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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Robert Griffin III suffers concussion in preseason game 08.21.15 at 7:56 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: Royals at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Braves at Cubs, 4:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League World Series: Rhode Island vs. South Carolina, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Seahawks at Chiefs, 8 p.m. (NFL Network)
WNBA: Dream at Liberty, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA: Sparks at Mercury, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)


— Injury plagued Robert Griffin III, who earlier in the week said he was aiming to be the best quarterback in the NFL, suffered a concussion in Thursday’s preseason game.

In the second quarter of Washington’s 21-17 win over the Lions, Griffin — who had been hit hard repeatedly during his team’s first three offensive series — dropped the ball while scrambling. After Griffin fell to the ground in an attempt to cover the ball, Lions defensive end Corey Wooton landed on his head.

Griffin remained on the turf for about 5 minutes before walking slowly off the field and to the locker room. Washington coach Jay Gruden said he had “no idea” how long RGIII will be out.

“It definitely makes you cringe,” Washington left tackle Trent Williams said. “You don’t want to see your quarterback get hit at all, in preseason nor regular season. It’s definitely not a pleasant feeling.”

The team’s offense has struggled this preseason, failing to score a touchdown with Griffin at the helm. On Thursday, RGIII completed 2-of-5 passes for 8 yards while being sacked three times and fumbling once.

“I’m not going to lay any blame on the quarterback or the offensive line,” coach Jay Gruden said. “We’ll just wait and see [the game film]. But it was not a very good performance by our first-team offense — one first down in four drives and the turnover.”

— J.R. Smith, who declined his $6.8 million player option with the Cavaliers shortly after the season ended and became a free agent — only to discover he wasn’t as in demand as he thought — said Thursday he will return to Cleveland after all.

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Read More: J.R. Smith, Robert Griffin III,
LeBron James on Kevin Love injury: ‘We can’t fill Kevin’s shoes’ 04.29.15 at 10:45 am ET
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After sustaining ‘”extensive”damage in his left shoulder in a play with Celtics center Kelly Olynyk, Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love appears likely to miss the remainder of the postseason. Love’s absence reduces Cleveland’s “Big Three”of LeBron James, Love and Kyrie Irving to just two.

“We all have to pick our own game up,” James said. “We can’t fill Kevin’s shoes, you can’t do that, he’s special for a reason.”

During Game 4 of the Celtics-Cavs first-round matchup, Love and Olynyk got tangled when chasing a loose ball. Olynyk popped Love’s arm from its socket by yanking down. Olynyk was suspended for one game by the NBA.

Cleveland general manager David Griffin said the team is learning more about the injury and weighing its options when it comes to treatment.

“Surgery is an option as well, if necessary. We’re going to continue to look at that, but I don’t want there to be any expectation on Kevin that he’ll be back,” Griffin said. “I think it would be a real surprise if he we were able to participate in the postseason. I’ve still got a sliver of hope very late, but highly unlikely.”

Averaging 16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in the regular season, Love will be missed for the rest of Cleveland’s run at the title.

“Obviously, he brings so much to our team offensively and defensively,” James said. “It’s a big blow for us. We’ve got to have guys step up. You never want to have one of your major role players out. Everyone has to pick up not what he was able to do, but they have to pick up what they are capable of doing.”

Starting guard J.R. Smith also will be unavailable for the Cavs for the first two games of the second round after being suspended for swinging his arm and making contact with C’s forward Jae Crowder’s head after the two were jockeying under the basket for positioning.

Even with the roster losses, Cleveland coach David Blatt says his team is prepared for what’s to come.

“Our guys have been locked in for quite some time now,” he said. “Everyone recognizes that we all have to pick it up. The next-man-up mentality is prevalent in our work and our feeling. We’re hurting for what happened to Kev on a team level, on a personal level, but not discouraged to the point where we are any less ambitious and any less hungry to continue on this path.”

Read More: Cleveland Cavaliers, J.R. Smith, Kevin Love, LeBron James
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Rex Ryan reportedly set to interview with Bills 01.08.15 at 7:51 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.

NHL: Devils at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Blackhawks at Wild, 8 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL: Rangers at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Rockets at Knicks, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Heat at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Michigan State at Iowa, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: LSU at Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Radford at Gardner-Webb, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: George Mason at Richmond, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Dayton at Saint Bonaventure, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Stanford at UCLA, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Memphis at SMU, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Rutgers at Nebraska, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Arizona State at Oregon State, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Pepperdine at BYU, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)


— Following a five-hour interview with the Falcons on Tuesday, former Jets coach Rex Ryan reportedly will meet with the Bills on Thursday about their coaching vacancy.

