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Report: Jazz ‘approved’ roster move believed to be Jefferson

07.12.10 at 11:39 pm ET
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According to a report in the Deseret News, the Jazz have agreed to a trade that would send Al Jefferson from Minnesota to Utah.

The CEO of the Jazz, Greg Miller, tweeted Monday that he “just approved a Jazz roster move that I’m very excited about. Planning to share details tomorrow.”

It is believed that the Jazz can take on the remaining three years and $42 million of Jefferson’s contract with the $13 million trade exception that was acquired in the sign-and-trade deal that sent Carlos Boozer to the Bulls.

Jefferson averaged 17.1 points and 9.3 rebounds last season, playing in 76 games. He was acquired by the Timberwolves in the deal that sent Kevin Garnett to Boston in July 2007.

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Report: Timberwolves, Mavs ‘closer’ to Al Jefferson deal

07.12.10 at 9:41 pm ET
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According to a report on ESPN.com the Timberwolves and Mavericks are getting closer to a deal that would send former Celtics forward Al Jefferson to Dallas.

Jefferson, who has three years and $42 million left on his contract, averaged 17.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in 76 games last season.

The Utah Jazz are also players for Jefferson, according to the report.

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Blue Jays make three relievers available

07.12.10 at 11:39 am ET
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ANAHEIM — According to a major league source, the Blue Jays have made three relievers available — Kevin Gregg, Jason Frasor, and Scott Downs. The news should be of note considering one of the Red Sox’ primary needs at the trade deadline figures to be late-inning bullpen help, and Toronto general manager Alex Anthopolous has shown a willingness to deal within the American League East.

The 32-year-old Gregg (who was first identified as being available by the Toronto Sun) has been closing for the Blue Jays, converting 20 of 23 save opportunities this season. He is signed to a $2.75 million deal this season, with either a $4.5 million club option for next year or a club option for a combined $8.75 million for 2011-12.

Gregg had taken over closing duties for the 32-year-old Frasor, who is 3-2 with a 4.67 ERA in 30 appearances. Frasor has been pitching well of late, allowing just one run in his last six appearances. The right-hander is slated to become a free agent at the end of this season, currently carrying a one-year, $2.65 million deal.

Downs, a left-hander, is also on the last year of his deal, making $4 million this season. In 41 appearances this season he has totaled a 2.65 ERA, with lefty hitters managing just a .208 batting average against the 34-year-old.

As for the Red Sox’ current bullpen situation, Hideki Okajima has said that his back still isn’t 100 percent, a contributing factor to his ineffectiveness this season. Manny Delcarmen, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a forearm issue, is scheduled to throw another bullpen session Wednesday and may come off the DL later this week.

The team has also moved prospect Michael Bowden to the bullpen in Triple A Pawtucket, where he has allowed just one hit in three relief appearances. Felix Doubront, who is with the big league team as insurance for Clay Buchholz’ hamstring, is also candidate to help out in the Sox’ bullpen down the line.

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Report: Kwame Brown not expected to sign with C’s

07.12.10 at 11:18 am ET
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The Celtics will need to continue their pursuit of a frontcourt player for the bench as CSNNE.com’s A. Sherrod Blakely is reporting that free agent target Kwame Brown will most likely take his services elsewhere next season. The biggest concern appears to be money as the C’s can’t offer anything over the veteran’s minimum to Brown, who averaged just 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game while earning $4 million last season as a member of the Pistons. He has been considered one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history after being selected first in the 2001 draft by the Wizards and averaging double digits in points in just one of his nine NBA seasons, but he impressed Doc Rivers at a recent workout, leading Rivers to say, ”I wouldn’t mind having him on our team, I can tell you that. He could help us.”

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Report: No collusion probe by Cavs or Raptors

07.12.10 at 9:47 am ET
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The Cavaliers and Raptors will not request an investigation by the NBA to look into if there was any collusion prior to the two teams losing superstars LeBron James and Chris Bosh, respectively, to the Heat this offseason, according to an ESPN.com report. NBA commissioner David Stern had previously mentioned that if the two teams wanted such a probe, the league would be obligated to follow through with one.

