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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Adrian Peterson gets court date, eager to defend himself 10.09.14 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 Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Avalanche at Wild, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
NFL: Colts at Texans, 8:25 p.m. (CBS, NFL Network; WEEI-FM)
College football: BYU at Central Florida, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Hampton at North Carolina A&T, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: Euro 2016 qualifier, Slovakia vs. Spain, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Exhibition, Mexico vs. Honduras, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, eager to go to trial as soon as possible on child abuse charges, will head to court Dec. 1, as a Texas judge set the tentative trial date Wednesday

Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said his client is “chomping at the bit” to get the chance to explain his decision to punish his 4-year-old son by whipping him with a tree branch and leaving marks that lasted for more than a week. Peterson, who said he was disciplined the same way when he was growing up, faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted of causing injury to a child.

Peterson, who is on paid leave from the Vikings while the charges are pending, did not speak during his court appearance.

“He just keeps getting hammered without the ability to respond,” Hardin told Judge Kelly Case. “This is the place to resolve all those allegations.”

MASHUP POLL: Do you think Adrian Peterson be convicted of abusing his son?

  • Yes, anyone can see that he went way too far and deserves to be punished (63%, 66 Votes)
  • No, there will be support for him as a parent who has the right to discipline his child (37%, 39 Votes)

Total Voters: 105

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Added Hardin after the hearing: “This is a case about parenting decisions and whether something unfortunate happened when a parenting decision was made by a man who believes strongly and loves his children very much.”

Peterson will not have contact with the child until the case is resolved.

— Heat forward Chris Bosh said Wednesday that he has not spoken to LeBron James since James’ decision to return to Cleveland.

Bosh’s Heat play James’ Cavaliers on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, and Bosh responded with hesitation when asked if he was looking forward to seeing his former teammate.

“Yeah … I don’t know,” Bosh said, adding: “I’m in the mode where I’m trying to lead my team, help these guys out around here. … If guys aren’t in this locker room, I don’t have much time for them — if any.”

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Chris Bosh, LeBron James,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Kevin Love ‘committed long term’ to winning titles with Cavaliers 08.27.14 at 7:16 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:
MLB: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cardinals at Pirates, 12:35 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Tigers, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Albine Christian at Georgia State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Arsenal vs. Besiktas, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Tennis: US Open, 11 a.m. (Tennis Channel), 1 p.m. (ESPN). 6 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Kevin Love was introduced by the Cavaliers on Tuesday, and the All-Star forward promised he would be dedicated to his new home.

“I’m committed to this team, committed long term to the end goal and that’s to win championships,” he said.

Love has yet to play in the postseason, after his first spending six seasons with the perennially rebuilding Timberwolves.

The 25-year-old now will team with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving on the team that immediately becomes the favorite to win the Eastern Conference.

Love said James started recruiting him — or at least buttering him up — when they were teammates on the U.S. Olympic team in 2012.

“Sitting next to me, a locker really close to me and he would always tell me how good he thought I was,” Love said. “For me I would just kind of brush it off and shake it off because I was standoffish because I didn’t know him well.”

Eventually Love started to come around and realize, “One day maybe I could play with LeBron James.”

That became a reality this summer, after the Timberwolves realized they needed to get something in return for a player who made it clear he would leave next offseason as a free agent.

That created some hard feelings in Minnesota, and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor questioned Love’s fit in Cleveland.

“I question Kevin if this is going to be the best deal for him because I think he’s going to be the third player on the team,” Taylor said. “I don’t think he’s going to get a lot of credit if they do really well. I think he’ll get blame if they don’t do well.

“He’s around a couple guys that are awful good. I’m not saying Kevin isn’t good. I think where maybe he got away with some stuff not playing defense on our team, I’m not sure that’s how it’s going to work in Cleveland. I would guess they’re going to ask him to play more defense — and he’s foul prone.”

— Washington safety Brandon Meriweather has appealed his two-game suspension from the NFL for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Ravens receiver Torrey Smith in Saturday’s preseason game.

A six-time offender of the player safety rules, Meriweather was suspended for two games last season as well but had the penalty reduced to one game on appeal.

