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Timberwolves GM David Kahn implies NBA lottery is fixed

05.18.11 at 2:00 pm ET
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The NBA draft lottery was held Tuesday night, and the Cavaliers will pick first in the June 23 draft. The Cavaliers had the second-worst record in the league. The Timberwolves had the worst record, so they had the best chance to get the No. 1 pick. When they didn’t get it, Timberwolves general manager David Kahn implied that the lottery is fixed.

Cavaliers team owner Dan Gilbert‘s 14-year-old son, Nick, was the team representative. Nick Gilbert is battling neurofibromatosis, a disease that causes the body’€™s nerves to grow potentially cancerous tumors.

Said Kahn: “This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines. Last year it was Abe Pollin‘€™s widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done.”

Read More: Dan Gilbert, David Kahn, NBA Draft Lottery, Nick Gilbert

NBA officials, players to meet in June in hopes of avoiding lockout

05.18.11 at 1:42 pm ET
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In a similar situation to the NFL, the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement is set to expire at the end of June, but officials from the NBA seem determined to not have a lockout situation like the NFL is dealing with now.

Before the NBA draft lottery Tuesday night, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said that the two sides have agreed to meet in early June in the city of the Western Conference champion (either Dallas or Oklahoma City) to try to come to an agreement on a new deal.

“Both sides are very aware what has happened in the NFL and the disruption to their business caused by the work stoppage. Both the owners and the union want to avoid that at all cost. We’re determined to make progress between now and the end of June,” Silver said.

The players seem to be set on a hard salary cap, while the league wants to try to create a system where the owners can make profits from their investments and all 32 teams have a chance to compete for a NBA championship. The owners are looking to cut players salaries by $750 million next season because projections indicate the league will lose $300 million this season.

It was also pointed out that with the Lakers being knocked out by the Mavericks it gives players association president Derek Fisher a chance to start participating in talks earlier than he would have if the Lakers had advanced.

The NBA has not had a work stoppage since 1998.

Read More: Adam Silver, Derek Fisher, Rumor Mill,

Brian Urlacher: Bears ‘best team in our conference’

05.18.11 at 1:33 pm ET
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Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Despite dropping last year’s NFC championship game, 21-14 to the Packers, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher believes Chicago is the team to beat, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

‘€œI think we’€™re the best team in our conference,’€ Urlacher said while visiting an elementary school in New Mexico as part of the NFL’s Fuel Up To Play 60 program last week. ‘€œI know we’€™re not the Super Bowl champs like the Green Bay Packers. ‘€¦ We want to be the best in our conference and to be there, we’€™ve got to go through Green Bay.’€

Before Urlacher or anyone else can worry about playing football, the NFL and the players must reach an agreement or there will be no 2011 season. Urlacher has maintained his regular preseason workout schedule despite not being allowed to use Chicago’s workout facilities.

Read More: Chicago Bears, NFL,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Charles Barkley calls Heat ‘a whiny bunch’

05.18.11 at 7:44 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY WEDNESDAY:
MLB: Tigers at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley said he admired LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh but called the Heat “a whiny bunch” in reference to the players getting defensive about criticism. During an appearance on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on Chicago radio, Barkley said: “[They say] we don’t like the Miami Heat. First of all, that’s not true at all. Those guys are actually a whiny bunch. They said a couple of times this year, ‘Well the world is happy the Miami Heat [is losing].’ Please don’t flatter yourself. C’mon man.”

‘™¦ Speaking of whining, Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman called Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter a “whiner and excuse-maker” Monday after Carpenter complained about the condition of the mound and lingering smoke from fireworks in Cincinnati following the Reds’ three-game sweep. Brennaman, a member of the Hall of Fame, also said the Cardinals “might be the most disliked team in baseball.” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa responded Tuesday: “[Brennaman] earned the right to get into the Hall of Fame. And now he ought to keep earning that respect instead of abusing it.”

‘™¦ Twins legend Harmon Killebrew passed away Tuesday. In the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Patrick Reusse writes that “Killer” put Minnesota on the baseball map in 1965.

