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The ten most intriguing NBA free agents for 2019

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com We knew that the postseason would affect free agency. But the idea was that the success or failure of certain teams would affect what their free agents' thoughts about staying or leaving. Unfortunately, the last two games of The Finals brought devastating injuries to two of the three most coveted free agents on the market. Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the world, tore his Achilles in Game 5, just 12 minutes into his return from a calf injury. And Klay Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6. The two injuries will certainly have repercussions beyond the two players and the Golden State Warriors. Maybe they already have. With the Western Conference seemingly wide open next season, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly made a deal for Anthony Davis, sending a bevy of young players and future picks to New Orleans so they can team the 26-year-old star with 34-year-old LeBron James ... and maybe another star added in free agency. As always, the free agent market and the trade market are tied together. The pending Davis trade could affect the decisions of players and teams come July 1. And if teams miss out on the free agents they're seeking, they could always fill their cap space by making a trade. With all that in mind, the players listed below aren't necessarily the 10 best free agents (or potential free agents). They're the 10 (actually 12) most interesting in regard to where they're going and what kind of contract they get. For players to be on this list, there needs to be some intrigue regarding their (and/or their team's) decision this summer. That's why Thompson isn't included. 1. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto (Player option) Whether he leaves or not, trading for Leonard last summer was well worth it for the Raptors, who won their first championship, with Leonard averaging 30.5 points per game in the postseason. The Raptors' "load management" program (which limited Leonard to just 60 games in the regular season) clearly worked, and director of sports science Alex McKechnie should be seen as a major asset in the quest to keep Leonard in Toronto. There should be a "run-it-back" sentiment for the new champs, with Danny Green also a free agent and Marc Gasol holding a player option this summer. A short-term deal would make sense, unless Leonard is looking for long-term security, having missed almost all of the 2017-18 season with a leg injury. It's all up to Leonard, maybe the toughest player in the league to read. If he takes his two-way talent elsewhere, the Raptors may have to go in a new direction. Number to know: In the postseason, Leonard had a true shooting percentage of 69.1 percent, the highest mark for a player that averaged at least 30 points per game in the playoffs and won the championship. 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State (Player option) Durant's torn Achilles probably won't scare any team, including the Warriors, from paying him as much as possible. As deep and talented as this free agent class is, the top two guys on this list are in a class by themselves. Rumors have long had Durant ready to leave Golden State and even with his injury, he seems more likely than Thompson to find a new home. But an ESPN report had Thompson's father talking about "unfinished business" after overhearing a conversation between the two injured Warriors. Durant could always put free agency off for a year by exercising his player option and remaining on the Warriors' payroll through his rehab. Number to know: Durant was the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game in at least 10 playoff games while shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. 3. Kyrie Irving, Boston The disappointment of the Celtics' season, along with Irving's questionable leadership with a group that underachieved, has taken some of the shine off his star. Irving's injury history also must be taken into consideration. But talent is the most important thing in this league and Irving is one of its most talented players. He's still just 27-years-old and he can still get buckets when buckets are needed. A return to Boston appears far less likely than it did six months ago (especially with Davis being traded elsewhere) and there have been a lot of signals that Irving is bound for Brooklyn. Number to know: In the regular season, Irving had an effective field goal percentage of 56.1 percent with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, the second-best mark among player with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 4. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, Philadelphia The Sixers lost to the eventual NBA champions on a Game 7 buzzer-beater that bounced on the rim four times before falling through. They're right there. But their starting lineup, which outscored its opponents by more than 21 points per 100 possessions in 334 total minutes (regular season and playoffs), includes three free agents. In regard to future assets, the Sixers didn't give up as much for Butler as they did for Harris. And of course, Butler has more baggage in regard to accepting his role. But, with his defense and his ability to get his own shot, he's is the most important of the three. Harris struggled a bit in the conference semifinals against Toronto and is the least important of the Sixers' three free-agent starters; J.J. Redick's shooting was clearly more critical in the postseason. But Harris isn't easily replaceable and he appears to be the most likely to leave, with a lot of teams looking for versatile forwards. Number to know: In the regular season, Harris shot 41.3 percent on pull-up three-pointers, the second-best mark among 69 players who attempted at least 100. 5. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Walker has expressed some level of loyalty to the Hornets. But immediately after the Davis trade was agreed to, there was a report that Walker would be a "top target" of the Lakers with their cap space. Walker would be an ideal offensive complement to James and Davis, in that he can play off the ball (though he shot less than 35 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season) and take some of the playmaking burden off of James' shoulders. The Hornets, meanwhile, would likely have a tough time upgrading their roster around Walker, with Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller all under contract next season for a total of $85 million. Number to know: Walker led the league with 126 field goal attempts with the score within five points in the last five minutes. That was 43 percent of the Hornets' total (295). His effective field goal percentage on those shots (49.6 percent) ranked 15th among 45 players with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 6. D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn (Restricted) A finalist for the Most Improved award, Russell took a big step forward this season, both in regard to his production and his maturity. He earned himself an All-Star appearance and helped the Nets reach the playoffs with a 14-win increase from last season. He's only 23-years-old and is one of the league's most flammable shooters. But because he doesn't get to the basket or the free throw line very often, Russell is neither all that efficient (his true shooting percentage of 53.3 percent ranked 66th among 94 guards with at least 500 field goal attempts) nor consistent, and he struggled (shooting 36 percent) in Brooklyn's first-round loss to Philadelphia. If the Nets are targeting another ball-handler in free agency (with Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie already under contract), they'll probably let Russell head elsewhere. Number to know: In the regular season, Russell ranked second with 11.4 pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions per game. He scored 0.89 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the 26th best mark among 44 players that averaged at least five ball-handler possessions. 7. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney, Golden State Cousins hadn't made it back to 100 percent from his Achilles tear before he suffered a torn quad in his second career playoff game. He made it back for The Finals from that injury and showed flashes of his old self with 14 important points in the Warriors' Game 5 win and a big bucket in the final minute of Game 6. But he also struggled on both ends of the floor at times, and the Warriors were outscored with him on the floor in seven of his eight playoff games. Now he goes back on the free agent market with teams still not sure of what they're getting. Looney is an unrestricted free agent at 23-years-old, and he was the Warriors' most important center this season. The Western Conference champs have Looney's Bird rights, but they could also be spending a lot of money to retain Durant and Thompson (and possibly extend Draymond Green). Another team might have a larger role and more money for an improving young big. Number to know: In the regular season, the Warriors' lineup of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Looney scored 121.5 points per 100 possessions and outscored opponents by 18.7 per 100. Those were the best marks for points scored and point differential per 100 possessions among 40 league-wide lineups that played at least 200 minutes together. 8. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee (Restricted) The Milwaukee Bucks were the best team in the league through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals. But, with four of their top eight players being free agents (or potential free agents) this summer, they have a lot of work to do if they want to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo surrounded by players who can get it done on both ends of the floor. Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are the three key pieces. They're all due a pay raise and they all belong on this list. Brogdon is the restricted free agent, but he's also the youngest of the three (he'll be 27 in December) and the one that could be projected into a larger role on another team. Number to know: Brogdon shot 47.5 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, the third-best mark among 223 players who attempted at least 100. 9. Julius Randle, New Orleans (Player option) After five years in the league, Randle is still just 24-years-old. So he's not necessarily a bad fit for David Griffin's plans for the future in New Orleans. But the Pelicans might not be ready to commit the money Randle is seeking (should he opt out of the final year of his contract) after averaging a career-high 21.4 points per game. Defense remains an issue, but Randle has expanded his offensive skill set; he was a respectable 34.4 percent from three-point range this season, taking 18 percent of his shots from beyond the arc (up from six percent over his three previous full seasons). Number to know: Randle averaged 13.2 points in the paint per game, seventh most in the league, and he made more three-pointers (67) than all but one of the six players in front of him. 10. Ricky Rubio, Utah According to Rubio himself, he's not Utah's top priority in free agency. He remains a good defender and one of the league's best passers, but the Jazz need to get more potent offensively if they're going to take the next step. At 31.1 percent, Rubio ranked 153rd in three-point percentage among 163 players with at least 200 attempts. There could be as many as 10 teams (not including the Jazz) in need of a starting point guard this summer, and Rubio could have more value on a team more in need of a distributor. Number to know: The Jazz were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better offensively with both Rubio and Donovan Mitchell on the floor (scoring 110.4 per 100) than they were with Mitchell on the floor without Rubio (104.6). John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 17th, 2019

