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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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Report: Warriors were uninterested in Kyrie Irving-Klay Thompson swap

Klay Thompson

Some were surprised that the Cleveland Cavaliers were willing to trade Kyrie Irving to their biggest Eastern Conference rival, but the team was reportedly willing to make a move that would have been even more controversial.

According to a tidbit from Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated, before ultimately trading Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas and others, the Cavaliers tried to engage the Golden State Warriors in talks centering around Klay Thompson.

The Warriors, however, had no interest in such a swap, and talks went nowhere.

Imagine if the Cavaliers had managed to pull this one off. Trading with the Warriors, their primary rival for NBA titles, would have been enormously controversial. Golden State, though, is firmly devoted to Thompson, as this isn’t the first potentially huge deal that they turned down that would have involved him.

Some NFL personnel still concerned about Colin Kaepernick’s passion for football

Colin Kaepernick Castro

There have been rumblings all offseason about Colin Kaepernick not being committed enough to his football career, and those concerns apparently still exist for some NFL coaches and executives.

ESPN’s Mike Sando recently conducted his fourth annual QB Tiers survey, which asked 50 NFL coaches and execs to sort 36 quarterbacks into five tiers. One of Sando’s takeaways regarding Kaepernick is that the 29-year-old’s passion for football is still being questioned.

“Everyone else is worried about him working, but I never hear him say how much he wants to work,” one voter said. “That hits a chord. People want to hear, ‘I want to work in the league, I want to work for you, I want to do this more than anything.’ It’s like with Tim Tebow — he’d rather be on the outside switching sports than be relegated to the [third team] and getting 20 percent of the reps.”

For what it’s worth, Kaepernick came in at 29th overall with an average of 3.88 for his tier. When the survey was conducted a year ago (before Kaepernick made his first national anthem protest), the results were almost identical. The free agent ranked 28th overall then with an average tier of 3.83.

Kaepernick worked out for the Seattle Seahawks earlier this offseason, and they came away feeling there is no question he is still committed to football. With all the talk about NFL teams blackballing Kaepernick, it’s possible the “passion for the game” argument is just a way for teams to justify ignoring him.

If you want to know the real reason Kaepernick has not been signed, some comments John Elway made recently sum it up pretty well. Teams would be willing to deal with a potential distraction if they thought Kaepernick would help them win games. No matter how you look at it, his lack of a contract offer has to do with both skillset and political views.

ESPN moves announcer named Robert Lee off Virginia game

ESPN

ESPN is going out of its way to try and avoid controversies related to the highly sensitive matter that occurred in Charlottesville two weeks ago. Accordingly, they switched the assignment for a play-by-play announcer because of his name.

ESPN confirmed on Tuesday night that they moved an announcer named Robert Lee off the Virginia-William & Mary football game on Sept. 2.

“We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name. In that moment it felt right to all parties. It’s a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play by play for a football game has become an issue,” ESPN said in a statement shared with Larry Brown Sports.

LBS has been told that Lee will now broadcast the game between Pitt and Youngstown State on the same network.

On Aug. 11-12, a Unite the Right rally took place at the University of Virginia. The rally resulted in the death of three people — including two state troopers — and made headlines throughout the country for its controversial nature. Many of the rally participants were seen waving Nazi symbolism. The rally began over outrage from people upset about a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee being removed.

This is the second time in a week that ESPN has exercised great caution over a potential controversy. They also apologized for running a fantasy football auction that some felt resembled a slave auction.

Lee, a Syracuse grad and Albany resident, has been a sportscaster for over 20 years. According to his website, he has called Big South, AAC and Ohio Valley Conference games for ESPNU, as well as several college football games on ESPN3.

The story was first reported by Outkick the Coverage.

Jon Jones stripped of title after testing positive for steroids

Jon Jones

The hits keep on coming for Jon Jones.

