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Thursday, January 23, 2020



Scott Boras says Astros players should not have to apologize

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane said this week that the team’s players are planning to apologize with a “strong statement” as a group when spring training begins next month, but Scott Boras does not believe that is necessary. Boras, who is the most powerful agent in baseball, said this week that Astros players do not…Read More

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Report: Joe Burrow’s family annoyed by talk QB could ‘pull an Eli Manning’

Barring a major upset, Joe Burrow is going to be a Cincinnati Bengal in just a few short months. Considering the Bengals have not won a playoff game in two decades, many have wondered if Burrow would prefer not to play for them. There has been no indication that the Heisman Trophy winner feels that way.

According to one report from FOX 19’s Jeremy Rauch, Burrow and his family are starting to get annoyed at the narrative that the quarterback could pull an Eli Manning by refusing to play for the team that drafts him.

Manning and his father, Archie, stated publicly before the 2004 NFL Draft that Manning would refuse to sign a contract with the then-San Diego Chargers if they drafted him. The Chargers drafted Manning with the first overall pick anyway, but they immediately traded him to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers. There was some belief that a precedent would be set for other quarterbacks to do the same, but we haven’t seen it since.

Burrow lived in Ohio when he was a kid and played high school ball in Athens, where he set numerous records. That probably helps the Bengals in this situation, but Burrow has also said he is willing to play for any NFL team that wants him.

If the Bengals were concerned about Burrow pulling a Manning, we probably would not be hearing reports like this about them. Burrow is the safest pick in the draft, and there’s a 99.9999999 percent chance Cincinnati has already made a decision.

Antonio Brown accused of being high, throwing rocks at truck in 911 call

Antonio Brown

A warrant was issued for Antonio Brown’s arrest over his alleged involvement in a physical altercation at his home on Tuesday, and the 911 call from the incident outlines some troubling behavior from the star receiver.

Brown and his trainer, Glenn Holt, are accused of battering a moving truck driver and throwing rocks at the driver’s truck after the driver demanded a $4,000 payment from Brown. Holt was taken into custody following the incident and charged with burglary with battery. Brown was refusing to cooperate with police as of Wednesday, leading to an arrest warrant being issued.

TMZ has obtained a copy of the 911 call placed by the moving truck driver, and the driver says Brown was “high” and “threatened me.” The driver said he called Brown to tell him he needed to pay the balance he owed the moving company, which was $4,000. Brown eventually agreed to pay the $4,000 via the Zelle app, but the driver said he refused to pay $800 for the damages caused when Brown and Holt allegedly threw rocks at the truck.

According to TMZ, the driver also said in the 30-minute 911 call that Brown forcibly took the driver’s keys, opened the back of the moving truck and began “destroying” objects inside that did not belong to him. The driver also said he knew Brown was high because the 31-year-old was smoking out in the open.

It’s unclear what — if any — charges Brown will be facing. This is at least the second time this month that police have been called to his home. Brown broadcast the previous incident on Instagram live and showed himself berating police officers and cursing in front of his children.

Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus and attorney parted ways with the Pro Bowler last week. Brown only played in one game for the New England Patriots last season and is being investigated by the NFL over multiple issues.

Enes Kanter has harsh response to Kendrick Perkins’ advice for Celtics

Enes Kanter

Kendrick Perkins believes the Boston Celtics are a quality center away from being a legitimate championship contender, and it should come as no surprise that Enes Kanter (dis)respectfully disagrees.

Perkins tweeted on Thursday that the Celtics need a big man who can anchor their defense and suggested they try to trade for Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams. Kanter, who is averaging 18.5 minutes per game at center for Boston this season, took the advice personally.

The Celtics have gotten decent play at center this season from Kanter and Daniel Theis, with Theis being the better overall post defender. Kanter is a solid rebounder, but defense has never been his strong suit. He averages just 0.5 blocks per game for his career and is averaging 0.9 this season, which is not a great mark for a 6-foot-10, 250-pound player.

Perkins has a point, even if Kanter didn’t take it well. The Celtics will have a tough time matching up with a team like the Philadelphia 76ers in a seven-game series if all they have in the low post is Kanter and Theis. Kanter has had some nice games this season and was even drug tested earlier this month after a great performance, but he’s not going to slow down Joel Embiid. Adams may not be the answer, either, but Boston could certainly use a more physical big.

Pacers trolled Suns so hard over TJ Warren trade in since-deleted tweet

TJ Warren had his long-awaited revenge game against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, and he proved he was ready for it by leading all scorers with 25 points. Whoever was running the Indiana Pacers’ social media account was just as prepared as Warren.

After Indiana’s 112-87 blowout win over the Suns, the official Twitter account of the Pacers shared a graphic highlighting Warren’s big performance and said the swingman was “just money tonight.”

The Pacers later deleted the tweet, but they left another one up that took a much more subtle swipe at the Suns.

For those of you who don’t understand the backstory, the Suns traded Warren and a second-round pick to Indiana back in October for cash considerations. That’s as close to giving a player away as you can get in the NBA, and Warren made it clear that he felt disrespected by the deal.

