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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Blog

Richard Jefferson tells great Kobe Bryant story

Richard Jefferson

Kobe Bryant stories never get old and Richard Jefferson told a gem during a Brooklyn Nets game.

Kobe Bryant’s reputation as someone who looked to shoot first and pass second is well noted. He is also known for his chatter with referees. On Tuesday, Jefferson combined them both during a broadcast.

Jefferson spent 17 seasons in the NBA, which included court time with some of the biggest names the league has ever seen. One can only imagine the stories Jefferson has at his disposal after such a long career. I can’t wait to hear more.

Ex-Marlins president defends himself over fan taunt

Former Miami Marlins president David Samson was shown on video taunting Marlins fans in a recent video, but he defended himself over it.

The Miami New Times published an article on Tuesday about Samson’s words to fans at ESPN personality Dan Le Batard’s birthday party over the weekend.

Samson came up to the mic, was wearing a shiny jacket, and got booed by those in attendance. He then taunted them about making $1.2 billion on the sale of the Marlins and then flipped off the fans.

After the video received negative attention because, hey, the Marlins did screw over the city and fans, both Le Batard and Samson defended themselves. They both said it was part of a stunt and Samson was playing the bad guy.

There’s a difference between being booed for playing a bad guy character and being booed because you are a bad guy and hated for your past actions. Someone needs to tell Samson that.

Angels fail to impress with Matt Harvey signing

Matt Harvey

The Los Angeles Angels had been quiet for most of the offseason, and their first big signing is not one that should fire up the fan base.

The Angels signed free agent pitcher Matt Harvey to a 1-year, $11 million deal that can be worth up to $14 million depending on performance. Harvey made eight appearances for the Mets last season before they jettisoned him to Cincinnati. In 24 starts with the Reds, Harvey went 7-7 with a 4.50 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 128 innings.

The Angels are desperate for starting pitching help, but Harvey for $11 million is the wrong place to start.

Harvey last put together a worthwhile season in 2015. He’s had a Tommy John surgery, surgery for Thoracic outlet syndrome, and a stress injury in his shoulder. What on earth makes them think he’ll be able to give them a full season with decent production?

The Angels are betting that Harvey will build upon the improved results he showed in Cincinnati and give them 150-plus innings, but I’ll believe it when I see it. The Angels were said to be in on Nathan Eovaldi and JA Happ and both pitchers re-signed with their teams. Dallas Keuchel is still out there. Gio Gonzalez is available. So are Drew Pomeranz and Derek Holland. And they’re giving $11 million guaranteed to Matt Harvey? I don’t get it.

In a world where Charlie Morton signed for $15 million annually, it’s hard to justify Harvey getting $11 million guaranteed and potentially up to $14 million. And what’s the point of non-tendering Matt Shoemaker if you’re going to sign Harvey for $11 million guaranteed? They’ll probably give your club the same thing. This is not the kind of move that will keep Mike Trout with the club.

Colts LB Darius Leonard reacts to Pro Bowl snub

Colts logo

Pro Bowl rosters were released on Tuesday night, and Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard was not happy to be omitted.

Leonard sent the following tweet shortly after the rosters came out.

Leonard has been a monster for the Colts this season. The rookie second-round pick has 146 tackles, 7 sacks, and an interception for the surging Colts. He has also been one of Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded linebackers this season.

The only legitimate explanation for his omission is that not enough people know who he is. His play on the field otherwise speaks for itself.

Report: Multiple teams interested in Austin Rivers, no offer from Grizzlies

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers is expected to have a very brief stay in Phoenix after he was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Suns on Saturday as part of a deal involving Kelly Oubre and Trevor Ariza, and it sounds like there are a number of teams that would like to add the veteran guard.

Shams Charania of The Athletic initially reported on Tuesday that the Memphis Grizzlies are expected to sign Rivers once the Suns cut ties with him, but it turns out they could have plenty of competition from other clubs.

Rivers is set to make $12.6 million in the last season of his contract this year, and it is unlikely that any team will want to pay him the remaining portion of that salary. The 26-year-old is averaging 7.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 23.6 minutes per game this season.

The Grizzlies were initially reported to be part of a three-team trade with the Suns and Wizards that involved Rivers, but they ended up backing out over confusion about which players they were supposed to include. It will be interesting to see if they end up with Rivers when everything is sorted out.

Giants appear to have significant interest in Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki held an open workout on Tuesday in hopes of proving that he is fully healthy and ready to contribute in 2019, and it appears at least one team is strongly considering giving him a shot.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the San Francisco Giants had the “most impressive presence” of any MLB team at Tulowitzki’s workout, with new general manager Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy both in attendance to get a look at the shortstop.

