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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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Report: Cowboys likely to release Tony Romo before OTAs

Tony Romo

The Dallas Cowboys are still holding out hope that they will find a trade partner for Tony Romo, but they may end up having to waive the white flag in the coming weeks.

As Jason Cole of Bleacher Report notes, the Cowboys will likely have to release Romo before the start of organized team activities in mid-April. If Romo is still on the roster at that point, the team would risk having to pay his full salary in the event of an injury.

“The Cowboys can’t afford to have Romo and his $14 million salary on their roster during the offseason training program,” Cole said Tuesday. “If Romo were to get hurt, Dallas would be on the hook for the full salary.”

Teams like the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans have known that all along, which is why neither has shown a desire to trade for Romo. There’s simply no way the Cowboys can pay a backup quarterback like a starter and still maximize their potential, so it’s only a matter of time before they release Romo.

At this point, it is difficult to tell just how badly Houston and/or Denver wants Romo. If you put any stock into what Broncos president John Elway recently said, you might be inclined to think it is Texans or bust for the 36-year-old quarterback.

LaVar Ball reportedly shopping reality TV projects

LaVar Ball

LaVar Ball has made headlines countless times in the past several months for his outlandish remarks, but perhaps the father of UCLA basketball star Lonzo Ball is simply angling for his next business venture.

According to TMZ, Ball is “actively shopping” numerous television projects around Los Angeles, with the goal being to develop a reality TV series that centers around LaVar and his three sons, who are all star basketball players. Ball has reportedly started a production company called “Big Baller Media” and is said to have “several offers” already.

Though no contracts have been signed, a reality TV show would make perfect sense for the Ball family. LaVar’s passion is obviously being in the spotlight at all times, and his oldest son Lonzo could be the top overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. His two younger sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, are star players at their high school. LaMelo, a UCLA recruit, scored 92 points in a game earlier this year.

Whether it’s beefing with Charles Barkley or making controversial remarks about LeBron James’ family, LaVar Ball loves creating a buzz. A reality show would be the perfect vehicle for him to deliver his hot takes, though it’s unclear if it would have a negative effect on his sons’ playing careers.

Stan Van Gundy: Georgetown should go all-out to hire Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing

Georgetown currently has a head coaching vacancy after John Thompson III was fired following a second straight losing season, and Stan Van Gundy believes the program should be putting on a full-court press to hire Patrick Ewing.

Ewing was a star at Georgetown and led the team to a national championship. The Hall of Famer is said to be more focused on trying to land an NBA head coaching job, but Van Gundy said Monday that Georgetown should try to get him to change his mind.

“I cannot imagine that you’re at Georgetown and you do not hire Patrick Ewing,” Van Gundy said, via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “I think that they’re incredibly fortunate that he would think about leaving the NBA to take that job.

“Look, first of all, college basketball, a large part of it is recruiting and I think Patrick’s got two things there. No. 1, he absolutely loves Georgetown University. Always has, always will, and so he can sell the school. The second thing is all these top-level players, the main thing they’re thinking about is getting to the NBA. Well, you’d have a Hall of Fame coach. I mean, all of the best big kids have to consider Georgetown right at the top of the list.”

Ewing, who has been an associate head coach with the Hornets since 2013, spent six years on Van Gundy’s staff with the Magic from 2007-2012. Van Gundy said it is “confusing to me and a little bit disturbing” that Ewing has not been offered a head coaching job in the NBA, but he believes Georgetown would be the perfect fit.

“I can’t imagine even what he’d be missing in that package,” Van Gundy said. “He’s got everything. He’s got the connection to the school, he’s got the coaching ability, he’s got the name recognition that will get him in any home in America recruiting and allow him to close the deal with just about anybody. I know I’m a little bit biased but just look at the whole picture. Tell me what the heck he’s missing?”

Ewing was reportedly close to landing at least one NBA head coaching job recently, so it’s possible he is going to remain patient and wait for his chance. If not, Georgetown could come calling.

5 long-shot NBA title contenders

The 2017 NBA regular season is coming to a close, and the true contenders have now been separated from the pretenders. The Cleveland Cavaliers and either the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs are the heavy favorites to play in the NBA Finals, with many figuring we will see a repeat of the past two seasons between the Warriors and Cavs. That doesn’t seem like a lock at this point considering the Cavs are enduring some defensive struggles of late, while the Warriors are trying to find their way with Kevin Durant out due to injury.

We’re not saying those teams won’t make the NBA Finals for the third straight year, but you just never know what will happen between injuries and other flukes. It might take a miracle, but here’s a look at five long-shot NBA title contenders who could piece things together at just the right time and win it all if everything breaks in their favor.

1. Washington Wizards

It’s hard to say the Wizards are true “long-shots,” but when the NBA championship discussion takes place, they are very rarely listed among the head of the pack. It’s almost always the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors leading the way, while the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs are given the next best odds.

But the Wizards are right there among the very best the league has to offer — specifically in the Eastern Conference.

They have gotten so hot that they’re only a few games back of the No. 1 seed. Their 109.2 points per game is second only to the Cavaliers in the conference, and their point differential (+2.1) is also fourth-best in the East.

After starting the season 2-8 and enduring some questions about their locker-room chemistry, the Wizards have stormed back. For the first time in the lives of most of their fans, they’re not only relevant, but should be considered possible contenders for the title.

Led by John Wall, who is now top-10 in fourth quarter scoring, and Otto Porter Jr., who is putting up career-highs and leads the NBA in 3-point percentage, the Wizards are a legitimate force to be reckoned with. They’re even more dangerous for the playoffs now that they’ve expanded their rotation by adding Bojan Bogdanovic and Brandon Jennings.

2. Utah Jazz

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Andrew Luck may miss time in training camp

Andrew Luck

Comments made by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay from the NFL meetings in Phoenix on Monday made it seem like the team is prepared for quarterback Andrew Luck to potentially miss some time in training camp.

Irsay says the team will not rush Luck back from his recovery from shoulder surgery and may sign some extra quarterbacks for camp if needed.

“We are not going to be rushing him,” Irsay said Monday, via the Colts’ official website. “We are going to make sure, obviously, that the shoulder has to be ready and the doctors are going to give full approval before he starts putting real reps on it and that sort of thing.

“This is going to be a huge benefit in the long run. We really feel that he’s going to be completely healed for the season and he’s going to have a great season. Chris (Ballard) and Chuck (Pagano) have talked and we are going to make sure, if we need an extra arm in camp, as we start doing our work, we will be prepared for that.”

Luck injured his shoulder in 2015, and he experienced more issues last season, though he only missed one game. The Colts are wise to bring him along slowly and let him recover from the injury after having surgery in January. He put up stats last season that were similar to what he did during his breakout 40-touchdown season in 2014. He threw for 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season.

Lions GM: Adrian Peterson still has ‘plenty left in the tank’

Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson remains unsigned even though NFL free agency began a few weeks ago, and there isn’t exactly a ton of buzz surrounding him. But at least one team believes he still can play.

Detroit Lions GM Bob Quinn still thinks Peterson can bring something to the table.

“I think AP still has plenty left in the tank,” Quinn told MLive.com’s Kyle Meinke on Monday at the NFL meetings. “We’ll see how it goes.”

The Lions haven’t had much of a rushing attack for a few years, so it would be a surprise if they didn’t add a back this offseason. They could have their eye on their former NFC North nemesis, or they could look to the draft. We know that Quinn lamented Joe Mixon not being at the NFL Combine for one, so the former Oklahoma back could be a target for them. They were one of the teams to meet with Mixon at his Pro Day.

The main reason why Peterson appears to still be a free agent is the gap between his contract expectations and what the market says his value is. Peterson rushed for nearly 1,500 yards in 2015, so he probably believes he’s still a featured back. Other teams probably disagree strongly and wouldn’t offer him the kind of money he thinks he’s worth. Peterson addressed his free agency in a recent statement on Twitter seen here.

