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It’s clear that the 6-11 Atlanta native will never again be the guy who dragged the 2009 Magic to the NBA Finals.

It’s clear that the 6-11 Atlanta native will never again be the guy who dragged the 2009 Magic to the NBA Finals.

Limited Kids Joffrey Lauvergne Jersey This would have to be the floor for Ball. The Magic have given Elfrid Payton three seasons as their point guard, and though he has improved, there’s question about whether he is worthy of a long-term commitment.

It’s clear that the 6-11 Atlanta native will never again be the guy who dragged the 2009 Magic to the NBA Finals. However, he did average a solid 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game during the regular season.

He also had his fewest number of blocks with an average 1.2, though his defensive tracking numbers show he remains a deterrent at the rim. A three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Howard is almost a liability with his inability to guard the 3-point line. He also causes his team’s offense to become stagnant with his traditional back-to-the-basket style. The Hawks are on the hook for a lot of money with Howard, as he just finished the first year of a three-year, $70.5 million contract. That’s not easy to move. So the question is this: does an analog player work in the digital era of the NBA?

And as many fans (particularly in Oklahoma City) like to remind Durant, he took the cupcake way out by joining a Golden State team that had won an NBA record 73 regular-season games with unanimous MVP Stephen Curry. Why don’t we get back to being competitive, Kevin?

Now everybody wanna play for the heat and the Lakers? Let’s go back to being competitive and going at these peoples!

Limited Kids Jarran Reed Jersey If he can carry that momentum into the NBA Finals, he will be a key difference-maker for Cleveland’s upset bid over Golden State.

In that same period there have been 42 one-and-done collegians who played their rookie seasons immediately after being drafted in the first round, excluding those such as Simmons, who was injured and missed an entire year. Of that group, 10 averaged double-figure scoring as rookies. And five more averaged more than nine points; none of the international players came that close. The notion that players from the European system are better prepared to play in the NBA is a fantasy.

Vegas oddsmakers picking 2017 Warriors over Michael Jordan’s 1996 Bulls

Vegas oddsmakers picking 2017 Warriors over Michael Jordan’s 1996 Bulls

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Forget the LeBron James-Michael Jordan debate. The argument, at least in Las Vegas, is who would win in a matchup between the 2017 Warriors and Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls team that went 72-10 en route to an NBA title. spoke with six bookmakers and asked them to set odds in a dream matchup of historical powerhouses but the spreads may surprise you.

One win away from his first NBA Finals appearance since 2012 鈥?when his Thunder lost to the Heat in five games 鈥?Durant added of Golden State, This is where I am supposed to be at this point of my life. I’m taking it on and conquering every part of it. I’m enjoying every single step.

Based on those remarks, it makes sense he answered in the affirmative when asked if he plans to exercise his $27.7 million option to remain with the Warriors through the 2017-18 season.

Yeah. I love it here,Durant said. I love my teammates. I love the city (of Oakland), I love the organization. I love it here. I don’t plan on going anywhere else.

With the No. 2 seed Spurs not putting up much of a fight in the West finals, this isn’t good news for the rest of the conference.
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If Russell can become more of an off the ball guard, he’d actually compliment Ball really well. The NBA Draft prospect seemed to agree, saying Wednesday, They’re young, I’m young, they like to run, I like to young, I think we work well together.

Ball’s comments either indicate the team is ready to move on with Russell, or the more likely scenario, they’re ready to change his game. This all, of course, is assuming the Lakers even take Ball with the No. 2 pick, which isn’t a guarantee. But if they do, expect some change in Los Angeles.

Packers’ Jordy Nelson voted Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year for 2016

Packers’ Jordy Nelson voted Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year for 2016

Some players need an entire season to fully recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Not Jordy Nelson and that’s why the Green Bay wide receiver is the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year, as voted upon by fellow NFL players.

Nelson needed little time to show he was still among the NFL’s top play-makers after missing the entire 2015 campaign with a preseason knee injury. Nelson scored a league-high 14 touchdowns among 97 catches that generated 1,254 receiving yards.

The most cynical of critics might say it’s not Belichick or Brady; it’s systemic cheating. To that, I say that Spygate is the asterisk you can sprinkle for the early years of success, but everything since that time has been nothing more than white noise.

Deflategate and ball PSI was a sham. The ball pressure had nothing to do with the Patriots running all over Indianapolis in a playoff game.

Even so, Brady served a four-game suspension, and New England went 3-1 in his absence to start this season. Since Brady returned in Week 5, the Patriots have the second highest scoring offense in the league, behind the Atlanta Falcons.

Super Bowl LI should be an epic showdown. The majority of the nation and football-viewing world will be pulling for Matt Ryan and Atlanta. Can the young lion knock off the old lion from the top of the pigskin mountain?jays_1214_8ee2837a85f7217c-180x180

Panthers’ Thomas Davis calls Odell Beckham Jr. ‘a cancer’ for Giants

Panthers’ Thomas Davis calls Odell Beckham Jr. ‘a cancer’ for Giants

Odell Beckham Jr. has been one of the NFL’s most mercurial stars over the past couple of seasons. His potential is endless, but his antics have hurt his team at times.

Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, speaking Sunday on NFL Network’s NFL GameDay Morning, called out the star wide receiver ahead of New York’s playoff game against the Packers.
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I think that we all can agree that Odell is a great player. Right We all agree on that, Davis said. When you think about Odell and what he’s able to do on the football field is truly special. But it’s very important for him this weekend to make sure that he controls his emotions.

Last month, as the Cowboys were finishing their 13-3 season, Jones admitted to intentionally feeding into controversy surrounding the team’s situation under center because that’s one of the things that makes sports interesting.

In fact he (and pretty much everyone else) couldn’t get enough of talking about Romo all year.

It only became more prominent when the 36-year-old quarterback returned from injury Week 11, leading to speculation over whether Jones would dare interfere with Dak Prescott’s rookie season success to re-insert Romo into his starting role.

That never happened, and now it’s became a matter of how, not if, the Cowboys will dispose of Romo, who carries a $24.7 million cap hit in 2017.

Limited Womens Tahir Whitehead Jersey Dallas could trade Romo should it identify a suitor willing to take on the three years remaining on his contract. Otherwise it’s expected he’ll be released, free to sign with any team.

Jones side-stepped another question Tuesday about whether he has a sense for which option Romo prefers.

Well, I’ve always had a good feeling that I communicated well and that we as an organization communicated well with Tony, he said. I’ve always had that.

Odell Beckham Jr. is crazy good at dunking

Odell Beckham Jr. is crazy good at dunking

Odell Beckham Jr. has some serious hops. The Giants’ star receiver showed off his freakish athletic ability this weekend in an Instagram post.

Despite their poor 2016 record, the Bengals don’t have glaring weaknesses on either side of the ball : with the exception of linebacker. We don’t believe Foster is worth this high of a pick as an off-ball linebacker, but the Bengals aren’t likely to reach for a No. 2 receiver, another defensive back or a defensive lineman who likely would not start for a few years. Foster can be a defensive leader.

Ryan Mathews Youth Jersey If the Bills are able to move on from Tyrod Taylor without paying his injury guarantee, they’ll be firmly in the mix for a new franchise passer. Kizer may be on their radar (and he is the draft’s top passer in my mind), but based on what I’ve been told about their interest, don’t rule out a Jared Goff-esque trade to move up and draft Mitch Trubisky.
Even if he gets a negative play, he doesn’t have to worry about DeAngelo Williams coming in for him, Portis said of Bell. For a lot of guys, if they get a negative play, it’s ‘Get your ass off the field.’ He can set the defense up. If he gets a negative play, the next one may go for 30 or 40 (yards).

Zone blocking schemes require running backs to be more patient as the play develops, but Bell is on another level. He told Bettis in an ESPN interview that he often intentionally looks away from linebackers to bait them into double-teams on runs to the back side.

