What's happening to Sam's mailbag? Don't you realize that frustrated Bulls fans need you? Anyway, I'm sick of the accumulation of young "assets." It's time to use them and consolidate a little. How's this trade? Bulls send Ben Gordon, Andres Nocioni and Kryapa to Memphis for Gasol and Bulls send Duhon, Joe Smith and draft picks to Clippers for Maggette? I hate seeing Nocioni go but we really need low-post presence and a tall SG who can shoot and get to FT line. --Philip, Sydney, Australia

I'm back, baby! I'm not sure myself why this took so long. I don't think the internet guys are big fans of this column; I heard they thought it would be better to have a fan poll on how many saves Kerry Wood would have next season. I think this is how Ask Sam finally returned. One of the internet guys probably said something like: "Yeah, we'll run that thing again. Maybe when Scott Skiles gets fired." It could have been true. Anyway, since it's summer in Sydney you may have some heat stroke. Memphis has too many little guards already. The Clippers should deal Maggette, it would seem, as he's a free agent. But owner Don Sterling really likes him and I think they'll make an effort to resign him. And with Elton Brand coming back for one more season before he is a free agent, the Clippers could turn it around quickly. But I'm glad to have everyone around the world thinking trades with me.

Is Aaron Gray 30-40 minute/game person, or is poor mobility going to eventually catch up to him? With Gray and Noah's emergence, do you see any trade scenarios to relieve the logjam at center and power forward? --Todd, Homewood, Ill.

No, his lack of mobility makes him an ideal backup. And I don't quite see Noah's or Gray's emergence. Though I believe that will be Jim Boylan's mission for now.

Chris Wilcox wants a bigger role in Seattle, which means he probably wouldn't be against going to a better team like the Bulls. What do you think of Wilcox and what would be a reasonable trade? Also, I'm afraid Tyrus Thomas is going to be just as disappointing as Tyson Chandler. Could Tyrus be trade bait for someone like Wilcox? --Steve, Highland Park, Ill.

The Bulls might like to have Chandler now. Wilcox is a fine role player, but the Bulls have a team filled with players like him. If they begin making trades, it will be to fill missing spots, like perhaps a big shooting guard or a post player or someone who might draw a double team.

Why does the Chicago press and Bulls management give the living corpse with a bad attitude, Ben Wallace, a pass while analyzing the Bulls woes? He can barely reach the rim on one of his many missed dunks. He loafs down the court more than any other Bull. He doesn't need time outs because he takes them while the game is in progress. His FG and FT percentages are dead last in the NBA. He can no longer rebound except to tap them out like a volleyball player. He is constantly sulking and forces the team to play five against four most of the time, except for his one active game per week when like Count Dracula he arises from his casket to actually get involved. And yet, you seem to obsess over the most active and physically gifted, albiet young and immature athlete, Tyrus Thomas, to blame on the Bulls failures. --Jack Marr, Tucson, Ariz.

Ben's gotten his share of criticism, I believe, though we don't expect as much from him anymore than we did from Tyrus. We all knew Ben was on the way down. We just didn't know how fast. I assume the Bulls will try to move him if they can as he was brought here for a serious playoff run, not where the team is now.

We keep hearing about how the Bulls can't get a player like Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol without giving up their best players. Then how is it Boston started off with one good player, Paul Pierce, then got Ray Allen without giving Pierce up? Then got Garnett without having to give up either Pierce or Allen? So why can't the Bulls say keep Deng, and get both Gasol and Bryant? Wouldn't that be the same thing, or am I missing something? --Allen, Chicago

Yes. Kevin McHale only works for two teams, Minnesota and Boston. The Ray Allen deal was a nice addition, but the Celtics might not be even a playoff team without Garnett. The Bulls were willing to offer a package of Deng, Tyson Chandler and the No. 2 overall pick in 2006. Minnesota would be in the playoff race now. The Lakers offered Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, which is way better than what Minnesota got, I believe. Bryant was never going to be traded and Gasol is available. The Bulls have been somewhat conservative and seemed to have a core not worth breaking up. I think that has changed some. Credit the Celtics. They did it. After all, a lot of teams would like to have had Garnett, not just the Bulls.

I would like you to look back to the draft two years ago when Paxson drafted LaMarcus Aldrige then traded him for Tyrus Thomas. Knowing that the Bulls have a small backcourt and desperately needed inside scoring and rebounding, can you tell me what he was thinking? The great footwork that Aldridge possesses on the low post, the nice turn around jumpers and all around soft touch he possess, these are tools that must have been apparent during workouts. In comparison Thomas' height, skill set and level of maturity are nowhere close to Aldridge's ability. --Doug, New York

I believe he was thinking this was the next Amare Stoudemire. Remember, there were questions about Aldridge: His frame isn't big and he might not put on weight. He was called "soft" in college. There was a question whether he'd attack the basket or fade outside more like Channing Frye. Aldridge has proven better than expected. He was 1a for the Bulls. The felt they didn't have enough athletes and I think Paxson may have been swayed some by everyone saying he was too conservative with his picks and he needed to take a chance on someone with a high ceiling, a big time athlete who could develop. So it seemed to make sense at the time.

I normally do not agree with your views on basketball, but I would like to get your take on this question. Here is a trade idea: Ben Wallace, Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich for Jason Kidd. --Gman, Matteson, Ill.

It's the same thing the Bulls always say about my views on basketball. As for Kidd, several have suggested it, but you may have noticed Kidd in talking about being traded has mentioned LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Not Luol Deng and Ben Gordon. I think the Nets would love to have Hinrich, but Kidd is toward the end of his career and the Nets roster now has more talent than the Bulls' would with that deal. Kidd can be very difficult in such a situation and wants a $20 million extension for a year. No chance.

As much as I like John Paxson as a fiery competitor, can you state the reasons why I don't think he has been a very good GM since 2003 (hint Andre Igudola, Al Jefferson, Josh Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Ben Wallace, trades of Eddy Curry, Tyson Chandler). --Brad, Chicago

Yes, the heat is going to be on Paxson now and he knows it. I didn't hear many complaints about him a year ago. Second guessing like this is pretty weak. Twenty-eight teams passed on Howard, including the model Spurs even after Tim Duncan asked them to take him. The Bulls got Deng over Iguodala and I'd still take that one. Jefferson was a high schooler and a reach and we'd seen enough of those kinds of picks. The point is Paxson made a lot of good picks and moves and no one gets them all right. Joe Dumars passed on Wade, Anthony and Bosh for Darko Milicic and Dumars is regarded as perhaps the best. Jerry West spent most of free agent money in Memphis on Brian Cardinal. Overall, Paxson has done well in turning this around. Now making that next step is tough.

If the '07 draft was re-done would there be any major changes? --Ed Pilolla, Los Angeles

Probably Yi. He looks like he's going to be a bigtime player and would go three or four. I'd still say Oden No. 1 even knowing what we do about him not playing this season.

How difficult could it be for the Bulls to get Joe Johnson from the Hawks? --Victor, Chicago