Keep an eye on Howard developments

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Keep an eye on Howard developments

All of a sudden, were reading more NBA columnists talking about the Bulls being a player in the Dwight Howard trade derby. Sam Smith mentioned some possibilities in his Monday column on Bulls.com, and Yahoo! Writer Adrian Wojnarowski suggested the Bulls might have the best combination of trade assets to make a potential deal for Howard. My colleague at CSNChicago.com, Aggrey Sam, also wrote a column on the topic.

Howard has made it clear he wants to play in a major market, preferably in a warm-weather city. That would seem to suggest hell wind up with the Lakers in a deal for Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, maybe another player and draft picks. The Bulls could trump that with an offer of Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, the rights to European prospect Nikola Mirotic, and Charlottes future No. 1 draft choice, which could wind up being in the Top 10 in a couple years. If the Magic ask for even more, you could add Taj Gibson, especially if Tayshaun Prince comes on board.

Granted, Orlando would prefer to trade Howard to a Western Conference team if theyre eventually forced to make a deal. They dont want to have to face him three or four times during the regular season and then possibly again in an early round of the playoffs. But, Howard is a friend of Derrick Rose after their time together in China touring for Adidas. And, maybe the thought of teaming up with the 23 year old league M.V.P. would convince Superman he could take on Chicago winters.

Making a trade for Howard is probably an even bigger longshot than the Bulls discussions about Carmelo Anthony last season, but its certainly not beyond the realm of possibilities. Keep an eye on whats going on in Orlando. This could get a lot more interesting in the upcoming days. And, if the Bulls are able to add Jamal Crawford through a sign and trade, then sign one of the veteran free agent wing players I mentioned, theyll have an even better arsenal of trade assets to make a run at the most dominant big man in the game.
What do you think? Please post your comments in the section below, or hit me on Twitter @MarkSchanowski. Training camp starts at the Berto Center on Friday and I cant wait for all the trades and free agent signings to start!

Robin Lopez on when he knew he'd be suspended: 'When I threw a punch'

Robin Lopez on when he knew he'd be suspended: 'When I threw a punch'

Most NBA players have to let their adrenaline come down before the reality of what's coming next begins to hit them, but Robin Lopez had his moment of clarity at the oddest time during his altercation with Toronto's Serge Ibaka on Tuesday night.

When asked when he knew he would be serving at least a one-game suspension for his missed punch in the fourth quarter of their loss to the Raptors, Lopez said, "When I threw a punch."

The process from the NBA to Lopez was pretty straightforward, and Lopez called the one-game suspension "fair."

Ditching the caveman look for a clean shaven appearance at Friday morning's shootaround, Lopez seemed at ease with what happened and wasn't going to contest the one-game decision, especially since the NBA could've gone with two or three games as no precedent has been set for fighting this season.

"I mean, that's what the league gave. I'm going to stick with it," Lopez said, adding, "I didn't change my story."

The multiple camera angles would've made it impossible to believe a different recollection of the events had Lopez attempted to finagle himself out of the one-game suspension that stopped his 71-game starting streak with the Bulls this season.

[BULLS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

His matter-of-fact statement after an emotionally charged incident didn't hurt the Bulls. They beat the Pistons by 20 as Lopez was serving a banishment that ended his streak of 187 consecutive games played. But he was happy Joffrey Lauvergne got a chance to prove his worth.

Lauvergne had 17 points and seven rebounds Wednesday night, and he'll be behind Lopez against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night as Cristiano Felicio is recovering from a hard fall late in the Raptors game.

"He's very versatile. He's a playmaker, he can score from a lot of different spots on the floor. He's a really smart basketball player," Lopez said of Lauvergne. "I always want to be out there with the guys. But they took care of business and did their thing. So I was pleased to see them pick up the win."

Picking up two in a row shouldn't be a monumental task against the 76ers, though they are 3-3 in their last six games and the Bulls haven't won two in a row in nearly a month as their grip on a playoff spot has loosened.

For the moment, the Bulls sit ninth in the East, a full game behind the surging Miami Heat, with a 34-38 record. Teams with nothing to lose can be playoff spoilers, and the Bulls have lost more than their share of games to lesser teams this season.

"Those teams do play loose," Lopez said. "They kind of just go out there to play basketball, and that can be a bit dangerous. But we've got something to play for, so we've got to be more motivated. The Sixers especially, they play really well, they have a lot of energy. So we've got to go out there, we've got to play motivated."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will the Bulls make the postseason?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will the Bulls make the postseason?

Ben Finfer (ESPN 1000), Brian Hedger (nhl.com) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel.  The Bulls beat the Pistons in a game with huge playoff implication.  So could they actually make the postseason?

The Blackhawks are closing in one division title but what’s their biggest weakness?

Plus Theo Epstein’s a really great leader, Kyle Hendricks is going to have to wait a while to pitch plus DeShone Kizer loves the band “Chicago” but will he play here?