Bears

Forman, Thibodeau address Asik offer

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Forman, Thibodeau address Asik offer

DEERFIELD, Ill. Overshadowing Mondays press conference of Bulls first-round pick Marquis Teague at the Berto Center was the prospect of backup center Omer Asiks seemingly imminent departure. Over the weekend, as the NBAs free-agency period began, reports that Asik had agreed to a three-year, 25-million offer sheet with the Houston Rockets made the rounds, forcing Bulls general manager Gar Forman to add his take on that development to Teagues introduction to Chicago.

Obviously weve been very active making calls, starting on Sunday, to address several roster spots that we have and trying to put our team together, and thats something that will continue through this week and possibly for a lot of the month, said Forman. And in regards to Omer, obviously Ive seen reports of an offer, but we havent seen anything yet.

First of all, I dont want to speculate until we actually see something, he continued. Second of all, I think weve made it clear that we value Omer and its our goal that Omer would stay with the Chicago Bulls, but Im not going to talk about any type of negotiation or anything contractually until we see something.

Asik, a native of Bursa, Turkey, is entering his third season, and while hes quietly regarded as one of the leagues most underrated defensive players at his position, eyebrows raised around the NBA at the Rocket's offer. Unsurprisingly, defensive-minded head coach Tom Thibodeau, saw the logic in Houstons offer, which the Bulls will have three days to match following the July 11 end of the free-agency moratorium.

In the end, well weigh everything out and then well make a decision, said Thibodeau, who added, I dont want to look at it that way, when asked about the possibility that Asik wont be back in a Bulls uniform. Things like that are going to happen. When teams win, the value of a player goes up and hes done a great job for us.

Hes done a great job here for two years. Obviously his defense, rebounding, shot-blockingthat parts obviousbut I think offensively, his ability to run the floor, screen, get to the offensive board, thats what makes him so valuable to us, so we value all that he brings to our team," continued the coach, who mentioned that the teams front office has been very inclusive in involving him with the organizations free-agency process. You have to look at the entire picture and see what makes the most sense, and Im sure well make a good decision in the end.

I dont think you can measure him statistically, even though some of his statistics are very, very good. But hes also very smart, helps your team execute on both ends, so he has great value in the league.

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

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USA TODAY

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.

It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.

Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.

Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.

Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.

On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.

Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of tough centers to begin career

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AP

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of tough centers to begin career

Don't tell Wendell Carter Jr. the center position is a dying breed.

The 19-year-old rookie hasn't exactly been able to ease into the NBA, finding himself up against a handful of All-Stars and powerful frontcourts just five days into his career.

It culminated Monday night with a date against Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan, and once again the seventh overall pick held his own. It was much of the same as it was against Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Detroit's Andre Drummond last week (and Nikola Jokic in the preseason finale): some good, some bad, plenty of poise and zero backing down. The NBA is unforgiving, but this could very well be the toughest stretch Carter faces all season.

"He’s playing against top level centers now," Fred Hoiberg said before Monday's game. "It’s a great experience for him. He’s going to learn and get better and he plays within himself, we will continue to look for him to be more aggressive."

He was as aggressive as the Bulls have seen him against Jordan and the Mavericks. He blew by the 20 and 18 minutes he played in the first two games of the year, totalling 32 minutes. His final line won't tell the story - 4 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a block - of a Carter who defended well at the rim, picking and choosing his spots on when to attack shots and when to simply use his verticality.

He wasn't credited for a block but he contested a Jordan dunk that turned into a Bobby Portis dunk on the other end. Plus-minus isn't always a good indicator of a player's worth, but Carter was a +5 in a 14-point Bulls loss. He even attempted a corner 3-pointer early in the shot clock, showing no hesitation. Carter's had his moments, but it's also apparent he's got a 19-year-old body going up against veterans each night. That'll come with time in the weight room. For now the experience is 

"I appreciate the fact I’m able to play against these very talented bigs early in my career," Carter said after the loss to the Pistons. "What I need to work on is I have to get stronger; that’s the first thing I recognize; just being up against the best. I love the competition. It’s always a great feeling going against the best."

What the Bulls are finding out is they have a player mature beyond his years. As he progresses he'll continue to get more difficult assignments. He had his rookie moment late in Monday's loss, committing a turnover in the backcourt after the Bulls had cut the deficit to five with 35 seconds left. The fouls are also an issue, as Carter has committed 10 in three games (after committing 17 in five preseason games).

That doesn't necessarily seem important for a Lottery-bound team, but considering the continued struggles of Robin Lopez (and Cristiano Felicio is entirely out of the rotation) it is. Lopez had 2 points and 1 rebound in 10 minutes while committing five personal fouls. In three games he has 11 personal fouls and 11 points, and also has more turnovers (five) than rebounds (four). If the Bulls are going to compete until Lauri Markkanen returns, Carter will need to hover around the 32 minutes he played Monday.

He'll get a much easier test on Wednesday when the Charlotte Hornets arrive in town. Cody Zeller doesn't exactly have the credentials of a Jokic or Embiid, meaning Carter may have a little more room to work. 

The Bulls know they have something in Carter. It'll be abother month until they can deploy him alongside Markkanen, but if the first three games are any indication, Carter won't have any problems matching up with some of the league's best.