The ten most intriguing NBA free agents for 2019

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com We knew that the postseason would affect free agency. But the idea was that the success or failure of certain teams would affect what their free agents' thoughts about staying or leaving. Unfortunately, the last two games of The Finals brought devastating injuries to two of the three most coveted free agents on the market. Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the world, tore his Achilles in Game 5, just 12 minutes into his return from a calf injury. And Klay Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6. The two injuries will certainly have repercussions beyond the two players and the Golden State Warriors. Maybe they already have. With the Western Conference seemingly wide open next season, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly made a deal for Anthony Davis, sending a bevy of young players and future picks to New Orleans so they can team the 26-year-old star with 34-year-old LeBron James ... and maybe another star added in free agency. As always, the free agent market and the trade market are tied together. The pending Davis trade could affect the decisions of players and teams come July 1. And if teams miss out on the free agents they're seeking, they could always fill their cap space by making a trade. With all that in mind, the players listed below aren't necessarily the 10 best free agents (or potential free agents). They're the 10 (actually 12) most interesting in regard to where they're going and what kind of contract they get. For players to be on this list, there needs to be some intrigue regarding their (and/or their team's) decision this summer. That's why Thompson isn't included. 1. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto (Player option) Whether he leaves or not, trading for Leonard last summer was well worth it for the Raptors, who won their first championship, with Leonard averaging 30.5 points per game in the postseason. The Raptors' "load management" program (which limited Leonard to just 60 games in the regular season) clearly worked, and director of sports science Alex McKechnie should be seen as a major asset in the quest to keep Leonard in Toronto. There should be a "run-it-back" sentiment for the new champs, with Danny Green also a free agent and Marc Gasol holding a player option this summer. A short-term deal would make sense, unless Leonard is looking for long-term security, having missed almost all of the 2017-18 season with a leg injury. It's all up to Leonard, maybe the toughest player in the league to read. If he takes his two-way talent elsewhere, the Raptors may have to go in a new direction. Number to know: In the postseason, Leonard had a true shooting percentage of 69.1 percent, the highest mark for a player that averaged at least 30 points per game in the playoffs and won the championship. 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State (Player option) Durant's torn Achilles probably won't scare any team, including the Warriors, from paying him as much as possible. As deep and talented as this free agent class is, the top two guys on this list are in a class by themselves. Rumors have long had Durant ready to leave Golden State and even with his injury, he seems more likely than Thompson to find a new home. But an ESPN report had Thompson's father talking about "unfinished business" after overhearing a conversation between the two injured Warriors. Durant could always put free agency off for a year by exercising his player option and remaining on the Warriors' payroll through his rehab. Number to know: Durant was the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game in at least 10 playoff games while shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. 3. Kyrie Irving, Boston The disappointment of the Celtics' season, along with Irving's questionable leadership with a group that underachieved, has taken some of the shine off his star. Irving's injury history also must be taken into consideration. But talent is the most important thing in this league and Irving is one of its most talented players. He's still just 27-years-old and he can still get buckets when buckets are needed. A return to Boston appears far less likely than it did six months ago (especially with Davis being traded elsewhere) and there have been a lot of signals that Irving is bound for Brooklyn. Number to know: In the regular season, Irving had an effective field goal percentage of 56.1 percent with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, the second-best mark among player with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 4. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, Philadelphia The Sixers lost to the eventual NBA champions on a Game 7 buzzer-beater that bounced on the rim four times before falling through. They're right there. But their starting lineup, which outscored its opponents by more than 21 points per 100 possessions in 334 total minutes (regular season and playoffs), includes three free agents. In regard to future assets, the Sixers didn't give up as much for Butler as they did for Harris. And of course, Butler has more baggage in regard to accepting his role. But, with his defense and his ability to get his own shot, he's is the most important of the three. Harris struggled a bit in the conference semifinals against Toronto and is the least important of the Sixers' three free-agent starters; J.J. Redick's shooting was clearly more critical in the postseason. But Harris isn't easily replaceable and he appears to be the most likely to leave, with a lot of teams looking for versatile forwards. Number to know: In the regular season, Harris shot 41.3 percent on pull-up three-pointers, the second-best mark among 69 players who attempted at least 100. 5. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Walker has expressed some level of loyalty to the Hornets. But immediately after the Davis trade was agreed to, there was a report that Walker would be a "top target" of the Lakers with their cap space. Walker would be an ideal offensive complement to James and Davis, in that he can play off the ball (though he shot less than 35 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season) and take some of the playmaking burden off of James' shoulders. The Hornets, meanwhile, would likely have a tough time upgrading their roster around Walker, with Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller all under contract next season for a total of $85 million. Number to know: Walker led the league with 126 field goal attempts with the score within five points in the last five minutes. That was 43 percent of the Hornets' total (295). His effective field goal percentage on those shots (49.6 percent) ranked 15th among 45 players with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 6. D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn (Restricted) A finalist for the Most Improved award, Russell took a big step forward this season, both in regard to his production and his maturity. He earned himself an All-Star appearance and helped the Nets reach the playoffs with a 14-win increase from last season. He's only 23-years-old and is one of the league's most flammable shooters. But because he doesn't get to the basket or the free throw line very often, Russell is neither all that efficient (his true shooting percentage of 53.3 percent ranked 66th among 94 guards with at least 500 field goal attempts) nor consistent, and he struggled (shooting 36 percent) in Brooklyn's first-round loss to Philadelphia. If the Nets are targeting another ball-handler in free agency (with Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie already under contract), they'll probably let Russell head elsewhere. Number to know: In the regular season, Russell ranked second with 11.4 pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions per game. He scored 0.89 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the 26th best mark among 44 players that averaged at least five ball-handler possessions. 7. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney, Golden State Cousins hadn't made it back to 100 percent from his Achilles tear before he suffered a torn quad in his second career playoff game. He made it back for The Finals from that injury and showed flashes of his old self with 14 important points in the Warriors' Game 5 win and a big bucket in the final minute of Game 6. But he also struggled on both ends of the floor at times, and the Warriors were outscored with him on the floor in seven of his eight playoff games. Now he goes back on the free agent market with teams still not sure of what they're getting. Looney is an unrestricted free agent at 23-years-old, and he was the Warriors' most important center this season. The Western Conference champs have Looney's Bird rights, but they could also be spending a lot of money to retain Durant and Thompson (and possibly extend Draymond Green). Another team might have a larger role and more money for an improving young big. Number to know: In the regular season, the Warriors' lineup of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Looney scored 121.5 points per 100 possessions and outscored opponents by 18.7 per 100. Those were the best marks for points scored and point differential per 100 possessions among 40 league-wide lineups that played at least 200 minutes together. 8. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee (Restricted) The Milwaukee Bucks were the best team in the league through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals. But, with four of their top eight players being free agents (or potential free agents) this summer, they have a lot of work to do if they want to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo surrounded by players who can get it done on both ends of the floor. Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are the three key pieces. They're all due a pay raise and they all belong on this list. Brogdon is the restricted free agent, but he's also the youngest of the three (he'll be 27 in December) and the one that could be projected into a larger role on another team. Number to know: Brogdon shot 47.5 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, the third-best mark among 223 players who attempted at least 100. 9. Julius Randle, New Orleans (Player option) After five years in the league, Randle is still just 24-years-old. So he's not necessarily a bad fit for David Griffin's plans for the future in New Orleans. But the Pelicans might not be ready to commit the money Randle is seeking (should he opt out of the final year of his contract) after averaging a career-high 21.4 points per game. Defense remains an issue, but Randle has expanded his offensive skill set; he was a respectable 34.4 percent from three-point range this season, taking 18 percent of his shots from beyond the arc (up from six percent over his three previous full seasons). Number to know: Randle averaged 13.2 points in the paint per game, seventh most in the league, and he made more three-pointers (67) than all but one of the six players in front of him. 10. Ricky Rubio, Utah According to Rubio himself, he's not Utah's top priority in free agency. He remains a good defender and one of the league's best passers, but the Jazz need to get more potent offensively if they're going to take the next step. At 31.1 percent, Rubio ranked 153rd in three-point percentage among 163 players with at least 200 attempts. There could be as many as 10 teams (not including the Jazz) in need of a starting point guard this summer, and Rubio could have more value on a team more in need of a distributor. Number to know: The Jazz were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better offensively with both Rubio and Donovan Mitchell on the floor (scoring 110.4 per 100) than they were with Mitchell on the floor without Rubio (104.6). John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019

Insular Foundation provides free insurance coverage to frontliners

Insular Foundation, together with contributions from employees, agents, families and friends of Insular Life and subsidiary Insular Health Car, Inc. raised funds to assist medical workers who are leading the fight against coronavirus disease 2019......»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsApr 16th, 2020

Anthony Rendon eager to team up with Trout in Angels lineup

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press Anthony Rendon and agent Scott Boras had just wrapped up the third baseman’s $245 million deal to join the Los Angeles Angels last Wednesday when Mike Trout began blowing up his phone. “Based on his exclamation points in his texts, he seemed really excited,” Rendon said with a grin. Two of the majors' best hitters are forming a well-paid partnership in Orange County, and they are both excited to reward Angels owner Arte Moreno’s largesse with postseason success. The Angels formally introduced Rendon at Angel Stadium on Saturday, welcoming the championship-winning slugger to their star-studded lineup. Rendon left the Washington Nationals to team up with Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Albert Pujols, Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton in the Angels’ loaded lineup. But the World Series star insisted his lavish new contract — a seven-year deal with the biggest average annual value ever given to a third baseman— wasn’t as important as the words he heard from Moreno, the Angels’ 73-year-old owner. “Arte and Carol (Moreno) were really adamant about reaching out to Scott and saying they wanted me to be a part of the Angel organization,” Rendon said while holding his daughter, Emma, and sitting next to his wife, Amanda. “That meant a lot to me and my family, to have that respect, to really feel wanted,” Rendon added. “That was one important thing that we always talked about trying to look for in an organization where we wanted to head to or stay at, was a family atmosphere, somewhere that we could plant our roots in, lay a foundation and just grow our family together.” Moreno has been following Rendon’s career since the native Houstonian was a collegiate slugger at Rice, where Moreno had friends in athletic administration. Moreno followed Rendon’s rise with the Nationals up to last season, when he led the majors in RBIs and earned his first All-Star selection before repeatedly coming up with clutch hits during Washington’s improbable playoff run. “Historically the way he’s played, his background, everything felt like a really great fit for what we’re trying to accomplish here,” Moreno said. After his spectacular 2019 season, Rendon is leaving the World Series champions for a franchise that hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009 despite annually fielding a high-priced roster around Trout, who won his third AL MVP award this year. Rendon joins a lengthy list of elite veteran ballplayers lured to Anaheim or persuaded to stay here by Moreno, who bought the Angels one year after they won their only World Series championship and has attempted to recreate that success ever since. Moreno has never been shy about spending his personal fortune and his income from a team that annually draws more than 3 million fans to Angel Stadium. But while Vladimir Guerrero and other free agents performed splendidly under the halo, Moreno has received disappointing results with many of his big-ticket acquisitions — from Gary Matthews Jr. and Vernon Wells to the disastrous $125 million deal with Josh Hamilton, and even eight years of steady, but underwhelming production from Pujols, the $240 million slugger. There’s little reason to think Rendon isn’t worth the money for a team eager to start winning immediately. The 29-year-old Rendon is still squarely in his baseball prime, and the Angels’ flamboyant acquisition of the best hitter on the free agent market fits with Moreno’s desire to make his team more exciting for his loyal fans after four consecutive losing seasons. Moreno acknowledged he was determined to land either Rendon or ace Gerrit Cole, who got a $324 million deal from the Yankees. “Anthony was a player we targeted early,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said. “Very rarely in free agency do you see significant impact, and this winter it appeared there was a number of players that could provide impact, but Anthony was somebody we highlighted. We’re still targeting pitching, but when the opportunity arose for us to do something with Anthony, it was a pretty easy sell for Arte because he does hold Anthony in very high regard.” Rendon will wear No. 6, the same uniform number he wore in Washington, after getting it from new teammate David Fletcher. The up-and-coming second baseman is likely to team with Rendon and Simmons in one of the better defensive infields in the AL. Rendon cashed in spectacularly in free agency, but he is grateful the Angels aren’t done going after free-agent starting pitchers to fill out the rotation that was Los Angeles’ biggest weakness last season. “Talking to Scott about it, he’s had a lot of interaction with Arte, and he says these guys always want to win,” Rendon said. “They’re always going to go for it. They want to build a great team, even though they’ve already got great players on the field.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2019

