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Saturday, July 21, 2018

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Utah Jazz reportedly want to bring back Paul Millsap

Paul Millsap

Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap is set to become an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason, and his previous team is said to be interested in a reunion.

Spencer Checketts of 1280 The Zone in Salt Lake City reported via Twitter Friday that the Jazz will actively pursue Millsap in free agency.

Millsap is coming off a strong season in 2014-15 where he posted averages of 16.7 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game, and 3.1 assists per game on 47.6 percent shooting. The 30-year-old was a key catalyst in a season where Atlanta won a franchise-record 60 games during the regular season and earned their first conference finals berth in team history. And in doing it on a meager 2 year, $19 million deal signed in the 2013 offseason, Millsap represented one of the biggest bargains in the NBA as well. Now in a 2015 free agent landscape ripe with such alluring names as LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, and Marc Gasol, the Louisiana Tech product poses yet another coveted big man target.

Millsap was drafted by the Jazz in 2006 and played the first seven seasons of his career in Utah. Plus, in yet another fascinating case study of The Dragic Corollary, Utah currently has Millsap’s brother, Elijah, under contract.

But don’t go reaching to play The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” on vinyl just yet.

The Jazz are already set with their frontcourt of the future in Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. Utah posted a godly 99.8 defensive rating in the 859 minutes that young duo shared the floor together last season, and the two proved to be arguably the best defensive frontcourt in the league after the All-Star break.  A Salt Lake City reunion with the elder Millsap would create a logjam in the big man rotation and stunt the development of the team’s exciting young core.  Also, with the 2-time All-Star looking for a big payday after playing the last couple of seasons well below market value, that’s the kind of money that Utah simply can’t afford to shell out for sentimental reasons or otherwise.

Though Millsap is a versatile big who can stretch the floor, command attention on the block, crash the glass, act as a secondary facilitator on offense, and defend the pick-and-roll with his quick hands/instincts, it’s hard to make the case for a match here. Plus, that unique skillset will definitely get him a lot of interest (not to mention moolah) elsewhere.

We can safely file this rumor in the “pie in the sky” category for now while watching old highlights of Paul Millsap, Jazz logo emblazoned across his chest, raining an 11-points-in-28 seconds firestorm on the Big Three-era Miami Heat.

H/T ProBasketballTalk

This Bubba Watson putt at Chambers Bay was insane (Video)

Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson is showing that not even the most difficult greens will stand in his way at the US Open at Chambers Bay next week.

Watson, who will be paired with Phil Mickelson and Angel Cabrera when the US Open begins the first round of play Thursday, shared a video on Twitter of him sinking a putt by playing a crazy break.

Rather than putting towards the hole, Watson decided to putt up a hill and catch the break on the way back down.

The guy practically hit his putt in a parabola shape and got the roll. That was awesome.

Bubba Watson: disliked player on tour, awesome putter.

Bryce Harper hates BYU, says many Mormons do

Bryce-Harper-Nationals

Bryce Harper is Mormon, but that does not mean he likes the most famous Mormon school in the country — BYU. In fact, Harper says he hates it.

During an interview with Chris Rose and Kevin Millar on MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” last week, Harper was asked to correct the most inaccurate Mormon stereotype.

“Oh my gosh, you really put that out there? I mean, c’mon. That’s brutal. That everybody likes BYU that’s Mormon,” he told the hosts. “I hate BYU. There are a lot of Mormons that don’t like BYU.”

While many people may view this as Harper being negative and bashing BYU, he really gave us something informative. Seriously, I figured most Mormon people would support BYU, but that’s apparently not the case. We know that Harper actually is a Duke fan and he also likes his hometown college — UNLV.

Andrew Luck on ever quarterbacking the Jets: F— that, man

Andrew Luck frothing

Andrew Luck is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and the new face of the Indianapolis Colts. He has no desire to be anywhere else or play for any other team, especially one as dysfunctional as the New York Jets have been (we imagine).

According to the NY Post’s Page Six, Luck was in New York having drinks with his college teammate Jonathan Martin recently and they were being chatted up by a Jets fan. Here’s how the exchange went, according to Page Six:

The duo were “drinking Heinekens” and “shooting the breeze about football” with a die-hard Jets fan at the bar, we’re told. When the Gang Green backer told Luck, “I wish you were the quarterback of the Jets,” Luck leaned in and whispered, “F - - k that, man.”

Yep, seems like Luck is pretty happy being the quarterback of the Colts instead. And he should be. New teammate Andre Johnson even recently called him the best QB in the league.

Michael Sam leaves Montreal Alouettes for personal reasons, didn’t take much with him

Michael Sam yellow bracelet

Michael Sam has left the Montreal Alouettes for “personal reasons” less than a month after signing with them.

Sam signed with the team in late May and had been working with the third-team defense, according to the Montreal Gazette. He had missed practice on Thursday and Friday citing a migraine.

“With all due respect for Michael Sam, the nature of this decision will remain confidential,” the team said in a statement.

“The Montreal Alouettes fully respect Michael Sam’s decision and rally around him to offer him all time and support needed. The team has left the door open and Michael is welcome to come back whenever he feels ready.”

TSN’s Rick Moffat bumped into Sam at the airport, introduced himself, and provided a few details via Twitter of his encounter.

“Just bumped into (Sam) at Trudeau. Headed home for personal reasons. Only small Cotton Bowl bag with him,” TSN 690’s Rick Moffat tweeted. “Seemed rushed, mind elsewhere when I introduced myself. Don’t think he had enough luggage with him to be bailing or bugging out.”

