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Thursday, November 21

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Bulls Wed Feb 22 2012

As The Bulls Turn: Pumping Bowie, 'Cause We Want Some "Ch-Ch-Changes"

While it was nice to see Derrick Rose back in the lineup for the Presidents Day matinee against ATL, the win was strangely unsatisfying. Why? Tough to say, ennui? The dregs of even a compressed 66-game season? I'm not sure. Most pressing I think is that, in spite of the Bulls having their booster rockets on for the first half (and most-definitely the first quarter), there was Atlanta, lingering and waiting for a chance to snatch the win away.

With Rose shaking off the cobwebs and showing some [Umm, lingering tightness in his lower back? -Ed.] on his early free throw misses, the Bulls did all of the rights things. Yet basketball is a game of streaks and runs, and the Hawks made theirs. And with top-five personal favorite of mine, Josh Smith, doing everything except "go Nova" --thanks largely to 7-21 shooting from the field, not all Luol's doing, either, "Sigh. Josh." NB: J Smoove did manage 17, 12, 5, 3, 2 (L-R: pts., rebs., assists, blocks, steals) and maybe if Joe Johnson doesn't leave with a gimpy knee (that's causing him to miss the ASG), Josh doesn't huck up quite so many ill-advised shots, and it's a different result?

In any case, none of that happened. Joe Johnson left the game (feel better), Josh was quasi-awesome, and the UC crowd got to say "HI!" to old friend Kirk Hinrich. (Corey and Trevor moment, "Kirk, we think you're so cool. We love you, Kirk.") Bulls win and the only "fans" that were upset were the bros sporting a custom-made "Booze" [Customized with duct tape over the "R"] jersey that wanted a free Big Mac with the 100-point threshold so close.

Speaking of Boozer, let's "hang a Louie" and talk about getting Boozer out of town. [ducks flying bottle, rotten tomato, peanut shells, pitch-soaked torch] With the (stop smirking) rapidly improving Nets (Marshon Brooks is back, Brook Lopez is back, Deron is playing with fury) courting Dwight Howard tonight with "Oooh. Ahhhh. Fireworks." And with the rebuilt and ancient Joel Pryzbilla deciding between Milwaukee, Miami, Portland and Chicago today, the Bulls need to take a serious look in the mirror and evaluate where their front court is at.

Now, of course, the Nets aren't a threat to making the playoffs this season, but with them making more and more aggressive moves towards getting Dwight, what do the Bulls want to do? Get in a bidding war for, admittedly, the best post-defender in the league (but one who brings mercurial, downright inconsistent scoring, and a growing reputation as petulant and somewhat carcinogenic), OR should the Bulls pursue something else?

I am staunchly in favor of the Bulls acquiring another big before the trade deadline. There have been more than a few moments in games where the front court's lack of depth (notably against Indiana and Sacramento) Friends, the answer is an unexpected one: Chris Kaman.

Kaman's an unrestricted free agent after the 2012 season, so basically he's a loaner for the remainder of the season and playoffs with very little risk involved with him. He has a slightly smaller scoring footprint than Boozer (about a 4-point downgrade), while bringing the same number of boards (per 36, Boozer has a +1 rebounding advantage per game) better defense and more blocks. More importantly, Kaman (if the Bulls get him) brings another body to throw at the likes of a Miami Heat squad, a team that has some minor front court depth issues to address, and wants to desperately buyout his contract if he goes untraded past March 15th. In any case, the options are myriad with Kaman in the mix: slide Noah to the 4, keep Lu at the 3, have Kaman anchor the 5?

Carlos Boozer has been a very mixed blessing for the Bulls, but unfortunately, the hope of him being an offensive go-to man has not panned out. Boozer had a run in early 2010, while still on the Jazz, that was incredible and maybe that was his peak. In any case, his numbers have not been the same in the Second City and more and more frequently, his offensive contributions, are being whitewashed by his defensive liabilities. Far too often this season, Noah (who really does try to stay at home) or Luol (who really is good at covering for Boozer's lapses) are out-of-position affording opponents with a offensive presence in the frontcourt (see Amare's big game against Boozer) too much opportunity. If Chicago is serious about contending for a title this season, why not cinch up the leaks and plug the holes on defense. Kaman will never be mistaken for the hellacious Kevin Garnett in his prime on defense, but with Noah and Deng playing more assuredly because of a steady presence at the center, he wouldn't have to.

 
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