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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

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Sean Doolittle gets serious cup check from teammate (Video)

Oakland A’s reliever Sean Doolittle pitched in just one game this season and has been on the disabled list since. Missing that much time can certainly take a player’s focus away, which is probably why Doolittle was caught posing in the dugout like Mike Honcho on Thursday night.

Doolittle was standing with one leg up on the dugout step during his team’s win over the Seattle Mariners, and a teammate decided to come up behind him and give him a cup check.

Sean-Doolittle-cup-check

A cup check for a guy who isn’t even on the active roster? That’s cold, bro. That wasn’t a friendly Jimmy tap like this one, either. Doolittle better file that away for a later date.

H/T Big League Stew

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Jimmy-Butler-Derrick-Rose

Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose are going to be teammates with the Chicago Bulls for at least two more seasons. Does that mean they will be become best friends during that time? No, but no one said they need to.

In an interview with Rolling Stone’s Seerat Sohi, Butler was asked about the recent report that claimed there there is tension between him and Rose. The 25-year-old downplayed it, although he didn’t exactly issue a firm denial.

“I don’t think we have any issues. I think we’re fine,” Butler said. “I think we’re two basketball players that want to win games. That’s where I’ll leave it at. I think we just wanna win, bring a championship the city, to the organization. I think that’s our job. And I think we’re gonna do whatever it takes to make that happen. I have a lot of respect for the guy.”

Butler had a breakout season last year and shined while Rose was out with another injury. During a playoff loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rose supposedly became frustrated that Butler was trying to run the team’s offense.

Butler said he can’t deny the report because he never read it.

“I never read the reports so I couldn’t tell you what they said. To tell you the truth, if you read it, something’s going to piss you off, so I really don’t,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that think I’m a terrible basketball player, so it’s just gonna piss me off. And if it’s people who think I’m good, I’ll be happy. I’m just not gonna read it at all and stay content in my own mind.”

If there was any type of serious rift between Butler and Rose, the former probably wouldn’t have signed a five-year, $95 million deal to remain with the Bulls. New head coach Fred Hoiberg will just have to design an offense that keeps both Rose and Butler involved.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Bubba Watson to paint over Confederate flag on General Lee

bubba-watson-general-lee-dukes-of-hazzard-car

When Bubba Watson started making all kinds of money on the PGA Tour several years ago, one of the first things he bought was the original General Lee car that was used in the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV series from the 1980s. A collector’s item like that is best kept in its original state, but Watson plans to make a major change to the car.

On Thursday, Watson announced that he will be getting rid of the Confederate flag that is on the roof of the General Lee.

The Confederate flag has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of the massacre that took place at a black church in South Carolina last month. A number of prominent sports figures have spoken out against what the flag represents, and one of our favorite coaches called for its removal back in 2007.

Good on you, Bubba.

Mike Scioscia: Josh Hamilton should apologize to Arte Moreno

josh-hamilton-movie

Josh Hamilton is coming off the disabled list on Friday night just in time to face his former team. The Texas Rangers are facing the Los Angeles Angels in a three-game series over the holiday weekend, and Mike Scioscia thinks the trip to Anaheim should be about more than just baseball for Hamilton.

Earlier this week, Scioscia told USA Today Sports that he would like to see Hamilton thank some of his former teammates. Scioscia also hinted that Hamilton owes Angels owner Arte Moreno and apology.

“I’m hoping he’ll take an opportunity to thank the teammates that supported him, and to reach out to Arte (Moreno) and let Arte know that maybe some of the things he did weren’t what he signed up to do,” he said. “We’ll leave it at that.”

The issue with that? Hamilton claims he has tried to speak to Moreno on numerous occasions and been denied the opportunity. Prior to that, it was fairly obvious that Moreno did not like Hamilton. Maybe the Angels owner would be willing to listen now.

Since being traded, Hamilton has basically stopped short of apologizing to the Angels. It’s unclear if he’ll make another attempt to reach out to Moreno this weekend.

H/T Hardball Talk

P. Diddy avoids felony charges in UCLA fight incident

pdiddy-son-justin

P. Diddy was arrested on five charges last month after he allegedly attacked a UCLA strength and conditioning coach and swung a kettlebell at several people. Despite that, the music mogul will not be facing felony charges.

Law enforcement sources reportedly told the Los Angeles Times that prosecutors decided not to file felony charges in part because Diddy, whose real name is Sean Combs, waved the kettlebell at several people and no one was seriously injured. The case has now been referred to the L.A. city attorney to determine if Diddy will face misdemeanor charges.

