ATLANTA — One of the reasons Dwyane Wade was so attractive to the Bulls in free agency was a perceived ability to bring other stars along with him at some point.
Enter Chris Bosh and an ESPN rumor that states the Bulls would be first in line if Bosh becomes free from the Miami Heat on March 1.
Bosh hasn't played for the Heat in nearly a year after a reoccurrence of blood clots, which could ultimately be deadly. Bosh and the Heat are at an impasse; Bosh wants to play, believing he's found a medication that could work for him and his condition, while the Heat don't feel it's prudent or safe for him to suit up.
Thus, the impasse.
Since Wade and Bosh are former teammates — and Bosh appeared at the United Center earlier this month for a Bulls-Raptors game — the Bulls seem like they could be a natural destination should he become free.
"Who came up with that? I don't know. I play with the Bulls and I don't even know that," Wade said after the morning shootaround at Philips Arena in Atlanta. "That's news to me, he's one of my good friends. The biggest thing with Chris is the same thing, you know, is his health. He's not even playing basketball right now. He's going to continue on his health and I think that's what he's doing."
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The Heat can get Bosh off their salary cap Feb. 9th, the anniversary of the last game he played for them. Bosh played 53 games last year after playing 44 in the 2014-15 season, when the blood clot issue first appeared.
A player averaging 20 points and 7.2 rebounds — Bosh's numbers in the 97 games he's played since LeBron James left the Miami Heat in free agency — would be a boon, but as Wade said, his health has to come first for Bosh and whatever franchise is potentially looking at him.
It's already tricky enough when involving Bosh's desire to play and his support from the NBPA, but the NBA doesn't want to have a player potentially die on their watch, making it more difficult for a prospective team to step in and offer Bosh.
"Basketball is something he loves and I'm sure somewhere in the back of his mind he would love to be able to do again," Wade said. "But I know his steps and he's that moment is not here now. I can't even talk about next year."
Wade said the thought of Bosh coming to Chicago hasn't come up in their recent conversations, although even if it had, Wade wouldn't be the one to stoke the flames of speculation when there's so many other hurdles to clear.
"I talk to him. A lot of the issue with the Heat is at the end of the day he has something serious and they want to make sure it's not life-threatening and then it goes from there," Wade said. "Things are said and things are done, but at the end of the day, as I've always said about Chris, I know Chris is worried about his health first.
"He has a family that he loves and he wants to make sure that he's as healthy and whole as he can but also he loves the game of basketball so when that day comes there are always going to be stories about guys where they have friends at."
Theo Epstein's front office is heading into Year 6 with the Cubs and they're finally talking about a pitcher as one of the organization's most exciting prospects.
That's how senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod framed his Dylan Cease report to fans at the Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Grand Chicago last weekend.
It was a tongue-in-cheek summation from McLeod after he spent the previous few minutes fawning over Cease, the Cubs' sixth round pick in 2014.
Of course, McLeod and the Cubs can poke fun at the lack of impact pitching the farm system has developed when the homegrown position players like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber just helped lead the franchise to its first World Series championship in over a century.
Cease, however, has been one of the more intriguing Cubs prospects for years — a right-handed pitcher capable of touching 101 mph on the radar gun.
"This guy is throwing lightning bolts out of his arm," McLeod said. "It's really exciting. But we also understaned he's only in Low-A this year, so he's far away."
The Cubs expect Cease to pitch for Class-A South Bend in 2017 after spending last season pitching for short-season Eugene and the 2015 campaign working in the rookie league in Arizona.
Cease — who just turned 21 in late December — put up some impressive numbers at both stops in the Cubs system, posting a 2.36 ERA and 1.165 WHIP to go along with a whopping 91 strikeouts in 68.2 innings. He also only surrendered one homer and walked more batters (41) than reached via a basehit (39).
Control is obviously an issue for Cease, but the upside is evident.
"He's so far away," McLeod said. "He's gonna go into 2017 as a starter. As with a lot of young guys, it's gonna come down to command and depend on that third pitch and the ability to land them for strikes.
"It's a special arm. He can pitch 95-100 mph with a big power curveball. He's unlike anyone else we have in our system since we've been here in terms of pure stuff."
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One fan compared Cease to Carl Edwards Jr. in terms of their lanky build and high velocity, setting McLeod up for a layup joke.
"Well, Dylan is much stronger physically than CJ is...as is everybody in this room," McLeod said as the ballroom filled with laugher. "Don't tell [CJ] I said that.
"They have different body types, obviously. Carl is long and lanky and Dylan has probably put on 20 pounds since we drafted him, so he's more like 6-foot-2, 190."
By comparison, Edwards — who goes by "The String Bean Slinger" for his slight build — is listed at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds.
Edwards was drafted in the 48th round in 2011 and spent his whole minor-league career as a starting pitcher until the Cubs converted him to a reliever in 2015.
Cease may eventually go down the same path, but the Cubs are going to give him every opportunity to make it as a starter first.
Cease was one of the top pitchers available in the 2014 draft, but his stock took a hit when he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow while at Milton High School in Georgia.
That scared off a lot of teams — as did the potential signability issues with college offers looming — but the Cubs took a chance and have now watched Cease soar to a top prospect in the system (No. 4 by Baseball America; No. 7 by FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus) despite the cautious approach and lack of innings in professional ball.
"We have to thank Kyle Schwarber, actually, as one of the main reasons we got to sign Dylan Cease," McLeod said. "Because we took Kyle fourth overall, we were able to save money on the selection with him, which gave us the resources to go get Dylan Cease.
"He was a Top 10 pick in the draft — a high school arm that got hurt, fell down to the fifth round and he had a commitment to Vanderbilt, I think it was, and we were able to use the money we saved from Kyle.
"Just another reason to love Kyle Schwarber."