Dallas Cowboys: Five Potential 2017 NFL Free Agency Targets

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys were just a move or two away from a Super Bowl victory last season and are hoping to take the next step in 2017. After losing in heartbreaking fashion to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs, the Cowboys will look to make some moves in free agency. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott took the NFL by storm in 2016. Dallas has the majority of their offense figured out moving forward, although improving around those two young talents would be wise as well. On the defensive side of the football, the Cowboys showed major improvement this past season. They still have holes, especially when it comes to putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Dallas will likely spend the majority of their offseason money on defense, which gives them quite a few options to look at. Jason Garrett has to be excited about the future of his football team. They have the potential to win at least one or two Super Bowls with Prescott leading the way and are still viewed as a top free agency landing spot. If they play their cards right this offseason, the Cowboys could bring in a few more key pieces. All of that being said, which five players could be potential targets in 2017 NFL free agency? 2017 Free Agency Preview: Dallas Cowboys by @PFF_Matthttps://t.co/dr5cIgE4op — Pro Football Focus (@PFF) February 24, 2017 Darius Butler, Cornerback If the Cowboys are looking to make a cheap addition to the defensive secondary, Darius Butler could be the guy. Butler has spent the last five years with the Colts and recorded 33 tackles, three interceptions, and seven broken up passes last year. Dallas could get him at a cheap price and he could help take their defense to the next level. Jeremy Kerley, Wide Receiver Assuming the Cowboys don’t go out of their way to re-sign Terrance Williams, they could be looking for a replacement. Jeremy Kerley is a potential target should the Cowboys search for one. Last season with the San Francisco 49ers, Kerley racked up 64 passes for 667 yards and three touchdowns and would be a solid depth pickup for the Cowboys. Andre Ellington, Running Back Dallas could very well be looking at pursuing a new backup running back this offseason. Lance Dunbar and Darren McFadden are both likely to leave, which could leave a hole. Andre Ellington would make a lot of sense to back Elliott up and wouldn’t cost much on the open market. National analyst: Cowboys need to make ‘bold move’ to sign DE Jason Pierre-Paul https://t.co/LKPtGfSYTo pic.twitter.com/a9ajb6bPX3 — SportsDay Cowboys (@dmn_cowboys) February 14, 2017 Jason Pierre-Paul, Defensive End Signing Jason Pierre-Paul would be a big step in the right direction for the Cowboys’ pass rush. Pierre-Paul has been a threat for the division rival New York Giants for years and could fill a major hole in Dallas. JPP may not end up leaving the Giants but if he does, the Cowboys need to be one of his potential suitors. Trumaine Johnson, Cornerback There is no guarantee that Trumaine Johnson will end up leaving the Los Angeles Rams this offseason. If he does and the Cowboys decide to make a big splash in free agency, they could be a perfect fit. Johnson is one of the more underrated players in the NFL and would be a big boost to the Dallas defense. Expect to see the Cowboys consider aggressive moves in free agency this offseason. There are plenty of holes for them to fill, with these five players being potential targets that could fit those needs. Dallas may not make any major moves this offseason, but if they do, they will put themselves in a better position to finally bring the Lombardi Trophy back to town. Do you think these five players are good free agency targets for the Dallas Cowboys? What other players do you think they should target when free agency opens up? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below! [Featured Image by Bill Kostroun/AP Images]

Chicago Cubs: Five Bold Predictions For The 2017 MLB Season

The Chicago Cubs are still fresh off of winning their first World Series in 108 years last season. It was an amazing comeback from a 3-1 series deficit against the Cleveland Indians and it made the Cubs’ fan base believe in their teams chances once again. Heading into the 2017 MLB season, there are high expectations. Joe Maddon and the Cubs are widely viewed as favorites to win their second championship in a row. It won’t be easy, but they certainly have put together the roster to compete for that opportunity. Needless to say, Wrigley Field is going to be packed all season long. Chicago has not been this excited for Cubs baseball in years. Whether the Cubs end up repeating as champions or not, they should have yet another huge season and should see their young players show improvement from last season. Theo Epstein made some additions from last year, but also lost some key players. Among those key players to leave were Aroldis Chapman, David Ross, and Travis Wood. Chicago went out and acquired Wade Davis from the Kansas City Royals and then brought in a few bullpen arms to help replace their losses. All of that being said, what five bold predictions can be made for the Chicago Cubs heading into the 2017 MLB season? Kris Bryant is ranked higher than Bryce Harper on the Top 100 players list, but wasn’t No. 1 overall Rankings: https://t.co/lOvLMYxT3f pic.twitter.com/f50NgqOb1q — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 22, 2017 Jake Arrieta Returns to Form with 20 Wins Two years ago, Jake Arrieta won the National League Cy Young and won 22 games. He took a bit of a step back last season, winning 18 games, but didn’t look like his old self. Arrieta will get back on track this season with 20 wins and will look much more dominant than he did last year. Kris Bryant Repeats as National League MVP At 25-years-old, Kris Bryant is one of the best players in baseball and won the National League MVP last season. He hit 39 home runs to go along with 102 RBI’s and a.292 batting average. Bryant will come through with yet another huge season for the Cubs in 2017 and will win his second NL MVP in a row. Chicago Cubs Will Win at Least 105 Games Improving from last season’s 103-58 record won’t be easy for the Cubs, but they will find a way to do it. Chicago will see their young players take the next step and the veterans will play consistently as well. When everything is said and done, the Cubs will win at least 105 games this season. Cubs’ big-money decisions start with Jake Arrieta https://t.co/nhudYzuYtg — We The North Side (@NorthSideBlog) February 22, 2017 Kyle Hendricks Will Pick Up Where He Left Off One of the most intriguing starting pitchers to watch this coming season will be Kyle Hendricks. He recorded a 2.13 ERA last season to go along with a 16-8 record. Many believe that he will fall off a bit this season, but Hendricks will pick up where he left off and dominate once again. The Chicago Cubs Will Win the World Series Even though many don’t think the Cubs will repeat as World Series champions, Maddon and company will find a way to get the job done. They have a dominant lineup and their pitching staff is capable of dominance as well. Chicago has a feeling surrounding them once again this season and the Cubs will live up to the hype. Expect to see the Chicago Cubs put on a show for their fans once again this year. It will be an entertaining season and the Cubs should have a good chance to repeat as champions. Maddon has changed the culture in Chicago and it has the team and players believing once again. Do you think the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series once again this season? What are your thoughts on the other bold predictions? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below! [Featured Image by Ben Margot/AP Images]

