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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Blog

Russell Westbrook downplays All-Star snub: ‘I play to win championships’

Russell Westbrook

If Russell Westbrook is upset about missing out on a starting spot in the All-Star Game, he isn’t showing it.

Westbrook downplayed the snub after he failed to overcome Stephen Curry and James Harden in the balloting, with the Thunder guard saying there was a lot else more important.

“It is what it is,” Westbrook said Friday, via ESPN. “That’s the nature of the business, the game. I just play. I don’t play for All-Star bids. I play to win championships and every night I compete at a high level, and it’ll work out.

“I just continue doing what I’m doing and play the game the right way and everything else will work out.”

Westbrook did win in the media and player votes, but that didn’t console him much.

“(Winning the players’ vote) doesn’t change anything for me,” Westbrook said. “It’s a great honor … and being an All-Star is something you don’t take for granted.

“But like I said, I don’t play to play in the All-Star (Game) … I play to become a better player and to win championships.”

Ultimately, Westbrook lost out because he finished third in the fan vote, which served as the tiebreaker. That spurred some of his fellow athletes to back him. He’ll still end up at the game, but he’s not lying that championships are clearly the priority.

Report: Carmelo Anthony, Knicks will part ways by next season

The trade speculation surrounding Carmelo Anthony has been heating up, and now one plugged-in NBA reporter says ‘Melo and the New York Knicks will part ways by next season.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith says Anthony will be gone either by the trade deadline or summer.

The writing is on the wall in this one.

The Knicks are looking to get younger and build around second-year player Kristaps Porzingis. It’s hard to do that with Anthony being the focal point of the team. Even Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek recently seemed frustrated by Anthony calling for an isolation play on offense.

Between Phil Jackson confidants saying Anthony has worn out his usefulness in New York and reports saying some in the Knicks’ front office want to get rid of Anthony, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him traded.

What helps is the latest report saying Anthony would be willing to waive his no-trade clause. The problem is figuring out who would be able to acquire him in a trade. The Clippers and Cavs have been mentioned as potential destinations, while the Celtics have been cited as a possible fit.

Adam Jones to serve as penalty box attendant for minor league hockey team

Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones is embarking on a new career, if only for a day.

Jones, a San Diego native and season ticket holder for the AHL’s San Diego Gulls, signed a contract for Friday that will allow him to be an off-ice official in the team’s next game.

“I’m living out my dream joining the San Diego Gulls to be an off-ice official and serve as a penalty box attendant,” Jones said in a team statement.

Jones will be responsible for recording penalties, opening and closing the penalty box doors, and providing extra game pucks to referees.

Who knew that Jones was such a big hockey fan? It looks like he enjoys it as much as he enjoy smashing desserts onto his teammates’ faces. Here’s hoping the players give Jones a lot to do on Friday night so he can get the most out of his day of employment.

Carmelo Anthony willing to waive no-trade clause

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony wants to remain with the New York Knicks, but he would consider leaving if the team forces his hand.

In an interview with Al Iannazzone of Newsday published on Friday, Anthony said that his stance hasn’t changed with regard to his desire to stay in The Big Apple but now adds that he would think about waiving his no-trade clause if that was the desire of the front office.

“I think it will be more on the front office,” Anthony said. “I have the power, but still I would talk to them. We would be in communication if they feel like they want to go in a different direction, they want to start rebuilding for the future. If they tell me they want to scrap this whole thing, yeah, I have to consider it.”

Anthony’s relationship with Knicks management, particularly with president Phil Jackson, seems to be nearing a breaking point. In spite of it all though, he has remained steadfast in his wish to stay with the team. But now it appears that the nine-time All-Star forward is wavering on his stance. When you consider reports like these on top of it, it sounds like Anthony may truly be living on borrowed time in New York.

OG Anunoby needs knee surgery, out for remainder of season

Friday brought a major injury development to Big Ten basketball.

Indiana Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean announced that sophomore forward OG Anunoby needs right knee surgery and is out for the rest of the season.

