Cubs

Howard to Lakers in four-team deal

841503.png

Howard to Lakers in four-team deal

The Dwight Howard saga, more properly dubbed the "Dwightmare" by some, is finally over.
The NBA processed a four-team trade Friday that sent Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers, Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets, Andrew Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers, and a handful of players to the Orlando Magic.
Here is a complete rundown of the blockbuster deal:
Los Angeles receives: Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Chris DuhonOrlando receives: Arron Afflalo, Al Harringon, Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, three protected first-round draft picksDenver receives: Andre IguodalaPhiladelphia receives: Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson
The big winner here is Los Angeles, as they bring in Howard, a five-time All-NBA First Team member and three-time Defensive Player of the Year. The 26-year-old Howard is in the prime of his career and, despite his off-court antics this offseason, is a career 18-point, 13-rebound per game center and is one of the best defenders in the league.
Chris Duhon and Earl Clark are added bonuses to the deal, but the biggest part of the transaction may be that Pau Gasol was not part of it, as earlier reports had suggested. The Bynum-Gasol front court was the NBAs best, and Los Angeles only gets better adding Howard. If he stays beyond this season, when he is an unrestricted free agent, the deal sweetens even further.
Denver also pulls in a positive grade, adding Iguodala and his 14.9 million salary for 2012-2013 in exchange for Al Harrington and Arron Afflalo, set to make roughly 14.25 million this year. The Nuggets get younger and more talented with Iguodala, and also save the 13 million trade exception they acquired when they traded Nene Hilario to the Wizards last year. Iguodala has a player option worth nearly 16 million in 2013, but the Nuggets now have the financial flexibility to sign Iguodala long-term after shedding Harrington's contract, worth more than 21 million the next three seasons.
As it stands for the Bulls and how this trade affects the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia may all of a sudden be a contender in the East.
The 76ers finally get the franchise player in Bynum they hoped Iguodala would one day become. Iguodala seemed to have maxed his potential in Philadelphia, something Bynum, 24, has plenty of. The 7-footer comes with baggage, being known for lackadaisical and uninterested play at times, but a change of scenery and stepping out of Kobe Bryant's and Pau Gasol's shadows could do him some good. He is an unrestricted free agent after this season, but if he re-signs in Philadelphia, the 76ers have a long-term piece to their puzzle.
More importantly, losing Iguodala opens up room for Chicago native Evan Turner in the starting lineup. They lost Lou Williams to free agency (Atlanta) but added Nick Young and Dorell Wright, leaving few weaknesses in their starting lineup. It wouldn't be a shock to see the 76ers make a Pacers-like jump in 2012 into the top four of the Eastern Conference standings.
They lose 2012 first round draft pick Maurice Harkless and project big Nikola Vucevic, but the prospect of obtaining Bynum was too much to pass up.
The Magic, ironically, seem to be the only real losers in the trade. The four players (Harrington, Afflalo, Harkless, Vucevic) should all be contributors, but remember the Magic turned down a Howard deal from Brooklyn that would have netted them Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and four first-round draft picks. Certainly the package they did receive has less value than the proposed deal from Brooklyn.
And while a Howard trade was inevitable, the Magic all of a sudden go from a playoff contender to a team that will struggle to make the second season. Whether that has an effect on the Bulls, who may or may not be in a similar position without Derrick Rose, remains to be seen.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Schwarber, Baez on night to remember at the Home Run Derby

Cubs Talk Podcast: Schwarber, Baez on night to remember at the Home Run Derby

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, Kelly Crull spoke with Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber after an electric and entertaining Home Run Derby in Washington D.C.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here:

Who Knew? Cubs at the All-Star Break

Who Knew? Cubs at the All-Star Break

With a break in the action, let’s take a look at the season so far.

Today, I’ll focus on the first 57.4% of the Cubs’ 2018 season. Which is to say, the 93 games before the All-Star Break. Clearly more than “half.”

In all seasons with an All-Star Game (1933-present, minus 1945)

This is the fifth time the Cubs have had the National League’s best record at the All-Star Break.

Here is the entire list (note – 2016 is NOT on this list. They trailed the Giants by 3 games at the Break in 2016):

1937 44-25 +2.0
1969 61-37 +5.0
2001 51-35 +0.5
2008 57-38 +4.5
2018 55-38 +2.5

Which is incredible since:

• Anthony Rizzo has a wRC+ of 100, which is league average

(he was at 131 – 31% better than league average - through the All-Star break last season)

• Kris Bryant has missed 23 games and has only 10 home runs

• The Cubs as a team have 30 fewer Home Runs through 93 games than they did last season

(100 this season, 130 last season)

• The Cubs have had six pitchers make 8 or more starts this season and only one (Jon Lester – 2.58) has an ERA under 3.90

• Cubs pitching has an MLBhigh walk percentage of 11.0%

(Tyler Chatwood’s 9 starts with 5 or more walks is most in a season by a Cubs pitcher since Dick Drott’s 13 in 1957)

• Cubs have outscored their opponents by only one run in the first inning (5251)

This includes being outscored 18-13 in the first inning in Kyle Hendricks’ 19 starts

• Cubs are 57 against the Reds

(they were 27-11 against Cincinnati in 2016-17)

That being said, it's not so incredible since...

• The Cubs have scored at least 10 runs 15 times this season. No other team has done it more than 12 times.

• Jason Heyward has a wRC+ of 109 (he’s 9% better than league average)

This is notable because in 2016 he was at 71 (29% worse than league average) and 88 in 2017 (12% worse than league average).

• The Cubs have EIGHT qualified players with at least a .340 OnBase pct. (and Ian Happ, who is eight PA short of qualifying, is at .379)

The only qualified Cub with a SUB-.340 OBP is Javier Báez (.326 – a career-high). However…

• Javier Báez has 50 extrabase hits in 91 games. Last season he had 49 extra-base hits in 145 games.

Báez is the first player in Cubs history with 15 Doubles, 5 Triples, 15 HR and 15 Stolen Bases before the All-Star Break**.

Báez is the first player in MLB history with 18 Doubles, 6 Triples, 18 HR and 18 Stolen Bases before the All-Star Break**.

**seasons with an All-Star Game – 1933-present (minus 1945)