Diddy’s attorney, Mark Geragos, says his client never should have been arrested in the first place.

“We are thankful that the district attorney rejected felony charges in this matter,” Geragos said. “This case never should have been part of the criminal justice system to begin with.”

Former L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley told the Times that assault with a deadly weapon charges — of which Diddy was facing three — are reduced to misdemeanors about half the time because of the “nature of the crime.” Dmitry Gorin, a defense attorney and former prosecutor, said the type of weapon also plays a role.

“When you miss with a kettlebell and there are no injuries, no recent criminal history and it is a parent-coach argument rather than a street crime, the totality of the circumstance doesn’t add up to a felony crime beyond a reasonable doubt,” Gorin explained.

In other words, Diddy didn’t stroll into Alosi’s office holding a kettlebell intending to hurt someone. In fact, he insists he was acting in self-defense.

The incident allegedly took place after Alosi threw Diddy’s son, UCLA defensive back Justin Combs, out of practice for dogging it. Alosi is the same coach who once intentionally tripped a player while he was working with the New York Jets.

Lakers had second meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge, apologized for first

LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge reportedly left his first free agency meeting with the Los Angeles feeling underwhelmed, but he apparently respects the franchise enough that he was willing to give it another shot.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports that Aldridge granted the Lakers’ request for a second meeting on Thursday night, and the team spent the entire 90 minutes talking about basketball this time around.

The Lakers are said to have pitched mostly branding opportunities to Aldridge in the first meeting, which did not sit well with the 29-year-old. According to Shelburne, the team apologized for that in the second meeting and brought in an assistant coach who deals in the analytical part of the game.

After getting feedback on Aldridge’s reaction to their presentation, the Lakers requested and were granted a second meeting Thursday night. One source said they made a point of apologizing to the 29-year-old Aldridge for not giving a more well-rounded presentation and thanking him for giving them a second chance. In addition to general manager Mitch Kupchak and coach Byron Scott, they brought assistant coach Mark Madsen to the presentation. Madsen is the liaison between the coaching staff and the franchise’s analytics staff.

Aldridge signing with the Lakers still seems like a long shot, as he also was reportedly rubbed the wrong way by some stuff that Kobe Bryant said during the first meeting. And then there were the embarrassing tweets featuring celebrities, which Aldridge probably didn’t appreciate if basketball is what’s most important to him.

While it still seems unlikely that the Lakers can land Aldridge, they are obviously in better shape than the New York Knicks. The top free agent prize cancelled his meeting with the Knicks earlier this week.

With Tim Duncan officially announcing on Thursday that he will play another NBA season, there’s no reason to think the San Antonio Spurs have been bumped out of their position as frontrunners for Aldridge.

Report: Cowboys believe Dez Bryant is bluffing about missing games

Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys have yet to sign Dez Bryant to a long-term extension, and Bryant’s camp has indicated that he would rather miss regular season games than sign the franchise tender and play under a one-year deal worth roughly $13 million.

Apparently the Cowboys aren’t buying that.

According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, the Cowboys believe Bryant is “bluffing” when he says he would sit out one or more regular season games.

“The Cowboys are not budging off of their long-term offer with approximately $20 million guaranteed and subsequent guarantees later on,” Cole said. “One of the reasons why is the Cowboys believe that Bryant is bluffing when he talks about missing a game or two during the regular season. The second part is the Cowboys believe Bryant ultimately needs the money and has money problems.”

Cole added that there was “no progress” made between Bryant’s agents and the team last week in contract talks. He also noted that Bryant’s decision to attend some organized team activities has given the team the impression that he won’t abandon his teammates when they need him.

A more recent report indicates that the Cowboys and Bryant’s camp are so confident a deal is imminent that they have decided to take a break for the holiday weekend and announce a new contract shortly after the 4th of July.

Regardless of what happens, I personally don’t see Bryant sitting out any regular season games. He’d probably sign the franchise tender before letting that happen.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Steel workers on new Kings arena wrote ‘Go Warriors’ on materials

Warriors strength in numbers

Golden State Warriors fans are everywhere these days, and their imprints are far reaching. That includes the Sacramento Kings’ new home.