Cole, Rendon among 131 free agents on market

By Ronald Blum, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Washington third baseman Anthony Rendon became a free agent Thursday, a day after homering to spark Washington's seventh-inning comeback in Game 7 of the World Series. Houston pitcher Gerrit Cole also went free after warming up in the bullpen but never getting into the season finale. And Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the World Series MVP, could be joining them in the next few days. He has the right to opt out of his contract, which has $100 million over four years remaining. Baseball's business season starts shortly after the final out. "I think it's hard to kind of fast-forward," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "Seasons end really fast. I don't care if you get all the way to the seventh game of the World Series. It's all of a sudden — boom! — it's over." Cole, Rendon and Strasburg all are represented by Scott Boras, known for slow, methodical negotiations. Last winter, he reached outfielder Bryce Harper's $330 million, 13-year contract with Philadelphia on Feb. 28. Cole, a 29-year-old right-hander who went 20-5 this year, is expected to get a record contract for a pitcher, topping David Price's $217 million, seven-year deal with Boston before the 2016 season and Justin Verlander's $31.33 million average salary under a three-year deal with the Astros that started in 2019. Cole tweeted a letter Thursday praising Houston fans. "Before I became an Astro I didn't know much about Houston, but after just two years you have made it feel like home," he wrote. "This is a relationship between a team and ... fans like no other that I know." Strasburg, a 31-year-old right-hander, just finished the third season of a $175 million deal and at 18-6 also is coming off his best season. Rendon led the major leagues with 126 RBIs while hitting .319 with 34 homers. A total of 131 players became free agents Thursday, and 53 more potentially are eligible pending decisions on team, player and mutual options during the next few days. Among the pitchers available are major league ERA leader Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Rick Porcello, Cole Hamels, Jake Odorizzi and Dallas Keuchel, who went free after the 2018 season and waited until June to reach a one-year deal with Atlanta. Others eligible include shortstop Didi Gregorius, third baseman Josh Donaldson and outfielders Yasiel Puig, Marcell Ozuna and José Abreu — the AL RBIs leader. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman and Boston slugger J.D. Martinez also have the right to opt out, and catcher Yasmani Grandal has a mutual option with Milwaukee. Teams must decide by Monday whether to make $17.8 million qualifying offers to their former players who became free agents, Players are eligible for the offer if they were on the roster for the season and never received a qualifying offer before. The price dropped for the first time, by $100,000, following a second straight slow offseason for roster moves. Edwin Encarnación's $25 million option was declined by the Yankees, triggering a $5 million buyout. Cleveland exercised Corey Kluber's $17.5 million team option and declined options on second baseman Jason Kipnis ($16.5 million) and reliever Dan Otero ($1.5 million). Kipnis gets a $2.5 million buyout and Otero $100,000 buyout. Left-hander Oliver Pérez's option became guaranteed at $3 million because he pitched in 60 or more games and passed a club physical. Arizona turned down a $6 million option on infielder Wilmer Flores, who gets a $500,000 buyout. Seattle declined Wade LeBlanc's $5.5 million option and the left-hander will receive a $450,000 buyout. San Diego declined a $2.5 million option on RHP Adam Warren, who gets a $500,000 buyout, and a $2 million option on LHP Aaron Loup, who gets a $200,000 buyout. Both will become free agents. Versatile Oakland reliever Yusmeiro Petit had his $5.5 million contract option for the 2020 season exercised by the Athletics, who declined their half of a $5.75 million mutual option on left-handed pitcher Jake Diekman, who gets a $500,000 buyout......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 1st, 2019

Mitchell and Conley pairing could give Jazz offense a lift

By John Coon, Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah changed the entire dynamic of its backcourt after acquiring veteran point guard Mike Conley from the Memphis Grizzlies in July. Will it be enough to turn the Jazz into an NBA championship contender? That’s what Utah is banking on heading into the 2019-20 season. Conley joins rising star Donovan Mitchell to form what could be one of the league’s more potent backcourt duos in the season ahead. Mitchell averaged 23.8 points and 4.2 assists in his second season, but struggled at times with his scoring efficiency. Conley promises to relieve some of the playmaking burden that Mitchell felt at times as an NBA sophomore. “Mike Conley is an elite point guard,” Quin Snyder said at the team’s media day on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). “When I say elite that manifests in a lot of different ways. Certainly on the court, some of the things he does and the feel he has for the game and for players around him is really unique. He impacts the game.” Conley is one of the league’s most efficient point guards in the pick-and-roll and a reliable shooter. He scored a career-best 21.1 points per game in his final season in Memphis while also averaging 6.4 assists per game. Mitchell anticipates seeing Utah’s offense open up thanks to Conley’s patience and court vision. “He’s a guy who goes at his own pace and that’s one of the things I’m really starting to learn,” Mitchell said. “It’s not really always about getting in there and scoring. He’s creating and finding guys who are open.” For his part, Conley is savoring the potential of joining Mitchell in the backcourt and playing with a talent-laden roster that also includes two time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. “We have a team, with our depth and guys who play both sides of the ball, that allows us to get into a lot of different schemes that the other team might not be able to do, which is exciting,” Conley said. “It’s exciting when you have that versatility.” Other things to know about the Utah Jazz heading into the 2019-20 season: INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR Six of the 20 players on Utah’s training camp roster come from outside the United States. Two of those players, Gobert (France) and Joe Ingles (Australia), played key roles in driving their national teams to success in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Gobert credits the NBA with making big strides in growing the game globally with the influx of international players playing for the Jazz and other teams in the league. The league plans to broadcast multiple games during prime time in Europe this season, including three Utah games. “Twenty years ago, it was harder for those kids to think they were going to be NBA players,” Gobert said. “Now, anywhere in the world, you can have that goal and I think it’s great for the game.” VETERAN PRESENCE The Jazz signed multiple veteran free agents to help boost their offense and defense during the offseason. Bojan Bogdanovic was the highest profile free agent to join Utah, signing a four-year, $73.1 million deal in July. Bogdanovic averaged a career-best 18.0 points for Indiana last season and shot 42.5% from 3-point range. Utah also added Jeff Green, Ed Davis, and Emmanuel Mudiay on shorter deals in July. Davis gives the Jazz a defensive specialist who can spell Gobert in the middle when needed. Green adds additional scoring punch on the wing. “We have it all on paper,” Green said. “We have to translate it on court when the season starts.” HEALTHY AGAIN Mitchell was limited in his offseason training last summer when he suffered a foot injury at the end of his rookie season. The third-year guard had no such issues this summer, playing for Team USA in the 2019 FIBA World Cup and getting plenty of time in the gym to workout with teammates like Conley and Royce O’ Neale. “I could go to the gym whenever I wanted to shoot,” Mitchell said. “That’s one of the things you really miss when you get hurt.” PROVING GROUND Green signed a one-year deal with the Jazz in July — his fourth consecutive year on a one-year contract. He is with his sixth team in five seasons after posting 12.3 points per game on 47.5% shooting for Washington last season. Utah views him as a potential starter or sixth man. For Green, joining Utah is equally about playing for a championship contender and proving his value to the rest of the league. “I’m never satisfied,” Green said. “I think when you are, that’s when you have an early exit.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 1st, 2019

Pirates fire manager Clint Hurdle after 2nd half collapse

By Will Graves, Associated Press PITTSBURGH (AP) — Clint Hurdle's booming voice and unrelenting optimism helped shake the Pittsburgh Pirates out of two decades of misery. His charisma gave the moribund franchise an identity, one that reconnected the franchise with a fan base worn down by years of losing. Yet over the years, as the core that led the team to three straight playoff berths from 2013-15 vanished with trades, retirement and the pursuit of financial riches elsewhere, that optimism started to fly in the face of reality. Pittsburgh fell off the pace after winning 98 games in 2015, and as players shuffled in and out, the giddiness of those three intoxicating years of contention faded. When Hurdle arrived for work on Sunday for Pittsburgh's regular season finale against Cincinnati, the Pirates were assured of their worst record since 2011, his first season on the job. By the time Trevor Williams threw the first pitch to José Peraza, Hurdle already was headed home, his nine seasons in Pittsburgh over following a stunning second-half collapse marred by embarrassing off-the-field issues that indicated a clubhouse in disarray. Calling it "an extremely difficult decision," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington fired Hurdle in the final hours of a disappointing year, putting an abrupt end to a partnership that guided Pittsburgh back to relevance. Huntington stressed the club wasn't making Hurdle a scapegoat for failings that stretched far beyond the manager's reach. The Pirates finished 69-93, including 25-48 since the All-Star break. "There is no one thing that led us to this decision," Huntington said. "It's easily summed in new voice, new leadership, new direction in the clubhouse but I'm not saying it's his fault. I'm sitting here wearing it. We are wearing it as an organization, and we're going to work our tails off to never be in this spot again." Hurdle went 735-720 in Pittsburgh, the fourth-winningest manager in the franchise's 132-year history in the National League. He took over a team coming off a 105-loss season the year before his arrival and with the help of a group that included star centerfielder Andrew McCutchen, orchestrated a revival that saw Pittsburgh become contenders in the NL Central. Yet the Pirates never made it past the Division Series over the course of three consecutive playoff appearances, The team slid back to mediocrity as A.J. Burnett retired in 2015, McCutchen and pitcher Gerrit Cole were traded in January 2018, and catcher Russell Martin and pitcher J.A. Happ both landed lucrative deals as free agents. Pittsburgh averaged just 76 victories over Hurdle's final four seasons. He leaves with two years remaining on a contract extension he signed in 2017. Bench coach Tom Prince filled during a 3-1 loss after Hurdle declined the option of working one last day. Huntington said he will explore both internal and external options. Prince and special assistant Jeff Banister — who took the Texas Rangers to the playoffs in 2013-14 before returning to Pittsburgh — both have deep ties to the team. Pirates chairman Bob Nutting said in a statement that he had "a great deal of appreciation" for Hurdle's contributions to the organization. Nutting called 2019 "easily the most difficult season" of a tenure that dates to 2007. While Hurdle is moving on, Huntington, whose contract runs through 2021, is not. "I strongly believe that Neal Huntington and the leadership team that he has assembled are the right people to continue to lead our baseball operations department," Nutting said. Hurdle is the fifth departing major league manager. San Francisco's Bruce Bochy and Kansas City's Ned Yost announced their retirements, San Diego's Andy Green was fired on Sept. 21, and the Cubs' Joe Maddon and Chicago announced Sunday he will not return. Oakland's Bob Melvin, hired in June 2011, became the longest-tenured manager in the major leagues. Hours before his departure, Hurdle said he had guarded optimism about the direction of the team despite its post All-Star break funk. Pittsburgh entered the break at 44-45 but promptly lost 24 of its next 28 games. He told The Athletic last week he had received assurances he would return in 2020. On Sunday morning he allowed that it's a manager's job to sell tickets. Attendance at PNC Park has dropped in lock step with Pittsburgh receding from contention in recent years. Pittsburgh entered Sunday averaging just 18,348 fans, down from 30,847 when the club won 98 games in 2015. "When you don't play well, the responsibility falls upon the manager of the team," Hurdle said. "Then the people that make those decisions on whether the manager stays or the manager goes, coaching staff goes, coaching staff stays, players go, players stay, that's what front office does. . I've always felt I have a really good grasp on what my accountability and responsibility is. I've never shirked away from it or never not owned up to it. So, absolutely not winning enough games falls right here." Off the field, pitcher Felipe Vázquez was charged with statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors, all felonies, and a misdemeanor count of indecent assault of a person under 16 years old. Reliever Keone Kela was suspended for an argument with a team official, and Vazquez and reliever Kyle Crick got into a fight that resulted in Crick needing season-ending surgery on his right index finger. "(There are) players that have come through our system that talked about, 'This is not what the Pirates do. This is not who we are,'" Huntington said. "I'm not going to sit here and say that it's Clint Hurdle's fault. It's all of us. It's all of us in this.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 30th, 2019

