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NBA trade roundup: Heat reportedly send Shabazz Napier to Magic; Cavs ship Mike Miller to Blazers

07.27.15 at 11:18 am ET
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Shabazz Napier

Shabazz Napier

After just one season with the Heat, Shabazz Napier has been traded to the Magic for a second-round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

Napier, a Roxbury native who was a first-round selection in 2014 after leading UConn to a national championship, was said to be the preferred choice of LeBron James come draft time in July 2014. However, with James departed for the Cavaliers, the Heat made the trade in order to clear $1.3 million in cap space and to gain roster flexibility.

In Orlando, Napier likely sits as a third option at point guard behind sophomore Elfrid Payton and veteran C.J. Watson. Last year, he averaged 5.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 19.8 minutes per game for the Heat.

The Cavaliers made a crucial move Sunday by sending Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller and two second-round picks to the Trail Blazers for two trade exceptions worth $10.52 million and $2.85 million, according to to Wojnarowski.

Haywood’s contract would have become guaranteed on Aug. 1, so the Cavs needed to make a move with it by then. The trade exception they gained by moving his contract is the largest in the NBA. Last season the Cavs used a trade exception to acquire Timofey Mozgov from the Nuggets.

Though Miller is one of James’ closest friends, the Cavs made the move to trade him in order to save roughly $10 million between salary and luxury tax deductions. James was upset in 2013 when the Heat traded Miller for financial reasons, however a source close to James described trading Miller as “the right thing to do” in order to give him career options as he nears retirement.

The Blazers can take on the contracts of Haywood and Miller because they have $25 million in cap space after the departures of LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicholas Batum and Wesley Matthews. They most definitely will waive Haywood in order to reap the benefits of his $10 million non-guaranteed contract, and it is also presumed they will do the same with Miller. If Miller is released, the Cavaliers will not be able to re-sign him for at least one year.

Read More: Brendan Haywood, Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James, Miami Heat

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he won’t sign guarantee with U.S. Olympic Committee

07.27.15 at 11:10 am ET
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Martin Walsh

Marty Walsh

Mayor Marty Walsh, who has been a staunch supporter of Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics, said Monday that he would not sign a contract with the U.S. Olympic Committee that commits the city to covering any budget overruns.

Contracts with host cities include a stipulation that the city will cover any additional costs, but in the wake of widespread criticism of and uncertainty about the financial impact to the city, Walsh decided to take a hard stand.

“If committing to signing a guarantee today is what’s required to move forward, then Boston is no longer pursuing the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Walsh said in a press conference, noting that the USOC has pressured him to agree to sign the contract if Boston were to win the bid.

“I cannot commit to putting the taxpayers at risk,” he added.

Boston 2024 organizers have said they plan to have insurance to cover any possible overruns, but that remains a contentious issue.

Despite his hard-line stance, Walsh said he still would like to see Boston host the Games.

“I still feel the same way I did three months ago,” he insisted.

Read More: Boston 2024, Marty Walsh, Olympics,

Anti-violence group says Ray Rice deserves another chance to play in NFL

07.27.15 at 10:28 am ET
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The co-founders of A Call to Men, an organization that strives for men to end violence against women, are backing former Ravens running back Ray Rice in his attempted return to the NFL.

Tony Porter and Ted Bunch, the co-founders of A Call to Men, have worked with Rice since November and believe he is ready to return to the league.

“We have been around a lot of abusive men, but our experience with Ray has been tremendously positive,” Porter told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “We feel strongly about him having the opportunity of having a second chance. He’s deserving of it.”

Rice has become a symbol of domestic abuse over the last year since the video of him dragging his beaten wife out of a hotel elevator was released last February. However, over the past nine months, Rice has spoken at his alma maters, Rutgers and New Rochelle High School, describing the positive manner in which he has learned from his mistakes and refocused his life.

“He’s held himself accountable,” Bunch said. “He is saying everything that you would want him to say and doing everything that you would want him to do. So why wouldn’t he deserve another chance? His work in the area of educating young men is more important than him getting back on the field. He knows that and has said that to us. He is seeing the bigger picture. He has a desire to compete again, but also to make a difference in the world.

“This is what mistakes should be about: learning from them and teaching others. We’ve been in front of a lot of batterers. He is as transparent as I’ve seen, and as sincere as I’ve seen.”

Though multiple teams reportedly have inquired about Rice, none have stepped up to sign him since he was cut by the Ravens last September. Between his noted domestic violence charges and his 3.1 yards per carry in 2013, teams have been wary of Rice’s baggage. However, Porter believes Rice is in better shape, both physically and mentally, and he is ready to rejoin the NFL.

“We’ll catch flak for this,” Porter said. “A lot of people think we should kick him to the curb and his name should be mud forever. But how great would it be if everyone who made a mistake made it their mission to make sure a million people don’t make the same mistake? To use the influence that he has, what a great way to correct that wrong. And that’s what Ray has committed himself to doing. His intentions are real, his heart is pure, and we’re going to help him to move forward so he can have a positive impact on the next generation of manhood.”

Read More: Baltimore Ravens, Ray Rice,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Reggie Jackson apologizes for tirade at fans during Hall of Fame weekend

07.27.15 at 7:59 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: White Sox at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Rangers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: International Champions Cup, Inter Milan vs. Real Madrid, 8 a.m. (FS1)


— While Baseball Hall of Fame induction weekend will be remembered by Red Sox fans as Pedro Martinez‘s time in the spotlight, New Yorkers are talking about Yankees legend Reggie Jackson’s temper getting the best of him while he dealt with a group autograph-seekers in Cooperstown.

Jackson tweeted an apology Sunday after getting into a confrontation with fans outside a downtown Cooperstown restaurant Friday night and unleashing an obscenity-laced tirade.

Tweeted Jackson: A sincere apology for my profanity in public to all fans. Certainly not a way to communicate. Mad or not, no excuse.

Jackson, 69, was signing autographs when he spotted a fan he believed was trying to get multiple signatures.

“I signed for one guy and he ran to the end of the [expletive] line,” Jackson complained. “That’s [expletive] up. Now it’s my time to eat dinner with people I don’t see but once a [expletive] year for 20 years and I’ve got to [expletive] … Listen, it’s dirty, it feels like [expletive], it really does. Stand in [expletive] line tomorrow and pay like everyone [expletive] else.”

As Jackson got into his car, a brief scuffle ensued between a fan and one of Jackson’s security personnel.

— British cyclist Chris Froome wrapped up his second Tour de France win Sunday, cruising home after race organizers stopped the clock early to minimize the risk of crashes on the wet pavement.

Froome won by 1 minute, 12 seconds over Colombia’s Nairo Quintana — who was runner-up to Froome in 2013 as well.

“The Maillot Jaune is special, very special,” Froome said of the famous yellow jersey signifying the race leader. “I understand its history, good and bad. I will always respect it.”

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Read More: Chris Froome, Reggie Jackson,

Thinking Out Loud: Red Sox’ ineptitude pushes fans to limit

07.24.15 at 7:52 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Jacek Duda?

— Not for nuthin’, but have we forgotten how to play baseball around here?

— I’m thinking “sell” right now for the Red Sox, but who or what can you sell? And who’s buying any of what we’ve seen so far this season? Right now, it has to be about 2016 and beyond, unless the organization wants to see this two-year death spiral continue. How much can we, as consumers, put up with?

— Boston was outscored 39-13 on the seven-game road trip. That’s bag-on-your-head-stuff right there. Winless on a trip that long for the first time in 64 years, since 1951. Let that sink in for just a minute.

— The Red Sox are still one of the richest teams in baseball? In all of sport? Prove it. Three seasons out of four in LAST place with a payroll in the vicinity of $200 million is not just abysmal. It’s embarrassing. Remember, a good house-cleaner always starts on the top shelf.

Clay Buchholz = that good-looking tease in high school who wouldn’t give you the time of day but now wants to be your friend on Facebook. Meh.

— The one potential silver lining to this cacophony of calamity, lefty Brian Johnson, was sent back to Pawtucket after an uneven major league debut. Maybe they just decided the blasting the pitching staff on the big club is taking would leave him too “shell-shocked.”

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Champ Bailey: ‘I don’t want Wes [Welker] to play’ anymore due to concussions

07.24.15 at 12:19 pm ET
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Former Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker is a free agent and has said he wishes to play this season. One legendary former teammate hopes Welker does not land on a team’s roster.

Retired cornerback Champ Bailey told Fox Sports that he fears for Welker due to the receiver’s history with concussions.

“I don’t want Wes to play for my own personal reasons. I’ve seen him get concussions. It scares me,” Bailey said.

Bailey stated that he believes Welker, an 11-year veteran, could still perform well for an NFL team, but that does not mean that he should.

“I think he can still play, but I don’t want him to play because of these concussions. This thing is no joke. It’s a serious thing when you start talking about your head. And for him to have to worry about that at a young age that he is now, he has to think about that for years to come and I just hope he hangs it up,” Bailey said.

Welker played for the Patriots from 2007 to 2012 before signing with the Broncos and playing with Peyton Manning for the past two years. He played in Super Bowl XLVI when the Patriots lost to the Giants and in Super Bowl XLVIII, in which the Broncos got trounced by the Seahawks.

Bailey indicated that he understands Welker’s motivation to come back in order to try to finally win a championship.

“I understand why he has that desire to play, he wants the ring,” Bailey said. “He still has that hunger, I just don’t want to see it.”

