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Sunday, December 21, 2014


Charles Barkley and Phil Jackson get into it over Knicks criticism


Charles Barkley and Phil Jackson got into it on Thursday night as Chuck was providing commentary for a Knicks game.

Barkley ordinarily provides analysis from TNT’s studios in Atlanta, but occasionally he calls games like he did for Thursday’s Knicks-Bulls contest. Apparently all his criticism of the Knicks did not sit well with team president Phil Jackson, who tweeted that the mute button was his only option for defense against Sir Charles:

Phil Jackson tweet

Barkley was informed about Jackson’s Twitter jab and of course did not hesitate to respond.

“I don’t do any social media but he’s too old to be tweeting… Phil’s got sensitive in his old age,” he said via ESPN’s Ian Begley.

He’s not wrong. Jackson has been so sensitive he even responded on Twitter to Chris Sheridan’s website, which said the Knicks were fleeced by the Mavs in the Tyson Chandler trade.

“Negative, I’m okay with the Dallas deal. Tyson fits there and our 3 players, Jose (Calderon), Sam (Dalembert), and Shane (Larkin) are on the court. Our season got off to a rocky start-injuries-Tyson could not have changed the outcome. Trades are judged in 4-5 year terms. Remember how Pop et al complained about the Pau trade? How does that trade look now? Just relax…and be patient,” he wrote over three tweets.

Phil has never been above a good squabble, but it’s rare that he is this defensive. Maybe all the criticism of his 5-23 Knicks is wearing on him … and we’re only two months into his first season on the job! All he needs to do is clear out the “loser’s mentality” on the team.

Dodgers not happy with AJ Preller over Matt Kemp trade

Matt Kemp Padres

The Dodgers are not happy with San Diego Padres GM A.J. Preller over the way the Matt Kemp trade unfolded.

The Dodgers and Padres agreed to a trade with Kemp as the centerpiece exactly one week ago. Despite the agreement, the trade was not officially completed until Thursday because of supposed concerns regarding Kemp’s physical.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the Padres had concerns over arthritis in Kemp’s hips. It sounds like the Dodgers believe the Padres made that up to try getting more from LA in the deal.

ESPN explains the Dodgers’ feelings.

There could be some lingering ill will between the Dodgers’ front office and first-year Padres general manager A.J. Preller because of the belief that Kemp’s physical results were leaked to help San Diego pry further concessions out of its NL West foes, sources said. The Padres did ask for additional compensation from the Dodgers after Kemp’s physical, but Los Angeles refused.

The trade went through as originally agreed; the Dodgers are sending Kemp, $32 million and Tim Federowicz to the Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitchers Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin.

Whatever tactics San Diego tried to employ did not work.

Perhaps it’s reasons like this why the Dodgers and Padres have not traded with each other very much. According to Jayson Stark, prior to this deal, the Paderes and Dodgers had only made two trades since 1969.

Suns hilariously respond to Mavericks following Rajon Rondo on Twitter


Early in the day on Thursday, the Twitter world went crazy when it was noticed the official account for the Dallas Mavericks was following Rajon Rondo. Speculation was abundant the Mavs were close to acquiring the four-time All-Star.

As it turns out, that’s exactly what happened as Rondo was shipped to Dallas for players and draft picks.

Prior to the trade being announced by both teams, the Phoenix Suns’ social media team decided to seize the moment and have a little fun with the buzz surrounding the Mavericks following Rondo. The above picture was posted on the Suns Twitter account along with “Look who we just followed. Draw your own conclusions.”

Markieff Morris has played well for the Suns this season at power forward, but the 6’5″ 215-lb Moon could serve as added depth.

Photo via: Twitter/Suns

Jesse Hahn, RJ Alvarez go to A’s in Derek Norris trade

Derek Norris

The Oakland A’s are clearly in rebuilding mode, but at least Billy Beane is getting some really nice players in return for his trades.

