|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Jets stick with injured Ryan Fitzpatrick over Geno Smith at QB||11.05.15 at 8:03 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NFL: Browns at Bengals, 8:25 p.m. (NFL Network; WEEI-FM)
College football: Arkansas State at Appalachian State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Ball State at Western Michigan, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: Baylor at Kansas State, 7:30 p.m. (FS1; WEEI-AM)
College football: Mississippi State at Missouri, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Nevada at Fresno State, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
NBA: Thunder at Bulls, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Grizzlies at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: Europa, Liverpool at Rubin Kazan, 1 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Europa Anderlecht at Tottenham, 3 p.m. (FS1)
AROUND THE WEB:
— The fading Jets will stick with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback despite a torn ligament in his left thumb, leaving Geno Smith on the bench.
Both players practiced Wednesday after suffering injuries in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders, and both are available for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars.
Coach Todd Bowles said Fitzpatrick is “a tough guy” who “can tolerate some things.”
Joked the QB: “Well, it’s painful enough to get me out of changing diapers. That’s been the one positive.”
Added Fitzpatrick: “It’s more painful to sit on the sideline and not be there for your teammates.”
Smith, who brushed off questions about his decision-making Sunday — “I don’t care about announcers’ criticism,” he said — again will be in a supporting role for Fitzpatrick, and he was careful about his comments on the situation.
“I’m not disappointed that he can’t play, obviously I’m rooting for my teammate, but as a player, you want to play,” said Smith, who left Sunday’s game with a bruised left shoulder. “You want to be out there. You want to have a chance. But I understand what’s going on, so I’m not really that disappointed about that part of it.”
“Right now our concerns are with Gerald and we have no further comment at this time,” the team said in a statement.
|NBA trade roundup: Heat reportedly send Shabazz Napier to Magic; Cavs ship Mike Miller to Blazers||07.27.15 at 11:18 am ET|
After just one season with the Heat, Shabazz Napier has been traded to the Magic for a second-round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Napier, a Roxbury native who was a first-round selection in 2014 after leading UConn to a national championship, was said to be the preferred choice of LeBron James come draft time in July 2014. However, with James departed for the Cavaliers, the Heat made the trade in order to clear $1.3 million in cap space and to gain roster flexibility.
In Orlando, Napier likely sits as a third option at point guard behind sophomore Elfrid Payton and veteran C.J. Watson. Last year, he averaged 5.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 19.8 minutes per game for the Heat.
The Cavaliers made a crucial move Sunday by sending Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller and two second-round picks to the Trail Blazers for two trade exceptions worth $10.52 million and $2.85 million, according to to Wojnarowski.
Haywood’s contract would have become guaranteed on Aug. 1, so the Cavs needed to make a move with it by then. The trade exception they gained by moving his contract is the largest in the NBA. Last season the Cavs used a trade exception to acquire Timofey Mozgov from the Nuggets.
Though Miller is one of James’ closest friends, the Cavs made the move to trade him in order to save roughly $10 million between salary and luxury tax deductions. James was upset in 2013 when the Heat traded Miller for financial reasons, however a source close to James described trading Miller as “the right thing to do” in order to give him career options as he nears retirement.
The Blazers can take on the contracts of Haywood and Miller because they have $25 million in cap space after the departures of LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicholas Batum and Wesley Matthews. They most definitely will waive Haywood in order to reap the benefits of his $10 million non-guaranteed contract, and it is also presumed they will do the same with Miller. If Miller is released, the Cavaliers will not be able to re-sign him for at least one year.
|Heading into union meeting, NBA players question Adam Silver’s claim that teams are losing money||07.20.15 at 9:12 am ET|
According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, “a significant number” of teams are losing money. However, players were hard-pressed to agree with Silver at Sunday’s NBA Players Awards show in Las Vegas, citing a need for proof before they believe him.
“I’ve got to see that for myself,” said Chris Paul, president of the players’ union. “This is probably one of the first years I didn’t really pay too much attention. … But we have a number of things we want to talk about, obviously some a little more important than others.”