The 19-year-old Anunoby was averaging 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the 13-6 Hoosiers this season. He was injured while jostling for rebounding position in Indiana’s 78-75 victory over Purdue on Wednesday.

A dynamic athlete and a versatile defender, Anunoby was projected to be a fringe lottery pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. But now in the wake of his injury, it seems like a very real possibility that Anunoby could opt to return to the Hoosiers for his junior year.

Image via Big Ten Network on YouTube

Browns in talks with RB Isaiah Crowell on deal

Isaiah Crowell Browns

Isaiah Crowell was one of a few bright spots on the Cleveland Browns’ offense this season, so it’s no surprise that the team is considering locking up the running back long term.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Browns and Crowell were in talks on a deal this season, but they’re at a stalemate. He believes that the sides will meet next week to discuss it further.

Crowell, who went undrafted out of Alabama State after initially committing to Georgia, rushed for 952 yards and 7 touchdowns while posting 319 receiving yards this season. His 4.8 yards per carry average was impressive for an offense that otherwise struggled.

Johnny Manziel says he is now sober

Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel has been making noise this week about making an NFL comeback, and now he’s saying that he is sober.

The former Cleveland Browns quarterback told ESPN’s Ed Werder that he is now sober and wants to maintain that so he can play pro football.

Manziel missed all of this season after being released by the Browns following the 2015 campaign. He was dropped by two agents, faced a domestic violence charge, and he has had numerous other legal issues related to his partying since.

In addition to having alcohol issues, Manziel has also been tied to drugs and even appears to have a new tattoo depicting some drugs. He’s unlikely to get a shot in the NFL just because he says he wants one; he has an awful lot to prove first.

Mike McCarthy: Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams may be game-time decisions

Jordy Nelson rib injury

A pair of Green Bay Packers wide receivers are still very much questionable for Sunday.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy told the media on Friday that wide receivers Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison are all still up in the air for the NFC Championship, and their status may not be decided until Sunday.

“They have work to do, particularly in the rehab,” McCarthy said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “If we know tomorrow, we’ll know tomorrow. If we know Sunday, we’ll know Sunday. One or two of those guys are probably going to have to work out Sunday.”

Reports have indicated that Nelson is a long shot, while Adams is likely to play. Getting at least one of them on the field would be a big relief for Green Bay.

Could Chip Kelly wind up on Patriots staff?

Chip Kelly 49ers

There is some reason to believe that Chip Kelly’s next landing spot could be next to Bill Belichick.

After missing out on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offensive coordinator position, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen speculates that Kelly could end up with the New England Patriots in some capacity.

A league source told Mortensen that Kelly was set to meet with Belichick after the Jaguars decided against hiring him as their offensive coordinator. It’s not known if there’s a specific role in mind or if it’s just an exploratory meeting between friends.

Mortensen notes that Kelly’s expertise of football extends to the science of the game as well as offense, so he could have a number of roles if someone offered.

There is precedent for Belichick talking employment with Kelly. It reportedly happened when Kelly was let go by the Eagles, and with no head coaching or coordinator jobs coming his way, it might happen again here.

Bulls reportedly interested in signing Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh may never play in the NBA again due to his recurring blood clotting condition, but at least one NBA team is interested in hiring him if and when he does hit the free agent market.

Marc Stein of ESPN is reporting that the Chicago Bulls are “already plotting a run and will be at the front of the line” to try to sign Bosh when he inevitably parts ways with the Miami Heat. Stein notes that any roster move for the Heat likely won’t come until after March 1, which would ensure Bosh could not participate in the playoffs for another team.

The Heat are going to have to pay Bosh no matter what, but they can exclude his contract from their salary cap situation if a doctor agreed upon by the NBA and NBA Players Union determines Bosh should not play with his condition. Doctors have already said it would be unsafe for Bosh to play basketball while taking blood thinners, as it would make the 32-year-old susceptible to serious injuries.

Judging by what he said recently, it sounds like Bosh is already starting to accept that his basketball career is over. But if he is cleared to play, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a team that is close to being a contender bring him in.

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