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Friday, July 3, 2015

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Kevin Love signs five-year, $110 million deal to stay with Cavs

Kevin Love

The relationship between Kevin Love and LeBron James is apparently just fine. And if it isn’t, there are now 110 million reasons for the two of them to figure things out.

Through a post on The Players’ Tribune entitled “Unfinished Business,” Love announced on Wednesday that he is staying with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Yeah, of course I’ve heard the free agency rumors,” he wrote. “But at the end of the day, and after meeting with my teammates (it turns out pools are great meeting places) and with the front office, it was clear Cleveland was the place for me. We’re all on the same page and we’re all in. We have unfinished business and now it’s time to get back to work.”

The pool comment was in reference to Love and some of his Cavs teammates — LeBron included — being photographed hanging out poolside in the Los Angeles area over the weekend.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports that Love’s new deal is worth $110 million over five years. It likely contains a player option for the fifth year.

In addition to keeping Love, the Cavs are also reportedly closing in on an $80 million deal with restricted free agent Tristan Thompson.

Perhaps that report about LeBron not recruiting Love this time around had to do with the fact that Love was never planning to leave in the first place. There was some talk about the possibility of the Cavs exploring a sign-and-trade with Love and keeping Thompson, but apparently owner Dan Gilbert is not worried about paying an astronomical amount in luxury tax. Winning a championship is clearly the priority in Cleveland.

Dwyane Wade, Heat reportedly progressing in contract talks

Dwyane Wade really face

Dwyane Wade is one of the more intriguing names on the free agent market, as very few people can picture him in a uniform other than the Miami Heat one he has worn throughout his entire NBA career. In all likelihood, they won’t have to.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Wade and the Heat are progressing in contract talks over what is likely to be a multi-year contract.

There have been reports that Wade — who opted out of a contract he signed last summer that gave the Heat financial flexibility — could leave Miami to sign with a team like the Los Angeles Lakers. Wade’s father also created speculation when he wore this shirt to a recent church event.

Wade is said to be seeking $20 million per season, as he hopes the Heat will reward him for his loyalty over the years. After all, the 11-time NBA All-Star has never been the highest-paid player on his team during his 13-year NBA career. However, the Heat seem to be floating an offer that is far less than $20 million a year.

There will likely be a compromise, with Wade getting a raise over what he would have been paid if he opted into the final two years of his last contract. Simply put, 33-year-old basketball players who have battled knee issues don’t have a ton of leverage.

Report: Lakers didn’t make strong impression on LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge

The Los Angeles Lakers and their famous fans are making a strong recruiting pitch to free agent forward LaMarcus Aldridge, but it may not be enough.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that the Lakers did not make a strong impression on Aldridge in their meeting with him early Wednesday, and the 29-year-old is expected to make a decision “fairly soon” after meeting with the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs, who re-signed Danny Green with a four-year deal, also traded Tiago Splitter to the Atlanta Hawks in an apparent move to free up the necessary cap space needed to sign Aldridge.

A separate report from ESPN’s Ramonda Shelburne indicated that Aldridge’s meeting with the Lakers went “really well.”

From the look of it, the sales pitch these two music moguls tried to make is not going to work. The Spurs are considered the favorite for the top prize on the free agent market.

Report: Tiger Woods cheated on Lindsey Vonn with Amanda Dufner

Amanda Dufner Jason wife

Did Jason Dufner’s split with his wife Amanda have something to do with Tiger Woods? That’s what one popular gossip magazine would like us to believe.

The National Enquirer is reporting that Woods, who recently broke up Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, has been having an affair with Amanda Boyd for months.

“Even though Tiger dated Lindsey for years, he had a ‘thing’ for Amanda,” a source reportedly told the Enquirer, via Radar Online. “At first, it was just innocent flirting, but earlier this year it became serious.”

The story goes as far as to say that Woods flew Boyd from her home in Alabama to Seattle for a few days earlier this month while he was preparing for the U.S. Open. Dufner was supposedly “devastated” when he found out that his wife had been running around with Tiger.

“Amanda is gorgeous, and she’s known as a big flirt with the other players on the PGA tour,” the report said. “I guess her flirty ways and good looks caught Tiger’s eye.”

The only thing we know to be true is that Amanda certainly is gorgeous — a fact that we have reminded you of several times with photos like this.

While tabloids like the Enquirer have seemingly printed plenty of garbage over the years, it should be noted that the Enquirer is the same publication that blew the lid off the original Woods sex scandal when he was cheating on ex-wife Elin Nordegren. They have gotten stories right in the past when it pertains to Tiger.

Not surprisingly, this is the second report we have heard about Vonn breaking up with Woods because she caught him cheating. However, the first set of rumors claimed Tiger slept with a prostitute while he was dating Lindsey.

