In Arturas We Trust / Eloy's crushing injury / Lankinen shines

Newsletter for 3/26/21

In Arturas We Trust / Eloy's crushing injury / Lankinen shines

Good morning, frents!

Dick Stockton called it a career on Thursday after 55 years in the business, which gave us all a chance to make jokes about Lions-Bears games never being the same (yes, guilty as charged).

But did you know that Stockton was also on the call for Michael Jordan's 63-point game?  "The Shot" over Craig Ehlo, too.

Thursday's results
Hawks 3, Panthers 0
Sox 9, Reds 4
Dodgers 5, Cubs 2

Giants at Cubs (3, Marquee)
Sox at Brewers (3, no TV)

#12 Oregon State vs #8 Loyola (1:40, CBS)
Predators at Hawks (7, NBCSCH)
Bulls at Spurs (7:30, NBCSCH)
Sox at Rockies (3, MLB Network)
Cubs at Reds (8, no TV)

Predators at Hawks (7, NBCSCH)
Cubs at Rangers (2, Marquee)
D'Backs at Sox (3, NBCSCH)

Arturas works Magic

Well, so much for my thought it might be a quiet deadline day for the Bulls or that they wouldn't be trying to make a push for this year's playoffs.

Arturas Karnisovas lobbed the first big #Wojbomb on Thursday morning, getting Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu from Orlando in exchange for Wendell Carter, Jr., Otto Porter and two first-round draft picks (2021 and 2023). Both picks are top-4 protected on the small chance the Bulls find themselves at the top of the draft.

The Bulls later took part in a three-way trade with the Celtics and Wizards, getting Daniel Theis, Javonte Green and Troy Brown Jr. while sending Chandler Hutchinson, Luke Kornet and Daniel Gafford away.

And just like that, the Bulls were remade in a couple of hours.

Will it be enough for a surge into the playoffs? That remains to be seen, though no one in the Bulls neighborhood improved anywhere near as much. Vucevic is a current All-Star and ranks 14th in player-efficiency rating. A great facilitator with an all-around game, he's having a career year, averaging 24.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

I assume there might be some growing pains as Billy Donovan tinkers with the rotation, particularly as the Bulls play nine of their next 10 on the road starting Saturday in San Antonio.

But make no mistake: Going out and stealing an elite player from Orlando in exchange for two players no one will miss and two draft picks is a coup for Karnisovas and GM Marc Eversley. Facing an offseason market already denuded of its top players, the Bulls took matters into their own hands and found a way to trade into top talent.

Makes you wish other front offices around town — looking at you, Bears — could do the same.

The worst injuries in Chicago sports history

The high from the Bulls' trade hadn't even worn off before South Side fans were dunked in an ice bath of bad news: Eloy Jimenez will miss at least five months after tearing his pec trying to rob a home run in a meaningless spring training game.

It's devastating news, not only because the Sox wouldn't open their pocketbooks for a real backup plan in the offseason but because Jimenez is a great young player who brings a lot to the game each day (though sometimes a little too much to the outfield). Rookie Andrew Vaughn will get the start in left field today, making his learning curve in the majors that much more difficult.

We'll see if the Eloy injury prevents the Sox from getting where they planned to go. For now, it's in the conversation with the 10 worst injuries in Chicago sports history.

News and Results

Final: Hawks 3, Panthers 0

  • Take a freakin' bow, Kevin Lankinen. The rookie goaltender made 41 saves and killed off six Florida power plays to earn — and I mean, earn — his second career shutout.
  • Patrick Kane and Brandon Hagel each had a goal and assist to sweep this week's series after losing their first four to the Panthers this season.
  • Next: Nashville arrives for back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday. The Predators trail the Hawks by four points in the Central standings.

Final: Sox 9, Reds 4

  • Bummer of a day, but Dylan Cease tried to make it better in his final spring start. Six Ks, one run and a Pitching Ninja tweet over five innings, His spring ERA closes at 0.77.
  • Leury Garcia and Adam Eaton combined to go 4-for-7 with five RBI. Zack Collins had a homer.

Final: Dodgers 5, Cubs 2

  • Adbert Alzolay gave up two runs in just under four innings of work against the Dodgers. He was never able to put a lock on the fifth starters job with a 10.32 spring ERA, but we'll soon find out if he got the gig anyway.
  1. RIP Stan Albeck. Associated Press
  2. Elias Schuster on what the Bulls revamped rotation might look like. Bleacher Nation
  3. From Lovie Jones to David Rose, Phil Rosenthal sums up all the reasons we won't miss the last 10 or so years of Dick Stockton's career. Tribune
  4. A great 14-minute video on the bloody history between the Blackhawks and Blues. Miss u, Norris Division. Secret Base
  5. How a small theater in Rogers Park survived the pandemic. Chicago Reader