Lakers Building Toward Improvement After NBA Trade Deadline

The Los Angeles Lakers made a couple NBA trade deadline deals that left them without their leading scorer and top bench player in Lou Williams, but added players like Tyler Ennis and Corey Brewer, plus a first-round pick this June. The Lakers also fired general manager Mitch Kupcheck, though they hired Magic Johnson as their President of Basketball Operations this week, hopefully a sign of better times to come for the Lakers. With Johnson in charge of basketball operations, his first move with the Lakers was to trade with the Houston Rockets by dealing Williams for Brewer and a first-round draft choice. The Lakers also received the important first-round pick for the NBA Draft, which could become a difference maker down the line. Maybe there is a possibility the Lakers use the first-round choice from the Rockets and turn that into a superstar-caliber player via trade with another NBA franchise this summer. Settling in and looking forward over dinner in OKC. #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/5XZBETkT6I — Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 24, 2017 All of these changes show the Lakers are trying something different because what they had been doing wasn’t working at all. The Lakers will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year and haven’t won’t a playoff game since the 2011-12 NBA Western Conference Semifinals, a series they lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 4-1. The last time the Lakers were in the playoffs was the 2012-13 season, being swept by the San Antonio Spurs in four straight. To put that into perspective, Lakers 19-year-old forward Brandon Ingram was 15-years-old the last time the Lakers won a playoff game. The Lakers could add some quality NBA veterans to the roster and use them to build around the core they have now, especially around Ingram and D’Angelo Russell. The Lakers should also look to NBA free agency this offseason to add an above average to superstar caliber of player. As for Russell, he is the new top scorer for the Lakers, averaging 14.2 points per game, while Nick Young follows with 13.8 and Jordan Clarkson with 13.7 ppg. Russell also leads the Lakers with 4.7 assists per game. [Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images] A very far possibility in free agency could be Golden State Warriors unrestricted free agent Kevin Durant, but that is very doubtful and more of a dream scenario than reality. A more realistic possibly is Magic Johnson can give a call to the Indiana Pacers President Larry Bird and work a deal for 2018 unrestricted free agent Paul George, as it is still unclear what the Pacers want to do with their roster. USA Today NBA Insider Sam Amick had this on Twitter about George and the Lakers. I repeat: Paul George – barring a title chance in Indy – is hell-bent on heading for Laker Land. This message has been sent throughout NBA. — Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 23, 2017 Other unrestricted free agents this summer already reside in Los Angeles in Clippers players Blake Griffith and Chris Paul, as ESPN lists those two have what is described as an “early termination option.” A lot can happen between now and the NBA Draft. Maybe the NBA Draft Lottery goes the favor of the Lakers and they gain the No. 1 overall pick because they could have one of the top chances in the lottery. We all know the Lakers aren’t making any push for the playoffs this season, but the one hope for the Lakers now is the fact they are trying to build something new. It is all but a certainty the depth of the Lakers roster will have a whole new look next season, and that can be exciting for the Lakers fan base. This offseason, the Lakers must bring in a high-caliber player to help this franchise get to the next level. If not, they will be in danger of continuing the current trend of staying at the bottom of the standings in the Western Conference, which is something the NBA and the Lakers themselves do not want to see. [Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]

NBA: Which Teams Improved Themselves The Most With Their Trade Deadline Deals?

