TL: What do we make of Carlos Boozer’s recent play? Any way he continue this level of play when Derrick Rose returns?
NF: This is the best stretch of Boozer's Bulls' career. The key for Boozer is he's been more aggressive on the defensive end and his teammates have taken notice. Obviously, the bigger question now is can he keep it up? His numbers are going to go down when Rose returns, but if he can keep playing with the same intensity he will be all right.
TL: Jimmy Butler reminds you of a German Shepard puppy that hasn’t grown into his paws just yet, but you see the potential. What is his upside or future in the league?
NF: I had this conversation with (ESPN AM 1000's Marc Silverman) "Silvy" on the air the other day. "Silvy" mentioned Ron Artest (Meta World Peace) and I agree with that -- except for the fact that Jimmy isn't going to rush into the stands any time soon. He is a solid player and his teammates love him. It's too early to know exactly how good he can become, but if he starts knocking down a consistent jumper I think he could end up being a solid starter in the league.
TL: What players could the Bulls front office be eyeing in the future to surround Rose?
NF: The guy I think that is on the radar is Kevin Love. Obviously, he has to get healthy -- but I think that is somebody the Bulls would love to have down the line. Problem is I don' t think he's going anywhere for the foreseeable future because Minnesota doesn't want to move him. I don't even know if Love would be enough for the Bulls assuming they have to trade away major pieces to get him. In that regard, the Bulls are kind of in a holding pattern as far as acquiring another major piece. They are waiting to see what players appear on the market.
TL: We heard rumors of Rose wanting to play with Pau Gasol last year. Do you think there is any interest in a deal on either teams part? Does it make any sense for Bulls?
NF: Would the Bulls have interest? Sure. But I don't think there's any way in the world this deal would go down. LA wants to clear cap space in advance of the summer of 2014 -- the Bulls are the only team that would have the power to amnesty Boozer. The Lakers don't want to bring on a guy who is going to make over $30 million over the next two years, especially one who probably wouldn't fit great into their new system.
TL: When Rose does return will he be able to impact the Bulls to a point where they can legitimately challenge in the East by playoff time?
NF: The emotional lift that Rose's presence will give the Bulls will be huge. I think they can make some noise in the playoffs. But assuming Miami stays healthy, I just don't see the Bulls beating them four times in a seven game series.
TL: Thibs once again is doing a great job and has the Bulls overachieving and grinding every night. However, there was some talk the Bulls were spent last year. Will Thibs ever ease the load on his key players minutes during the reg season?
NF: Thibs is who he is. He gets the most out of his team night after night. I think he's starting to trust his bench a little more now, but he is still going to play his starters, especially Noah and Deng, heavy minutes. I think it's one of the reasons the Bulls look so tired at times in the playoffs -- but we'll see what happens this year. In the short term, I don't think the minutes are going to change much unless somebody gets hurt.
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