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Thursday, February 23, 2017


Paul George reportedly determined to play for Lakers

One of the reasons Paul George was so difficult to move before the NBA trade deadline is that there are reportedly only two teams he is interested in playing for — his current one and the Los Angeles Lakers.

George is under contract with the Indiana Pacers through the 2017-2018 season. After that, it is all but certain that he will opt out of the final year of his deal and either sign a massive extension or hit the free agent market. If the latter happens, George apparently already knows where he is heading.

George grew up in the L.A. area, so his desire to play for the Lakers is not a surprise. He has said publicly that his priority is to win with the Pacers, and remaining in Indiana would become a much more viable option if George makes one of the three NBA All-Pro teams this year. That would allow the Pacers to offer him the designated player exception and pay him roughly $212 million over six years. Other teams could only offer $123 million over four seasons.

At least one team reportedly made a massive offer for George at the trade deadline, but the swingman’s unwillingness to play for that team long-term stood in the way of a deal. All indications have been that George has his sights set on La-La land.

Jameis Winston criticized for giving sexist speech to young children

Jameis Winston

Giving back to the community is always something NFL players should be proud of, but Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston may find himself taking a lot of heat over a portion of a speech he gave to a group of elementary school students this week.

Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times was in attendance Wednesday when Winston spoke for 40 minutes to third-, fourth- and fifth-graders from Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg, Fla. Things started out great, with Winston encouraging the children to be positive, work hard in school and chase their dreams. But when Winston decided to give a short pep talk to only the young boys in the room, his message quickly became cringe-worthy.

Winston noticed that a few male students in the room looked bored, so he tried to capture their attention.

“All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down,” he said. “But all my boys, stand up. We strong, right? We strong! We strong, right? All my boys, tell me one time: I can do anything I put my mind to. Now a lot of boys aren’t supposed to be soft-spoken. You know what I’m saying? One day y’all are going to have a very deep voice like this (in deep voice). One day, you’ll have a very, very deep voice.

“But the ladies, they’re supposed to be silent, polite, gentle. My men, my men (are) supposed to be strong. I want y’all to tell me what the third rule of life is: I can do anything I put my mind to. Scream it!”

Uh oh.

While it almost certainly was not his intention, Winston came off as incredibly sexist. One teacher, speech language pathologist Bonnie Volland, described how one of the young female students reacted.

“One of the girls turned around and looked at me and said, ‘I’m strong too,'” Volland revealed.

Jones said several adults in the room were “bothered” by what Winston said, though they chose not to comment on it publicly. Winston later admitted that he should have chosen his words more carefully.

“I was making an effort to interact with a young male in the audience who didn’t seem to be paying attention, and I didn’t want to single him out so I asked all the boys to stand up,” he said. “During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some.”

As Jones alluded to, Winston’s own history with a sexual assault scandal should have raised his awareness of stereotypes. Telling a room full of children that ladies are “supposed to be silent” is a troubling message. At the very least, the 23-year-old Winston has a lot to learn about public speaking.

You can see the video of Winston’s pep talk below:

Rick Pitino restrained from going after North Carolina fan

Rick Pitino

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino had to be restrained from going after a North Carolina fan while heading into the tunnel at halftime of his team’s game in Chapel Hill on Wednesday.

Pitino’s Cardinals entered halftime trailing the Tar Heels 33-30 in a close ACC game. It’s unclear what the fan said to enrage him, but Pitino was clearly fired up and had to be held back by some of his assistants:

Pitino was fiery throughout the first half of the game, so it’s not too surprising he was heated at halftime.

It seems like Louisville tried to address the issue with the fan:

The fan was ejected. According to ESPN’s broadcast, the fan shouted, “Pitino, you suck!”

This isn’t the first time Pitino’s had an issue with opposing fans. There were questions last season about whether or not he flipped off Kentucky fans while heading into the tunnel (see it here).

John Gillon sinks Duke with buzzer-beater (Video)

John Gillon

Syracuse may have punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a spectacular home win over Duke on Wednesday night that came on a buzzer-beater by John Gillon.

With the game tied at 75, Syracuse got a defensive stop and passed the ball to Gillon with around five seconds left. Gillon took the ball up court, then went up for his shot from about five feet beyond the arc. He banked it in to give Syracuse a 78-75 win.