Even though Sam didn’t appear to be a primary player for the team, Moffat reports that the team hopes Sam would be back for their season opener next week.

Sam was selected in the 7th round of the NFL draft by the Rams last year but cut before the start of the season. The Cowboys later picked him up and added him to their practice squad before also cutting him. Sam participated on “Dancing With the Stars” prior to joining the Alouettes.

Kristaps Porzingis receives rave reviews after NBA draft workout

Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis’ draft stock appears to be on the rise.

Porzingis, a 7-foot-1 center/forward from Latvia, held a workout Friday for NBA scouts/execs and drew rave reviews.

Sixers beat reporter Keith Pompey tweeted that Porzingis was “very” impressive. He also says a scout called the Latvian big man the best player in the draft.

Even though he is 7-foot-1, Porzingis can shoot from the outside. Here is a video of him shooting the perimeter:

Porzingis is projected to be a top-five draft pick and has been mentioned as a potential pick for the Sixers at No. 3.

Photo: Porzingis/Instagram

Jason Whitlock out as leader of ‘Black Grantland’

Jason Whitlock denim jacket

Jason Whitlock, who was hired by ESPN to head up, staff, and create a “Black Grantland,” has now been demoted from his position.

ESPN announced Friday afternoon that Whitlock will no longer be running “The Undefeated.” Instead, Whitlock will be back to his usual role of writing/creating content. Leon Carter, who joined the site in January, will take Whitlock’s place as a manager on an interim basis.

Here is the announcement from ESPN:

As we continue to move forward in the process of creating The Undefeated – a new ESPN site focusing on race and sports – we have collectively decided to make some structural adjustments that will maximize the skill sets and strengths of our team, leading to the best possible output for the site and for all of ESPN. To that end, Jason Whitlock will now be entirely focused on what he does best: creating distinctive and compelling content, which will live across various ESPN platforms. Jason’s thought-provoking perspective has always been a hallmark of his work and this will allow him to completely devote his time and energy to that. As a result, he will make significant contributions to multiple ESPN entities and programs. Since returning to ESPN, Jason has been instrumental in assembling the foundation of a strong editorial team, formulating the vision for the project and collaborating with our digital product team to develop the blueprint for the site.

Leon Carter – an experienced leader in journalism who officially joined the site in January after leading staffs at the New York Daily News and ESPNNewYork.com – will assume all day-to-day management of the site’s editorial processes and personnel on an interim basis.

Whitlock’s demotion is likely the result of multiple complaints that he was unfit for the position. Deadspin’s Greg Howard, who was recruited by Whitlock to work for the site, wrote a piece in late April describing how poor of a manager Whitlock was. Apparently that carried a lot of weight with ESPN management, which decided to make a change.

Whitlock was hired by ESPN in 2013 and still has not gotten the project off the ground. He will go back to writing as well as doing TV and radio for the network.

Ayesha Curry jabs Cavs fans for not being very loud

Stephen Curry wife Ayesha

Steph Curry might need to have a talk with his wife about making sure she’s not giving the enemy any bulletin board material.

Curry’s wife Ayesha posted on Instagram after Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Cleveland about being excited to return home to Oracle Arena in Oakland. Ayesha is looking forward to Warriors’ home games because they have a much more vivacious environment compared to Quicken Loans Arena. She even boasted/joked that the Cavs’ home crowd was so tame that daughter Riley was able to sleep during the games.

“Nothing like #roaracle arena!!! Riley slept through the entire first half both nights here in Cleveland! Can’t wait to get back home to the bay!!! #2moretogo We bring the noise in the bay,” she posted as a caption to a photo on Instagram.

Either this photo was taken in the second half of the game or Ayesha was just joking around, because someone suggested that she was lying:

We’re guessing Ayesha said most of her stuff in jest, but it’s still a bad look for a high-profile player’s wife to say that about an opposing crowd. After all, we know how brutal they can be, and the Warriors will be heading back to Cleveland for Game 6.

H/T Bob’s Blitz

Stephen A. Smith apologizes on Twitter for women’s soccer joke

Stephen A SmithNot long after his “joke” about women’s soccer players went viral, Stephen A. Smith decided to apologize for his insensitive remark.

While “SportsCenter” was playing a highlight from a Women’s World Cup game between Germany and Norway, Smith cracked a joke about the women not blocking a shot because they didn’t want to mess up their hair. It was a poor joke invoking a stereotype about women, and many didn’t like it.

Smith decided to address his “joke” by apologizing over Twitter.

You have to love that. It was not intended to offend anyone, but it’s pretty obvious why it was offensive, so it’s surprising Smith didn’t realize that. Anyway, credit to our Steve DelVecchio for calling it in his post on the matter that an apology was coming.

D’Angelo Russell cancels workout with 76ers

Dangelo Russell

D’Angelo Russell canceled his scheduled workout with the Philadelphia 76ers this week, according to a report.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says Russell got “real sick” and canceled his workout.

The former Ohio State point guard averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5 assists per game in his only year with the Buckeyes. He is projected to be one of the highest picks in the upcoming draft.

There is some speculation that Russell canceled his workout with the Sixers, who have the No. 3 pick in the draft, because he already has a guarantee/agreement from a team that they will take him (e.g. the Lakers at No. 2). In the past, we have seen players who have agreements with one team refuse to work out for others (think Reggie Jackson and the Thunder). That seems unlikely here because the Lakers may be leaning towards a big man. It could very well be that Russell wanted to be at his best when he auditioned for a team drafting high.

Kristaps Porzingis, Justise Winslow and Emmanuel Mudiay have also been mentioned as potential picks for the Sixers at No. 3.

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