There had been rumors of collusion among the players involved as well as Dwyane Wade after the trio reportedly met for a free agent summit before the market opened on July 1. However, the league has decided that individual players cannot be charged with tampering in the same manner as teams can unless it is apparent that the player is working directly under the orders of team management.

The two teams had separate reasons for not requesting the probe. One Cavs official told ESPN.com that the team just wants to move on after the wake of “The Decision” and try to focus all of its efforts on its future without James. Toronto decided that it would rather let the league decide matters such as these, according to the report.

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Reports: Barbosa traded to Toronto, off Celtics’ radar

07.12.10 at 9:22 am ET
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The Celtics will have to look elsewhere as they try to reload their bench for another run at the NBA finals next seasons after multiple reports have Suns guard Leandro Barbosa being traded to the Raptors as part of a three-player deal that would send swingman Hedo Turkoglu to Phoenix. Barbosa had been rumored as a potential trade target for the C’s this offseason, but that appears to be off the table now. Barbosa averaged 9.5 points as a backup last season and could have replaced the recently departed Tony Allen as the first guard off the Boston bench. Instead, the Celtics will now need to lure in other trade partners to fill that role, using the not-yet-retired Rasheed Wallace‘s contract as bait.

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Monday’s Morning Mashup

07.12.10 at 7:33 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 TODAY:
No local games scheduled

AROUND THE WEB:

♦ During Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony‘s wedding reception Saturday night in New York, Hornets guard Chris Paul reportedly made a toast in which he got in a playful jab at buddy LeBron James, saying, “We’ll form our own Big Three,” referring to himself, Anthony and new Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire. The New York Post looks at the possibility of this transpiring and expects the Knicks to make an attempt to acquire Paul or Spurs guard Tony Parker soon.

Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News pays tribute to legendary Yankees PA voice Bob Sheppard, who died Sunday at the age of 99. The Daily News also has reaction from Yankees players.

♦ In the Telegraph, Duncan White looks at the long afternoon for English referee Howard Webb and defends his actions (a record number of yellow cards) at Sunday’s World Cup final.

Lance Armstrong is resigned to his fate in the Tour de France, admitting he doesn’t stand a chance after yet another crash Sunday.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On July 12, 1997, Roger Clemens returned to Boston for the first time as a member of the Blue Jays and struck out 16 Red Sox in eight innings. Which Sox pitcher fanned 11 Blue Jays in seven innings but was the hard-luck loser in the 3-1 decision?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You can’t hit what you can’t see. I don’t know. I just closed my eyes and swung.” David Ortiz, on battling late-afternoon shadows in Toronto to hit a home run in the Red Sox’ 3-2 win Sunday

STAT OF THE DAY: 14 — The record number of yellow cards handed out in Sunday’s World Cup final won by Spain

‘NET RESULTS: A Spanish man known as “Jimmy Jump” continued his tradition of running onto the field at major sporting events by attempting to touch the World Cup trophy Sunday. It’s didn’t go well.

The Tour de France has been a violent race this year.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Aaron Sele

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Christine McVie is 67 today.

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LEEInks list: Best All-Star Game performances by Red Sox players

07.12.10 at 6:55 am ET
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Just recently, the MLB All-Star Game has started to mean something more than just watching our favorite players on the field at the same time. It’s started to matter — or at least that’s what baseball is trying to portray.

Even before the game decided home field advantage for the World Series, the Midsummer Classic produced some great moments and performances. As the 2010 All-Star Game approaches Tuesday night in Anaheim, we look back at some of the best All-Star Game performances by Red Sox players.

