The league has always had a parity problem

The biggest surprise of all was Lonzo Ball, the Los Angeles Lakers’ highly touted No. 2 pick who only scored 5 points on 2-of-15 shooting. Ball showed the court vision and pinpoint accuracy he hangs his hat on, finding Brandon Ingram for an alley-oop on the game’s very first play. But an uncharacteristically poor shooting night underscored an otherwise solid NBA debut.

Instead, guys like the Clippers’ late picks Brice Johnson and Sindarius Thornwell had impressive showings. Cleveland cruised to a 29-point victory over the Bucks, and several of the Kings’ promising young players showed why the franchise could finally be headed in the right direction in the post-DeMarcus Cousins era.

Regardless, only three parties came away clear winners on Friday night. In case you were out partying, fell asleep, or just flat-out forgot basketball was a go, this is for you:

Fans could see an East All-Star starting lineup of two of either Isaiah Thomas, Kyle Lowry, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, or DeMar DeRozan; LeBron James, Gordon Hayward, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

As for the reserves, the remaining guards will shine, as will Kemba Walker. Kevin Love will probably be named an All-Star provided he doesn’t get traded, and let’s hope Kristaps Porzingis emerges without Phil Jackson around. After that, who are we talking about? Al Horford? Andre Drummond bounce back? Joel Embiid if he stays healthy? Hassan Whiteside? Bradley Beal?

The league has always had a parity problem. It’s the reason competitive balance was emphasized when negotiating the new collective bargaining agreement.

But once a spike in the salary cap afforded the Warriors the financial liberty to sign Durant last summer — adding to a team that already broke the record for most wins in a season — competitive balance went out the window. The Warriors may have hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June, but they were crowned champions in the court of public opinion 11 months earlier.

Arron Afflalo, Magic agree to 1-year deal, per report

Arron Afflalo has agreed to a one-year deal with the Orlando Magic, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The contract is worth the veterans minimum $2.1 million. This will be Afflalo’s second stint in Orlando, after he averaged 17 points per game for the Magic over two seasons from 2012 to 2014.

On Thursday, the Spurs renounced Simmons. He had been a restricted free agent, allowing San Antonio to match any contract he received. Instead, the 27-year-old second-year player hit the open market, although it’s not quick clear why the Spurs had to renounce him in the first place.

Simmons was discovered by the Spurs and moved up through the D-League before finding himself making the San Antonio roster. Last year, he averaged about six points, although he only shot 42 percent from the field. Still, while the athletic 6’6 guard may not be a traditional prospect given his age, he showed that he’s a solid player in the backcourt. His biggest downside is his inconsistent shotmaking.

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Like most people, back in 2013 I assumed Ainge would work the first two avenues the hardest during his rebuilding process. Free agency seemed like a distant dream. The Celtics had the history but not the location. The culture was under construction and winning was a long way away. The fact that they had never even attempted to enter high-stakes free agency hung ominously in the background.

For a time, the Celtics followed the expected path. Ainge drafted several players who played important roles and filled out the rest of the roster with shrewd trades that had an eye out for untapped potential. When the time came to make a big move, the kind that would put the Celtics into contention, that figured to be the best way toward acquiring the missing pieces to the puzzle.

There are a number of athletes that are popular in the NBA

There are players like Kyrie Irving who, despite his flaws, has proved his worth as a star off the court through his flashy handle, quirky personality, and his ability to hit tough shots. That’s why his signature shoe is Nike’s second-best seller.

Irving is cut from a different cloth, unlike Wiggins. Tons of players can dunk on people, but no one — with the possible exception of Stephen Curry — can put guys on the floor quite like Irving can. That shines bright even when Irving plays in the shadow of LeBron James. Irving built national appeal even without James through game-winning shots and sick crossovers

Limited Mens Jimmie Ward Jersey There are a number of athletes that are popular in the NBA, but there are only a few that are able to extend their brand above the rest of the league, Courtney Brunious, the associate director of USC’s Marshall Sports Business Institute, told me.

Because Irving was able to create a character and a niche for himself, Brunious said, he was able to overcome playing in the shadow of James from a brand standpoint.

Caldwell-Pope was able to sign a sizable one-year deal worth $17.8 million with the Lakers because he bet on himself in restricted free agency and turned down a five-year, $80 million extension from the Pistons. Detroit later renounced their rights on him, unable to offer Pope the full $146 million max and unwilling to offer their personal max of $105 million.
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Most players would have taken the long-term deal. Caldwell-Pope, with Paul’s blessing, refused to settle for that.

Steph Curry beat professional golfers at their own sport

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Steph Curry, the NBA basketball player who plays basketball year-round, is good enough at golf to beat six other professional players (three withdrew) in a tournament. He did just that at the Tour, which is sort of like what the G-League is to the NBA, the last two days, carding a 4-over 74 in each of his first two rounds. That wasn’t close to making the cut (he was 11 strokes off), but it was pretty impressive for a basketball player who is merely a fan of the sport and only plays in his off time.

