Good morning, frents!
Midway Minute's birthday week continues and I'd like to announce I've revamped my referral program a tiny bit to celebrate.
You can still get a koozie or mug if you get friends to sign up, but I've changed the first prize to something I think is fun and hope you will, too. Check it out on the new Midway Minute Referral Hub.
Wizards 105, Bulls 101
Hawks at Stars (7:30, NBCSCH)
Did I jinx the Bulls two weeks ago?
I might have.
Let's follow the trail.
- On January 25, I wrote a short newsletter on how much I was enjoying the season so far. The Bulls were blown out by the Celtics at the United Center that night.
- The next day, the team announced that Wendell Carter was out with an injured quad and would miss around a month.
- A week after that, Carter was joined on the sidelines by Otto Porter and his nagging bad back. (Porter still has not returned.)
- Lauri Markkanen made it a trio on Monday with news that he'll miss 2-4 weeks with a shoulder he injured last Friday.
- The Bulls then came out flat against 6-15 Washington last night, losing 105-101 in a game they trailed most of the night. Zach LaVine had a chance to tie it late but missed a contested layup.
The Bulls have lost six of their last eight to fall to 9-14 and, yeah, that's the last time I ever say anything nice about anybody.
That the Bulls are struggling isn't necessarily a real downer.
No one has them penciled in for a deep playoff run and being a streaky team was probably always their ceiling.
But win or lose, 2021 was always about staying healthy and getting enough reps together for the front office to make the best possible decisions about the future.
That hasn't happened and it's been a bummer.
Particularly with Markkanen, who also missed the first seven games of the season because of COVID protocol.
The Finnish 7-footer is in a contract year and carried plenty of questions into the year after his lost season with Jim Boylen in 2019-2020. The Bulls need as much intel on him as he needs quality minutes to ensure the biggest payday possible when he becomes a restricted free agent this summer.
Markkanen has been a bright spot in the 14 games he's played, averaging a career-high 19.1 points and over six rebounds a game. His resurgence sparked a flurry of articles and attention from around the league these past few weeks.
But now it's on pause as the Bulls will be forced to fill an empty frontcourt with Daniel Gafford and that Johnny Kerr torso statue from the concourse.
Please accept this as my apology for any role I might have played in this mess. Before it gets any worse.
How many times have the Bears beaten the eventual Super Bowl champs in the same year?
No movement on the Wentz front
Monday came and went without the Bears trading for Carson Wentz. But we did get to enjoy a Philly Voice story about Wentz's downfall in the Eagles locker room and try to decode the meaning of the Bears promoting Wentz's old QB coach John DeFilippo.
It's also unclear just how many teams are in on the Wentz interest. Any chance I have of eventually coming around on this deal rests on what Ryan Pace has to give up. If he ends up bidding against himself and throwing in a swap of Italian beef for cheesesteak to get the deal done, well, I'm going to be upset.
Hawks 'very concerned' for Seabrook
Not a great update here. Stan Bowman told the Sun-Times' Ben Pope that the team is concerned about Brent Seabrook's health and that there's no timetable for the 35-year-old's return.
"Think of his time in Chicago — he never really missed any games," Bowman told Pope. "But now we’re realizing he was playing through a lot of pain those years, and it’s caught up to him."
Matt Spiegel gets deserved promotion at WSCR
Sometimes nice guys do come back to finish first. The Score did the right and long-awaited thing by officially reuniting Matt Spiegel with Danny Parkins on the afternoon show. Spiegs was sent to the sidelines in an inexplicable move nearly three years ago and the public grace he showed while handling his demotion was admirable. He wrote on Monday that it wasn't as easy at times as he let on but it's great that the wrong was finally righted. (It's also great this news comes just in time for baseball season.)
1. Jed Hoyer says he wants the team's hiring process to change in the wake of the Jared Porter news. ESPN
2. Over $42.7 million was bet on the Super Bowl online in Illinois with another $2.8 million being placed in person. That netted the state almost $1.15 million. Capitol Fax
3. Forget Tom vs. MJ. Jack Silverstein makes a convincing case for Walter Payton as football GOAT. Twitter
4. Rob Colletti on why it's time for Jerry to sell the Sox. South Side Sox
5. ABC7 learned a valuable lesson with a tweet about Harold's that it had to delete. Eater Chicago
Trivia answer: Four. This year. Green Bay in 2010. San Francisco in 1988. Dallas in 1971. (h/t: Mark Potash)