There's a question the Bulls need to answer that has little to do with making the playoffs or attracting a top-notch free agent.
It could have an impact on the team's future, however.
Who's better: James Johnson or Joe Alexander?
This could turn into an interesting practice battle in the next two months. Both players are big, athletic forwards who can attack the basket. They also appear to have similar, developing jump shots.
Which one will be the better NBA player?
Their credentials are similar. Alexander was the No. 8 pick of the 2008 draft by Milwaukee, Johnson the No. 16 pick in 2009. In age, Alexander is two months older.
Alexander made his name with a 22-point, 11-rebound performance in West Virginia's NCAA Tournament upset of Duke. Johnson helped carry Wake Forest to a short-lived No. 1 ranking last winter.
Neither has seen much playing time in the NBA. Johnson is averaging 9.1 minutes during his rookie season. Alexander logged 12.4 minutes per game with the Bucks last year, but hasn't played in the NBA at all this season because of a hamstring injury. He's healthy now and was on a D-League assignment when the trade went down sending him to the Bulls with Hakim Warrick, while John Salmons went to Milwaukee.
Talking to Alexander, he sounds anxious to prove he's not a draft bust. The Bucks made a stunning decision last fall to not pick up his third-year option, essentially cutting Alexander loose based on a rookie season and sophomore training camp.
Not sure I understand the premise of that article?? Isn't our future small forward the 23-year-old guy that currently starts at small forward and is under contract for $71 million??
Scottie Pippen: “I don’t know if LeBron James fits with the Chicago Bulls”
There’s no question about it, the Chicago Bulls are looking to be players in this summer’s free agent market. With a projected figure of about $31.85 million in 2010-11 payroll, the Bulls will have about $20 million to dangle a max contract in front of one of the top-tier free agents. But sorry Bulls fans, according to Scottie Pippen, he doesn’t think LeBron James should be that guy.
Maybe Pippen wants to go down as the Bulls’ greatest small forward of all-time, or perhaps he really doesn’t see LBJ working out in the Windy City; but when asked if he had a choice of one player to build his franchise around, he chose the King.
That’s a difficult question. If you want to ask me that then I’m going to probably go after the best player in the game and that’s going to be LeBron James. But I don’t know if LeBron James fits with the Chicago Bulls. I don’t know if I want Derrick Rose to give the ball up and let LeBron run the show. There are some great free agents out there. For me, you have to have the right fit. You just can’t go and get the best player. You got to have chemistry in this game.
To me, this is very interesting. One thing about all six of Chicago’s championship teams is that they had great chemistry. But I don’t see where Pippen is coming from that he doesn’t think Rose and James could coexist on the same roster.
Bulls' Del Negro paints dour Noah picture
Throughout most of Joakim Noah's plantar fasciitis saga, the Bulls have tried to portray a positive vibe while warning that the injury is unpredictable.
The unpredictable aspect remained Monday morning. But a new level of pessimism underscored Vinny Del Negro's words following shootaround, which isn't surprising other than they were finally expressed publicly.
"He could be out a while," Del Negro admitted. "He could be out a week, two weeks, a month. I don't know yet. It's going to be how he reacts, how his foot reacts. It comes down to rest and getting treatments and see how he reacts.
"And then when he comes back it's his conditioning. It's not the perfect scenario obviously."
Del Negro admitted last Friday to "getting greedy" in playing Noah 27 minutes in the Bulls' overtime victory over Portland. Noah shot baskets in sweat clothes while wearing his protective boot at the shootaround.
"Joakim being out really hurts us just from length and activity and size up front," Del Negro said. "He was having such a good year. It's difficult to lose a player like that."
Bulls Trades: A Good Or Bad Thing?
Bulls fans were excited when they heard the rumors of a trade swelling up during the All-Star break. But, many were disappointed once they saw who was traded away, and who they got back. Yet, there were still those who looked at the glass half full, instead of half empty. I was one of the ones looking at it half full. I was hoping we would get some productivity out of the new additions, and then land a top free agent over the summer. Well, so far my hope has become reality.
