Only seven weeks or so until the trade deadline. In the meantime, here's another batch of answers. Keep the questions coming.
K.C., in the most recent RosenBlog he "mentions" that the players have lost respect for Vinnie. Being around the team as much as you are, do you see this happening? If so, what do we do from here? Vinnie will have no shot at getting them to play harder if he's lost them already. --Bill, Skokie
NBA players test whatever coach they have to see his limits. Del Negro has been pretty clear in fining players or talking to them when those limits are crossed. I do know both players and Del Negro have talked openly about how he never had coaching experience at any level before this hire.
I think it's pretty normal human nature for players to question Del Negro at times because of that lack of experience. And it's pretty obvious with a rookie coach and a rookie point guard, the Bulls are trying to establish simplified offensive and defensive concepts and principles. At some point, though, players have to look in the mirror. If their behavior is similar to how two previous coaches who have been fired were treated, then it's on them.
Who is the bulls all time triple-double leader? --C. Mitchell, Sauk Village
I know you're going to find this hard to believe: Michael Jordan. He tallied 30 in his career, including an astonishing seven straight from March 25, 1989 to April 6, 1989. I remember talking to my former colleague Sam Smith about this stretch, and he just shook his head in amazement at the accomplishment. Especially because Jordan made a conscious effort to post more triple doubles because he was tired of people calling Magic Johnson a winner and Jordan just a scorer. Take that, huh?
Since we're a full service answer bank, Scottie Pippen ranks second with 19. And Nate Thurmond posted the only quadruple double in Bulls history when he dropped 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocks on Atlanta on Oct. 18, 1974. Making that day even better? I turned 7.
Last week (or perhaps the week before), you mentioned that the Bulls need a big man, more for defense than for offense. To that end, it seems that Hasheem Thabeet may fit the bill in the same way that the young Mutumbo did for the Nuggets the year they were the first No. 8 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed. Of course, this assumes they don't get pick No. 1 and take Blake Griffin. Your thoughts? --Tony Alam, Falls Church, Va.
I don't follow college basketball until NCAA Tournament time and then closer to the NBA draft. He's tall, right? I'll take your word for it. Maybe it could help keep Ben Gordon around to chat about their shared alma mater?
When Kirk Hinrich returns, do you expect a trade shortly thereafter? If so, who's most likely to go: Hinrich, Larry Hughes, others? Personally, Hughes is my first choice. Of the players with selfish play, he is the worst. Witness the ill-advised three-pointer late in the . --Eric Harrell, Crownsville, Md.
I took that game off, but I believe I heard the audible groan emanating from the United Center when Hughes rose for that shot in our north side home. The Bulls are shopping Hughes aggressively, and I'm starting to revisit my thinking that his contract will be impossible to move.
The reason I say thisand this is strictly speculation on my partis I'm starting to believe the Bulls will take virtually anything beyond ridiculous long-term contracts to move Hughes. They want to open up more opportunity for Sefolosha and also ease the glut of guards in the backcourt.
I like the energy that Tyrus Thomas shows and I can see improvement offensively from last year. Why can't he get 35 minutes a game? Isn't it time to see what we have with him? --Mitchell C., New York
I'd start preparing for that very scenario and I agree with the move. Tyrus makes some silly circus moves occasionally but if you leave him out there and he can avoid foul trouble, I believe he can contribute consistently. And you can't give away the second overall pick in the draft for nothing.
How long is the grace period for Vinny? I like the guy and don't think he should be fired. But how long before there's talk of him on the hot seat with blowout losses and losses like the one to Minnesota? Would the bulls consider cutting short their experiment with Del Negro to bring in a guy like Eddie Jordan, who is generally respected and now available? --Bradley, Chicago
You can't change coaches that quickly, nor do I think the Bulls should. The Bulls knew that they were entering with a rookie coach with no experience. I think Del Negro has showed some signs of being a strong coach. I like how he has handled playing time. He has been firm but fair in holding people accountable for mistakes. And he communicates well.
Scouts say the Bulls run extremely basic offensive sets and they obviously don't have a strong defensive identity (hurt, also, in part by their poor shot selection at times). But some of that is by design because they have a rookie point guard and a rookie coach. Yes, there are growing pains. But he's making just $2 million per year and has a short-term deal and changing coaches now would be a mistake.
I have always liked John Paxson, and loved him as a player. But why is there never any talk about him getting fired. He absolutely has to go if the Bulls are going to ever make a move in the right direction. He has only made two good moves: Jay Williams (not Paxon's fault about the accident) and Derrick Rose. Our rosters since he has taken the job have been like a circus show. When is it going to finally be enough to get him out of here and start taking winning seriously? Nobody ever seems to put any blame on Paxson. --Ryan, Naperville
Ah, the ol' weekly question where my answer makes me look like a Bulls apologist. There's no question you can look at the summer of 2006 and point to several reasons why the Bulls have dropped off the last season and a half. Those are looking like Paxson mistakesthe Ben Wallace signing, the drafting of Tyrus Thomas over LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy, the Tyson Chandler trade for an expiring deal in P.J. Brown that wasn't parlayed into a larger deal. (Although Brown, also, was arguably the Bulls' best player in the Detroit playoff series.)
K.C. Johnson's Bulls mailbag
The Tribune's Bulls reporter answers reader questions during the season.
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