denied access since they don't work for accredited institutions. Something called Deadspin, which I'm told is a blog, wrote this headline I appreciated: "Mark Cuban dislikes bloggers who aren't him." But back to the original issue: I am not a blogger and neither is anyone paid by a newspaper or mainstream publication. Because, after all, you have to wear more than your underwear to work.
It's obvious that moves will be made this summer with this team. I do believe that the team should and will come to terms Luol Deng. Gordon, on the other hand, is another story. If he decides to take a one-year deal and go unrestricted next year, then perhaps they can keep him coming off the bench next season, but make a deal sending Andres Nocioni and Drew Gooden to the Lakers for Lamar Odom and their late first-round pick. He has an expiring contract, but he can draw the double-team in the low post. --Jack, Los Angeles
I am intrigued by Odom since the Bulls passed on him for Elton Brand in 2000 because they thought he was on drugs or something when he passed on all their workouts, though I always thought he flinched because of Tim Floyd's accent. Anyway, he hasn't been a problem player, other than not as aggressive as he could be. But he is highly skilled and could be an interesting power forward/point forward in the East. I think the Lakers might go for that one and I might as well. Hmmmmm.
Building around Kirk Hinrich hasn't Worked YET! We've been building around him for FIVE YEARS now! Its NOT WORKING. Our BEST move is to Start Ben Gordon and Thabo along with the current lineup. --Bill Smith, Chicago
I think a lot of the venom toward Hinrich carries the mistaken impression that he is the foundation of the team. If he were, he wouldn't be the fourth highest paid player, which he would have been had Deng and Gordon signed their extensions. The so-called core has had their chance and flopped this season, so the Bulls will make major changes. They'll try to come up with a so-called pure point guard, but it's not easy to find one and rookies generally don't do it. Mike Conley was the top one last draft and he's struggling even with Memphis. Gordon, as we all know, is not that pure point guard, either. Nor is Thabo. Duhon, as we all know by now, is gone after the season. So it should be an interesting summer as a spectator to see just what the Bulls do.
A lot of Kirk bashing lately. For a team that was touted as a "sum of the parts greater than the pieces" team, I think Hinrich may actually be one piece that can stand independently. I'd say there are seven certifiably better point guards in the NBA right now: Nash, Baron Davis, Paul, Deron, Billups, Arenas, Calderon and maybe Dre Miller. I wouldn't take guys like Barbosa or Monta Ellis, who are products of shoot-whenever systems and couldn't defend to save their lives. Nor would I take Bibby or JKidd (they look old). So that leaves the rest. You're telling me Bulls fans would rather have Earl Watson, Nate Robinson, Booby Gibson, Rafer Alston, Beno Uldrich, Vujacic, Mo Williams? That tells me Kirk is a top 10 player at his position. What other position on the Bulls can we say that about? Now, if we can just get him to stop fouling jump shooters. --Al, Chicago
There, that balances it out. I'm closer to your way of thinking. No, Hinrich doesn't compare with the top guys, but he is serviceable. He's more like the guy who stays in college too long and gets his game picked apart by the pros and slips in the draft. I'd certainly take Kidd for a short time, though he wants another $20 million extension and I agree Bibby doesn't make you better. Though Alston is looking much better after his meltdowns in Toronto. The Olympic guys can't be that wrong. They did want him for the team, though not as the starter. Hinrich's had a bad season, but I can see him coming back if they add another point guard and he plays more combo in a three-guard rotation.
Do the Bulls have a chance at getting Mike Conley from the Grizzlies? They could trade Tyrus Thomas for Mike Conley straight up after this season and even add a future draft pick. They both make about the same amount of money and have the same amount of years left on their contracts. --Matt, Aledo, Ill.
Yes, that Mike Conley. No, they have no chance. Right now, Tyrus might get you Conley's dad, whom I think is about 60. But the Bulls will talk to the Grizzlies, I suspect. One of the hottest point guard names who'll probably be available this summer is Kyle Lowry, who is one of three young point guards there. The Bulls should be able to produce a decent package, though the last time they did the Grizzlies opted for Kwame Brown. Perhaps they'll ask for Ira Newble this time.
