The Bulls have had a quiet few days, filled with a couple of brief, short-handed practices. They had one of their periodic autograph sessions on Friday, where the players sit down to sign basketballs and other items assembly-line style.
Meanwhile, Charlotte's loss to Miami on Friday dropped the Bulls' magic number for clinching a playoff spot to 5, though the Bobcats will have a chance to cut into their two-game deficit when they visit the United Center next Saturday.
The shocking revelation that Allen Iverson will sit out the rest of the season with a sore back is probably good news for the seventh-place Pistons, who play at Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon. No doubt, it's only a coincidence that Iverson's back flared up the day after he vowed to retire rather than come off the bench next season.
In a related topic, Nets center Brook Lopez said he'd cast his rookie of the year vote for Derrick Rose.
IS BOSH IN A RUSH TO LEAVE CANADA?
There was plenty of Chris Bosh-related mail this week, though, so let's take a look at that. Toronto's all-star power forward can be a free agent in 2010 and the Raptors must decide whether to trade him or risk losing him in the future. Needless to say, the Bulls are interested.
--Our first letter comes from Vince, who doesn't believe Bosh is necessarily looking to play in the United States:
“Only if Bosh had the choice to go back home to Dallas or any other big market like New York. If it's a city like Memphis, Sacramento or Oklahoma City, I have no doubt he'd rather stay in Toronto. I don't think it's a living in the U.S. thing for him. IMO, I think Bosh will stay because the relationship between him, management and ownership is very good. The relationship between ownership and GMs somehow gets overlooked when free agents sign, however it's the most crucial element in building a championship team.
“Sooner or later players will see how strong the Raptor franchise is and the market it can provide for its players, and how can I forget the strong fan base? The Raptors are in the top 8 profitable teams in the NBA. Time will tell.”
I'm not going to bother looking up the Forbes list of most profitable NBA teams (the Bulls were No. 1 last year). I agree that Toronto gets very good fan support and is effectively a large-market team. Not New York, L.A. or Chicago, but right up there with everyone else.
Personally, I think Toronto is a great city and I would imagine plenty of Raptors enjoy living there.
--Here's a letter from Andy, who does not think the Bulls are a better option for Bosh:
“(The Bulls have) two selfish shooting guards and a bunch of rail-thin, offensively-challenged post players. I take a look at my team, the Toronto Raptors, and we have a top 5 NBA point guard (Jose Calderon), three 20 & 10 capable big men (Bosh, Shawn Marion, Andrea Bargnani), so one of (potential high draft picks) James Harden, Willie Warren, Gerald Henderson, or Demar DeRozen means Bosh has no reason to leave. Things are going in the right direction. Toronto is a better team when healthy. Why does Bosh go to an inferior team?”
It's tough to support the argument that the Raptors are a better team since the Bulls are six games up in the standings, even with Calderon missing 14 games with an injury. Toronto's recent five-game winning streak could be used as evidence that the Raptors should consider re-signing Marion this summer and have a chance to get back on the playoff track next season. The funny thing is, Toronto went 3-11 immediately after Marion arrived from Miami, then won five in a row. Interior defense and a reliable wing scorer remain big issues in Ontario.
--Finally, one more from Ahjaz:
“I'm not so sure if the Raptors would be interested in any of the players that the Bulls currently have other than (Derrick) Rose and (Luol) Deng. Nice read though. Just to let you know, I was living in the States before and after moving to Canada I realized the Canadians have a better quality of life.”
Rose isn't going anywhere, but I'm sure the Bulls wouldn't hesitate to include Deng in any potential Bosh deal. I suppose they'd probably give up any player but Rose. I added Joakim Noah to the hands-off list in my column because I think they'd need a center to play next to Bosh. Someone younger than Brad Miller, ideally.