Forman, Thibodeau address Asik offer


Forman, Thibodeau address Asik offer

DEERFIELD, Ill. Overshadowing Mondays press conference of Bulls first-round pick Marquis Teague at the Berto Center was the prospect of backup center Omer Asiks seemingly imminent departure. Over the weekend, as the NBAs free-agency period began, reports that Asik had agreed to a three-year, 25-million offer sheet with the Houston Rockets made the rounds, forcing Bulls general manager Gar Forman to add his take on that development to Teagues introduction to Chicago.

Obviously weve been very active making calls, starting on Sunday, to address several roster spots that we have and trying to put our team together, and thats something that will continue through this week and possibly for a lot of the month, said Forman. And in regards to Omer, obviously Ive seen reports of an offer, but we havent seen anything yet.

First of all, I dont want to speculate until we actually see something, he continued. Second of all, I think weve made it clear that we value Omer and its our goal that Omer would stay with the Chicago Bulls, but Im not going to talk about any type of negotiation or anything contractually until we see something.

Asik, a native of Bursa, Turkey, is entering his third season, and while hes quietly regarded as one of the leagues most underrated defensive players at his position, eyebrows raised around the NBA at the Rocket's offer. Unsurprisingly, defensive-minded head coach Tom Thibodeau, saw the logic in Houstons offer, which the Bulls will have three days to match following the July 11 end of the free-agency moratorium.

In the end, well weigh everything out and then well make a decision, said Thibodeau, who added, I dont want to look at it that way, when asked about the possibility that Asik wont be back in a Bulls uniform. Things like that are going to happen. When teams win, the value of a player goes up and hes done a great job for us.

Hes done a great job here for two years. Obviously his defense, rebounding, shot-blockingthat parts obviousbut I think offensively, his ability to run the floor, screen, get to the offensive board, thats what makes him so valuable to us, so we value all that he brings to our team," continued the coach, who mentioned that the teams front office has been very inclusive in involving him with the organizations free-agency process. You have to look at the entire picture and see what makes the most sense, and Im sure well make a good decision in the end.

I dont think you can measure him statistically, even though some of his statistics are very, very good. But hes also very smart, helps your team execute on both ends, so he has great value in the league.

When Kyle Schwarber met new Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis: 'I don't suck'

When Kyle Schwarber met new Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis: 'I don't suck'

MESA, Ariz. — The first thing Kyle Schwarber told his new hitting coach?

"His first statement to me is, 'I don't suck.'"

The Cubs hired Chili Davis as the team's new hitting coach for myriad reasons. He's got a great track record from years working with the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics, and that .274/.360/.451 slash line during an illustrious 19-year big league career certainly helps.

But Davis' main immediate task in his new gig will be to help several of the Cubs' key hitters prove Schwarber's assessment correct.

Schwarber had a much-publicized tough go of things in 2017. After he set the world on fire with his rookie campaign in 2015 and returned from what was supposed to be a season-ending knee injury in time to be one of the Cubs' World Series heroes in 2016, he hit just .211 last season, getting sent down to Triple-A Iowa for a stint in the middle of the season. Schwarber still hit 30 home runs, but his 2017 campaign was seen as a failure by a lot of people.

Enter Davis, who now counts Schwarber as one of his most important pupils.

"He's a worker," Davis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "Schwarbs, he knows he's a good player. His first statement to me is, 'I don't suck.' He said last year was just a fluke year. He said, 'I've never failed in my life.' And he said, 'I'm going to get back to the player that I was.'

"I think he may have — and this is my thought, he didn't say this to me — I think it may have been, he had a big World Series, hit some homers, and I think he tried to focus on being more of a home run type guy as opposed to being a good hitter.

"His focus has changed. I had nothing to do with that, he came in here with that focus that he wants to be a good hitter first and let whatever happens happen. And he's worked on that. The main thing with Kyle is going to be is just maintaining focus."

The physically transformed Schwarber mentioned last week that he's established a good relationship with Davis, in no small part because Schwarber can relate to what Davis went through when he was a player. And to hear Davis tell it, it sounds like he's describing Schwarber's first three years as a big leaguer to a T.

"Telling him my story was important because it was similar," Davis said. "I was a catcher, got to big league camp, and I was thrown in the outfield. And I hated the outfield. ... But I took on the challenge. I made the adjustment, I had a nice first year, then my second year I started spiraling. I started spiraling down, and I remember one of my coaches saying, 'I'm going to have to throw you a parachute just so you can land softly.' I got sent down to Triple-A at the All-Star break for 15 days.

"When I got sent down, I was disappointed, but I was also really happy. I needed to get away from the big league pressure and kind of find myself again. I went home and refocused myself and thought to myself, 'I'm going to come back as Chili.' Because I tried to change, something changed about me the second year.

"And when I did that, I came back the next year and someone tried to change me and I said, 'Pump the breaks a little bit, let me fail my way, and then I'll come to you if I'm failing.' And they understood that, and I had a nice year, a big year and my career took off.

"I'm telling him, 'Hey, let last year go. It happened, it's in the past. Keep working hard, maintain your focus, and you'll be fine.'"

Getting Schwarber right isn't Davis' only task, of course. Despite the Cubs being one of the highest-scoring teams in baseball last season, they had plenty of guys go through subpar seasons. Jason Heyward still has yet to find his offensive game since coming to Chicago as a high-priced free agent. Ben Zobrist was bothered by a wrist injury last season and put up the worst numbers of his career. Addison Russell had trouble staying healthy, as well, and saw his numbers dip from what they were during the World Series season in 2016.

So Davis has plenty of charges to work with. But he likes what he's seen so far.

"They work," Davis said. "They come here to work. I had a group of guys in Boston that were the same last year, and it makes my job easier. They want to get better, they come out every day, they show up, they want to work. They're excited, and I'm excited to be around them.

And what have the Cubs found out about Davis? Just about everyone answers that question the same way: He likes to talk.

"I'm not going to stop talking," he said. "If I stop talking, something's wrong."

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?


Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: