Bowman targeting D-man, center via trade

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Bowman targeting D-man, center via trade

PHILADELPHIA -- Chicago Blackhawks general manger Stan Bowman is always looking at the potential trade landscape, and wouldnt mind adding a solid defenseman or center.

Only thing is, he wont be alone in that.

Bowman and the Blackhawks have a pretty little bundle of salary-cap cash to use if or when they decide to add pieces to this team. Bowman said hes been watching the landscape for a while, but hes willing to wait for the right move.

And defenseman and center are at the top of the wish list.

I think you can never have enough defensemen. I think last year Vancouver used 10 or 11? Up front, I think you can make the same argument for a centerman, Bowman said. But if you talk to the other GMs, and Ive talked to a lot recently, theyre looking for center and defense as well. Those are the positions most in demand. Were probably not unique that way.

Bowman said right now it was hard to say if the Blackhawks could pull off a big deal.

All we can do is keep in touch with (teams), and if theyre ready to start making trades, well talk and see if theres a fit there, he said. You cant force them. We talk and we let them know the players we like. When we get around to it, we keep on top of it. But it takes two to tango.

The Blackhawks can afford to wait. They entered Thursday nights game in Philadelphia second in the Western Conference, one point behind the Vancouver Canucks. They enjoyed health through most of this season, with injuries just cropping up recently (Steve Montador and Marcus Kruger are on injured reserve, and Daniel Carcillo may face rehab or surgery for his injury).

But while Bowman mulls potential moves, he and the Blackhawks have taken advantage of their deep resources in Rockford. Several IceHogs have had opportunities with the big club this season, and forwards Jimmy Hayes and Andrew Shaw along with defenseman Dylan Olsen are getting theirs now. Hayes has two goals in as many games, while Shaw scored his first-career NHL goal Thursday in Philadelphia.

If nothing else, its a good audition for those young guys.

They never know if theyre going to get another game, so theyll try to put their best foot forward. Its exciting for them. Its their dream to play in the NHL, Bowman said. It gives us a good opportunity to see how these players are progressing. We can assess where theyre at and go from there.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Here are some of Sunday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Patrick Kane leads Blackhawks to win in Buffalo homecoming

What Joe Maddon wants to see next from Javier Baez

Jose Abreu ready for 2017 after season full of 'different challenges'

Wojnarowski: Bulls-Celtics Jimmy Butler trade talks 'will loom over the entire week'

After surreal offseason, Ben Zobrist comes to Cubs camp in style as World Series MVP

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

Fire score five goals for fourth preseason win

Simeon beats rival Morgan Park for city championship

Former Northwestern football player Torri Stuckey now focuses on helping others

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

NEW ORLEANS — Every All-Star isn’t created equal, even by the slimmest of margins as the best 24 NBA players take their turn on the midseason stage.

So Jimmy Butler being announced among the first five as an All-Star starter had to represent some form of validation, now that he’s not a novice at the whole experience and he’s able to go through the motions of the hectic weekend without breaking much of a sweat.

But despite being a three-time All-Star and routinely mentioned as one of the game’s top 15 players or even top 10, he can’t shake the trade rumors that have seemed to follow him since this time last season.

As he finished up his All-Star experience at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, clarity was nowhere to be found—although heading to some tropical island for a couple days to actually unwind with clear water and warm air seemed to be the best therapy if he’s stressed by the uncertainty of the next few days.

“What’s Thursday? Oh, trade deadline,” Butler said. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Am I anxious? Come on, man. I don’t worry about it. It don’t bother or scare me none.”

“Hopefully I’m not going to get traded but I don’t know. I don’t control that. Control what I can control, like going on vacation.”

Surely it has to be frustrating for a guy who’s elevated his game yet again, averaging 24.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals for the Bulls in 51 games. But he refuses to let it damper his All-Star spirits, playing with some of the best players in the world and a few guys he calls friends, like DeAndre Jordan and Kevin Durant.

“Not for me,” said Butler of the potential stress. “Not saying I’m untradeable but I don’t think about that. If I’m not in a Bulls uniform, I’ll give you a hug and say goodbye to you.”

Moments after Butler made his statement in the media room, the floodgates opened for the trade market as fellow Olympian DeMarcus Cousins was traded from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans for what seemed to be mere fodder, pennies on the dollar for the most talented center in the NBA.

[SHOP: Get your Bulls gear right here]

While Cousins is far more of a handful than Butler could be, the trade almost signals a consistent truth that always bears repeating—that short of a select few, anybody can be traded.

Even a franchise altering talent like Cousins, who was traded to the city he was physically in for All-Star weekend, and included in the package of players was a guy who hit him in the groin last week (Buddy Hield), resulting in a Cousins outburst and ejection.

Butler has made his name with the Bulls, although not necessarily on the All-Star stage, a player who values defense and doesn’t have as much flash as some of the game’s shinier players.

With a six-point outing in 20 minutes, Butler was an on-court afterthought despite being a starter for the first time.

“Six? Should’ve gone for eight,” he sarcastically deadpanned.

In a relatively jovial mood through the weekend, Butler joked about the talk surrounding him and tried to brush it off as mere chatter as opposed to the franchise not seeing enough in him to make a firm commitment for the long-term, as the Boston Celtics are always hovering.

League sources expect the Celtics to engage the Bulls in conversations for the next few days, but nobody has a great feel for what either side is truly looking for.

But as Butler insisted, he’s only controlling what he can control, which is making himself a fixture for All-Star games to come as opposed to some of the first-timers who don’t know if they’ll get back here again.

“I think I got two underneath my belt,” Butler said. “I know what they’re feeling the first time, It’s so surreal like maybe I do belong here. That’s how I was thinking. Now it’s how do I get here every year? I think that’s the fun part, that’s the challenge. A lot of those guys have done it 10-plus years, hopefully I’m one.”

The only question seems to be, which uniform will it be in because the crazy season has begun.