NBA trade tracker: Rumors, reported trades ahead of free agency

NBA trade rumors have flown around before, during and after Thursday’s draft. Two of the top three picks in the 2017 NBA Draft have changed hands; the Sixers got the No. 1 overall pick from the Celtics to select Markelle Fultz. Also, the Lakers are reportedly clearing cap space in a trade with the Nets in order to make a run at Paul George, and maybe LeBron James next summer.

That situation made it imperative to target a wideout in the draft, and it just happened be a more explosive Buckeye in second-rounder Curtis Samuel. Samuel’s size (5-11, 196 pounds) and quickness suggest he’ll see heavy slot duty as a rookie. But the Panthers can also benefit from his ability to line up and stretch the field outside. With his hybrid rushing skills, he also can cause matchup nightmares when lining up in the backfield along with McCaffrey. It makes sense for Samuel to both step into what Ginn and Brown did vertically and zip across the field. Newton will appreciate having control of that joystick.

Game Mens Clay Matthews Jersey Don’t sleep on the Panthers’ other notable pickup at the position. Former Buccaneer Russell Shepard was signed to a three-year, $10.5 million deal mainly for his ace special teams work as a gunner. But he proved in Tampa Bay he can be a viable wideout when needed. He’ll get his chances to stretch the field, too, when the Panthers spread the field. He was a sneaky intradivison steal.

Game Mens Craig Smith Jersey Going back to Benjamin, having Samuel, McCaffrey and Shepard around now with Olsen takes the pressure off No. 13 to perform like a typical No. 1 receiver. His initial goal is to get in shape and build on the good things he was able to do in his first two seasons to become a more complete target. Funchess will need to fight through his durability issues and inconsistency to carve out more than a blip of a role.

Draymond Green began recruiting Kevin Durant from Oracle Arena parking lot after 2016 Finals loss

Draymond Green’s master plan has been executed to perfection.

The Warriors’ magical run this season and undefeated streak in the playoffs appears to have started on the same night Golden State lost in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. Green wasn’t going to let his team blow another championship, let alone a playoff series ever again.

The Bucks announced Saturday they will play one home game at their former arena. The date and opponent have not yet been announced.

To celebrate their 50th anniversary, the Bucks will play a single game at the iconic MECCA, which was the team’s home from 1968-88 and hosted the 1977 NBA All-Star Game. It was also the team’s home when they won the NBA championship in 1971 with Lew Alcindor, who later changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabar, and Oscar Robertson.

The Bucks are guaranteeing fans a ticket to the 11,000-seat arena as part of their 50th Anniversary SuperPass. Each pass purchased guarantees a ticket to Return to the MECCA along with preseason and regular season games held at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in its final season, all for less than $12 per game.

Bucks president Peter Feigin said the single game at their former home will be a “unique and special occasion” for the players and fans.

“The announcement of the return to the MECCA was the perfect way to tip off our 50th season,” Bucks CMO Dustin Godsey told OnMilwaukee, “and is just the beginning of what we expect to be a year-long celebration.”
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Ricky Rubio could be headed to Knicks

The Minnesota Timberwolves sending Ricky Rubio to New York for Knicks’ guard Derek Rose was a trade rumor that swirled around the NBA prior to this season’s trade deadline. Now, it sounds like both teams’ are revisiting that idea.

Officials inside the Knicks’ front office are still interested in acquiring the 26-year-old Rubio, according to ESPN.com. With the NBA Draft less than three weeks away, a Rubio trade to New York could be inevitable.

Both have expressed their love for music, so during some down time they decided to write and record a hip-hop track, according to ESPN.

However, the track is locked away somewhere far from the public’s ears.

Brenton Bersin Kids Jersey According to one unidentified ESPN source who has listened to it, it was a quality track with surprisingly well-crafted and delivered lyrics.