Tulowitzki did not play last because of heel injuries, and the 34-year-old appeared in just 66 games in 2017 due to an ankle injury. He batted .249 with a .678 OPS, so he was already showing signs of decline before the significant injuries.

That said, the Toronto Blue Jays released Tulowitzki with $38 million remaining on his contract, so he is likely looking to sign a minimum contract with his next team. That significantly limits the risk involved with adding the five-time All-Star, and there have already been reports that one contending team is keeping an eye on him. If Tuesday’s workout was any indication, San Francisco is a potential landing spot for Tulowitzki.

Redskins DB arrested after allegedly assaulting man while drunk in public

Redskins logo

Washington Redskins defensive back Montae Nicholson was arrested early Tuesday morning after he and a woman he was with were accused of assaulting two people at a shopping plaza.

According to NBC 4 in Washington, the sheriff’s office in Loudoun County, Va., says Nicholson was charged with assault and battery and being intoxicated in public. Deputies responded to a report at around 2 a.m. Tuesday of a fight at the One Loudoun shopping center in Ashburn and spoke with the two alleged victims when the arrived. Officers determined that Nicholson assaulted the man and the woman he was with, 24-year-old Sydney Maggiore, hit the female victim with a bottle and also assaulted the male victim. Maggiore was charged with malicious wounding in addition to assault and battery.

Nicholson and Maggiore left the scene but returned when police were there. One of the victims said the altercation began when Nicholson and Maggiore “pulled up in a vehicle and honked the horn at them.” It was unclear if the four people involved knew one another previously. The two victims were taken to a local hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

A fourth-round draft pick out of Michigan State last year, Nicholson has appeared in all 14 games for Washington in his second NFL season. He has 41 total tackles.

Austin Rivers will reportedly sign with Grizzlies

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers will have a very brief stop in Phoenix after he was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Suns on Saturday as part of a deal involving Kelly Oubre and Trevor Ariza, and the veteran guard may have already found his next home.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that Rivers has agreed to sign a contract with the Memphis Grizzlies when his buyout with the Suns is complete.

Rivers was set to make $12.6 million in the last season of his contract this year, and it’s unclear how much Phoenix agreed to buy him out for. The Grizzlies will be the third team the 26-year-old has played for in the past year.

Rivers is averaging 7.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 23.6 minutes per game this season.

Justin Fields could argue that he is is transferring because he feels unsafe

Justin Fields

Georgia quarterback Justin Fields is reportedly exploring the possibility of transferring after the season, but he would need to sit out all of 2019 before becoming eligible to play again unless he can get a hardship waiver. It is not out of the question that the freshman may be able to obtain one.

As Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated pointed out on Tuesday, the NCAA’s new rules for Division I undergraduate transfers state that a player should not be forced to sit out a year if his situation meets a number of conditions, the first of which reads as follows:

“The transfer is due to documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete’s control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being of the student-athlete.”

If you remember, Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson and several other former Ole Miss players successfully argued last season that they should not have to sit out a year because of the school’s bowl ban, which the players themselves had nothing to do with. The NCAA granted them waivers.

Earlier this season when Georgia was playing against Tennessee, Bulldogs baseball player Adam Sasser was overheard by other students using a racial slur to describe Fields when he yelled “put the n***** in!” Sasser was dismissed from the baseball team after the incident was investigated by Georgia’s Equal Opportunity Office, and he later issued an apology on social media.

Staples notes that Fields could probably successfully argue that his “safety and well-being” have been impacted by having another student-athlete at the university hurl a racial slur at him in public. While Georgia could refute the claim and point out that Fields’ younger sister Jaiden signed on to play softball at Georgia following the incident, doing so would make the university look bad.

It makes little sense for Fields to transfer from Georgia if he has to sit out a year, especially since Jake Fromm is likely to declare for the NFL Draft after next season. Being able to obtain a hardship waiver, however, would make his decision a lot easier.

Report: Same team unlikely to land Manny Machado, Bryce Harper

Manny Machado

There have been rumblings this offseason that an MLB team could decide to make an unprecedented splash in free agency by signing two players to record-setting contracts, but that does not seem all that likely to happen.

Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports noted on Tuesday that the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox appear to be the two teams most interested in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Recent reports indicated that either team could be open to signing both, but Heyman doesn’t see that happening.

Both Harper and Machado are expected to land contracts worth more than $30 million annually for somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 years. While the two All-Stars are still young, the back end of those contracts will probably be a nightmare. It could potentially cripple a franchise 10 years down the road to have both on the books.

The biggest obstacle for the White Sox may be that they have not contended in recent years, and perhaps they aren’t looking to blow Harper or Machado away anyhow. Both players are going to get paid, but there may not be as many suitors for them as initially believed.