The Chicago Bulls have four players in the league’s health and safety protocols. Befitting the team’s mindset, nobody uttered any excuses following the loss to the Cavaliers. This is a good trait to have.
On to your questions.
Long time, no correspondence. I'm so glad you put out your email address. I tried Googling a week or so ago to find an email for you when some people were giving you a rough time about changing your profile picture. That's unacceptable unless they were mocking your backpack. I was surprised by how difficult tracking an email for you turned out to be. I was afraid you possibly entered witness protection or something to avoid old-timers like me. I'm sure for yutes today using the Twitter it's easy to find, but I'm not that savvy.
As an Iowan whose cable company replaced NBC Sports Chicago with the Marquee Network and jacked our bill a gazillion dollars to do so, I don't get to watch the Bulls or K.C. like I previously enjoyed. I was curious how soon before this team can get some love from national broadcasts? From the highlights, they seem super fun to watch. Be well my friend. --- Cleetus
Longtime readers of this mailbag will remember Cleetus from way back in my Chicago Tribune days. And the backpack reference is a solid one, back from when I sported one at the Beijing Olympics that drew both praise and derision.
But I digress. If you think the highlights are fun, you should hear Stacey King alongside Adam Amin on our broadcasts. They’re having a blast. As for the national love, let’s just say here at NBC Sports Chicago, we’re pleased to be the exclusive rightsholders. This is a fun team to cover and fun team to watch.
Sounds like Indiana is headed towards tearing it all down. What are the chances the Bulls steal a big from the Pacers? Who would we have to package for either Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis? --- Aaron H.
Well, Sabonis is a two-time All-Star, so he’s not going to come cheaply. The Bulls don’t have much draft capital. If the Pacers are going to deal their best player to rebuild, I’d guess they’re going to want multiple picks. I don’t see a match.
Turner could possibly be gettable for younger talent, although I’d still think the Pacers will want picks attached to any players. If the Pacers keep Caris LeVert, they wouldn’t probably have much interest in Coby White. Patrick Williams could fit, although they’d certainly want more.
To me, the Bulls’ best trade package is the expiring deals of Derrick Jones Jr. and Troy Brown Jr. plus the lottery-protected Portland pick. If management gets aggressive, I’d guess some form of that is shopped.
Would you be willing to move Pat Williams and Coby White to contend right now? I love watching young guys develop, but feel like we should go all in. --- Matt A.
One thing this management team has shown is they will be aggressive with the right opportunity. That said, I don’t see them giving up on their first draft pick this early. Plus, I’m not sure how much trade value either player has. White is eligible for an extension of his rookie deal next offseason. Williams, while talented, still has questions about his ceiling and has been injured this season.
Do you see any scenario where the front office goes "all-in" this season for a playoff run to acquire another big man or 4/5? I know the assets/draft capital is bare, but would AKME consider moving Patrick Williams in the right deal? I personally see The Paw as a core piece of their future and can't see AKME mortgage the future unless for a Sabonis-type player and age. I feel Coby is a moveable piece with Ayo playing well, but not sure what his value really is around the league. --- Ron R.
See, Matt A.? Ron R. agrees with me.
In thinking about how to improve this team this year, we’re pretty hamstrung regarding trades, especially with the draft pick dearth. So that leads me to ask: Now that we’ve made it to at least potential contender status, will the Bulls be a player on the buyout market? Who’s on your early candidate list that would help this roster? I think someone that can guard a big perimeter player (i.e. a Giannis Antetokounmpo) would be a priority. Thoughts? --- Matthew C.
This is more realistic to me than a trade. And my colleague Rob Schaefer will be pleased with my answer, which, to me, is a very strong fit: Tristan Thompson. The Bulls made strong overtures on Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge. Thompson would be a fantastic consolation prize. But this just in: Nobody is guarding The Greek Freak by himself.
I'm hoping Billy Donovan doesn't continue to take minutes from Ayo Dosunmu to get Coby his mojo back. Do you think Coby could play in the G-League until he gets into game shape when he returns? --- Tom H.
The rookie stayed in the rotation when White returned from shoulder surgery. Granted, he didn’t play as many minutes because Donovan did try to juggle multiple guards. But Dosunmu is sticking in the rotation when White exits the league’s health and safety protocols. There wasn’t much talk of a G League stint before White made his debut on the West Coast trip. I’d be surprised if one happened this time.
Nikola Vučević has been struggling to score and I don't think the issue is in the offensive sets. I think he's physically and mentally exhausted from being the only big man on the floor defending and rebounding. Your thoughts? --- Tom H.
If Vučević is mentally exhausted, he wouldn’t admit it. He’s a stoic guy.
But I’m not sure I agree. He’s simply missing shots he normally makes. His shots in the loss to the Cavaliers are a prime example. He was wide open on many of those looks. Vučević admitted to some mild frustration over this season-long issue. He also vowed to keep working. And his rebounding, screen setting and passing all have remained on point.
But simply put: The Bulls need him to start shooting his career percentages.
Who do you think is the most athletic player on the roster? --- Cian M.
The fact there are multiple candidates to consider is progress. Management has significantly increased the roster’s athleticism. Before, the clear-cut winner would be Zach LaVine. Now, he has challengers. Alex Caruso is sneaky athletic. How about Derrick Jones Jr. vertical and Lonzo Ball’s dexterity? But I’m going with a surprise choice, someone that LaVine himself has touted as someone not to mess with — the person who tries to dunk on people’s head at every opportunity.
Yep, Javonte Green. His combination of jumping ability and strength makes him my pick. Just check the pinned post atop his Twitter page.
Thanks for all the questions. Talk to you soon.