Bears

Ask Aggrey: NBA Draft edition

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Ask Aggrey: NBA Draft edition

Greetings. Its been a while, but with the NBA Draft coming up, a return to the mailbag is appropriate. As I said in the season-ending edition, it wont be a weekly thing during the offseason, but Ill be back with responses to your free-agency questions soon. Anyway, now that the shock of Derricks injury and the subsequent first-round loss to the Sixers -- not to mention the Heat winning the championship -- has hopefully worn off, theres been much hubbub about what moves the Bulls will make in preparation for next season.

Nothing can be done about the past, but the Bulls present and future could seemingly go either way, based on what happens starting Thursday night. In my view, while the Bulls couldnt have anticipated Derrick s injury-plagued season during the lockout, a year ago they should have been pushing for the NBA to return to the old territorial-draft system -- but based on a players hometown, not the college he attended -- as a condition of the new CBA. That way, not only would they have consensus top pick Anthony Davis in the fold now, but potentially Jabari Parker in a few short years. Sure, most of other teams wouldnt have taken kindly to that, but stranger things, such as LeBron James shockingly disproving Cavaliers owner Dan Gilberts prediction that Cleveland would win a title before Miami, have happened. Hope everybodys summer is going well and enjoy the mailbag:

Do you think the Bulls can trade up in this year's draft? -- Kevin T.

Kevin, I think the Bulls can trade up, but I doubt that they will. Theyre certainly exploring the possibility, as theyd like a injection of youth that a rookie with a big upside would provide, as well as the financial flexibility theyd gain from jettisoning one of their four eight-figure contracts, which is nearly impossible to maintain with the way the new CBA is structured. But in a deep draft like this one, with many of the lottery teams being young and wanting productive veterans, theyre not the only team looking to trade up. The rumored asking price of either Luol or Joakim and the 29th pick for a lottery pick and an expiring veteran contract might not work for the Bulls or their potential trading partners, depending on what other teams needs are. Personally, I expect them to stand pat on Thursday, except for the possibility of a minor deal to free up cap space.

When will Nikola Mirotic come to play for the Bulls? -- @chef_dreadhead

Chef, Mirotic will most likely arrive in Chicago for the 2014-15 season, though some overseas players in the past have opted to remain abroad. Regardless, the way it works is this: Mirotic has a buyout in his contract with Real Madrid and the Bulls can only contribute a minimal amount to that payment during the length of a standard, three-year NBA rookie contract. Mirotic doesnt make enough money at his current salary for paying the buyout himself to make sense, nor is it likely that hed want to. Instead, after the 2013-14 season, the Bulls would be in the position to buy him out of his contract and bring him to Chicago. That would also dovetail with the end of Luols deal and theres a strong possibility the Bulls would consider amnestying Carlos at that point.

Who will the Bulls sign to be our point guard until Rose comes back? -- Conner

Conner, thats the big mystery right now. I reported earlier in the off-season that the Bulls would make a push for future Hall of Fame point guards like Steve Nash and Jason Kidd -- you can add Andre Miller to that list -- but while at least Kidd expressed some interest in coming to Chicago, its going to be tough to convince a well-established veteran to sign at a discounted rate, even for a chance to have a significant role next season and have a shot a championship down the road. Still, the word is, that with the new CBA, many teams will be cautious about who hand out big contracts to, so if the Bulls stay patient, it could yield them a quality, starting-caliber point guard later in the summer or at the least, a bargain price for somebody competent enough to hold down the fort during Derricks absence.

Are the Bulls looking to draft a shooting guard? -- @TONYL0PEZ

Tony, theyre definitely targeting perimeter players and shooting guards make the most sense. However, if the likes of Ohio State power forward Jared Sullinger slips -- he was medically red-flagged due to back issues -- Im sure the Bulls would have to at least consider him. Also, if they have a point guard or small forward who fits a need ahead of the available shooting guards on their board, Id expect them to go the best-available route. At the same time, I dont see Thibs immediately trusting a rookie point guard to run the offense, even in a backup role, and while Jimmy Butler can defend both wing positions, hes best suited for small forward, so a shooting guard makes more sense than anything else. Unless, of course, they make a trade.

Is it possible to bring Brandon Roy out of retirement? -- Mike M.

Mike, I think its more than possible that Roy comes out of retirement. Even going back to last season, some of his NBA peers, such as Jamal Crawford, were relaying that he had an itch to play again, which makes sense, given his relatively young age, high level of play before injuries started to take their toll and how he ended -- at least temporarily -- his career. However, Im assuming youre implying whether hed come to the Bulls. That remains to be seen, although the Bulls did show some interest when rumors about his return popped up last season. But hell have a lot of other suitors, too, and there will be teams with more money to offer than Chicago.

