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Monday, June 26, 2017

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Report: Nationals players privately complain about bullpen problems

Koda Glover Yasiel Puig

Washington Nationals fans are not at all happy about the constant issues at the back end of their bullpen. It turns out that players apparently feel the same way.

In a fan Q&A with Tom Boswell of the Washington Post, the columnist said that the lack of fixes at the back end of the bullpen had some veteran players fuming in private.

“When the hell are they going to get this done?” one anonymous player told Boswell. “What are they waiting for? Waiting is just doing more damage.”

Boswell implied that it wasn’t the first time a player had vented to him about the bullpen without prompting.

Washington’s bullpen problems have been the only real short spot on the roster. Blake Treinen and Koda Glover have both struggled in the role, with Glover in particular trying too hard to make an impression. It’s no wonder the players are annoyed. The rest of the team is World Series-caliber — they just have to hold leads.

H/T Hardball Talk

John Wall tweets funny reaction to All-Defensive Team snub

John Wall

The only certain things in life are death, taxes, and John Wall feeling slighted.

Shortly after the NBA announced their 2016-17 All-Defensive Teams on Monday, the Washington Wizards point guard, who did not qualify for either team, tweeted this simple yet telling reaction to the news.

Wall was beaten out by Chris Paul and Patrick Beverley for the two guard spots on the All-Defensive First Team and by Tony Allen and Danny Green for the two guard spots on the Second Team. He did, however, receive 38 total voting points, including 14 First Team votes.

The four-time All-Star had the strongest statistical season of his career on both ends of the floor in 2016-17. Still, constantly feeling snubbed has become quite the running theme for Wall, as we also saw earlier this month. Expect that salt to continue flavoring the Wizards’ broth as we enter into next season.

Report: Red Sox interested in Sonny Gray

The Boston Red Sox are eyeing starting pitching, with a young right-hander firmly on their radar.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Red Sox have been scouting Oakland Athletics starter Sonny Gray and maintain serious interest in him. It is unclear if this is a top priority — the Red Sox would doubtlessly prefer to avoid giving up prospects when they’ve already invested in putting Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello into their rotation — but it sounds like there is, at minimum, clear interest.

Gray is coming off a down 2016 and while his 4.45 ERA isn’t much to look at, his strikeouts are up and his peripheral numbers indicate a better pitcher than his ERA would indicate.

With the Athletics out of contention and Gray rebuilding some of his trade value, Gray figures to be moved before the July 31 deadline. Boston will face lots of competition, including potentially another major AL contender, if they want to land him.

Report: Nets have ‘real’ interest in JJ Redick

JJ Redic

J.J. Redick may be switching coasts in free agency.

Brian Lewis of the New York Post reported Monday that the Brooklyn Nets have “real” interest in Redick, and the impending free agent guard may have reasons to consider the move.

The 33-year-old Redick averaged 15 points per game for the Los Angeles Clippers last season, shooting nearly 43 percent from three-point range. It’s unclear, though, how interested he would be in the sort of rebuilding project the Nets are undergoing, no matter how much money is on the table.

Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Redick has been linked to a possible move to a New York franchise this offseason.

Celtics could reportedly target Rudy Gay if they miss out on bigger names

Rudy Gay Kings

The Boston Celtics have big plans this offseason that have linked them to superstar players like Paul George, but they reportedly have a backup plan that could still help their team going forward.

According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Celtics could end up targeting Rudy Gay in free agency if they end up missing out on the flashier names like George, Blake Griffin and Gordon Hayward.

Gay, 30, has averaged a respectable 18.4 points per game throughout his career. The former UConn star averaged 18.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game with the Sacramento Kings last season.

The Celtics are looking for scorers, and Gay wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize. Still, it seems like they’re hoping to make a much more significant addition that will allow them to immediately contend with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East.

H/T NESN

Justin Pugh defends Odell Beckham for skipping OTAs

Odell Beckham

At least one New York Giant has zero issue with Odell Beckham Jr.’s decision to skip OTAs.

After the wide receiver’s decision to skip the voluntary workouts sparked something of a firestorm, Giants guard Justin Pugh told NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” on Monday that he felt the criticism of Beckham was completely over the top.

“Odell, I’ve been with him for three, four years now. I know how he is,” Pugh said, via Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports. “It’s gotta be tough being him though. I always try to look at things from his perspective and see what he goes through. I see that, and I’m like, ‘Come in, get ready to work,’ he’s in great shape. I wonder if we could get a list of all the guys that didn’t go to OTAs. I guarantee, put them all together and they didn’t get as much publicity as Odell.