10. Fred Lynn, 1976

One of the greatest Red Sox players of all time, Lynn was a regular at All-Star Games, being elected to the Midsummer Classic every year with Boston. Lynn had four All-Star Game home runs, second only to Stan Musial. His first came in 1976 in the 47th midseason exhibition in Philadelphia, where Lynn provided the only run for the American League in a 7-1 loss. Lynn’s home run was one of only five hits for the AL as the National League staff combined for a dominant pitching performance.

9. Manny Ramirez, 2004

In his eighth All-Star Game, Ramirez started in left field and batted cleanup in a potent AL lineup. Roger Clemens started on the mound for the NL in front of his hometown fans at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Ramirez helped the AL put up six runs off Clemens in the first inning with a two-run home run. David Ortiz would add a home run in the sixth inning to match his teammate and help the AL win 9-4.

8. Carl Yastrzemski, 1975

Along with winning seven Gold Glove Awards and being named the 1967 AL MVP, the Boston Hall of Famer was named to a whopping 18 All-Star Games. In the 1975 All-Star Game in Milwaukee, Yastrzemski pinch hit for Jim Kaat in the sixth inning with two on and hit a three-run home run to tie the game at 3. The shot would be the only runs driven in by the AL for the game as it would go on to lose, 6-3.

7. Fred Lynn, 1979

In the closely contested 1979 All-Star Game in Seattle, scoring started early as both the AL and NL put up multiple runs in the first inning. After Nolan Ryan surrendered two runs in the top of the first, Lynn gave the AL a lead in the bottom half with a two-out, three-run homer off Steve Carlton. Scoring would go back and forth, but the NL would eventually score the last run in the ninth to win 7-6. Dave Parker was named MVP after having two outfield assists on putouts at third base and at home. Read the rest of this entry »

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These guys will be back, you can put money on that

07.10.10 at 6:18 pm ET
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At age 20 Thomas Muller was the best young player in the 2010 World Cup. With five goals he is tied with David Villa, Wesley Sneijder, and Diego Forlan, but if he remains tied after tomorrow's final he will win the Golden Boot as he holds the tiebreaker with three assists, more than the three players.

So here’s where you get to hear me boast for a few minutes about my heritage – der Deutschland. I think a lot of people that were new to watching the World Cup were quite impressed and quickly became fans of this German team. Under coach Joachim Low the Germans scored more goals than any other team in the tournament by a long shot with 16, the next closest team is the Netherlands with 12 to date and just the final to play (by the not to be negative, but don’t expect a high scoring match in the final, they typically aren’t and Spain doesn’t concede many just two so far).

Low built off of what the Germans accomplished under Jurgen Klinsmann as the hosts in 2006 and although they finished in third place for a second straight World Cup, realistically they were the second best team in this tournament behind the team that beat them in the semifinals. They encompassed several different philosophies, the Brazilian flow, the Italian defending, and the English pace and movement for the most attractive style of football in this tournament.

A young squad people asked how Germany would cope without captain Michael Ballack, who suffered an ankle in injury in the FA Cup Final vs. Portsmouth, and I had said all along that Bastian Schweinsteiger would take his spot and do an even better job. I think my prediction came to fruition as Schweiny is one of two Germans up for the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament. He probably won’t win it because the winner of the award almost always comes out of the final, so look for either David Villa or Wesley Sneijder to take home that award, but Schweinsteiger was the best all-around player in this tournament.

Think about this by the way of the primary starters from this German team Schweinsteiger is 25, Thomas Muller is 20, Sami Khedira is 23, Manuel Neuer is 24 and the guy that is the real German No. 1 Rene Adler is just 25, Jerome Boateng is 21, Mesut Ozil is 21, Lukas Podolski is 25, Per Mertesacker is 25, and Philipp Lahm is 26. Just Miroslav Klose (32) and Arne Friedrich (31) probably won’t be back for Euro 2012 or the Brazil World Cup 2014. In two year’s time I fully expect this German team to be as dominant as Spain was over the past four years, and realistically Germany has the opportunity to win two or three big FIFA tournaments with this collection of talent.

