Month: July 2017

Bulls’ stars ready to ‘move on’ from public feud, but won’t back down

The Chicago Bulls’ feuding stars didn’t back down from their stances Friday even as management expressed exasperation that the team’s internal rifts have been opened up to public view.

A day after Rajon Rondo used social media to take a shot at Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler for their comments questioning the team’s effort in Wednesday’s loss to the Hawks, the team dynamic was the only topic of conversation during a post-shootaround media availability Friday.

“I wasn’t trying to be the bad guy but I have a great relationship with the young guys and they had some things to say,” Rondo said, via the Chicago Tribune.

He added: “It’s not that guys don’t like each other. It’s just that things got out that shouldn’t have. But there’s no tension between us.”

Wade told reporters he had no regrets about speaking out and would have no trouble working with Rondo moving forward.

“As a leader, sometimes you can’t be liked,” he said. “I’m OK with that.”

Butler echoed Wade’s sentiments, saying: “I don’t have any problem with Rajon. He spoke his mind. I spoke my mind. Move on.”

The Bulls are 23-24 and sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference entering Friday night’s game against Wade’s longtime team, the Heat, at United Center.

“I think being a ‘seller’ is sort of a misnomer,” DeWitt said during that June 30 press conference. “We’re not selling to dump payroll. We’re not selling, we’re looking to improve, both short-term and long-term. So if we have a short-term asset and we can get a long-term asset, I don’t view that as selling, I view that as investing.”

At that point, the Cardinals were four games under .500, in third place in the NL Central, 3.5 games behind the first-place Brewers. Heading into Thursday’s series finale against the Mets at Citi Field, the Cardinals are two games under .500, in third place in the NL Central, 4.5 games behind the first-place Brewers. t_rangers_050-115x115

NBA ‘not happy’ Cavaliers decided to bench Big 3 against Clippers

LeBron James was upset he was benched for Saturday’s game against the Clippers, and so was the NBA.
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James, along with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, who were both on the mend from knee injuries, sat out for the Cavaliers. As a result, the Clippers dominated the defending champions’ supporting cast in a 108-78 win at Staples Center.

He was mad, but I just thought for him it was the right decision, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue told reporters about James. Not to go out there and try to carry the whole load by himself and playing more minutes.

When it was pointed out that his job is to analyze the best player in the NBA, Barkley just smiled. Today’s NBA superstars want to be lionized, not criticized.

Man, these guys don’t care about your ‘job’ now. You have to say everything positive about them, or they don’t like it. In my 16 years in the NBA or college basketball, I’ve never said anything personal about a player. And I’m never going to. I’m going to do my job, though.

SN also asked Barkley about pro athletes often reacting to second- or third-hand comments from fans, family and friends via social media rather than the actual comments from TV analysts/announcers. Blame that on social media, said Barkley.
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Man, let me tell you something. You know I’m not a social media guy. I think social media is one of the worst things that ever happened to the world, he said. Every loser has an opinion. Every loser thinks their opinion is important. It’s one of the evils of the world. I do no social media whatsoever. Never have, never will. But hey, man, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube now.

Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs both agree the Tigers have a 0.9 percent chance of winning the division

Detroit is in the rare position of clarity, and it’s time for the Tigers to make some trades to get younger and better.
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Detroit enters the second half eight games behind Cleveland in the AL Central division with Kansas City and Minnesota in between them and first place. That’s not a great spot to be in. Though eight games can be overcome, it’s certainly not likely.

Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs both agree the Tigers have a 0.9 percent chance of winning the division. One percent seems low, but if you think about it, how many times does a team come down from eight back at the break to win a division title? One out of 100 seems about right, and if you think about it from that standpoint, perhaps 1 percent is even a tad high (thus the 0.9 percent number).

Authentic Ryan Griffin Jersey Yes, he plays for the rival the Rays are competing with in both the AL East and in the wild-card race. So, yeah, that’s a damper on any potential deal. Of course. Probably makes it a non-starter. But here’s a truth: If any team in baseball would be willing to make some deal like this happen — trading a rental star to a rival for a long-term asset — it’s the Rays, right? Morrison has 26 home runs and, as a left-handed hitter, seems ideally suited for Yankee Stadium. If the Yankees would part with a top prospect for Morrison’s services, the Rays would probably jump at the deal. But, honestly, that’s probably the biggest problem here: The Yankees wouldn’t want to see one of their former prospects starring for the Rays for the next six or seven seasons.

Since coming to NorCal from the N-O, Hield has began to return to the form that helped him average 25 points per game and propel Oklahoma to the Final Four as a senior on his way to earning SN’s 2015-16 College Basketball Player of the Year Award.

Ex-Rockets guard Vernon Maxwell mocks Jazz fans after inappropriate joke

Vernon Maxwell apologized (kind of) Thursday night to Jazz fans a few days after sending a controversial joke.

The former guard, who last played in 2001, sent a tweet on International Women’s Day about the Jazz since they were playing Houston. Although Maxwell played for many teams in his career, he had his most success with the Rockets (winning two NBA titles) and identifies with them.

The intent of the joke isn’t entirely clear. Some read it as him saying the Jazz are like women while others viewed it as a Mormon joke because the religion is popular in Utah. In any case, the joke didn’t make people in Utah happy, and Maxwell heard from them in bunches.

The All-Star Game is often viewed as the dividing point of the NBA season. Not in terms of games played, but as a shift in approach heading into the final stretch of the regular season. Teams like the Cavaliers and Warriors, for example, can start to prepare themselves for the playoffs knowing they have one of the top seeds in their conferences locked up. The Suns and Lakers, meanwhile, can turn their attention to the NBA Draft knowing they have nothing to gain from making a late-season run.
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Elite Youth Carlos Henderson Jersey That’s a simplistic way of looking at it, of course, because there’s a lot of moving pieces between those boundaries. The worst team in the NBA this season doesn’t even own the pick that could turn into Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball. Some teams are still question marks at this point because of new additions before the trade deadline, and others don’t have fully healthy rosters.

Although each team has something to watch for in the next two months, let’s take a look at seven questions in particular that should be on everyone’s radar, from Serge Ibaka’s impact on the Raptors to whether the Clippers can make the run they’ve always seemed destined for.

LeBron James sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving is special.

The Cavaliers point guard is a former No. 1 overall draft pick, NBA Rookie of the Year, four-time all-star, champion, Olympic gold medalist and owner of the sickest handle on the face on this sphere we call Earth (though he gladly argue it’s flat.)

Irving has received acclaim and accolades the world over and is just entering his prime.

Despite his status, he still gets all giddy when friends and family make him feel special just like the rest of us. Watch him grin from ear to ear when teammate LeBron James sings “Happy Birthday” to him on his 25th Thursday.

The offseason extension in five months is out of play for Cousins in this scenario. Fiscally, it makes little sense for Cousins to sign it due to rules for non-designated player extensions. The most Cousins could sign for in the first year is 120 percent of approximately $18 million (his 2017-18 salary), which is about $21.6 million as a starting salary. That’s considerably lower than he could get if he waits it out, when the Pelicans can offer him a five-year, nearly $180 million deal.

However, it’s also considerably more than the four-year, approximately $130 million deal any other team could offer him in free agency in 2018. The key here will be whether Demps and the team itself proves it can contend. If the team contends, Cousins is heavily incentivized to stay.

The Pelicans must convince Holiday to stick around. Holiday is an unrestricted free agent this summer who figures to have max-level offers from quite a few suitors who could use a point guard that not only defends, but also is capable of playing both on and off ball. He’s a perfect fit for this group, and the Pelicans will likely do what it takes to convince him to stay. Still, it’s never done until it’s done, and it would behoove this group to start winning quickly.

the Clippers went out and got the best pure talent left on the market that was reasonably available to them in Gallinari.

This is a difficult contract to evaluate. On one hand, the Clippers went out and got the best pure talent left on the market that was reasonably available to them in Gallinari. It’s gone somewhat unnoticed while he’s played in Denver, but the Italian has become one of the more efficient high-level scorers in the NBA.

Limited Mens Vladimir Tarasenko Jersey He put up 18.2 points per game this season while also posting a true-shooting percentage over seven points higher than league average. He’s a decent secondary rebounder, and also passes at a high level.

Gallinari, at 28, has become exactly what was hoped for when he was selected by the Knicks sixth overall in the 2008 NBA Draft. He’s a monster offensive player. And the Clippers, with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the frontcourt, could really use the floor-spacing he could provide. But I’m not sold on this being the best fit.

Question: Is the baseball juiced?
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Answer: Going right at it, huh? … There’s multiple sides to that. Obviously, we have some guys that believe that’s the main thing. Reports have come out, blah blah blah. We read them. As pitchers, we always try to (think) there’s always a reason the ball gets out of the yard. There’s always a reason. But they say the balls are a little smaller or juiced or tighter wound or whatever it may be. I feel like, as pitchers, the average velocity is going up as well. In my own opinion, I think it works both ways. It helps the hitters if the ball is juiced. I don’t pay any attention to that. I just try to get ground balls and low pitch counts. That’s what I’m trying to do. The way the game’s going is more home runs and more strikeouts, so it’s benefiting both parties.

that’s kind of how it went for Portland.

I know! What day is it? April 13? Damn, I woke up right after the last day of the NBA regular season!

That’s kind of a weird first thing to be worried about after being unconscious for six months. Don’t you want to know how your family is doing?

No, tell me about the season. What happened? Was it any good?

Hold on. OK, just sent a text to your mom explaining you’re fine because that’s something I should be responsible for. But yeah, basketball was awesome.

What happened: Here’s what Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said during an interview with TNT’s Lewis Johnson in between the first and second quarter: “We’re not scoring the ball very well. We’re turning the ball over. We’re not getting back in transition. We’re not protecting the rim. So, there’s a lot going on.”

Yeah, if you didn’t see this one, that’s kind of how it went for Portland.

Turning point: Any hopes the Trail Blazers had of a comeback were quickly extinguished when the Warriors’ lead ballooned to 19 after an 11-2 surge to start the third quarter. Portland was outscored 28-12 in the third overall. Maybe a certain TNT analyst needs to re-evaluate his opinion on Golden State’s defense.

X-factor: JaVale McGee? No, really. JaVale McGee! The big man came off the bench to score 13 points on 6-for-6 shooting in the first half and ended up with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks in only 13 minutes of play for the game. He threw down just about every lob thrown his way (see below) and brought a palpable energy to the floor each time he checked in.

We don’t consider them tough calls or easy calls

Valenti’s hire is another big step for women in the NFL. Sarah Thomas was hired as the first full-time referee in 2015. She told SB Nation in February that it doesn’t get exhausting discussing her hiring:

Because you sit back, and you think, it was 2015 and there was still a gender barrier that needed to be broken in a major organization.

Authentic Womens Robert Alford Jersey For anybody that might think Thomas, or any other referee, struggles with certain calls in tough situations, she shot down that idea.

We don’t consider them tough calls or easy calls; there’s just the rules, she said. We’re trained, and we see what we see and we call what we call.

Authentic Womens Prince Amukamara Jersey Roger Goodell said at the end of the 2010 season that the NFL was looking to add female officials and had two in mind. One of those was Valenti. We actually have two officials that are females that are I think right on the edge of becoming NFL officials, he said, via Stanford Alumni.

I think that it could happen very soon, he added. And I think it’s a good thing for our sport.

Sure enough, it finally happened with Thomas two seasons ago. With Valenti’s role expanding the representation of women in the NFL, hopefully it will continue to open doors.

Anthony has the potential to thrive in that sort of complementary role as well. He isn’t capable of carrying an offense all by himself anymore — not one that can compete with the Warriors and Cavaliers, at least — but he’s elite at two incredibly important things in today’s NBA, the first being the ability to space the floor. Anthony scored 4.3 points per game from spot-ups last season and ranked in the 93.8 percentile with 1.23 points per possession. His volume and efficiency in those situations was comparable to some of the best shooters in the league such as Ryan Anderson (1.16 PPP), Klay Thompson (1.17 PPP), Khris Middleton (1.18 PPP) and Isaiah Thomas (1.22 PPP).

NBA playoffs 2017: Warriors coach Steve Kerr goes off script to speak on Easter, Isaiah Thomas

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Warriors coach Steve Kerr continues to feed our ears with so much more than basketball X’s and O’s.

Kerr, who has spoken out on Donald Trump, alternative facts and political policies in the past, went off script once again during his pregame press conference Sunday to give his sympathy to Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, whose sister died in a car accident Saturday.

Before we start, I want to wish Isaiah Thomas and his family well, Kerr said to start his presser. Everybody in our organization is just devastated to hear the news. Can’t imagine what he and his family are going through. I want to wish them the best and we are thinking of them.

Harden told TNT after the game he wasn’t surprised Beverley stepped up big.

(Beverley) has been doing this since I’ve been here, Harden said.
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The Thunder also could not contain the Rockets’ inside game. Houston out-rebounded OKC 56-41 and outscored them in the paint, 62-38.

As for Westbrook, he’ll look to put this tough game behind him. He scored 22 points, but hit only 6 of 23 shots. He added 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Draymond Green fell just one assist short of a triple-double in the Warriors’ 121-109 win over the Trail Blazers, but what he accomplished on the court Sunday was far rarer. According to the NBA, Green is the first player in the playoffs to post at least 19 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, five blocks and three assists since the 1973-74 season.

Trail Blazers backcourt mates C.J. McCollum (41 points) and Damian Lillard (34) combined for 75 points in Portland’s loss.

Top-seeded Celtics provide final East challenge for LeBron James’ Cavs

April 5. Heading into this series, that is going to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and with good reason. For the past month-plus, the Cavs had been struggling and their meeting with the Celtics in Boston, with the top seed in the Eastern Conference on the line, was supposed to be a barometer of their vulnerability en route to the NBA Finals.

Game Womens Kurt Coleman Jersey All the Cavs did was deliver a 23-point beatdown, a game whose final score was not indicative of just how much a blowout the game was. LeBron James, always a terror when playing in Boston, was especially impressive: 36 points on 14-for-22 shooting, 10 rebounds and six assists. He abused the Celtics on the interior — he made none of his six perimeter shots, but repeatedly overpowered Boston defenders on his way to the basket.

Despite some off-the-court issues, Jackson is the most talented player in this draft. At 6-8, he can run the point, hit open shots from beyond the arc, slash to the basket, dish out assists and rebound. He is the most complete player in the entire draft class. The Celtics should take Jackson if they are comfortable with his character.

Trading the pick is an option as well. The Celtics have been chasing after the likes of Kevin Love, Paul George and Jimmy Butler for a couple seasons now, and they have the ammo to make a move.

Unfortunately for Boston, all three of those teams are in the same conference. Cleveland certainly won’t trade one of its best players to its most dangerous competitor, and the Bulls and Pacers seem determined to keep Butler and George.

Still, something could open up for Boston. Whether it’s Portland’s Damian Lillard, New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins, or (cough, cough) Russell Westbrook, the Celtics should remain open to bringing in another star.
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This could be another enthralling offseason for Celtics fans. But they first have to take care of the Cavaliers.