The 2016-17 NBA Trade Deadline has come and gone. Like every year, the rumors that circulated around the NBA were significantly more entertaining than the trades that actually happen. However, unlike most years, there were some big names that got moved. Serge Ibaka and DeMarcus Cousins were the biggest names that were traded since January 1. But they weren’t the only well-known players dealt as veterans Taj Gibson, Lou Williams, and Kyle Kroger along with youngster Bojan Bogdanovic now have new teams. In all total, there were 16 trades. Several teams were involved in multiple transactions — Philadelphia, Houston, Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland, Charlotte, Toronto, Atlanta, Denver, Milwaukee, and Phoenix. The Rockets and Hawks made three deals apiece. Note: Some of the trades occurred prior to February 23. Ranking the teams that improved their teams via trades. 1. Toronto Raptors Get: PF Serge Ibaka and F P.J. Tucker Give up: Jared Sullinger, Terrence Ross, two second rounders and 2017 first rounder. The Raptors filled their two biggest needs and a who can knock down three-pointers. Ibaka made the Raptors a legitimate challenger to Cleveland as he gives the team one of the best starting lineups in the Eastern Conference. He enhances the Raps rim-protection and rebounding. Ibaka will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. The addition of Tucker, who ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton said Toronto had been after for a while, gives the Raptors versatility.Tucker can play the three and four and is a quality defender. However, he may not be the shooter that they were looking for. He has a true shooting percentage of 51.7 as he has made 46 triples at 33.6 percent clip. Sullinger only appeared in 11 games for the Raptors due to injuries. The six-foot-nine power forward signed a nearly $6 million contract, one-year contract this offseason. Ross got off to a great start to the season. His production waned slightly over the next two months. Ross had just signed a three-year, $31 million contract this offseason. 2. Cleveland Cavaliers Get: Kyle Korver and 2017 second rounder (Top-55 protected). Give up: Chris Anderson, Mo Williams, Mike Dunleavy and First round draft pick. [Image by Kevin C. Cox/ Getty Images] The Cavs needed a wing shooter after J.R. Smith was sidelined with an injury. And Korver has proven to be the right man for the for the job. Korver has topped the 20-point mark four times in 20 games with the Cavs and is averaging 11. 5 points as he is shooting 51.9 percent from the field and 52.3 percent from beyond the arc during that span. His shooting prowess will be even more valuable with Kevin Love out for around another month. Cleveland brought Dunleavy in to fill the role that Korver is currently filling but he struggled to get anything going. Trading Chris Anderson and Mo Williams were moves to clear cap space and roster room. Anderson is injured and won’t play again this year while Williams is retired. 3. Washington Wizards Get: Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough Give Up: Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton and 2017 first rounder (protected) The Wizards biggest need heading in the All-Star break was to improve their bench. Washington couldn’t have hoped to do much better than their haul of Bogdanovic and McCullough. Bogdanovic has good height with his best attribute being that of a scorer. He has improved in each of his first three seasons. McCullough is a young, athletic power forward with upside. Both players are under team control next season, which was reportedly an important part of the deal. The Wiz really didn’t much up in the trade. Nicholson has played just in five games since January 1 and Thornton has appeared in two games. The 2017 draft pick that the Wiz gave up to Brooklyn is lottery protected. 4. New Orleans Pelicans Get: DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi Give Up: Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, 2017 first rounder and Sixers second selection. The Pelicans are just two-and-a-half games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Getting Cousins doesn’t automatically make them the favorite to make the playoffs as there will be a learning curve for coach Alvin Gentry on how to play DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis together as evidenced by their 129-99 loss to the Rockets on Thursday. Cousins and Davis combined for 56 points, on 19-of-40 shooting, along with 19 rebounds, six assists, six steals, and six blocks. The Pelicans didn’t give up a lot in the trade. Evans has been injured most of his tenure with the team. Hield was having a decent rookie season though he struggled shooting the ball, a strength coming out of Oklahoma. 5. Houston Rockets Get: Lou Williams, cap space Give Up: 2017 first rounder, Corey Brewer, Tyler Ennis, KJ McDaniels Williams gives the Rockets one of the most dangerous offensive backcourts and benches in the NBA. Williams and Eric Gordon are first and second in scoring off the bench. The cap space that the Rockets got in separate deals for Ennis and McDaniels could be key, depending on who they get on the open market. 6. Orlando Magic Get: Terrence Ross and 2017 draft pick Give Up: Serge Ibaka The Magic are not making the playoffs and there was a chance that Ibaka would not re-sign with the team in the offseason. Given those two facts, Orlando had no choice than to deal the big man. They got a scorer in Ross, who was shooting the ball the best of his career, and a first-round selection in the upcoming draft. 7. Oklahoma City Thunder Get: Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and 2018 second round selection Give Up: Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow, and Joffrey Lauvergne Gibson strengthens the Thunder’s starting lineup as he will move in the power forward position. He will make the Thunder more efficient and a tougher team. McDermott gives OKC a wing shooter — whether he starts or comes off the bench. 8. Atlanta Hawks Get: Protected second rounder, Mike Dunleavy, Mo Williams, first round pick (protected), draft considerations and Ersan Ilyasova Give Up: Kyle Korver and Mike Scott The Hawks essentially traded a veteran sharpshooter (Korver) for a versatile veteran (Dunleavy). Ilyasova gives them a stretch-4 and significantly improves their three-point shooting. Ilyasova performed extremely well with the Sixers. 9. Los Angeles Lakers Get: 2017 first rounder, Corey Brewer, and Tyler Ennis Give Up: Lou Williams The 2017 first rounder is key especially if the Lakers lose their own draft pick (top-three protected) to the 76ers. Also, it was good that the Lakers didn’t make any drastic moves –thus keeping their youngsters (D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle). 10. Philadelphia 76ers Get: Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson, 2017 Top-18 protected first rounder, Tiago Splitter, second rounder, right to swap for a second-round choice. Give Up: Nerlens Noel and Ersan Ilyasova The 76ers had a logjam in the frontcourt though they might have traded the wrong big. The Sixers were trying to desperately trade Jahlil Okafor but found no takers so they dealt Noel. Philadelphia is still a year away from competing for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Anderson adds to the 76ers conglomerate of talented youngsters though his best attribute right now is on the defensive end. The 2017 first round draft pick that they picked up from Dallas is another asset though it turns into a 2017 second rounder in 2017 and 2018 if the Mavs don’t make the playoffs. Bogut and Splitter are candidates to be bought out. 11. Portland Trail Blazers Get: Jusuf Nurkic and 2017 first rounder (top-five protected) Give Up: Mason Plumlee and 2018 second rounder Plumlee was not in the Blazers future plans with him likely getting a huge bump in salary. Portland will have three first round selections in 2017 if the Nuggets don’t receive a top-five pick. 12. Chicago Bulls Get: Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow Give Up: Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and 2018 second round selection The Bulls are seventh in the Eastern Conference but they needed to do something. Payne’s development is key to the deal as Gibson will be a free agent at the end of the year and may not re-sign with the Thunder. 13. Sacramento Kings Get: Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, and Langston Galloway, 2017 First Round pick Give Up: DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi The Kings didn’t get a lot for Cousins though it could be addition by subtraction. They now have a logjam in the backcourt. Hield could develop into an outstanding scorer if he gets his shot right. Evans will be a free agent at the end of the year. The key will be the first round pick as it could be a lottery pick if the Pelicans don’t make the playoffs. 14. Dallas Mavericks Get: Nerlens Noel Give Up: 2017 first round draft pick (Top-18 protected), Justin Anderson and Andrew Bogut. [Image by Mitchell Leff/ Getty Images] The Mavs are 12th in the Western Conference, two-and-a-half games out of the final playoff spot. So, if they are able to make the playoffs, the deal looks better for them. Noel gives the Mavericks an athletic rim-protector who is an excellent rebounder. 15. Brooklyn Nets Get: 2017 first round draft (lottery protected), Andrew Nicholson, and Marcus Thornton Give Up: Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough The Nets need as many assets as they can get. With the trade with the Wizards, the Nets have four picks in the upcoming draft, including two first rounders, though none are in the lottery as they are forced to swap picks with Boston due to an earlier trade. 16. Phoenix Suns Get: Jared Sullinger, Mike Scott, 2017 and 2018 second rounders Give Up: Cash, Protected second rounder, and P.J. Tucker It is all about the rebuilding process. The draft picks are assets. 17. Denver Nuggets Get: Roy Hibbert, Mason Plumlee, 2018 second draft pick and cash Give Up: Protected second rounder, Jusuf Nurkic, 2017 first round draft pick (top-five protected) Plumlee gives the Nuggets a big man off the bench who can score. 18. Milwaukee Bucks Get: Protected future second round draft pick, Roy Hibbert, Spencer Hawes Give Up: Roy Hibbert, Miles Plumlee The Bucks received Hibbert from the Hornets and then traded him to Denver on trade deadline day. 19. Charlotte Hornets Get: Chris Anderson, cash considerations, and Miles Plumlee Give Up: 2017 second round pick (top-55 protected), Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes [Featured Image Lynne Sladky/AP Images]