Dufner and Boyd filed for divorce in March citing an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” For what it’s worth, Amanda is the one who filed and she was supposed to receive a gross sum of $2.5 million in the split. Would she get that much if the divorce was a result of her infidelity, especially with the couple having no children together? That seems unlikely.

Jim Harbaugh, Colin Cowherd share awkward interview (Video)

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh joined ESPN’s Colin Cowherd for what appeared to be an innocent interview on Wednesday morning, but it could not have gone much worse.

Harbaugh, who isn’t exactly the easiest guy to deal with, seemed to be on the defensive the entire time. He provided very little insight and stonewalled Cowherd on a number of open-ended questions such as “Is your day much different coaching college vs. pro football?” The entire cringe-worthy segment is worth listening to.

Toward the end, Harbaugh criticized Cowherd for firing so many questions at him. That opened the door for Cowherd to vent his frustrations.

“You’re not giving me a ton to work with, coach,” he said. “I just want to find something out about Jim Harbaugh the human being. … I want Jim Harbaugh, the guy.”

Cowherd then noted that most other coaches from big college programs — Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Steve Sarkisian — are happy to sell their program. He then cut Harbaugh loose.

“That’s the clunkiest interview I’ve ever had,” Cowherd said afterword.

Whether you like Cowherd or not, it’s hard to take Harbaugh’s side in this situation. The line of questioning was incredibly light-hearted and fair, and Harbaugh seemed like he wanted nothing to do with it from the start. We haven’t seen a college football interview that awkward since Jimbo Fisher got bent out of shape over this question last year.

Jim Harbaugh Michigan

Video via The Big Lead

DeSean Jackson rips Eagles in new reality TV show

DeSean Jackson Redskins

Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson is not a fan of his former team, and you can understand why.

The premiere of Jackson’s new reality TV show “Home Team” aired on BET Tuesday night, and the Pro Bowl wide receiver had plenty to say about the Philadelphia Eagles. It began with the opening monologue.

“I was at the top of the top … and then I got released,” Jackson said, as transcribed by Andrew Porter of CBS Philly. “It was a smear campaign. Things the media said about me, I bet you could say that about the majority of people in the NFL. I mean, it’s their loss. I got a second chance to play in the NFL now with the Washington Redskins and I’m proving I’m one of the best receivers in the game.”

Around the time the Eagles released Jackson last year, reports surfaced about his possible affiliation with a gang. Many believe those rumors were planted by the Eagles in an attempt to justify unloading him after he had a career year in Chip Kelly’s offense.

“When I was released by the Eagles, I felt they tried to paint a picture that definitely wasn’t true,” Jackson added. “It was a slap in the face coming off one of my best seasons in the NFL. It’s like, bro, the Eagles tried to blow me up. That’s cold how they did me.

“That’s why I think they fired me. You know? Have I went to jail? Am I in federal? I ain’t did none of that.”

While it doesn’t help that Jackson has appeared to flash gang signs during games, he has kept out of trouble off the field. He even mocked the Eagles in an interview last year when asked if he misses his former team.

Something tells me that won’t be the last time Jackson or someone in his entourage mentions the Eagles on the new show.

Anthony Davis’ contract gives us an idea of new salary cap money

Anthony-Davis-Pelicans

Anthony Davis has reportedly agreed to a contract extension with the New Orleans Pelicans that will be the richest in NBA history.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Davis and the Pelicans have a agreed to a five-year extension worth roughly $145 million that will kick in after the 2015-2016 NBA season. The deal cannot be formally signed until July 9, per league rules.

The Pelicans’ offer to Davis was reportedly as much as is allowed at the moment, but the figure could increase depending on how much the salary cap rises after the upcoming season. Because he was named a starter in last season’s NBA All-Star Game and also earned All-NBA honors, the Pelicans can dedicate 30 percent of the league’s salary cap to the 22-year-old rather than 25 percent.

Now do you see why players like this guy want to sign short-term deals this offseason? There will be much more money to be had next summer.

Report: Kings have ‘strong interest’ in Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo

The Sacramento Kings are starting to look like one of the more likely destinations for Rajon Rondo.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reports that the Kings made a phone call to Rondo and expressed “strong interest” in him when the free agency period began at midnight on Tuesday. While no contract offer was made, Kings president of basketball operations Vlade Divac invited Rondo to Sacramento to meet face-to-face with team executives.

Although the situation with George Karl and DeMarcus Cousins remains a wildcard, there is said to be “mutual interest” between Rondo and the Kings. Rudy Gay, who is close friends with Rondo, has been recruiting the four-time NBA All-Star. Rondo has also reportedly spoken to Cousins about the prospect of teaming up.

But will Cousins even be there? Karl has reportedly been pushing to trade the 24-year-old center, though there has been speculation that the Kings are so frustrated with Karl over his insistence on shopping Cousins that they could end up parting ways with the head coach.