First-year Washington coach Jay Gruden questioned the penality, saying Meriweather and Smith lowered their heads at the same time on the incomplete pass, while acknowledging Meriweather’s spotty record.

“Unfortunately, for Brandon, he’s got a history of these types of events,” Gruden said. “Whether or not it was significant enough to warrant a suspension is what they decided. ‘€¦ He tried to lower his target, I thought. I thought it was a legitimate football play, but the NFL didn’t see it that way.”

Smith said in a tweet that he does not think Meriweather should be suspended.

— After a story on the USC website hailed safety Josh Shaw as a hero for jumping off a second-floor balcony and dragging himself to a pool to rescue his 7-year-old nephew from the water, the school is investigating, prompted by tips calling the story into doubt.

“We’re looking at it,” coach Steve Sarkisian said after Tuesday’s practice. “Josh is adamant with what occurred, and we’ll continue to vet some of the other stories that have come across our desk or across our phones, and see where we can go from there.”

Shaw, who was selected as a team captain Saturday shortly before the incident, suffered two high ankle sprains and is out indefinitely.

“Josh Shaw has been a good leader for us,” Sarkisian said. “He’s given me no reason not to believe what he has told us that occurred, but we do need to know. I think it’s important to know in the direction we’re headed.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 27, 1967, in another memorable game during the Impossible Dream season, the Red Sox held off the White Sox, 4-3, in the first game of a doubleheader after which Sox right fielder threw out Ken Berry at home in the ninth inning?

QUOTE OF THE DAY:Logan Mankins is everything we would ever want in a football player. It is hard to imagine a better player at his position, a tougher competitor or a person to represent our program. He is one of the all-time great Patriots and the best guard I ever coached. Logan brought a quiet but unmistakable presence and leadership that will be impossible to duplicate. Unfortunately, this is the time of year when difficult decisions have to be made — and this is one of the most difficult we will ever make — but like every other decision it was made for what we feel is in the best interests of the team.” – Patriots coach Bill Belichick, in a team statement, on the trade of offensive lineman Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers

STAT OF THE DAY: $99 million – Transfer fee paid by Manchester United — a British record amount — for Real Madrid midfielder Angel Di Maria

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): With the Royals trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Alex Gordon delivers a two-run home run to beat the Twins.

Old friend Jonny Gomes makes a diving catch for the Athletics against the Astros.

During Tuesday night’s game in Toronto, a young Red Sox fan nabs a foul ball but gives it away to a younger Blue Jays fan.

An Astros fan invited to throw out the first pitch has a little trouble with her delivery, slamming the ball into into the ground and off to the side.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Jose Tartabull

SOOTHING SOUNDS: The late Edward Patten, who was a member of Gladys Knight & the Pips, was born on this day in 1939. He’s the one in the middle.

Read More: Brandon Meriweather, Josh Shaw, Kevin Love, LeBron James
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Police have not ruled out charges for Tony Stewart after death of driver in sprint-car race 08.11.14 at 8:12 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: Mets at Phillies, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Braves, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Authorities in Upstate New York said they do not have enough evidence to charge NASCAR driver Tony Stewart but have not ruled out criminal charges after he hit and killed a fellow driver during a sprint-car race in Canandaigua on Saturday night.

Stewart backed out of Sunday’s NASCAR race at Watkins Glen one day after the death of 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr.

“There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.,” Stewart said in a statement. “It’s a very emotional time for all involved. … My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

Ward had stepped out of his car after his car was knocked into the wall by Stewart’s and attempted to confront the NASCAR veteran. Ward, wearing a black firesuit and black helmet on the dimly lit track, was hit by Stewart’s car, which was traveling an estimated 35-40 mph, and knocked backward onto the track.

MASHUP POLL: Should Tony Stewart faces charges for the death of fellow race-car driver Kevin Ward Jr.?

  • No, there is not enough evidence that he did anything wrong (64%, 217 Votes)
  • Yes, he was at the very least negligent for not slowing down and avoiding Ward (36%, 122 Votes)

Total Voters: 339

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There has been speculation that Stewart, known for his temper, was attempting to scare Ward and lost control of his car.

Tyler Graves, a sprint-car racer who was a friend of Ward’s, was watching the race from the Turn 1 grandstands.

