Bulls

Word on the Street: Andre Iguodala to the Bulls?

Word on the Street: Andre Iguodala to the Bulls?

Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Andre Iguodala to the Bulls?

Andre Iguodala, a guard for the 76ers, reportedly told Philadelphia team management that if the team does not begin to consistently put some wins on the board, he will ask for a trade, according to ESPN.com.

The 6-foot-6, 207-pound guard won the World Championship with Team USA over the summer and doesn't want to waste another season losing in Philly. Iguodala may come to the Windy City because his agent, Rob Pelinka, also represents Carlos Boozer and may try to follow in the footsteps of CAA, the agency that brought LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh all together in Miami.

The ESPN article speculated that Iguodala for forward Luol Deng would make the most sense, but if the Sixers were to part with their star guard, that would indicate a sign of starting fresh and thus wouldn't want to take on Deng's long-term, expensive contract.

Iguodala, a 26-year-old native of Springfield, Ill., has averaged at least 17.1 points per game the past four seasons while approaching 5 assists per contest. He also set a carer high with 6.5 rebounds per game last year and is on a hot streak to begin 2010-11 with averages of 18.5 points, 7.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds per contest. (ESPN.com)

Diamondbacks to pursue Konerko

Reports surfaced on Saturday that the Arizona Diamondbacks would pursue White Sox free agent first baseman Paul Konerko and make him a priority this offseason. Konerko went to high school in Scottsdale, Ariz., and spends his offseason in the area. (MLB Trade Rumors)

Rasmus headed to Sox?

A day after an alleged trade of manager Ozzie Guillen to the Marlins was nixed, the White Sox are reportedly interested in St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Colby Rasmus. The Sox have been clamoring for a left-handed run producer for quite some time and Rasmus would fit right in. He spent a majority of last season as the No. 5 hitter for the Cardinals, racking up a .276 batting average with 23 homers, 66 RBIs and 85 runs.

The 24-year-old is also a very talented defender and his acquisition could mean a move of Alex Rios to right field. Though it is just speculation at this point, the Cardinals might ask for Chicago right fielder Carlos Quentin in exchange for Rasmus. (Chicago Tribune)

Favre expects to start Sunday

Brett Favre, the embattled Minnesota Vikings quarterback, is saying he expects to be in the starting lineup Sunday to continue his streak of 291 straight games started. Favre has been dealing with a plethora of injuries this year, including a fractured ankle suffered this past Sunday against Green Bay.

Minnesota head coach Brad Childress said he will most likely wait until just before the start of the game to make his final decision on whether Favre will start or not. (ESPN.com)

Girardi inks deal with New York

Though the Cubs decided they would go the way of Mike Quade as manager a couple weeks ago, their pursuit of Joe Girardi can not conceivably take off again until after the 2013 season. The former Cubs catcher and skipper of the Yankees for the past three years signed a new contract with his team that is worth roughly 9 million. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Bochy could have been a Cub

Bruce Bochy, the current manager of the San Francisco Giants, was allegedly the fallback option for Cubs general manager Jim Hendry for the successor to Dusty Baker as Cubs skipper had Lou Piniella not taken the deal. According to Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times, Piniella originally wanted to manage the New York Yankees and if that occurred, it would have been Bochy--not Joe Girardi-- as the Cubs manager.

Bochy has managed his Giants to the World Series and is currently just two wins away from a championship. Piniella, on the other hand, announced his retirement earlier this summer and enjoyed three-plus seasons of disappointment in Chicago. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Notre Dame honors fallen student

Prior to Saturday's Notre Dame-Tulsa matchup, a moment of silence was observed and a prayer was offered in memory of Declan Sullivan, the student who died Wednesday.

Sullivan, the 20-year-old videographer for the ND football team, was in a 50-foot tower when disastrous winds knocked the tower over and he perished in the fall. The winds reportedly gusted up to 51 mph at the time of the accident. (ESPN.com)

Giants knocking out QBs with authority

Jay Cutler knows the pass rush of the New York Giants all too well. After suffering nine sacks in the first half of the Bears' Week 4 Sunday night matchup with the Giants, Cutler was knocked out for the rest of the game and the subsequent week's game with a concussion. The Giants later knocked backup Todd Collins out of the game with another vicious hit.

Now, after taking out Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo Monday night, the Giants have officially knocked out five different quarterbacks in seven games thus far in the 2010 NFL season. Carolina's Matt Moore and Detroit's Shaun Hill round out the list of the battered and bruised QBs. (Boston Herald)

Bulls are unlocking something with Zach LaVine: 'He was terrific'

Bulls are unlocking something with Zach LaVine: 'He was terrific'

MINNEAPOLIS—The applause was thunderous on the welcome back for Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, two Timberwolves draft picks sent away when the chance to acquire Jimmy Butler came along.

But some of the air was taken out the Target Center due to the absence of Jimmy Butler, who’ll miss the next several weeks after deciding to have surgery on his right meniscus following an injury Friday night.

So while there was no rematch of the thrilling contest the two teams had in Chicago, some things were very much the same.

Lauri Markkanen’s struggles continued.

LaVine showed more flashes of his complete game and Dunn had a couple moments of his own.

And on the other side, Tom Thibodeau kept his starters in the game with victory secured and his team up 20 points in the Timberwolves’ 122-104 win over the Bulls Saturday night.

The Timberwolves broke the game open in the fourth quarter with some key shot-making from veteran Jamal Crawford, as he was one point short of the Timberwolves having four 20-point scorers on the night.

Jeff Teague, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins combined for 70 points in their first game of many without Butler.

LaVine was a main reason the Bulls stayed afloat in the first 36 minutes, finishing with 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds in his first game back in front of the Minneapolis crowd he spent his first few years playing for.

Going head-up with his former teammate Wiggins for a stretch, the two seemed to relish their practice matchups. Wiggins was doing a lot of pure scoring while LaVine seemed to enjoy probing the defense and making plays for teammates, taking more of a ballhandling role as opposed to floating around the perimeter for 3-point attempts.

“He’s doing a much better job not settling for tough shots,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s attacking the basket much better than he was. You can just see him getting his legs, getting more comfortable. It was good to see him as a playmaker, he was terrific.”

Perhaps the Bulls are unlocking something with LaVine, getting him the ball in different places and on the move, where he made some nifty passes in traffic, exercising patience and maturity.

“I liked it. Hopefully we get a little bit more of it,” LaVine said. “But it’s working. Should’ve stuck to it.”

They didn’t, as the Bulls didn’t look as organized as they have previously. Dunn looked extremely motivated and aggressive but it seemed to work against him at times as Teague took advantage of Dunn being too quick for his own good. So hyped up, Dunn blew a breakaway dunk in the first half, but luckily Nwaba was right behind him for a putback.

That type of energy was expected for Dunn and LaVine, maybe even moreso for Dunn considering his underwhelming rookie year where he didn’t get much chance to play as a top-five pick.

Dunn finished with 10 points on four of 12 shooting while Cameron Payne scored 11  in 19 minutes, but the decision making from both point guards left plenty to be desired—which is to be expected given the lack of veterans on the floor.

Their starting unit again struggled as Justin Holiday and Robin Lopez again sat as the evaluation of the younger players continued.

Cristiano Felicio had a better outing than his foul-plagued game against Philadelphia, scoring 11 points but had his hands full on the other end. David Nwaba impressed for the second straight game as a starter, getting in the open floor to force the action, scoring 14 with nine rebounds in 34 minutes.

“The second quarter, I thought, was one of our better quarters of the year,” Hoiberg said. “As bad as we played in the first quarter, I thought we were down 20. We just didn’t sustain it. Against a great team like that, it’s gonna cost you.”

Nwaba, along with Bobby Portis, was a big reason why the Timberwolves couldn’t run away from the Bulls until well into the fourth quarter, even after taking a double-digit lead in the first quarter and sending Hoiberg scrambling for early timeouts.

“You can expect it because you haven’t played with that group before,” LaVine said. “We’re gonna get that chemistry down. We (only) had a couple practices with that lineup.”

Whether it’s the lineup change or just the rookie blues, the year has clearly caught up with Markkanen, who only made one field goal in 32 minutes.

“Gotta get some extra shots up. I see myself thinking too much,” Markkanen said. “That’s how it is. Of course it’s frustrating to not make shots but it is what it is. Gotta work through it.”

