Schanowski: Bulls need to think big this offseason


Schanowski: Bulls need to think big this offseason

Watching the Conference Finals games over the last few days, I cant help but think about how the Bulls might stack up in future years against the Big 3s put together by Oklahoma City and Miami. Plus, there are a number of other young teams ready to take a jump in the standings next season like the Pacers, Grizzlies, 76ers, Nuggets and Clippers (yes, I know Vinny Del Negro is still coaching!).

So, the larger question is, have the Bulls already maxed out with the talent on the current roster, and should they consider making some major changes this summer to position themselves for a better chance to win the title in the 2013-14 season and beyond?

My friend Sam Smith at wrote an interesting column a couple weeks back basically saying that if Bulls management has decided theyve gone as far as they can with the current roster, they might want to consider trading one of their 10 million plus players for a lottery pick in the upcoming draft. Now, its obvious Derrick Rose is untouchable, and no team is going to touch Carlos Boozers contract (three years left at approximately 45 million), so that leaves Luol Deng and Joakim Noah.

Which teams might be interested in giving up cap space to acquire an All-Star caliber veteran player? Well, we can start with the Toronto Raptors. Their GM Bryan Colangelo had some interesting things to say in an interview with HOOPSWORLD. Colangelo thinks now is the time for the Raptors to add some veteran leadership to a roster loaded with lottery picks. He gave this response to a question about the teams plans for the 8 selection in round one, We are looking to increase the level of experience and thinking that you are going to get all of that at eight in this draft is probably not going to happen. Anything we take at eight is not going to have NBA experience so we are going to be looking at that in various other ways. We have the trade opportunities before July 1, trade opportunities and free agent options after July 1, so we have a lot of different balls up in the air with respect to the options that are going to be there for us.

Which brings us back to the Bulls. Would they be willing to trade Deng for that 8 pick, with back-up guard Jerryd Bayless possibly thrown in as a sweetener to fill in for Rose while he rehabs from knee surgery? The Bulls then could use the pick to grab one of the best college shooters available, like Floridas Bradley Beal, UConns Jeremy Lamb or Dukes Austin Rivers.

Okay, I know what youre asking, why would the Bulls trade an All-Star like Deng for a back-up point guard and a raw rookie? It all goes back to their salary cap situation. Just bringing back last years starting line-up would mean 61 million dollars in salary commitments, which already puts them over the cap for next season. And, when you add in the contracts of Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and a likely 4-5 million offer sheet for Omer Asik, the Bulls are already up against the 70 million luxury tax threshold with only eight players on the roster. If Bulls management has resigned themselves to not being able to contend with a rehabbing Rose, maybe now is the perfect time to start re-tooling the roster, and getting the cap situation in a better place.

Right now, it looks like the Bulls will decline team options on the contracts of Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson for next season because of cap reasons. Getting the chance to replace two of them with 1st round draft picks would save the team a bundle of money, and possibly open up a mid-level exception deal to add a free agent for the bench.

If the Bulls dont trade one of their core players this summer, theyll probably try to find a short-term replacement for Rose by offering the mini mid-level of 2.5 million dollars to a veteran like Kirk Hinrich, Andre Miller or Jason Kidd or possibly go after a young player who doesnt get a big offer in free agency like Raymond Felton, Jonny Flynn or the aforementioned Bayless (RFA).

Then, the major roster changes would likely wait until after the 2013-14 season when Dengs contract expires, the amnesty provision could be used on the final year of Boozers contract, and the Bulls will probably be able to bring prospect Nikola Mirotic over from Europe. With only Rose and Noah on the books at that time with big money contracts, the Bulls would be a player for a major free agent in the summer of 2014 when several stars, including LeBron James could be available.

So, the choice for John Paxson and Gar Forman basically is this: Do you wait for Rose to rehab his knee and hope to make a late season run with the current roster? Or, do you see the possibility of several up-and-coming teams passing you buy while youre locked in with a maxed out roster, and make the decision to try to move a big contract (Deng or Noah) to get the salary cap situation in a better place.

Either way, it figures to be an interesting summer around the NBA, with the two winning-est franchises in league history, the Celtics and Lakers looking to make major changes, and a number of teams looking to pounce on the big name players who should be available like Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, Pau Gasol, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

Postcard from Bears camp: Not a great Mitch Trubisky day but another good one for rookie CB, plus Peter King’s look at the ’18 Bears


Postcard from Bears camp: Not a great Mitch Trubisky day but another good one for rookie CB, plus Peter King’s look at the ’18 Bears

 BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Dear Tolliver clan:
I think most of you were there at practice today in your “Toliver II 33” T-shirts, including the three little guys in their “K. T. II Cousin” T’s. That’s pretty amazing support for an undrafted rookie free agent cornerback out of LSU, so you know I just had to intercept another pass for you guys, after the two yesterday. This one was off Tyler Bray throwing a ball to Anthony Miller, a rookie wide receiver who’s playing like anything but a rookie. Miller has amazing speed and is catching balls all over the field and having fun with the crowd. He stopped short of the end zone after one long catch, fans started yelling for him to score, so he backtracked fast and broke the plane of the goal line. Fans loved it.
Anthony made a diving catch 45 yards downfield off a throw from Chase Daniel (I won’t say against whom) and Mitch Trubisky and I think half the offense sprinted downfield to give him high-fives. Lotta energy on that side of the football. 
And we had some great defensive moments, too. Prince Amukamara broke and nearly intercepted at Mitch pass to Kevin White, and Bryce Callahan broke up one to Josh Bellamy one play later.
Meanwhile, the fans loved just about everything, this being the first practice the public could watch. They were even cheering completions in drills, especially Tarik Cohen, who seems like everybody’s favorite. They loved it (and so did the players) when tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride was up tight on guys to simulate press coverage and got faked right off his feet by Trey Burton working his release. But it was all in good fun, and Trey is a tough cover for us DB’s, let alone a coach.
Speaking of “coach,” coach Nagy said some nice things about me after practice, saying I’d flashed a few times and gotten turnovers, and “we stressed takeaways on defense and having interceptions is important. [Kevin’s] done that now the last couple of days. Kevin’s a big kid. He’s a tall, rangy, lengthy corner that really almost looks like a safety. So for him to be able to move around out here, it’s about getting confidence. So any time he gets some interceptions, you’re going to build confidence.”
Coach Nagy said he needs to see me do it in pads, and we go in pads tomorrow for the first time. The hitting’ll really start then.
[signed] Your favorite family cornerback,

Wanted: QB accuracy
Improving on the 59.4-percent completion rate he posted as a rookie was a prime directive for quarterback Mitch Trubisky, but Saturday’s session was not a step in the right direction. Trubisky completed less than half of his throws in two 7-on-7 sessions that normally favor the quarterback and receiver. His accuracy rate was no better in the first full-team session but in the second he completed eight of 10, two for touchdowns.
Whether the issues were throwing accuracy, route-running or combination of elements wasn’t easily apparent, and coach Matt Nagy did not seem concerned.
“There’s going to be a lot of mistakes made out here; that’s what training camp’s all about,” Nagy said.
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Sick bay
Guard Kyle Long, coming back from multiple surgeries, was given the first of his scheduled days off on Saturday. Veteran Earl Watford stepped in at right guard. Linebacker Danny Trevathan remained out with a hamstring issue, as did cornerback Sherrick McManis.
More concerning was the absence of outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who injured a hamstring in Friday’s relatively light practice. It marked the third time this offseason that Lynch has been sidelined with injuries, following ankle and hamstring problems through OTA’s and minicamp.
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It could happen….
Legendary NFL writer Peter King, who joined NBC Sports full time this year after nearly 30 years with Sports Illustrated, dropped by training camp as part of his annual “North American tour” and sat down for chats with this writer, which was a chance to recall some good times and stories as far back as Platteville. Peter and I did a little podcast that includes some Brian Urlacher, Mike Ditka and other tales, as well as Peter’s assessment of the Bears’ situation.
Interestingly, Peter does not rule out a season with as many as 10 W’s, despite being in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions with a first-year combination of coach-quarterback-system.
It could happen…..


34 Days to Kickoff: Bartlett

34 Days to Kickoff: Bartlett preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Bartlett

Head coach: Mark Erlenbaugh

How they fared in 2017: 2-7 (2-3 Upstate 8 Valley Conference), Bartlett failed to qualify for the 20127 IHSA state football playoff field.
2018 Regular Season Schedule:
Aug. 25 @ East Aurora
Aug. 31 vs Glenbard East
Sept 8 vs Glenbard South
Sept. 14 @ Elgin
Sept. 21 @ West Aurora
Sept. 28 vs West Chicago
Oct. 5 vs Larkin
Oct. 13 @ South Elgin 
Oct. 19 @ Streamwood

Biggest storyline: Can the Hawks soar in the newly realigned Upstate 8 conference?

Names to watch this season: QB Dean Kotsovetis WR Austin Gates

Biggest holes to fill: The Hawks will need to fill in several spots this summer especially upfront on the offensive and defensive lines due to graduation losses.

EDGY's Early Take: Bartlett new head coach Matt Erlenbaugh comes in from Chicago Solorio and takes over the Hawks football program. Look for Bartlett to have a chance to challenge in the newly realigned Upstate 8 schedule. The Hawks schedule this season won't include the likes of several 2017 state playoff teams like Lemont, Prairie Ridge and St. Charles East.