Friday , Feb , 23 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Bulls stand ground at trade deadline

(Sports Network) – The NBA trade deadline was about as eventful as covering a
local borough council meeting.

No blockbuster deals were made and no big names switched area codes by
Thursday afternoon’s deadline. But some of the best deals were the ones that
were never made (i.e. Chicago, New Jersey).

The Nets were rumored to move All-Stars Jason Kidd and Vince Carter but team
President and General Manager Rod Thorn did not pull the trigger on any deal
for his franchise players. John Paxson, Chicago’s head of basketball
operations, opted to do the same in order to keep his young corps intact.

The Bulls were allegedly prepared to deal either Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Kirk
Hinrich or Andres Nocioni to Memphis for Pau Gasol. However, the asking price
was too high for Paxson and Co. and the talks vanished in the wind. The
addition of Gasol would have cost the Bulls since Deng, Gordon and Nocioni are
soon eligible for contract extensions. Gordon deserves more in his wallet
since he has recorded 20-plus points in 35 games, including nine of 30 or more
and two with 40-plus points.

Chicago’s youngsters shook off 24 turnovers in Thursday night’s 84-78 victory
over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Despite blowing a 16-
point lead, the Bulls managed to post their second straight win since the All-
Star break. They entered the mid-season extravaganza with five losses in six

Nocioni returned to the lineup after missing seven games with plantar
fasciitis, and scored five points in 15 minutes of action. His return was just
a sidebar to what Ben Wallace did, as the mammoth center finished with 14
points, 19 rebounds, a season-high seven blocks, five assists and two steals.
Wallace has 10 or more rebounds in 10 of his last 12 games. Before Hinrich
notched 11 points in the win over the Cavs, he was averaging 21.2 points, 6.4
assists and 4.1 rebounds over the previous 10 outings.

Wallace, Hinrich and the rest of head coach Scott Skiles’ squad will
return home to host the Washington Wizards on Friday at the United Center.
Chicago is an impressive 21-7 at home this season, including a 16-2 record
versus the Eastern Conference. It will play four of its next five games in the
Windy City, as the Wizards, Magic, Warriors and Hornets pay a visit.

Chicago is 8-13 versus Washington in the last 21 regular-season meetings.