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Saturday, June 25, 2016

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Isaiah Thomas on Celtics’ pursuit of Kevin Durant: ‘We definitely have a shot’

Kevin Durant

Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas is feeling bullish about his team’s chances of landing Kevin Durant in free agency.

Thomas told Jason Terry of SiriusXM’s The Runway on Wednesday night that he firmly believes Boston is a potential landing spot for the star forward.

“We definitely have a shot,” Thomas said, via Jay King of MassLive. “I know that for sure. I’m just trying to reach out when I can and stay in his ear a little bit here and there. I know it’s a tough time for him because everybody’s probably trying to reach out and get him to go where they want him to go. But my relationship with him is real genuine and hopefully I can get him to come to Boston, and we can bring Banner 18 (to the Celtics).”

Perhaps Thomas has heard some things from the inside about the plausibility of Durant signing in Boston. That said, Thomas has made no secret of his desire to get Durant to the Celtics.

Would Durant go there? They’re definitely interested based on Thomas’s comments, and Durant’s people have reportedly given the Celtics a list of players that would bring him there. Still, it doesn’t sound like Boston tops his list of potential destinations, so Thomas may have to crank up the recruiting pitch.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob boasts about being ahead of rest of NBA again

klay-thompson-stephen-curry

The Golden State Warriors are just days away from suffering the worst collapse in NBA Finals history, but that hasn’t changed owner Joe Lacob’s opinion of his team.

In a lengthy New York Times feature about the Warriors’ business model earlier this year, Lacob bragged that his team is “light-years ahead” of every other NBA team in the way it is structured. Losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers after leading 3-1 in the series is not enough to shake his confidence.

“We drove this idea of small ball, and it’s a different style of play,” Lacob said at Stanford’s Director’s College summit Tuesday, per Jennifer Elias of the San Francisco Business Times. “Having said that, I think it’s important to know that whenever everyone else starts doing things, it’s time to start doing what’s next. We’re on to the next idea — How can we iterate to evolve to get an advantage? I can assure you we’re very forward thinking in that regard.”

Small ball worked just fine for the Warriors all season, as they won an NBA record 73 games. But their guards were contained in the NBA Finals, and LeBron James and Kyrie Irving went right at Golden State’s smaller players — specifically Stephen Curry — and consistently made shots in their faces over the last four games.

Still, Lacob is just as proud of his model for success now as he was a week ago.

“We do a lot of data analysis from day one,” he said. “We want to be the first to bring new technology. (Judgment and data) don’t always come together, but we sit there until it does. We come to a confluence of, ‘What do we really need in this team?'”

These are the types of remarks that infuriate Charles Barkley, who consistently ripped the Warriors last year and then took his medicine by wearing a shirt that trolled him.

The Warriors will be right back near or at the top of the Western Conference next year. The unbelievable performances of LeBron and Irving in the NBA Finals don’t mean Golden State’s formula is broken. But if you think Lacob sounds a bit too arrogant by bragging again after his team melted down, we wouldn’t blame you.

Report: Phil Jackson told Derrick Rose of plans to pursue Kevin Durant

Kevin-Durant

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson’s offseason is just getting started, and he reportedly has big plans beyond acquiring Derrick Rose.

According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, Jackson told the newly-acquired Rose of his plans to pursue Kevin Durant once free agency kicks off on July 1. The Rose trade, it is believed, was a bid to acquire a star player to entice Durant into giving the Knicks a look.

The thinking is that a roster with Rose, Carmelo Anthony, and Kristaps Porzingis would be a more attractive proposition for Durant, in addition to all the advantages that would come with playing in the Big Apple.

It remains to be seen how much this will interest Durant, if at all. So far, though, he’s said little to indicate that New York would be high on the list of choices. Durant says he is emphasizing basketball reasons over anything else, which, if true, probably means he won’t care as much about the visibility of New York if the team isn’t up to par. He also reportedly ruled out the Knicks months ago. This looks like the longest of longshots for Jackson and the Knicks.

Matthew Stafford wife Kelly to judge Lions cheerleader tryouts

Matt-Stafford-wife-Kelly

The Detroit Lions have decided they will have a cheerleading squad this upcoming season for the first time in their franchise’s history, and a familiar face will be helping the team sort through the candidates.

Kelly Stafford, the wife of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, announced in an Instagram post this week that she will be judging a portion of the tryouts.

Kelly has plenty of cheerleading experience, as she was a cheerleader at the University of Georgia when Matt was a star quarterback there. She’s also quite the dancer, as some of you may remember from the “drunk modeling” video she shared one time when she was vacationing in Costa Rica.

The first ever Lions cheerleading squad is in good hands.

Eric Decker: Ryan Fitzpatrick situation could create training camp distraction

Ryan Fitzpatrick Jets

Ryan Fitzpatrick and the New York Jets are still locked up in a contract stalemate, and training camp is just around the corner. Eric Decker believes that could become a problem for the team in more ways than one.

For starters, Decker has already gone on record as saying he wants Fitzpatrick back. But if the situation isn’t resolved one way or another before camp begins, Decker worries it will be a distraction.

“I hope something gets worked out, one way or the other, so we cannot have distractions going into training camp,” Decker told Sirius XM NFL Radio on Thursday, as transcribed by Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. “I think for any team to have success, you have to have some kind of direction. And, with training camp, that’s where you get the timing, that’s where where you kind of build the team and build your identity. And if it’s still in question marks and you don’t know what’s going on, you’re going to create some kind of issues that we don’t need to have.”

As of now, Geno Smith is the starting quarterback for the Jets. If you want to know how the fans feel about that, just read this. Some of Smith’s teammates probably feel the same way.

