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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

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Dan Gilbert, Cavs Hire Law Firm to Investigate Miami Heat Tampering

If Dan Gilbert expects people to believe that he’s “over” LeBron James after he was angry enough to send Cavaliers fans this letter just a few months ago, he’s even crazier than we thought.  What’s particularly convenient about the whole LeBron returning to Cleveland situation is that just one day after Gilbert told reporters he has moved on from King James, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting something quite contradictory.

According to Wojnarowski, the Cavs have dumped “hundreds of thousands of dollars” into a well-known Midwestern law firm to investigate the notion that the Miami Heat broke NBA tampering rules when pursuing LeBron James.  Two sources with direct knowledge of the situation even told Yahoo! Sports that Gilbert will “spare no expense to uncover whatever evidence he can to take to the league office.”  If those are the actions of a man who no longer cares, I’d hate to see what Gilbert would do if he was still upset.

By league standards, the Heat obviously tampered with LeBron.  No Miami representative was allowed to speak with James about joining the Heat prior to the start of free agency on July 1.  I don’t think there’s a person in the world who thinks LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh haven’t been talking about the possibility of playing together for about two years now.  Just look at this report, which is from June 29.  Proving it?  That will be a difficult — if not impossible — task.

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Adrian Awasom Finds a Loophole in the UFL’s New Transfer Fee Policy

Adrian Awasom hopes to play in the NFL again in the near future. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive lineman was signed by the New York Giants in 2005 as an undrafted free agent and played in only 17 NFL games.  According to National Football Post, Awasom is drawing interest from a few NFL teams after recording 20 tackles and three sacks during a championship season with the Las Vegas Locomotives.  But who wants to pay $150,000 just to leave the UFL for the NFL?

Awasom certainly doesn’t, which is why he and his agent have found a brilliant loophole in the UFL’s new policy.  Rather than pay the $150,000 transfer fee to go directly from the UFL to the NFL, Awasom has signed with the San Jose Sabercats of the Arena Football League.  From there, he can void his contract and seek NFL employment without having to pay a fee.

Genius.  It remains to be seen whether or not more players will take this route and the AFL will get sick of being used, but for now it seems like a great way to tell the UFL to take their $150,000 fee and stuff it.  Bravo, Awason, and best of luck on phase two of your NFL career.

Cecil Newton Tried to Take Money, But Cam Newton is Eligible to Play

Auburn Tigers nation can breathe easy — for now.  Their Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback has been declared eligible by the NCAA.  On Monday, the NCAA concluded that a violation of amateurism rules had occurred and, consistent with the protocol of such an investigation, Cam Newton was briefly deemed ineligible.  At that point, the university can request that the athlete be reinstated.  If it is determined that the athlete was not directly involved, he or she can be reinstated while the investigation continues, as was the case with Newton.

While Cam Newton’s name is “clear” at the moment, the NCAA discovered what we already suspected and were confident in — that his father, Cecil Newton, worked with the owner of a scouting service to market and sell his son’s talents.  SEC Commissioner Mike Silve spoke out against the conduct of Cam Newton’s father and the individual from the scouting service, saying it is “unacceptable” and “will not be tolerated in the SEC.”

On to the important part.  It comes in the form of comments from Kevin Lennon, the NCAA’s vice president for academic and membership affairs:

In determining how a violation impacts a student-athlete’s eligibility, we must consider the young person’s responsibility. Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement.”

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Report: Magic, Wizards Discussing Gilbert Arenas Trade

It would appear the Gilbert Arenas-to-Orlando talk is back on.  It’s been no secret that the Magic are looking to make a trade.  They know that in order to get past teams like the Celtics and Heat in the Eastern Conference, they’ll need someone who can consistently put the ball in the basket.  Will they give Arenas a shot to be that guy?

According to Orlando Pinstriped Post, via J.E. Skeet’s Twitter, the Magic and Wizards are once again discussing a possible swap that includes the troubled Washington guard — who has a recent history of knee issues.  Arenas is owed more than $60 million over the next three seasons, and after the gun incident and all the discplinary problems surrounding him it has become clear the Wizards are trying to phase Agent Zero out.  The first step, of course, was drafting John Wall with the first overall pick in the draft.  The next could be getting something in return for Arenas.

According to the report, the only name that is off-limits in discussions is Dwight Howard.  Any deal would likely involve Vince Carter — who could bring a veteran presence to the Wizards and help mentor John Wall — and could include Andray Blatche, Rashard Lewis, or Daniel Orton.  Both teams reportedly understand what the other side would need to complete the deal.

