Monthly Archives: June 2017

NBA free agency: Heat to challenge Celtics in Gordon Hayward sweepstakes

In won’t be all that easy for the Utah Jazz to re-sign Gordon Hayward, as the Miami Heat reportedly will join the running for the All-Star’s services.

The Celtics have long been considered the top suitor for Hayward with his former Butler coach Brad Stevens now in Boston. However, ESPN.com reported Miami will make the Jazz star a priority when free agency begins July 1.

Though Utah can’t offer Hayward, who averaged 21.9 points last season, the allure of larger markets like Miami and Boston, it can offer a five-year deal worth an estimated $180 million. All other teams can only max out at a four-year deal ?and an estimated $133 million.

Blake Griffin also is a rumored target for both Boston and Miami as they continue to chase LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.

Ball is an analytics darling, but you need to look deeper than the numbers to see the totality of his game — both positively and negatively. On the plus side, he creates a culture of unselfishness for a team. On the downside, a lot of his points came off the ball this season, and he’s a limited creator for his own offense right now. There’s a lot to like, and a lot to question with his game.

Isaac has some questions offensively — namely in terms of confidence, passing and shooting consistency — but there’s a lot of upside there. However, where he already shines is on the defensive end. He’s long, athletic and switchable, plus has a nose for the ball both when protecting the weak side of the rim and rebounding. redskins_048

NBA Finals: Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry help Warriors take 2-0 series lead

Stephen Curry recorded the first triple-double of his playoff career Sunday to lead the Warriors to a convincing 132-113 win against the Cavaliers.
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The Warriors, who are now up 2-0 in the series and a perfect 14-0 so far this postseason, have used their explosive offense to suffocate Cleveland’s usually stingy defense. Curry scored 32 points with 11 assists and 10 rebounds Sunday in head coach Steve Kerr’s return to the bench.

Kevin Durant electrified Oracle Arena once again by scoring 33 points with 13 rebounds, six assists and five blocks. Scoring from all over the court, Durant provided Cleveland with matchup nightmares. Defensively, Durant did an excellent job tracking back and serving as a rim protector.

If it happened again, I would do the same thing, Green said. It’s one of the most brutal things I’ve ever had to go through in my life. I do feel it’s my fault that we lost. Absolutely my fault. But I don’t feel wrong for what I did at all.

Elite Mens Dwayne Gratz Jersey Green, of course, was suspended after being assessed a Flagrant 1 foul, which sent him over the league’s limit allowed for the playoffs. The foul stemmed from an incident where Green struck LeBron James in the groin during a scuffle in Game 4.

Hearing Green say he cost his team a title, but that he’d still do the same thing over again is pretty surprising. Especially considering he’s leveled off quite a bit this season. Coach Steve Kerr praised that improvement in Green in December.

LeBron James likes 3-on-3 in Olympics but has no plans to play

LeBron James believes the International Olympic Committee’s recent decision to add 3-on-3 basketball to the 2020 Games in Tokyo will benefit the sport and its participants.

I think it’s great for basketball, James said Sunday, via ESPN. For us to be able to add another category to the Olympics, another basketball category, I think it’s pretty great.

It’s not in terms of 16-0 really and what that means historically — it’s just that’s what’s in front of us, he said.

Lac Edwards Womens Jersey We obviously know how hard it is to win a championship, what goes into it and how important each game is.

Now that you can look ahead to Friday, all our focus is on that. We just want 16 wins, it doesn’t matter how we get there, but now we’re in this situation, why not take care of business?

Solomon Hill Womens Jersey Kevin Durant, who led the way Wednesday with 31 points, was eager to stay grounded ahead of what could be a decisive contest Friday.

It’s not over. Job’s not done. Close-out games are always the toughest, he said. As you heard from many players over the years how tough close-out games are.

I’ve never been in this position, trying to close it out. I know how exciting it’s going to be for us as a team.

The Cavs led from start to finish Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena on the way to a 137-116 victory over the Warriors. Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 40 points on 15-of-27 shooting (7 of 12 from 3-point range) while LeBron James passed Magic Johnson for most triple-doubles in NBA Finals history (nine) with 31 points, 11 assists and ten rebounds. Kevin Durant poured in 35 points, but Golden State’s Splash Brothers struggled all night. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 27 points on 24 shots. Bottom line: Cleveland lives to fight another day.

Remember the name: Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott should be your 2016 NFL MVP

One could say Ezekiel Elliott should be the National Football Leagues most valuable player simply for going by the first name Ezekieland pulling it off so comfortably. But this is serious business to many of you, so we shall leave that alone.

Instead, I shall go by the more important criterion: He was the most important player on one of the very best teams; the player most responsible for turning a 4-12 mess into a 13-3 Super Bowl favorite.

Now, I realize it’s almost a league rule that only quarterbacks can be considered for this award, whether it’s the one presented by the Pro Football Writers or the one from The Associated Press or even, indeed, the Player of the Year Award from Sporting News. In each case, eight of the past nine winners were quarterbacks. The only exception in that period: Adrian Petersons 2012 season, when he rushed for over 2,000 yards.

One of Ben Roethlisberger’s prettiest throws of the night and his only touchdown pass came too late, but it was great nonetheless. He found Cobi Hamilton on a go route behind the Patriots’ zone coverage for a 30-yard touchdown with 3:36 to play. Roethlisberger then found DeAngelo Williams for the 2-point conversion. 36-17, Patriots.

Rarely does a field goal serve as a dagger, but Stephen Gostkowski’s 26-yarder about halfway through the fourth quarter gave New England a four-score lead. It came as points off a deflating Pittsburgh turnover. 36-9, Patriots.

The Steelers simply could do no right in the second half Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception on the one and only play of Pittsburgh’s second drive of the fourth quarter when he tried to find Darrius Heyward-Bey deep. Instead, Eric Rowe picked it off and returned it 37 yards to the Steelers’ 32-yard line.falcons_053

Giancarlo Stanton escapes injury after getting hit on the wrist

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The city of Miami collectively gasped in the first inning of Saturday’s game between the Marlins and Pirates.

Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was up to bat and took a 95-mph fastball off of his wrist and was clearly in pain.

Stanton had to leave the game andimmediately had an X-ray taken after the game.

Randy Bullock Authentic Jersey By the time he was done with his time at the University of Minnesota, Winfield’s legend as an athlete was known nation-wide. He was drafted fourth overall in the MLB Draft by the Padres, in the fifth round of the NBA draft by the Hawks 鈥?he was a powerful forward for the Golden Gophers’ hoops team 鈥?and in the 17th round of the NFL draft by the Vikings, even though he never played college football. None of those things would have happened, though, if Winfield decided to sign with the Orioles in 1969 instead of choosing the college route. Good choice, eh?

Before Helton hurt his knee and was replaced by Peyton Manning at quarterback for the University of Tennessee, he was one hell of a prep baseball player in Knoxville (he hit.655 as a senior) and the Padres picked him in the second round of the 1992 draft. This is a good look, written at the time, at Helton’s decision-making process. Helton, of course, eventually opted to attend UT, and while he didn’t quite hit.655 for the Vols, he was a star and the Rockies took him eighth overall in the 1995 draft. That worked out well.

The $8,500 offered by the Expos wasn’t enough to change McGwire’s plan of attending USC. Good choice by the slugger; by the 1984 season his power developed to the point that The Sporting News picked him as our college player of the year, and he also competed for Team USA in the 1984 Olympics. When the A’s selected him in the first round of the 1984 draft, they gave him a healthy $125,000 signing bonus.

Mets shortstop prospect Amed Rosario (No. 4) is another strong candidate for a June call-up.

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It’s unclear how Thursday’s revelations might affect those endeavors, considering they concern events that occurred years ago.

Heimlich’s history came to light when a reporter from The Oregonian ran the player’s name through the state’s court records database as part of the news outlet’s regular procedures when reporting a profile. Records showed that Heimlich had been cited in April for failing to update his sex offender registration in Oregon, and the reporter followed up by requesting court records from Washington, where Heimlich grew up.

Those records showed that Heimlich had pleaded guilty to first-degree child molestation in 2011 after inappropriately touching a 6-year-old female relative. He initially faced two counts, one of them for actions that had occurred when the girl was younger, but prosecutors dropped that charge as part of a plea bargain. The records obtained by The Oregonian included a handwritten document from Heimlich that said in part: I admit that I had sexual contact with the girl.
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Mets shortstop prospect Amed Rosario (No. 4) is another strong candidate for a June call-up. Current Mets’ SS Asdrubal Cabrera could return from the disabled list before the end of the month, but the Mets are in need of an offensive boost. Rosario, a plus defender, could replace Jose Reyes, who has been a disappointment so far this season. Rosario still needs to tone down his aggressiveness, but he’s improved his contact rate and is hitting .361 with four home runs and nine stolen bases at Triple-A. Long-term, he has the bat speed and athleticism to eventually be a guy who hits close to .300 with 10-12 home runs.

Super Bowl-bound Matt Ryan looks back on triple-option days, National Signing Day

National Signing Day is always a walk down memory lane for NFL players living out childhood dreams. For Matt Ryan, it’s a reminder that he was an 170-pound afterthought in Boston College’s 2003 recruiting class.

King, the pool reporter assigned to cover the Falcons practice, wrote, “With the field situated next to a residential area abutting the Rice campus, there was extra security between the edge of the field (with a fence and high hedges) and the neighborhood, so the Falcons could feel secure running a practice as though they were at their home facility. There was only one brief security heads-up: Security officers grounded a drone that was sent airborne by one of the residents in the neighborhood on Thursday.”

Drones are commonly used now by NFL teams to film practice sessions, giving coaches a bird’s-eye view of players and formations.

Unfortunately, the Patriots’ history of espionage and other questionable acts (see Spygate and Deflategate) will make some fans wonder about that drone. That topic even surfaced again this week, when former Rams running back Marshall Faulk told a reporter he remains convinced that the Patriots taped the Rams’ walk-through practice the day before the teams met in the Super Bowl in 2002. The Patriots, 14-point underdogs, won 20-17.

That’s not the only time such allegations have surfaced regarding the Patriots in a Super Bowl. A couple years ago, ESPN reported that several Panthers believe the Patriots taped their practices before Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, with one Panthers source saying, “Our players came in after that first half and said it was like [the Patriots] were in our huddle.”texans_099

How high will Howard go?

Phil Esposito Youth Jersey One of the reasons Ryan had so few pass attempts, which then led to minimal targets for Jones, was time of possession. The Patriots had the ball for 40 minutes and 31 seconds compared to the Falcons’ 23:27. New England accomplished this mostly by completing short passes and moving the chains, as it set a Super Bowl record for first downs by a single team with 37.

Atlanta simply didn’t have the ball long enough, as a result of having just one third-down conversion, which is something we discussed earlier.

Trey Burton Youth Jersey Cam Robinson of Alabama and Ryan Ramczyk of Wisconsin have gotten the most buzz in a notoriously bad offensive tackle class, but I’ll take Bolles atop the group. The Chargers aren’t far from a playoff team, and adding to their offensive line could do the trick.

How high will Howard go? The top 10 certainly is possible after his eventual Combine performance, and he’s a high character option for teams looking for a reliable offensive centerpiece. Greg Olsen is over 30, and the Panthers could look to get back to more two tight end sets.