The main concern going around when Tyrus Thomas and John Salmons were traded was that the Bulls organization was giving up on this year to land a top free agent prospect during the off-season. Some of the possibilities for them will be: Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Carlos Boozer. I do not believe they have a chance with James, but getting Wade, Bosh, or Boozer is a definite possibility. A lot of people have crossed off Wade, but I think if he goes out and looks for a new team Chicago would be one of his top destinations, because that is where he grew up as a kid.
The trades that the Bulls acquired during the All-Star break will open up enough salary to land one of these prospects. The thing is, the Bulls trades have actually contributed to the Bulls success since the All-Star break. They have had a strong 6-3 record since the trades have occurred. Although it looked like giving away Tyrus Thomas and John Salmons would hurt them, it has not affected them as of yet.
Michael Jordan takes more hands-on approach with Bobcats
One of Michael Jordan’s first acts since reaching a deal to buy the Charlotte Bobcats: losing two games of H-O-R-S-E to guard Gerald Henderson.
A trash-talking Jordan attended the Bobcats’ shootaround Monday morning before their game against Dallas, challenging the rookie Henderson to a shooting competition after the workout.
It may be a sign of a more hands-on approach for Jordan, who agreed late Friday to buy the Bobcats from owner Bob Johnson. Jordan has been a part-owner with the final say on basketball decisions since 2006, but has rarely attended practices.
The former NBA superstar spent time near the end of the workout talking with coach Larry Brown and general manager Rod Higgins. Higgins said Jordan decided against signing guard Larry Hughes, but wouldn’t rule out signing a guard to add depth as they try to reach the playoffs.
While Jordan declined to speak to reporters, he did plenty of talking on the court.
Needling Henderson relentlessly for being from Duke, the North Carolina product kept clanging jumpers off the rim as Henderson quickly won the first shooting game.
But then Jordan, wearing jeans and sneakers, started getting hot. He hit a free throw with his eyes closed to take the lead in the second game.
“What do you think, I just dunked my whole career?” Jordan asked Henderson after making a 3.
Henderson remained stone-faced when Jordan hit another outside jumper.
“You’ve got to miss eventually,” Henderson told him. “That’s what Cleveland said,” replied Jordan, referring to his last-second shot for Chicago in 1989 to win a playoff series over the Cavaliers.
But Jordan did start missing, and Henderson, who has played little this season, started making shots. Teammate Gerald Wallace even started calling him Kobe Bryant.
“He didn’t want to go a third game,” Henderson said of Jordan. “I don’t know, maybe he’s going to get back in the gym and get off the golf course.”
Did One Win Cost The Bulls a Playoff Spot?
This past Friday as the Bulls took on the Portland Trailblazers in a very exciting overtime victory a choice was made that may cost Chicago a spot in the playoffs.
Joakim Noah who is suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, an injury that will never go away and the only proven treatment is rest, played 27 minutes scoring 8 points grabbing 11 boards and even dishing out 4 assists. All this while playing stellar defense on LaMarcus Aldridge.
But was the win worth it?
This was only Noah's 4th game back after missing 7 games earlier in the month. In the first three games Noah player a total 26 minutes. Most people, myself included, was very confused why the team was even playing Noah since they were playing well winning five of the seven games he missed.
After the game Friday it was being reported that Noah could barely walk and was seen with a bag of ice wrapped around his foot in the locker room. There were several times during the game that Noah looked to be in extreme pain.
Noah sat out Saturday's game vs the Pacers and will miss tonight's game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Heading into an extremely tough stretch of games this month, it again raises the question why the team did not rest him and save him for the stretch run. March features 12 out of the 15 games against teams in the playoff hunt, including two games against the Miami Heat which are currently in 9th place 2 1/2 games behind the Bulls.