The A’s on Thursday agreed to trade catcher Derek Norris to the San Diego Padres for pitchers Jesse Hahn and R.J. Alvarez. The Padres are also receiving Seth Streich and an international signing slot.

Norris was the main piece of Oakland’s incredible catching platoon last season that also featured John Jaso and Stephen Vogt. Norris batted .270/.361/.403 with 19 doubles and 10 home runs last season, which was good enough to make him an All-Star. A former 2007 4th-round pick of the Nationals, Norris has batted .246 with a .727 OPS in 285 career MLB games. His average may go down next season if he regresses, but his power played at Oakland and should translate to Petco Park. He is also cost-controlled for one more season before he becomes eligible for arbitration.

As mentioned, the A’s are getting a nice return.

Hahn, 25, is a 2010 6th-round pick out of Virginia Tech and has had a lot of success in pro ball. The 6-foot-5 right-hander went 6-4 with a 2.26 ERA in 44 career minor league starts. He made 12 starts last season for the Padres, going 7-4 with a 3.07 ERA. He is mostly a groundball pitcher who averages nearly 91 on his fastball. He is also mostly a two-pitch fastball-curveball guy. Perhaps the A’s feel they can get Hahn to develop a third pitch, or maybe they feel they can get good performance out of a team-controlled guy for a few years.

Alvarez is a relief pitcher who is young and throws hard. You might remember him because he was acquired by San Diego in the Huston Street trade and was called up to the bigs last season. The 23-year-old allowed just one run, 3 hits, 5 walks and struck out 9 in 8 innings of relief last season with the Pads. He has gone 7-5 with a 2.42 ERA during his minor league career, which was almost exclusively as a reliever. Alvarez averages nearly 95 mph on his fastball and is mostly a fastball-slider pitcher. He is a fly ball pitcher, which should play well at the Coliseum and in the AL West. We expect him to be up with the big league club all year and potentially closing at some point.

It’s obvious that A.J. Preller is trying to improve San Diego’s dormant offense, but he is paying a price to do so. He gave away two good arms.

Ex-Angels prospect Ryan Bolden killed in candy argument

Ryan Bolden

Ryan Bolden, a former first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels, was shot and killed on Wednesday night after stepping in during a conflict among kids about candy, according to reports.

Bolden was visiting someone at an apartment complex in College Park, Ga. Apparently some kids around the age of 10 and 11 got into a fight about candy, and some adults intervened. Bolden was shot during the conflict and was taken to a local hospital where he died. He was 23.

Below is a look at the scene:

Bolden was from Madison, Miss., and was the 40th overall pick in the 2010 draft. Though he signed to attend Ole Miss, he decided to turn pro instead. Bolden struggled during his four seasons in the Angels’ organization, batting just .164 and never making it beyond rookie ball.

Former teammates and friends sent their best wishes about Bolden over Twitter and spoke well of the young man:

Darko Milicic loses in kickboxing debut

After an NBA career that saw him suit up for the Pistons, Magic, Grizzlies, Knicks, Timberwolves, and Celtics, Darko Milicic made his kickboxing debut on Thursday. Milicic is probably best known as the guy selected behind LeBron James and ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade in 2003. With that chapter of his life behind him, the former No. 2 overall pick is now onto another interest.

Milicic competed against Radovan Radojčin in the Soul Night of Champions event in Serbia. Unfortunately, Milicic’s first fight ended in defeat in the second round.

With Milicic’s lack of success in the NBA, it be would tough to argue against those who saw a loss coming in his latest athletic endeavor. Hopefully, results will be better from here on out.


Video via: Sportando

Hugh Freeze proud of Ole Miss’ record 2.57 team GPA

Ole Miss GPA

In most academic settings, a 2.57 GPA would be dismissed as below average. But within the Ole Miss football community, it is celebrated.

Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze tweeted on Thursday to say how proud he was of his team for posting a 2.57 team GPA, which he said was the highest in the program’s history:

Naturally, someone boasting about his students having a GPA of somewhere between a C+ and B- didn’t impress the folks on Twitter. Freeze had a response for them, too.

Well, as long as the grades were achieved legitimately and not fraudulently like some other programs, then I guess this is something to be proud of.

NFL Week 16 expert picks against the spread – Doc’s locks

Doc Brown is coming off a .500 week at 8-8, but at least he broke his two-game losing streak with the locks and hit it to improve to 16-6 on the season. As of now, Doc did not have a strong lean on any single game where he felt comfortable locking in a pick, but he did fill out his chart.

You can see the Doc’s picks for Week 16 below.

(ATS = Against the Spread, SU = Straight Up)

Doc NFL picks Week 16

The noticeable thing about this week is how many big home underdogs there are. The Bucs (+10.5), Jets (+10), Bears (+9), Cardinals (+8) and Redskins (+7.5) are all getting at least a touchdown at home. Regardless of the situation — forget how poor a team is or how good the team they’re facing is — that is a lot of points. Doc’s guess is that you’re going to have more success taking the points in these cases than the other way around. Doc doesn’t trust Jimmy Clausen enough to take the Bears, though he wouldn’t be surprised if they covered. Doc also thinks the Eagles will be back this week after losing to Dallas at home.

Though he did not lock them in, Doc does like the 49ers at home against the Chargers, just like Del does. Doc also likes the Rams to cover but is not confident enough to lock them in at this point. Lastly, unlike Del, Doc thinks the Bengals will cover on Monday night. Doc thinks the Bengals are underrated and would not be surprised if they won the game straight up.

Rajon Rondo reportedly traded to Mavericks for players, picks

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo is headed to Dallas.

After a 24-hour span of heavy negotiations and rumors, the Boston Celtics have finally agreed to a trade involving their franchise point guard.

ESPN SportsCenter says the Mavs are sending Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson and two draft picks to Boston in return for Rondo and Dwight Powell. The picks reportedly are a 2015 first-round pick and a future second-round pick.

Rondo is making nearly $13 million this season and will be a free agent next year, but Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski says the point guard is inclined to sign an extension with Dallas, which could be another reason why the Mavs were willing to make the trade.

The Mavericks are 19-8 and have had a lot of success this season, but their strong record only places them sixth in the stacked Western Conference. They probably felt that adding Rondo was a risk they needed to take to compete in the conference. They will now see how Rondo and Monta Ellis work together in the same backcourt.

Jay Cutler cracks joke at press conference after being benched

Jay Cutler Bears

Give credit to Jay Cutler: Despite enduring a terrible week as a professional quarterback, he was still able to maintain his sense of humor.

Cutler cracked a joke at his press conference on Thursday, which was his first time speaking with the media since the news emerged that he was being benched for Jimmy Clausen. In the press conference, Cutler made reference to most of the media missing his press conference after the Bears’ Monday night loss to the Saints.

“I’m glad you guys could make it. I missed you after the game,” he joked at the start of his media session.

Cutler only stuck around for a few minutes on Monday before leaving that press conference since the writers were not around.

As for his thoughts on the benching, Cutler said he was “shocked at first and then disappointed.” He also said he did not see the benching coming.

“Any time you lose a lot of games and you don’t play as well as you hope, there’s a chance that can happen,” Cutler acknowledged.

“There’s a lot of money involved in my contract, which comes with a lot of expectations and a lot of responsibility. Whenever you’re not winning and performing like the way you should, that’s the likelihood that it can happen.”

The benching came as a shock to most around the NFL. Though Cutler is having a poor season in terms of expectations, he is still their franchise quarterback, while Clausen is a low-level backup. Nobody expected this. But just because he has been benched does not mean Cutler feels he cannot return to Chicago after the season; he reportedly said he felt like he could work with coach Marc Trestman in the future. That is, if both are still around in the Windy City next year. Not many are expecting them to be back.

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