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Sunday, February 14, 2016

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Gregg Popovich on the Warriors: ‘I’d go buy a ticket and go watch them play’

gregg-popovich-smiling

Gregg Popovich gave the Golden State Warriors the highest praise that he could probably give any team – he’d pay to see them play.

Popovich told ESPN Radio on Friday that he’s never thought of a team more than he’s thought about the Warriors, and that he loves watching them play basketball.

When Popovich is this effusive in his praise for pretty much anything, you have to listen. To say he’s envious about another team and would pay to watch them play? That’s really something.

Popovich is on record as hating the three point shot, too, but he admits that the Warriors are the best at it. It’s not exactly new, but to hear Pop say it is a big deal.

John Calipari ejected from game after less than three minutes (Video)

john-calipari-ejection

John Calipari picked up double technicals and was ejected just 2:26 into Kentucky’s game at South Carolina on Saturday.

It’s not quite clear what set Calipari off – this was a reaction to a foul called on South Carolina – but whatever the case, he was so incensed that it took nearly his entire team to hold him back.

Interestingly, former Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson didn’t think much of referee Doug Sirmons’ role in the ejection.

Look at Coach Cal storm off, though. His shirt came untucked and everything.

As for Kentucky, they ended up 15 points up at halftime, so Calipari’s ejection may have galvanized them. He was also ejected in this same game two years ago, so perhaps he’s trying to make it something of a tradition.

Report: Cavaliers shopping Kevin Love, price tag very high

Kevin Love

The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly sending out feelers about Kevin Love, but the price tag is very high.

According to the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, the Cavaliers have shopped Love, but it doesn’t sound like anything is imminent.

Love has never quite fit in with Cleveland, but this sounds more like gauging the market than anything else. If the Cavaliers can improve their roster as a whole by moving love, you can bet they’ll do it. The thing is, it’s not clear if that’s possible or how willing other teams would be to part with significant assets for him.

Cavaliers general manager David Griffin has strongly denied reports that the team is willing to trade Love in the past. They may be more willing than he has said, but a deal still seems quite unlikely.

Kevin Durant was ‘shocked’ by Derek Fisher firing

Kevin Durant

If the New York Knicks’ firing of Derek Fisher came as a surprise to you, you’re not alone.

Speaking from All-Star Weekend in Toronto, Kevin Durant said he was “shocked” by the Fisher firing.

“I was shocked,” Durant told the New York Post’s Mark Berman. “I thought he was doing a great job. Melo missed [seven] games. It’s tough losing your best player. I thought he was doing a great job, man.”

The Knicks were 23-31 when Fisher was canned on Monday. He went 17-65 in his first season. The Knicks had just lost 10 of 11 when he was fired earlier in the week, so it’s clear the Knicks felt the team was going in the wrong direction.

“Fish did a great job. It’s tough to turn an organization around in a year-and-a-half. He did the best he could do. I‘m sure he walked out with a lot of peace,” Durant said.

If anyone would know how long it takes to turn something around, it’s Durant. KD was drafted by the Thunder in 2007 and the team won 20 games his rookie season and only 23 the next. It wasn’t until his third season that they turned the corner and became a championship contender by winning 50 games.

Maybe Fisher got enough time with the Knicks or maybe he didn’t. But we know where Durant stands on the issue, and it’s no surprise it’s with his former Thunder teammate. However, Durant did not mention that Fisher may have been fired because of off-court reasons such as this as much as his on-court struggles.

Report: Tim Lincecum has been throwing in secret location

Tim-Lincecum-John-Smoltz

Teams hoping to get a look at Tim Lincecum this offseason better break out the cloak and dagger.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Big Time Timmy Jim has been throwing every day at a secret location in Arizona.

Lincecum is a free agent and may end up pitching for a team other than the Giants for the first time since entering the bigs. He is coming off hip surgery and not expected to re-sign with San Francisco, which already has a complete pitching staff.

The Orioles, Rangers, Marlins and Padres have been mentioned as potential destinations for the former Cy Young winner.

Lincecum, 31, went 7-4 with a 4.15 ERA last season. That was his lowest ERA mark since the 2011 season, when he was 13-14 with a 2.74 ERA. If the Giants do want Lincecum back, maybe they better speak with this man and let him take care of it.

RG3 passes exit physical clearing way for his release

Robert Griffin III

The last hurdle standing in the way of the Washington Redskins releasing Robert Griffin III has been cleared.

According to NFL Media’s Albert Breer, Griffin passed his exit physical.

Griffin, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, was set to earn over $16 million in the upcoming season. Washington is prepared to move forward with Kirk Cousins at quarterback and will save significant money by cutting RG3. However, that may not happen until next month.

“We have until March 9th, and that’s why I want to sit down with the coaches,” GM Scot McCloughan recently said of cutting Griffin. “He is a good football player, he’s a really good person, and he’s under contract. That’s where we’re at right now.”