“I know Tony could see him. I know how you can see out of these cars,” Graves told the Sporting News. “When Tony got close to him, he hit the throttle. When you hit the throttle on a sprint car, the car sets sideways. It set sideways, the right rear tire hit Kevin, Kevin was sucked underneath and was stuck under it for a second or two and then it threw him about 50 yards.”

Stewart, 43, was questioned by authorities, who described him as “visibly shaken” but cooperative. Investigators worked to reconstruct the crash and asked for spectators to turn over photos and videos of the situation.

— NBA No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins not only is OK with his pending trade from the Cavaliers to the Timberwolves, he would prefer it — at least according to his former college coach.

Kansas’ Bill Self claims Wiggins said he would be better off in a situation where he is being relied upon to lead the way, rather than playing second fiddle to the likes of LeBron James.

“When all this stuff started, I talked to Andrew and he Andrew told me, ‘I hope I get traded,’ ” Self said. “And I’m like, ‘No you don’t.’ And he said, ‘Coach, I do. It’s better for me, knowing my personality and what I need to do, to go somewhere where I’m forced to be something as opposed to going in there where they’re going to be patient with me and I’m going to be a piece.’ ”

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Read More: Andrew Wiggins, Bill Self, LeBron James, Linval Joseph
ESPN suspends Dan Le Batard for LeBron James billboard 08.08.14 at 9:42 am ET
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ESPN suspended Dan Le Batard for two days after the television and radio host paid for billboards in Akron, Ohio, that read, “You’re Welcome, LeBron. Love, Miami” and featured the two championship rings LeBron James won with the Heat.

The billboards appeared to be mocking James’ first-person essay in Sports Illustrated announcing his return to the Cavaliers. James’ letter thanked many people, but not Miami fans, which inspired a response from Le Batard.

ESPN released a statement about the suspension Thursday.

“Dan LeBatard will be off the air for two days, returning Monday,” the statement read. “His recent stunt does not reflect ESPN’€™s standards and brand. Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance.”

Read More: Dan Le Batard, LeBron James,
Kevin Durant calls LeBron James’ announcement to return to Cleveland ‘classy’ 07.30.14 at 8:54 pm ET
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LeBron James was showered with praise for the way he handled his announcement in a Sports Illustrated essay that he was returning to the Cavaliers.

Now James officially has Kevin Durant‘s approval.

“I thought it was well-thought-out. It was classy. It was a great move to do it as a letter,” Durant said after a training camp session with USA Basketball on Tuesday. “That was pretty cool. It’s funny seeing guys think about more than just basketball for once. He thought about the city where he comes from, about Northeast Ohio and how he can affect so many of the kids just being there playing basketball. I love that. So many guys get criticized for making the decision that’s best for them, instead of what’s best for everybody else. He’s a guy that did that. You gotta respect that. I applauded him, I texted him and told him congratulations on the decision and told him I was happy for him. As a fan of the game, it’s going to be pretty cool to see him back in Cleveland.”

James’ homecoming inspired reporters to ask Durant if he’ll consider a similar return home — Durant is from Seat Pleasant, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. — when he hits free agency in two years.

“I’m going to do what’s best for me,” Durant said. “It’s hard to talk about that right now when I’ve got two years left in Oklahoma City. I’m just going to focus on that. I’m not going to make a decision based on what anybody else does. I grew up watching the Bullets/Wizards. I grew up taking the train to that arena, all the time, to watch Georgetown, the Bullets, the Washington Mystics. That whole city is a part of me. It’s in my blood. I love going back home, seeing my family and playing there, but I love Oklahoma City too.”

Durant is has become close friends with James over the years. The two were Olympic teammates and even trained together in Akron, Ohio, during the 2011 lockout. Durant has two years remaining on a five-year, $86 million extension he signed with the Thunder in 2010.

Read More: Kevin Durant, LeBron James,
Report: Bulls making late push for Kevin Love; Cavs set to sign Andrew Wiggins to contract 07.23.14 at 9:53 am ET
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The Bulls are back in the mix for Kevin Love.