For Paul and the rest of the union, they have specific issues they want to address during Monday’s meeting. They did not disclose their agenda at the Players Awards, but did voice their suspicion over Silver’s comments on teams’ worth.
“I can’t agree with that,” Nazr Mohammed said about Silver’s claim. “I think the league is as healthy as it’s ever been. Teams are worth more than they’ve ever been. The Clippers just went for $2 billion. I think it’s hard to say that especially when you networks willing to give us the type of money they are to watch our games.”
According to Paul and players’ union executive director Michelle Roberts, LeBron James will be directly involved in discussions with the commissioner, a huge boost for younger players coming up on their first collective bargaining decision.
“Obviously me and ‘Bron talk about it every day,” Paul said. “He’s the face of our league. His opinion matters. Our players listen when he talks. It’ll be great to have him in there. One thing about ‘Bron, too, is when he commits to something he’s always passionate about it, so I know his voice will be heard.”
NBA players and owners will have the chance to opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement in 2017, a decision that could result in another lockout like the one seen in 2011. While the players prepare for the discussions Monday, they hope for productive talks that don’t stall the process before more intense negotiations next offseason.
“I’ve been around long enough and I know there’s a lot of posturing that goes on during this process,” Mohammed said. “There’s going to be things said that can be supported by numbers, but sometimes the numbers don’t always give out the real facts. Hopefully they’re going to let us see their books and we’ll see exactly what they mean by that.”
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Bills consider options after arrest of OL coach Aaron Kromer||07.13.15 at 8:01 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: All-Star Home Run Derby, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Gold Cup, Panama vs. United States, 9:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Gold Cup, Haiti vs. Honduras, 7 p.m. (FS1)
AROUND THE WEB:
— The Bills are considering how to deal with offense line coach Aaron Kromer, who was arrested early Sunday morning after allegedly punching a boy in the face during an incident in Florida.
“We are aware of the report and in the process of gathering the facts,” the Bills said in a statement.
According to police in Defuniak Springs, Florida, Kromer and his son confronted three boys who were fishing Saturday night, angry about their use of the Kromers’ beach chairs. Kromer, 48, grabbed the boys’ fishing pole and threw it in the water, then shoved one of the boys to the ground and punched him in the face.
The boy said the 6-foot-4 Kromer threatened to kill his family if he told police what happened.
A Fox Sports report quotes a source as saying Kromer was upset about his chairs being stolen and reacted when he was threatened.
“It was dark out. He couldn’t see the people,” a source said. “The kids were belligerent and threatened him. Bottom line, they stole his property and he couldn’t identify them because it was dark out and they threatened him.”
Kromer joined the Bills in January following two seasons as offensive coordinator for the Bears. He previously coached for the Buccaneers and Saints, serving as interim head coach of the Saints for the first six games of the 2012 season.
“I just don’t feel like you ever move on from losing in the Finals, because you feel like you’re right there and feel like you have the opportunity to do something special,” James said in an interview on Sirius XM’s Bleacher Report Radio, adding: “I can never get away from losing in the Finals.”
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Kings reportedly show interest in Rajon Rondo||07.01.15 at 7:06 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Angels, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup semifinal, Japan vs. England, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Exhibition, Mexico vs. Honduras, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)
AROUND THE WEB:
— Free agent point guard Rajon Rondo’s stock dropped precipitously after he was sent packing by the Mavericks during the first round of the playoffs after another behavioral issue like those that have dogged him throughout his college and professional career.
Now the former Celtic is an afterthought among discussions of this free agent class.
On Tuesday night, however, Rondo reportedly found some interest — appropriately enough from the franchise that might be the most dysfunctional in the league.
Rondo is expected to sign a one-year deal as he tries to build back his reputation and show he can avoid confrontations with his coach. The Kings recently hired George Karl, although there have been reports that they are looking to replace him before he coaches a game.