After playing like a star and leading Washington to the playoffs as a rookie, Griffin had a poor 2013 in the wake of his recovery from major knee surgery. His 2014 season wasn’t much better as he alternated between health problems, issues with coaches, and being benched. Last season he did not play a single snap.

It’s hard to believe that what once appeared to be such a promising career in the making would turn out this way, but there is little doubt RG3 needs a change of scenery. From the sounds of things, he may end up in Dallas.

ESPN’s Sage Steele shuts down Celebrity MVP’s political comment

Sage Steele Win Butler

Things got awkward during ESPN commentator Sage Steele’s interview with Win Butler, the MVP of the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday.

Butler, the lead singer of Arcade Fire, scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds during Team Canada’s win and was named MVP of the game. Afterwards he was interviewed by Steele, and he talked about his Canadian heritage. Then he tried to get political and make a statement about health care but was abruptly cut off by Steele.

“We’re talking about celebrity stuff not politics! Congratulations on your MVP!” she said.

Steele then went to Drake, the coach of the Canadian team, for a quick question before ESPN rapidly cut to the UCLA-Arizona college basketball game.

Here’s a transcription of Butler’s interview:

And here is video of the interaction:

It’s clear that ESPN was in a hurry to switch to the Arizona-UCLA game, but the way Steele handled that was poor. Perhaps she was getting direction from producers in her ear telling her to move on and that was her reaction. However, you never want to make viewers wince, which is what happened in this case. Yet based on her Twitter, it seems like Steele has strong feelings on the ESPN platform only being used for sports purposes:

This was just the latest example of awkward TV involving Steele, although it wasn’t quite as weird as the last one.

Bryce Harper has great response to $400 million contract question

Bryce Harper Nationals

Bryce Harper had a pretty fantastic response to a question about possibly becoming baseball’s first $400 million player.

The reigning NL MVP was a guest on Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier’s show on 106.7 The Fan in DC Thursday. Paulsen told Harper an executive told him that the Nationals outfielder could be the first $400 million player. Harper’s response to that was great.

“I was talking to an executive this offseason,” Paulsen said. “At one point in time they said you could be the first $400 million player. Do you ever think about your future and what’s possible, in terms of you could break records for the money you make at one point in time?”

At first Harper was politically correct, but then the swag came out.

“Yeah, I mean I don’t really think about that stuff. I just try to play the years out and do everything I can to help my team win,” Harper said. “But don’t sell me short. That’s what you’re doing right now to me, so don’t do that.”

“I’m looking forward to just playing this year, just looking forward to playing the next couple years. And I think all that stuff will play out.”

It’s that “don’t sell me short” part of the response that we love. $400 million is a lot, and Harper apparently is thinking even bigger.

Harper is under the Nationals’ control for three more seasons. By that time, the market for top free agents could soar past where it is currently. The Marlins’ Mike Stanton is the highest-paid player in baseball in terms of total money at $325 million over 13 years. Harper is already well ahead of where Stanton was at the same age (19.8 WAR vs 12.4 WAR through their age 22 season per Baseball-Reference).

Given Harper’s age (he’s only 23) and production, he will be very similar to A-Rod in terms of the combination of youth and talent when he does hit the market. The Yankees are said to be interested in him, which would drive up the bidding tremendously. Because of that, we’re guessing he will make in excess of $400 million when the time comes. That would be bad news for the Nats, who have stated their plans to try keeping Harper for life.

J.J. Watt gets custom beers from Guinness

jj-watt-guinness-beer

Last weekend, J.J. Watt took home his third Defensive Player of the Year Award at the “NFL Honors.” On Friday, he was posting photos of an honor he received from one of the world’s more popular beer breweries.

Watt and bunch of buddies from high school were in Ireland and while they were there they visited the Guinness St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin. At that time, Watt was presented with the custom beers seen above. The labels appear to have a football texture and contain the name of the brewery along with Watt’s uniform No. 99. And, as if there was any doubt, we can also see they are made exclusively for Watt.

The All-Pro defensive end also posted a couple of photo of the group to his Twitter account.

Not that we needed anymore proof, but it’s pretty nice to be J.J. Watt.

Photo via: Twitter/JJWatt

Chris Bosh to miss All-Star Game with injury, will be replaced by Al Horford

Chris Bosh

Alas, the NBA community will regrettably be deprived of the sublime presence of Big Shot Bosh this All-Star Weekend.

Miami Heat big man Chris Bosh has withdrawn his name from Sunday’s All-Star Game according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Friday.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports reports that a strained calf is what will prevent Bosh from playing.

Soon afterwards, the NBA announced Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford as Bosh’s replacement on the team.

Bosh was also slated to compete in the Three-Point Contest on Saturday, where he will now be replaced by C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

Bosh, 31, is averaging 19.1 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game for the Heat this season, appearing in all 53 of the team’s games so far.

It would have been nice to see Bosh participate in All-Star Weekend, which is being held in Toronto this year, the city where Bosh was drafted and where he spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career. But unfortunately, the injury bug always ensures that we can’t have nice things.

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