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ICYMI: Blackhawks extend winning-streak; Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker return to United Center; new Manny Machado rumors

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: Blackhawks extend winning-streak; Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker return to United Center; new Manny Machado rumors

The Blackhawks won their seventh-straight game, Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker returned to the United Center with the Wizards and new Manny Machado rumors surfaced. Here's what you might have missed from the weekend in Chicago sports:

Blackhawks

Behind a dominant performance from the second line, the Blackhawks extended their winning streak to seven games on Sunday. Now that they're back in the playoff picture, what exactly is the team's ceiling for the 2018-19 season?

Corey Crawford returned to Blackhawks practice on Saturday for the first time since sustaining a concussion on Dec. 16. The team is not putting a timeline on his return, though it is a positive step nonetheless.

Friday, Chris Kamka broke down the numbers from the Blackhawks' winning-streak, while Pat Boyle, Patrick Sharp and Adam Burish discussed the team's chances at making the playoffs on the latest Hawks Talk Podcast.

Former Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling is taking a leave of absence from the Carolina Hurricanes.

Bulls

The returns of Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker to Chicago did not take long. After the Bulls traded the duo to the Wizards on Wednesday ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline, Portis and Parker matched up against their old team on Saturday.

Parker looked like the player many thought he might be with the Bulls on Saturday, while the emotional night ended in success for Portis. Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine discussed life without Portis and Parker and their returns to the United Center on the latest Bulls Outsiders Podcast.

Friday, Portis shined in his Wizards debut, as did the Bulls in Otto Porter's team debut. Lauri Markkanen slapped the sophomore slump across the face, leading the Bulls to a 125-106 win over the Nets.

Check out Mark Schanowski's latest NBA Draft Big Board following the Bulls' acquisition of Porter.

The Bulls said they'll continue evaluating Kris Dunn. If more of the same keeps happening, it's clear they will need an upgrade at the position.

MLB

According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, neither Manny Machado or Bryce Harper wants to sign before the other player. Also, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf prefers to "chase the market rather than set it."  

The Yankees reportedly offered Machado a seven or eight-year contract worth $220 million.

MLB is unlikely to add a designated hitter to the National League until at least 2022. Doug Glanville looks ahead to baseball's future with a universal DH.

MLB is reportedly considering the Cubs and Cardinals as two teams for its matchup in London in 2020. 

While the Cubs do not have one of the top farm systems in baseball, they are excited over their next wave of prospects.

Yu Darvish said that he wants to "do something special for Chicago and the Cubs"

Other

As the 2018 NFL season fades away, the Bears' 2019 schedule is still forming based on changes around the NFL.

The Packers hired Dick Butkus' nephew as an assistant coach. Also, the Bears might have helped the Patriots take down the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

ICYMI: Cubs, White Sox go in opposite directions to start the first half

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: Cubs, White Sox go in opposite directions to start the first half

The Cubs swept the Pirates to open the second half while the White Sox went the other direction, getting swept in Oakland. Here are some Chicago sports stories from the weekend that you may have missed.

Cubs

The Cubs beat the Pirates on Friday and then crushed them with seven runs in the first inning on Saturday. Jon Lester even got in the act with a home run. The win locked up the team's first series win in over a month.

On Sunday, the Cubs finished off the sweep behind a quality start from Jose Quintana. After the sweep, the Cubs had a simple explanation for why the team played better over the weekend.

White Sox

Oakland remains a house of horrors for the White Sox. The Sox began the second half with a 5-1 loss at the A's on Friday. Ivan Nova took the loss and A.J. Reed debuted at DH.

The next day, Dylan Covey returned from the IL. Covey's start did not go well in a lopsided loss.

Oakland finished the sweep off with a walk-off win on Sunday, but Reynaldo Lopez didn't allow an earned run in six innings.

Bulls

The Bulls wrapped up Summer League play on Saturday. Coby White showed some glimpses of his playmaking ability in the finale against the Magic.

ICYMI: White Sox trending in the right direction; Cubs confident best is yet to come; Bulls rookies shine in Summer League

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: White Sox trending in the right direction; Cubs confident best is yet to come; Bulls rookies shine in Summer League

Here are some of the Chicago sports stories you may have missed from the weekend. 

White Sox

The White Sox have had a truly amazing first half of the season when compared to last year's struggles. Whether or not their overall record ends up being closer to last season's, the progress that the White Sox have seen from their young talent is real.

They notched a win over the Cubs in the fourth game of the Crosstown Classic series on Sunday, tying the series at two games apiece. Despite some continued struggles against the Cubs from All-Star Lucas Giolito, the Sox have overall played well the past week.

As Rick Hahn has stated before, the White Sox win total isn't as important as clear-cut development among the core players. Fortunately for White Sox fans, winning games and focusing on player development have gone hand in hand these days. 

Cubs

The Cubs have had an up-and-down season so far but still, sit in the driver's seat in the NL Central.

The North Siders were in the midst of a four-game losing streak before bouncing back with consecutive wins over the Pirates and White Sox. The Cubs' win over the White Sox on July 6 contained a great six-inning outing from Jon Lester but the team still had their fair share of avoidable mistakes. The Cubs dropped the fourth game of the Crosstown Classic series, but still received a solid offensive contribution from rookie Robel Garica, who has been an awesome story for the Cubs.

There is an overall sense of optimism in the clubhouse, as the team feels the best is yet to come.

Bulls

Summer League is not a major indicator of long-term success but it does help us get an idea of how a rookie's game will translate to the NBA. And so far, the Bulls have gotten to see how effective Coby White and Daniel Gafford can be as a duo. Jim Boylen has been very pleased with the overall direction of the team and with good reason after a solid offseason.

White has shown off a variety of nice step-back shots and been a true asset in the pick-and-roll game. Gafford has been a monster around the basket, blocking shots and moving his feet well when defending in the pick-and-roll. There is legitimate excitement surrounding the Bulls.

Between the return of Denzel Valentine and Chandler Hutchison, the free agent additions and another expected leap from Zach Laine and Lauri Markkanen, the Bulls are poised for a (within reason) bounce-back season in a weakened Eastern Conference.