30 Teams in 30 Days: Solid finish, playoff push prompts Magic to run it back

Like most summers in the NBA, the 2019 edition was chock full of trades, free agent news and player movement. From the defending-champion Toronto Raptors to just about every other team in the league, change was the most applicable word when it came to describing team rosters for the 2019-20 season. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- in order of regular-season finish from 2018-19 -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's team: Orlando Magic 2018-19 Record: 42-40, lost to Raptors in first round of playoffs Key additions: Al-Farouq Aminu (free agency), Chuma Okeke (Draft) Key departures: Timofey Mozgov The lowdown: It perhaps escaped your notice, but the Magic actually raised a banner in 2018-19. They won the admittedly-weakened Southeast Division, and while that might make folks snicker, any progress is good progress for a franchise still looking to gain traction in this, the unfulfilled post-Dwight Howard era. They were beastly down the stretch, going 11-2 to fight their way out of a midseason slump to reach the playoffs. Plus, they took a game from the eventual-champion Toronto Raptors in the first round. It helps to be in the Eastern Conference, but let’s not water-down what the Magic did too much. They received solid seasons from Aaron Gordon and Evan Fornier, a career season from Terrence Ross and an All-Star season from Nikola Vucevic. (It didn’t hurt that Vucevic and Ross were pending free agents playing for money.) The club also responded well to new coach Steve Clifford. However, there were mild disappointments -- mainly from the last two first-round picks. Jonathan Isaac didn’t take a leap in his second season and seemed unsure whether to be a stretch-four or use his size advantage in the paint. He wound up being just OK at both (9.6 points, 5.5 rebounds per game). Rookie Mo Bamba looked like a project throughout the season as injuries limited him to just 47 games. All told, the Magic made the playoffs for the first time in seven years and won more games in any strike-shortened season since 2010-11. That was enough to pacify the home crowd and finally show up on NBA radar, however faint. Summer summary: For the second time this decade, the Magic arrived at a crossroads regarding their All-Star center and had to make a decision with fairly large future ramifications. Last time, it was Howard. This time, it was the guy who replaced Howard. The decision now, as then: Should they re-sign the big man? Actually, it was a dual decision. Orlando had to want "Vooch" and vice-versa, considering he was an unrestricted free agent, and it wasn’t an automatic call in either case. Vucevic and his family enjoyed Orlando, yet the franchise, despite finally posting a winning season, was hardly in contender condition. He had options as a number of teams -- the LA Clippers among them -- expressed interest in the center with a soft touch and sound footwork. As for the Magic, they’d just drafted Bamba in 2018 with the No. 6 overall pick. The idea, at least you’d think, was having Bamba replace Vucevic at some point. By keeping Vucevic, what signal were they sending to Bamba? Why would they stifle the growth of a player whom they took over Wendell Carter Jr. and Collin Sexton? In the end, both the Magic and Vucevic agreed and Orlando delivered a four-year, $100 million deal. The team's thinking? Vucevic is an asset and so it’s better to keep him, even at a high price, rather than let him walk and get nothing back. Bamba must wait his turn, and he’ll need more time to develop after a raw rookie season. The other investment was in Ross, who spent much of his previous six NBA seasons as an athletic swingman who teased a lot. Last season, he was (for once) a primary option and shot well from deep (38.3 percent), earning himself a four-year, $54 million deal from Orlando. The Magic believe Ross, 27, is tapping into his prime later than usual. Then Orlando added depth at that position with Aminu. He can spread the floor and is decent defensively ... but isn’t a shot creator because of a weak dribble. At three years and $29 million, Aminu was a reasonable buy. In recent years past, Orlando was a fixture at the Draft lottery, and then their fate changed abruptly by making the playoffs. The downside, though, is Orlando had a middle first-round pick, where future superstars don’t normally live. Those picks are where teams take risks, and the Magic did so by selecting Okeke, who missed Auburn’s Final Four appearance after injuring his knee in the Sweet 16. Before the injury, the 6-foot-8 Okeke showed strong instincts around the basket, especially rebounding, while also shooting 3-pointers. Most scouts believe he would’ve been a lottery pick, and perhaps taken in the top-10, if not for the injury. The Magic spent the summer mulling whether to “redshirt” Okeke as they have another young player at his spot in Isaac. Plus, Okeke can heal thoroughly and also get reps in the NBA G League. There's also former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz here, too, whom the Magic added in a deadline-day trade last season with the Philadelphia 76ers. He's still recovering from the thoracic outlet syndrome he was diagnosed with last season and hasn't played a game for the Magic. Still, Orlando believed in him enough to exercise his contract option for 2020-21. If he's ever healthy and shows the talent that made him a star a Washington, Fultz could help Orlando rise up as a real East contender. Other than big-money decisions on Vucevic and Ross, the Magic was content to make only minor changes. They still lack the superstar needed to rise the ranks in the East, yet their core is proven and capable of knocking on playoffs' door for a second straight season. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 18th, 2019

30 Teams in 30 Days: Pelicans could be in for seamless rebuild

Like most summers in the NBA, the 2019 edition was chock full of trades, free agent news and player movement. From the defending-champion Toronto Raptors to just about every other team in the league, change was the most applicable word when it came to describing team rosters for the 2019-20 season. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- in order of regular-season finish from 2018-19 -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's team: New Orleans Pelicans 2018-19 Record: 33-49, did not qualify for the playoffs Key additions: Zion Williamson (Draft), Lonzo Ball (trade), Brandon Ingram (trade), JJ Redick (free agency), Derrick Favors (trade), Josh Hart (trade), Jaxson Hayes (Draft), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Draft) Key departures: Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton The lowdown: There were teams with worst records and teams with more drama. But no team had a combination of both quite like the Pelicans. It all swirled around Davis, the best player in franchise history, who pulled a power move by switching agents to Rich Paul, business partner of LeBron James. Everyone saw what was coming next except Dell Demps, the beleaguered GM who refused to be proactive and instead tried to fight a losing battle. Through Paul, Davis made a private trade request in the fall and then went public a week prior to the trade deadline when Demps hesitated. When the deadline passed, Davis was still in New Orleans and that was a problem. The rest of the season was a disaster, as Davis was in an awkward state of limbo and the Pelicans, anxious to preserve their only true asset, managed his minutes. The fallout was severe: Fan backlash toward Davis, a fractured locker room, a state of emergency within a franchise that wasn’t among the league’s healthiest to begin with, and Demps getting the boot. Everything else about the Pelicans was overshadowed, such as Randle’s solid production in his first (and subsequently only) season in New Orleans and Jrue Holiday’s continued splendid play on both ends. In the end, Davis had long checked out, the Pelicans fell back into the lottery a year after reaching the second round of the playoffs, and a housecleaning was ordered by ownership. Summer summary: History might reflect that the Davis fiasco, in hindsight, was the most important moment in franchise history, and in a positive way. That’s because a much-needed series of changes were forced to happen because of it, and just maybe the Pelicans will be better off for it. It created a change in command, with David Griffin replacing Demps and tackling the Davis situation head-on rather than tiptoeing around it. And because Davis was essentially benched the entire second half of the season, that allowed the Pelicans to fall into the lottery, where they got lucky and landed the first overall pick in one of those drafts that contained a potential game-changer. New Orleans flipped almost overnight, getting an impressive haul for Davis in the long-awaited trade with the Lakers, and adding Zion Williamson, an explosive talent with gate appeal. It was a best-case scenario for the Pelicans, who went from laughingstock to landing a game on Christmas Day this season. Griffin played his hand skillfully, unlike Demps. Griffin didn’t create distrust or burn bridges and instead maintained good communication with Davis and all potential trading partners. He created a robust market for Davis and then negotiated with the one team that needed Davis the most: the Lakers with an aging LeBron James. Not only did Griffin get promising young players in Ball, Ingram and Hart, he also acquired the Lakers’ future with a collection of first-round picks and first-round swaps. Essentially, if the Lakers collapse in the post-LeBron era, the Pelicans will be awash in assets similar to the Boston Celtics when those Brooklyn Nets’ first-rounders turned to gold. Williamson should never have to worry about talent around him in New Orleans as Davis did. And unlike Davis, Williamson won’t be in a hurry to leave in a huff. There’s no reason for the Pelicans to tank, knowing that ample picks are coming their way. With that in mind, Griffin seized the moment to ramp up the rotation, adding some much-needed shooting in Redick and a reliable veteran in Favors. It’s very possible that the Pelicans can compete for a playoff spot in 2019-20, and again, this seemed remote when last season ended. There’s plenty of hope for Ball. He’ll have the relief of playing away from L.A. for the first time in his life and the advantage of suiting up next to Holiday, who can play off the ball if necessary. Ingram will be returning from a health scare related to blood clots that cut short his season but the prognosis is good. In addition to Williamson, the draft also produced Alexander-Walker, who brings good size (6-foot-5) to the backcourt, and Hayes, a raw big man who’ll instantly enroll in the Pelicans’ development school. To make the upcoming season as stress-free as possible, Griffin handed coach Alvin Gentry a one-year extension. The pair once worked together in Phoenix, when Gentry led the Suns to the Western Conference finals. For the first time in his tenure with the Pelicans, Gentry has ample talent and a solid plan. Now it’s up to him to put the right pieces in place. Clearly, though, the big prize is Williamson, who comes with robust talent and also a personality that reflects well on him and the franchise. Williamson can be a savior and, once Drew Brees retires, the face of New Orleans sports. It all depends if he makes good on the immense expectations. Given his knack for making crowd-pleasing plays on both ends, the burly forward has star potential -- which is exactly what a small market needs. There’s a reason why the Draft lottery results caused Gentry to curse with joy and team employees to dance on tables. Perhaps never before has a franchise fallen hard, then rose suddenly, quite like the Pelicans did in a matter of weeks. They’re still partying in New Orleans. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 10th, 2019

30 Teams in 30 Days: Cavaliers to lean heavily on young roster

Like most summers in the NBA, the 2019 edition was chock full of trades, free agent news and player movement. From the defending-champion Toronto Raptors to just about every other team in the league, change was the most applicable word when it came to describing team rosters for the 2019-20 season. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- in order of regular-season finish from 2018-19 -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's team: Cleveland Cavaliers 2018-19 Record: 19-63, did not qualify for the playoffs Key additions: Darius Garland (Draft), Kevin Porter Jr. (Draft), Dylan Windler (Draft), John Beilein (coach) Key departures: JR Smith, Cameron Payne, David Nwaba The lowdown: The first season in the post-LeBron James era, Part II, was almost a carbon copy of the first one: He leaves and the team crumbles. This was pretty much expected from a team that was built around LeBron and then suddenly grew old overnight once he left. It didn’t help matters when Kevin Love, given a rich contract the previous summer, played only 22 games because of injury. That ensured the Cavs would be locked into a rebuilding season and rookie point guard Collin Sexton would receive ample playing time as a result, which was not necessarily a bad thing at all. After shaky initially, Sexton finished strong and averaged 20 points the last 2 1/2 months to make the All-Rookie Second Team. Also, swingman Cedi Osman benefited from increased playing time and had moments in his second season. In a mild disappointment, Larry Nance Jr. failed to take a generous step in his development and there’s fear he will be nothing more than a scrappy, hard-working role player who’ll make the occasional highlight dunk. Otherwise, the Cavs’ season served no major purpose. The remaining pieces from the LeBron era either crumbled in various ways or simply disappeared: JR Smith was suspended, essentially for insubordination; Love was hurt; Tristan Thompson plateaued; George Hill and Kyle Korver were traded. The Cavs sunk toward the bottom of the East, fell off radar for the first time in six years, and once again found themselves back in the lottery looking for help. Summer summary: In a summer of surprises around the NBA, one of the more under-rated events happened when the Cavs’ coaching search ended with a 66-year-old grandfatherly type who never spent a day on an NBA bench. John Beilein might well be a revelation, one way or another. He spent much of his college career at Michigan, where he was highly respected for his strategy, composure and character -- three elements he’ll need in Cleveland. Beilein had flirted with the NBA in years past; when nothing materialized, some NBA people thought his time had passed, especially once he reached retirement age. But the Cavs went with an out-of-the-box choice anyway, plucking Beilein even as the college-to-NBA transition comes with inconsistent results and yellow flags. Brad Stevens is the exception, and besides, he was in his mid-30s when he left Butler and took the Celtics job. The one current college coach whose name surfaces the most in NBA conversation is Jay Wright of Villanova, who has served on Team USA and appears NBA-ready (temperament, two-time champ, even wardrobe). Word is Wright will be on the Sixers’ short list if and when that job opens. Because of Beilein's age and the state of the Cavs, he seems a bridge-gap coach; if so, that’s a smart choice. He’s experienced at managing young players, and the Cavs will build their next era through the Draft. Top free agents don’t make Cleveland a destination choice, even when presented with the chance to play alongside LeBron. Given how quiet the Cavs were this summer, the odds are great that they’ll return to the draft lottery in 2020 and give Beilein additional players in their early 20s to nurture. He’ll have five this season, with Sexton and Osman returning, plus Darius Garland, Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr. coming on via first-round picks. The prize is Garland, the No. 5 pick who was limited by a meniscus injury to five games in his one and only season at Vanderbilt. This seems eerily similar to years earlier when the Cavs took another guard with a limited (11-game) college career: Kyrie Irving. Garland was a three-time Mr. Basketball in Tennessee and was considered the best recruit ever at Vandy, and that’s about all NBA scouts had to work with this spring. Not only was his college career brief, but he also left the combine early. Apparently, that was enough for the Cavs, smitten by Garland’s instincts. The only question is how he fits with Sexton; both can play off the ball, although each is more comfortable as the lead playmaker. Porter represents a wild card of sorts. Talent-wise, he can be considered a steal with the 30th pick ... after being red-flagged by teams following a suspension at USC for poor conduct that cost him much of that single season. Porter was a workout beast prior to the draft, a swingman who brings great size (6-foot-6) and can create off the dribble. The Cavs had nothing to lose by choosing him at that point. Windler benefited from four years in college, steering underdog Belmont to the NCAA tourney and developing into a prospect by his senior year. The Cavs and Beilein can figure out how it all fits later. Right now, Cleveland is all about stockpiling as many assets as possible and giving that young core plenty of time to make their mistakes now, rather than later. And speaking of assets, they didn’t trade Love this summer. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be on the roster when next season ends, either. If the right price comes along — and that’ll be tricky because of his age, injury history and salary — Love can and will exit. LeBron James will eventually get a statue outside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse (formerly Quicken Loans Arena), but he isn’t walking through that door again. The Cavs must take another road to respectability, and it could be a long one. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 3rd, 2019

Flores says it again: Dolphins aren t tanking in 2019

By Steven Wine, Associated Press MIAMI (AP) — First-year coach Brian Flores has been saying it since March and said it again Sunday: The Miami Dolphins are not tanking in 2019. The claim sounded less convincing after Miami parted with three veterans in deals that netted mostly draft picks. Even before the Dolphins swung the two weekend trades, they were widely expected to be among the NFL's worst teams. The departures of left tackle Laremy Tunsil, receiver Kenny Stills and linebacker Kiko Alonso, who made a combined 137 starts in 2016-18 for the Dolphins, increase the likelihood they'll bring up the rear this year. The deals also make it more probable the Dolphins will go first in the 2020 draft, which fits neatly with the need for a franchise quarterback as part of the rebuilding project ordered in January by owner Stephen Ross. So are they tanking? "No, we're not," Flores said. "We're going to try to win every game. It's disheartening to hear people even say that. For a guy who respects the game, as much as the game has done for me, when people say that — they shouldn't say it." To explain the roster purge, the Dolphins made Flores available rather than general manager Chris Grier. Ross has said little publicly in recent months about his team, but Flores said the owner is on board with the direction. "He has been very supportive," Flores said. "This entire organization is on the same page." That includes the players, the coach said, even if they're dismayed that three longtime teammates have been traded. "I understand there are relationships that are built," Flores said. "But the guys in the locker room, I think they're going to band together and play together." Miami completed the trade Sunday that sent Tunsil, Stills, a 2020 fourth-round pick and a 2021 sixth-round pick to the Texans for 2020 and 2021 first-round picks, a 2021 second-round pick, tackle Julién Davenport and cornerback Johnson Bademosi. "This was something we couldn't turn down," Flores said. He said the departure of Stills was about football and not politics. Stills recently criticized Ross' support of President Donald Trump, and he has been kneeling during the national anthem for the past four seasons to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Alonso was traded to the Saints for linebacker Vince Biegel, who has yet to start an NFL game. The deals leave the Dolphins with a passel of draft picks in the next two years, and a salary cap situation that will be the envy of the NFL. But that won't help in 2019. They are likely to enter the season with the NFL's youngest team thanks to more than two dozen players under the age of 25. That includes five undrafted rookie free agents heading into the opener next Sunday against Baltimore. In the wake of the recent roster shake-up, Flores and his staff must quickly decide on a replacement for Tunsil, one of the league's best left tackles. The front-runner is Davenport, who started 15 games for the Texans last year and allowed 12 sacks, the second most by a tackle. "He's a good young player," Flores said. "His best football is ahead of him.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2019

Record 54 current NBA players compete in 2019 FIBA World Cup

NBA press release NEW YORK – A record 54 current NBA players will be featured on national team rosters at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China, up from 45 in 2014. The tournament, which tipped off Saturday, Aug. 31, will feature a record 103 combined current NBA players, NBA draftees, and players with NBA experience, up from 92 in 2014. National team rosters feature current NBA players from 21 teams, and 25 of the 32 participating national teams feature at least one current NBA player, NBA draftee or a player with NBA experience. The Boston Celtics have six current NBA players in the tournament, while the Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings each have five. The Memphis Grizzlies, Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs each have four current NBA players in the tournament. Outside of the United States, France and Serbia have the most current NBA players with five each, while Australia and Spain each feature four current NBA players. There are more than 50 former Basketball Without Borders (BWB) campers on national team rosters, including 11 current NBA players. BWB is the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program that has been conducted annually since 2001 and has seen 69 former campers drafted into the NBA or signed as free agents. For the first time, the FIBA Basketball World Cup will feature an expanded field of 32 teams, up from 24 in the previous three World Cups. A total of 80 national teams across four regions - Africa, Americas, Europe and Asia (which includes Oceania) - competed in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers. The following is a complete list of current NBA players on 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup rosters*: ** NBA player on a two-way contract The following is a complete list of NBA draftees whose rights are currently held by NBA teams on 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup rosters*: The following is a complete list of players on 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup rosters who previously played in the NBA*: *As of August 31, 2019 (all rosters subject to change).....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 31st, 2019

Player Movement: What teams have gained, lost this offseason

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com There's still a lot of work to be done before rosters are set for the 2019-20 season. Some teams (Charlotte, Utah) still have roster spots to fill. Other teams (Memphis, Washington) still have some roster trimming to do. There are about 25 two-way-contract slots that can be filled around the league. And it's certainly possible that players like Chris Paul and Andre Iguodala will be traded a second time before the end of the summer. But it's already been a season of change. At the start of training camp last September, 15 of the league's 30 teams rostered players who played at least 75 percent of the team's minutes in the previous season (2017-18). Right now -- midway through July -- only four teams are set to bring back players who played at least 75 percent of last season's minutes. Continuity Not every team has made big changes. The Denver Nuggets are set to return at least 12 of the 18 guys that played for them last season (the status of two-way, restricted free agent Brandon Goodwin is still in the air), along with Michael Porter Jr., who was with the team all season. The only players that have left the Nuggets -- Tyler Lydon, Trey Lyles and Isaiah Thomas -- played a total of eight minutes in the playoffs. Over the last three years, there has been a correlation between summer continuity and win increase the following season. But the correlation has been small. During that span, 33 teams have brought at least 75 percent of the previous season's minutes back, and only 15 of those 33 increased their win total. The highest individual return percentage of the stretch belonged to last season's Miami Heat, who brought back 97 percent of their minutes from 2017-18 ... and proceeded to win five fewer games. This summer, the two biggest winners in free agency -- the Brooklyn Nets and LA Clippers -- rank 24th and 26th, respectively, by this measure (as of Wednesday morning). And while the Nuggets have a young core that can improve on its second-place finish in the West, the Orlando Magic are bringing back an ensemble that won just 42 games in the Eastern Conference, and the San Antonio Spurs have an older group that was ousted by Denver in the first round, albeit in seven games. Gained and lost math Going forward, we'll be talking about totals gained or lost this summer. These were accumulated by non-rookies for any team last season. For example, in calculating the minutes that Indiana lost (and Milwaukee gained) with Wesley Matthews' departure, we're using all 2,091 minutes that Matthews played for Dallas and Indiana last season. That way, it's a more realistic measure of total production coming in and going out. In that regard, most teams have lost more '18-19 minutes than they've gained. In total, there are more than 230 players who were on rosters (with two-way contracts included) at the end of the season and are either on a new team (via free agency or trades) or remain unsigned. More than half of those players (about 120) have been replaced by other non-rookies. About 70 more have been replaced by rookies (including those on two-way contracts). As an example, here's the roster math for the Golden State Warriors: - LOST 11 non-rookies off their end-of-season roster - GAINED six non-rookies - ADDED three rookies - STILL HAVE one main roster spot and one two-way spot they can fill Minutes gained and lost The Warriors are one of 22 teams that have lost a group of players who played more minutes last season than the group of players that they've added. There are a few teams that have added a lot more '18-19 minutes to their roster. That group is led by the New York Knicks, who have added almost 12,000 '18-19 minutes while seeing almost 9,000 minutes exit. The Knicks have lost four guys - Mario Hezonja, DeAndre Jordan, Emmanuel Mudiay and Noah Vonleh - who played at least 1,000 minutes. They added seven, and all seven started at least 28 games last season. Of course, how many of those seven are difference makers is up for debate, as is the idea of whether the Knicks should have used at least some of their cap space to take on bad contracts -- often spiced up with future picks -- from other teams. The Nets lost as many players (6) who played at least 1,000 minutes last season as they gained. But they added four of the 31 2,000-minute players to have changed teams this summer, most notably in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Utah (3) is the only other team with more than two additions that played at least 2,000 minutes last season. The eight guys that Brooklyn brought in started a total of 363 games in '18-19, while the nine guys they lost started just 179. That's the biggest increase, with New York (+100) and Utah (+84) also seeing differentials of more than 82 games. The Sacramento Kings lost two guys that played at least 1,000 minutes last season, and one of those guys -- Alec Burks -- played only 127 minutes for the Kings. They added four 1,000-minute players, including two - Trevor Ariza and Cory Joseph -- that played more than 2,000 minutes last season. As noted above, the Nuggets lead the league in continuity, bringing back all 10 guys that played more than 1,120 minutes for them last season. But they've also added Jerami Grant, who played 2,612 minutes for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Though they've added more players (11, including four rookies) than they've lost (nine) and need to trim their roster between now and opening night, the Washington Wizards are set to see the biggest discrepancy in regard to '18-19 minutes. They've lost more than 11,000 (with Trevor Ariza, Jeff Green and Tomas Satoransky accounting for more than half of that total) and added less than 5,000. The group of players that the Wizards lost also started 208 more '18-19 games than the players added -- the biggest discrepancy in that regard. The Charlotte Hornets not only lost more than 1,000 '18-19 minutes in their Kemba Walker-Terry Rozier swap, they also lost three other guys - Jeremy Lamb, Shelvin Mack and Tony Parker - who played more than 1,000 minutes last season. There's a general consensus that the Indiana Pacers are in the "winners" category this summer, adding Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb and T.J. Warren. But they also lost five guys (four of their five playoff starters plus Cory Joseph) to have played at least 2,000 minutes last season. The only other teams who lost more than two 2,000-minute players were the the Clippers (3), Oklahoma City Thunder (3) and Wizards (3). Still available Most '18-19 minutes among still-available free agents... - Justin Holiday - 2,607 - Iman Shumpert - 1,481 - Wayne Selden - 1,439 - Jeremy Lin - 1,436 - Shaquille Harrison - 1,430 In regard to minutes played last season, the top 18 available free agents are all perimeter players (unless you want to count Jonas Jerebko as an interior guy). Among available non-perimeter players, Dante Cunningham (928), Cheick Diallo (896) and Zaza Pachulia (878) are the guys who played the most minutes last season. It's all about shooting Putting the ball in the basket is the most important thing in the NBA, and every team is always on the hunt for more shooting. But in regard to '18-19 3-pointers, half of the league (15 teams) has lost more than it's gained. There are a few teams to have seen big increases, however. The Knicks added Reggie Bullock (148-for-393, 37.7 percent), Marcus Morris (146-for-389, 37.5 percent) and Wayne Ellington (138-for-372, 37.1 percent), though creating open shots for those guys might be an issue. None of the six players that the Kings have lost made more than 61 3-pointers last season. Ariza (145) is the big gain in that regard, but they also added Dewayne Dedmon, a big man who shot 38 percent on 217 attempts from beyond the arc. On the other end of the spectrum, it's the Hornets that lost the most 3s, with Walker having ranked fifth in the league in total makes. The Atlanta Hawks ranked fourth in the percentage of their shots that were 3-pointers, but traded Taurean Prince (39 percent on 315 attempts), lost Dedmon, haven't re-signed Vince Carter (39 percent on 316 attempts) and swapped Kent Bazemore (32 percent; 300 attempts) for Evan Turner (21 percent; 52 attempts). The Toronto Raptors, meanwhile, haven't really replaced two of the four guys who made more than 100 threes for them last season. Still available Most '18-19 3-pointers among still-available free agents... - Justin Holiday - 162-for-465 (34.8 percent) - Kyle Korver - 138-for-348 (39.7 percent) - Vince Carter - 123-for-316 (38.9 percent) - Iman Shumpert - 95-for-273 (34.8 percent) - Lance Stephenson - 73-for-197 (37.1 percent) J.R. Smith, waived by the Cavs on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), made 143 threes (shooting 37.5 percent) in 2017-18, but played just 11 games last season. More notes - Eastern Conference - The Boston Celtics are one of three teams (Atlanta and Washington are the others) with a discrepancy of at least 300 between the steals + blocks registered by the non-rookies they've lost (503) and those registered by the non-rookies they've added (194). Swapping Al Horford (145 steals + blocks in 1,973 minutes) for Enes Kanter (58 in 1,639 minutes) obviously hurts. - The Chicago Bulls have seen the second biggest increase in 3-point percentage between the non-rookies they've added (36.9 percent) and the non-rookies they've lost (30.3 percent). Tomas Satoransky (39.5 percent on 162 attempts) was the big add in that regard. - The Cleveland Cavaliers are the only team that hasn't added a single player (via free agency or trade) that played last season, though they still have to add at least one player to their main roster. The only players they've added are the three guys they selected in the first round of the Draft and another rookie (Dean Wade) on a two-way contract. - The Detroit Pistons have had eight non-rookies leave (five have found new NBA teams, three haven't been re-signed) and have added only four. But the four they've added -- Tim Frazier, Markieff Morris, Derrick Rose and Tony Snell -- started the same number of games (60) and played just 11 more minutes in '18-19 as the eight that have left. They did add more scoring, with the four new guys having registered 436 more points than the eight guys on their way out. - As noted above, the Miami Heat led the league in continuity last summer, bringing back 97 percent of their minutes from '17-18. This year, with the retirement of Dwyane Wade and trades that sent Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside out, they're in the middle of the pack. In regard to out vs. in (Jimmy Butler and Meyers Leonard), they've lost total production, but have improved in regard to shooting and free throw rate. Only Denver, Brooklyn and Dallas have seen bigger increases in true shooting percentage from the non-rookies they've lost to the non-rookies they've added. - With the departure of Malcolm Brogdon, the Milwaukee Bucks lost some playmaking. Only the Magic (who didn't lose anybody from their playoff rotation) saw a bigger drop in in assist-turnover ratio from the non-rookies they lost (2.47) to the non-rookies they've gained (1.33). Tony Snell (traded to Detroit) had the fifth lowest turnover ratio (4.9 per 100 possessions) among 299 players that averaged at least 15 minutes in 40 games or more last season. - The Orlando Magic rank second in continuity, one of two teams (Dallas is the other) with nobody on their end-of-season roster having signed with (or been traded to) another team. But they've added one rotation piece by signing Al-Farouq Aminu, who represents the biggest jump in '18-19 rebounds between the non-rookies a team has added (610) and those they've lost or remain unsigned (195). The Magic were already a good rebounding team, ranking 11th in total rebounding percentage and third in defensive rebounding percentage last season. - The Philadelphia 76ers have seen the biggest discrepancy in '18-19 games played between the players they've lost (478) and the players they've added (223), though most of those lost games came from guys who weren't in their playoff rotation. More notes - Western Conference - The Dallas Mavericks have seen the second-biggest jump in effective field goal percentage (lower than only that of Denver) between the players they added (54.4 percent) and the players they've lost (47.3 percent) this summer. Swapping Trey Burke (48.2 percent) for Seth Curry (57.7 percent) goes a long way in that regard. The Mavs are also one of two teams (Orlando is the other) with nobody on their end-of-season roster having signed with (or been traded to) another team. - It remains to be seen how well James Harden and Russell Westbrook fit together and how much the Westbrook-for-Chris Paul swap hurts the Houston Rockets' defense. But we can say for certain that the Rockets got better in the rebounding department. - After ranking 28th in rebounding percentage (and 29th in defensive rebounding percentage) last season, they swapped Paul (who grabbed 7.0 percent of available boards while he was on the floor) for Westbrook (14.1 percent - highest among guards) and also added Tyson Chandler, who had a higher rebounding percentage (15.4 percent) than Nene (10.5 percent). - Good news for the team that ranked 29th in 3-point percentage last season: The non-rookies the Los Angeles Lakers have lost attempted 75 more 3-pointers than those they've gained. But the non-rookies they've gained made 34 more 3s than those they've lost. Among players that attempted at least 200 3-pointers last season and changed teams this season, Danny Green (45.5 percent) ranked first in 3-point percentage, while Quinn Cook (40.5 percent) ranked seventh. - The Memphis Grizzlies had a pretty motley rotation after making multiple trades at the deadline in February. And now they've seen the biggest roster more than any other team this summer, with 11 non-rookies leaving and nine coming in. They currently have guys that played for the Hawks, Warriors, Wolves, Pelicans, Suns, Raptors, Jazz and Wizards last season. - The six non-rookies that the Minnesota Timberwolves have added -- Jordan Bell, Treveon Graham, Jake Layman, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh and Tyrone Wallance -- averaged just 6.3 points per game last season. That's the lowest mark for players added among the 29 teams that have added at least one non-rookie this summer. - In regard to vets, the New Orleans Pelicans have swapped interior players for perimeter players. The (five) non-rookies that they've added had 360 fewer '18-19 field goals, but 127 more 3-pointers than the (10) non-rookies that they've lost. Chicago is the other team with a loss in '18-19 field goals (-38) and a gain in '18-19 3-pointers (+47). - The Oklahoma City Thunder have seen the most '18-19 points walk out the door, with the six guys they've lost having scored 5,619 points last season. One thing they definitely gained in the Westbrook-Paul trade (if they keep Paul) was mid-range shooting. Paul has shot 48.9 percent from mid-range the last five seasons, the second best mark (behind only that of Kevin Durant) among 55 players with at least 1,000 mid-range attempts over that time. Westbrook (37.5 percent) ranks 52nd among the 55. - The 10 non-rookies that have left the Phoenix Suns (five that have found new NBA teams and five that haven't) racked up a cumulative plus-minus of minus-1,709 last season. None of the 10 had a positive plus-minus. The five non-rookies that they've added -- Aron Baynes, Jevon Carter, Frank Kaminsky, Ricky Rubio and Dario Saric -- had a cumulative plus-minus of plus-257. That's the league's biggest differential between players in vs. players out. - The Portland Trail Blazers improved their shooting by swapping Turner for Bazemore and Aminu (34.3 percent on 280 3-point attempts) for Anthony Tolliver (37.7 percent on 215), but are one of four teams - Brooklyn, Indiana and the Lakers are the others - that have lost six players who played at least 1,000 minutes in '18-19. They've added four. - As noted above, the San Antonio Spurs are near the top of the league in regard to continuity. But they've seen the biggest increase in free throw rate (FTA/FGA) between the non-rookies that they've gained (0.335) and the players they've lost (0.181). The pair of vets that they've added (having ranked 24th in free throw rate last season) includes DeMarre Carroll (0.421), who ranked eighth in free throw rate among non-bigs with at least 500 field goal attempts last season. - The Utah Jazz rank 13th in the percentage of '18-19 minutes they're set to bring back, but are one of five teams that have added at least 9,000 '18-19 minutes and lost at least 9,000 '18-19 minutes (when we include unsigned free agents). They parted ways with four of the eight guys that played at least 1,000 minutes for them last season, but all five of their additions - Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley Jr., Ed Davis, Jeff Green and Emmanuel Mudiay - played at least 1,400 minutes. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2019

Summer of 2020 takes on added importance for Bucks

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com As important as the 2019-20 season and postseason are to the Milwaukee Bucks, in proving to themselves and to the basketball world they can take that next step (Finals) or two (championship), they pale next to the significance of the summer of 2020. That’s when Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA’s newly minted Kia Most Valuable Player, can sign a “supermax” contract extension worth approximately $254 million over five years. Or not. And the “or not” might have gotten a nudge on the first day of 2019 free agency Sunday (Monday, PHL time). The Bucks were in a tough situation as it was, with three free agents among the top five players from last season’s 60-22 team. Keeping all of them – wing Khris Middleton, center Brook Lopez and guard Malcolm Brogdon – was going to be a challenge, financially and realistically, given how much demand was outstripping supply in the marketplace (nearly $500 million in available cap space plus exceptions burning holes in 30 teams’ pockets). Milwaukee started scrambling in the days heading toward June 30 (July 1, PHL time) by moving or trying to move pieces such as Tony Snell, George Hill and Ersan Ilyasova for payroll and roster flexibility. Snell’s contract was traded to Detroit along with the No. 30 pick in the 2019 Draft, Hill was waived and Ilyasova essentially was sitting at the curb with a “Free” sign on him and his $7 million salary. It wasn’t enough. The free agent-palooza started well enough for the Bucks when reports leaked early that Lopez would be retained on a four-year, $52 million deal. Frankly, that’s a bargain -- $55 million over five years – if you add Lopez’s 2019-20 salary of $3.4 million, a ridiculously low rate for what wound up as a career-redefining season for the veteran big man. After taking a mere 0.5 percent of his 6,826 field goal attempts from 3-point range through his first eight seasons, Lopez let fly 65 percent of his shots from beyond the arc in his 11th. In hard numbers, that’s 31 attempts over eight years compared to 512 in 81 appearances for the Bucks. Factor in Lopez’s underrated defense and rim protection, and his free-spirit calm in the locker room, and he ranked arguably as the Bucks’ next most valuable player after Antetokounmpo. Soon thereafter, Milwaukee’s next move was reported: Middleton re-upping on an enormous five-year, $178 deal. The soft-spoken 6-foot-7 was named an East All-Star reserve en route to averaging 18.3 points and shifting even more of his offensive game to 3-point territory. But Middleton’s greatest leverage was being viewed as the Bucks’ No. 2 player overall and Antetokounmpo’s Scottie Pippen (relatively) for the past six seasons. And hey, his contract represents a $12 million discount from the $190 million “max” Middleton could have demanded. As it is, starting at an estimated $30.6 million salary, he’ll be getting about $5 million more than Antetokounmpo both this season and next. So two done and one … not done. Not done at all. Just when it appeared the Bucks would take care of their most pressing free-agency issues, the news came: Brogdon to Indiana on an $85 million deal over four seasons. In a sign-and-trade, which meant Milwaukee facilitated the restricted free agent’s departure, rather than match the Pacers’ offer and keep him. Brogdon’s value last season, to a team that got within two victories of The Finals, was evident analytically and by most eye tests. He became only the eighth shooter in NBA history to hit 50 percent of his shots overall, 40 percent of 3s and 90 percent of his free throws. He also showed an uncanny ability to take over for minutes at a time when the Bucks were desperate to generate offense. Brogdon’s threat as shooter enabled him to attack the rim at a high percentage, stopping opponents’ runs or sparking them for his side. Brogdon’s relationship with the Bucks seemed to get strained two years ago, when his reward for being named an unlikely Kia NBA Rookie of the Year was 20 bench appearances in the team’s first 37 games. Here Brogdon had won the award over the likes of Dario Saric, Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray and Jaylen Brown (Joel Embiid only made 31 appearances in 2016-17), yet his role was unclear once Phoenix made Eric Bledsoe available and Milwaukee pounced. Bledsoe pre-empting his own free agency by signing a four-year, $70 million deal with the Bucks raised questions about Brogdon’s spot in their pecking order again. So too, it appears, did Milwaukee nailing down the East’s No. 1 seed, then going 7-1 in the first two playoff rounds while Brogdon nursed a plantar fascia foot injury from mid-March into May. All of a sudden Brogdon’s deal was looking like the one to blame for pushing Milwaukee’s payroll up, up, up into luxury-tax range. And so he was sacrificed to Indiana, an Eastern Conference rival, for a reported first-round draft pick and a couple second-rounders, protections and years still not known. Bucks GM Jon Horst made a nice save in pulling back Hill from the free-agent pool, to the tune of a three-year, $29 million deal. But losing Brogdon was a considerable step backward for a team determined to go forward. Shedding Snell and having Nikola Mirotic head off to the Euroleague to play in Barcelona doesn’t help. As for the draft picks from Indiana and the $12 million trade exception the Bucks might have gained in the trade, the former are out of sync with the team’s life cycle – namely, Antetokounmpo’s ambitions and contract status – and the latter only matters if it’s used smartly. Everything Milwaukee does – has done, actually, since those four staggered defeats against Toronto in the conference finals – has to be about giving Antetokounmpo reasons to stay. That means improving, that means winning, that means at least being in the building when the championship is decided next June. The clock is ticking. The social media vultures will be circling for "The Greek Freak" soon. There is only one way to fend them off, and a part of that now will be playing for the Pacers. Horst, 2019 NBA Executive of the Year, and Mike Budenholzer, NBA Coach of the Year, might need to repeat if they and their team are going to chase the trophies – the Larry and the Giannis – that matter most. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2019

Durant, Irving make Nets the talk of the town in New York

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Just three seasons ago, the Brooklyn Nets were the worst team in the NBA. On Sunday (Monday, PHL time), they were the story of the league. They agreed to deals with superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as part of a sensational start to free agency, giving the longtime No. 2 team in New York top billing in the Big Apple. They landed two of the top players available, both perennial All-Stars and NBA champions, and they weren't finished. They also added center DeAndre Jordan, who played with Durant and Irving on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal, and veteran swingman Garrett Temple. It was such a powerful victory that the crosstown Knicks even put out a statement acknowledging their fans' disappointment, just three hours after shopping season had started. And it was even more remarkable given where the Nets were not long ago. An ill-fated trade with Boston in 2013, when the Nets acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in hopes of competing for a championship but didn't even get out of the second round, cost them years of high draft picks and contributed to them becoming the worst team in the league. They bottomed out at 20-62 in 2016-17, when Durant won NBA Finals MVP in his first season with Golden State after the Warriors beat Irving's Cleveland Cavaliers for the title. Now those players will try to win one together. Irving, who grew up in New Jersey, said in a video posted Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) by his representation at Roc Nation Sports that he always wanted to play back home. Part of the video was shot with Irving on the Brooklyn Bridge. "I wouldn't change anything about this journey, at all," Irving said. "It's brought me back here and that's home, and home is where my family is. Home is where I want my legacy to continue. And, I'm happy to be in Brooklyn." .@KyrieIrving is home. pic.twitter.com/usvbxqkyZA — Roc Nation Sports (@RocNationSports) July 1, 2019 Roc Nation, which announced Sunday (Monday, PHL time) it is now representing Irving, said he had agreed to a four-year, maximum contract. Official: Kyrie Irving has agreed to a four-year maximum contract with the Brooklyn Nets. pic.twitter.com/bI7e09D9k6 — Roc Nation Sports (@RocNationSports) July 1, 2019 He might have to wait a year to play with Durant, who could miss next season while recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. But with Irving taking controls of the offense and a promising young core around him, the Nets should be a playoff team, even while Durant recovers. The Nets got back to the playoffs last season after going 42-40, stamping themselves as a team on the rise. Brooklyn might be able to keep rising all the way to the top after Sunday's moves. Even after winning titles in his first two seasons with the Warriors, there was season-long speculation that Durant might leave. But much of that speculation had been focused on the Knicks, who had more than $70 million and the ability to sign two top free agents after trading Kristaps Porzingis during the season. Right city, but wrong team. The Nets felt confident with what they could offer, from their roster, to their medical staff, to their facilities. And when they made a cap-clearing trade last month, they became even more attractive by freeing up salary to bring in two stars. Irving wasn't expected to be one of them a few months ago, after he'd said last fall he planned to re-sign in Boston. But despite his good stats it was a bad season for him with the Celtics, who were considered an Eastern Conference favorite but instead lost in the second round. Irving became frustrated and reconsidered his plans, deciding his future was not in Boston, but in Brooklyn. Now he'll play for the team he watched while growing up in New Jersey, where the Nets played before moving to Barclays Center in 2012. Even when the Nets had better teams, the Knicks still got more attention and it sometimes felt as if they would always be the marquee team in the city. That changed Sunday (Monday, PHL time) in a New York minute. The Nets were not only the talk of the town but of the whole league, and when the Knicks were shut out early on, they took the rare step of commenting about their situation. "While we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight's news, we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through the draft, targeted free agents and continuing to build around our core of young players," Knicks President Steve Mills said in a statement. The Knicks eventually agreed to deals with forwards Julius Randle, Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis, so they did get something. Just nowhere near as much as the Nets......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2019

NBA salary cap for 2019-20 season set at $109.14 million

NBA press release NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association today announced that the Salary Cap has been set at $109.140 million for the 2019-20 season. The tax level for the 2019-20 season is $132.627 million. The Salary Cap and tax level go into effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on Monday, July 1. As announced by the league in May, this year teams can begin negotiating with free agents at 6:00 p.m. ET on June 30 -- six hours prior to the start of the league’s “moratorium period.” The moratorium period ends at noon ET on Saturday, July 6. The minimum team salary, which is set at 90% of the Salary Cap, is $98.226 million for the 2019-20 season. The Collective Bargaining Agreement provides for three different mid-level exceptions depending on a team’s salary level. The non-taxpayer mid-level for the 2019-20 season is $9.258 million, the taxpayer mid-level is $5.718 million, and the mid-level for a team with room under the Salary Cap is $4.767 million......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2019

Report: Horford now expected to leave Celtics in free agency

NBA.com staff report Another one of the Boston Celtics' top in-house free agents appears set to not opt into his deal, and is reportedly ready to move on from Boston. Though it was reported earlier Tuesday (Wednesday, PHl time) that Horford was expected to decline his $30.1 million player option for 2019-20, it was tinged toward a potential return. Boston Herald sports reporter Steve Bulpett broke news that contract talks had apparently shifted toward an exit. Major change in the Al Horford situation: Per source close to Horford, his side is no longer discussing a new 3-year deal to stay with the Celtics. He is expected to sign a 4-year free agent contract elsewhere... Story to come. — Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) June 18, 2019 Less than a week ago, Celtics star guard Kyrie Irving decided to not opt into his deal for next season. That leaves the Celtics reportedly preparing for a nightmare scenario in which both Horford and Irving walk in free agency, with nothing to show for their recent run of high-profile asset acquisition. Wojnarowski previously reported Horford and the Celtics had interest in working toward a new deal in July, one that would help Boston's salary cap flexibility. Team president Danny Ainge said in early June that he was hoping to discuss restructuring the All-Star big man's contract, a move he called a priority this summer. A five-time All-Star, Horford averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 blocks per game last season for the Celtics, appearing and starting in 68 games. Overall, the former No. 3 pick in the 2007 draft has averaged 14.1 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 3.2 apg and 1.2 bpg in his career......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