Schuff Steel in Stockton, Calif., is constructing some of the steel that will go on the roof of the new Kings’ arena. Of course, being partway between Oakland and Sacramento means that not everyone working at the factory is a Kings fan. Some of them are Warriors fans, and they tried to put their fan stamp on some of the materials.

Schuff Steel spokesperson Eddie Jones told News 10 ABC what was happening:

Jones said workers who are Kings fans have been wearing Kings jerseys while on the job. But, during the Golden State Warriors recent championship run, there was some good-natured teasing among the workers.

“There were a few notes scribbled on the steel that we erased quickly. (They said) ‘Go warriors.’ We got it cleaned up,” Jones said with a laugh.

This is all good-natured stuff unlike that time a construction worker tried to curse the Yankees at their new stadium. Then again, with how dysfunctional the Kings have been, hexes are probably unnecessary.

H/T Diamond Leung

Brewery to give LaMarcus Aldridge free beer for life if he returns to Blazers

LaMarcus Aldridge

While LaMarcus Aldridge is currently weighing offers from teams on where to continue his career, a Portland Brewery is offering an incentive for Aldridge to stay in the area.

Breakside Brewery is enticing Aldridge to stay with free beer for life as well as a signature beer.

Aldridge has already reportedly told the Lakers “thanks, but no thanks”, which resulted in tweets as part of a social media campaign to get Aldridge to Los Angeles to be deleted.

Pat Riley is reportedly meeting with Aldridge, putting the Heat in the mix. The Suns cleared a considerable amount of cap space in attempt to offer Aldridge a max contract. The Spurs are firmly in the discussion as well, and probably the favorite to land his signature.

Despite all of the teams courting Aldridge, the Blazers can’t be counted out just yet. Damian Lillard is reportedly headed to meet with his teammate of the past three seasons in an effort to convince him the Blazers are the right situation for him. Perhaps beer will be included as part of his pitch?

Pat Riley reportedly meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge in L.A.

pat-riley-heat

Sound the alarm. A new contender has emerged from behind the shadows and unexpectedly tossed its hat into the ring in the LaMarcus Aldridge sweepstakes. The Godfather is alive and well as Pat Riley and the Miami Heat are now said to be in hot pursuit of the top prize of the 2015 free agency period.

Riley is reportedly in Los Angeles on vacation but as it turns out, he may be tending to some business matters in the City of Angels as he is now slated to meet Aldridge over dinner on Thursday night.

Wow. It appears that after coming to terms with Goran Dragic on Wednesday, then Dwyane Wade on Thursday, Pat Riley might not be done just yet.

Though the Heat have little money to offer and the starting frontcourt positions are already filled by Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside, this could be an instance of Pat Riley showing that he can still get into a room with top free agents (something that has long been his calling card) and reminding rival teams that he’s still a very big threat as 2016 and the free agency of Kevin Durant approach.

For Aldridge in Miami to even make sense financially, the Heat would have to do a lot of roster maneuvering.

However, if they are willing to include Whiteside in a sign-and-trade with Portland and if they are able to find a taker to dump the contracts of guys like Mario Chalmers, Chris “Birdman” Andersen, and Josh McRoberts on, then things could get interesting.

A starting lineup of Dragic-Wade-Luol Deng-Aldridge-Bosh would be sacrificing a ton defensively but would offer a positionless, pace-and-space offensive monster unlike any the NBA has ever seen. Bosh has championship experience playing at the 5 and the presence of two elite shooting bigs would open up driving lanes and kick-outs to shooters galore for Wade and Dragic’s playmaking abilities to thrive.

Gambling on Whiteside’s future is a dicey proposition for Miami as with his attitude issues, he could combust at any time and find himself the next Andrew Bynum or Larry Sanders just as soon as he could find himself the next dominant big man. It’s unclear if Portland values him since Whiteside can leave in free agency for nothing in 2016 with zero advantages available for retaining him. But after trading away Nicolas Batum and overpaying the likes of Al-Farouq Aminu and Ed Davis in free agency, it would be just the type of desperate move that has characterized the Blazers so far this offseason.

If the Heat really want to make this happen, for me, the only untouchables on the roster are Goran, Wade, Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Justise Winslow. Everyone else is fair game.

So let’s hold our breaths and see what happens with Riley’s dinner with Aldridge on Thursday. Does Pat throw his rings on the table in front of Aldridge and just stare at him for the duration of it? Maybe, but if one thing’s for sure, it’s that the NBA is learning once again that you never count out The Godfather when it comes time for free agency.

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