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updated: 12/23/2012 7:50 PM

These gifts should be on Bulls' lists

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  • Here's hoping for fans that Tom Thibodeau is just starting a long, successful run as coach of the Bulls.

    Here's hoping for fans that Tom Thibodeau is just starting a long, successful run as coach of the Bulls.
    Associated Press


With two days of rest before the colossal Christmas return of Omer Asik to the United Center, this is a good time to pass out some gifts to the Bulls and some of their NBA friends:

To Bulls fans: A long run for coach Tom Thibodeau.

There has been plenty of evidence to make this call: The guy is a brilliant coach. With Derrick Rose, he produced the league's best record twice and now is outperforming healthy squads throughout the Eastern Conference.

The biggest question is whether he will burn out quickly, like Scott Skiles, or have a long successful run spanning the career of his superstar, like San Antonio's Gregg Popovich.

Ex-Bull Kyle Korver addressed that topic before the Hawks rolled over the tired Bulls on Saturday.

"Thibs does a great job of pushing everybody," Korver said, according to "He kind of pushes you to your limit and then he lets back. He pushes you again and then he lets back. He knows exactly how to work that."

To Luol Deng: A permanent spot with the Bulls.

Here's the list of retired players who logged at least five seasons and spent their entire career with the Bulls -- Tom Boerwinkle.

Deng is in his ninth season and still is just 27. The Bulls' strong start this season without Rose seems to suggest that investing in Deng and Joakim Noah as long-term partners is the right move.

For that to happen, Deng most likely will need to agree to a pay cut when his contract expires in 2014. He's due to make $14.3 million next season.

If he stays healthy, he will be in position to move past Jerry Sloan into third place on the list of most games played for the Bulls by the end of next season. Nos. 1 and 2 should be obvious.

To Joakim Noah: A 20-foot-deep pool at the New Berto Center.

Those underwater workouts with big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton seem to have paid off, with Noah playing heavy minutes and threatening to make the All-Star Game this season.

Might as well make it easier for him to do those workouts outside of California.

To Marco Belinelli: Continued confidence.

A huge part of the Bulls' recent surge has been vast improvement from shooting guard Marco Belinelli.

In 11 games as a starter, he has averaged 15.4 points and shot 42.6 percent from the field. As a sub, Belinelli produced 5 points per game and shot 36.8 percent.

Has he outplayed Richard Hamilton, who tore the plantar fascia in his left foot Dec. 1? Not really. Hamilton averaged 13.9 points, but in fewer minutes than Belinelli is playing now.

Hamilton also beats Belinelli in assists (2.3) and field-goal percentage (. 455).

To Derrick Rose: Wisdom to do the right thing.

His recovery from ACL surgery should take care of itself. Rose will work hard, be smart and could be back on the court in late January.

With the holiday season upon us, though, why is the third edition of his Adidas shoes priced at $160, up from $110 from Year 2.

I know some of LeBron James' Nike shoes list for $270. That's still an awfully high price in a poor economy and when your target consumer will outgrow the shoes quickly.

To LeBron James: A quality TV commercial.

He definitely needs help. "The LeBrons" made no sense, the State Farm ads were annoying, the "What Should I Do?" post-Miami spot was insulting, and the latest effort from Samsung somehow managed to mix phony and creepy in the span of 30 seconds.

Bring back Li'l Penny or Mars Blackmon, if necessary, but find something different.

To Gar Forman: Cap flexibility.

Easy as it is to second-guess, it's tough to fault the moves made by Bulls management since 2010.

Should they have passed on Carlos Boozer and stuck to a big-man rotation of Noah, Asik and Taj Gibson? Makes sense now, but Asik hadn't played an NBA game in 2010.

Flexibility is valuable in the NBA. The Atlanta Hawks managed to trade away overpriced shooting guard Joe Johnson and replace him with a less-expensive rotation of Kyle Korver and Lou Williams, with good early results.

The Bulls need a similar step to create the next version of the Derrick Rose championship contender. This will require the amnesty clause, not Santa Claus, to pull off.

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