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?

Why Cubs core's desire to sign extensions might not matter anymore

Why Cubs core's desire to sign extensions might not matter anymore

The day after Kris Bryant suggested that first-time fatherhood and the dramatic reality of world events have changed how he looks at his future with the Cubs, general manager Jed Hoyer outlined why it might be all but moot.

Setting aside the fact that the Cubs aren’t focusing on contract extensions with anyone at this time of health and economic turmoil, the volatility and unpredictability of a raging COVID-19 pandemic in this country and its economic fallout have thrown even mid-range and long-term roster plans into chaos.

“This is without question the most difficult time we’ve ever had as far as projecting those things,” Hoyer said. “All season in projecting this year, you weren’t sure how many games we were going to get in. Projecting next season obviously has challenges, and who knows where the country’s going to be and the economy’s going to be.”

Bryant, a three-time All-Star and former MVP, is eligible for free agency after next season. He and the club have not engaged in extension talks for three years. And those gained little traction while it has looked increasingly likely since then that Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras, would eventually take his star client to market — making Bryant a widely circulated name in trade talks all winter.

MORE: Scott Boras: Why Kris Bryant's free agency won't be impacted by economic crisis

The Cubs instead focused last winter on talks with All-Star shortstop Javy Báez, making “good” or little progress depending on which side you talked to on a given day — until the pandemic shut down everything in March.

Báez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber are both also eligible for free agency after next season, with All-Star catcher Willson Contreras right behind them a year later.

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None has a multiyear contract, and exactly what the Cubs are willing to do about that even if MLB pulls off its 60-game plan this year is hard for even the team’s front office executives to know without knowing how hard the pandemic will continue to hammer America’s health and financial well-being into the winter and next year.

Even with a vaccine and treatments by then, what will job markets look like? The economy at large? The economy of sports? Will anyone want to gather with 40,000 others in a stadium to watch a game anytime soon?

And even if anyone could answer all those questions, who can be sure how the domino effect will impact salary markets for athletes?

“There’s no doubt that forecasting going forward is now much more challenging from a financial standpoint,” Hoyer said. “But that’s league-wide. Anyone that says they have a feel for where the nation’s economy and where the pandemic is come next April is lying.”

The Cubs front office already was in a tenuous place financially, its payroll budget stretched past its limit and a threat to exceed MLB’s luxury tax threshold for a second consecutive season.

And after a quick playoff exit in 2018 followed by the disappointment of missing the playoffs in 2019, every player on the roster was in play for a possible trade over the winter — and even more so at this season’s trade deadline without a strong start to the season.

Now what?

For starters, forget about dumping short-term assets or big contracts for anything of value from somebody’s farm system. Even if baseball can get to this year’s Aug. 31 trade deadline with a league intact and playing, nobody is predicting more than small level trades at that point — certainly not anything close to a blockbuster.

After that, it may not get any clearer for the sport in general, much less the Cubs with their roster and contract dilemmas.

“We have a lot of conversations about it internally, both within the baseball side and then with the business side as well,” Hoyer said. “But it’s going to take a long time and probably some sort of macro things happening for us to really have a good feel for where we’re going to be in ’21 and beyond.”

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Cubs GM Jed Hoyer: Everyone in MLB has to take COVID-19 'equally' serious

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer: Everyone in MLB has to take COVID-19 'equally' serious

Veteran umpire Joe West made waves Tuesday downplaying the severity of COVID-19 in an interview with The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. 

“I don’t believe in my heart that all these deaths have been from the coronavirus," West said. "I believe it may have contributed to some of the deaths.”

As far as the Cubs are concerned, those comments don’t represent how to treat the virus. In fact, they’ve gone out of their way to ensure everyone treats it with equal severity.

“That’s one of the things we've really tried internally to instill in our players and our coaches,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday, “[that] everyone here has to take it equally [serious].”

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Hoyer noted like the world, MLB isn’t immune to people having different viewpoints on the virus — those who show concern and those who don’t. This echoes comments made by manager David Ross earlier on Tuesday, and Hoyer said those he’s talked to with the Cubs don’t feel the same way as West.

The Cubs had an up close and personal look at pitching coach Tommy Hottovy’s battle with COVID-19 during baseball’s shutdown. It took the 38-year-old former big leaguer 30 harrowing days to test negative, and in the past week many Cubs have said watching him go through that hit home. 

“When you get a 38-year-old guy in wonderful health and he talks about his challenges with it,” Hoyer said, “I think that it takes away some of those different viewpoints.”

To ensure everyone stays safe and puts the league in the best position to complete a season, MLB needs strict adherence to its protocols.

“I think that's one of our goals and one of the things that we feel is vital is that we have to make sure everyone views this the same way, because we can't have a subset of people within our group that don't view it with the same severity,” Hoyer said.

“That’s not gonna work. We're not gonna be successful."

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