Month: July 2017

Steelers sign Alejandro Villanueva to 4-year extension

Alejandro Villanueva received the offer he’s been waiting for.

The Steelers on Thursday announced they have signed the offensive tackle and Army Ranger to an undisclosed four-year contract extension. According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, the deal is worth $24 million.

Villanueva, who wasn’t under contract because he didn’t sign his exclusive rights tender of $615,000, said he couldn’t be more proud to continue his career with a franchise that makes him feel valued both on and off the field.

“Sometimes when I walk into the locker room, Carmelo (Anthony) will start talking like a cowboy and be like, ‘You from Kaaansaas, home of James Naaaaismith,'” Baker said with a drawl. “It’s gotten more hysterical as I’ve gotten to know the guys.”

Baker’s trying to get to know the city as well despite not being near his usual wide-open spaces surrounded by wheat. He drives 45 minutes from White Plains to Madison Square Garden, trying not to get lost along the way.

“In Kansas, you base all directions on where the sun is — it’s something you just naturally do,” Baker said. “Here, sometimes you can’t see the sun because of the buildings and I’ll be like, ‘I don’t know where I am.'”

There have been other minor difficulties off the court for Baker as well.

“The first couple of times I pulled up to the MSG parking lot and told the security guard I was a player, the guy did a double time and seemed skeptical,” Baker said.

“But now when they see my Hyundai Sonata roll in, they know who it is and that business is coming.”

Despite being a walk-on at Wichita State and going undrafted in 2016, Baker has made multiple starts for the 22-29 Knicks this season. Hopefully the Knicks will let Baker stick around unlike Lin. t_rangers_014-115x115

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Jerry Krause, GM of six Bulls title teams, dies at 77

Jerry Krause, the general manager Bulls fans loved to hate but the man in charge when their team won six NBA titles, died Tuesday. He was 77.

While Lillard went off, Goran Dragic floundered. The Slovenian point guard shot a paltry 6 of 22 from the floor, missed all but one of seven 3-point attempts and logged just three assists to two turnovers in the Heat’s loss at home.

Among 76ers forward Dario Saric’s four assists against the Celtics was this no-look gem to Richaun Holmes.

Warriors (55-14) at Thunder (40-29), 8 p.m. ET, TNT — Kevin Durant will be in the building, as he’s traveling with the Warriors for the first time since he injured his knee Feb. 28, but he won’t be playing against his former mates. Still, we’re sure some OKC fans will be donning their cupcake/KowarD T-shirts.

Game Mens Latavius Murray Jersey More importantly, Golden State needs to start winning games while Durant mends. They’re on an uncharacteristic 5-5 run and have the Spurs threatening to overtake the top spot in the West.

Authentic Youth Connor Shaw Jersey In sixth place in the conference, the Thunder still have plenty of work to do as well.

Divac’s first year at the helm in Sacramento was befuddling at times and disappointing throughout. But he turned that around in the wake of the poorly-handled DeMarcus Cousins deal pulled off at the trade deadline.

This is the first time the Warriors have lost four of six regular season games under Steve Kerr and they could be in for another Saturday against the Spurs. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Green will be sitting out to rest on the second half of the back to back.

There are two ways in particular Williams like to score out of the pick-and-roll

Darcy Tucker Youth Jersey Ball has improved as the season has gone on, and finished with a sterling 42.0 percent mark from the 3-point line despite a notably awkward shot. He’s also scored 33 points on 17 shot attempts in UCLA’s two tourney wins. He has driven a UCLA offense that has been incredibly efficient. The Bruins scored 97 points in its opener and had 79 to follow up, shooting 56.2 percent as a team in those two games with just nine total turnovers.

Ball’s defense has gotten better, too, and he’ll need to show that against Fox, who struggles as a perimeter shooter (23.4 percent) but gets to the rim with ease—a skill that was on display in the first matchup, when Fox was able to attack the Bruin defense even when Ball went under screens. But scouts want to see more than scoring from Fox, who has to prove himself as a playmaker. In five postseason games, going back to the start of the SEC tournament, Fox is averaging 19.8 points on 54.8 percent shooting, but he has had only 12 total assists in those games.
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There are two ways in particular Williams like to score out of the pick-and-roll, the first being with pull-ups. Take free throws out of the equation and Williams is scoring 38.1 percent of his points this season from pull-ups, over half of which are coming from the 3-point-line. When defenders go underneath screens in an effort to keep him out of the paint, Williams won’t hesitate to light it up from deep.

The second way Williams likes to score out of the pick-and-roll is with floaters. According to NBA Savant, Williams is just one of three players this season to attempt at least 100 floaters, and he’s made 48.2 percent of those opportunities. So when he starts to get it rolling from the 3-point line, teams can’t simply counter him by running him off the perimeter.

Pacers’ Paul George frustrated with ‘dark moment’ of trade uncertainty

At one point Thursday, Paul George looked like a lock to join the Celtics.

He ultimately stayed put, maintaining his position as the Pacers’ franchise player, but Indiana may have done some damage with its star player.

All my family is in L.A. so I would be able to play in front of them. That would mean more to me, Ball said on ESPN’s Sports Nation Thursday.