Markkanen has gone one-for-eight in each game coming from the All-Star break and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts.

“He’s shooting the heck out of the ball in practice,” Hoiberg said. “He’s struggling right now with his confidence, no question about it. As a shooter, you gotta keep looking to be aggressive, take the open ones. It takes one game to get that confidence back.”

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 3-2 loss to Blue Jackets: Looking at the bigger picture

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 3-2 loss to Blue Jackets: Looking at the bigger picture

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night:

1. Blackhawks squander two leads.

For the 13th time in their past 16 games, the Blackhawks scored the first goal of the game. They had won their previous three instances when doing so, but couldn't seal the deal this time and fell to 5-6-2 in those 13 games.

What strung even more is that the Blackhawks held two one-goal leads and couldn't hang on to either of them. They have the seventh-worst win percentage (.571) when scoring the first goal this season with a 20-10-5 record.

2. Vinnie Hinostroza continues to produce offensively.

If you're trying to look for a rare bright spot on the Blackhawks roster this season, here's one. Hinostroza registered a secondary assist on David Kampf's goal for his fifth point in six games, and was on the ice for 16 shot attempts for and seven against during 5-on-5 play for a team-leading shot attempt differential of plus-9 (also known as Corsi).

For the season, Hinostroza has 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 32 games and he's doing so while averaging only 13:27 of ice time. His point-per-game average is up to 0.63, which is tied with Jonathan Toews for third on the team; only Patrick Kane (0.92) and Nick Schmaltz (0.71) are producing at a higher rate.

Hinostroza deserves more minutes, but at the same time his ability to produce on any of the four lines has allowed Joel Quenneville to put him in a bottom six role for balance.

"I like his speed," Quenneville said recently on why Hinostroza has been so effective. "I think with the puck, he's been good with it as well. More strength, on it, managing it, better decisions with it, and good plays off it. He definitely brings you energy and some speed, he can catch people with that quickness."

3. Ryan Hartman's benching.

Hartman was part of the fourth line that contributed to the Blackhawks' first goal of the game, and he was on his way to having a strong one. But that changed quickly after he took an ill-advised penalty in the first period.

Already leading 1-0, the Blackhawks had a 2-on-1 opportunity developing involving Hinostroza and David Kampf but Hartman was whistled for high-sticking at 17:06 behind the play. The Blue Jackets converted on the power play, and that was the end of Hartman's night.

He took only five shifts and finished with a season-low 4:16 of ice time, with Quenneville using it as an opportunity for a teaching moment.

4. Tomas Jurco building confidence back up.

It's been a tough season mentally for Jurco. He started the season with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs after failing to make the team out of camp, and compiled 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 36 games. 

It earned him a call-up on Jan. 8, with Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman praising the way he progressed: "He looks like he's totally different, in terms of his composure and ability to make plays. That's why we brought him up here."

The problem? He was a healthy scratch for five straight games and went two weeks without seeing game action with the Blackhawks. Not exactly the best way to keep someone's confidence building. And since then, he's been fighting for a spot in the lineup.

For the last three games, Jurco has been given a shot on the second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane and he cashed in for his first goal of the season tonight and first since March 27, 2017. It's also the second straight game he's recorded a point.

While he may not be worth much if the Blackhawks were to deal him ahead of Monday's deadline, perhaps a change of scenery to a team that believes in him as a fit will bring out the best of his abilities. The Blackhawks tried and it just hasn't worked out.

5. Blue line observation.

This is more of a big-picture takeaway, but the Blackhawks have gotten only 20 goals from their defensemen this season. The Blue Jackets have gotten a combined 19 from just Seth Jones and Zach Werenski. Last season the Blackhawks had 30 total.

The Blackhawks just haven't gotten the offensive production needed from their back end and it's so important as it helps alleviate some of the pressure off the forwards.

I asked Quenneville about this after Friday's game and here's what he had to say: "Whether you score or not, you need the D to be part of your attack, be it off the rush, in zone. But I think the whole game, the whole league is four-man rush game, five-man attacks, coming at you, night-in, night-out, wave after wave.

"But you need to get your D involved in your support on the attack and you need them on the offensive zone off the point. You need some shooters on the back end that can get them through as well. I think offensive production from the back end in today’s game really enhances your offense and your possession game."