According to ESPN.com, Chicago is making a late push to try to get into discussions with the Timberwolves for the All-Star forward. But the Cavaliers continue to remain confident in their chances to outbid any other team.

Cleveland reportedly is willing to offer No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins, 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett and a future first-round pick for Love.

The Cavaliers continued to juggle the finances Tuesday when they sent the guaranteed contract of guard Carrick Felix, a future second-round pick and cash to the Jazz for guard John Lucas III and forwards Erik Murphy and Malcolm Thomas. The trade gives the Cavs more flexibility and trade assets to make a future move that could be related to acquiring Love. The combined salaries of Lucas, Thomas and Murphy total more than $3 million.

A trade for Love may have to wait, however.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Wiggins will sign his rookie contract with the Cavs, preventing any potential trade involving the team’s top pick for 30 days.

Meanwhile, LeBron James had cupcakes delivered to his neighbors to apologize for the traffic jams caused by his return.

“Dear Friend,” read a card that came with the cupcakes. “We know things have been hectic in our neighborhood these past few weeks and we are sorry for the chaos. We are so thankful to live in this wonderful community and we are so blessed to have understanding neighbors like you.”

Read More: Andrew Wiggins, Kevin Love, LeBron James,
Maverick Carter on LeBron James’ return to Cleveland: ‘This was a decision that LeBron made in his heart’ 07.22.14 at 10:54 am ET
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Maverick Carter, LeBron James‘ business parter, told ESPN.com’s Jason Whitlock in a podcast that neither he or anyone else in James’ inner circle told the superstar to return to the Cavaliers.

“This was a decision that LeBron made in his heart,” Carter told Whitlock. “We didn’t push him to do it. We don’t push him to do anything. If he asks our opinion or what did we think about the pros and the cons, we help him think through it. We don’t push him.”

Said Carter: “LeBron’s a 29-year-old man with lots of money, got a wife, two kids, one on the way. He makes his own decisions. He doesn’t need anyone pushing him any way, and a guy like that, you’re not going to push him either way. We’ll help him think through things and help him see through things, but he makes his own decision in his heart. Because, ultimately, he has to live with it. I’m not the one who has to show up and play games for any team.”

James announced his return to the Cavs on July 11 after four seasons with the Heat. He opted out of his contract with Miami shortly after the loss to the Spurs in the NBA Finals. Carter said he wasn’t sure if James would have returned to the Heat if they had won their third straight title.

“Logic says how could he not,” Carter said. “You’ve got to go for four. But who knows. The decision about Cleveland was bigger than basketball. It was in his heart.”

Carter said James informed Dwyane Wade of his decision before the Sports Illustrated piece was released.

Read More: LeBron James, Maverick Carter,
NBA roundup: Josh Smith trade rumors resurface; Rodney Stuckey signs with Indiana; James Jones joins LeBron James in Cleveland 07.17.14 at 10:51 am ET
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Josh Smith‘€™s tenure in the Motor City might only last one season.

The versatile forward has been at the center of recent trade talks that could ship the former Hawk to the Kings, according to ESPN.com.

Talks between both parties started last month before tailing off due to a lack of progress and the start of the league’€™s free agency window. Sacramento, which reportedly offered Jason Thompson and either Derrick Williams or Jason Terry in the original deal for Smith, reportedly is looking for a third team to complete the deal.

If the trade is completed, Smith will join an impressive Kings frontcourt that already includes DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. Another potential factor in the deal could be Smith’€™s close relationship with Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who has also been linked to trade rumors with the Kings.

— It didn’€™t take long for the Pacers to find a replacement for Lance Stephenson.

Just a day after Stephenson agreed to a three-year, $27 million deal with the Hornets, Indiana signed guard Rodney Stuckey to a one-year deal, according to The Associated Press.

Stuckey, who played for the Pistons for the last seven years, was made expendable after Detroit added Jodie Meeks and D.J. Augustin to its backcourt this offseason. Last season, Stuckey averaged 13.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

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Read More: James Jones, Josh Smith, LeBron James, Rodney Stuckey
NBA roundup: Bulls cut Carlos Boozer; Erik Spoelstra, Heat ‘don’t have any regrets’ over LeBron James’ decision 07.16.14 at 11:14 am ET
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The Bulls used the amnesty clause Tuesday to cut forward Carlos Boozer after four seasons with the team.

