Caldwell-Pope could be next up on the Nets RFA carousel

Yes, the same McKenzie who was Sporting News’s Executive of the Year in 2016 … and who was dead last in this ranking just two years ago. He has done everything right since, including this offseason, pulling Oakland’s own Marshawn Lynch out of retirement and taking care of Derek Carr’s contract nice and early. No one will ever know if the Raiders could have taken the Patriots down in the playoffs last year, because Carr got hurt. It’s safe to wonder if they can do it now.

Limited Youth Jonathan Bullard Jersey If he gets Le’Veon Bell signed and happy, Colbert might get moved up again next year, but it’s not like he hasn’t done enough already. That includes massaging enough out of this defense-deficient roster to get the Steelers back to the AFC title game and surviving stumbles like the Martavis Bryant suspension and the Ladarius Green signing. You can’t argue with the results, and the consistent contention.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Pistons — Caldwell-Pope could be next up on the Nets RFA carousel. There is a max offer out for Porter that will be matched by the Wizards, and the Nets could very well just keep cycling through restricteds until they get one that finally won’t be matched. A max offer to KCP, staring at more than $24 million, would put the Pistons, with $100 million in committed salary, in a bind. It would likely force them into unloading other salary (Jon Leuer or Boban Marjanovich most likely) before matching.
Limited Youth Zane Beadles Jersey
Nikola Mirotic, Bulls — Heading into free agency, rival executives estimated that Mirotic would look for a contract in the $20 million per year range, and while the Bulls would not go that high, they would match reasonable offers for Mirotic. But as cap space dries up, it appears that the Bulls are bidding against themselves, and as we’ve seen in the past (think back to Ben Gordon in 2009, for example), Jerry Reinsdorf will play hardball in these situations. Without another bidder, Mirotic could have to settle for a contract worth closer to $12 million per year rather than the $20 million he was seeking.

Peyton Manning says it would have been ‘un-American’ not to play golf with Donald Trump

President Donald Trump made Peyton Manning an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Despite several people telling the former NFL star not to accept an invitation to play golf with Trump last month, Manning did so anyway.

Sean Harlow Elite Jersey Manning explained his decision during a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
C. J. Prosise Elite Jersey
Here’s the video (h/t Fox8.com). Don’t be shy about watching it. It’s pretty tame but also hilarious.

With the game tied 3-3 in the middle of the seventh inning, the Royals and Dodgers each scored a run in the eighth, and Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers rookie All-Star, drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the winning run in the 10th.

It was the rally granny, Bellinger said, even though he wasn’t watching the videoboard at the time of the flash. Some of my teammates were talking about it a little bit. You don’t see that much at a baseball stadium.

Nobody doubts that Ibaka is still a starter-caliber player. The offense is useful due to how he spaces the floor, and he’s not going to kill you on defense. But this deal pays him as something more than that at over $20 million per season at a position flush with other options — including Jonas Valanciunas on the Raptors’ own roster.

The team didn’t have a way to get a player better than Ibaka due to salary cap constraints, so I understand the desire to retain him. But this is still an overpay for a player who has declined over the last few years. And if the team has to pivot away from its current direction in the next two years, I’m not sure how valuable this contract is around the rest of the NBA.

For this deal to work at all, Ibaka has to stabilize his play as opposed to seeing another drop. That would be a break from history for big men who start declining.

Wizards, Celtics renew rivalry with much more on the line

Even as the Celtics and Wizards had their struggles in their opening-round series, most NBA fans had to be holding out hope that the two would meet in the second round. Of all the matchups in the East, Boston-Washington is the one with the most potential for fireworks, going back a year to when the Boston-Washington beef began with a series of scuffles, including when guard Marcus Smart caught Wizards star Bradley Beal with an elbow and broke his nose.

That paved the way for a four-game season series marked by some notable absurdities. In January, the Wizards all wore black in the run-up to their game against the Celtics, claiming the garb represented a “funeral” for the Celtics. There was also a postgame run-in between Celtics forward Jae Crowder and Wizards guard John Wall, which prompted Boston police to beef up its presence in the hallway that connects the two locker rooms.

Maybe we all should have seen Powell’s breakout coming sooner. The Raptors went 3-1 against Eastern Conference playoff teams in the regular season when Powell played 30 or more minutes, according to Basketball-Reference.com. In those games, one of which was a 25-point performance in the regular-season finale against the Cavs when LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat out, Powell averaged 19 points on 63.8 percent shooting from the field and 56.2 percent shooting from 3-point range. The other victories came against the Bucks and Celtics.

If Casey’s smart, Powell will keep his starting gig the rest of the way. The Raptors still don’t have a Big 3, but they’ve got a Big 2.5 at the moment. It could be the reason they survive and advance. falcons_060

That would have been a bit of a homecoming for Green

Yes, rather than bolstering Boston in its first-round fight, Green could have been chipping in for the Clippers, facing an uphill climb now against Utah. The Clippers, sources told Sporting News, thought they’d had Green locked up.