That said, at some point the Jets are going to have to turn the page. It certainly isn’t ideal to start getting into July and August without having a clue of who your starting quarterback will be, and that will be the case in New York as long as Fitzpatrick remains a free agent.

Kris Dunn to the Celtics at No. 3? Probably just a smoke screen

kris-dunn

Are the Boston Celtics actually interested in keeping their No. 3 overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft, or is that just something they’re putting out there to increase their chances of completing a trade?

That question will be answered soon enough. But for now, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical is reporting that the Celtics are interested in two-time Big East Player of the Year Kris Dunn.

Of course, other respected NBA reporters claim the Philadelphia 76ers are “ramping up their efforts” to acquire the No. 3 pick from Boston. In all likelihood, the two reports go hand in hand.

The 76ers draft at No. 1, where it is basically a foregone conclusion that they will take Ben Simmons. While Simmons is considered by most to be the best player in the draft, Philly already has a surplus of front-court talent. They can’t pass up the opportunity to draft Simmons, but they are also in need of guard help.

Is it a coincidence that the 76ers, who are talking trade with the Celtics, are said to be high on Dunn, whom the Celtics are now supposedly targeting? Of course not.

There’s also this:

Boston needs front court help. It seems very clear that they want to trade the No. 3 pick, and the Sixers have two big men that they can afford to deal. The Celtics reportedly prefer one of those big men over the other, so they want to make sure they build the value of their pick as much as possible to convince Philly to give them their choice of the two.

Mind games, people. There will be a lot more of them from now until 7 p.m. EST on Thursday.

Report: 76ers ‘ramping up efforts’ to acquire No. 3 pick from Celtics

nerlens-noel-sixers

The Boston Celtics have been working hard to find a team that will trade them an impact veteran player for the No. 3 overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft, and they may ultimately strike a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

ESPN NBA insiders Chad Ford and Marc Stein are reporting that the Sixers are starting to get more aggressive in their efforts to acquire the No. 3 pick.

The Celtics have reportedly shown interest in both Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel, though it seems like Philadelphia is more inclined to trade the latter. If and when the 76ers take Ben Simmons at No. 1 overall, they’ll have a surplus of big men with Simmons, Okafor, Noel and Joel Embiid if he returns healthy.

A report from earlier this week indicated that the Celtics have not had much luck shopping the No. 3 pick, though they may be aiming too high with some of the names they have targeted. Boston is also said to be considering using the No. 3 pick in an unexpected way. Our guess is the C’s are just trying to convince teams they aren’t desperate to trade it.

Christy Mack creates domestic violence emojis

War Machine Christy Mack

Adult film star Christy Mack, who was brutally beaten by her ex-boyfriend nearly two years ago, has launched a new line of emojis for smartphones that depict herself in a battered state.

Mack, who sustained brutal injuries that included 18 broken bones after MMA fighter War Machine attacked her, told TMZ she wanted to develop the controversial emjoi app to bring attention to the issue of domestic violence.

“The decision to include a few emojis with a black eye, bruising, and so on is a way of bringing attention through shock value,” Mack explained. “I’m willing to risk some people using them in a negative way to get the point across.”

After she was beaten by War Machine, whose real name is Jonathan Koppenhaver, Mack said she was unable to look in the mirror for weeks. By creating emojis that depict her bruised face, she is hoping to give other victims of domestic violence and easier way to seek help.

“So many are afraid to speak out, often times because they’re scared their partner will see history of their cry for help,” Mack said. “This simple emoticon could save a life. I want everyone to know they’re not alone.”

In addition to being a victim of domestic abuse, Mack has also opened up about War Machine trying to rape her. She’s obviously had some terrible experiences, though you can understand why the emojis will receive plenty of backlash.

Joe Flacco death hoax sparked by Ravens Twitter fan page

Joe-Flacco

Contrary to what some bogus reports from Wednesday night would like you to believe, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is alive and well.

The Twitter page @RavensNationLIVE was supposedly hacked by someone who tweeted that Flacco was killed in a car accident. The tweet looked like this:

From there, the story quickly spiraled out of control. Other accounts — including a fake Ian Rapoport Twitter page — “reported” that Flacco had been killed in a motorcycle accident. As The Baltimore Sun notes, the fake Rapoport account went as far as to post a fake screenshot of a text message from Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti confirming Flacco had died.

Of course, Joe is very much alive.

Unfortunately, these hoaxes are becoming more common as social media hacking grows in popularity. Although, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk speculates that the Ravens fan page may have intentionally created a Flacco death hoax — and later blamed a hacker — to gain publicity. Perhaps the people who run the account saw the frenzy that was created by this NFL death hoax earlier in the month.

Rumor: Nick Young dumped Iggy Azalea for baby mama, who is pregnant again

Nick-Young-Iggy-Azalea

It has widely been assumed that Iggy Azalea broke up with Nick Young because he cheated on her, but was it actually the Los Angeles Lakers swingman who called things off?

According to some juicy gossip from MediaTakeOut.com, Young is the one who dumped Iggy. The report claims Swaggy P has gotten back together with the mother of his child, Keonna, who happens to be pregnant again.

“Nick loves Keonna and always did. But [Iggy] was really famous, and Nick loves the attention,” a source told MTO. “He ended up leaving [Keonna] for [Iggy] because he wanted to be more famous.”

The source goes on to claim that Young’s breakup with Azalea is all about Nick realizing he wants to get back together with Keonna and make things work as a family. Iggy’s statement about her breakup with Young made it seem like Young cheated, but I suppose it’s possible he cheated with his ex — hence the alleged pregnancy.

Things appeared to go south for Young and Azalea when a teammate videotaped Young admitting he cheated. You can see that video here.

That said, Young has been dogged by cheating rumors for quite some time. This was probably a long time coming, whether he is now back together with the mother of his child or not.

H/T Black Sports Online

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