Chicago also waived forward Lou Amundson and guards Ronnie Brewer and Mike James as the Bulls try to clear salary-cap space for the signing of Pau Gasol and 2011 draft pick Nikola Mirotic.

Boozer went to Chicago in a sign-and-trade deal with the Jazz in July 2010. He averaged 15.5 points and nine rebounds in 280 games with the Bulls.

Boozer had one year left on a five-year deal worth around $75 million. The amnesty clause allows the Bulls to release a player during the current labor deal and have 100 percent of his salary taken off the cap. Boozer is still owed the money, however.

“Carlos epitomized professionalism in everything he did for the Bulls both on the court, and in the community, during his time here in Chicago,” general manager Gar Forman said in a release. “Over the last four seasons, Carlos’ productivity helped elevate our team to another level. I have nothing but respect for Carlos, and certainly wish him the best as he moves forward.”

— Heat coach Erik Spoelstra spoke Tuesday for the first time since LeBron James decided to leave Miami to rejoin the Cavaliers. Although he said he was surprised by James’ decision, Spoelstra showed no animosity toward the superstar.

“He seemed at peace with the decision,” Spoelstra told reporters after the Heat’s summer league game in Las Vegas. “We don’t have any regrets. He shouldn’t have any regrets. It was a historic four-year run.”

Spoelstra won two titles with James during a four-year run that included four-straight NBA Finals appearances.

— At least the Heat will have two-thirds of their “Big Three” back next season.

Less than a week after James’ decision and Chris Bosh returned to Miami, Dwyane Wade signed a two-year deal with the Heat on Tuesday designed to give Wade and the team some flexibility in the coming years.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Carlos Boozer, Dwyane Wade, Erik Spoelstra, LeBron James
LeBron James announces return to Cavaliers in Sports Illustrated piece 07.11.14 at 12:41 pm ET
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The wait is over.

After weeks of drama and speculation, LeBron James, arguably the biggest free agent of the millennium, penned an essay for Sports Illustrated on Friday announcing that he is returning to the Cavaliers just four years after breaking the city’s heart and bolting for Miami.

“Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’€™s where I walked. It’€™s where I ran. It’€™s where I cried. It’€™s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart,” James wrote through SI’s Lee Jenkins. “People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’€™m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’€™t realize that four years ago. I do now.”

James added: “I always believed that I’€™d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’€™t know when.”

An Akron, Ohio, native, James spent the first seven years of his career with the Cavs before leaving for the Heat in a highly scrutinized announcement on national television in 2010. James, along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, won two championships with Miami and led the Heat to four straight NBA Finals appearances.

James had been labeled a villain to the Cavaliers and their fans following the ESPN event known as The Decision. Fans burned his jersey in the streets, he was booed as a visiting player in Cleveland and owner Dan Gilbert reviled James in an open letter that stayed on the team’s website for four years before being removed last week.

Now Miami understands Cleveland’s pain. Heat owner Micky Arison expressed his disappointment on Twitter shortly after the announcement.

Gilbert, on the other hand, is feeling much differently than he did four years ago.

James opted out of his contract with the Heat about two weeks after they lost to the Spurs in five games in the championship round.

What followed was a nearly three-week frenzy involving media reports and meetings between Rich Paul, James’ agent, and prospective teams.

Paul spoke to the Cavaliers, Rockets, Lakers, Mavericks and Suns. On Wednesday, James and Paul met with Heat president Pat Riley in Las Vegas.

“I looked at other teams, but I wasn’€™t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland,” James wrote. “The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.”

The Cavs made a three-team deal involving the Nets and Celtics on Wednesday to create enough cap space to bring in James on a maximum salary contract. Now he’ll be playing alongside All-Star Kyrie Irving and the last two No. 1 overall picks — Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.

James acknowledged the ultimate goal of bringing a championship to Cleveland. Although the signing makes the Cavs an immediate favorite in the lowly Eastern Conference, James said Cleveland isn’t a championship team yet.

“We’re not ready right now,” he said. “No way.”

Read More: LeBron James,