‘™¦ Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard writes in his forthcoming autobiography “The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring” that an unnamed “prominent Olympic coach” sexually abused him.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 18, 1976, Carl Yastrzemski played in his 2,293rd game with the Red Sox, surpassing which player for first place in team history for games played?

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Read More: Charles Barkley, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Harmon Killebrew

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Rush Limbaugh weighs in on Donovan McNabb controversy

05.17.11 at 7:55 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY TUESDAY:
NHL Playoffs: Lightning at Bruins, 8 p.m. (VERSUS)
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, who left an NFL analyst job with ESPN in 2003 after saying that Donovan McNabb was overrated because the media was “very desirous that a black quarterback do well,” came to the defense of the Redskins quarterback this month. Boxer Bernard Hopkins had criticized McNabb for failing to win a title with the Eagles and implied McNabb wasn’t considered a true black man because he had a privileged upbringing.

Said Limbaugh on his radio show Friday: “This poor guy, he cannot catch a break. And it’s disgruntled African-Americans that are jumping down his case, about the way he was raised? It is horrible, it is distasteful. … His parents are out there having to defend the way they raised him, and all they tried to do was give him opportunity after opportunity, expose he and his brother to various things. It’s just amazing to watch this.”

Here’s the video of Limbaugh’s comments in 2003:

‘™¦ Royals reliever Vin Mazzaro allowed 14 runs in Monday’s 19-1 loss to the Indians. Joe Posnanski at Sports Illustrated recaps what he calls “the worst pitching performance in the history of baseball.”

‘™¦ Spurred by the success of 30-year-old Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, Real Clear Sports has a list of the top 10 late bloomers in baseball history. No. 1 is Dazzy Vance, who pitched in the early 1900s. The only player on the list who played for the Red Sox is Dante Bichette (No. 8), who finished his career in Boston in 2000-01.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 17, 1995, who was fired as coach of the Bruins after three seasons and a 120-73-23 record (7-15 in the postseason)?

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Read More: Donovan McNabb, Jose Bautista, Rush Limbaugh, Vin Mazzaro

NFL, NFLPA back in mediation

05.16.11 at 12:45 pm ET
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At least they’re at the table.

Multiple outlets are reporting that representatives for both the NFL and the NFL Players Association have resumed court-ordered talks in Minneapolis to negotiate how the league could end the longest work stoppage in its history. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith were both said to be in attendance along with four team owners (not Robert Kraft) and lawyers for both sides. NFL Network reporter Albert Breer tweeted that no players were in attendance, although Mike Vrabel was scheduled to but had his plane cancelled the night before.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan will preside over the meetings after doing so for four days last month. The two sides will meet in a St. Louis court on June 3 for an appeals court ruling on whether the lockout can legally continue.

Read More: NFL, NFLPA, Rumor Mill,

Near-bankrupt Mets to pay Bobby Bonilla $30M over next 25 years

05.16.11 at 10:59 am ET
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As if the Mets needed more financial troubles.

New York’s second baseball team is going to start paying ex-slugger Bobby Bonilla, who hasn’t played for the Mets since 1999 and retired from all of baseball in 2001,  $1.2 million per year for the next 25 years ($30 million total), according to the New York Post. Bonilla’s big payday comes per an agreement reached between the two sides in order to secure the player’s exit from Queens. Rather than allowing Bonilla to collect $5.9 million for the final year of his contract in 2000, the Mets agreed to cut him but would start paying off the money in 2011 at 8 percent interest over 25 years.

The current ownership group, which was hurt by the schemes of Bernie Madoff among other financial maladies, have been trying to sell a part of the team to stay financially fit.

Bonilla, on the other hand, has been living quite comfortable in his time since leaving the game. According to the Post, he already earns a $500,000-per-year salary from the Orioles under similar circumstances and $200,000 from a job as a “special assistant” to the MLB Players Association. He also owns an $8 million home in Greenwich, Conn.

