K.C. Johnson on the Bulls

What do you think of the Bulls draft? I can live with drafting either Gordon or Deng, but not both. A combination of Deng or Gordon and either Jackson or Iguodala would have been easier to swallow. --Mike, Jersey City, N.J.

How about Gordon and Al Harrington? The Bulls tried for that scenario but declined when Indiana asked for the No. 3 pick in exchange for Harrington, instead of the No. 7 pick. Indiana, too, wanted to draft Gordon, which shows how much he shot up on everybody's draft board.

We got some variation of this question from a lot of people, but it's clear that Deng ranked higher on the Bulls' draft board since both Iguodala and Jackson were still available. Management will probably concede, if pushed, that both Iguodala and Jackson---and certainly Harrington---would've helped the Bulls more next season. But management believes that Deng has a higher ceiling.

Do you know if the Bulls are interested in Darius Miles, and what's your take on him? --Reyes Garcia, Minneapolis, Minn.

I have not heard the Bulls mentioned in the Miles sweepstakes. I think he's a decent player, but he's going to command near the mid-level exception---if not higher---and the Bulls ideally would like to split that among multiple players or not use all of it, depending on where the Crawford sweepstakes go.

Now that Vince Carter has voiced his demand to be traded, is there any chance the Bulls would make a trade with the Raptors? Carter has been known to exhibit questionable character and nap on the defensive end. I think his mental lapses are due to him using most of his energy on the offensive end to keep the Raptors in games. He would be the missing piece the Bulls need. --Abu Mara, Newark Calif.

That's your opinion, not management's. He's exactly opposite of the type of player that this current regime has interest in.

Thus far, all the media write-ups focus on Ben Gordon and Luol Deng. Not that these two should not be written about, but what about Duhon? He could be a diamond in the rough. What do you think? --J.A. De La Cruz, Alpharetta, Ga.

I think Duhon is clearly a backup insurance plan if Crawford is gone. Management likes Duhon's ability to defend and how unfazed he is by pressure situations, having been in so many big games. But he's no lock to make next season's roster.

How's your offseason going? If the Bulls can't land Stephen Jackson or Rodney White (who I think could turn into one of the biggest steals from this free agency period), is there any chance that they will pursue Morris Peterson from Toronto? --Bryant, Chicago

What offseason? Peterson is on the Bulls' radar screen. But I don't know how serious their talks with him are.

The Bulls missed out on a golden opportunity to get some big men in the draft like Ha Seung-Jin, the center from Korea, or Mo Ke from China. Maybe even 7-footer Jaber Rouzbahani from Iran, who can dunk on his tippy toes. We need size to compete at this level. And frankly speaking, the "twin stiffs" down low aren't cutting it! Why are the Bulls so content on seeing those two projects through to the bitter end? --Tom Williams, Evanston, Ill.

Wow, some bitterness from someone from my hometown. One would think someone from such a great suburb would know that Chandler and Curry can run circles around the foreign players you mentioned. (Just my opinion.) That's like comparing Sloan Smith to Steve Kling. (That's an inside Evanston joke.)

When trying out prospects, why do teams bring in other lower-rated prospects to play against them? Why not use real NBA players on the team (Hinrich, Crawford, etc.)? Also, it seems to me that a better test would be to scrimmage 5-on-5 instead of 1-on-1 or 2-on-2. --LA Bull, Irvine, Calif.

Teams would love to scrimmage 5-on-5, but agents never would allow their clients to participate in such a mass workout situation. That's why all the top prospects skip the NBA pre-draft camp every year. As for scrimmaging against current players, the players' association never would allow that.

The Bulls still don't have the veteran presence Paxson has been saying they need. What are the chances they package Chandler (who they seem to be shopping) and/or Crawford (who looks to be gone no matter what) for a veteran power forward? I'm thinking along the lines of Kurt Thomas, Antoine Walker, or Shareef Abdur-Rahim. --Greg, Iowa City, Iowa

They gauged interest in package deals around the time of the draft, when they had two first-round picks to shop as well. They couldn't find a deal that made sense then and certainly won't now. To trade Chandler and Crawford, who will be a base-year player, they'd have to throw in more bodies and salaries and they're not in position to gut their team to build around one big-name player. They are trying to build up assets right now.

I have heard the Bulls are trying to sign a shooting guard from Lithuania. He was supposed to be the best shooter last year in Europe. He played in Spain, I believe. Is this true? --Mirza Mahic, River Forest, Ill.

He's certainly in the mix. His name is Arvydas Macijauskas and he's a 6-foot-4-inch player who is only 24 and a lights-out shooter. There are major questions about his quickness and defensive ability, too.

Thanks for your questions. Talk to you during training camp.

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