Curry shot a 148 overall, eight strokes above par, so he by no means was competitive amongst the Tour’s top players. He bogeyed four holes and double-bogeyed another, but exceeded expectations.

Seeing what Kaepernick was going through brings back so many flashbacks to Mizzou, Kandice Head, a Mizzou alum who shaped communications strategy for the protests, said.

Paul Krause Authentic Jersey Mizzou taught me a very powerful thing about the status quo and what happens when you threaten it, she said. It’s literally a bubble. And when you penetrate that bubble you un-tap an unimaginable side of people. You see all sorts of anger, defensiveness and fragility.

Head understands the stakes Kaepernick faced with his protest. During the protests at Mizzou, her brother was the president of the student body and she was a prominent voice during the campus’ struggles. Journalists attempting to discredit her, she said, dug through her family’s financial records to paint her as a picture of privilege and not alleged struggle.

To reach portions of White America, she said, sometimes you have to go to desperate lengths to make them aware. As Kaepernick faces the fact that he may never play in the NFL again, Head said his sacrifice is an example of the lengths it takes to make America understand the daily suffering of its non-white citizens.

Roger Goodell said a bunch of nothing about players kneeling during the national anthem

On Sunday, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett joined the ranks of NFL players who are sitting or taking a knee during the national anthem in support of racial equality. Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the topic during an Arizona Cardinals fan forum, but there wasn’t much substance to his statement.

Goodell opened by pointing out that people have different perspectives.

“The national anthem is a special moment to me,” Goodell said. “It’s a point of pride. That is a really important moment. But we also have to understand the other side, that people do have rights and we have to respect those.”

Part of Elliott’s strategy will be to challenge the credibility of his accuser, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Elliott’s appeal will also address his former girlfriend’s threats to ruin his career and misleading testimony to one of the league’s investigators, Lisa Friel, according to the Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill Jr.

The suspension could be upheld or reduced. If that’s the case, Elliott could file a federal lawsuit and ask for an injunction. If granted, he could play until the lawsuit is resolved. But with the Cowboys set to kick off the season on Sept. 10 against the Giants, there’s not much time for Elliott to set that in motion.

The league does have the latitude under its personal conduct policy to suspend players regardless of whether they have been charged with a crime. Elliott’s six-game suspension is the baseline number of games players are supposed to serve for physical violence toward a woman.


Wild become second NHL team in three days with confirmed mumps cases

Wild forwards Jason Pominville and Zach Parise have been diagnosed with mumps, making Minnesota the second team in three days to announce players confirmed with the viral illness.

The A’s are rebuilding, so getting a package of prospects for Gray makes sense, and attaching Alonso to the deal to someone like the Yankees who need a first baseman is something that will help both sides. Alonso doesn’t have the history that makes him a guaranteed masher at first going forward, but he’s an upgrade on Chase Headley, who was pushed to the position by Frazier, and if paying for an upgrade at first is the extra price attached to Gray, then New York won’t have trouble paying it.

It’s hard to define exactly where they are on the rebuilding-reloading spectrum, and that’s the point. Get someone who’s around for the next two years, then.

Yet, at his very core, Tavares remains extremely loyal to the Islanders.

We’ve had great open communication. (New York) is obviously a great place to play and I’ve enjoyed my time being an Islander and I want that to continue. Tavares said to TSN on Tuesday. I just want to try and focus on being ready for the upcoming season and being at my best and being able to contribute.
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Game Womens Jah Reid Jersey That doesn’t sound like someone itching to leave. But should that itch need a scratch, expect the Maple Leafs to be right there in line.

Many players thought the low-stakes environment would mean that they loosened up out there on the field.

Aaaaaand I’m hearing footsteps, so let me clarify that. Blake Rutherford doesn’t have the most impressive stats for a 20-year-old in Low-A, but he has the tools and the pedigree, and prospect mavens are smitten with him.

With zero consequences comes the chance to really ham it up.

I think it’ll be a little more fun and joking, said Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager. We’ll be a little more relaxed. We can have fun with not be as worried about not performing. Obviously you want to perform, but I think it’ll be a lot like home Home Run Derby. You always wanted to treat it like that but couldn’t because it meant so much. It’ll be like backyard whiffle ball tonight.

The players were goofier during the game — Bryce Harper and George Stringer were mic-ed up, bantering with broadcasters from the field. Harper made a spectacular diving catch and then pulled off the most glorious hair flip I’ve ever seen. Yadier Molina took a picture of Nelson Cruz with umpire Joe West when Cruz was at bat.

At the end of 2016, he was a clear Hall of Famer, even if he would have missed on the first ballot like Vladimir Guerrero.

Game Womens Byron Jones Jersey When he got his 3,000th hit, he became a first-ballot Hall of Famer. And he deserves it. He deserved it well before this.
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The third base position is historically underrepresented in the Hall of Fame. Ron Santo needed a grassroots movement to get in. Some of the best hot cornerers of all time have been neglected, like Darrell Evans, Graig Nettles, Buddy Bell, Sal Bando, and Ron Cey. Scott Rolen might fall off the first ballot, even though he’s the ninth-most valuable third baseman in baseball history, according to Baseball-Reference’s WAR.

