Ex-Cavs GM David Griffin reportedly pulls name from Knicks’ front office search

Former Cavaliers GM David Griffin’s next job will likely not be with the Knicks.

Griffin pulled his name from New York’s search for a new GM and president of basketball operations, according to ESPN.

New York is looking for president Phil Jackson’s replacement. Jackson was fired on June 28, days before the start of NBA free agency.

The Knicks’ front office is in a state of disarray and the franchise’s recent offer sheet for Tim Hardaway was a head-scratcher. But Phil Jackson? Oh, he’s doing just fine.

Carter-Williams is an interesting add for the Hornets, if a flawed one. Looking positively, the team has a need at backup point guard, and Carter-Williams is an interesting buy-low candidate in this scheme. He’s long, athletic and quick enough to create plays as a backup.

Defensively, his length creates hindrances for opposing teams, something coach Steve Clifford will like. But for a team that will likely be looking for steadiness from their backup point guard, Carter-Williams’ inconsistency and inefficiency might be somewhat maddening on offense.

Long-term, there’s not a ton of upside for he Hornets here. At a one-year deal for a team that will operate over the cap next year, the Hornets will need to delve back into their exceptions to retain him next offseason as opposed to getting any sort of team control over him via Bird rights. But for one year, it’s a decent risk worth taking at a low cost that won’t hinder them long term. jets_014

Fred Hoiberg ends press conference when asked if Isaiah Thomas carried the ball

There has been much talk about Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg and his postgame press conference after Game 4. It was then that he indicated the reason it was hard to guard Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas was because he always carried the ball. He called it “discontinuing” his dribble. After Game 5, a reporter asked Hoiberg if Thomas carried the ball during the game on Wednesday night. Hoiberg said “No” and walked right out of the press conference. To be fair, it was the last question of his segment, but we love drama anyway.

“Let me say this. Isaiah Thomas is a hell of a player. An unbelievable competitor. He’s a warrior. Everything he’s going through right now, he had a hell of a game tonight. But when you’re allowed to discontinue your dribble on every possession, he is impossible to guard. He’s impossible to guard. When you’re able to put your hand underneath the ball, and take two or three steps and put it back down, it’s impossible to guard him in those situations.”
The NBA, where something is always happening.

A glowing piece on Cooke’s changed character from Rossi can be found in the archives of the Pittsburgh Tribune. Our own Penguins blog wrote quite the rebuttal back in 2011. It’s a great read on the situation.

Fast-forward to March 2017, where Tom Sestito spent a minute of ice time fighting and being ejected for a late hit on Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom. Our site seemed like one of the few outlets questioning that whole scene, along with the Altoona Mirror’s piece echoing the disappointment. Only radio silence and news hits on Sestito’s disagreements with his four game suspension came from Pittsburgh.
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Broncos add DeMarcus Walker, whose sack production couldn’t be ignored

DeMarcus Walker, the sack artist out of Florida State, has been selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round with the 51st pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

The former Seminoles defensive end racked up 27 career sacks in four seasons, earning first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honors in 2016. Walker was also named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last season, after the standout end totaled 16 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

“I think we’ve just gotten used to the fact that they don’t get it right, and I don’t know — it’s hard to have that hope anymore.”

DePodesta knows that he and his colleagues have their work cut out for them.

“[Rebuilding a team] is like redoing a house — you need to rip down all the walls and get it down to the studs,” DePodesta told MMQB. “When you do that, you look at it and go, ‘wow this looks terrible.’ We never want to go through this again and I think that is our attitude.”

The Oakland Raiders were in a similar situation a few years ago, without the luxury of loads of cap space, which the Browns do have. They had a long string of losing seasons, a revolving door at quarterback, and a defense that couldn’t stop many teams. Now they’re coming off their first playoff appearance in 14 years, and it all started with the draft. Since 2012, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has made a habit of trading back to acquire more picks, and made some franchise-changing decisions in the draft.
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Is Oregon a threat to flip 4-star DB Isaiah Bolden from Florida State?

Details from the scandal show how Art, among others, passed the buck specifically involving an allegation from one woman of sexual assault, and how per athletic department policy he was not allowed to do so.

Kendall has recently been hired as an offensive coordinator by Lane Kiffin at FAU. Kiffin said he felt comfortable with Briles’ situation in a press conference before the Playoff semifinal.