NBA Rumors: Paul George Will Try To Join Los Angeles Lakers In Free Agency

The NBA trade deadline came and went and some of the biggest names on the market will be wearing the same uniforms. Translation: Some of the biggest names will be staying put. One of those names is, of course, Paul George. However, while PG might be with the Indiana Pacers for the rest of the season, fans should not be surprised if he eventually leaves his current team for the Los Angeles Lakers. According to the latest rumor swirling around (via Sam Amick), if the Pacers aren’t title contenders, then George is “hell-bent” on playing for the Lakers. I repeat: Paul George – barring a title chance in Indy – is hell-bent on heading for Laker Land. This message has been sent throughout NBA. — Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 23, 2017 If you are the Lakers, or a fan of the Lakers, then that should be music to your ears. After all, Los Angeles might not be a title contender this year, but it has plenty of young pieces, which means it could be an NBA title contender in no time. Case in point: D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, and Larry Nance Jr. While all of those players still need time to grow, no one should be surprised if (and when) Russell and Ingram are making All-Star teams in the very near future. Adding a player like Paul George into the mix would seriously get the Lakers’ rebuild heading in the right direction, and at a very fast pace. [Image by Harry How/Getty Images] George — and this might come as a shocker to some — is only 26-years-old. This season, he is putting up 22.3 points, 3.3 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-9 forward is also making it rain from behind the arc as he is shooting 38.2 percent from deep. Given the young talents that the Lakers have, and the fact that Los Angeles (the city and the team) tends to attract NBA players, it’s only a matter of time before the Lakers start landing some of the biggest free agents in the sport. While it remains to be seen if George alone could make Los Angeles a title contender, especially since the Golden State Warriors are stacked with All-Stars, landing George would be a monster move. With all of that said, Paul George will not be a free agent until after the 2017-18 season. However, that will give players like Russell and Ingram some time to develop. Not to mention, the current powerhouses in this sport could have different makeups. Players tend to do a lot of moving around in the NBA, after all. Even if the Lakers don’t land George, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them making some noise in free agency. At the very least, they still have some very talented players who should be future stars for this franchise. Reminder: Randle was drafted No. 7 overall in the 2014 draft, Russell was drafted No. 2 overall in the 2015 draft, and Ingram was drafted No. 2 overall in the 2016 draft. Randle is, of course, the oldest at 22-years-old. Russell is 21 and Ingram is 19. [Image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images] No matter what happens in free agency, as long as the Lakers’ young players pan out, it is only a matter of time before Los Angeles is competing for titles once again. In terms of this season, the Lakers hold a 19-39 record, which is the third-worst record in the NBA. Clearly, Los Angeles still has quite the uphill battle, but the future looks rather bright, with or without Paul George. As for the Pacers, they are 29-28, which is good enough for the No. 6 seed in the East. While this was not the craziest deadline day in NBA history, some intriguing deals did go down. For example, the Chicago Bulls were involved in a big trade, and the Philadelphia 76ers shipped away one of their young bigs. [Featured Image by Dan Mullan/Getty Images]

