NBA WEEKEND DOESN’T DISAPPOINT, SPRING TRAINING, NHL NEWS

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Photo: Getty Image

As usual, the NBA trade deadline provided all kinds of entertainment for both casual and die-hard fans of the league. There was plenty of actual player movement in addition to the (still ongoing) Anthony Davis saga and teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks strengthened their rosters with an eye toward legitimate title contention. In fact, much has been made of the wildly intriguing race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, with four teams jockeying for position and the prospect of an all-out brawl for a Finals spot in May. Continue Reading By 

In Stephen Curry‘s homecoming, Kevin Durant stole the show. Durant scored a team-high 31 points for Team LeBron, helping to lead his team of All-Stars back from a 20-point deficit in a 178-164 win over Team Giannis and winning All-Star MVP for the second time in his career. Continue Reading By Dave McMenamin

Trae Young, Hawks

NBA TV held a discussion with some of the top rookies of this season, but Atlanta Hawks rookie point guard Trae Young wasn’t invited. Continue Reading By  

Jalen Rose, LeBron James, Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers may or may not reach the postseason this 2018-19 season. Despite signing superstar forward LeBron James over the summer, the slumping Western Conference franchise has been forced to play most of this season without “King James” due to a groin injury. Continue Reading By 

60 Pairs Of Sneakers Players Wore During NBA All-Star Weekend Events

Photo: Getty Image

NBA All-Star Weekend is pretty much the mecca for sneakerheads as so many of the league’s superstars break out extra special kicks, many that we’ve never seen before, and in several cases will never see again. Continue Reading By 

 

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

The hot stove is heating up with rumors of teams making offers to the biggest free agents on the market.

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are still unsigned, and with spring training underway and the regular season beginning in about four weeks, teams are still struggling to set their rosters as there are still quality free agents still waiting to ink deals.

Here are all the latest rumors and news around baseball: Continue Reading By SCOOBY AXSON

Craig Kimbrel

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For Red Sox fans hoping the team will have a change of heart and bring back ace closer Craig Kimbrel, team chairman Tom Werner put some long odds on that Monday.

“I think it’s extremely unlikely,” Werner said (via MLB.com). Continue Reading By Arthur Weinstein

Stars might put fans in the seats, but baseball is a sport that rewards the most complete clubs. That’s what makes Spring Training more than a series of exhibitions; big league jobs are on the line, and they could end up having a major impact on the season-end standings.

The next five weeks will see lots of shuffling on Major League rosters. Here are the most intriguing positional battles on each of the 30 MLB clubs. Continue Reading By MLB.com

Photo: (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

 Even on a day when Commissioner Rob Manfred broke a bit of news — spring training games will soon begin in Florida and Arizona with a 20-second pitch clock, as a possible precursor to implementing the pace-saving devices in the regular season — he could not escape the predominant story line of Major League Baseball’s offseason: the continued unemployment of some of the sport’s highest-profile free agents with the first exhibition games just days away. Continue Reading By Dave Sheinin

 

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Photo: (David Zalubowski/AP)

There was only one thing Jake Gardiner wanted to do with the only night his Toronto Maple Leafs would spend in this city all season long. Drop in on old friend Tyler Bozak.

“Check out his house and say hi to his kids,” said Gardiner, of how he intended to cap a busy Monday that included practice in Glendale, Ariz., and a two-plus-hour team flight to St. Louis. Continue Reading By 

Photo: EA Sports

After a 44-year wait for their first Stanley Cup, the Washington Capitals finally hoisted the coveted trophy and celebrated throughout the summer with parties and keg-stands. This season, the Caps have returned with very much the same team, managing to re-sign pivotal defenseman John Carlsson and ready to embark on the franchise’s first ever defense of the Cup. The team is strong in all areas, boasting many of the best players in the game. Continue Reading By Ben Chopping

Photo: Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Ryan Miller is one of the best goaltenders in Buffalo Sabres history; there’s no doubt about that. But on Sunday, Miller also solidified his place in NHL history, become the winningest US-born goaltender in the league’s history as the Anaheim Ducks powered to a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals. Continue Reading By 

Every week, we’ll mine the waiver wire for lesser-owned assets to help your fantasy hockey squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft format, and we’ll also toss in some tips for daily fantasy sports players out there. Finally, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who might be overvalued — either in the short or long term — for one reason or another. Continue Reading By Victoria Matiash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NBA ALL STAR WEEKEND, NBA ALL STAR MEDIA DAY NEWS

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis spent more than 10 minutes of his All-Star Game media day news conference Saturday being remarkably candid about his decision to request a trade away from New Orleans and about the destinations he would like to eventually wind up in. Continue Reading By Tim Bontemps

With Michael Jordan hosting All-Star Weekend as the only former player to serve as the principal owner of an NBA team, LeBron James said that while team ownership is a goal for when he is finished playing, it’s not his singular focus.

“It’s not that it’s intoxicating to me, and I don’t think about it on a day-to day basis,” James said when asked about NBA ownership at Saturday’s All-Star media availability session. Continue Reading By Dave McMenamin

Sixers, Joel Embiid

Photo: Clutch Points

Philadelphia 76ers star big man Joel Embiid says the Sixers have a talented roster and a good chance at winning the championship this season. The Sixers enter the All-Star break at 37-21, good for fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Continue Reading By 

Denver Nuggets v Phoenix Suns

Photo: si.com

An alarm sounds at 7:30 a.m., and Deandre Ayton—all 7’1” and 250 pounds of him—lumbers out of bed. Approximately 20 minutes later, the rookie center arrives at the Phoenix Suns’ practice facility. By 10 a.m., he’s eaten breakfast and downed a bottle of his favorite Rockin’ Protein drink ahead of a treatment session. Around 11 a.m., he lifts weights before watching film with teammates at noon. By 12:30 p.m., Ayton and the Suns hit the court for practice. Continue Reading By KAELEN JONES

Indiana Pacers v Brooklyn Nets

Photo: NATHANIEL S. BUTLER/NBAE VIA GETTY IMAGES

Kyle O’Quinn went from having limited scholarship offers to becoming a star at Norfolk State. One of only two HBCU alums on an NBA roster, his unconventional road to the league is anomaly. Continue Reading By JOSIAH TURNER

Kevin Durant

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant was once again presented with Kristaps Porzingis questions on Saturday, and he wasn’t happy about it. Continue Reading By  Grey Papke

kyle-lowry-kawhi-leonard-getty-121118-ftr.jpg

Photo: sporting news

Toronto fans need no reminder. The playoffs have been a bit of a sore subject for them.

The Raptors have earned a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs in each of the last five seasons, yet they have failed to reach the NBA Finals. A LeBron James-led Cleveland team ended their runs the past three postseasons, including an embarrassing 4-0 sweep with Toronto as the No. 1 seed in the East. The Raptors were stuck in perpetual purgatory. Continue Reading By Thomas Schlarp

Zach-Collins-021419-Getty-FTR.jpg

Photo: sporting news

Before Wednesday night, Zach Collins was a mostly anonymous second-year center for the Trail Blazers. After Wednesday, he’s the archenemy of the champion Warriors and a Twitter star.

Slight exaggeration, but Collins did make a few gold-clad All-Stars mad with his play and his talking, not necessarily in that order, in Portland’s 129-107 victory. Continue Reading By Tom Gatto

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and FIBA officials announced Saturday they will collaborate on a new 12-team African pro basketball league that begins in January 2020

Photo:  (AFP Photo/Glyn KIRK )

A new professional basketball league is coming to Africa. On Saturday at NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the league and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) are teaming up to launch what will be called the Basketball Africa League (BAL); a 12-franchise league that is set to begin play in January of 2020. Continue Reading By 

Photo: Mark Wilson (Getty Images)

Considering the NBA’s global popularity and penchant for staying ahead of the curve, Saturday’s announcement that the league is officially expanding outside of North America comes as no surprise. Continue Reading By Jay Connor

Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

For a moment imagine that the Dallas Chaparrals had never made the trip down I-35 to the Alamo City. Perhaps they would have floundered around the ABA a few more seasons until the NBA incorporated the Denver NuggetsIndiana Pacers, New Jersey Nets, and Virginia Squires.

It’s quite possible San Antonio would not have gotten a major franchise in any sport. Who would San Antonians root for? Continue Reading By 

The 2019 NBA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday saw Team USA defeat Team World 161-144 in a game was about as half-assed defensively as one would expect with that scoreline. But despite this crop of young NBA talent getting some of the best looks they’ve gotten all season, it didn’t prevent some of the worst misses from standing out amongst the highlight dunks—especially down the stretch. Continue Reading By Gabe Fernandez

Before Adam Silver could deliver his annual state of the NBA address at All-Star Weekend, Charles Barkley beat the commissioner to the punch.

The outspoken TNT commentator and Hall of Famer didn’t mince words in a blistering critique of the league’s lack of competitive balance, slamming agents for their role in steering players to Superteams and even predicting future labor strife. Continue Reading By Ben Golliver

No one would have been able to argue, with a straight face, that the cast of characters shooting around during warmups for the 2019 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday night was a who’s who of household names.

During a red-carpet arrival event a few hours earlier, in fact, members of the media could be observed discreetly gesturing at the various smartly dressed folks on the other side of the ropes while muttering the same question over and over to each other: “Hey, do you know who that is?” Continue Reading By THÉODEN JANES

More than bragging rights will be at stake when Stephen Curry and Seth Curry compete Saturday night in the 3-point shooting contest during the NBA’s All-Star Game weekend festivities. The brothers have wagered on the outcome. Continue Reading By 

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver gave the world a peek at the future of jerseys during this week’s NBA All-Start Technology Summit, an event dedicated to illustrating how technology might advance the sport by 2038. Continue Reading By 

 

 

 

 

 

PICKING EACH MLB TEAM’S MOUNT RUSHMORE, NBA, NHL, NFL NEWS

Photo: GETTY IMAGE

NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE

Zion Williamson is the biggest name in college basketball and LeBron James is the biggest name in the NBA. When the two stars are associated in any way, news is sure to follow and that is what transpired on Saturday when James made a quick trip to Charlottesville, Virginia to see Williamson and his Duke teammates face off against the Virginia Cavaliers in an intriguing battle of a top-five teams. Continue Reading By 

The New Orleans Pelicans parted ways with general manager Dell Demps on Friday morning (Feb. 15), according to an ESPN report. ESPN said the Pelicans are considering director of player personnel David Booth and special advisor Danny Ferry for the interim role.

Demps had been the general manager of the team since July 2010 when the team was still the New Orleans Hornets. In Demps’ first eight seasons, the Pelicans went to the playoffs just three times – 2011, 2015 and 2018. New Orleans was bounced in the first round the first two times and made it to the Western Conference semifinals last season. New Orleans Times-Picayune

Anthony Davis was spotted leaving the Smoothie King Arena on Thursday night after he suffered a shoulder injury in the team’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, and that may have indirectly contributed to general manager Dell Demps losing his job. Continue Reading By  Steve DelVecchio

Photo: New Balance

Kawhi Leonard is embracing his time in Toronto, but the NBA All-Star will show off his latest signature shoe in Charlotte this weekend. Leonard has hooked up with New Balance to create a brand new basketball shoe, the OMN1S.

New Balance showed off a sneak preview of the show and a whopping six colorways, though they say it’s up to Kawhi to decide which version of the OMN1S we see on the floor first. Continue Reading By 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lakers, NBA

Photo From Clutch Points

If NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were the commissioner of the league, the landscape would be very different.

Abdul-Jabbar told Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that he does not think any player under 21 should be allowed to play in the NBA and that they should first have to go through the G-League: Continue Reading By 

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Colin Kaepernick

Photo: Getty Images

The collusion grievances filed by Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid against the NFL have been resolved.

Attorney Mark Geragos and the NFL released a joint statement announcing the development on Friday afternoon. Due to a confidentiality agreement, there’s no word on the terms of a settlement that comes after several months of discussions between the league and counsel for the two players.

“For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL. As a result of those discussions, the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances. The resolution of this matter is subject to a confidentiality agreement so there will be no further comment by any party.”

The case was moving toward final appearances in front of an arbitrator in the near future. One would imagine that there was a financial piece to the settlement to keep that from happening, but the confidentiality agreement means neither side will be revealing what it took to bring the case to an end. Continue Reading By Zach Braziller

The NFL has two years remaining before the current collective bargaining agreement is up, and it appears the league could be headed for a sticking point.

Players have had rumblings of the idea this season, particularly with how markets have expanded in other sports. And now, the NFL Players Association president is preparing those players for a potential lockout for the 2021 season. Continue Reading By Nate Atkins 

Le'Veon Bell

Photo: Getty Images

The Steelers don’t have to let Le’Veon Bell walk without getting anything for him.

There is a complicated avenue they can take with the disgruntled running back that will add yet another chapter to this saga. Continue Reading By Zach Braziller

Antonio Brown may have given a sign on Friday that he is open to smoothing things over with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but his social media activity still says otherwise.

When Brown essentially abandoned the Steelers during the final week of the regular season, a report claimed he had an ugly altercation with Ben Roethlisberger before he left the team. If that wasn’t evidence enough that the relationship between Brown and Roethlisberger is strained, perhaps Brown “liking” two tweets about the sexual assault allegations against Big Ben will be. Continue Reading By Steve DelVecchio

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Photo: ABE FOX/Associated Press

There can only be four.

Them’s the rules when it comes to faces of United States presidents carved into Mount Rushmore. Likewise, it was our rule for choosing the four faces that would best represent each of Major League Baseball’s 30 franchises.

An undertaking as large as this required some ground rules:

      • Players Only: With respect to the dozens upon dozens of influential owners, executives, scouts and broadcasters who have left their mark, there are no baseball legends quite like baseball players.
      • Franchise, Not City: A player need not have played in an organization’s current home in order to be counted among said organization’s all-time greats.
      • Statistics Matter: This should probably go without saying, but the more a player produced for a given team, the better.
      • So Does Legacy: We also considered players’ championships, accolades and other achievements. Good guys were also welcome, though not at the expense of important historical significance.
      • And Era: Special commendations for post-integration (1947) for post-expansion (starting in 1961) players, and virtually no commendations to the stars of the 1800s.
      • One Player, One Team: A single player can’t be on more than one team’s Mount Rushmore.

That about does it, so let’s get to work carving 120 different faces into 30 different mountains. Continue Reading By ZACHARY D. RYMER

The Red Sox are all Xander Bogaerts knows. And it’s not just his near six years of Major League service time.

Bogaerts has been under the employ of the franchise since Aug. 23, 2009, when he signed as an international free agent out of Aruba at the age of 16. He went from a boy to a man with the Red Sox, and from a prospect to a star who will soon collect his second World Series ring. It’s hard for him to picture putting on another uniform. Continue Reading By Ian Browne

It is Feb. 15, which means we’re 105 days into the baseball free agency period. Superstar sluggers Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain free agents.

As teams report for spring training, the hot stove remains relatively cold but in the meantime, we’ll be here to round up all the notable rumors and news around baseball. As always, our free-agent tracker is a great way to catch up on what’s already happened on that front.

Let’s round up the activity for Friday here. Continue Reading By 

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Jack Hughes.

Photo: Detroit Free Press

With the Detroit Red Wings on the verge of missing the postseason for the third straight season, it’s time to devote our attention to June’s 2019 NHL draft, and more specifically the draft lottery.

Center Jack Hughes, the younger brother of Michigan’s Quinn Hughes, is widely projected to be the No. 1 pick. He plays for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. Finland forward Kaapo Kakko is the No. 2 prospect. Continue Reading By 

Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are 10 days remaining until the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. ET, and the buzz is picking up. Will Micheal Ferland be moved as a potential rental or will Carolina Hurricanes keep the forward to help their push to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs? With defenseman Andrej Sekera close to returning from a conditioning assignment, what will the Edmonton Oilers do to make room for him?

Here’s a look around the League at the latest deadline doings: Continue Reading By Tom Gulitti

The Anaheim Ducks may want four-years on Jakob Silfverberg, he wants at least five.

Photo: NHL Rumors

Scouting the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday

John Hoven: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas was at the Ducks-Canucks game on Wednesday.

Michael Augello: Elliotte Friedman said on Sportsnet that Dubas could have been looking at Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour who has another year left on his deal at $3.38 million. He’ll be an RFA who has arbitration rights.

Silfverberg could be looking around five years and $6 million per
Jonathan Davis: Sense from talking to sources at the Ducks-Canucks game, the Ducks may not want to go more than four years for on a Jakob Silfverberg extension. Silfverberg is looking for at least a five-year deal.

Jonathan Davis: A five-year deal would take Silfverberg till he’s 34-years old. It would also be in the $6 million per year range. Wouldn’t be a surprise if Ducks traded him at the deadline, but that could change if they are able to move out some extra salary cap space.

A High asking price for Puljujarvi

Chris Nichols of Nichols on Hockey: Darren Dreger was on TSN 1260 talking about Edmonton Oilers Jesse Puljujarvi playing a limited role in the NHL while the Oilers farm team is on a roll.

Management needs to trust their coaching staff to find out what they have long-term with Puljujarvi. They still don’t know what they have him. If the coaching staff comes back and says he may not be more than a third liner, then it may be time to move him.

“There is a trade market for Jesse Puljujarvi, but my understanding is that the Oilers just want too much – the ask on him is way too high. I don’t even know what that is. I can take a guess at it when you start talking about either a top prospect or a first-round pick obviously plus something given where he was drafted.

“But I don’t get the sense that Puljujarvi has much, if any, interest in going to Bakersfield and playing in the American Hockey League. Doesn’t have a choice organizationally, so if the Oilers want to take a tough stand on him then so be it.

“But I think it’s time that they actually seriously consider their trade options.” By Mark Easson

Auston Matthews knows about contract hell, and his negotiation with the Toronto Maple Leafs wasn’t it.

“I went through a contract thing when I was going to Switzerland that was a debacle. Much more stressful than this,” he said.

Matthews and his family made the decision to have him bring his talents to the Zurich Lions in 2015. It would be a year of professional seasoning for the consensus choice for first overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft. But the hoops he had to jump through to play there would have intimidated a Westminster show dog: earning “specialist status” to enter and work in the country, and then needing to take his GED exam to have graduated high school and be eligible for the season. Continue Reading By Greg Wyshynski

The Bruins are perpetually seeking solutions for their secondary scoring issues behind the Patrice Bergeron line. Last season they took a swing with a pending unrestricted free agent in Rick Nash … and whiffed, as Nash had 3 goals and 2 assists in 12 playoff games with a minus-7 in what would be his last NHL season due to concussion complications. Continue Reading By Greg Wyshynski

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS: PRE-SEASON RANKING, HEISMAN TROPHY RADAR

NCAA COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Photo: College Football News

Last February, did you really think Kyler Murray was going to win the 2018 Heisman Trophy? Maybe, but it wasn’t a sure-thing lock that he was going to start over Austin Kendall.

Yeah, Tua Tagovailoa was on the radar, but how about Dwayne Haskins? They came close, and they were amazing, but they didn’t win it.

Did you have Clemson superstar freshman Trevor Lawrence as a possibility? No? I did, but he won a national title – he wasn’t in the Heisman equation. Continue Reading By 

It is not every day that a college team’s quarterback has a weightlifting video go viral. Lest we forget, Jalen Hurts is an absolute monster.

The Alabama-turned-Oklahoma signal caller was a power lifter in high school. When he was in Tuscaloosa, he was recorded squatting a reported 600 pounds. Continue Reading By 

The Oregon Ducks are one of the top teams heading into the 2019 season according to ESPN. On Thursday, ESPN released their 2019 Football Power Index (FPI) Preseason Top 25 and the Ducks are in the top 10.

The Ducks are the highest ranked Pac-12 team coming in at No. 10 with an FPI score of 16.4. Three other Pac-12 teams made the ESPN FPI Top 25 with Washington at No. 17, Utah at No. 18, UCLA at No. 21 and Stanford at No. 24.

Oregon will open the season with a top 10 FPI matchup against No. 9 Auburn in the Advocare Cowboys Classic on September 1st, 2019 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Continue Reading By KEVIN WADE 

 

clemson quarterback trevor lawrence during the national title game

 (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The professional football market is set to become saturated by 2020. With the NFL holding court as king, the Alliance of American Football made its debut this February, but that’s not all.

The XFL is expected to make its return in February 2020 while Tom Brady’s agent, Don Yee, is starting a developmental league expected to launch in June 2020. Continue Reading By 

Without question, Miami had one of the most disappointing seasons of any team in 2018, dropping from its preseason top-10 perch and eventually suffering a disastrous loss to Wisconsin in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl to close at 7-6. A few days later, coach Mark Richt delivered a stunner: He was stepping down as Miami coach, three seasons after he arrived with fanfare and optimism. Miami brought back Manny Diaz after a brief 18-day stint at Temple to replace Richt. So what does The U face this spring as its new head coach tries to reinvent the Hurricanes? Continue Reading By Andrea Adelson

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Photo: (Getty Images)

Michigan has the nation’s No. 8 recruiting class. More importantly, it has the top class in the Big Ten for the first time since 2007.

Now, it’s on fifth-year coach Jim Harbaugh to use this class to get the Wolverines back to the top of the conference for the first time since 2004. As far as a timetable to deliver those expectations, you can start that four-year clock now. Continue Reading By Bill Bender

The final chapter of the Hugh Freeze era at Ole Miss has been closed as the university vacated 33 wins over a six-year span because of ineligible player participation, athletic director Ross Bjork said Monday. Continue Reading By Travis Durkee

In what almost felt like a Friday afternoon news dump, last week the NCAA announced transfer quarterback Justin Fields’ waiver had been approved, and he would not have to sit out the 2019 season after transferring from Georgia to Ohio State. There were plenty of reactions to the news, ranging from positive to “THIS IS THE END OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL AS WE KNOW IT.” Continue Reading By  

The college football transfer market was flooded with talent following the 2018 season. Former Georgia quarterback Justin Fields decided it was time to take his talents to a different university following alleged racial slurs used in his direction from a member of the Georgia baseball team. Continue Reading By 

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2018, file photo, Georgia quarterback Justin Fields (1) throws a pass in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Middle Tennessee, in Athens, Ga. No. 2 Georgia will look for more consistent production than it managed the last two weeks against Missouri and Tennessee when it puts its perfect record on the line against Vanderbilt on Saturday night. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Photo: John Bazemore/Associated Press

The NCAA reportedly plans to evaluate its transfer guidelines this offseason and will consider making changes to the system that will impact the immediate eligibility of a player who transferred prior to graduating.

“We do believe attention on a small number of high-profile requests can skew perceptions of the scope of staff and committee review,” Kaity McKittrick, who will be among those involved in the review, said, per ESPN’s Dan Murphy. “Each waiver request is reviewed individually, as they each present a unique fact pattern and almost always confidential information about the student.” Continue Reading By KYLE NEWPORT

The Big Ten was all over the latest way-too-early college football top 25 from ESPN, and led the way with seven teams.

Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska were all ranked in the poll. The SEC came in second place with six ranked teams. Continue Reading By David Hookstead

They may not always be easy to predict, but surprising turnarounds can be found everywhere in college football. Since the start of the BCS era in 1998, at least one team has improved from two wins or fewer to .500 or better the following year. Last year, Georgia Southern and Baylor both went to (and won) bowl games after posting a total of three wins between them in 2017, and in ’17 three teams jumped up to six or more wins after finishing ’16 in their conference basements. Continue Reading By THE SI STAFF

 

 

 

COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEATING UP TOWARD CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT TIME

John Calipari FTR.jpg

Photo: (Getty Images)

The most amazing thing about Tuesday night’s college basketball action, even more incredible than Duke’s comeback from a 23-point deficit, was that everyone watching on television got the identical picture of doom for “the Commonwealth’s” two top-25 teams.

A television camera affixed to the top of the goal at Kentucky’s Rupp Arena showed everyone how LSU center Kavell Bigby-Williams scored the game-winning tip-in to beat the No. 5 Wildcats by knocking the ball into the goal as it rested on the rim from teammate Skylar Mays’ original attempt at the decisive basket. Bigby-Williams’ goal was not a legal play, but neither was it reviewable under NCAA basketball’s instant-replay rules. Continue Reading By Mike DeCourcy

Welcome to Volume II of The Bilas Index, the most dependable and trusted metric of hoop quality and capability in the known universe. Every conceivable bit of basketball information has been input into the gray matter inside The Bilastrator’s skull, and the output is simply magnificent and not subject to question or reasonable debate. The Bilas Index is the final word on all things basketball, and anyone with a functioning brain knows it. To be clear, The Bilas Index is not some weekly poll voted on by media, coaches or fans. It is not subject to current whim or which way the wind might be blowing. It is a clear-eyed evaluation of the 68 best teams in the country, irrespective of home wins, road wins, quads, calves or pecs. This gift from on high is not parsed by a group of well-fed and well-compensated college administrators pretending to be basketball-literate. It is culled from the most savvy and informed mind the game has ever known, and therefore, it is the most powerful basketball evaluation tool ever invented. Continue Reading By Jay Bilas

It’s easy to labor in obscurity in Buies Creek, North Carolina — until your game starts being connected to college hoops icons. Folks, meet Chris Clemons.

Campbell’s star scorer, the 5-9 guard from Raleigh had a season-high 48 points Wednesday to give him 2,978 for his career, moving him past Kansas star Danny Manning (2,951) and Cincinnati Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson (2,973) into ninth place in men’s Division I career scoring. The Camels defeated visiting Hampton, 87-84, in Buies Creek.
Rick Barnes will take you to his favorite lunch spot, but not until this tour ends. Continue Reading By Bob Hille

He’s the head coach of the No. 1-ranked Tennessee Volunteers, but he also might as well be a Knoxville Chamber of Commerce rep as he weaves past a statue of Pat Summitt, steers down Phillip Fulmer Way and rolls toward Tee Martin Drive in a super-sized SUV that hogs the streets of Tennessee’s campus during the school’s winter break.

“You gotta see this,” he says as he ignores the GPS directions to the restaurant, and charts his own course.

Barnes speaks of Knoxville as if he’s a proud, longtime resident of this growing city. Continue Reading By Myron Medcalf

Wednesday was not a great night for many bubble teams, although NC State picked up a decent win.

Auburn and Lipscomb are among a handful of bubble teams that lost a chance to help themselves.

Seton Hall defeated Georgetown 90-75 in a game featuring two teams on the bubble and has done a better job of defending its home floor lately. This is the third straight win at home for the Pirates. Things are about to get tougher because three of their next four are on the road. Georgetown’s slim chances just got a lot slimmer. Here’s how the rest of bubble teams in action Wednesday fared:Continue Reading By 

Photo: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Cal basketball team may have blown its best opportunity to produce a conference win in 2018-19 with a 75-67 overtime loss to UCLA Wednesday night. The defeat was the 13th straight for the Golden Bears, one which dropped them to 5-19 on the season and 0-12 in the much-maligned Pac-12.

It’s also a defeat which allows us to ask the question: Is Cal the worst power conference team in the history of college basketball?

On the surface this seems like a hyperbolic overreaction to something happening in the present. Do a little digging, however, and Wyking Jones’ team is putting together a pretty compelling case. Continue Reading By Mike Rutherford

By the end of this week, there will be just one month until Selection Sunday—the day that will determine the postseason fate for so many March hopefuls. With three-quarters of the regular season already in the books, we have a good idea of who this year’s top contenders are and who the favorites are in each conference race and tournament. But even if we think we know how things will play out in this final month, there’s bound to be at least one or two major surprises in store. Between now and March 17, will happen that few will see coming? We asked our staff to each make one bold prediction for the days leading up to (and including) Selection Sunday. Continue Reading By THE SI STAFF

Duke forward Zion Williamson dunks in a game against St. John's.

Duke forward Zion Williamson dunks in a game against St. John’s. PHOTO: ROB KINNAN/REUTERS

If you follow college basketball only casually until the NCAA tournament begins, there’s a good chance that the only thing you know about the 2018-19 season is the existence of a very large Duke freshman named Zion. But with the regular season winding down, fans are starting to wonder whether their teams will attract an invitation to March Madness.

Figuring out how your team rates will be different this year. RPI, the metric the NCAA has used since 1981 to gauge the strength of teams, has been replaced by a new, more sophisticated measure called NET. Continue Reading By Laine Higgins

 

 

NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL NEWS & NOTES

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MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

The New York Yankees have offered Manny Machado $220 million over seven-to-eight years, according to former MLB general manager Jim Duquette.

Via Astros beat writer Chandler Rome, Houston GM Jeff Luhnow confirmed that the team had an agreement in principle to trade for Bryce Harper at last season’s deadline. 12 Up

“Jacob deGrom isn’t ruling out putting a restriction on his innings if he enters the season without a new contract. New York Post

“The Mets are “on the verge of blowing up their stadium renovation deal” with St. Lucie and looking for a new Spring Training home, reports Keona Gardner of the TC Palm.

“In one of the least surprising moves of the offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays have, more or less, announced they plan to keep top prospect Vlad Guerrero Jr. at Triple-A to start the season. Hardball Talk

“Gary Sanchez appreciates the support. Fans in the Bronx may have been calling for the 26-year-old catcher to be dealt all winter, but he returns to Yankee spring training knowing that his manager believes in him. New York Daily News

“The Twins are nearing the completion of a new contract with right fielder Max Kepler, Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. MLB Trade Rumors

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer won his arbitration case against the team this week for the second consecutive year, but the hearing apparently got a lot more personal this time around. Larry Brown Sports

Shortstop Jorge Polanco and the Minnesota Twins are finalizing a contract extension that will cover seven years and guarantee around $25 million. ESPN

The Cubs wasted little time filling an open spot on their 40-man roster Wednesday by agreeing to terms on a one-year contract with left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno. Cedeno, 32, posted a 2.43 ERA in 48 appearances with the White Sox and Brewers last season. Chicago Tribune

Canadian reliever John Axford is close to signing a minor-league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. Sportsnet

The Royals signed left-handed reliever Jake Diekman on Wednesday to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2020 worth a guaranteed $2.75 million. Diekman, 32, will make $2.25 million in base salary this season and could earn performance bonuses for games and games finished. Kansas City Star

 

NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE

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Houston Rockets star James Harden put himself in rare company on Wednesday night, scoring at least 30 points in his 31st consecutive game. He is now tied with Wilt Chamberlain (1962) for the second-longest such streak in NBA history.

“Ethan Strauss of The Athletic — who Durant called out by name during his recent tense presser with reporters — said during his podcast Thursday that “There is infrastructure being laid down in New York, for him to go to New York — if we’re just completely real about.” SNY TV

After two tumultuous seasons in Philadelphia, Markelle Fultz, once thought to be the final piece of The Process alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, was shipped off to Orlando at the trade deadline. Dime Magazine

Carmelo Anthony may be a backup plan for the backup plan. As the Lakers wade through the buyout market, they already have whiffed on Enes Kanter and now may be hoping to land Markieff Morris, according to ESPN.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver isn’t considering a switch to the NFL to become that league’s commissioner, according to ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne, Bleacher Report

Agent Zero is back. Former Washington Wizards star guard Gilbert Arenas is taking his talents to the BIG3 league this summer. The Score

New Balance has been out of the basketball kicks game for a while but has landed a big fish as it relaunches its hardcourt division. Kawhi Leonard will be the new face of New Balance Hoops. Sportsnaut

Celtics reportedly accuse Rich Paul of creating a story that Kyrie Irving was leaving to impact Anthony Davis trade. BroBible

 

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

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The Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers have been in talks about a potential trade involving goaltender Cam Talbot, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. The Score

After breaking into NHL as undrafted free agent, Chris Kunitz set to join exclusive 1,000-game club. NBC Sports Chicago

For all the talk of an Artemi Panarin trade, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun cautions that the Columbus Blue Jackets keeping the star forward as an “own rental” is a very real possibility. Pro Hockey Rumors

A seven-game winning streak and building confidence have center Ryan O’Reilly hoping the Blues don’t mess with their chemistry before the trade deadline. “I don’t expect really anything big to happen here, and that’s good,” O’Reilly told NHL.com

An encouraging note for Ducks fans, especially during a stretch without much good news in Anaheim, is that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that term is the only thing separating the team and winger Jakob Silfverberg from agreeing to a contract extension.. Yardbarker

The Toronto Maple Leafs will not part ways with defensive prospects Timothy Liljegren or Rasmus Sandin in exchange for a rental player, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

 

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

One Instagram post wasn’t enough for Tom Brady to show his love for Alex Guerrero. After shouting out his personal trainer and business partner in an Instagram story the day after Super Bowl LIII, the New England Patriots quarterback used Instagram on Wednesday. NBC Sports Boston

On the surface, the Antonio Brown contract can easily be traded. He’s due to make less than $39 million over the next three years, an annual average of less than $13 million. In theory, this makes his contract somewhat easier to trade. Pro Football Talk

Latavius Murray has quietly been one of the most reliable running backs in the league and was just that with the Minnesota Vikings the last two seasons, which now sees him on the verge of hitting free agency. 247 Sports

Pete Thamel reports that Florida DC Todd Grantham will stay at the school, despite interest from the Bengals. Harrison Tenzer first reported the news.  Other names recently linked to the Bengals include Rams DBs coach Aubrey.

The Chargers announced that they have elected to not exercise DT Corey Liuget‘s contract option, making him a free agent.  Chargers GM Tom Telesco said in a statement that the “door is certainly not closed” on Liuget possibly. NFL Trade Rumors

The Broncos do not intend to re-work Joe Flacco‘s contract after agreeing to acquire him from the Ravens earlier today, according to Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link)

A weak wide receiver market will see a veteran join the ranks. NFL Network‘s Mike Garafolo reported Thursday morning on Good Morning Football that the San Francisco 49ers will not pick up the contract option on receiver Pierre Garcon. NFL.com

The Oakland Raiders this past season had a terrible showing. They went 4-12 on the season and had absolutely no depth in their front seven. Their defense allowed 29.2 points every game. Pro-Football Focus had them ranked last in every single defensive ranking. Clutch Points

The Philadelphia Eagles have five days until deciding to put the franchise tag on any one of their players, one of which being quarterback Nick Foles. If the Eagles do franchise Foles, their intent would be to trade him in hopes of getting back a draft pick. 247 Sports

 

 

 

VARIOUS OPINIONS ON THE BRONCOS RAVENS TRADE

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The Denver Broncos swung the first big offseason trade of the year, agreeing to ship a fourth-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for veteran quarterback Joe Flacco.

