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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Stories by Darryn Albert:

Look: Pete Alonso wears huge necklace from Daddy Yankee after winning HR Derby

Pete Alonso

Pete Alonso won the evening on Monday in more ways than one.

The New York Mets rookie put on a show at the Home Run Derby, clubbing 23 dingers in the final round to edge Blue Jays phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

To celebrate the feat, Alonso pranced around afterwards wearing a huge medallion necklace that was gifted to him by rapper Daddy Yankee. Tim Healey of Newsday shared an image of the bling.

Daddy Yankee, who is famous for such hits as “Despacito” and “Gasolina,” was himself an aspiring pro baseball player before going into the music business, and it’s clear that he backed the right horse in Monday’s competition.

As for the necklace, that’s probably the nicest piece of jewelry that we have seen since last month’s NBA Draft.

Look: Nats star prospect Carter Kieboom got name misspelled on jersey and locker

Washington Nationals

Carter Kieboom got a bit of a double whammy at Sunday’s Futures Game.

The star Washington Nationals prospect competed in the exhibition contest but unfortunately had his name misspelled as “Keiboom” on both his jersey and his locker. Minor League Baseball reporter Sam Dysktra shared an image.

Fortunately, Kieboom received a corrected jersey before he took the field.

The 21-year-old Kieboom, a middle infielder, was selected by the Nats in the first round of the 2016 draft. He was called up for a brief cameo with the team early in the season, hitting .128 with two home runs across 11 appearances.

Regarding his misspelled jersey meanwhile, hopefully the Nats don’t start selling it like they did with this player back in the day.

Tom Thibodeau thinks new-look Clippers can be like ’08 Celtics defensively

Tom Thibodeau is one of basketball’s best defensive minds, and he likes the potential that the new-look LA Clippers have on that end of the floor.

In an interview with The Athletic’s Jovan Buha that ran Sunday, the former Minnesota Timberwolves coach had a lofty comparison for the Clippers’ D.

“I think this team has the capability to be just as good [as the 2008 Boston Celtics] when you look at it,” he said. “I think it’ll be seamless. You’re talking two elite defenders [in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George] that guard multiple positions, multiple effort guys, never quit on plays. Both guys are very unique. Even if you can get by them, they’ll come from behind and get the ball.

“I think when you add in Patrick Beverley on the ball, 94 feet, and then those guys up in passing lanes, it’ll be very hard to score against them,” Thibodeau continued. “Their containment of the ball and also their pressure on the ball is going to cause a lot of problems. I think they’ll create a lot of turnovers. They’ll be a high steal team as well.”

The ’08 Celtics team is widely regarded as one of the greatest defensive teams ever, anchored by big man great Kevin Garnett and complemented by some of the NBA’s best defenders at their position like Rajon Rondo, Tony Allen, and Kendrick Perkins. Boston won 66 games that year, finished first in defensive rating, and took home the championship as well. Of course, Thibodeau was also their lead assistant, serving under current Clippers coach Doc Rivers.

As for the Clippers, they obviously boast three all-world defensive behemoths in Leonard, George, and Beverley. But they have several other physical wing defenders like Moe Harkless and Rodney McGruder to make life difficult for opposing scorers as well. Thibs has been around the Clippers since last year, and it’s clear that he likes what he sees in them.

Jake Arrieta threatens Todd Frazier after altercation: ‘I’ll put a dent in his skull’

Jake Arrieta

If there’s one thing that we learned from Saturday’s Philadelphia Phillies-New York Mets game, it’s that Jake Arrieta wants Todd Frazier’s fade.

The two players had a dust-up during the fifth inning of the contest when Arrieta plunked Frazier with a changeup. The third baseman responded by chirping at Arrieta and was ejected as a result.

Arrieta then hit Amed Rosario with a pitch two batters later as well but was not ejected despite both benches getting warned after the Frazier plunking. Mets manager Mickey Callaway was ejected however when he came roaring out of the dugout following the Rosario HBP.

The Mets would go on to win the game 6-5 though, and Arrieta took the loss with five earned runs allowed in 4.1 innings of work. Afterwards, the former Cy Young winner was not pleased and threatened to “put a dent in [Frazier’s] skull,” per Matt Gelb of The Athletic.

The next series that the NL East rivals will play against each other comes at the end of August. Arrieta has had similar beef with other teams in the past, so we will see what exactly comes of his threat here.

Mitch Kupchak roasted for bizarre comment about Terry Rozier

Mitch Kupchak face

Charlotte Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak isn’t doing much to ease concerns about the big payday that he just gave to Terry Rozier.

Addressing reporters Saturday after the Hornets completed their free agent acquisition of Rozier, Kupchak made a rather bizarre comment about his new point guard, saying that he would have been a lottery pick in this year’s draft.

The problem here is that Rozier is a 25-year-old about to enter his fifth NBA season. With the team committing three years and $58 million to him to boot, Kupchak was promptly roasted on Twitter for the strange remark.

(more…)

Blazers GM says Jusuf Nurkic could be out until February

Jusuf Nurkic

As he continues to recover from a broken left leg, Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic might not be back until after the All-Star break next season.

Addressing the media on Saturday, Blazers GM Neil Olshey said that the seven-footer could be out until February, per Michael Gallagher of Rotoworld.

Nurkic, 24, suffered compound fractures to both his left tibia and fibula in what was a gruesome sequence during a game against Brooklyn in March. He was averaging a career-best 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game before going down and still has three years and $37 million left on his contract.

While the Blazers lost Enes Kanter in free agency this summer, they did trade for another seven-footer who can replicate much of what Nurkic offers in Hassan Whiteside, so they shouldn’t have to rush him back next season.

Kawhi Leonard had Lakers change meeting place so he could meet Paul George after?

Kawhi Leonard may have pulled one heck of a Don Corleone move on the Los Angeles Lakers.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported on Saturday that the Lakers met with Leonard at a Westlake Village hotel this week after the reigning Finals MVP requested that they meet there instead of in El Segundo. Shelburne also said that it appears Leonard met with Paul George nearby that very same day.

Of course, Leonard wound up turning down the Lakers to sign a four-year deal with the cross-arena rival LA Clippers and simultaneously recruited George to the team by getting him to secure a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Westlake Village is over an hour drive away from El Segundo, so if Leonard forced the Lakers contingent to make that trek just so it would be easier to plot against them, that only adds to the various layers of hurt here for them.

Watch: Dodgers, Padres play through huge earthquake in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres proved on Friday night that ball truly is life.

The two teams were facing off in the opener of their weekend series when a huge earthquake hit Los Angeles during the fourth inning and sent the entire Dodger Stadium shaking. The NL West rivals were unphased however, and play continued as if nothing was happening. Take a look:

The quake was originally reported as magnitude 7.1 but was then downgraded to a 6.9. The Los Angeles area was also rocked by a 6.4 quake on Thursday.

Baseball was not the only sport affected by Friday night’s quake either, as an NBA summer league game in Las Vegas was also suspended by the event.