Read More: Champ Bailey, Wes Welker,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Roger Clemens insists Hall of Fame ‘doesn’t really make a difference in my life’

07.24.15 at 8:17 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Tigers at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Nationals at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Cycling: Tour de France, 7 a.m. (NBCSN)


Roger Clemens stopped by the NESN booth during Thursday night’s Red Sox-Astros game in Houston and continued to claim that he played the game the right way despite evidence that he used performance-enhancing drugs, adding he does not need the validation of the Hall of Fame to feel complete.

“Congratulations to the guys that go,” he said of the Hall, which will welcome fellow Sox legend Pedro Martinez this weekend. “It doesn’t really make a difference in my life, not that it would matter.”

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner has never received more than 37.6 percent of votes (75 percent is needed for induction) despite his 354 wins and 4,672 strikeouts for the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros. He said he appreciates those who have written his name on the ballot but claims it’s not a big deal to him.

“It’s not something that I went to, to play — play the game to make the Hall of Fame. It was the furthest thing from my mind. I played the game because I loved to play it,” Clemens said.

“I knew early in my career that once I seized that moment that I could make a little money and take care of my family. Then it started to get to a World Series and playoffs in Boston and the history that came along with it. That’s really it.”

— Another player likely to be kept out of the Hall is Alex Rodriguez, who continues to have a stellar comeback season, helping the first-place Yankees to a 9-3 victory over the Orioles on Thursday for a sweep of their three-game series.

Former Yankees manager Joe Torre credits Rodriguez for turning things around after missing last season while on suspension for his role in the Biogenesis PED scandal.

“I think what’s surprising is Alex,” Torre said from a charity golf tournament in New York on Thursday. “I’m happy for him. Miss a whole year at that age — there was never an issue of his ability to work at it. But with all the physical problems that he’s had and missing a year, it’s been, I think, remarkable how consistent he’s been and his power numbers.”

Torre, now an MLB executive, said Rodriguez called him in January as he reached out to people in baseball trying to mend fences before his comeback. Torre, in his autobiography “The Yankee Years,” was critical of A-Rod, but he says they now are “friendly.”

“I had heard that he was calling some people, so I really wasn’t surprised,” Torre said of their offseason conversation. “Actually, it started out with a text and he asked me if it would be all right to call me. I said, ‘Sure, anytime.’ I’m there for any player who wants to pick my brain over anything and for any team. He had some issues with what he thought I said in the past. I think he just wanted to make sure that all the air was clear. He asked about some advice and I said, ‘Just go play baseball.’ ”

Added Torre: “He paid his debt. He was suspended. He did that. Hopefully he learned something from it. He’s been determined to come back and play the game that he’s loved. I know baseball’s been a huge part of his life. He just craves it. He’s been a force, no question. People in New York love it. That’s what’s important for us. Once people pay their penalty, you can’t root against them. It’s not the right thing to do.”

— Outgoing ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd drew the ire of Blue Jays star Jose Bautista for a disparaging comment he made about Dominican players Thursday.

During his midday show, Cowherd was trying to make a point that baseball is a relatively easy sport to manage. He went on to say:

“The game is too complex? Like, I’ve never bought into that, ‘Baseball is just too complex.’ Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has not been known in my lifetime as having world-class academic abilities A lot of those kids come from rough backgrounds and have not had opportunities academically that other kids from other countries have. Baseball is like any sport, it’s mostly instincts.”

After Cowherd’s comment made it around the web, Bautista, a Dominican native, tweeted: Dear Mr. @ESPN_Colin before i rip you a new one i would like for you to explain what u meant to say about baseball and dominicans, please.

Cowherd is headed to Fox Sports when his contract with ESPN expires later this year. He discussed his departure during Wednesday’s show, crediting ESPN for taking a chance on him in 2003 and calling his stint with the company “the best 10 years of my life.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 24, 2004, Jason Varitek fought with Alex Rodriguez as the Red Sox and Yankees played an intense game at Fenway Park. The Red Sox got the last laugh when which player hit a three-run home run off Mariano Rivera for an 11-10 Red Sox victory?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The results haven’t been nearly good enough. We’re responsible for that and we have to get better quickly.” — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, during a Thursday morning appearance on Dennis & Callahan, on the team’s struggles

STAT OF THE DAY: 8 — Consecutive losses by the Red Sox, a season high, following Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Astros on Jose Altuve’s walkoff home run in the ninth inning

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez makes a diving stop behind second base and throws the ball with his glove to get the out against the Indians.

A’s right fielder Josh Reddick races into foul territory to make a diving catch against the Blue Jays.

A Japanese high school baseball player puts on a show in the batter’s box with a series of creative and artistic movements.

Spurs guard Tony Parker gets up close with a tiger during an appearance on a French game show.


SOOTHING SOUNDS: Former Extreme drummer Paul Geary was born on this day in 1961.

Read More: alex rodriguez, Colin Cowherd, Joe Torre, Jose Bautista

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Brandon Bass, other new Lakers awkwardly silent about contact with Kobe Bryant

07.23.15 at 8:29 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Orioles at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Mets, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Cycling: Tour de France, 8 a.m. (NBCSN)


— The Lakers introduced their new trio of players Wednesday, and the most memorable moment of the press conference concerned their reaction to an apparent lack of enthusiasm for their acquisition by franchise cornerstone Kobe Bryant.

Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams and former Celtic Brandon Bass were welcomed to Los Angeles by the team, but Bryant — who has been criticized for failing to help land any high-profile free agents — has been noticeably quiet.

Asked if Bryant had reached out to any of them, the players said nothing. Bass smiled during the period of awkward silence, although he later said he’€™s looking forward to “a great opportunity to play with one of the greatest ever to play the game.”

Williams, who averaged 15.5 points per game last season with the Raptors and was named Sixth Man of the Year, spoke highly of the team’€™s aging and injury-prone star.

“You always feel like you have an opportunity to win here,” Williams said. “And when you have Kobe Bryant, that always gives you an opportunity to go far. So for me, they have a winning tradition, they always are one move away from their team going from zero to 100 and you’ve got Kobe Bryant.”

Bass, signed as a free agent after four productive seasons with the Celtics, said he’s long been a Lakers fan and didn’€™t think he’d have an issue switching sides in the league’s most heated rivalry.

“I haven’t thought so much about it,” Bass said. “All I’ve thought about is me playing in purple and gold when I was in college [at LSU]. It kind of got me back to my roots. I remember being in college and being a Laker fan. I haven’€™t thought about the rivalry, but I know I’€™m going to get a lot of questions.”

— Former ESPN columnist and commentator Bill Simmons is headed to HBO, where he will host a weekly TV show and produce other content for the network’€™s digital platforms.

“It’s no secret that HBO is the single best place for creative people in the entire media landscape,” Simmons said in a statement.

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Read More: Bill Simmons, Brandon Bass, kobe bryant, Zack Hample

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Barry Bonds has ‘great peace’ after government drops criminal case

07.22.15 at 8:11 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mets at Nationals, 12:35 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Orioles at Yankees, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Liberty at Sparks, 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)
Soccer: Gold Cup semifinals, United States vs. Jamaica, 6 p.m. (FS1)
Cycling: Tour de France, 8 a.m. (NBCSN)


Barry Bonds might not get into the Hall of Fame anytime soon, but at least he doesn’t have to worry anymore about going to jail for being evasive when asked by a grand jury about performance-enhancing drugs supplied by his former trainer.

Federal prosecutors dropped what was left of their criminal case against Bonds on Tuesday, as the Department of Justice decided not to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the appellate decision that overturned Bonds’ obstruction of justice conviction, one day before the deadline.

“The finality of today’s decision gives me great peace,” Bonds said in a statement. “As I have said before, this outcome is something I have long wished for. I am relieved, humbled and thankful for what this means for me and my family moving forward.”

Bonds, 50, received 36.8 percent of the votes for the Hall of Fame in this year’s election, his third time on the ballot. That’s well below the 75 percent needed for induction.

Victor Conte, founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) that supplied a number of star athletes with PEDs, was critical of the government’s pursuit of Bonds.

“It seems that the government has finally come to their senses,” said Conte, who was sentenced to four months in prison and four months of home confinement for his role in the scandal. “In my opinion they should have never brought charges against Barry Bonds and wasted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. … The Bonds case was simply a trophy-hunting expedition by these federal agents and prosecutors, and I believe they need to be held accountable for this waste of federal funds.”

Adrian Peterson didn’t have much leverage in his negotiations with the Vikings, but the team nonetheless accommodated his request for a better contract, restructuring the final three years of his deal to give him $20 million in guaranteed money.

Peterson, who prior to the adjustment had $45 million remaining on his contract but none of it guaranteed, tweeted the word “Amen” next to an emoji of praying hands.

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Barry Bonds, Jimbo Fisher,

Shaquille O’Neal, Scottie Pippen battle on Instagram

07.21.15 at 9:02 am ET
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With free agency and the summer league over, the NBA lull has begun, which has given Shaquille O’Neal and Scottie Pippen time to get into a heated social media battle.

O’Neal began a near riot on Instagram Sunday when he posted this picture, claiming that the all-time greatest Lakers team would beat the all-time greatest Bulls team by 50 points.

We would beat em by fifty “what you think”. Let me know and don’t hold back

A photo posted by DR. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL Ed.D. (@shaq) on

Pippen quickly retaliated, posting the picture below on Monday.

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Read More: Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal,