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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Jets fan flies plane over practice calling for GM John Idzik’s job 11.06.14 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’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.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Oilers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Devils at Blues, 8 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Spurs at Rockets, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Mavericks at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NFL: Browns at Bengals, 8:30 p.m. (NFL; WEEI-FM)
College football: Clemson at Wake Forest, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
College football: Bethune-Cookman at Norfolk State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Tottenham at Tripoli, 1 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Lille at Everton, 3 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A plane flew over Jets practice Wednesday towing a banner that read “Fire John Idzik.” The plane circled the field for about 20 minutes, while Idzik and owner Woody Johnson were in attendance.

According to the New York Daily News, at one point Idzik and Johnson stood by coach Rex Ryan and shared a laugh, though it was not clear if they were joking about the plane.

Ryan later said Idzik did not appear to be “overly upset,” but “I personally don’t think it’s appropriate.”

MASHUP POLL: Was Wednesday's stunt at Jets practice inappropriate?

  • No, Idzik has been terrible and the fans have a right to express their frustration like this (74%, 560 Votes)
  • Yes, that's taking it too far and embarrassing the team and its fans (26%, 194 Votes)

Total Voters: 754

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Jets players expressed disappointment with the stunt.

“It’s annoying,” receiver Eric Decker said. “You’re trying to practice … and then you see something that becomes a distraction, and then there’s a whole bunch of negative thoughts just going through your head. Now everybody’s attention is up in the sky as opposed to on the practice field.”

Added quarterback Michael Vick: “It’s like, kick a man when he’s down. We understand, people do that. Some people want to see other people suffer. … I think that was a bit extreme. The money they spent on jet fuel could’ve been given to some type of charity.”

The folks at the FireJohnIdzik website, who raised money to take out billboards near MetLife Stadium calling for the general manager to be dismissed, tweeted that they did not fund the plane. Read their tweet: This is not our plane but we endorse it.

The owner of the plane told the Daily News his company was approached about a week ago and said the woman behind it did not want to be identified but that she is a “frustrated” longtime Jets fan.

— Controversial Knicks guard J.R. Smith received his first punishment of the 2014-15 season after punching Wizards guard Glen Rice Jr. in the groin during the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game at Madison Square Garden, a 98-83 Washington win.

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, J.R. Smith, John Idzik, Rex Ryan
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Knicks PG Raymond Felton arrested on weapons charges 02.25.14 at 8:04 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.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Lakers at Pacers, 7 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Florida at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Virginia Tech at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Iowa at Minnesota, 7 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: Kansas State at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Xavier at St. John’s, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Dayton at Saint Joseph’s, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Wichita State at Bradley, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Indiana at Wisconsin, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Seton Hall at DePaul, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Utah State at New Mexico, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Missouri at Georgia, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: San Jose State at San Diego State, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Hurricanes at Sabres, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
MLB preseason: Yankees at Tigers, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Rangers at Mariners, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Borussia Dortmund at Zenit St. Petersburg, noon (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester United at Olympiakos, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Knicks’ miserable season continues to get more miserable, on and off the court.

Hours after New York’s heartbreaking 110-108 loss to the Mavericks at Madison Square Garden — on a Dirk Nowitzki jumper that bounced up off the rim and fell through the net at the buzzer after the Knicks had rallied from an eight-point deficit with 90 seconds remaining to tie the game — point guard Raymond Felton was arrested on three counts of criminal possession of a weapon, the New York City Police Department revealed to the media.

Update, 11:30 a.m.: Felton, who is going through a divorce after 19 months of marriage, turned himself for questioning at about 12:50 a.m., after a woman — identified by the New York Daily News as his wife, Ariane Raymondo-Felton — dropped off his gun at an Upper West Side police station. He was charged with second- and third-degree criminal possession of a firearm — both felonies — as well as misdemeanor fourth-degree possession. The 29-year-old was due to appear in criminal court in Manhattan later Tuesday morning.

Felton, an eight-year NBA veteran, has struggled this season and reportedly was one of the players the team was trying to move prior to last week’s trade deadline. He was signed to a three-year, $10 million contract by the Knicks in July 2012 — marking his second stint with the team — after Jeremy Lin left as a free agent to join the Rockets.

— Meanwhile, Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith, who was fined $50,000 by the NBA last month after pulling on the shoelaces of opponents at the free throw line, is at it again. During the fourth quarter of Monday’s game, Smith pulled down Vince Carter‘s headband as the Mavericks guard walked down the court after hitting 3-pointers on consecutive Dallas possessions.

Despite being caught on camera, Smith denied it afterward.

“No, your eyes were playing tricks on you,” he told a reporter with a laugh. “You’re reaching for that one. I [already] got fined once for that [expletive].”

Smith, who was benched by Knicks coach Mike Woodson following his shoelace antics — after being warned by the league to stop, he continued the behavior — reportedly was on the block leading up the trade deadline, but his contract and history make him difficult to move despite his performance last season that earned him recognition as the NBA Sixth Man of the Year.

The Yankees start their spring training schedule by hosting Florida State on Tuesday in Tampa, and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is looking forward to facing his favorite MLB team.

“I think I’m going to the a little starstruck,” said Winston, a reliever who led the Seminoles football team to a 14-0 record and a BCS championship.

The sophomore right-hander has appeared in three games this season, allowing one hit and no runs over four innings.

“It will be fun to watch,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Obviously, he’s extremely athletic when you watch him play the game of football. He’s got a great arm. Pretty mature for his age.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 25, 1998, which onetime Celtics coach passed Red Auerbach to become the second-winningest coach in NBA history with 939 career victories?

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Read More: J.R. Smith, Jameis Winston, Raymond Felton,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Knicks guard J.R. Smith doesn’t have ‘slightest clue’ after latest benching in loss to Bobcats 01.15.14 at 8:05 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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Raptors at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Jazz at Spurs, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Nuggets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UMass at George Mason, 7 p.m. (NESN Plus)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Maryland, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Michigan State at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: South Florida at SMU, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Central Florida at Rutgers, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Georgetown at Xavier, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Baylor at Texas Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Purdue at Illinois, 9 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: UNLV at New Mexico, 9:05 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Washington at California, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Capitals at Penguins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tennis: Australian Open, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Knicks’ season-best five-game winning streak ended with Tuesday’s 108-98 loss to the Bobcats, and troubled guard J.R. Smith didn’t get off the bench.

“I’m not even commenting on J.R.,” coach Mike Woodson said afterward. “I just didn’t play him tonight. I didn’t play him.”

Smith, who was benched last Thursday against the Heat following his $50,000 fine for repeatedly attempting to untie opponents’ shoelaces, had scored 24 points in 52 minutes over the last two games. He said he was given “no reason” for his latest benching.

“I stopped being surprised after the Miami game,” Smith said, adding: “I haven’t the slightest clue [what’s going on]. … If I’m not helping the team, there’s no point in me being here.”

There were reports last week that the Knicks were looking to trade Smith, and Wednesday is the first day he’s eligible to be moved due to his contract status.

“I’m not even worried about that,” Smith said. “I’m trying to fix what’s going on here. … It is what it is. You take the punches as they come.”

Said Carmelo Anthony: “The only thing I can do is keep giving J.R. positive energy. That’€™s the only thing I can do. Whatever is going on with him and Woody or whatever it is, they have to deal with that. Yeah, of course we miss him. He’€™s a big part of our team. Sometimes the way he goes we go. So we missed him tonight.

“Hopefully this will be it. I try to stay out of it. But I don’€™t know what’€™s going on. But as a teammate, as his friend, I’ve got to keep giving him positive energy. Because without that, ain’t no telling where we’€™d be.”

Joe Tacopina, the high-profile lawyer representing suspended Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, found himself on the defensive during an interview with Geraldo Rivera on New York’s WABC radio show when questioned about charges that he misrepresented former New York Police Department commissioner Bernie Kerik.

Kerik, who was released from a prison camp last spring after serving more than three years, has filed a complaint alleging Tacopina breached attorney-client privilege by secretly meeting with federal prosecutors to share information, attempted to defraud him on a finder’s fee in a real estate deal and violated the terms of Kerik’s bail in 2007 by contacting him.

Tacopina denied the charges and later walked out on the program during a commercial break. Prior to leaving, he continued to profess A-Rod‘s innocence.

“I think it is pretty apparent that they are out to get Alex Rodriguez at any cost,” Tacopina said, referring to the investigation as a “witch hunt” and this past weekend’s arbitration ruling as “a sham.”

— Former major league slugger Jack Clark asked that a defamation lawsuit filed against him by Angels star Albert Pujols be dismissed, claiming the suit does not show that Pujols was defamed.

Clark, who played the final two seasons of his 18-year career with the Red Sox (1991-92), said on a radio show in August that Pujols had used performance-enhancing drugs, basing his information on a conversation he had with Pujols’ former personal trainer.

Pujols sued for damage to his reputation, insisting that he is clean and his “character and reputation are impeccable and beyond reproach.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 15, 1987, which Bruins forward recorded an assist in a 6-4 victory over the Hartford Whalers to become the 35th player in NHL history with 500 career assists?

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Read More: Albert Pujols, Geraldo Rivera, J.R. Smith, Jack Clark
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Knicks reportedly fed up with J.R. Smith after latest transgression 01.09.14 at 7:59 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’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.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Capitals at Lightning, 7:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Heat at Knicks, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Thunder at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Memphis at Louisville, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: South Florida at Temple, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: DePaul at Butler, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: George Mason at VCU, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Auburn at Mississippi, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: George Washington at La Salle, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Northwestern at Iowa, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Arizona at UCLA, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Marquette at Xavier, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Michigan at Nebraska, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Charlotte at UTEP, 9:05 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: California at Oregon, 11 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Gonzaga at Portland, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

— On the same day J.R. Smith received a $50,000 fine from the NBA for “recurring instances of unsportsmanlike conduct” — trying to untie the sneakers of opposing players during free throws — a report emerged that the Knicks are trying to trade the troubled guard.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who has tried to keep Smith’s behavior in check, showed his frustration with the player after the latest incident.

“I’m not happy about this, because he was warned, he comes back and he makes the same mistake, and it’s not right,” Woodson said in a radio interview with ESPN New York’s Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco. “It’s just got to stop. I keep saying this every time something pops up, but it’s got to stop.”

Woodson added that Smith has been “unprofessional about how he’s approached this whole thing. Something got to be done. It has to stop. I’ll address it [Thursday] when I see him, and then we’ll go from there.”

Smith will be difficult to trade as he is in the first year of a three-year, $18 million deal and his numbers are down (11.3 ppg, 32.3 percent shooting) from last season, when he was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year after averaging 18.1 ppg. The 28-year-old had offseason knee surgery and, according to his coach, still deals with soreness in his left knee. He also was suspended for the first five games of the regular season for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.

Smith posted an apology on Twitter.

 

Deadspin revealed Wednesday that the media member who gave up his Hall of Fame ballot to the website was Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald and ESPN. The site allowed its readers to vote on the candidates and had Le Batard check off the names of the 10 receiving the most votes. The list included Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine, who all got in, as well as Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio (who missed by two votes), Edgar Martinez, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Curt Schilling.

Le Batard — who was a backup after the original media member had to pull out for unexplained reasons — explained why he allowed his vote to be used by writing, “I feel like my vote has gotten pretty worthless in the avalanche of sanctimony that has swallowed it.”

Added Le Batard: “I’m not sure what kind of trouble this is going to bring me. I imagine I’ll probably have my vote stripped. But I don’t want to be a part of the present climate without reform anyway. Given that climate, doing THIS has more impact than my next 20 years of votes as sanctimony bars the HOF door on the steroid guys. Because, in a climate without reform, my next 20 years of votes will be counted but not actually heard. At least this gets it heard, for better or for worse.”

— The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected a request from a company trying to sell pork rinds called “Redskins Hog Rinds” because it deemed the nickname to be “derogatory slang term.”

This could be a bad sign for supporters of the Washington Redskins name, as the Patent and Trademark Office has been deliberating since early last year whether to revoke the federal trademark protection for the football team following a challenge from a group of Native Americans.

“The USPTO ruling sends a powerful message to Washington team owner Dan Snyder and the NFL that in the name of basic decency and respect they should immediately stop spending millions of dollars to promote the R-word,” Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said. “This is a huge potential precedent-setter rooted in the painfully self-evident truth that the Change the Mascot campaign has been reiterating: The R-word is a dictionary defined slur designed to demean and dehumanize an entire group of people. The federal government was right to declare that taxpayers cannot and should not subsidize the promotion of that slur through lucrative patent protections.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 9, 1993, who resigned after two seasons as Patriots chief executive officer, clearing the way for the new staff led by coach Bill Parcells?

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Read More: Dan Le Batard, Dan Snyder, Deadspin, J.R. Smith
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Dennis Rodman takes heat after bizarre interview defending North Korean trip 01.08.14 at 8:14 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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Mavericks at Spurs, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Suns at Timberwolves, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Harvard at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Saint Joseph’s at UMass (CSNNE)
College basketball: Georgetown at Providence, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Villanova at Seton Hall, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Wake Forest at Virginia, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Kansas at Oklahoma, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Miami at North Carolina, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Texas at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Nevada at UNLV, 9:15 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Boise State at San Diego State, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Rangers at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Dennis Rodman attempted to defend his trip to North Korea with a group of former NBA players with a bizarre rant during an interview with CNN on Tuesday.

“It’s a great idea for the world,” Rodman said as the players, including former Celtics Kenny Anderson and Vin Baker, sat behind him.

When he was pressed about why he would get involved with a country that has long been criticized for its poor record on human rights, Rodman lashed out at interviewer Chris Cuomo.

“I don’t give a rat’s ass what the hell you think,” Rodman said. “You are the guy behind the mic right now. ‘€¦ We are the guys who have to go back to America and take the abuse.”

As for controversial North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Rodman said: “I love my friend. This is my friend.”

Charles Smith, one of the former players on the tour, stepped in to help when Rodman got overly emotional.

“Outside of what people know of Dennis, you don’t know Dennis,” Smith said. “This guy’s got a great heart. His passion is about children and families. That’s why we’re here. We’re here because it’s about doing great will around the world.”

Meanwhile, the family of American Kenneth Bae, a tour operator who has been imprisoned in North Korea for over a year on vague accusations, is not happy with Rodman’s rambling insinuation that Bae did something wrong.

“He was in a position to do some good and to help advocate for Kenneth,” Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, told CNN. “He refused to do so. But then instead he has chosen to hurl these outrageous accusations against Kenneth. He clearly doesn’t know anything about Kenneth, about his case. And so we were appalled by that.”

Added Bill Richardson, the former New Mexico governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations: “I think Dennis Rodman crossed a line [Tuesday] morning by implying that Kenneth Bae might be guilty, by suggesting that there was a crime. There is no crime. Kenneth Bae is an American detainee that’s been there a year in bad health, who deserves to come home.”

— Knicks guard J.R. Smith just can’t seem to behave himself for any length of time. The controversial player made news over the weekend for reaching down and untying Mavericks forward Shawn Marion‘s sneaker while the two were awaiting Dirk Nowitzki‘s free throw.

Smith then showed questionable judgment in engaging with a critic on Twitter. After a woman tweeted him: u should get off twitter and go Practice on ur jump shots, Smith replied: U look like a man!

Smith reportedly was warned by the league about the shoe trick (“Yes and no,” Smith said Tuesday, “I’m not really supposed to talk about it, so I’ll leave it at that.”) and his coach was not pleased.

“He shouldn’t be doing stuff like that,” Mike Woodson said. “And I mean again, and I’m going to talk to him a little more about it when I get in [the locker room]. His focus should just be on playing basketball. That’s what it’s about, and those are things you just don’t do.”

However, Smith appeared to try his shoelace maneuver again in Tuesday’s win over the Pistons, but Greg Monroe moved his foot just in time. And apparently he got Dwight Howard during last Friday’s game against the Rockets.

A fan tweeted Smith after the game: I seen you untie Dwights show against the Rockets too! Haha didn’t you?

Replied Smith: Yea I do it every game!

— Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was the target of some teasing for a postgame interview he gave following the Seminoles’ victory over Auburn in Monday’s BCS national championship game. Winston didn’t have the best grammar in the interview with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi.

Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron‘s mother, Dee Dee Bonner, tweeted “Am I listening to English,” but quickly deleted the comment.

On Tuesday, Winston tweeted a response to those who made fun of him. Wrote the QB: For all the people that criticize the way that I walk this is for y’all. The Florida state Seminoles are national champions! That is all.

 

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 8, 1944, which Bruins forward was leading the NHL with 53 points in just 26 games when he injured his shoulder during a 12-3 loss to the Maple Leafs, causing him to miss all but 10 games the rest of the season — and finish with 71 points, two points short of the league’s single-season record?

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Read More: Charles Smith, Dennis Rodman, J.R. Smith, Jameis Winston
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony laughs off trade rumor involving Clippers’ Blake Griffin 01.06.14 at 8:07 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.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
College football: BCS national championship, Auburn vs. Florida State, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
College basketball: Maryland at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Southern at Texas Southern, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A rumor making the rounds over the weekend was that the Knicks and Clippers were talking internally about the potential of a Carmelo Anthony-Blake Griffin trade.

A story from ESPN’s Chris Broussard said the Knicks were thinking about reaching out the Clippers, as Anthony is due to be a free agent at the end of the season, but no one on either team had any contact.

That didn’t sit well with Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who responded to inquiries Saturday by saying, “It’s just so stupid.”

Added Rivers: “My whole issue with any of that ‘€¦ is that that network [ESPN] to me reports a story that they created and then they do reports on it for the next two days, on a story that they created. But it’s stupid.”

Anthony was asked about the rumor and called it “silly and stupid,” noting that it’s long been speculated that he and Chris Paul would eventually be teammates.

“Coming up everybody talks about it,” Anthony said Sunday. “It started back with the USA team. You’d laugh and joke about it. It just so happens those three guys [with the Heat] did it. Everybody says they want to play with this guy or that guy.

“Me and Chris have been rumored to play together since he came into the NBA. There was always a trade rumor trying to get us together and it never happened.”

— Speaking of the Knicks, controversial guard J.R. Smith had an interesting defensive maneuver in Sunday night’s win over the Mavericks. During a free throw, Smith reached down and untied the shoelaces of Mavericks forward Shawn Marion.

Marion seemed surprised but did not react, waiting until the next stoppage in play to re-tie his laces.

Dennis Rodman announced his team of former NBA players that will play an exhibition game in North Korea on Wednesday. The team included former Celtics Kenny Anderson and Vin Baker, as well as former UConn star Cliff Robinson, Doug Christie and Charles D. Smith.

Rodman traveled to North Korea before Christmas to help train the North Korean team as he pushes his “basketball diplomacy.”

“My previous travels have allowed me to feel the enthusiasm and warmth of fans,” Rodman said. “The positive memories and smiles on the faces of the children and families are a testament to the great efforts we have put into fulfilling our mission wherever we go voiding any politics. We are all looking forward to arriving in Pyongyang, meeting the citizens, visiting various charities and using the opportunity to develop new relationships that result in our annual return.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 6, 1989, which Patriots player was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year?

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Read More: Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony, Dennis Rodman, J.R. Smith
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Carmelo Anthony calls Knicks ‘laughingstock’ of league 12.05.13 at 8:09 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’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.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NFL: Texans at Jaguars, 8:25 p.m. (NFL Network; WEEI-FM)
College football: Louisville at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Knicks at Nets, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Heat at Bulls, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: West Virginia at Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: TCU at Mississippi State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: LIU-Brooklyn at Seton Hall, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Providence at Rhode Island, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Mississippi at Kansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: High Point at Georgetown, 9 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘€¢ The Knicks and Nets, New York’s two underachieving NBA teams, meet up Thursday night in Brooklyn with a combined record of 8-26, and Knicks star Carmelo Anthony says it’s “a big game for us.”

The Knicks, losers of nine straight, head into the game with a 3-13 record, tied with the Bucks for fewest wins in the NBA.

“We are the laughingstock of the league,” Anthony said. “I mean, it’s nothing to hide. We are. … Do I like being laughed at? Hell, no. I don’t like that feeling.”

J.R. Smith backed his teammate, while noting that the New York-Brooklyn rivalry, hyped up before the season, has lost much of its luster due to the teams’ performance.

“Right now we do [stink]. I think everybody in this gym would agree,” Smith said. “There’s so much animosity between the two teams, but our record, for the team we have, isn’t really doing any justice. Right now we have to put the rivalry on hold and focus on each individual team as opposed to focusing on, “We don’t like them and they don’t like us.’ ”

Jason Kidd, the Nets coach who played for the Knicks last season, analyzed the matchup by saying, “We both stink.”

Responded Knicks coach Mike Woodson: “I somewhat agree, we do stink. ‘€¦ But [expletive], I can’t worry about Jason. I’ve got to worry about the New York Knicks. ‘€¦ I’m not going to throw in the towel.”

Said Anthony: “We do [stink]. He wasn’t lying about that. I mean, we do. For us, we’ve just got to figure it out and try to turn it around. Why not start [Thursday]?”

‘€¢ Meanwhile, Lawrence Frank, demoted from top Nets assistant to glorified scout by Kidd, is not going away quietly. According to a report out of New York, Frank is hiring a high-powered attorney, apparently to negotiate a buyout from the team.

Kidd downplayed the fallout, saying: “It’s part of the job. He’s working. He’s giving his reports. ‘€¦ So, do I miss him? No. He’s doing his job and what I’ve asked him to do.”

Byron Scott, who coached Kidd with the Nets in the early 2000s with Frank as an assistant, knows both men well and said he isn’t shocked that the partnership did not last, as they are two “very strong-willed people who don’t back down.”

“It does surprise me a little that it happened so quickly,” Scott told the New York Post. “But it’s safe to say that I’m not [surprised] it happened at all because of the personalities involved.”

According to a report from Deadline.com, Heat star LeBron James will star in a movie with comedian Kevin Hart.

The movie, called “Ballers,” is about a man (Hart) who lives in the shadow of his brother (James), an NBA superstar, but gets a chance to prove himself at a weekend fantasy basketball camp in Miami.

The report indicates that James has been looking to star in a feature movie for a couple of years, and he’ll get his chance when the movie starts filming next summer.

Hart, who at 5-foot-3 is almost 1½ feet shorter than James, is a veteran of the celebrity game at All-Star Weekend.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Dec. 5, 1982, in a 6-4 victory over the Flyers, which Bruins player recorded a hat for the second consecutive day?

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Jason Kidd, Lawrence Frank
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Kevin Garnett not happy about Nets’ plan to manage his minutes 10.01.13 at 7:52 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.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Reds at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-FM)
NHL: Capitals at Blackhawks, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Glasgow Celtic vs. Barcelona, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘€¢ The Nets held their media day Monday in Brooklyn, and Kevin Garnett was his usual frank self.

“I’m here to win a ring,” the former Celtic said. “That’s the reason we came to Brooklyn.”

The 37-year-old forward created a little bit of a stir when he made it clear that he did not agree with new coach Jason Kidd‘s suggestion that he sit some nights when the team plays back-to-back games.

“It didn’t go too well,” Garnett said of that discussion. “Just being honest.

“I understand what he said. He wants to make sure I’€™m durable and that I get through an 82-game season. I’€™m totally understanding of what it is. He’€™s not coming at me personally or as a man or anything like that. He’€™s looking to better me. I’€™m going to try to be receptive of that.”

Added Garnett: “I just don’€™t want to be ‘€¦ told anything. I think I’€™ve earned the right to have an opinion in something that I’€™m doing. But more importantly, and more seriously, from a chemistry standpoint I think it’€™s important for me to be out there with everybody, and speed the chemistry process up a little quicker.”

‘€¢ Across town, Knicks guard J.R. Smith was contrite in talking about the five-game suspension he received from the league for testing positive for marijuana on three occasions.

Smith, who signed a three-year deal this offseason, had surgery on his patella tendon that could push back his start to the season even further. The Knicks wanted him to have the surgery right after last season, but Smith waited until July, saying he first wanted to sign his new deal. He’ll serve his suspension after a doctor clears him to return to action.