NBA Trade Rumors: Chicago Bulls Are Divided On A Jimmy Butler Trade

Should the Chicago Bulls trade Jimmy Butler? That question has been on the minds of NBA fans everywhere. Despite having his name in NBA trade rumors for nearly a year, the Bulls have yet to state in public that their superstar forward is off limits. There are also rumblings that the Chicago Bulls’ front office consisting of John Paxson and Gar Forman is divided when it comes to a potential Jimmy Butler trade. The silence from the Chicago Bulls’ front office has come across as apathetic for the franchise’s future. They seem to be more interested in simply making the playoffs and generating some revenue for what Forbes states is the NBA’s fourth-highest valued team. The Chicago Bulls are valued at $2.5 billion, with a revenue estimation of $232 million. Since the Chicago Bulls are a profitable organization despite not having an NBA Finals appearance since 1998, there may not be a true sense of urgency from their front office to shake things up. But Bulls’ fans are beginning to get restless. Eventually they will demand that the Bulls make a decision on a direction. The Bulls have been a middling franchise for a while. And in the NBA, when your team is stuck in the middle for so long fans take their entertainment dollars elsewhere. Jimmy Butler is a top-15 NBA player. Butler along with the deprecating basketball skills of Dwyane Wade is not enough to get the Bulls in the upper half of the Eastern Conference. And that should have their front office considering changes. Unfortunately, there is a division when it comes to the Bulls dealing Jimmy Butler. If the Chicago Bulls decide that rebuilding is the best way to go, trading Jimmy Butler to the Boston Celtics could be the best option. [Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images] The Ringer is reporting that there has been some acrimony developing inside the Chicago Bulls front office over rebuilding the team. The problems have stemmed from the trade negotiations with the Boston Celtics over Jimmy Butler. Gar Forman, the Bulls’ general manager wants things to remain the same. The same for the Bulls would be to make the playoffs, guarantee two postseason home games, and benefit from the profits. Conversely, team Vice President John Paxson does not buy into that plan. He wants to rebuild the team. The quickest way to rebuild the team is by trading Jimmy Butler for draft picks and young players. A deal with the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers expedites the process for the Bulls. According to The Ringer’s report, Paxson may be alone in this camp. “When the Bulls and Celtics talked Butler last summer, there was organizational disharmony between Chicago’s four primary decision-makers (owner Jerry Reinsdorf, president Michael Reinsdorf, general manager Gar Forman, and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson). Not all of them were committed to rebuilding; according to a league front-office executive, Paxson “sees the writing on the wall,” whereas Forman is comfortable with the status quo, while ownership is not amenable to any potential trades.” In the minds of many, trading Butler now, rather than later allows the Bulls to get a jump on rebuilding. It would not hurt the Bulls’ bottom line of generating revenue in the slightest. Bulls’ fans are known to be loyal to their team win or lose. This explains the $252 million surplus of the Bulls. If Jimmy Butler somehow ends up in Boston before the deadline, Jae Crowder will likely be the key to a dealhttps://t.co/AJDc1DhylX pic.twitter.com/yfMk4A2rpk — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 23, 2017 Fans have ignored the 28-29 record and come to the games. They remained faithful during the post-Michael Jordan years when amassing 25 wins was a question mark. They would be on board if the Bulls dealt Jimmy Butler, even if it meant that they would miss out on the playoffs. Contrary to belief, the Chicago Bulls were to trade Jimmy Butler, they would still be in the running for a playoff berth. The Bulls only have to hold off the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, and Charlotte Hornets. Also, at least one of the players the Bulls would in return would be an immediate help to them. The drop-off from Jimmy Butler would not be as steep as one might seem. The Chicago Bulls getting back Marcus Smart or Jae Crowder in return would guarantee a capable starter with the ability to score and defend. If it is Avery Bradley, the Bulls would get a legitimate starting shooting guard with an emerging offensive game. Either of the three would keep things afloat. And if the status quo is to shoot for the playoffs, trading Butler for Bradley, Crowder, or Smart and draft picks actually keep things the same, with a couple of building blocks. According to Bleacher Report, Jae Crowder is one of the Bulls’ targets if they decide to deal Butler. Currently, the Bulls have the seventh seed in the East. The team that is in the ninth spot, and two games behind the Bulls are the Bucks. After a season-ending injury happened to Jabari Parker, it is doubtful that the Bucks catch the Bulls. The Hornets are another team dealing with problems. Their struggles are based on their on-court play. They can get back on track, but it is looking bleak for them. The Miami Heat are the team on the upswing. And they will be the team the Chicago Bulls would have to hold off. The Bulls have a difficult schedule coming up, as seven of the next nine games are against opposition who are currently in the playoffs. The Bulls could finish 5-4 with or without Jimmy Butler. That alone should force the Chicago Bulls’ front office to get over some things and pick a direction. We will find out in a few hours exactly what the Chicago Bulls do. [Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]

Indianapolis Colts: Is Dalvin Cook The Best Option In The 2017 NFL Draft?

Chris Ballard took over as the Indianapolis Colts’ general manager and will have a lot of work to do to turn the franchise back into a Super Bowl contender. Just a few short years ago, the Colts were one of the top up-and-coming teams in the NFL. That has changed, but Ballard has a good chance to put Indianapolis back on the map in the AFC. One of the areas that Ballard may choose to improve is the running back position. Frank Gore is a good back, but he isn’t getting any younger and will not be a long-term option. Looking ahead at the 2017 NFL Draft, the Colts could get their long-term running back with the No. 14 overall pick. Brad Weiss of FanSided.com and many other mock drafts have listed Florida State running back Dalvin Cook as a likely target for the Colts. Cook has superstar potential and would completely change the outlook for the Colts’ offense. He would take pressure off of Andrew Luck’s shoulders and would finally give Indianapolis the workhorse back that they have been needing. .@MikeMayock’s top ranked RB = Dalvin Cook. #NFLCombine Spotlight on the FSU running back. pic.twitter.com/79Ugp2hOhT — NFL Now (@NFLNow) February 23, 2017 Last season with the Seminoles, Cook ended up carrying the football 288 times for 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 203 yards on the season. Adding those numbers to the Colts’ backfield would give them a much-needed playmaker. He is capable of grinding out tough yards on the ground, but can also make huge plays each time he touches the football. Cook is without question one of the top playmakers in the entire draft class. At 5-foot-11 and 213 pounds, Cook has the necessary size to stand up to the grind of the NFL. His work ethic has been well-documented throughout his college career and that is what makes most analysts think he will end up being a star at the next level. Indianapolis may choose to address the defensive side of the football with their first round pick. Ballard will likely be aggressive in free agency looking for defensive help, but there is a lot of work to be done. Drafting a running back may not be as high of a priority with Gore playing at least one more season with the Colts. He is considered one of the top RB prospects in the #NFLDraft. Everything you need to know on @FSU_Football’s RB @dalvindjc. pic.twitter.com/CKlQFm72sG — NFL (@NFL) February 19, 2017 Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how the Colts attack the upcoming offseason. After moving on from Ryan Grigson, there is finally optimism surrounding the franchise. Jim Irsay has to feel good about the way his team is set up for the upcoming offseason. They have quite a bit of cap space to spend and should get a big piece in the draft. Cook would allow the Colts to flip Gore in a trade, which could net them another piece or two. So to answer the question, is Cook the right option for the Colts in the first round of the 2017 draft? Yes. He would add exactly what the offense needs to take the next step and balance out. Lots of experts see the #Colts targeting Dalvin Cook in the first round of the NFL Draft. Good idea? https://t.co/UPShssRKC3 — IndyStar Sports (@IndyStarSports) February 9, 2017 There is a chance that Cook doesn’t last to the No. 14 pick in the draft. A few teams ahead of the Colts could use some help at the running back position. One of those teams, the Carolina Panthers, are widely expected to draft Leonard Fournette according to most mock drafts. All of that being said, Cook seems to be growing as a candidate for the Colts in the first round. If they do end up taking him, Cook will be a star in Indianapolis for years to come. Fans may prefer defense, but Cook will win over the critics early on in his career. Do you think the Indianapolis Colts should select Dalvin Cook in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft? Which other prospects do you think the Colts should target? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below! [Featured Image by Mark Wallheiser/AP Images]

