Cubs

Central division free agency updates

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Central division free agency updates

The NBA's moratorium period, in which no deals can officially be made, will be lifted July 11, but plenty of agreements have already been made between teams and players, including a handful of shockers.
But for all the surprising moves around the league since free agency began July 1, the Bulls' Central division has been one of the league's quietest. Here's a look at what each team has done in free agency and plans to do beginning July 11.
Chicago Bulls
The story of the Bulls' off-season through five days is the Houston Rockets' offer to reserve center Omer Asik. The reported three-year, 25 million contract will make it difficult for the Bulls to match, especially considering Asik would make 15 in the final year of that offer. With more than 19 million and 12 million owed to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in 2014-15, and not counting would-be free agent Luol Deng, it's hard to see Chicago matching.
C.J. Watson, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer all have team options. Chicago has reportedly inquired about free agent guards Kirk Hinrich, Brandon Roy and Courtney Lee, so there will be important decisions to be made come July 11, when Chicago can match or decline Asik's offer.
Indiana Pacers
For as big a decision as Chicago has at the center position, it dwarfs in comparison to Indiana's. The Pacers will have three days, beginning July 11, to match a four-year, 58.4 million offer sheet the Portland Trail Blazers gave All-Star center Roy Hibbert. The Pacers have not made it know what they will do, but it would be surprising to see the 25-year-old budding star walk.
The Pacers also secured starting point guard George Hill for five years. Hill was traded from the San Antonio Spurs before the year started and overtook Darren Collison for the starting job. Reserve point guard A.J. Price was also given a qualifying offer from Indiana, meaning the Pacers can match any contract another team gives the now-restricted free agent.
Milwaukee Bucks
The big man trend continues into Milwaukee, where the Bucks are hoping to lure power forward Ersan Ilyosova back with a reported five-year, 40 million contract. The 6-foot-10 stretch-four was a major surprise last year, and the Brooklyn Nets reportedly have shown interest, although it's unknown what will happen now with Deron Williams', Joe Johnson's and Gerald Wallace's contracts in the fold. Ilyosova's agent also reported that a European club had offered his client a four-year contract.
3-point specialist Carlos Delfino is an unrestricted free agent, and the Pacers have shown interest in him. Delfino has said he would like to stay in Milwaukee, but he could be staying in the Central division.
Detroit Pistons
Detroit is pretty much set after they acquired Corey Maggette and his 10.9 million salary from the Charlotte Bobcats this off-season. It will help shed salary in the long-term, but it will keep Detroit quiet this summer.
Ukranian center Vyacheslac Kravtsov will sign a two-year deal when free agency begins, and Kyle Singler, who played with Real Madrid in Spain last season, will also sign a multi-year deal with the team. Other than that, the Pistons aren't expected to make much noise.
Cleveland Cavaliers
Two summers ago, The Decision took over Cleveland's off-season. A year ago, it was No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving. 2012 will be much quieter for the Cavaliers, whose biggest move thus far has been extending qualifying offers to Alonzo Gee(2.7 million), Semih Erden (1.1 million) and Luke Harangody (1.1 million), making all three restricted free agents. Erden accepted a two-year deal from a team in Turkey.

Podcast: Cubs pass the first test in midst of crucial stretch

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Scott Changnon

Podcast: Cubs pass the first test in midst of crucial stretch

On the latest CubsTalk Podcast Scott Changnon and Tony Andracki discuss the state of the Cubs offense, the value of Javy Baez and Addison Russell and what it means now that the starting rotation looks to be finding its form.

With 17 games in 17 days (most of which come against contending teams), the Cubs started things off right with a series victory in St. Louis.

Listen to the entire podcast here:

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Quinn Hughes

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Torey Krug/Kris Letang

Fit for Blackhawks:

It's no secret the Blackhawks are looking to restock their pipeline with some high-end defensemen. Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are on the way. But the former isn't a lock to be a full-time NHLer this season and the latter will continue playing in college for the 2018-19 season.

Hughes, who shined at Michigan and the IIHF World Championship with Team USA, would have the best chance of the three to crack the Blackhawks lineup first. The problem is, he likely won't be available at No. 8, so if Hughes is the guy they're locked in on, they'd need to trade up to grab him. 

If they did that, Hughes would give the Blackhawks a third blue line prospect they can get excited about. He's a left-handed shot, which evens out the balance in the system, and he would become a prime candidate to eventually replace Duncan Keith as the team's No. 1 defenseman.