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Blackhawks and Cubbies and Bears, OH MY!

Even through the dog days of summer, the sports keep going and, as Sonny and Cher once said, the beat goes on. Even though we are in the off seasons of most sports, there is still a lot of news coming down the pipes about our favorite sports teams.

Hockey

Going for the Gold!

Going for the Gold!

The post-2013 season has the Blackhawks focusing on adjusting to a new roster and being recruited to represent their home countries at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Team Canada has recruited Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Corey Crawford. Team USA has brought Nick Leddy, Brandon Saad, and sharp-shooter Patrick Kane to their team. In 2010 it came down to Kane vs. Toews for the gold and America went home with the silver medal. With this many Blackhawks skating to Russia in 2014, Chicago hockey fans will find a lot to scream at their television about as it will be difficult to root against either team with so many revered players pitted against each other for Olympic Gold. Congratulations to all of the Blackhawks chosen for the 2014 Winter Olympic games!

THE REMATCH

THE REMATCH

Basketball

Comeback Kid

Boozer is not amused

The Bulls, and all of Chicago, are preparing for the much-awaited comeback of superstar Derrick Rose. His manager and brother, Reggie Rose, has been talking with the press about Rose’s recovery and says that Rose is ready to go. Reggie Rose says that he has “no concerns about [Derrick Rose] physically” and that taking a year off may have hurt the Bulls, but it was necessary for the longevity of his career. He believes “Derrick should probably be able to play fifteen to eighteen years,” so taking a year off was a means of making sure he was physically prepared to play basketball for the next two decades.

"Dude, this comeback had better not be a joke."

“Dude, this comeback had better not be a joke.”

The return of Rose is great news for Bulls fans, but sending Nate Robinson to the Denver Nuggets is definitely terrible news for Bulls fans as the heart of the 2013 playoffs is now someone we face instead of someone helping us block Lebron’s shots.

We're gonna miss you, buddy.

We’re gonna miss you, buddy.

So, with the return of Derrick Rose, the departure of Nate Robinson, and the shaky status of Luol Deng’s contract extension, what does the 2014 Chicago Bulls roster look like? The point guards look sharp with Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, and Marquis Teague hitting the court. Rose’s return, if successful, will be a major boost for the Bulls, obviously. The skill and talent of Rose will be a great punch on the court; what will really stand out is that the heart and spirit of the team–both for the team and for the fans–is returning to the United Center. After a year and a half of anticipation, wondering down to the last game against the Miami Heat in the 2013 playoffs if Rose would make a miraculous return, the bright comet of the Chicago Bulls will blaze down the court again and set the competition ablaze. Our shooting guards and shooting forwards are looking sharp. Jimmy Butler is in need of some polish, but there is plenty of time to make sure that he is in the best condition to hit the court. Mike Dunleavy will serve as a secret weapon for the Bulls as the opposition will be on guard against the dynamite talent of Derrick Rose which will keep their eye distracted from the three-point power of Dunleavy. Power forwards Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Malcom Thomas, and Erik Murphy are focused but in need of strengthening. Carlos Boozer is the 2014 Bulls’ Scottie Pippen, reliable with strong offense, but his defense needs a lot of work. Taj Gibson, on the other hand, brings a great defensive game. If the two could learn from each other, we would have two stunning power forwards on the court. Boozer’s on court relationship with Noah creates spectacular offense as well; they are a threat just like Pippen and Jordan when they hit the court together. Centers Joakim Noah and Nazr Mohammad round out the roster. Joakim Noah is the Bulls offense and does well adapting to the style of his teammates while remaining determined and focused. Mohammad does his job well with decent defense and use of fouls, but he is not good in long play. If Noah’s annual injuries flare up again, Mohammad will have big shoes to fill on the court as he is simply not on Noah’s level yet. The Bulls roster looks good, and they’ve proven that they can play without Rose. This year should provide us with amazing basketball as the return of Rose will only boost the ability of the already spectacular Chicago Bulls.

Basketball Biology 101: This is a heart.

Basketball Biology 101: This is a heart.