The Dallas Mavericks likely traded for Rondo last season hoping they had secured their point guard of the future, but all of that seemed to go out the window after this incident with Mavs coach Rick Carlisle. Rondo basically ended up leaving the team in the middle of the playoffs.

Mike Richards reportedly tried to bring OxyContin over border

Mike Richards

NHL forward Mike Richards had his contract terminated by the Los Angeles Kings earlier this week, and all signs point to the 30-year-old veteran having been involved in an incident at the U.S.-Canada border. The issue may have been drug-related.

According to a report from the Winnipeg Sun, Richards was taken into custody at the Emerson, Man., border on June 17 for allegedly trying to bring OxyContin pills into the United States. He was reportedly held for four hours and an investigation is ongoing, though no charges have been filed.

“We have not charged Mike Richards with anything,” a Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesperson told the Sun on Tuesday. “In terms of an ongoing investigation, we cannot discuss who or who may not be investigated.”

Attempting to cross the border with prescription medication without proper documentation could result in illegal possession and/or smuggling charges.

The Sun adds that the Kings received word of the incident during the first round of the NHL draft on Friday and placed Richards on waivers two days later. Many feel that the team was being opportunistic, as they were likely looking to trade Richards or dump his contract.

Richards was traded from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Kings back in 2011 (he was unhappy with how he found out), and a report at the time indicated that the Flyers had grown tired of his love for partying.

If Richards is able to prove that he had a prescription for the OxyContin and is not charged, he could appeal the Kings’ decision to terminate his contract.

Jerry DiPoto packs up his office, likely out as Angels GM

Jerry DiPoto Angels

Jerry DiPoto packed up his office after the Angels’ win over the Yankees on Tuesday amid heightened tensions between him and manager Mike Scioscia, and reports say he is likely leaving his position as the team’s GM.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that DiPoto packed up his office, but he says there is no indication of a firing or resignation:

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that DiPoto approached team owner Arte Moreno with an ultimatum.

Crasnick also says DiPoto is “out” as Angels GM.

Moreno was in the Angels’ clubhouse for quite some time after the game, though he did not speak with the media. MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez says DiPoto could consider stepping down.

A former major league pitcher, DiPoto became the Angels’ GM after the 2011 season. There was an immediate power struggle between him and Scioscia that the GM seemed to win; in May 2012, hitting coach Mickey Hatcher became Scioscia’s first ever assistant coach to be fired. Things were so bad between them that a report after the season said one or the other had to go. The team “resolved” the situation by keeping both and forcing them to work together. The Angels struggled in 2013 after nearly every move DiPoto made flopped (think the acquisitions of Joe Blanton, Ryan Madson, and Tommy Hanson). However, the team won 98 games last season, and all seemed to be much better. The problem is that the team has been struggling this season, leading to DiPoto’s complaints with Scioscia to arise again.

Rosenthal reported Monday that DiPoto has had an issue with Scioscia and the coaching staff over the lack of use of advanced scouting/stats prepared for them by the front office.

It really is not surprising to see these issues creeping up again. The Angels should have parted ways with one or the other after the 2012 season. This is what happens when you try to force an ill-fitted relationship to work.

As I see it, there are three problems going on here, two of which will still remain regardless of who wins the GM/manager power struggle.

1) Jerry DiPoto is only an average GM. As previously mentioned, almost all of the moves he made for the 2013 season ended horribly. That’s not to say all of his moves are bad, though; his bullpen acquisitions of Huston Street, Ernesto Frieri and Joe Smith were great, and he got a nice return for Mark Trumbo. When you have as many successful moves as you do flops, that makes you just an average GM.

2) Mike Scioscia is a headstrong, old school manager who bunts, runs and doesn’t use as much advanced scouting information as he can. Some of the knocks against him are subjective and coming from DiPoto’s point of view, but these are complaints I’ve had for a while.

3) Arte Moreno screws things up big time when he meddles with the front office’s moves. He was the driving force behind the Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton signings. This is the first in four seasons with the team where Pujols is coming close to living up to his contract, and the Angels still owe him big money for another six years. The team could have kept Kendrys Morales for a fraction of the price and had much more payroll flexibility if Moreno didn’t make this deal. Then, upset over the Hamilton deal, Moreno forced DiPoto to trade the troubled outfielder for pennies on the dollar.

Both signings were ill-advised and are haunting the team. Plus, to all those people who, when Moreno overpaid for both sluggers, said “It’s not your money,” well, you have to look at the domino effect. Because of all the money they are paying Pujols and Hamilton, the Angels traded Howie Kendrick over the offseason rather than keeping him, and they missed out on other free agents who might have been provided better value. They simply are getting poor value on the signings that Moreno forced.

Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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