Undrafted, not unwelcome: Disappointing draft nights don’t end journey for many NBA hopefuls

In the second quarter of an early February game in Portland, Mavericks rookie point guard Yogi Ferrell, with the ink barely dry on the 10-day contract he had signed just days earlier, scored 14 points in the first 13 minutes of the game, drawing the attention of ESPN broadcaster Dave Pasch.

You could make the case, Pasch said during the broadcast, of anybody that’s ever signed a 10-day contract, (Yogi is) playing better than anybody. He’s averaging 13 (points) per game, he’s a starter, he has 14 points tonight and he’s on day seven of a 10-day contract.
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The Panthers have made a consistent financial and depth commitment to their front four under GM Dave Gettleman, and the results (see their increase to 47 sacks last season) have been there. No wonder they didn’t hesitate to re-up with their best returning veteran ends, Charles Johnson and Mario Addison, before locking up elite franchise tackle Kawann Short at five years and $80 million. They also brought back Julius Peppers after all these years to their 4-3 and essentially replaced 2014 second-rounder Kony Ealy (traded to Patriots) with third-round draft pick Daeshon Hall.
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Their rotation is loaded inside and out. Peppers and Hall will bring good situational energy. The key for Carolina has been keeping players fresh and motivated, whether it’s been on early or passing downs. Peppers this year can give them more than Jared Allen did in 2015, and the high-upside Hall has more to his motor than Ealy. The Panthers should be a stronger unit overall, in position to jump Arizona for the league’s most productive pass rush.

NBA free agency: Pau Gasol will decline $16.2 million option to remain with Spurs

Pau Gasol is the ultimate team player.

The Warriors won the NBA Finals in 2015, while the Cavaliers won it in 2016 after being down three games to one in the best-of-seven. Now the NBA world gets the pleasure of Cavs vs. Warriors III to break the tie once and for all … well, until Cavs vs. Warriors IV in 2018.

This year’s Warriors squad has something those other Finals teams didn’t: Kevin Durant. The superstar forward joined Golden State last offseason. He told reporters he made the “100 percent correct” decision to leave the Thunder and form a super team with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2017 NBA Finals, aka Cavs vs. Warriors III, including schedule, game times and TV channels.

The 2017 NBA Finals begin Thursday, June 1, in Oakland, Calif., home of the Warriors. The 2017 NBA Finals could end as early as Friday, June 9, if the best-of-seven series lasts just four games, or as late as Sunday, June 18, if the series goes a full seven games.

There’s also an issue with Kristaps Porzingis, who reportedly has some frustrations with the team.

The Knicks have missed the playoffs for four straight seasons, and unless something dramatic changes, we probably can expect more ineptitude from the franchise in the coming years.

Before there was Kareem and Magic, there was Lew Alcindor and The Big O. As his formerly named self, Abdul-Jabbar enjoyed the first of two MVP seasons for Milwaukee, averaging 31.7 points and 16.0 rebounds as he built his legacy as the best center in NBA history.

JaVale McGee responds to Cavs player who said he’s not ‘smart enough’ for NBA Finals

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JaVale McGee had a famous spat with Shaquille O’Neal this season, and he’ll probably have a similar type of aggression towards whatever unnamed Cavs player said he wasn’t smart enough for the NBA Finals. While the Cavs player didn’t say this publicly, he apparently told it to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin who then relayed it on ESPN’s The Basketball Analogy Show.

Here’s what McMenamin said to colleague Brian Windhorst:

We have decided to award NBA All-Star 2019 to Charlotte based on this deep connection and the belief that we can honor our shared values of equality and inclusion, and we are excited to bring the All-Star Game back to Charlotte for the first time in 28 years.
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While we understand the concerns of those who say the repeal of HB2 did not go far enough, we believe the recent legislation eliminates the most egregious aspects of the prior law. Additionally, it allows us to work with the leadership of the Hornets organization to apply a set of equality principles to ensure that every All-Star event will proceed with open access and anti-discrimination policies. All venues, hotels and businesses we work with during All-Star will adhere to these policies as well.

Sports have a long history of helping to change attitudes around important social issues. We believe holding our All-Star activities in Charlotte will be a powerful way for the NBA to continue this tradition.

The 2019 All-Star Weekend will be held on a Friday through Sunday, Feb. 15-17.

NBA Finals 2017: Odd technical fouls involving Draymond Green add to confusion

Almost everyone watching, calling and playing in Friday’s Game 4 of the NBA Finals thought Draymond Green had been ejected in the third quarter when he was called for a technical foul.

Green was assessed a weak technical after a demonstrative reaction to a foul in the third quarter. The tech came on the heels of a technical foul called earlier in the game that was initially recorded as a technical foul on Green. But that tech had actually been called on Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

ABC analysts and reporters claimed the scorer’s table was told Green had been given the first technical foul. Apparently that was incorrect and the referees, following a long and confusing delay, corrected the error and Green was allowed to remain in the game.