“The worst thing is I feel I let my teammates and coach down,” the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year said at the team’s media day. “I let Mr. [James] Dolan down. I’m looking to move forward from it. As soon as I’m able to play, I’m hoping to have a good season.”

Said coach Mike Woodson: “J.R. knows he made a major mistake. I haven’t heard his comments, but I’m sure he’s apologized to the guys, because we made a commitment to win. Hopefully it’ll be a learning experience.”

‘€¢ Athlon Sports has a list of the 50 worst managers in baseball since 1961. Bobby Valentine is second for his 69-93 record with the Red Sox last season. He trails only the “College of Coaches” the Cubs used in 1961 and ’62 when they won 123 games and lost 193 — including a franchise-worst 103 losses the second season.

Ozzie Guillen holds the No. 3 spot for his 69-93 season with the Marlins last year, followed by Bob Geren (A’s, 2007-11) and Larry Bowa (Padres, 1987-88).

Other notable names on the list: Joe Torre (Mets, 1977-81), John McNamara (Angels, 1983-84), Terry Francona (Phillies, 1997-2000), Brad Mills (Astros, 2010-12), Bucky Dent (Yankees, 1989-90), Butch Hobson (Red Sox, 1992-94), Ralph Houk (Tigers, 1974-78), Russ Nixon (Braves, 1988-90), Davey Lopes (Brewers, 2000-02) and Billy Herman (Red Sox, 1964-66).

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 1, 1991, in an 8-5 loss to the Tigers at Fenway Park, which Red Sox outfielder tied a major league record by striking out five times in a nine-inning game?

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Read More: bobby valentine, J.R. Smith, Jason Kidd, kevin garnett
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Dodgers irk Diamondbacks by celebrating division title in center field pool 09.20.13 at 7:48 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’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.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Orioles at Rays, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Boise State at Fresno State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL preseason: Blackhawks at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
MLS: Rapids at Timbers, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
Golf: PGA Tour Championship, 1 p.m. (TGC)
WNBA playoffs: Indiana at Chicago, 7 p.m. (NBATV)
WNBA playoffs: Seattle at Minnesota, 9 p.m. (NBATV)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘€¢ The Dodgers celebrated clinching the National League West title Thursday by running out to the pool in the center field stands at Arizona’s Chase Field and jumping in, and that’s not sitting well the the rival Diamondbacks.

Arizona personnel had asked the Dodgers to refrain from returning to the field after they started their clubhouse celebration following a 7-6 victory. Dodgers president Stan Kasten said the team misunderstood the request and thought the hosts just wanted the team to avoid celebrating in front of the Arizona fans.

So, led by former Red Sox Nick Punto, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, the Dodgers sprinted out to the pool and had a little party.

“I just think they have enough guys on that team that it’€™s surprising they would allow that to happen,” Diamondbacks infielder Willie Bloomquist said, via the Arizona Republic. “I’€™ll give credit where credit’€™s due. They won the division, so congratulations to them. I would expect someone to act with a little more class. I highly doubt the New York Yankees would do something like that.”

Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall tried to get in a dig at Dodger Stadium in his condemnation.

“I could call it disrespectful and classless, but they don’t have a beautiful pool at their old park and must have really wanted to see what one was like,” he said.

Responded Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw: “I’€™m sorry they feel that way. We don’€™t mean any disrespect towards them. We’€™re just trying to enjoy our postseason berth. For me, if they were to celebrate at our home field, I feel like they’€™ve earned that right.”

‘€¢ Paul Pierce continues to stir up trouble in New York by goading Knicks players. The former Celtic said this summer that his Nets plan to take over New York, and that didn’t sit well with Knicks players such as J.R. Smith, who earlier this month called Pierce “a bitter person” who “doesn’t really know what New York is all about.” Added Smith: “Just know that his words have consequences and he’s going to have to pay for them.”

Pierce was in New York on Thursday for teammate Deron Williams‘ charity dodgeball tournament Thursday, and he was asked about Smith.

Replied Pierce: “Who? Who are we talking about right now? Exactly.”

