By: Robert Bishop
Back again, and seemingly unable to cajole the Texans into a deal involving Deshaun Watson, the Chicago Bears have moved on to a new quarterback target: Russell Wilson. The Seahawks have been adamant about Wilson being unavailable in trade talks, but Chicago seems poised to make Seattle a franchise-altering offer. Wilson is coming off a season that was the tale of two halves. During the first half, he was arguably the league’s MVP. In the second half, in part to Seattle’s uninspiring offense, Wilson was maddeningly inconsistent. Either way, any move involving Wilson will require a blockbuster haul heading back to Seattle.
With Philadelphia having already moved on from Carson Wentz, the Eagles seem poised to begin a new era. Now, Philadelphia appears to be shopping tight end Zach Ertz. Following three straight Pro Bowl trips entering 2020, Ertz had the worst season of his career due to injuries and erratic quarterback play. Plenty of teams would have interest in buying low on Ertz, with a possible reunion in Indianapolis with Wentz a strong possibility. Ertz seems likely to be moved before next month’s NFL Draft. Depending on Philadelphia’s asking price, Ertz has the potential to be a massive bargain to acquire.
Denver placed the franchise tag on safety Justin Simmons, keeping the 27-year old star in town. Simmons emerged in 2019 as a top-tier talent, and he followed that breakout season with an equally impressive 2020 campaign. Denver will likely aim to lock up Simmons to a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline. Though not a household name, Simmons is a game-changing talent. Despite often lining up at free safety, Simmons is an impact player against the run while also proving to be a ball-hawk in the passing game.
The big news from All-Star weekend had nothing to do with the game or festivities themselves in the NBA. Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were both held out of Sunday night’s contest due to contact tracing. On the plus side, both Embiid and Simmons have tested negative to date, and with the All-Star break, the duo is unlikely to miss more than a game or two unless one returns a positive test in the coming days. The 76ers open the second half of the season on Thursday night against the Chicago Bulls.
Veteran forward Blake Griffin, fresh off a buyout with the Detroit Pistons, has signed with the Brooklyn Nets for the remainder of the season. Griffin has been watching from the sidelines for nearly a month, and even when he was on the court, he was two steps too slow and arguably a detriment to Detroit’s on-court production. It is challenging to foresee him making an impact on the Nets, other than potentially stealing minutes from exciting second-year big Nicolas Claxton, who had been a fun addition to Brooklyn’s lineup during the week leading up to the All-Star break. The Nets open the second half of the season against the Boston Celtics.
Trade rumors in the NBA are beginning to heat up, and an interesting name joined the speculation over the weekend: Magic center Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic has cemented his place as one of the best and more versatile offensive big men in the NBA during 2020, continuing to improve as a shooter and facilitator. The Boston Celtics and Charlotte Hornets have both been linked to Vucevic, and honestly, his addition would catapult both franchises into being legitimate threats in the East. Despite a lack of fanfare, Vucevic has established himself as arguably the best offensive center in the NBA not named Embiid or Jokic. Any potential deal for him would require a sizeable haul, given his play, and it would be worth it.