Chancellor’s situation should be more complicated. Chancellor has been unhappy with his contract for a few seasons and Seattle has shown no signs of moving on his demands. In the past he has stated that he wants to be the highest paid safety in the ballpark of $10 million a season, but it would be difficult to see a team paying a strong safety that highly, unless it was coming from a desperate team with large amounts of cap room like the Browns.

The Seahawks are already overinvested in their secondary with $44.2 million a year in contracts for corners and safeties, which is second in the NFL and about $16 million higher than the league average. With a number of other critical roster decisions coming up in the next year, signing Chancellor at $9 or $10 million a year could negatively impact other roster moves or future negotiating leverage. Without an extension he could look for a trade which would save the team $7.1 million.

Pope Francis shares his thoughts on Super Bowl … but doesn’t pick a winner

Seems everyone has something to say about Super Bowl 51 — players, TV analysts, celebrities, even your crazy Uncle Ted.

Turns out Pope Francis has something to say about the big game, too. The Twitter account of the Houston Super Bowl committee, @HouSuperBowl, tweeted out a taped message from the Pope, who like everyone else today, has a Twitter account (@Pontifex).
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Brady has always been optimistic about playing football well into his 40s. The 39-year-old signal caller signed a two-year contract extension last February that will keep him in a Patriots uniform through the 2019 season, adding to the existing three-year deal he signed in 2015.

But his future in New England could mean the end for teammate and fellow quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The likelihood of Brady’s backup being traded is already high, with teams including the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears and New York Jets showing interest. The Patriots anticipate getting a first-round pick and more for the 25-year-old Garoppolo this offseason.

If the team’s successful history is any indication, New England will do just fine after cashing in on Matt Cassel (in 2009) and Ryan Mallett (in 2014).

Pressed this week on The Dan Patrick Show about a new contract, Brown said both sides are beginning to get it rolling and that he wants to finish his career as a Steeler.

Going on 29, Brown is due $4.71 million in the final year of a six-year restructured contract, which converted $8.975 million into a signing bonus for his last two seasons of the deal.
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A five-time Pro Bowler, Brown should be in for a big pay raise after four outstanding seasons in Pittsburgh. The top receivers in the league make nearly $14 million per year, and Brown should have no problem emulating those numbers.

The Tigers managed just one hit in a 1-0 loss to the MLB-best Astros.

Limited Youth George Johnson Jersey Diamondbacks center fielder Gregor Blanco led off Thursday’s game in Milwaukee with a home run to center off Zach Davies, and he stayed hot from there, singling his next two times up. He led off the third inning with a base hit and scored on the next at-bat, a double by right fielder David Peralta, to put Arizona up, 3-0. Blanco tacked on a third hit in the fifth inning and finished 3 for 4 with 2 runs and an RBI.

Mets manager Terry Collins announced at this pregame press conference that he was pushing Jacob deGrom’s start from Thursday at home vs. the Padres to Friday at Pittsburgh because of concerns about the rainy weather in New York.

In a 6-4 win over the Cubs, Giants infielder Joe Panik broke a personal slump by going 3 for 4 with two doubles and his first career leadoff homer, which came off John Lackey. Panik entered Monday’s game with just two hits in his last 22 at-bats. He’s now batting .268 for the 20-26 Giants.

The Tigers managed just one hit in a 1-0 loss to the MLB-best Astros. Alex Avila earned a Golden Sombrero with four strikeouts for the Tigers, while Ian Kinsler’s average dropped to .240 after going 0 for 4. Detroit dropped below .500 (21-22) with the loss.

Limited Youth Ricky Vaughn Jersey Matt Adams cracked a two-run home run to right field in the bottom of the fifth against the Pirates for his first home run with the Braves.

Cardinals (22-19) at Dodgers (26-19), 10:10 p.m. ET — St. Louis heads west to embark on a grueling stretch of its schedule. Unfortunately for the Red Birds, their 47 games in 48 days begins against three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.15 ERA). The Cardinals, who have lost four out of their last five, send Lance Lynn (4-2, 2.78 ERA) to the hill.