Baseball

Later, 'gator

Later, gator

After many rumors and a lot of talks, the Cubs have traded Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers. In return the Cubs are getting third baseman Mike Ott and two right-handed pitchers, C.J. Edwards and Justin Grimm. The trade agreement also allows for the Cubs to acquire up to two more pitchers, possibly Neil Ramirez. This is proof that the Cubs are serious about rebuilding. It stands to reason that the Cubs are looking to build a good team that is could possibly begin winning because with all of the talk about revamping Wrigley Field, they should have a team good enough to draw fans into the expensive stadium. This also shows the Cubs are shifting away from keeping fan favorites and abandoning player loyalty and looking to rebuild a functioning baseball team that stands a chance to make the playoffs in the coming years.

Football

BREAKING: If you keep eating that towel, you will not be hungry for lunch!

BREAKING: If you keep eating that towel, you will not be hungry for lunch!

The Bears begin training camp on Thursday! Preseason football will be hitting our television screens in a matter of weeks. Hopefully the Bears will be taking this time to strengthen their offensive line and forcing Jay Cutler to step up his game in order to get the Bears into the playoffs this season. Chicago is hungry for another major sports victory, and the Bears have the talent and the drive to make it happen.

Bear Down!

Bear Down!

Olympians, returned superstars, new players, and new goals; the world of Chicago sports is spinning into very interesting areas. As these sports get revved up and ready to go, remember that one very important event happening this year is the retirement of Mike Ditka’s number in January. Get ready for this monumental year of football and festivities with our Mike Ditka Chicago Bear tee shirt (http://tinyurl.com/oht723e). Grab great sports threads from Clark Street Sports so you can be ready for all of the exciting things happening in Chicago sports!

 

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NBA Playoffs: Brooklyn Nets @ Chicago Bulls

Bulls vs. Nets Series Tied 1-1

On monday night, the Chicago Bulls went into the Barclays Center and defeated the Brooklyn Nets 90-82. Chicago was led by Luol Deng (15 points), but also received tremendous contributions from Point Guard Kirk Hinrich (who held Deron Williams to 1-9 from the field), Carlos Boozer (13 points and 10 rebounds), and tremendous effort by the injured Joakim Noah. With the win, the Bulls were able to gain the home court advantage in the series as the next two games (tonight @ 7:30 and Saturday @ 1) will be played at the United Center.

Bulls fans, if your planing on attending tonight or Saturday games, remember to pickup all your favorite Bulls Merchandise at Clark Street Sports UC Location (1960 W. Madison) as the Bulls look to protect the home court. If your not going to the United Center, you can still pickup all your favorite Bulls merchandise (Jerseys, Men’s and Women’s Clothing, Hats, & more) at one of our Chicagoland Locations or online throughout the 2013 NBA Playoffs.

Clark Street Sports UC Location

Clark Street Sports UC Location

 

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NBA: Los Bulls 101 El Heat 97

Chicago Bulls end the Miami Heat’s Winning Streak

The Streak is over. The Los Bulls were once again short handed as the team was without All-Star Joakim Noah, Marco Belinelli, Richard Hamilton, and Derrick Rose but was still able to end the second longest winning streak in NBA History. Led by Luol Deng (28 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists), Carlos Boozer (21 points and 17 rebounds), Jimmy Butler (17 points), Kirk Hinrich (7 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists), the bench, and a electric United Center, the Bulls were able to make history as they played their most complete game of the season. With the win, Chicago has now has now started a winning streak of their own (3 games), secured a playoff spot, and have a winning record against the Miami Heat on the season (2-1).

Bulls fans, remember to pickup all your favorite Chicago Bulls merchandise at one of our Chicagoland locations or online as the Bulls prepare for the 2013 NBA Playoffs.

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NBA: Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls

Heat vs. Bulls tonight at the United Center

Tonight the Chicago Bulls will host the Miami Heat (7pm) at the United Center. Thanks to Carlos Boozer (27 points and 12 Rebounds), Joakim Noah (13 points and 12 Rebounds), and Kirk Hinrich (10 points and 8 Assists), the Chicago Bulls went into Miami and defeated the Heat 96-89 on January 4th, 2013. Bulls fans, remember to pickup all your favorite Bulls Merchandise at one of Clark Street Sports locations before tonights game throughout the NBA Season.

Red MIA SUX Tee

Red MIA SUX Tee

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When Will Carlos Boozer Be Amnestied By the Bulls?

As the summer goes on, each diehard Bulls fan asks the same question: When will the Chicago Bulls Amnesty Carlos Boozer? Unfortunately for a number of Bulls fans, I feel it’ll be a couple of years until the Bulls amnesty their starting Power Forward.

