Mailbag: Trade questions and Rose's game

With a win on Wednesday night, the Chicago Bulls will head into the All-Star break with a winning record.

Scary thought, huh?

After all the Bulls have been through, it seems almost unbelievable that Vinny Del Negro's team could be headed into the break with a 26-25 mark. But, after two wins in a row over the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers, that is where they sit. If the Bulls knock off the Orlando Magic (for the second time in a little over a month, no less) Del Negro will have a very relaxing break.

Let's get to the mailbag ...

Quoting Gar Forman, "If we can do a deal that makes us a better team short-term and long-term, we'll take a hard look at it. There may be opportunities to create even more flexibility going into the summer, and that's something we're exploring. That's all I can really say.'' What is it exactly that the Bulls are looking for? It seems like they're not into Amare Stoudemire. Are they pretty much just waiting for [Chris] Bosh or [Dwyane] Wade? -- Chris, Los Angeles

At this point, I think the Bulls are just looking to clear out space in advance of the summer. I have no doubt that they are going to go hard after Bosh and Wade. They will put the full-court press on both players once the season ends. I just don't think they are looking to add anything of value over the next week, before the trade deadline.

Do you think Derrick Rose could ever be better than LeBron James, or Kobe Bryant? -- Tony, Gary, Ind.

Obviously, there is no way of knowing right now. Rose is still just 21 years old, and it's clear that he can and will get a lot better. He has the type of talent that most people can only dream about. Having said that, I think LeBron and Kobe are in a class all to themselves right now. They have proven that they can take over a game whenever they want. Rose can do that on the offensive end, but he has not shown that he can do that on the defensive end yet. If he does that at some point in his career, and continues to improve on his outside shooting, then he has a chance to get near that level.

What reason would you attribute to the fact that none of the coaches ever reveal their All-Star picks to the public? As a Bulls fan, I'm very curious as to whom Vinny selected but understandably skeptical as to why the various sources I've emailed have declined to tell me exactly WHY the information is private. Do you think you could clarify this for me? -- Arman, Chicago

I think, if pressed, most coaches would tell you at least a few of the players they selected. The secrecy probably has a lot to do with the fact that coaches don't want people to think that they have a bias toward any player or team. If the ballots leaked out, coaches would have to deal with questions about why they left one player off as opposed to another. My guess is that the NBA already figures that they have enough to worry about as is.

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Why don't the Bulls play James Johnson alot more? He would be an electrifying scorer, and D.R keep it up. -- Malik, Burbank, Ill.

James Johnson seems like a really nice kid, but what makes you think he would be an electrifying scorer? He hasn't proven that at all up to this point. He has had a hard time cracking the rotation all year and that probably won't change any time soon. He still is having a hard time defensively, and he usually makes one or two questionable decisions a game when he is on the floor. Still, he's only a rookie, and I know the organization will work with him a lot this summer.

For years I have been completely miffed at how Kirk Hinrich got such a huge contract when he is slow, an awful shooter (at times) and his defensive ability is extremely overrated. Is there a team dumb enough to take that salary on without leaving us with trash? -- Ken

I think Hinrich will be dealt before the deadline. He is a veteran point guard who can definitely help a team out down the stretch. The Bulls really don't seem to want to let Hinirch go (Del Negro always talks about the "thrust" that Hinrich gives the team), but if they want to clear up cap space for this summer that is what they are going to have to do.

Thanks for all the questions, guys. I will talk to you all next week. I'm sure I will have a good story or two from Dallas ...