The move will have a trickle-down effect not only for the Broncos but the rest of the quarterback market as we barrel toward the opening of free agency on March 13.

Knee-jerk reactions to the trade fell into two buckets:

1) Praise for the Ravens‘ ability to receive compensation for Flacco.
2) Head-scratching over the latest John Elway QB move.

Thinking a bit deeper, here’s a quick look at who might be the winners and losers of the pre-Valentine’s Day swap: Continue Reading By Kevin Patra

Whenever John Elway talks about a deal, contract, player or most anything that crosses his desk for the Denver Broncos, two words almost always sum up how he goes about making the decision.

It comes down to what “makes sense.”

For the second time in his tenure as the Broncos’ top football executive, Elway has decided to make sense of the quarterback dilemma by securing a former Super Bowl MVP with some health questions. Continue Reading By Jeff Legwold

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In one regard, the Broncos’ reported agreement with the Ravens to trade for quarterback Joe Flacco is worthy of criticism. More than three years after Peyton Manning’s final game, the Flacco trade confirms Denver still does not employ what most would call a “franchise QB,” a passer capable of leading the offense for more than a few years.

But for the first time since Manning’s retirement, the Broncos have a QB for which the plan should be clear. Flacco, at 34 and entering his 12th NFL season, should be viewed as nothing more than a bridge connecting Denver to its next attempt at solving football’s toughest positional riddle. Continue Reading By Tadd Haislop

Like the Alex Smith trade during Super Bowl week a year ago, there are some maneuvers that are so critical to a team’s planning that they often get done before the start of the new league year.

On Wednesday ESPN reported that Joe Flacco will end up with the Denver Broncos come March 13, and our Albert Breer reported that the Broncos are sending their 2019 fourth-round pick back to Baltimore. While Flacco’s impending departure isn’t a surprise—head coach John Harbaugh admitted as much following the Ravens’ season-ending loss to the Chargers, signaling a full-on rebuild around Lamar Jackson—it is surprising to again see Broncos president John Elway take a major swing for a quarterback in free agency. Continue Reading By CONOR ORR

Todd Olszewski, Getty Images

The Broncos have found their new quarterback in Joe Flacco.

The collective Twitter reaction from around the NFL showcased surprise, excitement and disappointment. Below is a regularly updated roundup of what people are saying about the former Ravens passer heading to Denver. Continue Reading By 

Shortly after the Ravens lost to the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC wild-card round, head coach John Harbaugh gave Joe Flacco the ultimate compliment when he called him the best quarterback in Ravens history.

To some, that might not have meant much because the Ravens have only been here since 1996 and didn’t have the storied tradition of franchises in Dallas, Green Bay or Pittsburgh. But for others, it spoke great volumes because Ravens fans had endured so many quarterbacks through their first 13 years. Continue Reading By Mike Preston

John Elway once saw Joe Flacco steal a shot at a Broncos Super Bowl title away from Denver, and now he’s going to give Flacco a chance to bring the Broncos a title. On Wednesday, news broke that Denver has agreed to acquire the former Super Bowl MVP in a trade with the Ravens, the first domino to fall on the offseason QB market.

CBS NFL insider Jason La Canfora has more on the deal, which was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter: Continue Reading By 

 

AROUND THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

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The Cleveland Browns announced that they signed Hunt to a one-year deal on Monday, worth just a bit more than the league minimum, with some incentives sprinkled in. This move reunited Hunt with John Dorsey — the general manager that initially drafted him. Continue Ready By 

Where the addition could alter roles is in the passing game, with Hunt potentially supplanting pass-catching back Duke Johnson. At this point, Browns general manager John Dorsey isn’t indicating he’s moving on from the chess-piece running back he gave a new three-year contract extension to last offseason. From Kevin Patra

Antonio Brown has officially requested a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday. The news of Brown’s trade request comes right after the Pro Bowl wide receiver tweeted a farewell to the Steelers and their fans, saying it is “time to move on and forward.” Continue Reading By ESPN

The NFL combine will be televised on broadcast TV for the first time. ABC will present a two-hour special on March 2 from Indianapolis that will feature drills by quarterbacks and wide receivers.

The combine workouts run from March 1-4 and also will be televised by NFL Network. ABC will team with ESPN to televise all three days of the draft, April 25-27 from Nashville, Tennessee. AP

Kyler Murray announced Monday he’s committed to becoming an NFL quarterback, but the A’s aren’t ready to give up their pursuit of the star, reports The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

According to Rosenthal, the team still wants to offer Murray a contract above his now-forfeited $4.66 million signing bonus. The contract wouldn’t be limited like the NFL’s rookie wage scale. Continue Reading By CHARLOTTE CARROLL

Former Mississippi State defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, a projected first-round pick in the NFL draft, suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during training.

The Buccaneers have released defensive end Vinny Curry, the first major roster cut under new head coach Bruce Arians.

Redskins brass has played coy with the status of Alex Smith next season, but one Washington player expects the starting quarterback to sit out the 2019 campaign and perhaps even longer.

Eric Reid is staying in Carolina. The Panthers on Monday announced that they have signed the veteran safety to a three-year contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2021 season.

The Buffalo Bills on Tuesday signed free-agent offensive lineman Spencer Long to a three-year contract, the team announced.

A football legend is calling it quits after 51 years in and around the National Football League. Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas informed the Chiefs on Tuesday that he is retiring from coaching.

NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent tweeted on Tuesday that the meeting will “set the stage” for the rest of the offseason by reviewing “player health and safety, pace of play, rules, technology and more.”

A year ago at this time, NFL general managers and coaches were preparing for what we all knew would be an unprecedented offseason of quarterback movement. It was going to be wild and wacky, and, if you recall, Washington and Kansas City had already agreed to a trade involving a playoff quarterback before the Super Bowl was even played. Continue Reading By 

The start of the 2018 season for Julian Edelman was a career low, but it ended on a huge high. The Patriots receiver missed the first four weeks of the season after he was suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs. Five months later, he was named Super Bowl MVP after the Patriots defeated the Rams in Super Bowl 53. Continue Reading By Gabrielle McMillen

Matthew Stafford was not particularly good in 2018, as he threw for fewer than 4,000 yards for the first time since an injury-shortened 2010 campaign, and he tossed just 21 TDs against 11 interceptions. His pedestrian numbers, when coupled with the Lions’ disappointing 2018 season, have led to plenty of speculation that Detroit could be looking for a new QB sooner rather than later. From Rory Parks

Matt Bryant is interested in returning to the Buccaneers, and the 17-year veteran’s former team is “definitely” interested in bringing Bryant back From Vaughn McClure.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has answered Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ letter that was sent after the Saints’ NFC championship loss to the Rams.

The letter penned to Goodell expressed disappointment with the outcome of the game, including the no-call that could have resulted in the Saints winning the game. Continue Reading By ALEXIS MANSANAREZ

ESPORTS NEWS & NOTES

The London Spitfire wins a match in L.A. Photo by Robert Paul/Provided by Blizzard Entertainment

While most Overwatch League fans are salivating over the raw potential of rosters in the Pacific Division, the Atlantic Division has fallen by the wayside a bit in preseason discussion. There are a lot of teams in the Atlantic Division that we simply have no idea how they will pan out or play as a unit and if or when they’ll be able to take on existing Atlantic Division powerhouses.

Above all else, the Atlantic Division will likely have less parity with teams like reigning champions London Spitfire, runners-up Philadelphia Fusion, and the New York Excelsior, all of which kept their winning lineup. Continue Reading By Emily Rand

Twitch Database-Link-e1521645463907 is typically lead by a combination of esports and influencer-driven player-vs-player games, but for short stints, single player games that are story based can thrive immediately following their release.

In recent weeks, two examples of that stand out. Two weeks ago, the Resident Evil 2remake stormed onto Twitch registering 13.31M hours watched in its first week, but 8.2M of that came in the first three days of the title being streamed on the platform. Continue Reading By Max Miceli

As the seconds ticked down on Cloud9’s pick timer, head coach Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu pondered his final selection. Across the League of Legends Championship Series stage, Team SoloMid’s draft was complete; Reapered still needed a top laner for Eric “Licorice” Ritchie.

TSM boasted a formidable composition, versatile and explosive with several deadly tools. They had plenty of engage with Sion’s Unstoppable Onslaught, Lissandra’s Frozen Tomb and Olaf’s Ragnarok. Luican could poke from afar with The Culling, and Zilean’s Chronoshift could revive an ally if a fight went sideways. All told, their lineup seemed set for success with few holes to exploit.

Reapered decided he wanted those ultimates too. It was time to unchain Sylas, League of Legends’ newest champion, whose unique skillset will deeply influence the meta for months to come.

“There were a lot of options for our last pick,” Reapered said. “We had like four different options: go teamfight super hard, pressure the early game, whatever works. But I saw the Zilean and Lissandra; holy s—, it was so much value. We had to commit to it.” Continued Reading By Miles Yim

The Borussia Dortmund star will use HyperX gear while streaming throughout the Bundesliga season. Reus is the second soccer pro to partner with HyperX, following Tottenham Hotspur and England star Dele Alli. The German soccer star is expected to become a part of HyperX’s “We’re All Gamers” campaign featuring sport, music and esport stars. Continue Reading By Jack Stewart

Coca-Cola has signed an expansive deal with Activision Blizzard Database-Link-e1521645463907 Esports Leagues to become the official non-alcoholic beverage of Overwatch League Database-Link-e1521645463907 (OWL) and all other Overwatch properties. It is the first OWL sponsorship deal that takes full advantage of the game developer’s total control over the game’s intellectual property.

In the multiyear pact, Coca-Cola gets exclusivity with all 20 OWL teams, the OverwatchContenders league, the open division, the Overwatch World Cup, the annual BlizzCon, and collegiate events. Continue Reading By Ben Fischer

The newly-revived North American organisation Denial Esports has made two new key hires to aid in its revival.

Justin M. Jacobson, a New York-based entertainment and esports attorney, has boarded the organisation as its Chief Operating Officer (COO) and General Counsel.

It has also brought in Hank Baskett, a former NFL player, as an Owner. This isn’t his first tenure with Denial Esports – he was brought in as a Co-owner of the organisation in March 2017. Continue Reading By Adam Fitch

Turner and IMG’s esports tournament brand ELEAGUE has entered a content, business, and event partnership with Rocket League developer Psyonix.

The deal includes the production of a series of episodes from ELEAGUE focusing on theRocket League Championship Series (RLCS). The show will cover both Seasons 7 and 8 of the competition, premiering later in the year on TBS. Continue Reading By Adam Fitch

“Sponsor Spotlight” is a monthly series here at Esports Insider that will highlight some of the top sponsorship or partnership stories from the previous month on ESI. The main aim of the series is to highlight some of the biggest things happening in esports, be those new non-endemic partnerships, long-term investments or extensions of major deals. Continue Reading By David Hollingsworth

Paris Saint-Germain (“PSG”) held a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia on Friday to announce a partnership with Rex Regum Qeon (“RRQ”), an Indonesian esports organisation. Specifically, they seem to be sponsoring their Mobile Legends team, as the mobile MOBA spins up for its third season.

Yassine Jaada, Chief Gaming Officer of PSG said: “With 43 million Mobile Legends players, half of them in Indonesia, getting into this game was obvious for us. PSG is striving for the best and we are glad to make an association with leading Team RRQ. We’re going to play straight into the Mobile Legends Pro League Season 3 in Indonesia. It starts February 16th and with such quality in our team, we are looking to be the number one.” Continue Reading By Joe Wong

NBA TRADE DEADLINE IS GONE TEAMS MUST PULL IT TOGETHER

 

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

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Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart had a PRP injection to treat tendinitis in his right knee today. Hart will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break.

Atlanta Hawks guard Jeremy Lin is finalizing a contract buyout, clearing the way for him to sign with the Toronto Raptors.

Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Mark Lasry has reportedly been fined $25,000 for violating the NBA‘s tampering rule for comments on Anthony Davis, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN.

Nik Stauskas was briefly with the Cavs, who acquired him from the Portland Trail Blazers in a deal for forward Rodney Hood. He never appeared in a game before Cleveland sent him two days later to the Houston Rockets, who promptly traded Stauskas at the deadline to Indiana. The Pacers then waived him, allowing the rebuilding Cavs to pick him up.

The New York Knicks used an image of rookie center Mitchell Robinson playing alongside the Golden State Warriors‘ Kevin Durant in a pitch to season-ticket holders, then deleted the picture to avoid the perception that the organization had an ulterior motive in including Durant, who will be a 2019 free agent, in the pitch. From Ian Begley

Here’s our breakdown of the 2019 NBA buyout market:

Veterans who have been bought out or released and are free agents:

Note: Players marked with an asterisk were injured at the time of their release. Players marked with a double asterisk remain on waivers.

Veterans who have been bought out or released and joined new teams:

Other candidates to be bought out or released:

From NBA Rumors

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Cleveland Browns have signed running back Kareem Hunt just months after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs for his involvement in a video that showed him shoving and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel in February 2018.

Daniel Jones is one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2019 draft class. Experts say he’s 6′ 5″, 220 lbs, he’s accurate, he’s shown an ability to read defenses and manipulate coverage with his eyes, and he’s resilient.

Jerry Jones still wants head coach Jason Garrett to succeed at all costs. Dallas is actually well-fixed on cap space and could fit a new deal under the ceiling without wreaking too much havoc.

