This week will be the first day of the rest of the Bulls' lives. Coffee mugs, anyone?

The draft lottery is Tuesday night and the Bulls will find out their pick from the Knicks. I'm guessing it's top three, but it could fall as low as five. They need one or two to have a shot at one of the big guys, LaMarcus Aldridge or Tyrus Thomas, because of need and value to other teams.

Their plans should be clearer after that; so will my ability to make even more fantastic proposals. Until then we'll deal with some of these questions.

Sam. Everybody loves to talk about the stars, but I get as much entertainment out of discussing my favorite middling Bulls. Who would be your all-time Bulls scrub team? I think you have to include Granville Waiters, Ed Nealy, Kornel David, Paul Shirley, James Edwards, Rusty LaRue. -– Patrick, Chicago

Now there's a subject I can embrace. I'd have to lead with Sam Smith from UNLV; he made the first 4-point play in Bulls history. Always seemed to me the guy had kind of a happening name. I was more a Wallace Bryant guy than Granville for big and hulking and not doing much. Kornel David, sure, for the Michael Jordan of Hungary. If that doesn't make you smile. Shaler Halimon was maybe my favorite name. He was driving a bus when the Bulls were in Portland for the Finals in 1992. Came in the Chet Walker deal, so he was part of something. One of my favorites is Jawann Oldham from Seattle. They tell the best story about him. He was in a bar once when he was with the Bulls and the guys were playing one of those trivia machines when this question came up: "Which of these NBA centers is from the U.S: Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Swen Nater and Jawann Oldham?" Jawann asked which one.

Would you say that the Bulls' treatment of Tim Thomas has helped him elevate his game to its current level? I know when I was a competitive swimmer, a very talented teammate was going through the motions and not giving a top effort. Our coach assigned him a swim lane with slower swimmers, including girls, and did not put him in the top events. Although he did not talk to the coach for a month, his times improved dramatically and he was put on a higher pedestal than before the demotion. Imagine what would happen if the rest of NBA management stopped coddling the prima donnas. Would us fans get a better product? -- Todd, Homewood

Interesting concept, but it's not coddling. Or perhaps it is. The reason is guaranteed contracts of long duration. I understand why David Stern agreed to the labor deal he did last summer, not wanting a lockout and the bad publicity with hockey out for the year. But in just reducing guaranteed deals from seven to six years, Stern guaranteed the continuation of long contracts that become albatrosses for a team. Yes, team executives need to be smarter. But sometimes they're put in a difficult position, like the Bulls with Tyson Chandler. With Eddy Curry out, they felt they couldn't afford to lose both their seven-footers. And then dumb contracts set the market -- like the 76ers for Samuel Dalembert -- and you fall into a trap. I have no doubt Chandler would be a better player, as he was last year, playing for a deal rather than having one.

As for Thomas, remember he is playing for a contract. Watch him next season. Also, that system fits him perfectly, where they don't mind if their big men are shooting from the perimeter. The Bulls don't spread the court that way and would need someone like Thomas to rebound. He never has. Also, the Suns rarely practiced to save Steve Nash, and Thomas never has been much of a practice player. The tension would have gone on all season and little would have come of it. The Bulls could have tried to deal the contract but would have had to take back $14 million in players, which would have taken them out of the free agent market this summer. But I think it would have been interesting to see the Bulls ask Tim to swim with the girls.

Hey Sam! I really like your idea of your (I really don't think Garnett will change teams or that he can make Chicago a real contender). One question though. Couldn't Chicago send Duhon instead of the draft picks to the Suns? If Gordon is going to stay around, I believe there will be too many guards. -- Nicolás, Mar del Plata, Argentina

I agree -- I don't see Minnesota trading Garnett but you never know and it's always interesting to presume. Yes, you hear talk about Shawn Marion and he's been a victim of fans and media there to the point of articles being written asking people to be less harsh. So the time may have passed. I assume the Bulls will explore all such options and if they can do something with picks without giving up any major players, I think it's possible. I actually would love for Gordon to stay. I'm just not sure he can accept being a sixth man; I think he'd be the best in the league. He's also a classy standup guy with the media. I don't see the Suns wanting Duhon as he comes off injury and doesn't shoot well enough for their style of game.