Ball, who hails from Chino Hills, Calif., was the only freshman named first-team All-American after averaging 14.7 points per game, 6.1 rebounds and 7.6 assists for UCLA.

Which NBA team holds the No. 2 overall pick will be determined with the draft lottery, but the Lakers currently are in position with the third-worst record in the league. Ball would fit in well with the Lakers’ young, talented core and, despite his poor shooting motion, could have an instant impact in the league.
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Elite Mens Tyrell Williams Jersey There have been times this season when it’s been easy to foresee Adebayo having a place in the NBA as a strong paint presence on the defensive end and a guy who can control the boards鈥攖hink Bismack Biyombo. There are other times, though, when his lack of an offensive repertoire and inconsistency, reading defenses make him an obvious risk.

He is an athletic, tough defender, and a key role player for the Wildcats if they’re to have an extended NCAA run. Adebayo’s draft range is pretty wide, anywhere from 15 or so down into the early second round. The more he looks like an NBA-quality big man in the next couple of weeks, the more likely he secures a spot in the middle of the first round.

NBA free agency: Sergio Rodriguez headed back to EuroLeague, reports say

Sergio Rodriguez’s trans-Atlantic basketball career is headed back to the EuroLeague.

The well-traveled guard, who began his NBA career in 2006 with the Trail Blazers and also had stints with the Knicks and Kings, has signed a long-term contract with CSKA Moscow, according to freelance pro basketball reporter David Pick.

NBA free-agent Sergio Rodriguez, former Euroleague MVP, agreed on long-term deal with CSKA Moscow till 2020.

According to CBS Sports, Rodriguez will step in at CSKA Moscow for Milos Teodosic, who will begin his NBA career this season with the Clippers.

He could have two statues and among today’s players is the only one who merits an argument for the NBA’s Mount Rushmore. He delivered two titles in Miami during his four seasons with the Heat, when he won two MVPs, two Finals MVPs and led Miami to four straight Finals appearances.

James also should be cast in bronze for what he did for his home-area Cavaliers, delivering their first ever title in historic fashion during his second tour of duty. At age 22 and in only his second postseason, the Akron native carried the Cavs to their first-ever Finals berth.

He highlighted his return to the Cavs in 2014 by taking the team to its second Finals, in 2015. Then he delivered on his promise to bring Northeast Ohio a pro sports title, its first since the Browns in 1964, when he led the greatest Finals comeback in history after the Cavs trailed the Warriors last June, 3-1.

James is one of only a handful of players to win four MVPs, to go along with three Finals MVPs. He is favored to make it to his seventh straight Finals this June and is fast closing in on being only the seventh player in history to score at least 30,000 points. On the dual statue issue, the only question is do they forgive him in Miami for leaving?steelers_123

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Dodgers continue record pace as playoff contenders begin shopping sprees

The deals in MLB are beginning to heat up ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, but it seems everyone is simply trying to catch up to the Dodgers.

The Diamondbacks added another bat to bolster their lineup before Tuesday’s win over the Reds by acquiring J.D. Martinez from the Tigers. But Arizona is simply playing for wild-card spot because the Dodgers are on a record pace.

Alshon Jeffery Kids Jersey Behind seven shutout innings from ace Clayton Kershaw, who improved to 15-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.07, the Dodgers won their 10th straight with a 1-0 victory over the White Sox.
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Yu Darvish, Rangers. Here’s what he said at the All-Star Game: Liking Texas and signing a deal are two different things. … It’s all business. Translation: If the Rangers struggle at all over the next two weeks, the right-hander (6-8, 3.49 ERA) will be shopped before he becomes a free agent. (Oh, and Cole Hamels could be had, too.)

Lance Lynn, Cardinals. Rarely sellers, the Cardinals are trying to make that determination, and Lynn is in the big middle of it. After a self-described dead arm resulted in his ERA ballooning from 2.69 to 3.86, Lynn (8-6) has consecutive quality starts. I said earlier this season that I would like to be here for a long time, Lynn told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. That hasn’t changed. It’s a business. I know how it goes. We control what we control. If the other teams win it could change. I have control of what I do — where I throw the pitch.

Marco Estrada, Blue Jays. Team president Mark Shapiro is taking calls after a bad first half (though he says he still thinks the Jays are talented enough to contend). Estrada’s 4-6 mark and 5.17 ERA would mean a team is taking a risk, but he might benefit from a change of scenery and then walk at season’s end.

General manager Sam Presti deserves a lot of credit for getting this done.

So the team needed someone who could start at the 4 position next to newly acquired Paul George. In Patterson, they get exactly that. His per-36 averages of 10 points, six rebounds and two assists might not jump off the page, but he provides exactly the type of production that NBA teams look for out of low-usage players. He hit 37 percent of his 3s in over three years in Toronto, plus provides a lot of defensive versatility as a 4-man who can guard both in the post and out on the perimeter.

And this contract is at an absolute bargain basement level. The Thunder are likely using their taxpayer mid-level exception here to get Patterson for $5.192 million to start, making the actual total dollar figure on the contract $16,354,800. To get a 28-year-old starter for right around $5 million per season is a steal in this marketplace, and they’re paying for what will essentially the last of his prime years.
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Ricardo Allen Youth Jersey General manager Sam Presti deserves a lot of credit for getting this done.