Based on rankings of overall sales at NBAStore.com from April through June, Curry ranked No. 1, with James dropping to second. Fellow Warriors Klay Thompson (fifth) and Draymond Green (15th) helped Golden State rank first in team sales during the playoffs.
The Celtics ranked a solid ninth on the team list, although the C’s had no player in the top 15.
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Cavaliers coach David Blatt plays down report of rift with LeBron James||06.19.15 at 8:01 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Royals, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Tigers at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Golf: U.S. Open, noon (FS1), 8 p.m. (Fox)
AROUND THE WEB:
— Cavaliers coach David Blatt played down an ESPN report that LeBron James is frequently dismissive and rude to him — even while Blatt is instructing the team during games — and said that he “absolutely” plans to return next season.
“People sometimes judge things on a game or on a period of time and they forget that we’re in there working together and striving to make the utmost of our team and of our situation day to day,” Blatt said Thursday, “and a bond develops over time that is a lot more than what meets the eye.”
Blatt acknowledged that he adjusted his coaching style to work with James, who carried the team to the sixth game of the NBA Finals.
“Absolutely, yes,” Blatt said. “He is a galvanizing player. He is our best player. He’s the league’s best player. He’s a winner. He’s a proven champion. I think it’s important that he feels empowered and at the same time that he knows that he’s very much a part of this team. He’s exhibited that, and always put the team’s success beyond his.
“Now if he has felt that he has something to say and wants to impose his will in terms of influencing in a positive way on those around him, that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing for all, and I certainly encourage that and certainly respected the fact that LeBron’s heart was in the right place.”
General manager David Griffin supported his coach — and he noted that James did publicly as well, telling the media two weeks ago that Blatt had done “a hell of a job.” Griffin dismissed the constant stream of negative press directed at Blatt.
“It never has to go away because it’s all conjecture,” Griffin said. “So I think one thing David did as well as anybody I’ve ever seen, and I wish I did better, was just ignore the noise from the media perspective. Because frankly, none of that means anything. We know what actually takes place here.”
Harper ran in to pick up single and planted on the damp grass to throw home, but his throw went wild and he fell to the ground in pain. He limped off the field, favoring his left knee. The team later said he had a strained hamstring and would be evaluated Friday.
“I’ve had problems with my left knee before — I’ve had surgery on it,” Harper said. “So you know, it was definitely really scary.”
|Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Stanley Cup arrives late to Blackhawks’ party||06.16.15 at 8:14 am ET|
TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Braves at Red Sox, 4:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mariners at Giants, 3:45 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Nationals at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Finals, Warriors at Cavaliers, 9 p.m. (ABC; WEEI-AM)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Nigeria vs. United States, 8 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Ecuador vs. Japan, 5 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Australia vs. Sweden, 8 p.m. (FS1)
AROUND THE WEB:
Due in part to flooding and road closures in Chicago, the Cup was late to the party. It left its hotel outside the city at puck drop, but even a police escort that reportedly reached speeds of 100 mph couldn’t get it to the United Center on time.
“Mother Nature was not a hockey fan tonight,” Cup supervisor Phil Pritchard told ESPN.com.
The Cup eventually arrived about 10 minutes after the Blackhawks closed out their 2-0 victory, and the players were able to celebrate with it in the usual fashion, parading it around the ice.
While the Blackhawks have won three championships in the past six seasons, this marked the first time they have clinched the title at home since 1938. Coincidentally, when Chicago won in 1938, the Cup was not there — reportedly having been kept in Toronto in anticipation of the heavily favored Maple Leafs winning the series.
— The Warriors are looking to close out the NBA Finals in Tuesday night’s Game 6 against the injury-depleted Cavaliers, and one of the topics of discussion over the past couple of days has been: Will LeBron James win the MVP even if his team loses?
The last losing player to win a Finals MVP was Jerry West, after his Lakers lost to the Celtics in 1969, and James appears poised to become the next — unless he can lead a Cleveland resurgence, or unless Warriors star Steph Curry has a huge closeout game to make up for his mid-series struggles.