The Phillies send Jeremy Hellickson to the Orioles

The Orioles are acquiring Jeremy Hellickson from the Phillies, per reports from FanRag’s Jon Heyman. Philadelphia is also sending cash to the Orioles in the deal, as Hellickson is making $17.2 million this season.

Hellickson was scratched from his anticipated Friday start late in the day, beginning speculation about an impending trade. The Brewers were also rumored to be a trade destination for the righty at various points.

Hellickson came to the Phillies in 2015 from the Diamondbacks, and wasn’t stellar this season with a 4.73 ERA and 1.255 WHIP. However, he made 20 starts and was reliable enough that he can offer a drop of stability to the rest of Baltimore’s rotation – which currently has no starter with an ERA under 4.50.

The purpose of the program is to use baseball to get young athletes to the next level, and set them up to achieve not only in the years to come but right away by setting them up to be leaders in their neighborhoods and city immediately.

Elite Youth Brian Quick Jersey To date, 100% of its ambassadors have graduated high school and enrolled in college while a whopping 92% have received some sort of scholarship opportunity through baseball.
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L.E.A.D. was recognized by Mercedes-Benz USA for its impact on the community, and the company is featuring Stewart as an unsung hero in its Greatness Lives Here initiative. Stewart considers Mercedes-Benz’s involvement a sign of hope for the program and the success it has experienced helping young athletes.

With that recognition and a recent grant awarded to the nonprofit, the hope is that it will continue to impact young people in Atlanta for years to come. As Stewart himself knows, community support could be the difference between experiencing later success in life or not.

LB Thomas Davis gets another contract extension from Panthers

Thomas Davis has long said he plans to spend his entire career with the Panthers, but he’s in no hurry to leave.

The All-Pro linebacker has signed an extension that takes his contract through the 2018 season, the team announced Tuesday. NFL Media reported the new deal will net Davis an additional $3 million in guaranteed money between 2017 and 2018.

Davis, 34, has torn the ACL in his right knee three times, most recently in September 2011, but has been at his best the last few seasons. He was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2015 as he led a suffocating Panthers defense that helped the team reach the Super Bowl, and has been picked for the Pro Bowl the last two years.

Davis carries immense respect in the Panthers locker room and was named the NFL’s Man of the Year in 2014 for his charitable work off the field.

“I started trying to pull them out, but I couldn’t because my hands were so weak. The nurses came running in to stop me. You ever had a really bad dream, where you’re trying to run away from a monster or some shit, and you just can’t run? Your legs don’t work like they should, and the monster is coming right behind you, and it’s like you’re in slow motion. That’s what it felt like.”

“At that point in my life, I was doing coke every day. Pretty much every second of free time that I had, I was doing coke. I couldn’t control it. … I didn’t want to control it.”

The rival Bengals swept Cleveland last season, so a victory against Cincinnati would be a big statement for Cleveland. Since beating the Bengals 24-3 on Nov. 16, 2014, the Browns have lost five consecutive two-score games against their in-state rivals. The can’t-miss games on the schedule are home games against the Jets and Titans. The Browns have to win those. Will Brock Osweiler be Cleveland’s starter at Houston? If so, that’s an interesting storyline.

MLB trade deadline winners and losers (well, kind of)

For about 12 minutes on Monday afternoon, Dodgers fans had to be pretty annoyed.

MLB’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline had passed, and instead of landing dominating Orioles closer Zach Britton to team with Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers wound up with only lefty relievers Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani added to the bullpen. And for those 12 minutes, it looked like the team had failed to add prized rental starter Yu Darvish to the rotation behind Clayton Kershaw.
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And then Ken Rosenthal teased Dodger Nation with a tweet.

Will that deal be the difference between the Dodgers breaking their World Series-less drought? (They haven’t been since they won in 1988.) Honestly, there’s no way of knowing. Remember, the postseason produces heroes like Mark Lemke and humbles the best in the sport, and there’s no way of predicting those occurrences.

So instead of definitive MLB trade deadline winners and losers, we’ll hand out good job and you sure about that? awards to the teams that made the biggest moves, or failed to do so.

Francona began instilling Cribbage during his eight-year stretch (2004-11) in the Red Sox’s clubhouse. In Cleveland, starter Josh Tomlin, reliever Bryan Shaw and outfielder Michael Brantley have carried on the tradition for their beloved leader.
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I’m being vulnerable right now, Bennett said. There’s a whole bunch of people sitting at home judging me, but they will never get to this point where they can be vulnerable. Let people attack me because they don’t believe what I believe in, but at the end of the day, I’m being vulnerable to show every person that no matter [what] you believe in, keep fighting for it. Keep fighting for equality. Keep fighting for oppressed people. And keep trying to change society.

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