I think Thabo is the future shooting guard for the Bulls. If he develops a shot and can consistently knock down the 15-20 footer he'll be a force in the league because he attacks the basket like no other guard on the Bulls and is a good finisher on the fastbreak. --Ben, Chicago
I tend to agree and wonder how that works out with Larry Hughes. Hughes has been a good soldier here even when benched in the fourth quarter the other night. But he had internal issues in Cleveland and falling behind Switzerland's best player might not please him. It will be difficult to deal Hughes this summer with his big contract. I believe the Bulls can be somewhat patient with Thabo because he can play small forward as well and get some minutes there, so I could see Hughes returning to start at shooting guard for one more season. And Thabo probably needs a full season after being benched much of the first part of this one. But if he can expand his shooting range a little, he will have been a terrific draft pick.
Larry Hughes played well for the Bulls early, so why has he slipped these passed few games and he has been a DNP in the fourth quarter? --Ben, Cleveland
I'd say because he's overrated as a defender, though hardly anyone else is playing defense, so that shouldn't be the reason. Jim Boylan often goes with the Skiles hot-hand theory a lot and continues to juggle the roster filled with two guards, so every game someone back there will be asking that question.
Can the Bulls send a package of Ben Gordon (sign and trade), Drew Gooden, Tyrus Thomas for Monta Ellis? --Jay, Chicago
Assuming the package also is filled with $1,000 bills, yes. Ellis is a restricted free agent and I cannot fathom the scenario where Golden State won't match since they have the money to do so after dealing Jason Richardson. Plus, those numbers don't come close to matching, anyway.
I do not get it. Why does Boylan keep using the small lineup, when most the offense runs better with big men? --Chris, Des Moines, Iowa
Yes, I think he got caught with that in the Philly meltdown loss. It's also what Scott Skiles did a lot and it works when the small guys compete on defense. They don't much now. Remember, Boylan has been with Skiles for years and I'm sure takes a lot of his philosophy from Skiles since they still talk often and if Boylan isn't retained he's told friends he expects to be working with Skiles again one day.
What's up with Chris Duhon? What is his justification for acting like a prima donna? Last I checked, over his career, he's averaged 7.0 ppg on 38.2% shooting, 4.5 assists, and 2.4 rebounds in 26 minutes. Pretty pedestrian numbers if you ask me. Where does this sense of entitlement come from? Duke, maybe? --David Chang, Philadelphia
Why does everyone hate Duke so much? Elton Brand and Grant Hill may be the two best guys to come into the NBA in the last 15 years. OK, so Christian Laettner cancels them out, but there has to be more to it. I was surprised by Duhon as well. But employment insecurity will do things to people. While players inappropriately tend to play better in contract seasons, when they don't get to play like with Duhon, they can experience some anxiety. I believe he simply got depressed and was looking for a shoulder to cry on. I know we say he's making $3 million so what's the problem, but rich guys commit suicide and crimes, too. Maybe even sneak off with a prostitute. He needs a hug. C'mon everyone, group hug.
In Duhon's latest interview he discussed his frustrations with not playing. "What frustrates me the most is not getting playing time. My minutes have been cut it seems like every year. I'm available, and I'm not playing. As a competitor, that's frustrating. And no one has come and told me anything, which also is frustrating." We've heard a lot of Bulls players complain to the media over the last few years about not being told anything from coaches and/or management. I'm tired of it. I can see what their role is from watching the games. I'm not in the clubhouse. How can they not know? Can you explain what they don't understand about their role on the team? What is it they aren't being told exactly? Are they truly the victims they make themselves out to be or just young and naive as to how business works? --Dawn, Peoria, Ill.
Sometimes people don't like their roles. There also is that lack communication thing which is commonplace in the NBA and in the workplace, which I addressed in my . Managers could avoid problems, I've always felt, by spending time talking to their employees regularly. It's rarely gone on at any newspaper I've worked for, so I doubt it goes on often in other businesses and in the NBA. Though I know the Bulls staff makes an effort to communicate with their players. What Duhon sounded like he was saying was he wanted someone to sit down and talk to him and reassure him, but in pro ball you're supposed to be a big fella and take care of your own problems. He knows his role. For now he objects to it, but this is the most questions I've ever gotten about him so I hope it cheers him up and lets him know readers care.
Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden both mentioned they like playing in Chicago better than Cleveland because they feel more involved. I was a little surprised by this because I thought players wanted to play with Lebron James because he made the game easier for others on the floor. Do players in general like playing with Lebron or is the Cavaliers' system the problem? --Brian Brewster, Springfield, Va.
I noticed that as well. Hughes comments about enjoying Chicago more got the most attention because it sounded like he preferred scoring points for a loser. But the unsaid was what you hear sometimes about James, and other shooting stars like Kobe Bryant. They monopolize the ball too much (James likes it in his hands and doesn't like to run down ahead of the ball to bring the defense, much like Michael Jordan) and it's difficult to play with them. They average 30, so when the team loses it's never their fault no matter how many shots they take. We heard that here about Jordan before the Bulls started winning. James is a willing passer, but he does take players out of the game, and to get to the NBA you had to be a star on every level. Gilbert Arenas said Hughes told him in the playoffs a few years back he felt like the football player bringing in the plays. It's tough on their egos.
I am a refugee from Chicago and happy to have a second favorite team (the Blazers) that reminds me of my Bulls before '07-'08. Do you see any scenario in which the Blazers spontaneously implode a la the Bulls? Who would they have to trade for to make that happen? And why do all the writers refer to Tyrus Thomas as "talented"? He is athletic, with a talent for blocking shots into the stands, but does not seem to have any kind of feel for the game. Can't shoot, can't dribble, can't pass, and can't play within himself like Noah. --Juan, Portland, Ore.
Yeah, what the heck is it with those writers? Though after almost two seasons, those "talents" seem to be for all the wrong things. I suspect he moves on this summer as well. And we didn't think the Bulls would implode. But if the Bulls' situation is a model, it says to not let all your young players come up for deals about the same time. Portland could be in that situation, so it will come down to the maturity level of the players, which we thought was high here. That said, I am eager to see the 'blazers with Oden next season. Like I was this season.
I sometimes wonder whether Joakim Noah could be averaging double figures in scoring if the Bulls had an elite-type point guard who could actually get him the ball after he (regularly) beats his man down the floor in transition. So if the Heat actually end up getting the first pick in the draft, what do you think of this trade idea: Hinrich, Nocioni, and the Bulls' first-rounder for the bad contracts of Mark Blount and Marcus Banks and the No. 1 pick, which Chicago uses to draft hometown favorite Derrick Rose. --BenGo, Chicago
Good deal from the Bulls' side, but you know I don't propose those. How stupid would that be for Miami? Yeah, let's trade the top pick in the draft and a potential star for a bunch of guys from a losing team. Yeah, works for me. You are right about having that point guard. Ask Tyson Chandler, whose career has been made with Chris Paul. But if the Bulls want Rose they better miss the playoff and hope for some lottery magic.
Considering that Tyson Chandler is among the top five rebounders in the league, Jamal Crawford is averaging about 20 points per game and Eddy Curry is among the shot percentage leaders, who can question the Bulls' ability to draft well? Who on the present roster remains from any of those trades? Any truth to the rumor that the Knicks want the Bulls to draft for them this year? --Art, Easton, Penn.
The Curry deal would have looked a lot better if Thomas had looked better, though I think in the long run Noah is a more valuable player. And you're welcome to Crawford and his lack of defensive effort. I don't see where those deals hurt the team as much as Thomas and Wallace being unexpected disappointments. Who knew?
So did anyone win the Eddy Curry trade or did both teams just rearrange the deck chairs on their own Titanic? --Mikey, Elmwood Park, Ill.
Let's say no one walked away with an executive of the year award.
What are the chances that the Bulls alter their offensive scheme and become a fast-paced, Warriors/Suns like, team? Seams like they have a lot of tools to make that happen, with the abundant logjam at their 2-guard position and forwards? --Ido Roman, Chicago
I think that may be the biggest challenge Paxson has in deciding on his next coach. The organization's philosophy traditionally has been defense first, but the talent doesn't completely match that and I don't think you have to play that way in the East given the recent play of the 76ers. Yes, Boston and Detroit defend and you probably won't beat them that way, but it is something to consider until they can land a big-time star player.