LaDainian Tomlinson Youth Jersey If they get hip to his game and try to wait him out, like Carolina’s Luke Kuechly did, Bell said he still has mind control over defenders. That’s when he uses his elite explosiveness to burst through the hole they refuse to occupy. A master of the complex, Bell can also kill by making the simple plays.
That’s when I get on the second level and all type of things can happen, Bell told Bettis. When people say I’m patient, I’m kind of setting them up.

MLB Draft 2017: Elite prospect Seth Romero kicked off University of Houston team

MLB Draft 2017: Elite prospect Seth Romero kicked off University of Houston team

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Seth Romero is expected to be among the first pitchers selected in next month’s MLB Draft, but his college career has ended early.

The University of Houston kicked the junior left-hander off the team Wednesday, citing an undisclosed event Tuesday and previous conduct detrimental to the team., citing unidentified sources, says Romero was involved in a fight during batting practice before Tuesday’s game against Rice.

Yoenis Cespedes, who has been on the disabled list since April 28 with hamstring issues, will be activated Saturday.

The Mets announced that they will activate Yoenis Cespedes as their 26th man for tomorrow’s doubleheader. He’s been out since April 27.

Cespedes tried to make a rehab start May 26, but he felt pain in his hamstring and aborted his comeback mission. But the hard-hitting outfielder completed a successful rehab start Thursday, and is now ready to rejoin the team.
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Cespedes was batting .270 with six home runs and 10 RBIs before landing on the DL. He will likely be eased back into the lineup as the Mets take a cautious approach with the slugger’s health.

Fantasy owners can fire Cespedes back into their lineups, but should be cautioned that he could be rusty. Cespedes had just two multi-hit games in 18 starts before his injury.

T.O. is not alone: come on, Canton, stop making so many wait so long

T.O. is not alone: come on, Canton, stop making so many wait so long

Terrell Owens shouldn’t be still waiting. Once was enough, and just barely, even if you account for Pro Football Hall of Fame voters really indulging their personal beef and applying their unofficial “good/bad teammate” standard in a place where it didn’t belong.

And even if you concede that, yeah, Owens was often a Hall of Fame-level jerk.

Twice is too much. But too late for that — the results are in, and one of the three or four greatest receivers ever to step onto a football field missed the Canton cut again Saturday.

(Also, the author of one of the greatest on-field trolls ever, even before “trolling” became a thing.)

In the end, the Falcons did not really deserve to win that game. But they at least deserved to touch the ball once in overtime after an ill-fated coin flip.

We get why the NFL is happy with its “if the team with the initial possession scores a touchdown they win the game” rule, a twist away from true sudden death in every game not named the Super Bowl.

During the regular season, it’s hard enough for players to recover for the next week after having played only regulation. That’s even more the case when the next game comes on a Thursday or Saturday.

But there’s no next game after the Super Bowl, not until September. That’s why it’s OK to go for the long haul and add a full “fifth quarter.” If you don’t have a winner after those 15 minutes, go for another 15.

Given how much the Patriots dominated the second half and rolled to victory in OT, there’s a good chance they still would have won the game even if the Falcons had won that last coin flip.avalanche-026_09101d8e739b57eb-180x180

the Falcons might be champs now.

the Falcons might be champs now.

Ryan was in the process of throwing when he was hit. So if Hightower had been delayed in the slightest, he wouldn’t have gotten there in time to cause the fumble. What might have delayed him? Running back Devonta Freeman, who was in position to pick up the blitz and had a clear shot at Hightower, but opted to let him go free and make himself available as a receiver. If Freeman just puts a shoulder into Hightower, the Falcons might be champs now.

After New England inevitably drove for the touchdown and two-point conversion that made it 28-20 — the Falcons defense actually did nicely to require that drive last nearly 2 1/2 minutes — the Patriots lined up to kick off. With them trailing a single score with 5:56 left, did you expect an onside kick? The Falcons did. They had no deep receiver to accept the kickoff, so when Stephen Gostkowski booted the ball toward the goal line Justin Hardy had to retreat to field the ball over his shoulder. He had no forward momentum after fielding the kick and the Falcons were stuck starting at their 10-yard line.