Wednesday night’s game was yet another reminder that the Pacers won the deal. Warren is averaging 18 points per game this season, which is the same total he had last year. He has been a key contributor for an Indiana team that is 29-16 and likely headed to the postseason, while Phoenix is just 18-26. Trading a player is one thing, but you can’t blame Warren for feeling like the Suns didn’t place a high enough value on him.

Report: Clippers looking for frontcourt help ahead of trade deadline

Doc Rivers

The Los Angeles Clippers have not quite been able to keep pace with the Los Angeles Lakers through this point in the season, and that could lead to a significant move being made at the trade deadline.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reports that the Clippers are concerned with how their frontcourt matches up with that of the Lakers. Because of that, the Clippers have been exploring the trade market for dependable big men in addition to wing depth behind Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Stein mentions Andre Drummond and Steven Adams as as the big names available, but he says teams are also keeping an eye on Aron Baynes.

The Clippers obviously had a massive offseason, but true contending teams look for ways to improve even when they are in a solid position. That is the case with the Clippers, who entered Thursday with the third-best record in the Western Conference at 31-14. They have gone with a smaller lineup the majority of the time this year, and they don’t really have anyone who can match up well against Anthony Davis.

As expected, the Clippers have been managing the workloads of Leonard and George. The goal with that is to have them fresh for the postseason, but George recently admitted he has a long way to go. If the Clippers can acquire some wing help at the deadline, it would put them in a good position to continue with their load management approach.

Patriots want answer from Tom Brady before start of free agency?

Tom Brady

Tom Brady is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career in less than two months, but the New England Patriots may not be willing to let him take his time making a decision.

In an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up!” Thursday morning, Adam Schefter said he believes the Patriots will want an answer from Brady regarding whether or not the quarterback plans to return before free agency begins on March 16.

“I don’t believe the New England Patriots are waiting until March 16 to get an answer from Tom Brady,” Schefter said, as transcribed by Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com. “Last year, Rob Gronkowski wound up retiring in late March. I don’t know the conversations they did and didn’t have before, but New England missed the window on free-agent tight ends. So I don’t think they’re going to let Tom Brady go to free agency, all of a sudden, sign with Team X, and then on March 20, say ‘Well, what do we do at quarterback now?’ That’s not the way that organization operates.”

Gronkowski dragged out his retirement decision for several weeks last year, and one of the reasons Jared Cook chose the New Orleans Saints over New England was because the then-free agent was unsure if Gronk would still be around. However, not allowing Brady to test free agency could complicate things.

Brady is reportedly looking forward to meeting with other teams and wants to see what else is out there, which makes since considering he has never experienced free agency. That said, he would almost certainly be open to the Patriots giving him a new contract before March 16, but the question is whether the team is willing to commit multiple years. Brady probably wants at least a two-year deal, while the Patriots would likely prefer to take it year by year.

If Brady is planning to gather offers from other teams and bring them back to the Patriots, Bill Belichick may simply decide to go in another direction. It would be a shock if New England winds up being the highest bidder for Brady, anyway.

Brady has never taken top dollar in his career, and he probably doesn’t care that much if he gets it now. What he wants is a supporting cast that will allow him to contend for another title. The Patriots, obviously, did not give him that this past season.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft may have given a hint about the team’s intentions with Brady this week, but the situation will become more complicated the longer it drags out.

Scott Boras says Astros players should not have to apologize

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane said this week that the team’s players are planning to apologize with a “strong statement” as a group when spring training begins next month, but Scott Boras does not believe that is necessary.

Boras, who is the most powerful agent in baseball, said this week that Astros players do not owe anyone an apology because they were simply following a system their superiors had implemented.

“I’m doing what my organization is telling me to do,” Boras told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic while speaking from the perspective of a player. “You installed this. You put this in front of us. Coaches and managers encourage you to use the information. It is not coming from the player individually. It is coming from the team. In my stadium. Installed. With authority.”

Boras feels MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was justified in not punishing any players involved in the sign-stealing scheme. The agent compared what Astros players did to speeding by driving 55 mph in a 35-mph zone without a posted speed limit. Boras says players were not properly informed of the latest rules about stealing signs and blamed former Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow for not forwarding the 2017 sign-stealing memo to players.

“Luhnow did not forward the memoranda and did not confirm that the players and field staff were in compliance with MLB rules and the memoranda,” Manfred wrote. “Had Luhnow taken those steps in September 2017, it is clear to me that the Astros would have ceased (their illegal sign stealing).”

As far as Boras is concerned, the issue with sign-stealing is similar to how MLB and teams handled performance-enhancing drug use.

“This is no different than PEDs,” he said. “The minute we legislated a compendium of specificity, players were on notice. And then the accountability went directly to them. And it should.”

Boras had a lot more to say on the topic, and it’s really no surprise that an agent who represents the biggest superstars in the sport would take that stance. He also currently reps Houston’s José Altuve, Lance McCullers and Aaron Sanchez. Boras defended Altuve when new allegations surfaced that Altuve and others took the cheating a step further in 2019.

To say that Astros players had no idea they were breaking rules simply because Alex Cora may have been the mastermind behind the operation is absurd. We already know there was a different reason MLB chose not to punish players, but that in no way means they were innocent.

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