Reader Q&A: K.C. Johnson's Bulls mailbag

Orlando's Dwight Howard. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Photo)

So there I was, covering Northwestern's college football upset at Nebraska -- or was it Manchester United's soccer game in Seattle? -- when the email landed: "When is Ask K.C. coming back?"

That answer is easy and short: Now. Here are some longer answers to tougher questions. As always, thanks for your borderline ridiculously intense interest.

We're going to miss you on the Blackhawks beat. Why does Dwight Howard refuse to even consider coming to Chicago where he could team up with Derrick Rose to give the Bulls a second dynasty?

I think it's because he's upset that Ray Emery is starting over Corey Crawford. But I digress. I received this question about 137 various ways. And here's my answer: Dwight hasn't told me directly.

I also don't think he has told others the specific reasons. All we can go on is the list of teams he has instructed his agent he would sign an extension with doesn't include the Bulls. And then in conversations I've had with people who know Dwight well there are educated guesses why: Wants the bright lights and marketing opportunities of New York (near New Jersey) and Los Angeles. Doesn't want to play second fiddle to Derrick Rose. Doesn't like the cold. I know, I know: New Jersey gets cold. The Lakers have Kobe Bryant and the Nets have Deron Williams. But Rose is going to be here far longer than Kobe will be playing for the Lakers. And Deron Williams is more an All-Star complimentary player as opposed to a dominant All-Star like Rose. Again, these are educated guesses. And I don't get it either. Rose likes to defer by nature. And he'd throw lob pass after lob pass to Howard. But it's not going to happen.

Why have the Bulls not shown any interest in trying to pursue Michael Redd for the veteran's minimum? He would be a low-risk, high-reward option to add a scoring punch off the bench. He seems a logical fit to play alongside Rose and could be a lethal sixth man if he can stay healthy. -- Chris, Chicago

Better question: Why hasn't any team shown any interest in pursuing Redd for the veteran's minimum? The Bulls go legitimately 10 deep and 11 deep if rookie Jimmy Butler gets spot defensive minutes in this crazy schedule. Beyond the fact that legitimate questions exist about Redd's ability to even move at an NBA level, there aren't any minutes for another player. Korver is this team's designated shooter. Rip Hamilton is pretty good in that department as well.

The Bulls are still short a big. What are some options in free agency? -- Bill Lammel, Chicago Ridge

Joel Przybilla, Erick Dampier, Theo Ratliff, Tony Battie, Joe Smith. The list isn't great. That's why I see the Bulls standing pat for now. Most all of these guys will be available if and when the need arises. I heard Przybilla might be the best option.

Can you explain the Derrick Rose rule? -- Joe C., Chicago

Translated: Rose is a rich young man. One of the wrinkles for the new collective bargaining agreement is to reward young players who have outperformed their rookie scale contracts. Rose qualifies based on his most valuable player award. The other ways a player can qualify is by being named to the All-NBA first, second or third team two times in his first five seasons or being voted in as an All-Starter twice in that time. Meeting any of these qualifications allows a player to sign a maximum contract extension to start in his fifth season. Rose's deal will be for five years and roughly $94 million.

Why did the Bulls wait so long and let Kurt Thomas get away? -- Steve Merritt; Helena, Montana

They were involved in detailed conversations with Kurt's agent throughout. They clearly wanted him back and made a competitive offer. Similar to when Brad Miller left to sign with Houston, another team offered more money and more guaranteed years. It happens.

Last year Tom Thibodeau did a great job. No one is questioning that. But do you think Thibs may take his foot off the gas toward the end of the year to give Rose and Deng especially a bit of a breather more often to conserve energy for the playoffs? Time management is going to be huge this year. -- Mikey T.; Scottsdale, Ariz.

Let's see ... Thibodeau has been in the NBA for over two decades. He has been a part of championship teams and expansion teams. He's seen it all. I'm pretty sure he knows how to manage a team. I think Thibodeau's demands got way overstated last season. Yes, he's intense. Yes, he puts in long hours. Yes, he's demanding. Yes, he holds players accountable. But it's not like he's out there with a whistle, making professional athletes run suicides, screaming at them. He knows how to balance film and classroom work with time on the practice floor. He knows this season presents unique challenges. And he has a plan to address that. He also likes to point out -- consistently -- that those Bulls championship teams featured Jordan and Pippen playing major minutes. So it's not like he's the first coach in NBA history to play his starts major minutes. I wouldn't worry about burnout this season.

Have Gar Forman or John Paxson thought about adding Michael Beasley? -- Dee, Chicago

Since chemistry is one of the first things mentioned about this team, I'm going to go with no.

Is there any chance the Bulls look at signing J.R. Smith when he returns from China? -- Kelly Hall, Chicago

In the past, the Bulls have reportedly been a bit more open-minded about adding Smith. I don't buy it.