According to an NFL Network report, Ryan will return to Atlanta for a second interview when the team puts together its list of finalists. He also has interviewed with the 49ers.

In the meantime, he’ll explore the possibility of remaining in the AFC East. Ryan was fired Dec. 29 after going 50-52 in six seasons (including postseason) in the Meadowlands.

Where will Rex Ryan land?

  • Falcons (42%, 182 Votes)
  • Bills (21%, 93 Votes)
  • Broadcasting (20%, 87 Votes)
  • 49ers (12%, 54 Votes)
  • Other (5%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 438

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Former Jets linebacker Bart Scott said Ryan can win with the right personnel.

“I think it depends where he goes. If he goes where there is a quarterback, he has a very great chance of winning. He showed what he can do with a decent quarterback and a below-average quarterback in terms of performance,” Scott told Yahoo Sports. “You send him to a place where there is a leader in terms of a quarterback, who commands respect not just from other teams but from the skill position players in that building, it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous.

“It is dangerous to give that man a lead. Last time I played in that system when we had a lead, we put up 60 sacks and teams were afraid to play us. Downright afraid of us.”

If he does not return to the sideline, Ryan is expected to spend next season in broadcasting. He reportedly has spoken with ESPN and CBS.

— J.R. Smith’s debut with the Cavaliers was one he won’t want to remember. Smith, traded from the Knicks this week, went 0-for-5 in 18 minutes off the bench in a 105-93 loss.

Asked before the game how he would do without yet learning the team’s plays, Smith said with a smile: “My motto is, ‘When in doubt, shoot the ball.’ So when in doubt, I’m going to shoot it, and hopefully that don’t catch nobody off guard.”

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Read More: J.R. Smith, Rex Ryan,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Rex Ryan confident he’ll win a Super Bowl 12.24.14 at 8:29 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.

College football: Bahamas Bowl, Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky, noon (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
College football: Hawaii Bowl, Fresno State vs. Rice, 8 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)


NY Daily News 12-14-14Rex Ryan might be without a job a week from now, but his confidence remains high.

The embattled Jets coach insists he has a Super Bowl championship in him.

“I see myself winning it as a head coach,” Ryan said Tuesday. “I definitely see it. If that happens, I guess we’ll find out.”

Ryan acknowledged it’s been a trying season, with the Jets at 3-12 heading into Sunday’s finale against the Dolphins, but he said he remains confident in his ability to lead a team.

“I was given some gifts and obviously a lot less in other areas, but I can coach football,” he said. “And I know that. … I think that’s what gives me the belief that one day I’m going to win that thing.

“That’s how I feel. And that’s it. I guess that’s just the way I’m wired. I don’t look at myself as a three-win coach. I know I’m better than that, but this is where we’re at right now.”

Added Ryan: “People are going to say, ‘That’s crazy. You’ve won three games.’ Yeah, that’s right. We won three games and that’s one year. Sure, it hasn’t gone well. I always am a confident person.”

MASHUP POLL: Will Rex Ryan ever win a Super Bowl as a head coach?

  • No (85%, 801 Votes)
  • Yes (15%, 143 Votes)

Total Voters: 944

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Ryan said he’s focused only on Sunday’s game, and not meeting with owner Woody Johnson to discuss his future.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “I know it’€™s a broken record, but really, it’€™s just about the job that I have right in front of me. I want to be great. I want our team to be great. I want our team to be focused and myself to be focused on the job at hand. And that’€™s what I plan on doing. Whatever happens after that will happen.”

— The Knicks are showing no signs of breaking out of their season-long slump, and it’s giving guard J.R. Smith some sleepless nights.

“It’s a nightmare. We’ve just got to wake up from it,” said Smith, who has been out the past seven games with a partially turn plantar fascia in his left heel. “I mean, to be 5-25, we had a lot of expectations coming in here, so to be in the situations we’re in, it’s a nightmare for me, anyway.”

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Read More: Aldon Smith, J.R. Smith, Ray McDonald, Rex Ryan
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 home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

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)


— 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 home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

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)


— 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 home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

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)


— 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 home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

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)


— 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 home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

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)


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
By   |  Comments Off on Monday’s Morning Mashup: Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony laughs off trade rumor involving Clippers’ Blake Griffin

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.

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)


— A rumor making the rounds over the weekend was that the Knicks and Clippers were talking internally about the potential of a Carmelo AnthonyBlake 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