Less than a month after defeating Daniel Cormier at UFC 214, Jones tested positive for the steroid Turinabol, TMZ Sports reports. They say Jones has been stripped of his title, which will go back to Cormier, though Dana White says he hasn’t formally been stripped yet.

Jones is also facing a four-year ban for his second positive test.

This is just the latest turn in a long line of disappointments from Jones.

The mega-talented UFC light heavyweight was stripped of his title in 2015 after being arrested on hit-and-run charges. Also that year he failed a drug test after testing positive for cocaine. He also received a one-year ban after testing positive for two banned substances before his initially-scheduled fight with Cormier in 2016. Jones blamed a male enhancement medication on the positive test. Jones also had legal trouble in 2012 after being arrested for DUI.

Jones is 23-1, with the lone loss coming after a disqualification for elbows. He was widely considered to be among the greatest fighters in MMA, but his legacy is now tarnished not only by his controversies, but especially by his second failed PED test.

ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst sends funny tweet after breaking Irving-Thomas news

Brian Windhorst

Basketball truly never stops. Brian Windhorst knows that as well as anyone.

The ESPN reporter broke some news on Tuesday when he shared a report via Twitter about the Celtics and Cavaliers being on the verge of a Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade. Here’s the tweet he sent:

Windhorst wasn’t the first reporter to break the news, but nonetheless he was in the thick of things. And if you can imagine it, he actually shared the news while on a trip in Rome.

Windhorst sent this great tweet about it:

You have to respect Windhorst’s hustle from abroad, especially when you consider the family cost of reporting the news!

LeBron James’ camp reportedly confident Dwyane Wade will end up on Cavs

LeBron James Dwyane Wade

LeBron James seems to believe that a reunion with his ex-Heatles bandmate will be happening sooner rather than later.

In an appearance Monday on “The Wine and Gold Talk Podcast,” Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com commented on the possibility of James and Dwyane Wade joining forces again, this time on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“As of right now, people close to James are fairly confident that, at some point this year, Dwyane Wade is going to end up on the Cavs,” said Vardon, according to Ryne Nelson of SLAM Online.

“If Dwyane is healthy and he and LeBron are playing great together and they go on this crazy playoff run. That matters [in LeBron’s 2018 free agency],” he went on. “The bottom line is that there’s no decision that has been made.”

James and Wade were teammates on the Miami Heat from 2010 to 2014, making four straight NBA Finals together and winning two championships. They also famously have one of the closer brotherhoods in the league.

Rumors of Wade potentially being bought out by the Chicago Bulls have intensified in recent days, especially with this recent family development. As for the Cavs, they may give him the best opportunity at this stage of his career to both compete for a title and play alongside one of his best friends again.

Jerry Jones refuses to comment on reported Roger Goodell extension

Jerry Jones

We have no idea if Jerry Jones would have been in favor of Roger Goodell getting an extension before Goodell decided to suspend Ezekiel Elliott, but now is probably not the best time to ask the Dallas Cowboys owner his opinion.

In his weekly appearance on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday, Jones said he is not going to comment about whether he feels Goodell deserves to have his contract extended five years.

“That’s obviously an internal, very internal thing and I would not comment about it,” Jones said, as transcribed by Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. “And I don’t want that to be interpreted. I just will not comment about it. I’m one of the people that are basically involved in how that is being negotiated. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment about it.”

As an NFL owner, Jones is involved in any decision regarding the commissioner’s future. However, the league’s owners reportedly elected a committee of six of their peers in May that will negotiate Goodell’s contract, and Jones is not among those six owners.

Goodell’s current contract runs through 2019, so a five-year extension would keep him in his current role through at least 2024. Some owners, including Jones, reportedly feel that Goodell has been making too much money with his annual bonuses, which have made the commissioner’s $4 million annual salary seem like chump change.

Of course, there are other things Jones may be considering when thinking about Goodell’s future. We already know how Jones feels about Elliott’s six-game suspension, so it is probably wise of Jerry to bite his tongue for the time being.

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