The expectation is that McDowell will go further in the first round because, frankly, he just didn’t produce enough consistently at Michigan State, and it wasn’t always because of double teams. If this pick were happening in the mid 20s or later, it would be hard to criticize. But at No. 7 overall, it’s easy to scrutinize.

His run blocking has been predictably excellent, but Warford is pass blocking at a high level as well, leaving the Lions thinking they may have found a fixture on their offensive line.

On his first receiving touchdown, Austin just got behind the defense with his straight-line speed. The Colts left Austin with too much space in the open field on his second score. Austin did what he does in the open field. He made a few people miss and ran to daylight. The Rams are hoping Austin’s performance was sign of things to come from the rookie.
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Panthers vs. 49ers 2017 odds and lines: San Francisco favored at home

Coming off four straight wins, the Carolina Panthers are arguably playing as well as any team in the NFC. If their win streak is going to continue, the Panthers will have to go on the road and knock off the 49ers (6-2), winners of five straight games.

The two teams appear to match up well on paper, but oddsmakers favor the 49ers who opened as 6.5-point favorites, according to OddsShark.com. San Francisco gets a boost for playing at home and some oddsmakers have the 49ers favored by seven points. Both teams rank in the top four in the NFL in scoring defense. While oddsmakers aren’t predicting a field goal battle, the total opened at 42.5.

Minnesota’s top wide receiver Jerome Simpson was charged with a misdemeanor DWI hot off the heels of the Vikings second win. Simpson was arrested after refusing to take a breathalyzer test and spent time in Hennepin County Jail.

He leads the Vikings with 491 receiving yards this season, and the team issued a brief statement:

The Vikings are aware of the matter involving Jerome Simpson. We are continuing to gather information and will have further comment at the appropriate time.

NFL Draft 2017: Which player do mock drafts project each team to pick?

Now that the 2016 NFL season is over, all eyes turn to the 2017 offseason. The big event is the NFL draft, scheduled for April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

The Cleveland Browns are at the top of the draft order following their 1-15 season, but they also have the No. 12 selection thanks to a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016. While there’s still plenty of time for players to climb up or slide down boards, Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett is currently the heavy favorite to be Cleveland’s No. 1 pick.

By surveying as many mock drafts as possible, we can get a good idea of the directions experts expect most teams to go.

Otherwise, Scott Cross’s squad demolished Saint Mary’s in Moraga and won at Texas in a season when that result would ultimately mean nothing. Had UTA managed to reach Sunday’s Sun Belt Tournament final, they could have snuck in with a loss. But Saturday’s 21-point hammering by Texas State, the Mavericks’ second loss of the year to the Bobcats, means they’ll have to settle for an NIT place.

Scheyer added that Tatum’s progress from his injury-slowed start to the postseason has turned him into one of the toughest players in the country to guard.

“He’s a guy who’s so versatile,” Scheyer said. “If you have basketball instincts like his, you just have to let him go sometimes.”

With Tatum starting and starring and Giles coming off the bench to provide increasingly more valuable minutes, Duke is morphing into the team it was supposed to be in the preseason, and it’s happening at the right time. This isn’t a traditional Blue Devils team — Tatum and Giles provide a little more flash than Duke may have had previously — but it’s made it nearly impossible to put them away.

Duke trailed Louisville, North Carolina, and Notre Dame in the second half during the ACC Tournament on consecutive nights. Each time, Duke fought back behind clutch shooting and tough defense.

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Jusuf Nurkic’s emergence in Portland could cost the Nuggets a playoff appearance and a draft pick

When the Portland Trail Blazers shipped Mason Plumlee to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first-round pick, it seemed like they were waiving the the white flag in their playoff hunt.

“I expressed my concern that [the Vikings] are at a competitive disadvantage … I feel very strongly about this point,” he wrote. “… I feel that Dr. Fischer is beginning to see my point of view on many issues. I also feel he is willing to change to improve.”

Canada had just six hits to the DR’s 15. Fifteen! And that number includes three doubles, a two-run home run from Welington Castillo, and a three-run home run from Jose Bautista and his luxurious beard.

As for the Bears, the result ended any hope they had of jumping back to the top line of the bracket.

The ball was jumping all night, with six total home runs, four of which belonged to Italy. But down four runs in the ninth, it wasn’t home runs that helped Italy to a surprise walk-off win. It was doubles. They hit three straight doubles to start the ninth, got another man on thanks to a fielding error, and then two straight singles took them over the top for a 10-9 win.