Owens’ second rejection by Hall voters seems to be a clear message from the committee that character issues carry major weight in the voting process.

Elite Kids Maury Wills Jersey “No. 1, it’s the judgment on my character,” Owens said. “You listen to guys like Bill Polian and Dan Fouts that have said, you know, coaches and players have come to them or pulled them to the side and said that I was a horrible teammate. That’s what really rubs me the wrong way, because I know, No. 1, how I was raised. When you talk about character, that’s a sensitive subject for me, because I know who I am as a person.
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“Just because I had some disagreements with some coaches or some players, that doesn’t mean that I’m a bad person or disruptive or a locker-room cancer as they would have it.”

Pitt RB James Conner gets clean cancer scan ahead of NFL Combine

Pitt RB James Conner gets clean cancer scan ahead of NFL Combine

James Conner got great news Thursday, a clean scan in a medical test, according to ESPN.
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Conner, the 2014 ACC Player of the Year at Pitt when he rushed for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns, missed all but one game of the 2015 season after tearing his MCL, then being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He returned to action in 2016, rushing for 1,092 yards and 20 total scores.

Conner, who had a season of eligibility remaining, opted instead to declare for the NFL Draft, where he projects as a mid-round choice in most mock drafts.

The 6-2, 235-pound back will attend the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next week.

In an era where quarterback is everything, Brady is the best. Manning is retired. Aaron Rodgers has just as much talent — one could argue more talent — but the fact that a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl hasn’t materialized isn’t on Brady. Montana supporters heard the same thing about John Elway and Dan Marino, even after Montana beat both in the Super Bowl.

What is there left for Brady to do? Beat Rodgers? Beat Eli Manning? Where can we find more entertainment value?
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The only thing left for Brady is to pile on a few more rings and leave no doubt. Brady, who will be 40 in August, is coming off a season in which he had 28 TDs, two interceptions and a 112.2 passer rating. New England will be in position to do win again, and Brady will only add to his legacy.

Players of Jeffery’s talent level rarely hit free agency (if ever), and even with his injuries of 2015 and suspension of 2016 fresh on everyone’s mind, he would have a good chance at becoming the highest-paid receiver in the NFL.

The Bears would need to pay him $17.5 million to use the tag on him for a second year, which would bring his two-year salary with Chicago to $32.1 million. That number is already in line with Dez Bryant’s contract, which the Bears did not want to meet last season, so it’s hard to see what the tag really accomplishes for them unless they would like to trade him once they settle their quarterback situation.

Bryce Harper trades punches with Giants’ Hunter Strickland, sets off brawl

Bryce Harper trades punches with Giants’ Hunter Strickland, sets off brawl

Elite Womens Su’a Cravens Jersey Bryce Harper is probably rethinking his idea to charge Hunter Strickland. (EDIT: Eh, probably not.)

The Nationals outfielder took a hand to the face from the Giants reliever Monday at the start of a benches-clearing brawl. Harper eventually landed a right hand on Strickland.

Harper went out to the mound, then threw his helmet at Strickland, after Strickland threw behind him (and hit him in the hip).

Both teams came charging from the dugouts and bullpens as Harper and Strickland brawled. Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzija accidentally clipped Giants first baseman Michael Morse as the two arrived on scene.

Paul Stastny Limited Jersey Padres second baseman Yangervis Solarte likely saved a run with this defensive gem as the Padres handed the Cubs their sixth straight loss.

Now, this could just be a hot start for Gonzalez. Many times, baseball writers and fans have fallen into the trap of thinking that a player has made a complete turnaround after a few average seasons. But Gonzalez is at the age where a breakout season is possible.

Deven Marrero hit two of Boston’s season-high six home runs in the 13-7 win at Guaranteed Rate Field, which greeted Sale with a standing ovation as he took the mound for the first time since the blockbuster trade to Boston in the offseason. Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts and Mitch Moreland also went deep for the Red Sox, who have won for the seventh time in nine games.