I haven’t (talked to any upcoming free agents) yet. I was focused on trying to get as far as I can in the playoffs. And also focusing on why Brad Stevens ain’t in the Coach of the Year conversation, Thomas said Friday during his exit interview with the media, via USA Today. That’s BS.

Limited Youth Kenny Britt Jersey The Celtics had the best record in the Eastern Conference and advanced to the conference finals before getting ousted in five games by the second-seeded Cavaliers, who are the defending NBA champs and in the NBA Finals for the third straight year.
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It’s easy to see why Thomas is upset. While he likely has no beef with Popovich or D’Antoni, Spoelstra’s Heat may have overachieved this season by going 41-41, but they did miss the playoffs. Popovich is the favorite to win the award, but should it go to Spoelstra, he’d be the first coach since Doc Rivers in 2000 to win the award with a .500 record and no playoff appearance.

Mercilus beat both Bengals tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher with speed rushes off the edge.

Without Bell, the Steelers’ offense was not it’self. They ran only 20 rushing plays, for an average gain of just 2.7 yards. They averaged 5.1 yards per rush in their first two playoff games. They failed to control the pace of the game, giving the Patriots’ quick-strike offense entirely too much time on the field. Pittsburgh had two first-and-goal situations, one from the 1-yard line and one from the 6-yard line. Those opportunities yielded just three points.

Not having a healthy Bell was an obvious obstacle for the Steelers. ‘No question,’ coach Mike Tomlin said. ‘But injuries are part of the game. We didn’t do a good enough job, or quick enough job, adapting to the circumstances.’

That has been a big part of Bell’s four years with the Steelers they’ve had to adapt to a lot of circumstances around him. He is certainly a personality and ego that requires some management, such as during this week when he compared his game-changing skills to the impact Stephen Curry has had on basketball. Or at the beginning of the year, when he released a song under his alter ego, ‘Juice,’ called ‘I’m the Man.’

The Texans will come after Cook, though Houston has only 31 sacks, which ranks 24th in the league. Nine of those sacks came in the first two games, wins over the Bears and Chiefs. That was with J.J. Watt, who was lost for the season after three weeks with a back injury.

Houston did sack Dalton three times on Christmas Eve as Whitney Mercilus collected two of his 7 1/2 sacks this season.

Mercilus beat both Bengals tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher with speed rushes off the edge. Mercilus did a great job of dipping his shoulders to get underneath the linemens hands.


Raiders’ Matt McGloin a wild card at QB for playoff game vs. Texans

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Another wrinkle of uncertainty has been added to the Raiders’ quarterback situation heading into next weekend’s AFC wild-card game against the Texans.
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Matt McGloin, thrust into starting duty with MVP candidate Derek Carr out for the season, injured his non-throwing shoulder in the first half of Sunday’s 24-6 loss to the Broncos and did not return, casting some doubt over his starting status for the playoff opener. That may have been in question anyway based on how McGloin played before exiting.

The fourth-year pro was just 6 of 11 for 21 yards passing when he took a late hit by Broncos defensive end Jared Crick with less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter.

Trailing 17-0 at halftime, the Raiders placed their chances at clinching the No. 2 seed in the AFC in the arm of Connor Cook, a 2016 fourth-round draft pick making his NFL debut.

The Michigan State product went 14 for 21 for 150 yards with one touchdown and two turnovers an interception and a fumble while leading Oakland’s only two scoring drives.

To put it in perspective, those numbers are on par with past Senior Bowl standouts Russell Wilson and Derek Carr, who I have charted using the same process.

By comparison, Peterman’s North roster quarterback competitor, Iowa’s CJ Beathard, was just 9 for 16 (with three receiver drops) but with four incorrect progressions. Beathard has looked noticeably less confident and poised in his read progressions and far less ready for the NFL.

Dolphins QB Matt Moore crushed by Steelers’ Bud Dupree

With the Dolphins down 20-3 in the second quarter of the AFC wild-card game against Pittsburgh, it looked as if Miami’s day couldn’t get much worse.

But Steelerslinebacker Bud Dupree reminded the Dolphins and quarterback Matt Moore that, actually, it could.Dupree absolutely blasted Moore on a Dolphins rollout pass, seemingly knocking him out of the game and earning a roughing the passer penalty in the process.

Surprisingly, Moore re-entered the game on that same drive. Reporters on the CBS telecast said Moore took the brunt of the blow to his jaw, and that he had cleared concussion protocol.
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To his credit, Moore helped the Dolphins close the gap with the Steelers: Miami endedthe drive with a field goal to bring the score to 20-6.

Welcome to the weekend of Big Chunk Plays.
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No, not blow chunks. But NFL offenses and players seeking big chunks of yardage.

That cliche was the buzzword during Sunday’s Week 17. I first heard it from NFL insider Josina Anderson on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown.

Then Joe Buck and Troy Aikman of Fox went big chunk crazy while calling the Giants’ 19-10 win over the Redskins Sunday. During the pre-game intro, Buck said the Redskins were as good as it gets in the NFL when it comes to pulling off the the big plays, the big chunks.

