Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Thursday, Nick Friedell stops by to chat about the NBA season as well as the Chicago Bulls.
Friedell covers the Chicago Bulls for both ESPN Radio 1000 and ESPNChicago.com.
Send your questions now and join the chat Thursday at 1 CT/2 p.m. ET!
Nick Friedell (2:00 PM)
Hello from Denver, everybody. Let's get this chat rolling ...
bobbie clopton (chicago) [via mobile]
Will joakim play tonight?
Nick Friedell (2:03 PM)
Yes. He says he will. Belinelli is a different story. His ankle is still bothering him. We'll see what happens.
Will D.Cook ever see any real minutes off the pine? Will Rip be taken off his minutes' limit? Thanks. Love the work!
Nick Friedell (2:05 PM)
Carey, I don't think Cook will ever break in the rotation. I think Rip will be off the limit by the time the playoffs roll around. Thibs just wants him to stay healthy until then.
Mike (The loop )
1. Any Chance hinrich is back for tomorrow against Utah? 2. Where do you see the rotation going once D-Rose is back, Hinrich as the main back up with Nate getting time when we need a spark offensively?
Nick Friedell (2:07 PM)
1. No. 2. Yes, I think Hinrich will be the main back up -- Nate will get minutes here and there when they need a boost off the bench.
Gerson [via mobile]
How's derrick doing? When do think he will return?
Nick Friedell (2:08 PM)
I think he's doing very well. He is doing everything in practice that the team does. My guess is still after the All-Star break -- towards the end of the month.
Do you think the Bulls KNOW when Rose is coming back like a specific date wise but they just keeping it hush n not telling anyone or media that's why keep getting same answers each time lol like "he's getting close but still got ways to go" etc etc.
Nick Friedell (2:11 PM)
I think they have a specific time period in mind, yes. They're waiting to see how he progresses in practice, but all signs point to him being back in the near future. They just want to keep as much pressure off of him as possible.
Dan [via mobile]
What's your take on the d12 Kobe situation?
Nick Friedell (2:13 PM)
I've never been a fan of Howard's personality. His game is great, but I don't think he can handle being a leader on the team. He has always been immature and that doesn't seem like it will change any time soon.
Do you think bulls will get drose a star alongside him? When? Who?
Nick Friedell (2:15 PM)
Aside from the Rose return, and the Boozer amnesty question, this one is constant. No matter who it will be it won't happen til the summer of 2014. I don't even think the Bulls know who the best fit would be fit now -- the good news for them is that they have time to figure it out.
Michael (Hyde Park)
Do you envision Jimmy Butler as the starting 2 guard next season?
Nick Friedell (2:16 PM)
Not at the moment -- I think the Bulls will look to add somebody or use Hinrich more -- but if Jimmy can consistently knock down the midrange jumper it is a definite possibility.
What do you think the bulls chances are in the playoffs when Rose comes back? How far do you think they will go?
Nick Friedell (2:16 PM)
The Bulls have the ability to beat everybody except for one team in my mind ... the Miami Heat.
With an unhappy Kevin Love missing the playoffs again - do you think that the bulls would have the pieces to pursue a deal in the offseason for him
Nick Friedell (2:17 PM)
They definitely have the pieces -- but I don't think Minnesota wants to move him.
Looking to the future.. With the emergence of Jimmy Butler and potentially having more cap flexibility (summer of 2014)- do the Bulls re-sign Deng, let him walk, or try to trade him next season?
Nick Friedell (2:18 PM)
They will try to re-sign him -- but at a reduced rate. It all depends on how much of a pay cut he wants to take.
Dave (Menomonee Falls, WI)
Nick - do the Bulls plan on making Teague Rose's primary backup next season? In other words, is Hinrich gone?
Nick Friedell (2:20 PM)
No -- Hinrich is signed through next year. Because of that and the need to find more minutes for Teague, I'd be surprised if Nate came back.
Matt (Lincoln Park)
Hindsight game -- still a good call to let go of Omer? I say yes -- still too costly, wouldn't have taken us over the top for a championship, and we probably would have lost Taj.
Nick Friedell (2:22 PM)
Keeping Omer would have crushed the Bulls cap flexibility in the future. In that regard, it was the right move. The problem for the Bulls is that they didn't see that kind of major contract coming so they let Asik walk and got nothing in return.
Who do you think wins the central come seasons end, indiana or chicago? I thought indiana caught the bulls at a bad time with injuries and bad officiating in the last game
Nick Friedell (2:23 PM)
I picked the Pacers before the season and I'll stick with that now. They look tough right now and they are likely getting Granger back soon. I think it will be tight until the end but I think Indiana sneaks out with the division crown.
Have you had the chance to speak to Derrick over the last couple weeks or is he off limits? Just curious as to how he feels physically/mentally.
Nick Friedell (2:24 PM)
I've talked to him casually a few times -- I think he is feeling great about where he's at -- both mentally and physically.
TJ (Naperville IL)
How long do you think Marco will stay with the team? Do you think he'll be freed up for cap space in 2014 for a big free agent run?
Nick Friedell (2:27 PM)
My guess would be he would not be here long-term but it all depends on if the Bulls feel like they can upgrade this summer. Because of their cap situation, there may not be a lot out there.
do you see this as a hard game for the bulls? the nuggets are a deep, hustle team and with the bulls injuries could be tough to keep up?