Read More: Bobby Bonilla, New York Mets,

Family, fans flock to mourn loss of Derek Boogaard

05.16.11 at 10:09 am ET
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Two days after the passing of Derek Boogaard, 350 friends, family and just general fans of the former Wild and Rangers forward gathered at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn., to share in their mourning, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Boogaard’s parents, brothers and sister, Krysten, who was supposed to graduate from University of Kansas on the day of her brother’s death, were all in attendance as were former Wild teammates and the entire team training staff.

When Krysten Boogaard stepped up to speak, she said that “teddy bears” had become somewhat of a comfort because of the nickname her brother had earned from his Wild and Rangers teammates due to his 6-foot-8 frame and kind demeanor.

The event ended with fans gathering together for a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” The Star Tribune noted that the event was started as a Facebook event by 19-year-old Katie Haag and 18-year-old Shelby Leske, Wild fans both. The latter told the newspaper that she believed Boosgaard had helped to bring her and her older brother, an Iraq veteran, closer together.

Funeral services are planned for Tuesday morning in Boogaard’s hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan.

Read More: Derek Boogaard,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Publisher secretive about ESPN tell-all book

05.16.11 at 7:29 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY MONDAY:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ A book about the behind-the-scenes happening at ESPN ‘€” including sexual behavior by on-air talent ‘€” is due to be released May 24, and the publisher is doing its best to limit early looks at the material despite immense interest. Richard Sandomir in The New York Times talks to one of the authors, James Andrew Miller, who said of the 770-page tome: “We could have filled every page with salacious details ‘€” every page.”

‘™¦ ESPN hockey analyst Matthew Barnaby pleaded not guilty over the weekend to five charges related to a domestic dispute involving his estranged wife, and he released a statement calling it an “unfortunate disagreement.” Incidentally, when he appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show earlier this month, he was asked who he liked in the Bruins-Lightning series and he said, “I would take Boston.” However, he changed his mind when he made his prediction for ESPN, going with the Lightning in seven games.

‘™¦ Suns president Rick Welts is one of the first major sports executives to announce that he is gay. In The New York Times, Dan Barry takes a look at Welts’ background and the reason for his decision to come out.

‘™¦ Kenyan Olympic marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru died Sunday night when he jumped or fell from a balcony at his house, police said. Wanjiru, 24, was with another woman when his wife returned home and locked him in the bedroom. One official speculated that he was jumped in an effort to stop his wife from leaving the house. Wanjiru, won the 2008 Beijing marathon in an Olympic-record time of 2 hours, 6 minutes, 32 seconds, was arrested in December and charged with threatening to kill his wife and security guard with an assault rifle. He denied the charges.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 16, 1989, who was named coach of the Bruins, replacing Terry O’Reilly?

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Read More: James Andrew Miller, Matthew Barnaby, Rick Welts, Sammy Wanjiru

ESPN removes tasteless post on Aaron Douglas’ death, apologizes

05.13.11 at 10:39 am ET
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ESPN came under fire Thursday for a post in its college football section of ESPN.com’s Insider Rumor Central. After news broke that Alabama offensive lineman Aaron Douglas — a junior college transfer and former Tennessee starter — was found dead Thursday morning after a party in Fernandina Beach, Fla., Rumor Central ran a story titled “Shocker at LT.”

The post led with the line “Looks as if Nick Saban was prescient when he gave rising senior OL Alfred McCullough and rising junior RG Barrett Jones snaps at LT this spring.” It went on to say that “Douglas’ death leaves the door wide open for five-star OT Cyrus Kouandjio to seize the job when he arrives this summer.”

The post was later removed and ESPN’s Rob King apologized via Twitter, saying, “Apologies for the Rumor Central post related to Aaron Douglas’ tragic death. It did not meet ESPN editorial standards and was removed asap.”

That apology isn’t enough for some people, though. John Taylor of CollegeFootballTalk.com wrote, “Hard to say what’€™s sadder, the half-assed apology or the fact that someone thought it was a good idea to post that tripe in the first place.”

Read More: Aaron Douglas, Rob King, Rumor Mill,