Carlos Boozer has been with the Bulls for the past two seasons and was one of only three players on the Bulls roster to play in all 66 games last year. At the same time, a number of the key games that the Bulls were involved in saw Carlos Boozer struggle  and not able to provide them with the production they expected to receive from their second highest paid player.

2012-2013 Chicago Bulls: For the upcoming season, the Bulls are one of the many franchises that’s over the soft cap and on the verge of going over the hard cap. If Chicago was to exceed the hard cap, then the Bulls would have to pay a penalty to the NBA for each dollar they were over the Luxury Tax. With the current 2012-2013 payroll just up against the hard cap, the Bulls decided to transform their bench by only bring back Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler from last year.

Taj Gibson Player Tee-Shirt

So will Boozer be amnestied before the start of this season? NO. Why? Because the deadline to amnesty a player for the 2012-2013 has come and gone so the Bulls won’t amnesty Boozer this year. What About Amnestying Boozer for the 2013-2014 Season?

2013 Offseason: The 2013-2014 Chicago Bulls will feature a roster that’ll include 4 players making over $12 million per season (and a possibile new contract for Taj Gibson), Kirk Hinrich, and a few other players on rookie contracts. Because of this, I feel the Bulls will look to keep Carlos Boozer for another season and not amnesty him for the 2013-2014 NBA season. Along those lines, I don’t feel the Bulls front office will want to pay Carlos Boozer $32 Million over 2 years to not play for this team.

Carlos Boozer Player Tee-Shirt

As for the Following Offseason…

2014 offseason: Bulls fans, this is when I feel the organization will look to use their one (and only) amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer. During the summer of 2014, Chicago should have great deal of cap space (Luol Deng’s set to be a free agent following the 2014 season), which would intrigue the Bulls to amnesty Carlos Boozer one season prior to fulfilling his final contractual season. If Chicago  decides to amnesty Boozer, allow Deng to leave via Free Agency, and resign Taj Gibson to a backloaded contract, then the Bulls could rebuild their core around Derrick RoseJoakim Noah, and another elite player.

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Kirk Hinrich’s a Bull once agian…so what’s next?

After 2 years away from Chicago, the Bulls have decided to bring Kirk Hinrich back to Windy City after he reportedly agreeing to a 2 contract. During his tenure in Chicago, Hinrich averaged 13.4 points per game to go along with 5.8 assists while shooting 37.9% from 3.

So what will Hinrich bring the Bulls in both the short term and long term?

In the short term, Kirk will be a reliable point guard in Derrick Rose’s absence while already knowing a number of players on the Bulls roster from years past (Rose, Deng, Noah, Gibson). In addition, Hinrich also brings a simular mentality to the Bulls that Head Coach Tom Thibodeau preaches: defense, toughness, and the “team first” mentality.

As for the longterm, Hinrich will most likely come off the bench once Derrick Rose returns to the Bulls roster giving Chicago additional guard depth on their roster. Along with Forward Taj Gibson, Hinrich will become the first player off the bench and play a vital role on the Bulls roster. As for the 2013-14 season, Hinrich might once again find himself in the starting lineup alongside Derrick Rose as Richard Hamilton’s contract is set expire following the 2012-13 season. If Hamilton doesn’t return for the 2013-14 season, the Bulls might look to make Hinrich their starting 2-guard and have Marquis Teague become the primary backup to Derrick Rose.

In the end, I feel the signing of Kirk Hinrich was a good move for both the present and future as it will allow the Bulls to have more depth off their bench.

Where do the Bulls go from here:

The Bulls have improved their depth at the point guard position with the signing of Hinrich along with drafting Marquis Teague. As for the rest of their roster, Chicago still has a few other holes they need fill before they become a “Championship team” again. Many people feel that following the 2012-13 season, the Bulls will look into using their one amnesty clause on Power Forward Carlos Boozer which would allow for them to have some cap space during the Summer of 2014. During the 2014 offseason, the Bulls will have 5-7 players under contract (Rose, Noah, Teague, Butler, Gibson (who would be starting a new contract), Nikola Mirotic (I believe he’ll come to the Bulls during the summer of 2014), along with a few 1st round draft picks from the 2013 and 2014 NBA Draft (and  possibly Charlotte’s Draft choice). During the Summer of 2014, the Bulls should be able to add another key piece to their core and become an even better team. With that said, once Derrick Rose returns to being 100%, I feel the Bulls will still be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

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