Do you see the Bulls trading Luol Deng? Could a draft pick develop into a nice replacement in the next couple years? -- Kyle G.

Kyle, I dont think the Bulls will trade Luol for a pick. As he said himself, he isnt surprised that theyre exploring trading him, especially considering his contract is up after the 2013-14 season, but unless they got into the top-five or so of the draft, it would be difficult to justify trading him for the chance to get a prospect who takes years to develop or worse, the player theyre targeting not being available when they pick. Furthermore, not every lottery team can absorb Luols current contract and with the possibility he misses the beginning of next season with his wrist injury, it complicates things even more. More importantly, however, trading the teams second-best player while the Bulls still have a window to contend for a title -- albeit probably not next season -- and before Derricks future can be properly evaluated would be a very risky move to make, unless another deal for a star was on the horizon.

Click here to submit your Bulls or NBA questions to Aggrey or use AskAggrey on Twitter.

Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

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USA Today Sports Images

Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

Dion Sims is still here, which is the outcome he expected but perhaps wasn’t a slam dunk — at least to those outside the walls at Halas Hall. 

The Bears could’ve cut ties with Sims prior to March 16 and saved $5.666 million against the cap, quite a figure for a guy coming off a disappointing 2017 season (15 catches, 180 yards, one touchdown). But the Bears are sticking with Sims, even after splashing eight figures to land Trey Burton in free agency earlier this year. 

“In my mind, I thought I was coming back,” Sims said. “I signed to be here three years and that’s what I expect. But I understand how things go and my job is come out here and work hard every day and play with a chip on my shoulder to prove myself and just be a team guy.”

The Bears signed Sims to that three-year, $18 million contract 14 months ago viewing him as a rock-solid blocking tight end with some receiving upside. The receiving upside never materialized, and his blocking was uneven at times as the Bears’ offense slogged through a bleak 11-loss season. 

“The situation we were in, we weren’t — we could’ve done a better job of being successful,” Sims said. “Things didn’t go how we thought it would. We just had to pretty much try to figure out how to come together and build momentum into coming into this year. I just think there were a lot of things we could have done, but because of the circumstances we were limited a little bit. 

“… It was a lot of things going on. Guys hurt, situations — it was tough for us. We couldn’t figure it out, along with losing, that was a big part of it too.”

Sims will be given a fresh start in 2018, even as Adam Shaheen will be expected to compete to cut into Sims’ playing time at the “Y” tight end position this year. The other side of that thought: Shaheen won’t necessarily slide into being the Bears’ primary in-line tight end this year. 

Sims averaged 23 receptions, 222 yards and two touchdowns from 2014-2016; that might be a good starting point for his 2018 numbers, even if it would represent an improvement from 2017. More important, perhaps, is what Sims does as a run blocker — and that was the first thing Nagy mentioned when talking about how Sims fits into his offense. 

“The nice thing with Dion is that he’s a guy that’s proven to be a solid blocker,” Nagy said. “He can be in there and be your Y-tight end, but yet he still has really good hands. He can make plays on intermediate routes. He’s not going to be anybody that’s a downfield threat — I think he knows that, we all know that — but he’s a valuable piece of this puzzle.”

89 Days to Kickoff: St. Charles East

89 Days to Kickoff: St. Charles East

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: St. Charles East

Head coach: Bryce Farquhar

How they fared in 2017: 8-3 (4-2 Upstate 8 River Conference), St. Charles East made the 2017 IHSA state Class 8A playoff field. The Saints defeated Oswego East then lost to eventual 8A state champion Lincoln-Way East in second round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Rock Island

Aug. 31 @ Carmel

Sept. 7 vs Glenbard North

Sept. 14 @ Wheaton South

Sept. 21 vs Geneva

Sept. 28 @ St. Charles North

Oct. 5 vs Batavia

Oct. 12 @ Wheaton North

Oct. 19 vs Lake Park

[MORE: 90 Days to Kickoff - Warren]

Biggest storyline: The Saints have had impressive campaigns the last two seasons. Can they continue to prosper in the newly-formed DuKane Conference?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Justin Jett and OL Dylan Barrett

Biggest holes to fill: The Saints will look to reload at a few key spots including at quarterback, as Clayton Isbell has moved on to Illinois State. Replacing RB/LB Nick Garlisch (South Dakota St.) will be key as well.

EDGY's Early Take: Coach Bryce Farquhar's Saints have produced playoff seasons in back-to-back years. Now, their regular season ramps up a bit with the newly-formed DuKane Conference. The new league features some former Upstate Eight conference foes in St. Charles North, Batavia and Geneva, plus former DuPage Valley members Wheaton Warrenville South, Wheaton North, Glenbard North and Lake Park. Look for the Saints to rely on some experience up front. Three starters are back on the offensive line, including junior OG Dylan Barrett. He has already added several FBS level scholarship offers.