As OPP points out, the Orlando Sentinel reported earlier in the week that the Magic are “willing to take a step back” by making a trade if it would improve their team for the long term.  With his age (28) and history of knee problems, I don’t really see how Arenas and his massive contract would be the solution.

Dwight Howard Makes Fun of Derek Anderson’s Rant (Video)

Poor Derek Anderson.  Not only is he the quarterback of a 3-8 team and a guy who had to answer questions about smiling while he team was getting smacked around — he’s now the center of jokes across the sporting world.  Following a 90-79 Magic win over the Pistons on Tuesday night, Dwight Howard decided to have a little fun at Anderson’s expense.  Check out the video of Dwight Howard making fun of Derek Anderson, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel:

If Dwight wasn’t about 7 feet tall, 265 pounds, and one of the strongest guys in the NBA, I’d say Anderson should call him out.

Donald Trump Tells Miami President to Hire Mike Leach

Three years ago, Donald Trump expressed his discontent with Miami University president Donna Shalala for hiring Randy Shannon and not Mike Leach to coach the Hurricanes.  Shannon certainly didn’t work out, and now Shalala is responsible for hiring another head coach.  While many reports indicate Jon Gruden will be the heir to the U throne, Trump continues to lobby for his buddy, Leach.  Check out this note he sent Shalala in typical Trump fashion:

For those of you who have normal eyes and can’t read that, here’s what the note says:

Donna, you made a big mistake when you did not take my advice and hire Mike Leach of Texas Tech — look what’s happened to them since he left [something no one can seem to read] — Hire Coach Leach and you will be number one. Best wishes, Donald — And you can get him for the right price. Best wishes, Donald.”

Keep in mind that as of Tuesday night College Football Talk was reporting that Jon Gruden will be the next Hurricanes coach, “barring a last-minute glitch.”  Hopefully it works out.  I’d hate to be Shalala and have to decipher one of these obnoxious notes again if it doesn’t.

Chip Kelly Could Make $4.3 Million With an Oregon Win This Weekend

The Oregon Ducks are one win away from a guaranteed trip to the BCS national title game.  With a win over Oregon State this Saturday, the Ducks would run their record to 12-0 and remain atop the BCS polls.  The stakes can’t be raised any higher than that.  Or can they?

For Chip Kelly, they certainly can.  After a review of Kelly’s current contract with Oregon, USA Today determined that the Ducks’ game this weekend is valued at around $4.3 million for their head coach.  Kelly’s contract includes a provision that tacks another year onto his contract if Oregon wins at least 12 games in the 2010 season or qualifies for the BCS title game.  A win over Oregon State would assure both and give Kelly an extra year on his contract worth $4 million, taking him into the 2016-2017 season.

Like almost all other coaches in the NCAA, Kelly also would receive a bonus if Oregon were to go on and win the national championship.  That would pay him an additional $200,000 along with adding a year to his deal.  And that’s not all.  Kelly also earns $285,000 every time one of his teams wins 12 “regular season” games, so he would get his hands on that cash with a win this weekend as well.

No pressure.

BCS Bowl System Is a Load of B.S.

Isn’t the holiday season grand? People slipping in and out of a gravy-induced coma, gathering around the television to watch the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys try to figure out the rules of football, and the annual exchange of gift receipts. That just leaves time to harp on the process of sending college teams to prestigious bowl games. The succinctly titled B-C-S. The mere mention of the three-lettered acronym nearly had President Obama dispatching the National Guard to Bill Hancock’s house. The controversy stirs up more vitriol than an old ladies’ pinochle showdown. Give me a ‘B’!

It seems like every year around this time, the same old debate is stirred up in towns whose major attractions are a Walmart and “The World’s Largest (something).” A Senator from Utah was so miffed that he threatened an anti-trust lawsuit against the Behemoth-CS. Well, you better batten down the Orrin Hatch, because here we go again. People in Eugene, Auburn, and Fort Worth wait with baited breath since, let’s face it, there really isn’t much else to do in those places.

There was a time when the Rose Bowl stood as college football’s version of winning the Publisher’s Clearing House (without having to subscribe to all those crummy magazines). Collegians played off for the right to go to Pasadena or there would be no postseason. But, then came the Orange and Sugar Bowls helping to feed the carb-crazed college football scene, with the Cotton Bowl soon after. Some 75 years later, the Granddaddy has had so many illegitimate children he’s beginning to make Shawn Kemp look like Father of the Year. Every corporate entity is represented in this bastion of amateurism (that’s what they tell us, at least). There is something called a Beef O’Brady’s Bowl (just sounds fattening), an Insight Bowl (which ironically provides no insight into entertainment), a Liberty Bowl (played in the city that gave birth to freedom… Memphis, Tennessee?), and there’s a bowl that’s a message, The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (a Pac-10, WAC matchup will accomplish this by causing one to lose their appetite).