Why is everyone so surprised that several Bulls players are playing with a selfish attitude. Hasn't John Paxson set the tone over the past couple of years by making guys go into their contract year unsigned? Maybe the philosophy of locking up guys you want for the future early should be something Pax installs. --Derrick Walters, Fredburg, Va.
I'd have to side with the Bulls on this one. I don't see why asking a player to finish a contract he signed is such an insult. Especially when these players haven't been All Stars or won championships. Just because a player asks doesn't mean you give him the money. What about earning it? The players, while disagreeing with the Bulls on whether there were serious negotiations (I don't think Deng questioned that), did agree they got offers of eight-figure annual deals. It's difficult to see on any level how that was unfair, and, to me I thought at the time too much because you still need better players than them to play for a title and how were you going to get them if you spent all your money on your supporting players?
We NBA Fans in Germany are lucky these days. Last Sunday we got to see the Phoenix-San Antonio game, tonight we see Detroit-San Antonio, then Detroit-New Orleans on Sunday, then Dallas-San Antonio the following Sunday. In between we get New Jersey-Denver, so at least there is a night we can sleep through. But what I wanted to ask you was: on the jerseys of the Suns and Spurs it read "LOS SUNS" and "LOS SPURS", which I had never seen before. The American commentators didn't say anything about it. It's a detail, but I'd still like to understand it. Could it be that this was a special "gift" for the Spanish speaking fans of those teams? --Dieter Stappert, Germany
You are fortunate as the NBA seems to be saving you from Bulls games. It is something like that. The Spurs occasionally have done this salute to Latino fans. I think there was one earlier this season. This time both teams wore the "Los," which given my high school Spanish can mean either "The" or is an add for the show "Lost." I saw that game and noticed the announcers never mentioned it, but you wouldn't want to hear Jeff Van Gundy's Spanish. It's like teams wearing green jerseys on St. Patrick's Day, though I'm not explaining that one. And with the dollar collapsing, I think it's also a way to sell more jerseys and get more money spent to stimulate the economy.
How bout Marcus Williams of New Jersey or Randy Foye of Minnesota? Is Jamal Tinsley a possibility? --Michael, Chicago
I hear suggestions of Williams with the Nets getting Devin Harris. He hasn't played much behind Kidd and hasn't shot well as a pro, but rarely has gotten much time. Of those three, I suspect the Bulls take a look at him.
Any possibility the Bulls could make a trade to the Raptors for Calderon in the summer? I think he'd be the perfect fit as the Bulls PG of the future. --Dave, Schaumburg, Ill.
As about 15 other teams feel. No chance. Many around the league question why T.J. Ford with the possibility of crippling injury is even playing. He may not for long. Calderon is their future.
How much did Jay Williams accident set the Bulls back? He was so fast and quick, exactly what they need. I thought he was going to be special. --Lee Bakakos, Wilmette, Ill.
I think it did set them back quite a bit. It forced them to pick Hinrich, though I'm not sure whom they would have picked if they didn't and had Williams. And while Williams had a rocky rookie year with the team, he seemed to have that explosiveness and finishing ability and had a triple double against Jason Kidd. I felt his shot would have improved as he matured, but he clearly didn't mature quickly enough to avoid his own fateful night.
Do you think a trade of Deng for Josh Howard in the summer is fair? Neither is fitting in with the style of their current teams and would benefit from a swap. Deng would play well as a slasher and spot-up shooter next to Dirk and Kidd. Howard is a much tougher player that would remind Bulls fans of a Scottie without ball handling. --K.C., Dallas
Yes, Howard has struggled some with his face-up game in getting used to running with Kidd. But he's coming along and I don't see them dealing him. Now, as for Terry, Stackhouse ... if the Mavs don't go far I can see some other big changes.
Do you suppose Paxson has considered doing a "Steinbrenner" and bringing back Skiles? --Joe C., Oak Lawn, Ill.
I have actually heard this from several fans and it's surprised me. There's, of course, no chance of that, though I'm sure Scott appreciates the votes of confidence. I grew to find him a terrific coach but with a shelf life, which is pretty common in the NBA. You don't try the milk past that expiration date even if it still looks good. There is one chance for Skiles to return as coach next season. If Paxson brings in Jerry Krause as his assistant and Isiah Thomas as his personnel director. Watch it! Was that a pig flying. Nah.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun