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Thursday, May 25, 2017

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LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas share long hug after series

LeBron James Isaiah Thomas

LeBron James and Isaiah Thomas shared a long embrace after the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday to end the series.

Thomas re-aggravated his hip injury during a Game 2 blowout loss in Boston. He was later pronounced out for the remainder of the postseason. The Celtics actually seemed to perform better without him, as they won Game 3 and held a halftime lead in Game 4 before losing.

Apart from the injury, the playoffs served as a personal challenge for Thomas, who was coping with the death of his young sister.

We don’t know what James said to Thomas after the series, but the message seemed to be heartfelt and well received.

Shaq shows off his feet, nasty toes – internet goes crazy

Shaq foot toes

Shaq gave TV viewers a glimpse of something they probably wish they never would have seen.

During halftime of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, Shaq left his right foot bare and held it out for TNT’s cameras to show on TV:

Shaq infamously had foot and toe problems during his playing career, so the status of his feet shouldn’t be too big of a surprise. Still, many were grossed out by the site.

Check out the internet reaction to Shaq’s feet: (more…)

Lonzo Ball may hold predraft workout for 76ers

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball may not have plans to work out for the Boston Celtics, but he reportedly is considering working out for the Philadelphia 76ers.

ESPN’s Chris Haynes reports that Ball’s reps are considering a predraft workout for the Sixers pending a conversation with Philly GM Bryan Colangelo. The conversation would center around the team’s future plans.

Philly took Ben Simmons with the No. 1 overall pick last year and plan to play him at point guard even though he’s 6-foot-10. Philly, which holds the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft, reportedly believes Simmons could work well together with Ball, who is a natural point guard.

The Boston Celtics hold the No. 1 pick in the draft, and their GM Danny Ainge confirmed on Thursday that Ball will not work out for the team. Lonzo’s outspoken father, LaVar, made it clear during UCLA’s season that he wants his son with the Lakers, who hold the No. 2 pick.

Perhaps by considering a workout with Philly, the Balls could be putting pressure on the Lakers to take Lonzo. The Lakers are said to be enamored with Ball.

Sam Mitchell reportedly candidate to join Pelicans’ coaching staff

Sam Mitchell

Former Toronto Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell could be headed back to the NBA.

Mitchell is a candidate to join Alvin Gentry’s coaching staff with the New Orleans Pelicans, according to a report from The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Mitchell, 53, coached the Raptors from 2004-2009 before being fired early in his fifth season. The team made the playoffs twice under his watch.

Mitchell also served as interim head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 2015-2016 after the late Flip Saunders underwent treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

The veteran coach currently works as a host for SiriusXM NBA Radio.

Brandon Jacobs: Jim Harbaugh ‘didn’t know what he was doing’ in NFL

Jim Harbaugh

Brandon Jacobs had some harsh words for Jim Harbaugh during a recent interview.

Jacobs was a teammate of Tiki Barber on the New York Giants in 2005 and 2006. In his second-to-last season in the NFL, Jacobs played for Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers, though he didn’t do much for them.

On Thursday, Jacobs joined Barber and Brandon Tierney on the “Tiki and Tierney Show” on CBS Sports Network and CBS Sports Radio and talked about his time with the 49ers under Harbaugh.

“I enjoyed my time there, but we didn’t see eye to eye,” Jacobs told the hosts. “I knew more about football than they led on. Going somewhere where they didn’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd. They were just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won. Let’s be real.

“They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim was throwing slants into cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man.”

Jacobs only played two games, carrying the ball three times for seven yards in San Francisco, so it’s fair to say his time there was a disappointment. But to downplay how good of a coach Harbaugh was and to say he doesn’t know anything is nothing short of foolish.

Harbaugh turned a poor team around and made them instant contenders, even taking the Niners to the Super Bowl. He has won convincingly at every job he’s held. Sorry, Jacobs, but we’re with Harbaugh on this one.

Jets hiring female intern Collette Smith to work as preseason DBs coach

Jets logo

The New York Jets are taking a step forward in terms of gender equality.

The New York Daily News reports that the Jets plan to hire Collette Smith, a female intern, who will coach defensive backs during training camp. This will be the first female coach for the Jets.

Smith, 44, is a coach and marketing executive for the New York Sharks of the Independent Women’s Football League. She played for the team three seasons until being sidelined by a knee injury.

Smith was granted on-field access to the team last year and paid particular attention to the DBs. The Daily News says that’s how she was able to get the attention of Jets head coach Todd Bowles.

What the Jets are doing follows what the Arizona Cardinals did last season. Arizona hired intern Jen Welter to be a training camp coach. Like Smith, she had a background playing football.

Jason Witten: Bill Parcells is getting soft in his old age

Jason Witten

Jason Witten thinks his former coach Bill Parcells is getting softer as he ages.

In an interview with the New York Daily News in April following news of Tony Romo’s retirement, Parcells said he was happy that his former quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys retired.

Parcells, who drafted Witten in 2003, also said, “I wish Jason Witten had retired.”

Witten is now 35 and will be playing his 15th season with the Cowboys after signing a new deal with the team in the offseason.

Witten joined the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota and Brandon George on their “Candidly Cowboys” podcast and responded to Parcells.

“Bill has been a great resource for me over the years. I think he’s getting a little soft here in his old age, telling us to retire,” Witten told Machota and George. “I think for him he’s seen what Tony has gone through. Coach has been gone now for over 10 years. I think that’s no different than a family member, somebody you love, you want to see them healthy and move forward. Coach knows I love to play and opportunity and I feel good. He’s certainly a resource for me, a mentor who allowed me to get to this position. I feel confident that I can play and continue to play. For Tony, I know he had some people in his circle that he talked to and valued their opinion and I think coach was one of those guys.”

Witten continues to show on the field that he can still play. The tight end caught 69 passes for 673 yards and three touchdowns last season, which was very close to the numbers he put up the two previous seasons. Witten is probably right that Parcells is looking out for him like a concerned friend or family member. But the future Hall of Famer is still contributing on the field, so why should he retire any time before he needs to.

Josh Norman: NFC East is going to have ‘bad blood’ this year

Josh Norman bow and arrow

Josh Norman says we can expect to continue seeing fireworks out of the NFC East.

Norman was interviewed by BR Mag’s Tyler Dunne for a feature which gave an in-depth look at his personality. One thing the outspoken Washington cornerback said was that he expects the bad blood to continue among the NFC East rivalries.

“Trust me when I tell you, it’s going to be bad blood this year,” Norman told Dunne. “You think the NFC East didn’t like each other before? This year right here? There’s going to be a lot of fines and maybe some suspensions. I’m going to be honest with you: This s— is going to get really ugly. Because I do have a safety that don’t give a f— and I definitely don’t. And I know they don’t have that many people on the offense who do on their side.”

A lot of fines and suspensions? The NFL has been forewarned.

Norman also had some words for rival Odell Beckham Jr. He said the Giants receiver tries to act tough when he really isn’t.

‘He tries to be a tough guy. He tries to put on this persona which he’s not,” Norman told Dunne.

Norman also described Odell is a kid who tries to act out when things get physical.

As if his thoughts on Beckham weren’t enough, Norman also downplayed Dez Bryant’s dominance, saying he’s past his prime and “just a guy” now. Maybe that’s his way of trying to gain a psychological edge for a tough matchup.

Braves make up with fan ejected by security for interference

Braves security

The Atlanta Braves tried their best to make up with some fans who many feel were mistreated by an aggressive security member.

During the eighth inning of Wednesday’s Braves-Pirates game, a fan reached over the railing and scooped up a ball down the right field line that was in play. The security guard handling that area acted promptly by jumping into the stands to eject the fan for interference. The guard also took the ball away from the child that received it from the adult.

There was immediate bad publicity for the Braves over what happened. As you can hear in that video, even the announcers got on the guard.

So the Braves tried to make up with the fans. They told ESPN that the fan was given an autographed Freddie Freeman ball to make up and invited back to a game next month to celebrate his birthday. The fan who was escorted away was also allowed to return and watch the game.

H/T Big League Stew

Report: Bulls expect Dwyane Wade to pick up player option

Dwyane Wade Bulls

Dwyane Wade’s Chicago homecoming may be more than just a brief cameo.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports on Wednesday that “most everyone associated with the Bulls” believes that the 12-time All-Star will pick up his $23.8 million player option for 2017-18.

Wade, who will turn 36 in January, averaged a solid 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game this past season. But his midrange-heavy, slow-it-down style was a clunky fit within the Chicago offense and his year was marred by tensions with upper management. The three-time NBA champion also hinted in January that he might leave the Bulls if they entered a rebuild.

Nevertheless, the Bulls made the playoffs this year and battled the top-seeded Celtics to six hard-fought games in the first round (and arguably may have even pulled off the upset had Rajon Rondo not gotten hurt). It’s also tough to see Wade commanding a bigger payday on the open market as an aging two-guard with a history of knee problems and a largely antiquated skillset. All things considered, it seems a lot likelier than it did just a few months ago that Wade opts in and rides it out for at least another year in Chicago.

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