Bulls

Word on the Street: Boozer sues over 1 million

Word on the Street: Boozer sues over 1 million

Thursday, March 24, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Boozer allegedly ripped off for 1 million

Attorneys for Bulls forward Carlos Boozer have filed a lawsuit in Miami against a businessman, Claudio Osorio, who Boozer alleges squandered his 1 million investment in Osorio's company, InnoVida holdings. Boozer declined to comment on the suit.

This guy Osorio had an air of credibility, Boozers attorney, David Nunez, told the South Florida Business Journal. Thats how he was able to gain access to all these deep-pocket investors. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Van Gundy: MVP race already decided

Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy says that, even though there are still just over ten games left in the season, the MVP race has already been decided. Van Gundy believes that Derrick Rose, not his Dwight Howard, winning the 2010-11 MVP award is a foregone conclusion.

Brian Schmitz, writer for the Orlando Sentinel, agrees with Van Gundy's conclusion but thinks that Howard is building his case to win the award next season. (Orlando Sentinel)

Johnson, Barney make the team

The Cubs made another round of cuts today, sending Augie Ojeda, Bobby Scales, Scott Moore and Matt Camp to minor league camp and optioning Fernando Perez to Triple-A Iowa. What all of this means is that Reed Johnson has grabbed the last outfield spot and Darwin Barney will be one of the Cubs' infielders on opening day, whether starting or on the bench. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Hawks' Bowman applauds harsh sanctions

Blackhawks vice president and general manager is applauding the NHL for handing down severe sanctions for hits to the head like they did to Mat Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins this week. Cooke was suspended for the remainder of the regular season as well as the first round of the playoffs after a blatant elbow to the head of the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh on Sunday.

"Looking at the reaction, not just from the league but from other players and even from the Pittsburgh team themselves, I think they all concede that's not the kind of play we want in the game," Bowman said. (ChicagoBreakingSports)Manchester United to play the Fire?

EPLTalk.com is reporting that, according to an unnamed source, Manchester United is planning to play the Chicago Fire this summer. The game is tentatively scheduled for July 23rd, but no location has been chosen. The leading possibilities are likely Soldier Field or Toyota park, however there was some noise earlier this year that there might be a Manchester United game at Wrigley field.

Even with all of the hype, though, no official sources have come out to confirm these reports. (Hot Time in Old Town)

Chicago Fire acquire defender

The Chicago Fire have acquired the rights to Yamith Cuesta in a trade with Chivas USA. In exchange for Cuesta, Chivas USA received a 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft selection. Cuesta will immediately be added to the team roster but, due to league and team policy, the terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Yamith is a gifted defender with size, speed and strong defensive skills, said Fire Technical Director Frank Klopas. Our defense will benefit from bringing in a young player with experience both in MLS and his native Colombia.(TribalFootball.com)

Lauri Markkanen's struggles are a daily storyline, but the solve isn't simple

Lauri Markkanen's struggles are a daily storyline, but the solve isn't simple

MILWAUKEE — When Thad Young played for the Pacers, this was, according to Young, that team’s scouting report on Lauri Markkanen:

“He’s a guy who can score in different levels of the game. He can shoot the midrange. He can take you off the dribble and do his hanging fade to get his shot off. Or he can step behind the line and tee up some 3s,” Young said. “So we tried to keep him seeing bodies so he wouldn’t take the ball from one side to the other.”

Markkanen’s struggles — and the Bulls’ usage of him — is becoming an almost daily storyline. It certainly dominated Monday’s postgame questioning after the Bulls dropped to 1-18 versus winning teams with a 111-98 loss to the Bucks.

For the second time in three games, Markkanen failed to score in the second half. Seven of his 11 attempts came from 3-point range — all of which he missed. His eight points came from two putbacks and four free throws.

That’s it.

“He missed some shots he normally makes. That happens,” coach Jim Boylen said. “I thought he was moving well. He had a couple great cuts to the basket, opportunities at the rim. That’s what we want from him — inside, outside.”

But that’s not happening enough. Fifty-three percent of Markkanen’s attempts this season have been 3-pointers. That’s up 11.5 percent from last season and 4.1 percent from his rookie season.

Too often, Markkanen is being relegated to playing as a stationary, 3-point shooter and not the dynamic, multifaceted scorer for whom Young’s Pacers teams prepared.

“Yeah, I think I can do a lot of good things besides just shoot threes,’’ Markkanen said. “Haven’t really been able to do that lately. Just have to figure out the way I can attack the rim more and get to the free-throw line. I need to figure out my spots.”

This is not meant to fully absolve Markkanen, who has indeed missed open looks consistently this season. For the second straight game, Markkanen joked about how Boylen called a play for him on the first possession, only for Markkanen to turn it over.

Markkanen also again acknowledged the sore left ankle he is playing through as he tries to reach his well documented goal of playing all 82 games. Markkanen called the ankle “not normal but getting there” and also shook off banging knees with Donte DiVincenzo that left him running hobbled for a few possessions.

Markkanen said he has no problem talking to Boylen about his usage and, as is his nature, looked inward.

“We’ve talked about it. He ran some plays for me. I turned it over. He does run some stuff for me. I just have to make the plays,” he said. “If you shoot the ball like [I have], you don’t really deserve touches. Can’t really complain.

“When you’re feeling it and actually making shots, it would be good to get closer to the rim and kind of keep it going. A lot of our plays I screen and pop.’’

The Bulls tied their franchise record with 48 3-point attempts. Boylen said that was the gameplan since opponents averaged 40 3-point attempts and 17.5 makes in the Bucks’ mere six losses.

Never mind that even if the Bulls hadn’t gone ice cold in the second half to finish with 14 makes that adding 3.5 more makes would’ve still left them on the losing end. The Markkanen problem is bigger than a math problem.

“I think the system complements him to the point where he has a lot of freedom to do different things,” Young said. “If he’s open, he takes a 3. If he’s not, he tries to make a play. He’s doing the best he can, just like me and any other guy on this roster. He has to continue to believe in what we’re doing.”

Markkanen now has nine single-digit scoring games after posting just four last season. He has nine 20-point games after registering 22 last season.

This is a huge season for Markkanen not only because his success is tied into the success of the Bulls’ rebuild but also because he’ll be eligible for an extension of his rookie contract following this season.

“I know he’s going to work. And he cares. He has high character,” Boylen said. “I believe in him. And our team believes in him.”

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Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich puts Nolan Arenado trade talks to bed

nolan_arenado.jpg
USA TODAY

Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich puts Nolan Arenado trade talks to bed

Were you hoping the Cubs could pull off a miraculous deal for Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado? If so, at ease.

In an interview with Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich squashed any chance of Arenado getting dealt this winter.

“With the season coming up and spring training on the horizon, we are going to start focusing on that,” Bridich told Saunders. “We have listened to teams regarding Nolan and really nothing has come of it. We are going to move forward pretty much as we expected — with Nolan in the purple and black and as our third baseman.

“So, we can put this to bed and collectively look forward to the upcoming season and work toward that.”

There you have it.

The chances of the Cubs swinging an Arenado deal were always slim-to-none. The 28-year-old signed a lucrative contract extension with Colorado last February and is still owed $234 million through 2026. The Cubs have money coming off the books each of the next few seasons, but they would have had to clear payroll to acquire Arenado this offseason.

Furthermore, it’s questionable if the Cubs would have put together an enticing enough package for the Rockies. Chicago's farm system has grown barren through the years, and now that it’s slowly improving, it wouldn’t have made sense to trade prospects away.

Monday’s news isn’t completely bad for Cubs fans. The Cardinals were also reportedly interested in Arenado, and Bridich’s statement means St. Louis won’t be acquiring Arenado anytime soon, either.

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