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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Stories by Larry Brown:

NBA Draft prospect rankings by position

Markelle Fultz

In between our typical dose of daily trending stories, rumors, and other news, we have been providing some prospect rankings ahead of the 2017 NBA Draft.

Now that it’s draft day, we have put together one easy piece where you can locate all of our best prospect rankings, as put together by analyst Shane McNichol.

Here’s a look at the LBS draft player rankings:

Ranking the 10 best guards in the NBA Draft

Ranking the six best swingmen in the NBA Draft

Ranking the 10 best big men in the NBA Draft

10 key questions surrounding the NBA Draft

Jarrod Dyson breaks unwritten rule with bunt, sparks rally

Jarrod Dyson bunt

In one swift act on Wednesday night, Jarrod Dyson proved why one of baseball’s unwritten rules is absurd.

Dyson laid down a beautiful bunt for a single during the sixth inning of Seattle’s game against Detroit on Wednesday, breaking up Justin Verlander’s perfect game. Ordinarily the unwritten rules say it’s bad form to break up a no-hitter or perfect game with a bunt hit, because that’s not considered as pure as recording a hit by swinging the bat.

But what ensued after Dyson’s bunt hit quickly pushed the perfect game into a distant memory.

After Dyson bunted for the hit with one out in the sixth and the Tigers up 4-0, Mike Zunino walked, Jean Segura singled to load the bases, Ben Gamel hit an RBI single, and two batters later Nelson Cruz chased Verlander from the game with a 2-run double to make it 4-3.

A game that Verlander was perfect in through 5.1 innings turned into a 7-4 victory for Seattle. If Dyson followed baseball’s unwritten rules and not laid down the bunt, perhaps he would have made an out, and the Mariners never would have broken the game open.

Unwritten rules should never take precedence when a team is trying to win a game, as Dyson and the Mariners were doing.

Mets upset with Yasiel Puig over slow home run trot

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig has done it again. The Cuban slugger is at the center of another controversy over his celebration methods.

Puig clubbed a 3-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning against the New York Mets on Wednesday night and really admired his shot. As he rounded first, Wilmer Flores said something to him. Puig then slowed up and shouted back at Flores.

Puig ended up taking 32.1 seconds on his home trot which was one of the slowest in the majors all season.

After the inning ended, fellow Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, along with Jose Reyes, had a brief conversation with Puig about his celebration antics.

Puig’s actions continue to get him in trouble and has resulted in others trying to curb his behavior. In response, Puig recently vented that people have forced him to stop having fun.

Daughter of Bucks owner recruits Kristaps Porzingis with great tweets

Mallory Edens Bucks pin

The New York Knicks are listening to offers for Kristaps Porzingis, and Mallory Edens sure hopes her Milwaukee Bucks get involved.

Edens is the daughter of Bucks owner Wes Edens, and she’s a big fan of her family’s team. She also keeps a close eye on the Knicks.

When Edens saw the interview from Phil Jackson Wednesday night in which the Knicks president said he was open to trading Porzingis, Edens immediately began recruiting Kristaps with a funny tweet:

She then upped the ante with a hilarious tweet in which she compared herself to Veruca Salt, the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” daughter who wanted her dad to get her everything.

Note the hashtag — Kristaps Porzingis to Milwaukee.

We respect the effort of Edens here. And imagine if the Bucks added Porzingis to their core with Giannis Antetokounmpo? Wow, that would be a team. Edens has also earned respect for becoming an awesome social media user.

She’s also not the only one getting to work on recruiting Porzingis:

Clippers reportedly have shopped DeAndre Jordan in trade talks

DeAndre Jordan

Just two short years ago the Los Angeles Clippers mounted up and made a courageous effort to lobby DeAndre Jordan to re-sign with them and flip from his verbal commitment to the Dallas Mavericks. The efforts worked, but despite Jordan’s commitment to the Clippers, the team may now be prepared to let the center go.

ESPN’s Chris Haynes reports that the Clippers have explored trade talks involving Jordan. Haynes says the team talked with the Phoenix Suns about a swap involving Jordan for Tyson Chandler and Phoenix’s No. 4 pick in the draft. The Suns are believed to have declined.

The Clippers are at a major juncture in their franchise’s future. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and JJ Redick could all leave in free agency. All the while the team doesn’t have any picks in the upcoming draft.

Should some of their core pieces leave, the Clippers might decide to flip Jordan in an effort to rebuild or re-stock. Of if the team is able to re-sign CP3 and Griffin, they could pursue LeBron James or Paul George in free agency, thus making Jordan expendable. The center is owed $46 million over the next two seasons but has a player option for the second season.

D’Angelo Russell’s ex-girlfriend Niki Withers throws shade at him after trade news

Niki Withers

D’Angelo Russell is hearing it from all angles after news emerged that he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets.

Shortly after news broke Tuesday that Russell was traded by the Lakers along with Timofey Mozgov to the Nets for Brook Lopez and the No. 27 pick in the draft, Russell’s ex-girlfriend sent a few tweets.

Take a look at what Russell’s ex, Niki Withers, tweeted:

And in case you don’t think that was about Russell, someone responded to her mentioning D’Angelo. Here was her response:

Well, Withers certainly isn’t lacking for confidence.

Withers and Russell were on-and-off last year but apparently are no longer dating. That could make D’Angelo’s move to Brooklyn a little easier.

Hawks trade Dwight Howard, pick to Hornets for players, pick

Dwight Howard

It’s getting wild out there in the NBA ahead of the draft. The latest move has Dwight Howard being traded to the Charlotte Hornets.

The Atlanta Hawks have agreed to trade Howard and the No. 31 pick in the NBA draft to the Hornets for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and the No. 41 pick, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

There’s no way to interpret this other than concluding the Hawks were dissatisfied with Howard and wanted to dump him. They signed him to a long-term deal before last season and have already sent him and the two years and $46 million he has remaining on his contract to Charlotte.

In return the Hawks are getting Plumlee — a role player coming off having his knee scoped — and Belinelli, whose contract expires after the season. Atlanta was apparently so eager to dump Howard they sweetened the pot by kicking in the No. 31 pick.

Howard will now be playing for his fifth team since 2011.

Jimmy Butler reportedly wants to remain with Bulls

Jimmy Butler Chicago Bulls

Jimmy Butler has been mentioned in trade talks of late, but there is one hurdle: he reportedly wants to remain with the Chicago Bulls.

Both ESPN’s Marc Stein and TNT’s David Aldridge report that the Cleveland Cavaliers were told Butler wants to stay in Chicago rather than go to Cleveland.

Stein specifically says Butler is intent upon returning the Bulls to greatness in the Eastern Conference.

Cleveland has been looking to upgrade its roster since losing the NBA Finals to the Warriors in five games and has been in talks to get either Butler or Paul George.

George will be a free agent after next season, while Butler is under contract for two more seasons and has a player option for the third.

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