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Despite Cavaliers’ Game 5 loss, LeBron James ‘confident because I’m the best player in the world’||06.15.15 at 8:07 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Braves at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NHL: Stanley Cup Final, Lightning at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Thailand vs. Germany, 4 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Ivory Coast vs. Norway, 4 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Netherlands vs. Canada, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
AROUND THE WEB:
— The Cavaliers have lost two straight to the Warriors in the NBA Finals, including a 104-91 loss in Sunday’s Game 5 that has them in a 3-2 hole, but LeBron James remains convinced he can turn things around.
“I feel confident because I’m the best player in the world,” he said after Sunday’s loss. “It’s that simple.”
James finished Sunday’s game with a triple-double: 40 points on 15-of-34 shooting, 14 rebounds and 11 assists — all game highs. It’s the third game this series he’s scored at least 40 points, and it was the second-highest-scoring triple double in Finals history. During one 22-minute stretch starting in the first quarter, James scored or assisted on 17 consecutive Cleveland baskets.
However, despite playing every position for the undermanned Cavaliers, James was unable to carry Cleveland to victory. Although he is averaging 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the series, James said he can do more as the Finals shifts to Cleveland for Tuesday’s Game 6.
“I don’t put a ceiling on what I’m capable of doing,” James said. “I know I’m shouldering a lot of the burden, but it is what it is.”
The last team to overcome a 3-2 Finals deficit and win a title was James’ Heat team in 2013 against the Spurs (helped by Ray Allen‘s series-saving 3-pointer in Game 6).
“We’ve got enough to win it,” James said. “We protect home, we come here [back to Oakland for Friday’s Game 7]. We’ll worry about Tuesday first. But it we protect home like we’re capable of doing, we force a Game 7.”
— Sepp Blatter reportedly is reconsidering his decision to step down as FIFA president, and, as expected, that’s not being received well in soccer circles.
Domenico Scala, who as head of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee has been tasked with overseeing the election for Blatter’s successor, said new leadership is crucial following the investigations into widespread corruption in the organization, as FIFA attempts to “regain the trust of the public.”
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Email links Sepp Blatter to alleged World Cup bribe||06.08.15 at 7:57 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Stanley Cup Final, Lightning at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, United States vs. Australia, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Sweden vs. Nigeria, 4 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Japan vs. Switzerland, 10 p.m. (FS1)
AROUND THE WEB:
— When Sepp Blatter announced last week he would resign as FIFA president, it came as a surprise, as he had been defiant until that point. A report Sunday might have shed some light on why Blatter changed his approach.
According to South Africa’s Sunday Times, a 2007 email from FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke to the South African government makes reference to the alleged $10 million bribe paid to soccer executives after South Africa was awarded the 2010 World Cup, and it mentions that the payment was discussed by Blatter and South African President Thabo Mbeki.
The U.S. Department of Justice has said the $10 million was transferred to then FIFA executive committee member Jack Warner in 2008 for him and two other committee members to share after they voted for South Africa in 2004. American Chuck Blazer, one of the other alleged FIFA recipients, already has admitted receiving bribes in connection with the 2004 vote.
FIFA said in a statement Sunday that the email constitutes “information, not involvement” on behalf of Blatter and Valcke. The organization also claims the money was a legitimate donation to help soccer development in the Caribbean. The DOJ says Warner, from Trinidad, kept most of the money for himself.
Morocco, which lost out to South Africa via a 14-10 vote by FIFA’s ruling panel of executives, also offered a bribe to Warner, the DOJ alleges.
— An ESPN report indicates U.S. Women’s National Team goalie Hope Solo was the “primary aggressor” during her fight with her half-sister and teenage nephew last year, and that she was combative and insulting with officers after her arrest.
The report indicates Solo had been drinking when she arrived at her relatives’ home and initiated the fight. She had faced two counts of domestic violence, but the charges were dismissed on procedural grounds earlier this year.
|LeBron James on Kevin Love injury: ‘We can’t fill Kevin’s shoes’||04.29.15 at 10:45 am ET|
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.”
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