Mens Jonathan Quick Jersey That would have been a bit of a homecoming for Green, who came into the league with the Celtics in 2005, with Clippers coach Doc Rivers then at the helm in Boston. But when the Celtics expressed interest in Green last July, they could offer a true homecoming, the chance to play with Isaiah Thomas — Green’s friend from their time together in Phoenix — and, most likely, more playing time. The Clippers later signed Alan Anderson to provide depth on the wing.

It was Thomas who, after Game 4 on Sunday, reminded the media that he’d been saying all year that Green would, at some point, win the Celtics a playoff game.

Interestingly enough, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni is against the Hack-A strategy, saying after Game 4, It’s not great for basketball. Having said that, the veteran coach added, but it’s a rule and we’ll take advantage of it.

Roberson has played well this series, using his great defensive skills to limit James Harden. He’s also improved as a scorer, averaging 13.8 points in four games compared to the 6.6 points he averaged during the regular season, while adding 3.5 blocks and 2.0 steals per game.

His presence on the court is important to the Thunder, which is why the Rockets used this strategy. Part of it is to waste offensive possessions for Oklahoma City, but a bigger part is to get Roberson off the floor.

Mens Linval Joseph Jersey Of course, there’s one way to end all of this talk: make your free throws.

Biggest winners, questions raised from measurement process

The NBA Draft Combine measurements are out, and as usual, there are plenty of winners and losers.

It’s worth mentioning that, every year, we have a more complete picture of the way players measure prior to the combine. Due to the proliferation of youth events such as Nike Basketball Academy and Nike Hoop Summit as well as the carefully curated database meticulously kept by DraftExpress a wide majority of the players attending the combine have publicly available measurements.

Adding to the anxiety was one pickup game that has a lot of players on edge. In a 5-on-5 scrimmage during the week Cavs backup center Edy Tavares suffered a fractured hand ending his postseason and adding a little bit to the Cavs’ nerves.

Tavares has not played this postseason, but that type of injury can happen to anyone and Cleveland’s stars know that.

Game Youth Delano Hill Jersey I understand how important it is, Kyrie Irving said. I was about to come out and play 5-on-5 and the incident (when Tavares hurt his hand) happened three seconds later … Naw, I’m not for scrimmaging right now until the game.

The odds that an injury happens again are slim, but they can clearly happen and every day the Cavs are not on the court in a playoff game the risk becomes greater with time.

Right now the Cavs are just trying to get to the Eastern Conference finals healthy and rested and without any other freak injuries.
Elite Womens Andre Burakovsky Jersey
The Spurs scored 25.7 points per game this season off spot-up shots, the most in the league, and also led the league in field-goal percentage on spot-up shots, at 42.5 percent. The Warriors were second in spot-up field-goal percentage, at 41.9. It’s an offensive weapon both teams draw on heavily.

Detroit could find Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson intriguing, though.

Elite Youth Joe Vitale Jersey Astros — Narrowly holding off the Dodgers for the best record in baseball, Houston is in desperate need of another starting arm. Dallas Keuchel will return next month, and Lance McCullers Jr. is already back, but the Astros lack depth behind their two studs.

While Verlander may stretch the Astros’ comfort zone in the contract department, he would be an ideal veteran to help lead the younger arms during the postseason. Houston has a number of intriguing trade assets, so this one could gain some legs as the Tigers fall further out of contention.

Rockies — Surprise contenders in a loaded NL West, Colorado has everything except an ace. With a number of young pitchers showing flashes of potential in the rotation this season, the Rockies really just need one veteran arm to lean on in the postseason.

Verlander could be their guy, though his propensity to give up home runs this season could be problematic at Coors Field.

Guys like David Dahl and Brendan Rodgers could intrigue the Tigers, who are desperately trying to rebuild their struggling farm system.

Authentic Chris Conley Jersey With Baker, Beckwith, Wilcox and Evans, the Bucs made it a point to get good complementary defenders for their top-tier talents. With Winston leading a more energized, balanced and intimidating offense, the Bucs, from front to back end, can more consistently tee off defensively.

The changes are enough to think Koetter and Winston will lead at least a wild-card playoff team in 2017.

Melky Cabrera robs Aaron Judge of a home run, trolls everyone

The Melk Man delivers. The Melk Man taketh.

Yankees phenom Aaron Judge learned this the hard way, as he flirted with his 28th home run of the season in Guaranteed Rate Field early Friday.

But it’s OK, Yankee fans. Here’s a good Melky memory to alleviate the broken hearts, back when he wasn’t as dramatic as he is now, apparently.

Thomas, Dumars and Laimbeer won back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990 after losing in the 1988 Finals. With two Hall-of-Fame guards in the backcourt and anchored by a defensive enforcer in Laimbeer, Detroit’s 3-on-3 team would be as physical and intense as any.

If every NBA team’s best 3-on-3 squad played in a tournament, which of course is impossible and completely hypothetical, there’s a good chance the Warriors’ trio would be the favorite in Vegas. With the winners of three of the last four MVP awards and the 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Golden State would play efficient basketball on offense and defense. The Warriors could arguably replace any of the above players with Klay Thompson and still have one of the most dangerous 3-on-3 teams ever assembled.