Germany

Best Moment: Man there were a bunch, Mesut Ozil’s goal vs. Ghana to win Group D was a stunner. The absolute dismantling of England in the round of 16 4-1 was a comprehensive result making critics world wide say England simply are over-rated. But I have to say the 4-0 win over Argentina was the best. I quite simply hate Argentina and when people were calling them the favorites after they wiped out a bunch of nobodies and got some help vs. Mexico, I wanted to vomit, so I thoroughly enjoyed when Germany took them apart piece by piece and showed the Albiceleste to be the frauds they typically have been over the past three or four World Cups.

Worst Moment: I know you want me to say Carlos Puyol’s goal for Spain in the semifinal, which knocked them out of the final, but that’s too easy. Germany did not deserve to win that match because they weren’t the best team that day, but I would have liked to have seen that at full capacity. Thomas Muller was out because the referee in the previous game gave him one of the worst yellow cards I have ever seen for a deliberate hand ball, terrible, terrible decision. He was a vital part to how the Germans wanted to play and so I will say that decision by the referee was the worst moment.

Best Result: Already said it, the 4-0 drubbing of Argentina, I enjoyed every second of it from Muller’s opening goal in the third minute to Klose’s closer and likely last goal ever for Germany giving him 14 World Cup goals all-time and place him second tied with another German great Gerd Muller behind only Brazil’s Ronaldo (15 WC goals).

Worst Result: The Serbia stunner in Group D was bad and an upset, but Germany were in this tournament to win it and played that way unlike some other teams, so getting knocked out by Spain for the second consecutive tournament was a tough pill to swallow.

Final Tally: Third Place – 5 wins, 2 losses, 16 goals scored, 5 goals allowed.

Best Player: Thomas Muller had five goals and three assists, which currently leads a group of four players tied with five goals for the Golden Boot because he also has three assists, so he will be the young player of the tournament. Mesut Ozil had a goal and three assists and is the other player from Germany up for the Golden Ball.

But Bastian Schweinsteiger as I said before was the best all-around player in this tournament, and I don’t think there is any real debate about it. He completely made the Germans go on offense with three assists of his own, and was just incredible as well coming back to disrupt what other teams tried to do through the middle. You can bet that there will be a white German Schweinsteiger jersey in my closet after I get back from vacation and have the funds to buy one. It’s a superstition of mine not to buy the jersey before the tournament, but Schweiny is my boy.

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Top 10 Most-Eye Pleasing 2010 World Cup Goals

07.10.10 at 1:57 am ET
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There are only two games left in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa – the third place game featuring Germany and Uruguay on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., and the final Spain vs. the Netherlands Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

After a slow start teams began to figure the Adidas Jabulani ball delivering some spectacular goals from distance and some individual moments of brilliance.

If you are feeling even slightly depressed like me that this weekend is it for another four years, here is my list of the top 10 goals from the tournament to cheer you up just a bit – a little appetizer if you will before the main course. They are rated primarily on skill, but also do take into consideration timing and clutchness. Without further ado, let’s get to the list.

10. Maicon opens Brazil’s account at the 2010 World Cup vs. North Korea.

The nearly impossible angle shot WAS A SHOT, those that tell you otherwise are simply wrong. On the clip you can see Maicon sneak a peak at where North Korea’s keeper was playing and then shoot the ball with the outside of his right foot so that the ball would bend toward goal away from the keeper, who was cheating off his line for the cross and not covering his near post. If Maicon had wanted to cross he would have hit the ball with the instep of his foot curling the ball back towards the field of play.

9. Keisuke Honda put his stamp on the 2010 tournament with an out of this world performance against Denmark in Japan’s 3-1 win to put them in the knockout round. He hit a ridiculous free kick from 35 yards away that moved and swerved all over the place for the opening goal of the match then set up the final goal twisting and turning away from his defender before delivering a ball on the platter for his teammate.

8. At No. 8 you get a trifecta from the best center forward of this tournament – Diego Forlan. The first was his bomb from distance vs. South Africa, the second from his crazy free kick vs. Ghana rivaling Honda’s strike and the third was Uruguay’s first goal vs. the Netherlands a scintillating strike with his left boot from outside the box.

7. Well this makes me puke in my mouth every time I see it, but the skill displayed by Asamoah Gyan to take a knock from his Rennes teammate Carlos Bocanegra, keep his feet then hit a bomb of a volley past Tim Howard to send the United States packing in the round of the 16 was really a world-class finish.

6. Raising some eye-brows at this World Cup, Germany’s Mesut Ozil showed he was one of the best young players in the world throughout the tournament. However, his strike against Ghana, the lone goal of the match that also helped Germany win Group D, was probably his most memorable contribution.

5. Carlos Tevez was either sensational or invisible in the World Cup. Although he was clearly off-sides in his first goal against Mexico in Argentina’s 3-1 win, more than made up for the previous terrible decision by the sideline referee. Striking the ball with such venom that it nearly ripped a hole in the back of the net, I would suspect that Tevez’s shot was the hardest hit of any that found net in the World Cup.

4. Some goals just stick with you, others have more historic meaning, and those rare few have the combination of both. Siphiwe Tshabalala’s opening goal of the entire 2010 World Cup for the host nation South Africa against Mexico – the first goal ever scored on African soil in the World Cup – was an absolute stunner. Just seconds after Tshabalala unleashed his cannon of a left-footed shot into the upper right 90 Martin Tyler mentioned how his notes stated Tshabalala – great name by the way – was known for spectacular goals. It didn’t get any better than this.

3. I gave you one trifecta earlier, here’s the real deal – David Villa. The guy has simply been a one-man wreaking crew for Espania, La Furia Roja, or Spain whatever you want to call them scoring five of the team’s seven goals throughout the tournament. His first vs. Honduras was probably the finest of his bunch in South Africa exploding by two defenders before cutting back on a third defender and sending the ball top shelf. His third goal of the tournament looked simple enough, but from 45-plus yards out he had to hit the ball with his weaker foot up over the goalie and a defender, and it went curling into the side netting. The final goal on this list may have started offsides, and taken two efforts, but it resulted in a game-winner over Portugal and was real nice.

2. From a skill aspect realistically this goal does not touch probably most of the goals in 2010 South Africa. From the drama perspective, however, nothing comes close especially if you are a United States Men’s National Team fan. The U.S. were literally 80 seconds from being eliminated in bitterly disappointing fashion before Tim Howard’s outlet pass found Donovan. Two touches later, Jozy Altidore was running on to the pass from Donovan for a cross to Clint Dempsey. His shot was barely kept out of goal, but the follow up was buried by Donovan for unequivocally the greatest goal in U.S. National Team history. By the way this may not be the best youtube clip in terms of clarity, but it epitomizes the emotion of the moment that reverberated around the nation.

1. Quite simply the greatest World Cup goal I have ever seen by a long shot, and it was a long shot, 42 yards to be exact. The Netherlands captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst unleashed the greatest left-footed shot I have ever seen against Uruguay in the semifinals, the type of shot any player dreams of hitting from 10 yards away let alone four times the distance.

Quick story, I was watching the match with a good friend and from the live feed my friend thought the Uruguay keeper had misplayed the ball – a legitimate reaction considering how far van Bronckhorst had unleashed his cannon. However, I immediately said to him, ‘no take a look at where this ball goes,’ not realizing how incredibly close a margin van Bronckhorst’s shot had actually come to missing the target.

As everyone has seen on the replay, dynamite came out of van Bronckhorst’s boot on the shot as it used every last inch of the frame of goal knocking off the inside of the post and in. Uruguay would later tie the match, but the goal lifted the match to one of the most entertaining games of the tournament and got the Dutch going on their way to the final.

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