Haley Fagan, Tim Walton get into it handshake line (Video)

Tim Walton Haley Fagan

There was a mini-beef that broke out in the handshake line at the end of Monday’s Florida-Auburn softball game.

Auburn’s Haley Fagan and Florida head coach Tim Walton got into it in the handshake line following Auburn’s 1-0 win over the top-ranked Gators. Fagan didn’t appear to have her hand up when approaching Walton, so the coach’s five hit Fagan in the shoulder. Fagan turned around and pushed him, leading to a near scuffle.

It’s hard to say who’s in the wrong there without knowing whether either move was intentional. Did Fagan intentionally snub Walton? Did he intentionally hit her in the shoulder, or was that coincidence?

We know there is some history between the Fagan family and Walton, as Haley’s sisters, Sami and Kasey, started off at Florida before being kicked off the team.

Raiders rally taking place in Las Vegas (Video)

Raiders fans

The Raiders won’t begin play in their new home until 2020. However, fans in Las Vegas showed their enthusiasm around the city on Monday.

NFL owners approved the Raiders’ move with a 31-1 vote. They will play in Oakland for the 2017 season and potentially the 2018 season (if they renew the lease at the Oakland Coliseum). The Raiders will then have to find a home for 2019 before moving into a brand new stadium the follow year.

That last part is still a few years away, but fans in the Las Vegas area are already excited. On Monday afternoon, there was a Raiders Rally near the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign.

@raiders rally at #LasVegas sigb…

A post shared by Scott Gulbransen (@lvgully) on

The move will be the second for the Raiders away from Oakland as the team moved to Los Angeles 35 years ago. The news didn’t sit well with Oakland native Damian Lillard, who made a joke at the expense of Raiders owner Mark Davis. You can see it here. In an attempt to soften the blow, Davis said he would be willing to refund season tickets already paid for.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr wrote an emotional note about leaving the city, which he shared via social media. You can read that here.

Serge Ibaka says he wanted to play more center in Orlando

The Orlando Magic’s frontcourt experiment seemed doomed to fail from the very beginning, and Serge Ibaka has his theory as to why it did.

In an interview with Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel that ran on Monday, Ibaka said that he wanted to play as a small-ball center more often and even spoke with head coach Frank Vogel about the possibility of doing so.

“At some point, I spoke with Coach about playing small ball,” said Ibaka. “At some point, he agreed with me. But we never did it. We never did it.”

While Ibaka does have his weaknesses playing in the post and on the glass, his jump-shooting and his rim protection make him a potent small-ball 5 as proven during the Oklahoma City Thunder’s playoff run last year. But the Magic were just never able to make it work with their big man trio of Ibaka, Nikola Vucevic, and Bismack Biyombo.

Ibaka was dealt to the Toronto Raptors at the trade deadline for Terrence Ross and a future first-rounder after just 56 games in an Orlando uniform, putting Magic GM Rob Hennigan on the hot seat and leaving the rest of us to shake our heads at their ill-fated experiment.

H/T ProBasketballTalk

Jose Canseco gets job as television analyst

Jose Canseco Leila Knight

After playing at the big league level for 17 years, Jose Canseco will now be getting paid to talk about the game.

Canseco has found himself the subject of headlines for various reasons in the past. He accidentally shot off part of his finger while cleaning his gun (photo here). He was also pulled over with a goat in his car. And, of course, there was Canseco’s tell-all book where he admitted to taking steroids along with naming other big name players he claimed did as well.

This time, though, the news is good. The team Canseco made his major league debut with announced on Monday he will be an on-air analyst for A’s pregame and postgame television programming this season.

Canseco confirmed the new job via his Twitter account. He also fired off tweets about former commissioner Bud Selig and the amount of free food media members get.

Those who are familiar with Canseco on social media are likely wondering how he will be in front of the camera. With the new season less than a week away, we won’t have to wait long to find out. It should, at the least, be interesting and entertaining.

During his career (nine years came with the A’s), Canseco was a six-time All-Star and won the American League MVP Award in 1988. He also became the first player in MLB history to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a single season. Canseco also became known for this play, in which a baseball bounced off of his head and over the outfield fence for a home run.

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