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updated: 2/25/2011 10:32 AM

Bulls players like team as is

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By the time Joakim Noah returns Wednesday night, the Bulls will have only a few hours until the Thursday trade deadline to make a decision.

Will they land the coveted shooting guard that's been a point of contention all season?

They will certainly try, as they have for months.

But if management asks Bulls players if they think they need help, all the players would do is point to the result of their last game against San Antonio.

"I like the team we have right here," said Derrick Rose. "We have a really good thing going."

Of course, anyone brought here to shoot takes away scoring opportunities from Rose.

"We just beat the best team in the league," said Carlos Boozer of the Bulls' win over the Spurs. "I think everybody in the locker room likes the makeup of the team."

Any good teammate would say that, not wanting to upset the chemistry by politicking for a shooting guard.

"This team has already proven a lot," said Luol Deng. "I think we can be better, especially with Joakim back."

Noah is the best possible midseason acquisition for the Bulls, since they weren't going to get Carmelo Anthony.

They get a starting center, give up nothing in return, and add Noah to a lineup that's already posted the third-best record in the conference, even though the starting five has played only nine games together this season.

Unfortunately for John Paxson, he doesn't get weeks or months to study his roster fully in tact before making a decision since the trade deadline is upon us.

What he does know is that he can't take on a bad contract and he won't do it for short-term gain. It's the right posture for a team with a big future and a lockout with new CBA rules on the way.

The next 24 hours will bring many rumors and a lot of possibilities for Bulls management.

But if you ask the players, they've already got all they need in house.

Hawks payroll

Much conversation Tuesday about the Blackhawks' cap numbers for next season.

Yes, of course, the cap hit is less than the actual salary in many cases, but when bonuses and all numbers are included, the total payroll number is likely to be about the same, based on league projections.

Set it aside and even if you give the Hawks that $4 million, and any way you want to count it, after the Hawks sign Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford -- and probably Troy Brouwer -- they're going to need some kids to step in and play well or next season will look a lot like this one, which was the point of Tuesday's discussion.

They're not likely to have more than a million bucks -- or maybe a bit more -- for each of the last six guys on the roster, which means some youngsters need to grow up in a hurry.

Furthermore, Patrick Sharp is unrestricted in July 2012 and he's going to get a big raise from the $4.1 million he's earning today, which will also be a factor in next year's payroll planning.

So the cap situation isn't going away any time soon unless the Hawks find a way to move a big contract or two.

In the meantime, if some of the Hawks' best players, like Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith, don't return to the form that earned them those huge deals, it's a moot point.

So it puts in play the talk of players who might have movable contracts and value on the market, and whether it's this week or in the summer, Seabrook seems to be one of the guys in that discussion.

The good news is some Hawks fans are truly optimistic that the money left to fill out the roster will be enough because the kids coming are going to help in a big way.

Here's hoping that's right.

Captain Serious

Is it just me, or does it shock you that Jonathan Toews has to continually remind his teammates that every game is akin to a playoff game right now, and every period could be the one that makes or breaks their season?

Between Toews, Joel Quenneville and Mike Haviland, I've lost track of how many times in the last month they've had to air out players who simply aren't giving a 60-minute effort.

I get the whole hangover thing, but it's way past time to start putting in a full day's work.

Bearing down

When asked what impressed him most about the 2010 season, on the team website Bears coach Lovie Smith said, "Just how we persevered. We kept going, fighting through adversity."

And the adversity was what, exactly? Calvin Johnson? All those third-string QBs they faced? The incredible luck? Or having the healthiest NFL team anyone can remember?

Just asking

From e-mailer Bob: "When do the Cubs' 'Year 2' billboards go up?"

Best headline "Every team in the NCAA Tournament to be a 7-seed."

And finally …

Comedian Alex Kaseberg: "Charlie Sheen spoke to the UCLA baseball team about staying off drugs. That's like Kirstie Alley speaking to them about staying off doughnuts."

•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.