Nick Friedell (2:28 PM)
The Nuggets are 21-3 at home. The Bulls now if they let Denver run up and down the floor they will get blown out.
Brian ( Chicago) [via mobile]
Will rose start right away when he comes back or will Hinrich still start for the first few games?
Nick Friedell (2:30 PM)
I think Derrick will be on the Keith Bogans plan when he comes back. Which means he will start the first and third quarters and they play a few more as Thibs sees fit. I don't expect Derrick to play more than 20 minutes a game or so in the first few weeks after he comes back.
Do the bulls need a big time C behind noah?
Nick Friedell (2:33 PM)
Yes -- but there aren't many out there. They thought Nazr Mohammed was going to fill that role, but Thibs has opted not to use him much this season.
jacob new york [via mobile]
Will Rip get moved before the trade deadline?
Nick Friedell (2:35 PM)
There isn't much of a market for Rip these days.
Nicklas (new lenox) [via mobile]
What sort of role do you see Jimmy Butler playing as we get further along in the season towards crunch time once we get everybody back healthy? Will Deng be able to get some more legit rest?
Nick Friedell (2:37 PM)
I don't think there's any way Deng isn't playing 40 minutes+ at the end of the season. Jimmy may get a few more minutes here and there but Thibs is going to stick with Deng unless he gets hurt again.
Nick, the Bulls are doing an admirable job this year without D. Rose, we all know that. They're playing like they know there's light at the end of the tunnel (Rose's return) and it's coming soon. But I wonder, what if Rose isn't his normal self when he returns? Do you think it make take away some of the wind from this team's sails? I'm worried Bulls fans are expecting too much.
Nick Friedell (2:39 PM)
Fans may be expecting too much, but Derrick's return will give the Bulls a huge emotional boost no matter when he returns. They have been looking forward to having him back all season.
Johnny Blaze (Morgan Park)
When is Derrick coming back? When is Boozer getting amnestied? Just kidding! Does the emergence of Jimmy Butler as a defensive stopper and a offensive semi-threat change your opinion at all about the Bull's chances to overtake the Heat in the East? I think that between Deng, Butler and Hinrich, we have the perimeter defense that is needed to slow down the big 2.
Nick Friedell (2:40 PM)
Butler definitely gives them more depth, Johnny. But the Heat still have LeBron James -- when he wants to score or take over a game, nobody can stop him.
You say that Thibs will continue to ride Deng 40+ minutes even though we have seen Butler come in and fill in without missing a beat. Isn't that on Forman and Paxson to step in and tell Thibs not to wreck Deng? If this were baseball the GM would already have stepped in to save the player from the manager.
Nick Friedell (2:41 PM)
I have no doubt that the front office has ongoing conversations about all the minutes, but in the end, this is Thibs' team and he is going to run things the way he wants to run them.
Nick I think you're a little too high on Lebron, obviously he's the best playing in the game, but the Bulls play some pretty good defense so if Lebron doesn't get the refs favor every play I think he can be contained.
Nick Friedell (2:43 PM)
It's not possible to be a little too high on LeBron. He is the best player in the league. End of story.
Big Nick! Hope all is well, it has been a while! What are your thoughts on all the recent pub Kyrie Irving has received? And do you think this will elevate him on the Derrick?s ?hit list? with CP3 and Deron Williams?
Nick Friedell (2:45 PM)
Irving is a special player. Thibs has praised him from the beginning. The craziest part about Irving and Rose is that they still haven't played against each other because of all the injuries each has suffered. I know both are looking forward to that matchup.
Dennis (Chicago) [via mobile]
Nick I honestly think you are giving an undersized and inconsistent Miami heat team too much credit. D wade is ran down, Bosh injury prone and Lebron will have to carry the load. Their bench is still unreliable even with Ray Allen. I believe that Bulls loss in that series has matured Deng, Noah, Rose etc and they will be ready this time and we have more options to help this team. C'mon nick lebron and heat won last year because of major injuries to great players in east and a favorable whistle during a lockout year
Nick Friedell (2:50 PM)
The beauty of all of this is that we'll see, Dennis. I still think the Heat have another gear that they can hit in the playoffs. The Bulls play so hard each and every night that I'm not sure they have another gear in them. LeBron is the best player in the league, Wade still has enough left for a few more runs and Bosh and Allen are great players. I just think that will be too much for the Bulls to overcome, especially given that nobody knows how Rose will be when he returns.
Nick man why hasnt D. Rose talked to anybody since media Day? Other stars who went through ACL tear at least talked man. Like Iman Shumpert. Amar'e Back in the day.
Nick Friedell (2:53 PM)
The Bulls have said that Derrick doesn't want to talk, but having been around him for a few years, I don't believe that completely. I think they are just trying to keep as much pressure off of him as possible. They don't want to have him answering questions about his return because the organization still isn't positive when he will be back. I don't agree with the approach they've taken, but I understand why they did it.
Nick Friedell (2:54 PM)
I'm out of here, guys. Thanks for the questions. If you are at a game this week come over and say hello. I will talk to everybody from Boston next week.