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LBS NFL Power Rankings Week 13

1. New England Patriots (9-2, –)

The Patriots avoided a letdown in Detroit with a monster second half. Rookie Devin McCourty looks like he could turn into one of the best cover corners in the league. The NFL couldn’t have asked for better circumstances surrounding New England’s Monday night game against the Jets.

2. Atlanta Falcons (9-2, +1)

Time to put the Falcons in the discussion of best team in the NFL. The Packers helped Atlanta with mistakes — like Aaron Rodgers’ fumble on the goal line — but the win cements them as the best team in the NFC. They’re particularly tough to beat at home, which could make for a deep playoff run.

3. New York Jets (9-2, –)

The Jets have not defeated an above .500 opponent since their win over the Patriots Week 2. For that reason, we have them at No. 3 in our rankings. If they’re able to win in New England on Monday night, they’ll shoot up to No. 1. Monday’s game is as big as it gets for the regular season.

4. Baltimore Ravens (8-3, +3)

Like the Jets, it’s been a while since Baltimore has beaten a top-tier team. They’ll get their shot at home against Pittsburgh this weekend. The Ravens could sweep the Steelers with a win and put themselves in prime position to win the AFC North.

5. New Orleans Saints (8-3, +3)

Why is it that everyone seems to have forgotten about the Super Bowl champs? The Saints have won five out of their last six and scored 30+ points five times over that span. They’re a team that’s finding it’s stride at the right time and knows how to win in the playoffs.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3, -1)

A win is a win in the NFL, but the Steelers’ most recent one was as lucky as it gets. If Steve Johnson catches the ball in overtime, Pittsburgh loses. They have looked a bit lost at times since getting slapped around by the Patriots a few weeks ago. Finding consistency on offense will be crucial.

7. Green Bay Packers (7-4, -1)

Although the Packers lost to the Falcons, it was a road game against the NFC’s best and they hung around until the end. Had Rodgers not committed his first fumble of the season, we’d probably be talking about Green Bay as the best team in the NFC. Their next two are against the 49ers and Lions.

8. Chicago Bears (8-3, +4)

Okay, the Bears might be for real. They made Michael Vick look like a human being in a convincing win over the Eagles at home. Jay Cutler looked like he understood the offense, and that’s a scary thing for the rest of the NFC. Their defense keeps them in games and consistently gives them a chance to win.

9. San Diego Chargers (6-5, +4)

Forget the five losses. The Chargers are a very, very good football team. Philip Rivers would be the MVP if the season ended today. Despite countless injuries in the passing game, Rivers has led his team to four straight wins — including a shellacking of the Colts.

10. New York Giants (7-4, –)

The Giants had to overcome a bunch of injuries on offense against Jacksonville to come away with a win. They came from behind and were able to get a win, whether their fans appreciated it or not.  More importantly, they avoided the “Giants are chokers” talk for at least another week.

11. Philadelphia Eagles (7-4, -7)

The loss to the Bears showed us how average the Eagles can be if Michael Vick doesn’t have a tremendous game. Vick is still the most dangerous quarterback in the league, but he’s bound to start making some mistakes. The question is can Philadelphia overcome them.

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Bruce Pearl Calls Lane Kiffin A ‘Dumbass’

Bruce Pearl loves attention.  Anyone who has seen him in action knows that’s the case.  You think he really wears that loud orange suit just because he’s proud to be a Tennessee Volunteer?  That may be part of it, but the guy loves the spotlight.  Unless, of course, the spotlight comes in the form of major recruting violations and lying to NCAA investigators.

So what’s a funny guy to do when he finds himself in a sticky situation?  Thank everyone for their support, apologize, and make a funny.  Check, check, and check.  If I coached at a school with a Lane Kiffin connection, I’d probably use him, too.  Kiffin is known for things like taking jersey numbers without explanation.  He also wasted no time getting himself into hot water when he took over the USC football program.

For those reasons and more, Pearl decided to lighten the mood by taking a shot at Kiffin.  Sports by Brooks Live called our attention to Pearl’s comments, as told by Go Vols Xtra, which he made after admitting that he had embarrassed and humiliated the university.

I’ve made mistakes, I clearly did, but what I was hoping for was that some other dumbass would get on the front page and take me off the hook,” Pearl said. “I miss Lane Kiffin.”

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.  I understand he was trying to loosen up the room, but I doubt Kiffin will appreciate being called a dumbass.  On second thought, who cares what Kiffin thinks?  We certainly love it.

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