Cubs

Should the Bulls consider a trade with the Heat?

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Should the Bulls consider a trade with the Heat?

Talk of breaking up the Heat's Big Three will really start to pick up if they fail to make it out of the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Up to this point, most of that chatter has centered on moving Chris Bosh, but that would be ridiculous. The Heat's weakness is its lack of size in the paint, so trading a big man would not make much sense unless they can get a better big man.

Dwight Howard's name has been floated as a possibility and it makes sense. Bosh and Howard's salary numbers are pretty similar. Plus, both teams would view the trade as an improvement to their roster.

But for the Heat, they run the risk of only having Howard for a year. He has made it clear that he wants to explore free agency when his contract ends after the 2012-13 season.

The more logical move is to trade Dwyane Wade.

His game is too similar to LeBron James' and Wade is two years older than Bosh. Plus, in terms of attitude, Wade seems to have gone to the dark side. His shouting match with coach Erik Spoelstra in the third quarter of Thursday night's game is one example in a recent trend of petulance from the Chicago native that first reared its ugly head when Wade shoved Rip Hamilton off the court toward the end of a regular-season matchup with the Bulls.

At some point Pat Riley will be making phone calls, looking to make a trade. It would be irresponsible for him to not call the Bulls and make an offer. The offer would likely be Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson for Wade.

John Paxson and Gar Forman should turn it down immediately, then counter with Noah and Hamilton for Wade.

The trade would benefit both teams. For the Bulls, they would get a proven scorer that can help the team stay afloat while it is without Derrick Rose and the probable absence of Loul Deng early in the season. With all of his faults, Wade still averaged 22 points per game last season. That's slightly more than what Rose averaged, by the way (21.8).

The Heat would also finally solve its major weakness -- lack of size and rebounding. Noah pulled down close to 10 rebounds a game this season, while the Heat's starting center Joel Anthony only grabbed four per game. That's almost the same as Derrick Rose, by the way (3.4).

Plus with Noah, the Heat get the comfort of having him locked up for four more seasons as opposed to Howard who could walk at the end of next season.

The trade would also send Wade home to Chicago and Noah back to Florida where he has had a lot of success over his basketball career.

What do you think? Would you trade Noah for Wade?

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

It was a tough day for the North Siders.

The Cubs got obliterated by the Cardinals as Matt Carpenter had a three-homer, two-double day. Ben Finfer, Seth Gruen and Maggie Hendricks join David Kaplan on the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast to talk about the blowout.

Was Jon Lester due for this kind of terrible outing? And do the Cubs have enough to swing a big trade before the deadline?

Plus, the panel discusses Matt Nagy’s first training camp practice in the rain and Roquan Smith’s absence in Bourbonnais.

You can listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

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USA TODAY

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

NBC Sports Chicago’s John "Moon" Mullin talked with The MMQB's Albert Breer, who shared his thoughts on where the Bears stand — and if they’ll be able to compete — in a highly competitive NFC North.

Moon: The Bears have made upgrades, but they’re in the NFC North and not many divisions are tougher, given the strength at quarterbacks.

Breer: Yes. You look at the other three teams, and they all very much believe they’re in a window for winning a championship. The Packers are going through some changes, but they’ve gotten Mike Pettine in there as defensive coordinator and a new general manager who was aggressive on draft day. I know that internally they feel that’s going to give them a boost, and bringing Aaron Rodgers back obviously is the biggest thing of all.

Minnesota, all the things they did this offseason, signing (quarterback) Kirk Cousins, (defensive lineman) Sheldon Richardson, and they were knocking on the door last year.

The Lions have been building for two years under (general manager) Bob Quinn and (new coach) Matt Patricia, who lines right up with the general manager — the two of them worked together in New England. They really believe that Matthew Stafford is ready to take the sort of jump that Matt Ryan made in Atlanta a few years ago, where you see that mid-career breakthrough from a quarterback that we see sometimes now.

It’s one of the toughest divisions in football, and every team in the division believes that it’s in the position to contend right now.

Moon: We didn’t see a lot of Mitch Trubisky — 12 games — so it sounds possible that the Bears could improve and still lose ground.

Breer: The Lions were pretty good last year. The Vikings were in the NFC Championship game. And who knows where the Packers would’ve been if Rodgers hadn’t broken his collarbone. The biggest change is that Aaron Rodgers will be back, and that’s the best player in the league. It was a really good division last year, and you’re adding back in a Hall of Fame quarterback.

As far as the Bears, there’s going to be questions where the organization is going. It’s been seven years since they were in the playoffs. I think they certainly got the coach hire right. This is a guy who I know other organizations liked quite a bit and was going to be a head coach sooner or later.

And I think he matches up well with Mitch. I think the Bears are in a good spot, but as you said, they’re competing in a difficult environment, so it may not show up in their record.

Moon: A lot of love for the Vikings after they get to the NFC Championship and then add Kirk Cousins.

Breer: A lot of people look at Minnesota and think Kirk Cousins’ll be a huge improvement. And maybe he will be. I think he’s a very good quarterback, top dozen in the league. But Case Keenum played really, really well last year, so it wasn’t like they weren’t getting anything out of that position last year.

The NFC right now is clearly the strength of the league. If you picked the top 10 teams in the league, you could make a case that seven or eight of them are in the NFC. I think there will be NFC teams that miss the playoffs who could be in the Super Bowl coming out of the AFC. There’s a little bit of an imbalance there.

Moon: Trubisky projects as part of a wave of new quarterbacks league-wide, a sea change in the NFL.

Breer: The interesting thing is that this is probably as stable as the league has been at quarterback in a long time. There’ve been questions where the next great quarterbacks will come from, but I don’t know that there’s a team right now in the NFL like you looked at the Jets or Browns last year, where you say that team is definitely drafting a quarterback in 2019.

Everyone either has a big-money veteran or former first-round pick on their roster. One team that doesn’t is the Cowboys, but they’ve got Dak Prescott who’s played really well. Every team in the league has some stability at the position. I think the position is as healthy as it’s been in a long time, and you’ve got a lot of good young prospects.