NFL Rumors: Martellus Bennett Unlikely To Re-Sign With Patriots

Martellus Bennett is fresh off of a Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons in one of the most historic comebacks in NFL history. The New England Patriots relied heavily on Bennett and he came through for them. After seeing Rob Gronkowski go down with injury, Bennett immediately became a security blanket for Tom Brady. Standing in at 6-foot-6 and weighing 265 pounds, Bennett creates mismatches with opposing defenders nearly every play. Very few linebackers are able to keep up with him. That will make him extremely valuable on the free agency market this coming offseason and will make it tough for the Patriots to bring him back. New England would likely like to bring Bennett back when free agency opens, but that is far from a sure thing. According to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Bennett is unlikely to re-sign with the Patriots. The #Patriots helped Martellus Bennett revive his career, and it’s a mutually respectful relationship. But keeping him in NE will be hard — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 22, 2017 Last season with the Patriots, Bennett ended up catching 55 passes for 701 yards and seven touchdowns. He is 29-years-old, which likely means that he will be searching for another contender to join. Bennett could end up searching for money after winning a ring, but hunger to win more should drive him to sign with a winning team. Martellus Bennett not expected to re-sign before free agency https://t.co/Mf43ISbMtn pic.twitter.com/ve3FmnqKx4 — SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) February 22, 2017 Looking ahead at the upcoming free agency period, there are plenty of teams who could use an offensive threat like Bennett. The Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and perhaps the Cleveland Browns are among plenty of teams that could be interested in an upgrade at the tight end position. Brady and the Patriots will also look to convince Bennett to return for another season. Pitching their Super Bowl run and the same role that he flourished in this season will give the talented tight end something to think about. There is no telling what kind of deal Bennett will be searching for in free agency. He will likely prefer to sign a long-term deal, as he is heading out of the prime of his career. Bennett will still put up big numbers for the next three to four years, but after that he will begin trailing off and big contracts will be harder to come by. Needless to say, it will be interesting to keep an eye on Bennett throughout the free agency period. There are going to be a lot of rumors flying around and there should be a lot of player movement. Whether Bennett ends up re-signing with the Patriots or not, he will have his pick of where to start the next chapter of his career. Martellus Bennett launches spicy response to report about free agency demands https://t.co/IVMsLDRbfB #NewEnglandPatriots Martellus … pic.twitter.com/dBMsvPnEiR — Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) February 22, 2017 At this point in time, Bennett is projected to get a deal worth around $6 million per season. That projection comes from Spotrac.com. Bennett will have some competition on the free agency market when it comes to the tight end position. Other free agents like Jimmy Graham and Jared Cook will both be high-profile targets as well. New England will also have a choice to make if Bennett ends up leaving town after just one season. Will they target another top-notch tight end in free agency or simply move forward and hope that Gronkowski can stay healthy? The Patriots’ offense worked very well with the two tight end system, but Bill Belichick and Brady have proven that they will continue succeeding no matter what the lineup looks like. Expect to hear Bennett’s name mentioned early and often this offseason and don’t be surprised if he leaves the Patriots when everything is said and done. Do you think the New England Patriots have a chance to re-sign Martellus Bennett? What teams do you think would be the best fits for him in free agency? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below! [Featured Image by Daniel Gluskoter/AP Images for Panini]

NBA Trade Rumors: Celtics Getting Pacers' Paul George Within The Next Few Hours

NBA trade rumors are now peaking as we close to within a few short hours of the 2017 trade deadline. Most of the scuttlebutt regarding the Indiana Pacers has been that president of basketball operations Larry Bird is trying to improve the roster around star small forward Paul George, but there is now some fresh information that indicates the Pacers are also gauging Paul George’s value on the trade market, in the event that turns out to be a more prudent option. SB Nation reports that Indiana is now listening to offers for Paul George, which is contrary to Larry Bird’s long-held stance that he is not considering any deal that would involve his All-Star forward. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports describes the Pacers’ trade deadline strategy as being two-pronged. “The Pacers are working the trade deadline on parallel fronts: pursuing deals that will bring talent into Indiana to sell George on signing a long-term extension — and soliciting deal offers on George that would signal a rebuild around center Myles Turner, league sources told The Vertical. “Ultimately, the Pacers will have to evaluate the two paths and make a decision before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. There’s no urgency to make a deal for George, unless the Pacers fear the Boston Celtics could ultimately provide Indiana the best possible package of assets in a deal — and think that option could disappear if Boston makes a deal with Chicago for Jimmy Butler.” Myles Turner. [Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images] Another element to this scenario, as pointed out by Fansided, is what dealing Paul George could mean in terms of Indiana’s ability to re-sign point guard Jeff Teague when he becomes a free agent this summer. If George is gone and the Pacers go into full rebuilding mode, Teague, as well as small forward C.J. Miles, could decide to leave Indiana to sign with a team that is closer to being a contender. The theory is that if Larry Bird feels it is best to move George before the trade deadline, he will shift his focus and build the team around center Myles Turner, who Bird recently said has a chance to be one of the best Pacers players in the history of the franchise. RELATED ARTICLES ON THE INQUISITR: Pacers Rumors And News: Lopez, Okafor Trade Targets, Pelicans Want Paul George Pacers News: Paul George Says ‘We Good,’ GR3 Wins Slam Dunk Title And Trade Talk Pacers Rumors And News: Is Paul George Calling The Shots In Indiana? These NBA trade rumors are coming from reliable sources, but they are more general in nature (no particular teams being mentioned as potential destinations for Paul George). However, there is an even more specific scenario that is being discussed in the media, and the source is an NBA executive who has made a bold prediction regarding the Pacers and Paul George. According to CBS Boston, an unnamed NBA executive has told Marc Stein of ESPN that he believes the Boston Celtics will swing a deal for Paul George before the trade deadline. Stein went on to explain that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is in fact trying to acquire a star player before Thursday’s deadline, and he is likely targeting George or Chicago Bulls All-Star small forward Jimmy Butler. The Celtics are also eyeing Chicago’s Jimmy Butler in case a deal can’t be made with the Pacers for Paul George. [Image by Matt Marton/AP Images] If it is true that the Pacers are working the trade market on dual fronts, this would appear to be a wise move. Larry Bird has stated that he is not listening to any inquiries regarding Paul George, but if anyone is making legitimate offers for George, Bird should be listening — you never know when there might be someone who is in love with one of your players and is prepared to make a blockbuster offer that would be of great benefit to your franchise. NBA executives who say certain players are “untouchable” or that they won’t take calls for certain players are limiting themselves, and could be passing up good opportunities from time to time. In sports, as in life, it is usually best to keep your options open. The Pacers don’t particularly want to trade Paul George; they would prefer to build a team around him. However, if Bird feels that George may not re-sign after next season and a huge offer is made for George this week, Bird should listen and evaluate the proposal. The Boston Celtics have the ability to offer a package of players and draft choices that would be fair compensation for an All-Star such as Paul George, so if Danny Ainge really wants him, the Pacers should be open to that discussion. [Featured Image by Michael Conroy/AP Images]