‘€¢ The death of a fan at Atlanta’s Turner Field last month was ruled a suicide, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office. Ronald Lee Homer, 30, fell over a 42-inch railing about 85 feet from a walkway on the stadium’s fourth level, landing in the player’s parking lot.

Witnesses told police no one was standing near Homer when he fell. His family had speculated that he might have been looking down into the parking lot when he slipped.

Investigators said Thursday that they discussed Homer’s death with his family last week before releasing their findings to the media Thursday.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 20, 1955, which player who would go on to become an executive with the team made his debut as a catcher with the Red Sox?

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Read More: Adrian gonzalez, J.R. Smith, Paul Pierce, Ronald Lee Homer
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Knicks’ J.R. Smith guarantees title, warns Paul Pierce of ‘consequences’ for talk 09.02.13 at 7:48 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.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Tigers at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: White Sox at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Marlins at Cubs, 2:10 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Orioles at Indians, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Rays at Angels, 9 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Florida State at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 11 a.m. (CBS), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Golf: Deutsche Bank Championship, 11:30 a.m. (TGC), 1 p.m. (NBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘€¢ Knicks guard J.R. Smith brushed off Paul Pierce‘s comments about the Nets becoming New York’s team and guaranteed a title this season for his club.

“I’m 100 percent sure,” the 2013 NBA Sixth Man of the Year said when asked about the Knicks ending their championship drought.

Smith, speaking at a charity event in New York over the weekend, said that despite the loss of some key players, the Knicks are positioned to make a run at the team’s first title since 1973.

“I feel comfortable,” he said. “People ruled us out last year early, too. We added some great pieces. Unfortunately, we got rid of some good pieces. But we added Andrea [Bargnani], Beno [Udrih], Metta [World Peace]. We have to consistently play like we did the first 20 games last year the whole season. We can’€™t have a middle-of-season lapse. We have to consistently play the same way.”

As for Pierce, Smith said the former Celtic doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he says the Nets can be the city’s top team. Pierce also said last month that his hatred for the Knicks has “grown to another level” since he was traded to Brooklyn.

“I just look at him as a bitter person just getting out of Boston,” Smith said. “He doesn’t really know what New York is all about. He’s been playing in Boston his whole career.”

Added Smith: “He just knows, just know that his words have consequences and he’s going to have to pay for them.”

‘€¢ The University of Georgia had injury added to insult when it was confirmed that receiver Malcolm Mitchell tore his ACL celebrating a touchdown by a teammate during the fifth-ranked Bulldogs’ 38-35 loss to No. 8 Clemson on Saturday.

Mitchell, the team’s top returning receiver, leaped to celebrate with Todd Gurley following the running back’s 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

“He went to congratulate his teammate and I think they jumped up and chest-bumped or whatever and it ended up that he landed in a bad way,” Georgia coach Mark Richt told reporters in a conference call Sunday. “So he knew something happened.”

Mitchell is slated to have season-ending surgery soon and will apply for a medical redshirt so that he can retain two more years of eligibility.

Here’s the video, in which Mitchell (26) doesn’t appear to do anything out of the ordinary.

‘€¢ Super Bowl XLVII is remembered in part for a half-hour delay caused by a power outage, which preceded a 49ers rally before the Ravens held on for 34-31 victory. Ray Lewis isn’t convinced it was an accident.

“I’m not gonna accuse nobody of nothing — because I don’t know facts,” the recently retired Ravens linebacker told NFL Films, via USA Today. “But you’re a zillion-dollar company, and your lights go out? No. [Laughs] No way.

“Now listen, if you grew up like I grew up — and you grew up in a household like I grew up — then sometimes your lights might go out, because times get hard. I understand that. But you cannot tell me somebody wasn’t sitting there and when they say, ‘The Ravens [are] about to blow them out. Man, we better do something.’ … That’s a huge shift in any game, in all seriousness. And as you see how huge it was because it let them right back in the game.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 2, 2001, with Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina one strike away from a perfect game, which Red Sox pinch-hitter singled to center field?

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Read More: J.R. Smith, Malcolm Mitchell, Paul Pierce, Ray Lewis