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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Stories by Darryn Albert:

Larry Fitzgerald thinks ex-teammate Anquan Boldin should be in Hall of Fame

Larry Fitzgerald

Greatness recognizes greatness, and that’s exactly what Larry Fitzgerald is doing with former teammate Anquan Boldin.

Speaking with the media on Tuesday, the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver was asked if he thinks that Boldin, who announced his retirement earlier this week after 14 seasons in the NFL, belongs in the Hall of Fame.

“I believe so,” replied Fitzgerald, according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN. “Every place he’s gone, I feel like he’s been the best receiver on that team. He’s led by example off the field. He’s done it the right way.”

Boldin, who was teammates with Fitzgerald on the Cardinals for six seasons from 2004 to 2009, finishes his career with 1,076 receptions for 13,779 yards and 104 touchdowns. He was also selected to three Pro Bowls and won Super Bowl XLVII with the Baltimore Ravens.

A Canton enshrinement might not matter much to Boldin when you consider the reasons he gave for retiring, but he probably has a strong case either way.

LeBron James’ camp reportedly confident Dwyane Wade will end up on Cavs

LeBron James Dwyane Wade

LeBron James seems to believe that a reunion with his ex-Heatles bandmate will be happening sooner rather than later.

In an appearance Monday on “The Wine and Gold Talk Podcast,” Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com commented on the possibility of James and Dwyane Wade joining forces again, this time on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“As of right now, people close to James are fairly confident that, at some point this year, Dwyane Wade is going to end up on the Cavs,” said Vardon, according to Ryne Nelson of SLAM Online.

“If Dwyane is healthy and he and LeBron are playing great together and they go on this crazy playoff run. That matters [in LeBron’s 2018 free agency],” he went on. “The bottom line is that there’s no decision that has been made.”

James and Wade were teammates on the Miami Heat from 2010 to 2014, making four straight NBA Finals together and winning two championships. They also famously have one of the closer brotherhoods in the league.

Rumors of Wade potentially being bought out by the Chicago Bulls have intensified in recent days, especially with this recent family development. As for the Cavs, they may give him the best opportunity at this stage of his career to both compete for a title and play alongside one of his best friends again.

Rockets great Elvin Hayes part of group trying to buy team

The Big E is putting in a bid for ownership at his old stomping grounds.

In an interview with Marc Berman of FOX 26 Sports that was published on Monday, Houston Rockets legend Elvin Hayes revealed that he is part of a group attempting to buy the team.

“We have met with the Rockets and had a very cordial and very nice, in-depth visit,” said Hayes. “We feel good about our meeting with the Rockets, and I think they felt good with us. We have some very strong people in this group. We could do some very good things with this organization, with this team.”

The 71-year-old Hayes was a Rocket for seven seasons, spanning two separate stints and including the period when they were still the San Diego Rockets. He made four All-Star teams and won one scoring title in a Rockets uniform and was later inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990 before being named one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players of All-Time in 1996.

Prospective buyers (including other Rockets greats) having been assembling en masse in the wake of the news that longtime owner Leslie Alexander is planning to sell the team, so we may have a bidding war on our hands here.

Image via The Mind Of An Athlete on YouTube

Report: Smaller-market teams supporting Pacers in tampering case against Lakers

Paul George

The Indiana Pacers are embarking on a noble crusade for the little guy — at least in the eyes of their peers on the NBA totem pole.

According to a report by Bob Kravitz of WTHR on Monday, smaller-market teams are supporting the Pacers in their case against the Los Angeles Lakers for allegedly tampering with Paul George.

Per Kravitz:

There’s word that other small- and mid-market team officials have reached out to the Pacers and told them, “Good for you. Fight the good fight.”

It’s hard enough for these lesser teams to retain their superstar players or to at least to receive a fair return for them in a trade. If the Lakers did indeed have impermissible contact with George’s camp this offseason (something that the NBA has confirmed they are investigating), it sets a worrisome precedent for mega-market giants to further undermine the league’s working class. Thus, it’s no wonder the Pacers are getting a good amount of sympathy for their cause.

Jerry West says he didn’t want to leave Warriors: ‘I was very happy there’

Jerry West

The Logo apparently would have liked to stay in the Bay.

In an interview with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic that ran on Tuesday, West opened up about his departure from the Golden State Warriors.

“Frankly it was very sad, OK? It really was,” said the Basketball Hall of Famer. “A place where I thought that if I was going to work another year or if somebody wanted me to work another year, I thought I could contribute; I did not want to leave. I did not want to leave. I was very happy there.

“But those things happen sometimes,” he went on. “Obviously to be around a bunch of players as together as any I’ve seen and I think more importantly the talent that was on that team and to see the joy. There’s a lot of joy there. I think those are the kind of environments where people really prosper.”

West, 79, spent the last six years as an executive for the Dubs, but he left this summer to join the rival LA Clippers in an advisory role. However, it’s now clear that the Clippers gig wasn’t West’s first or even his second choice job.

H/T ProBasketballTalk

Report: LeGarrette Blount dealing with weight issues at Eagles camp

LeGarrette Blount

LeGarrette Blount apparently hasn’t had his best foot forward in Philly so far.

Matt Lombardo of NJ Advance Media reported on Monday that Blount has disappointed in Eagles training camp and has dealt with weight issues, even going so far as to question if the veteran back is a lock for the final roster.

The 30-year-old Blount, who is officially listed at 250 pounds, signed a one-year, $1.25 million deal with Philadelphia this offseason. While his bulky build is largely germane to his power running style, reports earlier this week had indeed suggested that Blount could be on the roster bubble. With how crowded the Eagles backfield is this season, not even last year’s rushing touchdowns leader may be safe if he doesn’t get his act together soon.

John Gibbons says Josh Donaldson could see more time at shortstop

Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson may be bringing rain to the middle infield on a regular basis.

Speaking with MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said that Donaldson, who made his first career start at shortstop in a 6-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, could see more time at the position.

“Not a lot of plays, but I thought they looked pretty good out there, kind of natural,” said Gibbons of his topsy-turvy lineup featuring Donaldson at short, Jose Bautista at third base, Ezequiel Carrera in right, and Ryan Goins at second base. “We’ll see. You may see them out there together again.”

The ex-MVP Donaldson, who started out as a catcher, has made 730 of his 785 career starts at third. But he remains one of the better defensive infielders in the league (case in point), so he’s definitely well-equipped for the challenge.

Report: Josh Smith eyeing Rockets return

The NBA may not have seen the last of The Smoove Criminal.

ESPN’s Kelly Iko spoke with ex-Houston Rocket Josh Smith at James Harden’s charity basketball event over the weekend, and Smith said that he is “very interested” in a return to the team.

Smith, 31, has had two separate stints with Houston since 2014, but he went over to the Chinese Basketball Association last season to play for the Sichaun Blue Whales. He was still attracting NBA interest in recent months, however.

The veteran forward is a known commodity in terms of what he does well and, perhaps more notably, what he doesn’t do well. But the Rockets sacrificed some frontcourt depth to acquire Chris Paul this summer, so maybe there’s still a role for Smith to play off the bench in what has become familiar territory in Houston.

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