From 2005 to 2008, the Suns won 62, 54, 61 and 55 games in the regular season, but failed to advance past the Western Conference Finals. Under Mike D’Antoni’s “seven seconds or less” system, Phoenix ranked among the top four NBA teams in both offensive efficiency and pace in all four seasons. That style of play would translate well to the 3-on-3 format, making Nash, Marion and Stoudemire the Suns’ best group.warriors_060-115x115

Revoking the trademarks hasn’t prevented the team from continuing to use the nickname

Francois Beauchemin Authentic Jersey
I’ve had a couple (coaches) reach out to me and ask if I could come in for two or three days to just visit and maybe help a little bit or give some opinions, Turner told co-host Bill Polian and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio. I’m open to continue coaching in the future. A lot of that would depend on the opportunity.

Jeremiah Attaochu Authentic Jersey Turner’s last NFL stint ended abruptly when he resigned as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator seven games into the 2016 season. The Vikings were 5-2 at the time but coming off two straight losses with an offense decimated by injuries that had started to sputter. The decline had let to friction between Turner and head coach Mike Zimmer, and the former wanted no part of it.

It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend, Justice Samuel Alito wrote for a unanimous court.

A federal judge in 2015 affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s 2014 revocation of six federal trademark registrations belonging to the Redskins.

The Redskins’ attorney issued a statement (via the Washington Times) in response to the ruling, saying, in part, The Team is thrilled with today’s unanimous decision as it resolves the Redskins’ long-standing dispute with the government. The Supreme Court vindicated the Team’s position.

Revoking the trademarks hasn’t prevented the team from continuing to use the nickname, but, according to Forbes, it did erase important protections that serve to cause many individuals and corporations to file for such protections in the first place, such as preventing others from using the nickname for profit.

With Monday’s ruling, it’s expected the Redskins not only will be allowed to resume their legal fight for reinstatement of the trademarks but also likely will prevail in that fight.

The Supreme Court had left the NFL team’s case pending in a federal appeals court in order to hear Simon Tam’s challenge for the Portland, Ore.-based rock band.

Warren Sapp announces he’ll donate brain to concussion research

Authentic Kids Earl Mitchell Jersey
Hall of Famer Warren Sapp admitted playing football has taken more than a physical toll on him.

The former defensive tackle announced he will donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation in a video posted by The Player’s Tribune on Tuesday.

I’ve also started to feel the effects of the hits that I took in my career, Sapp said. My memory ain’t what it used to be … So when it comes to concussions, CTE and how we can make our game safer for future generations, I wanted to put my two cents in — to help leave the game better off than it was when I started playing.

This is the first time it feels realistic, Gray, 25, said at Coors Field of his impending return. I feel ready.

He will get another rehab start Monday for Triple-A Albuquerque at Sacramento with, according to the Post, a pitch limit of 80.

Authentic Kids Russell Wilson Jersey How he looks in that start will determine whether the team will activate him for a key three-game road series next weekend against the second-place Dodgers. The addition of Gray, who was 10-10 in 2016 with a 4.61 ERA, would provide depth and potential bullpen alternatives for manager Bud Black.

Colorado (43-26) also continues to hope 2016 wins leader Chad Bettis might return this season after having offseason testicular cancer surgery and then undergoing chemotherapy this spring when blood work showed the disease had returned.

Bettis, 14-8 last season, rejoined the team 10 days ago and at that point estimated that his physically he felt similar to returning after a month of rest in the winter, with offseason strength work and spring training still to come, the Post reported.

Either way, Collins said he would love to have the talent Millsap does.

2017 MLB All-Star Game voting: Bryce Harper pushing 3 million

Bryce Harper, like his Washington Nationals in the NL East, is making All-Star voting a runaway.

With just more than three weeks to go before this year’s game, July 11 at Marlins Park, Harper is pushing toward 3 million votes, with 2,827,330, in a balloting update announced Monday by MLB.

He and Nats teammate Daniel Murphy, who leads at second base by more than 1 million votes, the widest margin at any position, are two of three players — along with the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon — to have 2 million votes.
Johnthan Banks Mens Jersey
Jason Heyward has a tenuous hold on the third outfield spot in the race for an NL starting position, leading teammate Ben Zobrist, in fourth place, by 85,529 votes as of Monday.
Travis Swanson Mens Jersey
Never the star but a star in his role, Hill will give any team a floor manager and solid defender at point guard. He has shot over 40 percent on 3-pointers the past two seasons, but he won’t take over possessions. He’ll make sure the stars get touches.

At age 31, Hill likely doesn’t have many super-productive years left. He should age nicely in the right lineup, though, and he will not disrupt the locker room chemistry.

Where Hill lands could depend on how the point-guard situations shake out in free agency. Only speculation, but a Spurs reunion would be a nice way for Hill to finish his career.