Common threads: Warriors and Raptors

The Golden State Warriors are back in the Finals for a fifth straight year, but standing across from them is a new face: the Toronto Raptors, who are playing for the Larry O'Brien trophy for just the first time in franchise history. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Warriors versus Raptors isn't exactly a matchup that screams "historic rivalry." Golden State is 28-17 in the overall series against Toronto, with Canada's club winning both their encounters this season. Still, the two clubs do have some overlap - players having suited up for both teams, plus some on- and off-court history. Here are eight common threads between the two teams in the 2019 NBA Finals. 1. Patrick McCaw Patrick McCaw has made the NBA Finals in all three season of his NBA career, something not many players can say. The first two years, he was with the Warriors, but now, he's facing his old club as a Raptor. McCaw was a second round pick by the Warriors in 2016. The team's long-term hope was that he could possibly succeed Andre Iguodala as a versatile, defense-first swingman, but he opted not to re-sign with GSW this past offseason. Sitting out most of the latter part of 2018, he eventually inked a loaded offer sheet (he was a restricted free agent) with Finals rivals the Cleveland Cavaliers, which the Warriors did not match. The Cavaliers waived him after three appearances, but he eventually found his way to Toronto. McCaw has averaged 2.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.0 assists up north, but has only logged seven appearances, norming 5.1 minutes, in the postseason. With his ex-teammates decidedly miffed about his decision not to come back to the Bay, things could get interesting if he sees playing time in the Finals. SAY WHAT YOU WANT 3 STRAIGHT NBA FINALS APPEARANCES?! I CAN'T MAKE THIS UP ... MY FAITH GOT ME HERE, NOTHING BUT GOD!!! ???????? ZERO WORRIES ZERO DOUBTS ???? — Patrick McCaw (@PMcCaw0) May 26, 2019 2. Jeremy Lin We're a long way from the highs of Linsanity with the New York Knicks, but let's not forget that it was the Golden State Warriors that first had a roster spot for the Harvard product. After going undrafted in 2010, the Warriors snapped up Lin, fielding him as a backup behind Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. In his rookie season, Lin managed 9.8 minutes, 2.6 points, 1.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.1 steals in 29 games. Golden State opted not to keep Lin following the 2011 lockout, which paved the way for him to sign, first with the Houston Rockets, and then with the New York Knicks. We know what happened there, right? Recently though, Lin has struggled due to injuries. He started this season getting traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks then bought him out in February, which allowed the Raptors to sign him after he cleared waivers. He put up 7.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 23 regular season games for Toronto, but has played even less than McCaw in the Playoffs (7 games, 3.7 minutes, 1.3 points). 3. Alfonzo McKinnie 4. Chris Boucher Same story, different teams. Warriors swingman McKinnie and Raptors big Boucher began last season with the opposite ball club, though they actually spent more time with their respective G League affiliates. McKinnie, who went undrafted in 2015, bounced around playing as an import in Luxembourg and Mexico, before landing in the G League in 2016 with the Windy City Bulls. He signed a multi-year deal with the Raptors the next season, but got waived last July. McKinnie bounced back as a training camp invitee for Golden State, but with McCaw not signing, that opened up a roster spot for the journeyman. He's made the most of the opportunity since, averaging 4.7 points and 3.4 rebounds in 72 regular season games, 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16 postseason games. Boucher got a two-way contract from the Warriors last season, but was waived this past offseason. He got another two-way contract from the Raptors shortly after, before having his deal converted to a standard contract back in February. Appearing in 28 regular season games, Boucher normed 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds. He really made his presence felt on Raptors 905, the G League affiliate of Toronto, getting named G League MVP and DPoY. He's been fielded in a pair of postseason games, amassing a total of 5 points and 1 rebound. 5. Stephen Curry The first time Stephen Curry shot hoops in Toronto was not as a Warrior, but as a kid. Curry's father Dell closed out his NBA career with three seasons in Toronto, and Steph and his brother Seth were a familiar presence in the arena, shooting hoops with their dad. The team's star back then, Vince Carter, even played 1-on-1 against him back in the day. In addition, Steph's wife Ayesha was born in Toronto and lived there until the age of 14. 6. Phil Handy He's far from a household name, but Phil Handy might be an x-factor in this series. The long-time player development guru was an assistant coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2013 to 2018, which includes those four straight Finals matchups against the Warriors. Handy's worked with names like Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and LeBron James, before bringing his talents to aid Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam, among others. Ironically though, Handy's a California native, and lived in Oakland until the age of 11. 7. Kawhi Leonard The journey that saw Kawhi Leonard go from San Antonio Spur to Toronto Raptor began in a series against the Golden State Warriors. Back in the 2017 Western Conference Finals, Leonard's 26 points had the San Antonio Spurs up big against the Warriors, before he landed on then-Golden State center Zaza Pachulia's foot. That re-aggravated an ankle injury he suffered in the previous series against the Houston Rockets, and Kawhi subsequently missed the rest of the series. Leonard would play just nine more games for the Spurs, due to a right quadriceps injury. The extent though of said injury is something we'll probably never know. Some Spurs players believe Kawhi could have played had he wanted to, while Leonard himself opted to rehab on his own, away from the Spurs medical staff. Regardless of the origin of the animosity between the franchise and the player, the Spurs moved to trade Leonard to the Raptors this past offseason. Safe to say, it's a deal that's worked out swimmingly for Toronto. 8. Will they stay or will they go? Speaking of Kawhi, he's in a similar boat with the currently-injured Warriors star Kevin Durant. Both Leonard and Durant could become free agents this offseason, with both possessing player options. It's largely believed that should they opt out and test the market, they would be the two top options for teams seeking a superstar. Who knows? No matter what the outcome of the Finals is, there's a possibility that a team like the Clippers or the Knicks could put the two of them on the same squad come 2019-20. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or ABS-CBN Sports......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2019

Hello, Cleveland: Indians welcome slugger Encarnacion

TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer br /> CLEVELAND (AP) — With his family watching proudly, Edwin Encarnacion stood in front of his new locker inside Cleveland's clubhouse, pulled on a fitted cap and slowly buttoned the front of his white No. 10 jersey. Once finished, he pointed to the 'Indians' logo on his chest and flashed a huge smile as cameras clicked. It felt seamless. 'He's a perfect fit for our team,' Indians president Chris Antonetti said Thursday. In so many ways. The Indians, accustomed to being outspent for high-priced free agents winter after winter, introduced Encarnacion, a premium player for the middle of their lineup who will boost attendance and maybe help them win the World Series. One of baseball's most productive hitters over the past five years, Encarnacion finalized a $60 million, three-year contract — the richest in Cleveland history — with a team that got to Game 7 of the Series last season. Encarnacion's deal would be worth $80 million over four years if the Indians exercise a $25 million option for 2020 that includes a $5 million buyout. There are also attendance bonuses built in as both the Indians and Encarnacion's agent, Paul Kinzer, recognized the three-time All-Star's ability to spin turnstiles. 'He's a quiet guy that just goes out and grinds every day,' Kinzer said. 'This is a blue-collar town and he's a blue-collar guy. Cleveland is going to love him.' Encarnacion averaged 39 homers and 110 RBIs over the past five seasons with Toronto, which made it to the AL Championship Series last season only to be eliminated in five games by the Indians. Encarnacion, who turns 34 on Saturday, watched Cleveland's players celebrate at Rogers Centre that day in October not ever imagining he would be joining them a little more than two months later. But while he figured to land with Boston or Texas or in another major market, Cleveland's pitch was the most persistent. And although the first baseman and designated hitter could have made more money elsewhere, Encarnacion wanted to join a winner. The Indians, with one of the majors' best pitching staffs and a lineup featuring young stars in Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis, are positioned to contend for years. 'That's why I came here,' Encarnacion said. 'I believe in this team and I know we can win the World Series with the talent that we have.' The Indians' courtship of Encarnacion began with owner Paul Dolan's commitment to building on the momentum created by the team's AL Central title and first Series appearance since 1997. Cleveland was boosted by cleanup hitter Mike Napoli, who set career highs in homers and RBIs during his one season with the Indians. There were better options available and, after deciding not to re-sign Napoli, the Indians focused on Encarnacion, who hit 42 homers and drove in 127 runs last season. Antonetti didn't have to sell Dolan on Encarnacion's obvious talents. The challenge was convincing him that the slugger was worth a long-term financial obligation. 'It took a lot of work to make that happen, both compromises from our side and compromises from Edwin's side to make this fit and be the right fit for both teams,' Antonetti said. 'And it took a great leap of faith by ownership to make that extraordinary investment.' It also took some clever negotiating. As the sides were nearing a deal, Oakland made a $50 million, two-year offer that caused the Indians to counter. Kinzer proposed an attendance clause, a suggestion Antonetti initially wasn't sure was possible. 'That was a way to bridge the gap,' Kinzer said. 'When Edwin went on that run five years ago, Toronto was at 1.9 (million) in attendance. Now, they're at 3.4. Well, if Edwin contributes to that, then we should be rewarded for it.' Encarnacion gets a $5 million signing bonus, half payable on May 1 and the rest Aug. 1, and salaries of $13 million this year, $17 million in 2018 and $20 million in 2019. The Indians agreed and Encarnacion has already made an impact, as the team has sold more than $1 million in season tickets since he agreed to the deal on Dec. 22. He would earn bonuses of $150,000 each when the Indians reach 2 million, 2.15 million, 2.3 million, 2.5 million and 2.75 million in home attendance. He can make another $250,000 for 3 million. Once the deal's parameters were settled, Antonetti and Kinzer then had to maneuver around some family holiday obligations. As they neared an agreement, Kinzer was at Six Flags Amusement Park in Atlanta with his grandchildren to see Santa Claus, while Antonetti was attending a performance of 'The Little Mermaid' with his wife and two daughters. Antonetti ducked in and out of the theater's auditorium before closing the biggest deal in team history during a break between two songs from the musical. 'We were somewhere between 'Under the Sea' and 'Part of Your World,' he said with a smile. 'It was a great performance.' The Indians can take a bow for theirs, as well. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

Garcia: Cebu Province in ‘good’ shape amid COVID-19 rise

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia is not a bit worried that only 10 of the 50 towns and cities in the province can be considered as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) free. The governor said that the Capitol will not be distracted with saturated information on COVID-19 as they are more focused on […] The post Garcia: Cebu Province in ‘good’ shape amid COVID-19 rise appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 26th, 2021

P245 M allocated for Judges-at-Large Act; Angara sees faster resolution of cases

Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara assured the Judiciary Sunday it would be able to expedite the adjudication of several pending court cases with the funds Congress provided for the appointment of judges-at-large under the 2021 national budget.  Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (Senator Sonny Angara Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said a total of P244.988 million was included in the budget of the Judiciary for the implementation of Republic Act 11459 or the Judges-at-Large Act.Enacted on Aug. 13, 2019, the law mandates the creation of judges-at-large posts for the regional and municipal trial courts in order to decongest the courts of its dockets.These judges-at-large would have no permanent salas and may be assigned by the Supreme Court as acting or assisting judges to any Regional Trial Court (RTC) or Municipal Trial Court (MTC) in order to decongest the courts of its dockets.“For 2020, the first year of implementation of the law, we provided funding to cover for the creation of 50 judges-at-large posts,” Angara said in a statement.“For 2021, we will double the number of posts to 100 as requested by our Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta,” Angara said.The senator also said these judges-at-large are entitled to salaries, privileges, allowances, emoluments, benefits, rank, and title of regular RTC and MTC judges.Angara also said the Judiciary’s budget for 2021 also includes a P50-million augmentation to cover for the deployment of Judiciary marshals to secure the justices, judges, and other court officials.He said the inclusion of this funding was prompted by the appeals of the Judiciary for the creation of a judicial marshal service as the threats and attacks against judges and other court officials continue to take place in the country. The Senate is set to approve Senate Bill No. 1947 or the proposed Judiciary Marshals Act, of which Angara is one of the authors. Once approved, an office of the Judiciary marshals would be established under the Supreme Court and its continued funding will be ensured as part of the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).“We want to sustain the implementation of the Judges-at-Large Act to help ensure the delivery of speedy justice in the country,” the lawmaker said.“With the appointment of more judges, we can expect to see the resolution of more cases and eventually free up the courts of its backlog,” Angara added. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsJan 17th, 2021