Bears

Hawks revamp their roster with two big trades

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Hawks revamp their roster with two big trades

From Comcast SportsNet
The Hawks have agreed to deal All-Star guard Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets for five players and a draft pick, and Atlanta will send forward Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz for guard Devin Harris. A person familiar with the Hawks-Nets deal told The Associated Press on Monday night that Atlanta will receive guards Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar and DeShawn Stevenson and forwards Jordan Williams and Johan Petro, along with a draft pick Brooklyn received from Houston in a prior deal. The selection only belongs to the Nets if it is not a lottery pick. The person confirmed the trade on condition of anonymity because it cannot become official until Stevenson signs as a free agent with Brooklyn. Free agents cannot be signed until July 11. Johnson has four years and 90 million left on his contract and new general manager Danny Ferry decided it was time to shed payroll and rebuild. The 31-year-old Johnson averaged 18.8 points per game last season, his 11th in the NBA and seventh with Atlanta. The Nets are hoping to team Johnson with free agent point guard Deron Williams, whom they are working to re-sign, in the franchise's first season in New York City after decades in New Jersey. Utah CEO Greg Miller acknowledged the deal for former first-round pick Marvin Williams while picking up guard Mo Williams at Salt Lake City International Airport in preparation for Tuesday's introductory news conference. The Jazz acquired Mo Williams in a multi-team deal last week that also sent Lamar Odom to the Clippers. Miller said it was difficult to part with Harris but he was excited by what Mo Williams brings to the team. Mo Williams said it felt good to be back where he started his career in 2003 and he had always hoped to start for his first team. The Harris-Marvin Williams deal now clears the way for that to happen. "It's always unfortunate when we have to let a player go because all of our players work so hard and they're so invested in helping us win." Miller said. "And it's got to be a tough thing for them. I know it is for us. I wish Devin the best in his career." Mo Williams, dressed in a red T-shirt, black shorts and a New Orleans Saints cap, arrived in Salt Lake City about 8:30 p.m. MDT. He only has one year left on his current deal but expressed hope that he could be in Utah long term. "I'm very excited about a new start for me and a second homecoming," Williams said Monday night. Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor has called letting Mo Williams leave after just one season "the worst: mistake of his career. "I know he says that a lot, but at the same time I was a young basketball player at the time," Mo Williams said. "Obviously he made a decision he thought was best for the organization. I never had a bad taste in my mouth about the organization. I always respected them because they gave me a shot. "I watched 30 teams pass me in the first round. I always had a part of my heart for the Jazz and I'm glad I'm able to come back and prove my worth to them." Harris arrived in Utah in 2011 as part of a blockbuster deal that sent Deron Williams to New Jersey. But Harris struggled to find his niche with the Jazz, and while he stepped up his game late last season, he still has a career 31.5 percent shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Harris, 29, is scheduled to make 8.5 million in 2012-13, the final year of his current contract. Marvin Williams, 29, has averaged 11.5 points for Atlanta in his seven-year career, including 10.2 and 5.2 rebounds last season. Mo Williams was an All-Star as recently as 2009, and was part of a Cleveland team that won 66 games with LeBron James and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009. He joined the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011. "I think it's going to be great for us to have Mo here," Miller said. "Obviously he competed at the highest level. He knows what it takes to win. . I think he's going to help us win games." Asked if there were more moves to come for the small-market Jazz, Miller said, "I hope so."

2017 Bears position grades: Inside Linebacker

2017 Bears position grades: Inside Linebacker

2017 grade: B+

Level of need: Low

Decisions to be made on: Christian Jones (free agent), John Timu (free agent), Jonathan Anderson (free agent); Jerrell Freeman has reportedly been cut

Possible free agent targets: Demario Davis, Preston Brown, Anthony Hitchens, Avery Williamson, Navorro Bowman, Derrick Johnson

How the Bears rate Nick Kwiatkoski will be the key to figuring out what this unit will look like in 2018. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio thought Kwiatkoski finished last season strong, but strong enough to rely on him in 2018 as the starter next to Danny Trevathan?

The thing with the Bears’ inside linebackers, though: Trevathan makes whoever is playing next to him better. The problem is Trevathan hasn’t been able to stay on the field — he missed time in 2017 with a calf injury and a one-game suspension, and missed half of 2016 after rupturing his Achilles’. Trevathan hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2013, so durability is an issue for the soon-to-be 28-year-old.

So that leads to this question: Do the Bears need to find someone in free agency, regardless of how they value Kwiatkoski, who’s also missed time due to injuries in his first two years in the league?

Free agency could provide a few options. Demario Davis had a career high 97 tackles for the New York Jets last year and has never missed a game as a pro. Preston Brown had some decent production in Buffalo and also hasn’t missed a game since being drafted in 2014. Avery Williamson may not be a world-beater but has only missed one game in his four years in the NFL.

The Bears could also opt for someone who fits more of a rotational mold, like Dallas’ Anthony Hitchens, or try to lure a veteran linebacker like Navorro Bowman (who played for Vic Fangio in San Francisco) or Derrick Johnson (who Matt Nagy knows from his Kansas City days) to play next to Trevathan and/or Kwiatkoski.

The Bears could opt to keep the status quo and re-sign Christian Jones and John Timu for depth, and enter 2018 with Kwiatkoski and Trevathan as the team’s starters (Jerrell Freeman, who suffered a season-ending injury and then was hit with his second PED suspension in as many years, was cut on Tuesday). Signing a starting-caliber free agent isn’t out of the question, either, but there is a third option for the Bears if they appear to stand pat in free agency: Draft an inside linebacker in April. If that’s the route they go, Georgia’s Roquan Smith could be the guy. But again, those more pressing needs at other positions could mean the Bears don’t burn a first-round pick on an inside linebacker.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?