Bears

See which team is going hard after Pau Gasol

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See which team is going hard after Pau Gasol

From Comcast SportsNet
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves are pulling out all the stops in an effort to land Pau Gasol. If they have to part with the highest draft choice in franchise history after just one season, the Wolves appear ready to do it. That much became clear leading up to the NBA draft on Thursday, when Minnesota offered Derrick Williams to the Charlotte Bobcats for the No. 2 pick as a vehicle to help them land Gasol from the Los Angeles Lakers, two people with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press. The deal never came together before the draft began, and the Bobcats stayed at No. 2 and took Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The people requested anonymity because the talks were meant to remain private. The Timberwolves were expected to continue their pursuit of Gasol in hopes of putting him with fellow Spaniard Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love on a revamped roster aimed at getting the team back to the playoffs, and beyond, for the first time since 2004. The Wolves' interest in Gasol has long been rumored, with the highly skilled big man considered an ideal fit for coach Rick Adelman's corner offense, and the kind of playoff-tested veteran needed on one of the youngest rosters in the NBA. He is also close friends with Rubio, the Wolves' superb young point guard who is recovering from a torn ACL and hopes to be ready early next season. Gasol has teamed with Kobe Bryant to win three titles in Los Angeles, but has always seemed to catch the brunt of the criticism when things went wrong. That was the case again this year when he averaged just 12.5 points along with 9.5 rebounds in the playoffs, and the Lakers were abruptly eliminated in the second round by the younger, quicker Oklahoma City Thunder. He often appeared to get lost in the shuffle while Bryant and Andrew Bynum got most of the touches on offense. He was the subject of trade rumors all season, starting before it began when Commissioner David Stern, operating as owner of the New Orleans Hornets, nixed a deal that would have sent Gasol to Houston as part of a package that would have brought Chris Paul to the Lakers. "It has been a crazy year and a lot to deal with. ... Unfortunately, we had tough losses and things didn't really go our way for the most part," the four-time All-Star said at the end of the season. "You just have to regroup and digest this loss and this season, and learn from it and move on." Gasol is due to make more than 38 million over the next two seasons, an enormous sum that the salary cap-strapped Lakers might have difficulty footing under the harsher luxury tax penalties that are scheduled to kick in in 2013. Love's max contract extension kicks in next season, making him the only Timberwolves player who is expected to be on the roster next season making more than 4.6 million. If the Wolves buy out Martell Webster and decline to tender qualifying offers to Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph, as expected, they should have plenty of cap room for Gasol. But if they want to bring him in to play alongside Love in the frontcourt, it likely will come at a hefty price. Offering Williams, the second overall pick last season who showed promise and inconsistency in his rookie year, means the Wolves would be giving up on him after just one season. And at just 21 years old, Williams has plenty of potential to grow into the star that many projected him to be when he entered the draft after his sophomore season at Arizona. Gasol will turn 32 next week and has played nearly 39,000 minutes in his career, raising the question if he has enough gas left in the tank to help turn the Timberwolves from an up-and-coming team into a legitimate contender. Williams is aware that the Wolves are trying to deal him, but it's unclear how he will respond if he is still on the team when training camp begins. He averaged 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds and was the only Timberwolves player to play in all 66 games last season. Williams had several big games during an up-and-down year in addition to participating in the slam dunk contest during All-Star weekend. He scored 27 points in 27 minutes in a win over the Clippers in Los Angeles on Feb. 28 and had 27 points and eight boards in a loss at Denver on April 11. But the 66-year-old Adelman has been pushing for the franchise to add more veterans, and he grew impatient at times with Williams last season. Williams did most of his damage while playing power forward, which is the same position played by Love, who blossomed last year into a surprising MVP contender. With Love playing so many minutes at power forward, the Timberwolves were hoping Williams could drop some weight this summer to help him become quick enough to play small forward for the majority of the time. Earlier this week, Kahn said that Williams was already down to 233 pounds, with a personal goal of 225. "I think the most important fact about Derrick to me is that he turned 21 last month. He's still very, very young," Kahn said on Wednesday. "This is a very important summer for him to demonstrate if he's serious about his craft, his occupation, that he's serious about himself. This is the offseason. I challenged him in his exit interview, and I'm eager to see the results of this summer." But Kahn also declined to list Williams with Rubio and Love as "untouchable" players when the team considers trades this summer. "We have two untouchables," Kahn said. "That doesn't mean everyone else will be traded this summer. We just don't know."

Matt Nagy says Allen Robinson is mentally and physically ready for training camp

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USA Today

Matt Nagy says Allen Robinson is mentally and physically ready for training camp

The toughest part of any comeback from injury in sports is the mental aspect. Players have to build trust in their body again in order to eliminate thought from their movements.

In the case of Chicago Bears receiver Allen Robinson, he has to regain confidence in his left knee after tearing his ACL in last year's season opener.

According to coach Matt Nagy, Robinson is ready.

Nagy, who met with the media at Bears training camp Thursday in Bourbonnais, told reporters that Robinson is mentally and physically ready to go. The biggest issue for Robins, Nagy said, is building chemistry with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Robinson is more than 10 months removed from his ACL tear, an injury that generally takes less time than that to recover. He participated in some on-field work during minicamp sessions this offseason in an effort to build that confidence.

Robinson will look to regain the 1,400-yard, 14-touchdown form he displayed in 2015, a year in which he was arguably the top young receiver in the NFL. 

"For us, he can play multiple positions," Nagy said. "We want him and Mitch to work on timing."

They'll start working on that timing Friday when the Bears kick off their first training camp practice.

Ryan Pace on Kevin White: 'There is a lot of momentum with his play'

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USA Today

Ryan Pace on Kevin White: 'There is a lot of momentum with his play'

No player will get Bears fans riled up as much as former first-round pick Kevin White, who since being selected with the seventh pick overall in the 2015 NFL draft has been ravaged by injury and has yet to score a touchdown as a pro.

After an offseason focused on upgrading the Bears' wide receivers, White is facing a make-or-break year for his career.

White has enjoyed a productive offseason, arguably the best -- and healthiest -- of his brief career so far. General manager Ryan Pace has noticed, too.

"I just feel like there is a lot of momentum with his play," Pace said Thursday in Bourbonnais at the start of the team's training camp. 

"He's had a good offseason. He's playing with a lot of confidence."

Pace said the goal for White is to be the best player he can be, which the team once envisioned being a dominant force as an alpha receiver. While it's unfair to have that kind of expectation for White in 2018, it's also not impossible for him to rise to the challenge and become the team's next-best option after Allen Robinson. If he does that, he could set himself up for a lucrative contract extension or, in the alternative, a rich deal elsewhere.