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#pounditFriday, January 22, 2021

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Matthew Stafford wants out of Detroit?

The Detroit Lions have their new braintrust in place, and the first thing they might have to deal with is Matthew Stafford’s future with the organization. Trade rumors followed the quarterback last offseason, and it appears likely that the same will happen this offseason. Boomer Esiason added fuel to the fire on Wednesday, saying on… Read More

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Video: Shaq, Donovan Mitchell share awkward exchange

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq and Donovan Mitchell shared an awkward exchange after the Utah Jazz’s 129-118 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night.

Mitchell had 36 points, seven rebounds and five assists in his team’s win. He was interviewed by TNT after the game.

Shaq admitted to Mitchell that he was a big fan, but he said Mitchell doesn’t have what it takes to get to the next level. Mitchell responded very quietly to Shaq’s point.

O’Neal was very clearly trying to motivate Mitchell, but the effort seemed to fall flat.

If Mitchell wants motivation, it might come from Charles Barkley, who said he expects Mitchell to have more rebounds and assists than he does. Of course, go back and read what Mitchell said in 2018 that he wanted to improve, and it won’t surprise you.

Referees admit ‘mistake’ with Draymond Green ejection

Draymond Green

One of the referees involved in Thursday night’s Golden State Warriors-New York Knicks game admitted that the Draymond Green ejection was a mistake.

Green was ejected late in the second quarter after being called for his second technical foul. He got the tech for yelling at teammate James Wiseman while going down the court.

Referee John Butler thought Green was yelling at him, not Wiseman, and ejected the Warriors forward.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after the game that another referee, Ben Taylor, told him at halftime that it was a “mistake” by Butler to call a tech on Green.

Green has a reputation for racking up technical fouls, which likely hurt him in this instance. The league will likely rescind the technical foul call, but that won’t make up for Green missing half of his team’s 119-104 loss.

Green has complained for years about getting unfair technical fouls. This instance seemed to be proof of his complaint.

Photo: Agência Brasil Fotografias/Flickr via CC-BY 2.0

Trae Young responds to Steve Nash’s criticism of his foul-drawing move

Trae Young

Trae Young has perfected a move that successfully draws foul calls, but has also drawn the ire of many around the league.

Young has a move where he stops his dribble and jumps into an opponent behind him in order to draw a foul call.

Young was doing the move in his Atlanta Hawks’ 145-141 loss to Steve Nash’s Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 30.

Nash, who is in his first year as the Nets’ head coach, complained about the move, saying it was “not basketball.”

Nash is correct in the sense that Young isn’t trying to score, but trying to draw a foul call. That intent probably should not be rewarded by the league, but the NBA does not have rules against it.

The Athletic published a story on Wednesday about Young’s move and included a quote from the emerging Hawks star about Nash’s criticism.

Young said that Nash probably wouldn’t be complaining if Young were on his team and helping them win. Young also modeled some of his game after Nash and believes the former Phoenix Suns two-time MVP guard used to use the move too.

“I learned a lot about drawing fouls from him. If he says it’s not basketball, he must’ve been saying it about himself because he’s done it a couple of times throughout his career and was so successful,” Young said.

Young is right on both accounts. Nash probably used the move, and Nash probably wouldn’t complain if Young were on his team.

Much like some of James Harden’s moves, or players jumping into defenders from the three-point line on shots, this is an example of a player taking advantage of the rules. None of these moves really fit with the spirit of basketball as Nash says, but the NBA is allowing them. That’s something they should probably rethink.

Nash isn’t the only one who has issues with the Hawks’s offense — even one of Young’s teammates does too.

Brian Urlacher’s brother Casey receives pardon from Donald Trump

Brian Urlacher

Brian Urlacher’s brother Casey received a pardon from Donald Trump during the president’s final hours in the White House.

Casey Urlacher was charged in February 2020 with conspiracy and running an illegal gambling business. He is accused of acting as an agent for an offshore gambling ring. Casey Urlacher is accused of recruiting bettors around the Chicago area in exchange for a cut of their eventual losses. He was one of 10 people charged for the ring.

The 41-year-old pleaded not guilty to the charges in March 2020. He and other defendants were close to pleading guilty as part of a deal that could have come through at the next hearing on Feb. 11.

Casey, a former football player in the Arena League, served as mayor of Mettawa, Illinois from 2013 until resigning after being charged last year. His pardon seemed to be facilitated by his famous brother, a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Brian Urlacher met with Trump in March 2020, and boasted on social media about how well things went.

Casey was one of more than 140 individuals granted clemency by Trump in his final hours as president. He was the only defendant in the case to receive that notation.

In August, Brian drew attention online for a post about the NBA players who refused to play following the Jacob Blake shooting.

DOD photo by D. Myles Cullen/Released

Steph Curry had priceless reaction after being called ‘Wardell’ by reporter

Steph Curry Wardell

Steph Curry had an absolutely priceless reaction to being called “Wardell” by a reporter.

Golden State Warriors reporter Marcus Thompson, who is on a good basis with Curry, called the Warriors star “Wardell” when addressing him for a question at a media conference. Curry was stunned to hear Thompson call him by his first name rather than his commonly-used middle name – Steph or Stephen.

That was comical.

Curry’s full name is Wardell Stephen Curry II. His father Dell, who also played in the NBA, is the original Wardell Stephen Curry.

Steph’s name on his Instagram profile is actually Wardell, so Thompson was just using the name Curry uses for himself.

Curry isn’t usually known for being so funny, but he does break out the humor here and there.

Video: Dwight Howard shot a free throw from really really deep

Dwight Howard free throw

Dwight Howard has been an excellent player throughout most of his career, but free throw shooting has been a weakness for him.

Howard is a 58.7 percent free throw shooter for his career. This season he’s shooting just 52.8 percent. His struggles this year likely explain why he tried something extremely unconventional on Wednesday.

Howard attempted a free throw in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Boston Celtics from just inside the free throw circle, a good couple of feet behind the free throw line.

Howard was 1/2 from the line in the game.

Howard actually has attempted free throws from behind the free throw line in the past. He began that strategy after working with Nick Van Exel last year. But Wednesday’s attempt was from even longer than he had tried before.

Howard has tried many different strategies to improve his free throw shooting over time. He admitted a long time ago that his free throw issues were mental.

What may really surprise you is that Howard really is money on free throws when it’s not a game situation.

Kevin Porter Jr. traded by Cavs to Rockets following outburst

Kevin Porter

The Cleveland Cavaliers made good on their plans to trade Kevin Porter Jr. following a locker room outburst.

Porter Jr. has been traded to the Houston Rockets for a future protected second-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Porter, 20, was the No. 30 overall pick in 2019. He averaged 10.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game as a rookie last year, but has had numerous off-court issues.

Porter was arrested in November on suspicion of possessing a gun and marijuana following a one-car accident. The charges were later dismissed. He was also accused of punching a woman in the face in a separate incident, which you can read about here.

The Cavaliers were trying to help Porter take care of off-court issues this season, which is why he had not played. But he had an outburst in the team locker room after learning his locker had been given to a newly acquired player. The Cavs began plans to move Porter after that.

Porter was also suspended two games for conduct issues as a freshman at USC.

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