The Jaguars can offer Cutler some luxuries, including the league’s No. 11 offensive line (when it comes to sack percentage) and explosive young receivers in Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee. However, the team has publicly committed to pick-six purveyor Blake Bortles for at least the start of 2017, so any deal the veteran accepts in Florida would peg him as a Week 1 backup.9

Leonard Fournette being real fast for a huge guy is actually a good thing, in my opinion

The talk early in the week at the combine was all about LSU running back Leonard Fournette. When he jumped 28.5 inches, everyone began to question his play. Is he out of shape? Is 240 pounds too big? Then when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds, those questions mostly went away.

Teams do the drills for a reason, so Fournette’s lack of a vertical jump can be concerning. But based on how he plays, should we really expect him to be some athletic marvel? No. He’s a bruising runner who is more prone to throwing defenders aside than running around them.

Johnson, who was only a team consultant at the time, referred Divac to Kupchak, according to Shelburne, since he did not have the authority to discuss trades with opposing executives.

Divac had ownership approval to trade Cousins in a deal that landed Lakers’ rookie Brandon Ingram or New Orleans Pelicans rookie Buddy Hield, per Shelburne. Johnson never heard back from Lakers management regarding a Cousins trade.

Writes Shelburne: Before the mammoth trade that paired Cousins with New Orleans Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis, Sacramento Kings GM Vlade Divac reached out to Johnson to gauge the team’s interest in acquiring its three-time All-Star.

But by the time the Lakers got involved, Divac and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps, both in New Orleans for the All-Star Game, had met four or five times in person to discuss a deal, sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein. He was negotiating over the phone with Buss and Kupchak — despite the fact that Magic was in New Orleans that weekend for ESPN.17

NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick to stop US anthem protest: report

NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has altered his stance and will stand during the US national anthem next season.

The decision comes on the heels of Kaepernick hiring new agents, who told all 32 NFL teams that the quarterback would opt out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers and will be available when free agency begins March 9.

Kaepernick initially said that his national-anthem protest was meant to bring attention to social and racial injustice.

According to Rapoport, the extension was struck late Saturday at Prime 47 steakhouse in Indianapolis, where the NFL Scouting Combine is taking place. Saturday was also Gruden’s 50th birthday.

In three seasons with Washington, Gruden has a regular-season record of 21-26-1. He guided the Redskins to the NFC East title in ’15, but lost to Green Bay in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

Gruden is the first head coach to receive a contract extension under Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who purchased the team in 1999.

Earlier this week, Washington placed the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins for the second time as the two sides work toward a long-term deal.

We go down, what he do? I try to box him out, he’s running with his forearm at my head. I stand him up, hit him in his chest, boom. He threw his hands up, and I turned everything into him. Hips, everything, hook. He grabbed his eye, he was bleeding, his eyeball was fluttering like it was moving. Grabbed his eye, it was bleeding, and he walked off.

Check out the rest of the In The Zone podcast as Broussard breaks down Kevin Durant’s injury, why the Warriors can’t be considered title favourites anymore and the potential worst-case scenarios for Golden State.
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Mitch Trubisky is 6’2 and that’s just right for Hue Jackson and the Browns

9Official quarterback heights are out at the NFL Scouting Combine, and that’s a good thing for North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky. It’s also a good thing for the Cleveland Browns.

Trubisky, touted by many as the top quarterback in this year’s draft, measured in at 6’2 1?4 in Indianapolis. That should answer some concerns that arose when NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said during the Senior Bowl that scouts were expecting Trubisky would measure in at 6’1.

Minnesota added a quarterback after Teddy Bridgewater’s injury for the price of a first-rounder and a future mid-round pick. And Bradford ended up playing well in 2016, setting career highs in completion percentage (71.6 percent), yards (3,877), and passer rating (99.3). He also threw for 20 touchdowns to just five interceptions, the best TD-to-interception ratio in his career.

With the uncertainty surrounding Bridgewater’s future, Bradford might be in Minnesota for the long haul, too. The Vikings finding quarterback stability, plus the Eagles regaining draft capital to help the progression of their young quarterback means both sides came out winners.

The veteran tackle will certainly be an interesting free agent, as his age (he’ll be 33 this summer) and somewhat recent shoulder surgery will surely scare some teams off. That said, he’s still a talented player who will likely find an opportunity somewhere, potentially even in a starting role.

As we’ve learned in years past, teams love to overpay recent Super Bowl champions, as well as former New England Patriots players. Vollmer has both of those things going for him, so he could potentially surprise with a nice contract in free agency.