Gillon finished with 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting, with 19 of the points coming in the second half.

The Orange are now 17-12 and 9-7 in conference play after the win, while Duke is 22-6. Syracuse has now beaten Duke, Florida State and Virginia at home this season.

Report: Carmelo Anthony could waive no-trade clause for Clippers this summer

The trade rumors surrounding Carmelo Anthony have died down considerably over the past two weeks, and Anthony said at the All-Star Game that he expects to remain with the New York Knicks this season. After the season could be an entirely different discussion.

Even if Anthony remains in The Big Apple through Thursday’s trade deadline, Ian Begley of ESPN reports that the 32-year-old has not ruled out the possibility of waiving his no-trade clause to join the Los Angeles Clippers this summer.

If nothing happens by Thursday, that doesn’t necessarily mean the trade rumors surrounding Anthony will subside. If he doesn’t agree to be traded by Thursday, some in the Clippers organization believe Anthony will be willing to waive his no-trade clause and come to Los Angeles to join Chris Paul this summer, per league sources with knowledge of the situation.

Anthony and Paul are close friends, and the Clippers have always been one of a select few teams that reporters believe Carmelo would consider waiving his no-trade clause for. Perhaps Anthony would feel even more comfortable being moved during the summer, when he would have more time to settle into a new city and handle the family side of things.

Begley also noted that NBA executives were not ready to say trade talks involving Carmelo before the deadline are nonexistent, as the Clippers and Boston Celtics may still be contemplating making offers.

Whatever happens, it seems like there is a good chance one of Anthony or Knicks president Phil Jackson will no longer be with the team next season. Based on some of Jackson’s social media activity, it’s easy to conclude that the relationship between player and boss has deteriorated.

Report: Pacers gauging trade market for Paul George

The Indiana Pacers may be open to trading Paul George, after all.

Adrian Wojnarowski of the The Vertical reports that the Pacers have been “gauging the trade market” for George ahead of Thursday’s deadline. However, that does not necessarily mean Indiana is sold on unloading its biggest star. Wojnarowski also notes that the team has looked into the possibility of adding pieces that would help convince George to sign an extension.

The Pacers are working the trade deadline on parallel fronts: Pursuing deals that will bring talent into Indiana to sell George on signing a long-term extension – and soliciting deal offers on George that would signal a rebuild around center Myles Turner, league sources told The Vertical.

Ultimately, the Pacers will have to evaluate the two paths and make a decision before Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline. There’s no urgency to make a deal for George, unless the Pacers fear the Boston Celtics could ultimately provide Indiana the best possible package of assets in a deal – and think that option could disappear if Boston makes a deal with Chicago for Jimmy Butler.

George is under contract through next season, and the last thing the Pacers want is for him to walk away and leave them with nothing to show for it. One NBA executive reportedly believes George will end up with another Eastern Conference contender this week, though a trade of that magnitude is always more likely to fall through than be completed.

Simply put, the Pacers are keeping their options open. That’s always a wise thing to do when the market is sizzling.

Report: Bill Belichick to coach at least five more years, stay on after Tom Brady

Bill Belichick

Patriots owner Robert Kraft sparked some paranoia among New England fans before the Super Bowl when he said he knows when Bill Belichick is planning to retire, but those comments apparently were not meant to be interpreted as Belichick contemplating retirement.

According to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, people within the Patriots organization say Belichick plans to coach at least five more seasons. And if Tom Brady plays another five years in New England, it sounds like Belichick could stay even longer.

Every indication I hear from inside the Patriots is that Belichick plans to stay on as coach of the team for at least five more years.

These people also say Belichick wants to coach after Brady retires. They think Belichick wants to prove he can win without the best quarterback of all time.

That isn’t the first time we have heard of the belief that Belichick wants to prove he can win without Brady. While the 64-year-old would likely be considered the greatest NFL coach of all time if he retired today, there are some critics who would argue that he has not won a Super Bowl as a head coach without Brady. Does that talk bother Belichick?

It shouldn’t. There’s no shame in sticking with what works, and one player cannot singlehandedly lead a team to five championships. Belichick deserves just as much credit as Brady — if not more — for what the team has accomplished in the past 15 years.

Belichick lives and breathes football, so we could easily see him coaching through age 70 because he loves what he does. If he does plan on doing that, one of his top assistants may want to rethink his future plans.

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