For the second straight year, the Celtics have made a massive splash in free agency. This time, the Celtics get Gordon Hayward from Utah on what will ostensibly be a three-year contract that takes him to his age 30 season. Those three years will take him past his 10th year in the NBA, qualifying him for the maximum contract any NBA player is entitled to at 35 percent of the salary cap.

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant had been struggling to live up to the MVP-winning pace he set last year, but he found his swing in a 6-1 win over the Pirates. Bryant went 4 for 5 with two home runs (18) and a triple. He became the first Cubs player to jack two home runs and record a triple since Todd Walker in 2004.

Richard Sherman on NBA-NFL salary differences: ‘Players have to be willing to strike’

Elite Robert Blanton Jersey Many players, from Sammy Watkins to Emmanuel Sanders, have voiced their displeasure about their NFL salaries compared to players in the NBA and MLB.

With NBA free agency in its first month, several six-figure contracts have made headlines. There is one thing both NBA and MLB players have in common — they have gone on strike in past seasons.
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If we want, as the NFL, as a union, to get anything done, players have to be willing to strike. That’s the thing that guys need to 100-percent realize, Sherman said at the ESPYs Wednesday.

I told him before we came out here that my wife and I were trying to have a baby, and he told Karla something on a plane ride somewhere … and it worked, Reuter said. My daughter just turned 17 a little bit ago. So thanks for that too, B.

Bonds and the audience erupted in laughter. So naturally, reporters later asked Bonds what exactly he’d said to Karla Reuter that worked. We’ll let Bonds explain the process in detail in this bizarrely entertaining interview.

I was just joking, Bonds said. But I did it and it worked for me and I said, ‘Go ahead, you try it.’

Almost 1,000 fans attended the 40-minute ceremony honoring baseball’s all-time home run king. Several of Bonds former teammates attended, as did Giants greats Willie McCovey and Willie Mays, Bonds godfather.

I love you guys so much, Bonds said in addressing the crowd (via the Washington Post). I’ve always made the statement when people say, How are your fans in San Francisco?’ I say I never had any fans, I’ve always had family because I was raised here.’ I just want to thank you for giving me opportunity to entertain the city that has embraced me and my family for so many years.

Nikola Jokic and Mike Miller have the NBA’s most underrated friendship

Nikola Jokic played himself into the conversation as the best young player in the NBA this season. It may have even been fair to call the Nuggets’ 21-year-old big man an All-Star snub. He finished the season averaging 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.

Lonzo Ball’s basketball future is up to him. His off-court financial future is in his father’s hands, and it’s risky. He’s alienating lots of people. But all things considered, he could have been the very picture of decorum in all his public dealings, and plenty would still resent him for wanting his family, instead of the Knight or Plank families, to benefit from Lonzo’s talent.

Know this, though: When last month he was called “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years,” it wasn’t just because he gave bat-stuff crazy interviews. The man who said it, George Raveling, is both a top Nike executive and a former college basketball coach.

Anyone who spooks both the shoe industry and the amateur sports cartel that much can’t be all bad.

Al-Farouq Aminu ranked in the top 10 in postseason scoring among small forwards, averaging a dozer points per night in four games against the Warriors, but in a conference that features elite scorers at the position like Kawhi Leonard (29.7), Gordon Hayward (22.3) and Kevin Durant (19.7), Portland needs to load up.

“It takes a lot more than one good player, two good players, three good players,” he said. “You need to have a collective unit. Obviously, Paul George would help any team in the NBA.”
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Internet grills James Harden, Rockets over baffling blowout loss to Spurs

With Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker out for Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals, James Harden was expected to dominate the Spurs.

Instead, Jonathon Simmons and LaMarcus Aldridge led a perfectly executed game plan by Gregg Popovich to hold Harden and the Rockets to just 75 points in a 39-point win. Harden made just two field goals, had six turnovers and registered a minus-28 as Houston shot just over 30 percent in the loss.

From reporters to fans, here’s how the internet reacted after the Spurs built on their 19-point halftime lead to embarrass the Rockets and move on to face the Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

Celtics guard Marcus Smart shot just 2 of 9 from the floor and scored nine points, but he also had eight assists on a sloppy night.

We all could have been better, said Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who was also T-d up twice in the fourth quarter.

Limited Youth Mark Herzlich Jersey Without Tony Parker, the Spurs will try to win at Houston, where they won twice during the regular season. Kawhi Leonard was on fire in San Antonio’s Game 2 victory, but Houston’s James Harden has struggled to get on track in the series.

Limited Youth Oakland Raiders Jersey The Warriors, absent coach Steve Kerr for a second straight game, now have the chance to rest up and get healthy before their next roadblock on the route to the Finals.

Dwight Howard scored 16 points with 15 rebounds to help the Hawks beat the Wizards 111-101 and even the series at two games apiece. Seven Hawks finished in double figures on the night, but it was Howard’s dominant presence in the paint that helped Atlanta out-muscle an undersized Wizards squad.