Patrick Mahomes had the greatest season in this history of fantasy football quarterbacks.  Mahomes, who finished with 50 touchdown passes and a record-breaking 417.08 fantasy points, also ranked among the top five quarterbacks 43.8 percent of the time.

Kansas City Chiefs and NFL MVP QB Patrick Mahomes are getting oddmakers’ respect. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened odds to win Super Bowl LIV in early January. The Chiefs had the second-best odds at 7-1, with the Rams as the favorite at 6-1. However, in the weeks since, Kansas City has shifted to the 6-1 favorite there and at multiple other Las Vegas sportsbooks.

The Eagles want to maximize their return for Nick Foles. GM Howie Roseman has options? Franchise Foles then trade him, or let him go. Foles future should be a top priority.

Andy Reid expressed the biggest difference between Steve Spagnuolo and Sutton—this is actually one of the things that sets Spagnuolo apart if we’re to go off of how he coached with the Giants a few years ago, his second stint with the Giants—is when he does bring pressure, he keeps two safeties deep a lot of the times, which is unusual.

Andrew Luck Comeback Player of the Year Luck was also a top-five fantasy quarterback in 31.3 percent of his starts. His shoulder injury is a non topic anymore for the Indianapolis Colts.

Former NFL referee Red Cashion, known for his vociferous calls of “First down,” has died. He was 87. NFL Referees Association executive director Scott Green called Cashion “the kind of man everyone wanted to emulate both on and off the field, and he gave so much of his time to all of us.”

Quarterback Baker Mayfield said Wednesday night that the hype about 2019 is warranted, and the team’s new coordinators both said they chose to come to Cleveland because of the Browns’ situation.

Pro Football Focus put out it’s top 101 players from 2018. BY PFF ANALYSIS TEAM

 

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

The Orioles have agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Eric Young Jr.

The Rays have agreed to a minor league contract with right-hander Tyler Cloyd.

The Athletics have signed veteran catcher Nick Hundley to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

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MLB should consider a lottery in their proposal to change the amateur draft. It’s no secret that the draft needs to be fixed, and maybe this is the way to spice things up a little more.

While many fans have focused on the fates of its current players of late, nearly all of them mourned the passing of Frank Robinson who died last week at the age of 83. Frank Robinson was one of the absolute best to ever play the game and was also the league’s first African-American manager. We at MLB Daily Dish send our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and fans. The world lost a giant.

Ramón Laureano deserves more attention.

The Marlins finally parted ways with their star catcher J.T. Realmuto as they traded him to the Phillies in a deal that was highlighted by flamethrowing pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez. The Phillies were late entrants into the Realmuto sweepstakes, but they closed the deal and the National League playoff race next year continues to look very, very interesting.

Bryce Harper is still a free agent, but the star outfielder has recently met with the Giants about possibly signing with them.

The Hartford Yard Goats are turning themselves into the Screaming Goat meme for one night only. Get your tickets now, folks.

The Nationals brought back Jeremy Hellickson to a one-year deal.

Beloved veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson will look to play another season in the big leagues, as he’s inked a minor-league deal with the Marlins and will try to win a job this spring. If he does end up making Miami’s roster, it’ll be interesting to see if he’s flipped to a contender down the stretch for a third straight year; he seems to be somewhat of a good luck charm, as he’s played on nine playoff teams in 15 seasons, including three that have advanced to the World Series.

Yankees’ Zach Britton has changed his name … to Zack Britton, you know for those of you who were about to make your fantasy picks and be like, “Wait, is this the same guy? Is this a typo?”

Our Andersen Pickard broke down the offseason moves in the NL West, which have been few and far between with just about a week before pitchers and catchers report.

These names will soon be known all around the National League. Check out these young stars who will be heading to a baseball broadcast near you.

Andersen Pickard continued his look at the first half of this offseason (with the second half seemingly looking like it will extend into the last week of spring training) with a look at how well the NL Central has done for itself so far.

Peter Alonso could be in for a big rookie year.

Nolan Arenado and the Rockies made history as they agreed on a one year, $26 million contract to avoid arbitration. That $26 million is a most given to an arbitration eligible player and frankly, Arenado deserves it.

More bad news for Orioles fans: It doesn’t look good for Chris Davis.

The Padres have made a bit of a surprise entrance to the top of the free-agent market, as they are showing interest in some of the top names including Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. San Diego may not look the part of a contender right now, but they have one of the league’s best farm systems and could become good in a hurry.

The Angels owe it to Mike Trout to at least make an effort to be better.

Is Isiah Kiner-Falefa the future of roster management?

The Diamondbacks are taking a chance on reliever Greg Holland after signing the three-time All-Star closer to a one-year, $3.5 million deal.

A modest proposal: the Twins should sign Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. Just bear with us here.

Do free agents lose value when they remain on the market deep into the offseason? We took a look at the data, and let’s just say it usually helps them to sign sooner than later.

What if Bryce Harper ditched the commitment and signed a one-year deal somewhere?

Our Stephen Tolbert took an in-depth look at how the qualifying offer system has affected players’ value in free agency.

 NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

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Sporting News

 The NHL’s Feb. 25th trade deadline just two weeks away, general managers are evaluating their rosters to determine which players to move and which ones to pursue.

My NHL Trade Rumors Lyle Richardson writes the Penguins GM Jim Rutherford‘s been among the busiest in this season’s trade market. In addition to swapping Carl Hagelin for Tanner Pearson, he sent Daniel Sprong to Anaheim for Marcus Pettersson followed by Derek Grant to the Ducks for Joseph Blandisi, traded Jamie Oleksiak back to Dallas for a draft pick, and shipped Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan and two draft picks to the Panthers for Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann.

Sergei Bobrovsky the two-time Vezina Trophy winner is struggling through his contract year. Most teams are waiting for the off-season the  Panthers could try to acquire him before the trade deadline.

The Senators are attempting to re-sign 27-year-old Matt Duchene and Mark Stone. If Duchene isn’t signed he could be shopped for an offensive skilled center.

American center Jack Hughes, an unbelievable playmaker with hockey in his blood and jaw-dropping skill, is the expected No. 1 pick this summer in Vancouver. Hughes is listed at 5-10, smaller in stature than recent first-overall predecessors.

Major League Soccer

Wayne Rooney,Alejandro Agag

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 ​Wayne Rooney the ​DC United forward was arrested and charged with public intoxication last month at Washington’s Dulles Airport. He was released that same day and paid a $25 fine.

​Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam decided to take ownership of the Columbus Crew, ensuring that the long-time ​MLS franchise will remain in Ohio for the near future.

FC Cincinnati‘s revealed its Adidas home jersey, or kit as it’s called in soccer circles. The jersey is a primarily blue top with blue shorts and socks. Each separate piece has elements of orange, most noticeably on the jersey top with its vertical orange striping and orange trim along the sleeves and neck.

The Fire could have a free-wheeling attack in 2019, with Aleksandar KataiPrzemysław FrankowskiDjordje MihailovicNemanja Nikolic and Bastian Schweinsteiger, but they’ll need Dax McCarty energy and grit in the middle to get the most out of them.