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Another quiet day at the Berto Center despite Pax, trade watch
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 2/18/2009 12:02 AM

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The Berto Center parking lot was filled with television trucks Tuesday afternoon, their satellite dishes extended toward the sky, ready to beam live pictures back to the studio. Such a sight usually is seen only on draft night.

Exactly what they were expecting to broadcast was unclear. A tearful resignation from general manager John Paxson? The introduction of Bulls newcomer Amare Stoudemire? Or maybe Chris Bosh?

The answer was none of the above.

There was no sign of Paxson, just as there has been no actual evidence that he's planning to resign anytime soon. Bulls consultant Jim Paxson, John's older brother, watched practice, but that was hardly newsworthy.

No trades were announced. If anything, the chances of the Bulls pulling off a significant deal before Thursday's trade deadline appeared to be fading.

This turned out to be nothing more than a routine practice day for the Bulls. They'll resume play following the all-star break with a pivotal game tonight in Milwaukee against former coach Scott Skiles.

The Bulls trail the Bucks by 21/2 games for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after Milwaukee beat Detroit on the road Tuesday night.

"I feel if we keep on improving and putting the work in, by the end of the season, we should be right there (for a playoff spot)," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "If we execute and play the way we're capable of, I think we'll have a good opportunity."

There appeared to be nothing simmering on the trade front. There is widespread belief that Phoenix has decided not to trade Stoudemire, while rumors of a three-team trade that would bring Toronto's Bosh to the Bulls seemed far-fetched.

New Orleans center Tyson Chandler, who was offered to the Bulls for Joakim Noah and Drew Gooden, instead was sent to Oklahoma City for ex-Bull Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox.

That doesn't mean the Bulls will do nothing. Last year the deal sending Ben Wallace to Cleveland didn't come together until the night before the deadline.

The Bulls still would like to move Larry Hughes. And other big men could come into play, such as the Clippers' Chris Kaman, Philadelphia's Sam Dalembert or possibly Washington's Antawn Jamison.

There were some rumors involving Utah's Carlos Boozer, but the Jazz does not appear ready to unload its talented power forward, who can opt out of his contract this summer.

The Bulls don't feel pressure to make a deal right away because they've been playing better the past three weeks and figure to improve even with no moves simply because of rookie Derrick Rose.

"Doing deals is difficult even when it's a good economy and things are going well," Del Negro said. "We know things aren't going quite as well as they have in the past. It wouldn't surprise me if there isn't much activity for any team."

Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center, 7 p.m.

TV: Channel 26

Radio: WMVP 1000-AM

Update: The Bucks still were holding down the No. 8 spot in the East heading into Tuesday's game at Detroit, despite missing top scorer Michael Redd (knee) and center Andrew Bogut (back). Milwaukee scored 120 points in three straight games before the break, thanks in large part to PG Ramon Sessions, who averaged 26.0 points and 10.5 assists in his last four.

Next: Denver Nuggets at the United Center, 7:30 p.m. Friday