Chicago Cubs

Free agency: Williams, Terry, Nash, Roy updates

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Free agency: Williams, Terry, Nash, Roy updates

Point guard Deron Williams signed a five-year, 100 million extension with the Brooklyn Nets yesterday. The 28-year-old Williams likely was enticed by the Nets' trade with Atlanta that brought in All-Star Joe Johnson.

Unrestricted free agent Steve Nash and the New York Knicks are closing in on a sign-and-trade that would bring the 38-year-old point guard to the Big Apple. In exchange, the Suns would receive guards Iman Shumpert and Toney Douglas and center Dan Gadzuric.

The Boston Celtics are proving they still want to contend, agreeing with shooting guard Jason Terry to a three-year, 15 contract. The Celtics signed Kevin Garnett last week for three more years, and reportedly still want Ray Allen to return.

Eric Gordon and the Phoenix Suns agreed to a maximum offer sheet (four years, 58 million) Tuesday, but Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski said the Hornets plan to match the offer, meaning the shooting guard will stay in New Orleans.

The Golden State Warriors want to set up a second meeting with free agent shooting guard Brandon Roy. The Warriors and Mavericks have been going after the 27-year-old the hardest, but the Bulls and Pacers remain potential destinations for the former retiree.

The Toronto Raptors and restricted free agent shooting guard Landry Fields agreed to a three-year, 19 million contract yesterday. The Knicks reportedly will have a tough time matching the deal, so it's likely that Fields will wind up in Toronto.

The Brooklyn Nets are finalizing a sign-and-trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for power forward Reggie Evans. The Clippers will receive a future second round pick in exchange for the veteran forward, who will receive a three-year, 5 million contract.

The Houston Rockets withdrew their qualifying offer to shooting guard Courtney Lee, making the 26-year-old shooter an unrestricted free agent. Sources said the Bulls, Pacers, Clippers, Mavericks, Suns, Wizards, Grizzlies and Hawks have all shown interest in Lee.

The Los Angeles Clippers offered a contract to shooting guard Jamal Crawford, but he has not signed with the team. The Timberwolves, 76ers, Suns and Grizzlies have all shown interest in the unrestricted free agent.

Ersan Ilyosova has a four-year contract offer to play in Europe, and the Milwaukee Bucks have countered with a five-year offer of their own. The Nets are reportedly interested in his services as well.

Jose Quintana’s ‘career-altering’ game has Cubs planning clinch party in St. Louis

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USA TODAY

Jose Quintana’s ‘career-altering’ game has Cubs planning clinch party in St. Louis

MILWAUKEE – The Cubs are going to destroy Busch Stadium’s visiting clubhouse. The rivalry has fundamentally shifted to the point where the St. Louis Cardinals are hanging around the National League’s wild-card race in a transition year and it would have been a massive failure if the defending World Series champs didn’t win this division. But there will be some symbolism to popping champagne bottles and spraying beer all over that room.

“We intend to clinch there,” Ben Zobrist said after Jose Quintana’s complete-game masterpiece in Sunday’s 5-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. “And I think for a lot of the guys that have been around here for a long time, it’s going to be very satisfying.”

Quintana has only been a Cub since the Brewers failed to close a deal with the White Sox and team president Theo Epstein swooped in to make a signature trade during the All-Star break. Quintana hasn’t yet pitched in the playoffs, but this is close enough, the Cubs winning back-to-back 10-inning games against the Brewers and shaking off a walk-off loss before the lefty faced off against Chase Anderson in front of a sellout crowd of 42,212.

Quintana gave the Cubs more data points to consider as they prepare for a probable first-round series against the Washington Nationals. The magic number to eliminate both the Brewers and Cardinals is two, with Milwaukee off on Monday and the Cubs playing a rivalry game in St. Louis that night, meaning the party goggles won’t come out until Tuesday at the earliest.

“It’s the playoffs already for this team,” said Zobrist, who again looked like a World Series MVP in the seventh inning of a 1-0 game when he launched Anderson’s first-pitch fastball into the second deck in right field for a two-run, breathing-room homer. “We’re already thinking that way.

“We’re in postseason mode right now. And we intend to continue that for the next month.”

While there are valid concerns about Jon Lester’s nosedive in performance since coming off the disabled list and the state of Jake Arrieta’s right hamstring, the focus should also be on how Quintana (7-3, 3.50 ERA in 13 starts as a Cub) could be an October game-changer for this rotation.

“Once he got over here, he was really jacked up about having a chance to play in the playoffs,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s showing you that right now. Games like that, to me, could be kind of career-altering for a pitcher.

“When you pitch a complete-game shutout on the road under these circumstances, that definitely does something for your interior. It definitely fluffs it up a little bit.”

“It’s exciting to be here,” said Quintana, who allowed only three singles, piled up 10 strikeouts against one walk and hit 93 mph on his 116th and final pitch in the ninth inning. “I just try to help my team and it’s really special when you get that opportunity. It’s about winning and I have a huge opportunity here.”

In all phases of the game – dominant starting pitching, an offense that created different ways to score runs, multiple bullpen contributors and an airtight defense that committed zero errors in 39 innings – Maddon saw what he was looking for: “We reacted in a playoff manner for these four games. Our mental intensity could not be beat.”

That drifting, in-and-out focus had been part of the background when the Cubs shocked the baseball world with the Quintana trade in the middle of July. Concentration won’t be an issue at Busch Stadium. And this hangover will be real.

“It will be nice to do it there, I’ll just say that,” said Zobrist, who understands the Cubs-Cardinals dynamic as someone who grew up in downstate Illinois. “But we got to win the games.

“As John Lackey said it before (this) series: ‘This is not a small series, boys.’ We knew it was a big one here in Milwaukee. And it will be another big one in St. Louis.”

Bulls reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Bulls reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade's Bulls career is set to end just over a year after it began.

According to the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson, the Bulls and Wade have reached an agreement on a buyout.

CSN Chicago's Vincent Goodwill confirmed the report.

Wade signed a two-year, $47.5 million deal with the Bulls last July and averaged 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in 60 games with the Bulls. This summer, Wade exercised his player option for the second year of the contract, worth $23.8 million.

Wade picked up his option just two days before the Bulls traded Jimmy Butler on draft night and went into rebuild mode. According to Goodwill, Dwyane Wade is giving back $8.5 million.

The Bulls will go into next year without any of the 'Three Alphas' the team had last year Wade, Butler and Rajon Rondo.

The news comes a day before Bulls Media Day, which will be live on CSN at 2:30 p.m., and on the same day the team agreed to a two-year deal with Nikolia Mirotic.

Wojnarowski also reported Cleveland, San Antonio, Miami and Oklahoma City are the contenders to sign Wade.