Blackhawks

Bulls active in pre-draft workout process

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Bulls active in pre-draft workout process

As is usually the case with teams that enjoy regular-season success, the Bulls won't have the opportunity to pick from the top-heavy slew of prospects considered to have star potential in the upcoming NBA Draft.

However, with the 29th overall selection, they will have a chance to find a diamond in the rough for a roster in need of contributors next season, regardless of prior professional experience.

Now, it may be asking too much for the front office to get a late first-round pick as ready to immediately establish himself as Taj Gibson, the No. 26 pick back in 2009, but next season, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau might not have the luxury of easing along a rookie as slowly as he did with backup center Omer Asik or swingman Jimmy Butler in the past.

The organization has already begun the process of bringing in prospects and there has been and will continue to be a flurry of activity leading to this week's NBA pre-draft combine in Chicago.

Over the weekend, the Bulls worked out Michigan State forward Draymond Green, St. Bonaventure power forward Andrew Nicholson and Iona point guard Scott Machado, a rare trio of four-year college players considered first-round prospects.

Monday, the last scheduled the last Berto Center workout on the slate until the following week, according to a source. Monday's workout is scheduled to feature Syracuse center Fab Melo, Vanderbilt sharpshooter John Jenkins, Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham and Xavier point guard Tu Holloway, among others.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Joel Quenneville returns to the United Center

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Joel Quenneville returns to the United Center

David Haugh, Charlie Roumeliotis, and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - Joel Quenneville returns to the United Center. The guys look back at his 3 Cups in Chicago and discuss his place among the greatest Chicago coaches of all-time.

9:00 - The Blackhawks have won 5 straight and are 3 points out of a wild card spot. Are the playoffs in their future?

12:00 - Patrick Kane has reached 1,000 points. Will he end up at the Blackhawks all-time leading scorer? Could he end up being the greatest Blackhawk ever?

18:00 - Jonathan Toews joins Kap to talk about Joel Quenneville's return, Kane's 1,000th point and the team's winning streak?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Marcell Ozuna signing with Braves rules out potential suitor for Kris Bryant

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USA TODAY

Marcell Ozuna signing with Braves rules out potential suitor for Kris Bryant

When former Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson signed with the Twins last week, one thought was Atlanta could pivot and try to acquire Kris Bryant to fill the void in their lineup.

That possibility looks less likely now, as the Braves announced Tuesday they’ve signed former Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna to a one-year, $18 million deal.

The Braves didn’t have a dire need for a third baseman — 22-year-old Austin Riley, a former top prospect, is waiting in the wings — so much as they needed a bat to replace Donaldson. Bryant would have checked both those boxes, but the path to acquiring him is more difficult.

Bryant has been fixated in trade rumors this winter, but any extensive negotiations won’t occur until his service time grievance case is resolved. NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan reported last week Bryant trade rumors this winter have been “greatly exaggerated” because the lingering grievance.

The Braves have been named a potential Bryant suitor as they hold the top prospects the Cubs would seek in return for Bryant. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman threw cold water on that notion recently.

There’s also the possibility the Cubs don’t move at all Bryant this offseason.

"No, we're not in a position where we *have* to do anything,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said Friday at Cubs Convention. “I think you want to always avoid being put in a corner where you have to make a deal and your back's against the wall and you're gonna take any deal that's out there.

“We’re not at all in that position but looking at the longer time horizon of the next two years, I think you would be wise at some point to do something that looks out a little bit more for the long-term and a little bit less for the short-term, but that doesn't have to happen now. We're not in a position where we have to move anybody."

Ozuna joining the Braves means the Cardinals lost one of their most productive bats from the 2019 division championship club. Like the Cubs, St. Louis' offseason has been marked by low-key moves, outside of the Cardinals acquiring pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore from the Rays, a deal which sent Cardinals slugger Jose Martinez to Tampa Bay.

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