Aikman elaborated during the game. These Redskins, they want to stretch you vertically and get big chunks in the passing game, he said.

When you hear big chunks during NFL playoff games this weekend, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks headed to 10-day DL

The Cubs still haven’t been able to get things going this season, and will now be without starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks for a while.

Hendricks, who led MLB in ERA last season, was placed on the 10-day disabled list Thursday with right hand tendinitis.

Huntington has led the Pirates organization since September 2007, and has helped the team build its farm system, find bargain free agents, and post three straight winning seasons from 2013-2015, snapping a streak of 20 straight losing seasons for the Pirates. Hurdle came aboard before the 2011 season and has a 536-497 mark in Pittsburgh.

Brandon Marshall Mens Jersey It’s hard to fault Hurdle or Huntington for the various problems that have hampered the Bucs this year. Starling Marte has more than a month to go in serving an 80-game suspension for violating MLB’s PED rules. Utility man Jung Ho Kang has not played in 2017, unable to get a visa to re-enter the U.S. after facing a DUI court date in South Korea in the offseason. Young pitching star Jameson Taillon has been sidelined for more than a month after being diagnosed with testicular cancer (he’s expected to return to action Monday). And five-time All-Star and former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen has mysteriously struggled at the plate.

Going against the grain in any profession, be it baseball or a traditional office job, can have severe costs 鈥?though Sain’s misfortune proved a bonanza for Mazzone.

Leo, I’ve been looking for somebody to take all of my information, Sain told Mazzone. Understand it, use it, do whatever you want with it.

Sain added something else, though: There’s a lot of people that don’t want it.

Chris Doleman Mens Jersey So many years later, Mazzone knows all too well what Sain meant.

Darrelle Revis’ lawyers say his voice doesn’t match graphic video of fight aftermath

Darrelle Revis’ legal team is denying his is the voice on a newly surfaced graphic video that shows two men knocked out cold following an alleged fight with the Jets cornerback.

In the video, which was released Sunday, an unidentified voice is heard saying, “Shut up before I knock your a— out next” while the camera pans over two unconscious men.

Revis was arrested over the weekend for his alleged role in the Feb. 12 incident.

Police allege the 31-year-old NFL star knocked the two men unconscious after one tailed him with a cell phone on a street in Pittsburgh. A second unidentified man intervened in the fight in Revis’ defense, police said, and could be the voice in the video, which was shot by a bystander.

Footage from the victim’s phone, which includes Revis on camera, has not been released to the public.

Albert, 32, has two years left on his contract and will make $8.9 million this season. The Heralnd reported the Jaguars might be willing to extend the deal to sweeten the pot.

The 28-year-old Thomas carries a $8.3 million cap hit in 2017 with three years remaining on his deal.

“It’s been a great 10 years with the Minnesota Vikings,” Peterson said in a statement released to ESPN. “They know what I bring to the organization as a player, with my work ethic and dedication. I spoke with Rick Spielman this past weekend. The door is still open to find some common ground. I understand addressing the offensive line is one of their main priorities this offseason.

“In the meantime, I will explore my other options and see what path God leads me on. My main goal remains the same: to win a Super Bowl championship with a great team, which I also believe we have in Minnesota.”texans_137

The best Super Bowl-winning teams, ranked 1-51

Tom Brady made a big, big, big mistake. His pass intended for Danny Amendola on a rub route was read perfectly and picked off by Atlanta cornerback Robert Alford, who returned it 82 yards for a touchdown. It was devastating for the Patriots not only because they had driven 52 yards in 12 plays to get near the red zone, but the pick occurred with just over two minutes to play in the half. It was the first time Brady had thrown a pick six in the postseason. 21-0, Falcons.

Hooper caught the ball, which basically fell right into his arms, for a 19-yard touchdown. Julio Jones again made a key play on the scoring drive with a toe-dragging, 18-yard catch on the sideline. The five-play, 62-yard drive took just 1:49 off the clock. Of note: No team has ever come back from a two-touchdown deficit in the Super Bowl. 14-0, Falcons.

Maybe the most glaring and surprising omission from the Combine, Gilbert has been a productive, versatile and consistent edge rusher for the last two years. He was a big reason for Colorado’s surprising success this year.

As is the case with all edge rushers, the Combine testing numbers will be essential to his draft grade. Colorado is loaded with NFL talent this year, so he’ll have every NFL team in attendance when he finally gets to test. But he might be the most glaring missing player at this year’s Combine.

One of the most productive small school linebackers in the country, Herdman was a late Senior Bowl call-up due to injuries at the position, and he emerged as a quality 3-4 inside linebacker prospect.
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Limited Kids Julien Davenport Jersey While he’s a bit stiff and wouldn’t have tested overly well in quickness-based drills, his explosiveness and power testing could have helped earn him a draft pick. After impressing in his ideal role at the Senior Bowl, Herdman is still a small school name to remember as the draft nears.