Apparently there was some talk about the track being submitted for inclusion in the film Thunderstruck, which starred Durant. However, Eric Goodwin, an agent who once represented both, said Durant wanted to keep it private.
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When asked about the track and it’s existence, Durant and James didn’t deny the recording, but they laughed and didn’t answer any more questions on the topic.

Maybe at the end of these playoffs Durant and James can come together again and put on a rap battle for the world.

Irving is all over the place. The All-Star guard is 1 of 6 from the field with four points and three turnovers so far. The Warriors have swarmed him on dribble penetration, but he still looks out of sync.

Dwyane Wade roasted by Twitter for NBA Finals Game 4 outfit

Dwayne Wade is sitting courtside for Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Cleveland and his outfit is drawing more attention than the Kardashians inside Quicken Loans Arena.
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Mens DeMarcus Cousins Jersey This one is simple for Philadelphia. After drafting its frontcourt of the future in the past three drafts, the organization has a significant need in the backcourt. And in Fultz, the 76ers are not just getting the best fit possible for the roster they have assembled, but they’re going to be able to ease the concerns Fultz has due to their current roster construction.

Fultz, as far as this evaluator is concerned, is the clear No. 1 talent in this NBA Draft. He’s an obvious fit in the modern NBA as a three-level, dominating pick-and-roll scorer who can play either on or off the ball. That works exceedingly well with Ben Simmons, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft. The team seems set on trying Simmons some at point guard, and with Fultz, they have the right player to try the experiment with situationally.

Simmons can lead the break in transition and make decisions on the fly as a point guard, but when it comes time to settle down and get into the halfcourt, Fultz can lead as a maestro with the screen, consistently getting into the teeth of the defense and dishing to his teammates. He’ll space the floor with his terrific shooting ability for Joel Embiid’s post game, as well as for Simmons’ mid-post slashing game.

Defense is certainly a concern for Fultz, but he couldn’t have found a better partner than Embiid to cover up for his weaknesses. Fultz is at his best on that end as something of an instinctual gambler, a player who takes risks getting into passing lanes and then trying to utilize his recovery speed to make up for it. And realistically, that’s when he’s giving effort, because far too often at Washington he got caught napping at the point of attack.

The Falcons developed a talented roster with the intent of taking the South stranglehold away from Carolina.

Sure, no Thomas takes significan’t speed and quickness from the Seahawks’ secondary in the middle of the field. But they’re not used to seeing teams that work the middle of the field create such receiving mismatches. It’s fighting fire with fire, but also not getting burned by forcing it outside. It’s why Ryan got red-hot during the regular-season meeting, when Thomas did play.

The Falcons developed a talented roster with the intent of taking the South stranglehold away from Carolina. But with Quinn, Seattle’s former defensive coordinator, they were smart to think bigger, blending players with scheme that could take down the NFC’s reigning birds of prey.

It’s good to have all that balance and diversity in weaponry, but what allowed the Falcons to truly de-claw Seattle was their physicality. Quinn sure brought that to a revamped young defense that had a few breakout moments against Russell Wilson. But what makes Shanahan’s plan impressive is how much it’s still based in punching opponents in the mouth, line and run first.

Champions, North. Pittsburgh won the division title with a win over Baltimore on Sunday.

Champions, South. Houston won the division title with a nail-biting win over Cincinnati on Saturday night.

Wild card. Kansas City clinched at least a wild-card spot with Baltimore’s loss Sunday. It kept making Oakland sweat in the West race with a win over Denver on Sunday. The Chiefs would win the West with a win and a Raiders loss in Week 16.

Baltimore and Denver joined this group Sunday. Tennessee lost a game, along with Marcus Mariota, and that was it for it’s season. Buffalo and Indianapolis also joined this group on this Saturday. Cleveland got it’s first win.
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Kurt Warner tweets his case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Voters seem to be on the fence about whether Kurt Warner belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

So the former quarterback who once led the Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf offense tweeted a not-so-subtle promotion for himself Monday afternoon.

And Warner may not have needed his self-promotion, because he has a very good chance of entering this year.

Warner is certainly one of the greatest rags-to-riches stories in sports history. He went from stocking grocery store shelves in his mid-20s to quarterbacking the Rams to a Super Bowl win over the Titans following the 1999 season.

Kubiak spent nine years as a backup quarterback to Broncos Hall of Famer and current general manager John Elway. He then spent 23 years coaching in the NFL, including eight seasons as the Texans coach and two years back in Denver. He led the Broncos to a Super Bowl championship last season, despite lackluster quarterback play from Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler.

Kubiak, a former quarterback, knows quarterbacks, Miller wrote. He knew he had to bench Peyton Manning for Brock Osweiler during the regular season a year ago in order to get Peyton fully healthy for the playoffs. And he knew when to insert Peyton back into the lineup. It all worked because Kubiak always has a plan. Hes not the sort of man who throws something against the wall and waits to see what the outcome will be. He always forecasted his moves and knew exactly what he wanted to happen.

Miller said Kubiak is a players’ coach who always treated his players with respect. But he understands Kubiak’s reasons for putting his health ahead of his career and will keep doing his work.
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Game Kids Dion Bailey Jersey Its understandable that he would walk away from the game the moment he felt he couldnt put 100% effort into preparation, Miller wrote. For him, coaching is an all-or-nothing deal, and hed rather walk away than offer less than his best.

NFL coaching rumors: Chip Kelly interviews with Jaguars, report says

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Chip Kelly could be coaching againin the NFL next season.

The Florida Times-Union reported Kelly interviewed with the Jaguars on Monday, presumably for the offensive coordinator position on Doug Marrone’s staff.

Nathaniel Hackett currently holds that position. Previous reports say new team boss Tom Coughlin plans to keep Hackett.

As for Kelly, the former Eagles and 49ers coach would almost certainly be hired to improve Jacksonville’s offense if Coughlin and Marrone see a fit.

The Patriots (14-2) cruised to a 35-14 win over the Dolphins (10-6) to get the top seed in the AFC. Miami is the 6 seed and will play at Pittsburgh next Sunday to face the third-seeded Steelers (11-5), who ensured the Browns (1-15) would have the top pick in the NFL Draft with a 27-24 overtime victory at Heinz Field.

The No. 2 seed in the AFC is Kansas City (12-4), which won the AFC West with a 37-27 win over the Chargers in what might have been the final NFL game in San Diego. The Raiders (12-4) could have won the division, but could not muster any offense in Denver without injured quarterback Derek Carr. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak stepped down following the 24-6 win because of health reasons.

‘They definitely have a good line. I don’t know if I would say they’re the best pass-blocking offensive line,’ Freeney said. ‘I think we have one pretty good one here in the Falcons. But I feel like (the Packers) do a good job complementing Aaron Rodgers in what he does.

Limited Mens Patrick Marleau Jersey ‘Aaron holds onto the ball sometimes for a long, long time. He does a tremendous job of moving in the pocket, finding ways to squeak out and make throws. Partially that is a credit to that offensive line being able to hold up that long. And partially it’s because of Aaron’s awareness and being able to be unpredictable making those types of moves and throws.’

Houston (42-16) became the first team with at least 42 wins in their first 58 games since the 2001 Mariners.

Not only are the Astros winning, they are doing so convincingly. After Monday night’s four-run win, Houston has an eye-popping plus-106 run differential this season.

Authentic Youth Ronnie Lott Jersey The only small knock on the Astros thus far, and obviously it hasn’t really affected them, is a lack of rotational depth. Behind Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr., Houston has an inexperienced and underwhelming group of names that may need to be improved before the July 31 trade deadline.

Mike Fiers pitched Monday. He struck out four batters while allowing two runs in five innings to help Houston take a 14-game lead in the AL West, which is its largest divisional lead in club history.
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Steered by the exciting young core of Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman, with a mix of breakout performers and veterans, this Astros team is definitely for real and are one win shy of tying a club record with 12 straight wins.

Red Sox third base prospect Rafael Devers (No. 6) is the only other elite prospect who could see a near-term promotion. Although Pablo Sandoval (knee) could return soon from the disabled list, the likelihood of the Panda staying healthy and producing consistently is pretty low. With no other good options at third, the Sox could turn to the hot-hitting Devers (.300/.365/.514 with nine home runs at Double-A). Long-term, Devers has the bat speed and strength to hit 20-25 home runs while posting a solid batting average and on-base percentage.

There are a number of MLB clubs who could turn to rookies to fill the holes in their shaky rotations. Among the near-term beneficiaries could be the Rays Brent Honeywell (No. 16), Jose de Leon (23) and Jacob Faria (NR), the White Sox’s Reynaldo Lopez (19), the Brewers’ Brandon Woodruff (NR), and the Braves Lucas Sims (NR) and Sean Newcomb (NR).

Texas Rangers put on the case of Tom Brady’s missing jersey

Somebody call Chuck Norris. The Texas Rangers are on the case.

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has tasked the Rangers — no, not the baseball team — to find Tom Brady’s game-worn jersey, which went missing following Super Bowl 51.

Patrick said Monday the Rangers will assist the Houston Police Department in finding the jersey, which apparently was taken from the locker of the Patriots quarterback Sunday night after he led an improbable comeback to beat the Falcons at Houston’s NRG Stadium.

“I’ve talked to a lot of fans who would love to welcome Roger back to Gillette Stadium,” Kraft said. “If we are fortunate enough to win on Sunday, the kickoff of the (2017) NFL season would present the perfect opportunity.”

Goodell has not visited the Patriots’ stadium since handing down a four-game suspension to quarterback Tom Brady for his role in the Deflategate scandal. During Wednesday’s state of the league press conference, Goodell stood by the punishment issued to the Patriots, which also included a fine and loss of draft picks.

“Being injured for two years has kind of taken that away from me. My mistakes were shown on the field the first two years, and then me getting better has kind of been behind the scenes. The next time I step onto the field, it’ll be what they expect. People want to see you get better, they want to see you move past your mistakes. I’ve done that, just behind the scenes.”

There is a chance Smith has improved as a player. He’s played in just three games over the last two seasons, so fans haven’t really been able to see the progress he’s made. Teams in need of a quarterback will see it, and will determine if it’s good enough to sign him this offseason.texans_124

How a team president views the NFL Combine: tedious, expensive and overrated

Since taking over New England’s four-Super Bowl dynasty, coach Bill Belichick has owned pretty much everyone on the other sideline 鈥?except when Mike Shanahan was coaching the Broncos. Shanahan not only matched Belichick, but also outwitted him to the tune of a 5-3 head-to-head advantage, including playoffs.

To best Belichick defensively, it takes someone with the aptitude to think several steps ahead offensively. It also requires an attitude; a calculated, cool cockiness that, like Mike, Kyle has.
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“There’s a fine line 鈥?don’t think there’s much Bill and his staff haven’t seen before,” Kyle Shanahan said of trying to out-coach Belichick. “They’ve seen a lot of football and they do it as well as anyone.

“The main thing is giving your players confidence going into the game knowing that when we do see what they’re doing, you give our players the ability to adjust for us to go in a number of different directions.”

The most overrated event on the NFL calendar begins this week. It’s called the NFL Scouting Combine, and it takes place in Indianapolis.

When I consider that I spent about 20 weeks of my life at what’s not so affectionately called the Underwear Olympics, I cringe.
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During my time as an NFL team president, I also cringed when I saw the travel bills generated when we sent a contingent of 35 or so team employees to Indy. General manager, player personnel director, 10 scouts, 18 coaches, three trainers and three team doctors. Not to mention the league’s costs of bringing in more than 300 draft-eligible players for an average of four days each.