Sam, I enjoy your , but two 1st-round picks, the option for the Knicks' pick next year, Gordon, and Chandler is simply too much for KG (as much as I like him). I just don't see how the Bulls could go wrong drafting Roy, then Shelden Williams, and signing Nazr Mohammed from free agency. Then you trade BG because he isn't needed, but not because you have to, which increases the Bulls' leverage a little bit. -- Josh Herren, Eglin AFB, Fla.

It's good to know I woke you all up with that proposal. The option of the Knicks' pick was only after protection if it's No. 1 so the Bulls could still get Greg Oden if he comes out. And with Isiah Thomas looking like the next coach and most of the personnel staying, who knows what will happen there? So I wouldn't give up the chance at No. 1. I like Garnett and believe you need veteran help to make a move with such a young Bulls team. In two straight playoffs, the Bulls collapsed because of the mistakes of youth. Adding draft picks and role-playing free agents doesn't help that. Also, as you may have heard Scott Skiles say 500 times, the Bulls lack leadership … or someone to even speak up. Your addition would help, but I think the East is weak and the Bulls could break through big-time next season with one top player. And thanks for your service to our country and dual concern for the Bulls.

Sam, I have heard you mention Przybilla and Mohammed almost as if they are interchangeable. What are the pros/cons of these two potential free agents and what will be their price? Which is a better fit for the Bulls? Oh yeah, nice sweater vest. -- Will Haven, Tampa, Fla.

Thanks for noticing. Did you like the one with the golf course logo? Oh, right. That's all of them. But I'm moving to golf shirts if it ever gets above 55 degrees here. Neither is a great answer, though Przybilla is probably better. He doesn't score, much like Chandler, but is a terrific shot-blocker and with Chandler could be a good duo. Mohammed is more athletic and quicker but also with poor hands like Chandler. There's also Nene, who has been hurt this season. The Bulls will consider him as well; he might be better than both if healthy after knee surgery.

Sam, I have been hearing that the Bulls are talking trade with the Knicks. It looks like they would be trading Ben Gordon for "one of the Knicks' elite guards" and their next first-round draft pick. Which of the Knicks' elite guards would the Bulls be getting? And what are the Bulls thinking? -- Joe, Hinsdale

I saw that item in the New York Post and I think it is Isiah Thomas. Other than him, I cannot find an "elite" guard on that team. It was one of the funniest things written this week. It was in the New York Post, which is a wonderfully entertaining read (I guess the fiction helps), and does come up with some good stuff from my friend Peter Vecsey. But there's no truth to it at all. Actually, relations between the Bulls and Knicks have been so cool since the Curry fiasco that executives from both teams haven't spoken to one another this season. The Knicks would love to have Ben because he lights them up every time he plays them. I wouldn't take anyone but Channing Frye for him. The Bulls are mostly thinking the Knicks are now writing the newspaper stories.

Darius Songaila and Malik Allen are very similar players: big men with a nice perimeter touch without a whole lot of defense to speak of. Because they possess such a similar game, do you expect both of them back next season? If so, who would have the edge going into training camp for more minutes in the rotation? -- Andrew Janoff, Livingston, N.J.

Songaila has an option to be a free agent and will most likely take it with a contract for "only" $2.4 million next season. The Bulls likely will not pick up the option they hold on Allen and let him go. I think they'd like to re-sign Songaila, but it will depend on what deals and signings they make. With two first-round picks and cap room for two or three free agents, they'll need to gill at least four or five roster spots and will have to make changes.

How much money do you expect the Bulls to give Kirk Hinrich this August in his extension? Anyone who watches the Bulls knows he is more valuable than Tyson Chandler, who has a $64 million deal. But is a guard like Kirk, who has never been to the second round of the playoffs and has zero All-Star game selections, worth more than Tyson? With Kirk and the entire core of the franchise due for extensions within a couple of years, how should John Paxson be expected to handle all of it? -- Andrew Janoff, Livingston, N.J.