“He’s the biggest name in our game. You go anywhere in the world and people are going to recognize Odell Beckham. So obviously him not being there is a big deal. But he showed up in great shape, ready to roll. I’m good with it. … There’s things going on during OTAs. He has a lot of stuff going on in his life, probably more than an offensive lineman has going on. Hey, he’s ready to go.”

Beckham has said he’s ready, and he was working out on his own despite not being at OTAs. This will inevitably happen because he’s such a huge name in a huge market coming off a bitterly disappointing end to 2016, but Beckham seems good to go and his teammates don’t seem bothered by what has gone on.

Timberwolves reportedly still trying to trade Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio

Could this be the summer that Ricky Rubio’s Minnesota Timberwolves tenure finally ends?

ESPN’s Marc Stein reported Monday that, in the wake of their acquisition of Jimmy Butler, the Timberwolves are working hard to trade Rubio with a desire to add more shooting.

Rubio, it seems, has been on the trade block for a year. The guard is a gifted creator and a solid defender, but he doesn’t shoot well enough if that’s what Minnesota is looking for. There could be at least one interested party if the Timberwolves are really motivated to move the veteran point guard.

D’Angelo Russell downplays Magic Johnson’s ‘irrelevant’ criticism

D’Angelo Russell had a fairly mature response when asked to comment on some recent criticisms by the NBA legend who traded him.

At his introductory press conference with the Brooklyn Nets, Russell essentially downplayed recent comments by Los Angeles Lakers president Magic Johnson criticizing his leadership abilities.

It would have been easy for Russell to fire back, but he chose not to. The young guard never seemed to fit in with the Lakers going back to his rookie year, and it’s probably best for all involved that they move on — though it would probably be better for everyone without the public critiques.

Report: Cavs ‘very unlikely’ to trade for Paul George in three-team deal

Paul George

The Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly explored ways to acquire Indiana Pacers star swingman Paul George, but it does not sound like they are anywhere close to completing a trade.

ESPN reported on Sunday that the Pacers and Cavs discussed a three-team trade with the Denver Nuggets that also involves Kevin Love, but sources told Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com that the discussion was “nothing serious.”

As first reported by ESPN, the Cavs engaged the Nuggets as a possible third team to facilitate a trade for the All-Star George on draft night, but a source said the discussion was “nothing serious” and “very unlikely” to happen now.

Essentially, Cleveland was trying several avenues to corral the mix of high draft pick and young players the Pacers wanted for George, who informed them he will become a free agent and leave after next season.

The Cavs do not have the draft capital the Pacers are seeking in any potential George trade, so they would need to find a way to get a third team involved. That complicates things, and it doesn’t help that many teams don’t want to take on Love’s contract.

Cleveland is not the only team interested in George, and there’s another potential landing spot that could net the Pacers more draft assets.

Brent Musburger defends praising Katherine Webb for being ‘beautiful’

Brent Musburger

It has been more than four years since former ESPN broadcaster Brent Musburger made Katherine Webb a household name, but here we are still talking about it. Mursburger doesn’t understand why.

During the 2013 BCS National Championship Game, Musburger called Webb “beautiful” and a “lovely lady” when she was shown by ESPN’s cameras. Webb was dating former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron at the time, and the two are now married. In a recent interview with SEC Country, Musburger says he has no idea what all the fuss was about.

“I called a beauty queen beautiful,” he said. “Give me a break. I mean, come on. That was like, ‘What are you talking about?'”

Musburger also told broadcast partner Kirk Herbstreit — a former Ohio State quarterback — that “you quarterbacks get all the good-looking women.” Musburger said that was a compliment to Herbstreit and his wife.

“I had just been out to dinner with Herbstreit and his wife the night before,” he explained. “So the rest of the comments were addressed to him. … I thought it was silly, to tell you the truth.”

McCarron, who is a backup quarterback with the Cincinnati Bengals, married Webb back in 2014. Musburger said he is glad the couple is so happy, and he maintains that Webb is “beautiful.”

“I wish them the best,” he said. “And AJ, I’m glad that they’re happily married. I hope they live happily ever after. … Katherine remains beautiful, in my opinion.”

In Musburger’s defense, the whole thing was overblown. Even if he took it a bit too far, he didn’t deserve some of the backlash he received from people like this fellow broadcaster.

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