NBA Trade Rumors: Lakers Trying To Trade For Bulls' Jimmy Butler?

Plenty of Los Angeles basketball fans would love to see Bulls’ superstar Jimmy Butler in a Lakers jersey. The ongoing NBA trade rumors have recently been focused on his potential to move to the Boston Celtics and join Isaiah Thomas on a potential Eastern Conference contender. However, it also appears that the Celtics’ longtime rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, were trying to swing a deal. With that said, could the teams make a Butler trade work out before the deadline? Several teams in the league may have enough assets to get involved in talking to the Bulls about dealing Jimmy Butler. According to Sportsrageous, a few days ago there was a rumor that Los Angeles was among the teams inquiring about Butler’s availability. However, this particular discussion of a trade has yet to be verified by any top sources such as The Vertical or ESPN. Jimmy Butler trade rumors have yet to die down ahead of Thursday’s deadline. [Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images] In fact, there was a proposed trade tweeted about by NBC Chicago’s Mike Adamle involving one of the team’s young rising stars, who weeks ago was said to be part of the core of players the team wanted to keep on the roster. REPORT: Butler is involved in the LAL – Bulls trade talk. Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson, & Julius Randle have been brought up – MCW as well. — Mike Adamle (@TheMikeAdamle) February 20, 2017 Julius Randle is the player mentioned who it seemed the team wanted to keep around as part of their young core. However, as seen with the Kings telling DeMarcus Cousins he was staying put in Sacramento, management isn’t always in line with what they say and what they do. Randle joins other potential young stars in D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram in a trio that could take this team to future postseason success. All three of these players were said to be protected by the Lakers heading forward. Another guy mentioned in the rumors from a few days ago is now off the table. As of yesterday, Lou Williams is no longer a part of the Los Angeles Lakers, which could change any talks for now. The team’s leading scorer was traded to the third-place Houston Rockets in the Western Conference. According to CSN Philly, all Los Angeles received in the Williams trade was veteran Corey Brewer and a first-round pick from Houston. As of right now, a mock draft at Draft Express shows that pick being around the No. 27 spot in what’s considered a deep draft. Lou Williams was traded to the Rockets on Tuesday but may have been part of a rumored deal for Butler. [Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images] Could Los Angeles still convince the Bulls to deal Butler? The Lakers still have something the Bulls might want, as they could own one of the top three picks in the NBA Draft. Draft Express shows L.A. taking Kansas small forward Josh Jackson at No. 3. That could give Chicago a brand new young star at the same position as Butler to build their future team around. Back in late January, it was mentioned on Silver Screen and Roll that the Lakers should have dealt Williams and Nick Young earlier in the season when the team was off to a hot start. Unfortunately, the Lakers decided to keep them around in hopes that this young team would be part of the playoff picture this fast. That dropped their value a bit, although the team could probably still move Young and some other bench players. Lakers are refusing to part with Russell & Ingram. Making it very difficult to find a solid trade with CHI or ANY team. Still in discussion. — Mike Adamle (@TheMikeAdamle) February 20, 2017 The Lakers just brought in Magic Johnson to take over the reins for the franchise. Magic’s first move was lackluster, but he has plenty of young talent available on that roster. Keeping their pick in the draft still seems to be the smartest move as this team has been slowly building its lineup. Even Magic stated when talking to a small group of reporters at the Lakers’ training facility yesterday, this won’t be an overnight thing in Los Angeles. “I wouldn’t be sitting here if it was a good situation. I understand what I’m up against, but I’m here, and I’m here for the long haul, and eventually we will turn it around.” Struggling teams see a lot of talk of building a “Big Three” or “Big Four.” However, it may be best to look to the formula of other successful squads in the league such as Oklahoma City or Golden State. Young stars were drafted and made the teams contenders. Just like the Minnesota Timberwolves’ roster this Lakers team is being built for future seasons as they’re definitely not ready to contend right now. Magic may swing a surprising deal before the big NBA trade deadline, or make his bigger move when the 2017 NBA Draft arrives this summer. Should the Chicago Bulls have made a deal with Los Angeles a few days ago? Would this have been a good deal for the Bulls or are they better off waiting for the NBA Draft to make a trade? [Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]