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Monday, July 24, 2017

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Gordon Hayward: Relationship with Brad Stevens ‘overhyped’

Gordon Hayward Utah Jazz

Gordon Hayward ultimately chose to sign with Celtics, but says leading up to and during the free agent process that his relationship with Brad Stevens was blown out of proportion.

Leading up to the start of this year’s NBA free agency period, the overwhelming majority of fans and experts predicted Hayward would end up with the Celtics. Many of those people cited Stevens, who coached Hayward in college at Butler, as the main reason why.

While the result was what nearly everyone expected, Hayward says there was too much focus on the relationship between he and Stevens.

“The relationship between Brad and I has been completely overstated and overhyped from everybody,” Stevens said on Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast, via ProBasketballTalk.

“I played for Brad for two years. And so it wasn’t like everybody kind of made it seem, like we were besties or something,” he continued.

It would be naïve to think the relationship between Stevens and Hayward wasn’t a factor in Hayward’s decision at all. You could also make an argument perhaps too much was made of it. The truth likely lies somewhere in between. However, when there is low hanging fruit, sometimes it’s hard to resist.

H/T ProBasketballTalk

Kobe Bryant responds to if he is influencing Kyrie Irving

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant has apparently been asked if he had an influential role in Kyrie Irving reportedly asking for a trade away from the Cavaliers. Based on Bryant’s response, we can assume that answers is no.

What has been a tumultuous offseason for the Cavaliers continued to be as such when it was reported Irving requested a trade during a meeting with team owner Dan Gilbert. One source of Irving’s frustration may be the style of play of LeBron James.

While that could very well be true, Bryant’s name has also come up as a possible factor. He squashed that theory with a single tweet on Monday, which you can see below.

Bryant has been a mentor to Irving during his career, which no doubt led to people drawing a line back to the future Hall of Famer. However, as Bryant indicated, he has managed to keep himself busy in his post-playing days and it looks like that does not include urging Irving to continue his career out of the shadow of LeBron James.

Robert Griffin III to work out for Chargers

Robert Griffin

It’s been a quiet few months for Robert Griffin III, but apparently that’s about to change.

The former Cleveland Browns quarterback is set to work out for the LA Chargers on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

This is the first reported workout with an NFL team for RG3 since he was released by the Browns in March. The only other time Griffin was connected to an NFL quarterbacking job came in May when Pete Carroll said the QB could be an option for Seattle.

Griffin, 27, threw for 886 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in five games with the Browns last season. His time with the team was marred by injury and shoddy play from the entire squad.

Derrick Rose will reportedly sign with Cavs

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose met with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, and they did not let the star point guard leave without agreeing to a deal.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports that Rose passed his physical and will sign with the Cavs.

Rose met with the Los Angeles Lakers last week, but he ultimately chose to team up with LeBron James. The 28-year-old is expected to sign for the veteran minimum of $2.1 million.

Rose averaged 18.0 points per game with the New York Knicks last season, but his year was cut short when he suffered yet another significant knee injury. The former NBA MVP underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus and is said to be at full strength heading into offseason workouts.

With Kyrie Irving seemingly on his way out of town, Rose could become a significant contributor for the Cavs if he can stay healthy. That’s a big if.

Brock Osweiler to be cut if he doesn’t win Browns starting job?

The Cleveland Browns are holding an open quarterback competition heading into training camp, and Brock Osweiler may need to win it in order to keep his roster spot.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL Network speculates that the Browns could release Osweiler if he can’t beat out Cody Kessler and rookie DeShone Kizer for the starting quarterback job.

“Brock Osweiler had a lot of positive quotes about him this offseason, but you did not really see many first-team snaps. To me, that is much more telling,” Rosenthal said Monday. “If DeShone Kizer looks good in training camp or if Cody Kessler looks good in training camp, I think it gets very awkward to keep a player that is making $16 million as your second- or third-stringer.”

Rosenthal noted that the Browns inquired about trading Osweiler after they got him in a trade form the Houston Texans and were willing to eat some of his salary.

“I think if he can’t win the starting job, they’ll look for a trade or possibly cut him,” Rosenthal said.

The initial reaction to the Browns trading for Osweiler was that they were simply buying a 2018 second-round pick from Houston, and that could still wind up being the case. No matter what the 26-year-old quarterback says about his former team, it doesn’t sound like he has been lighting it up in practice with his new squad.

Lucky Whitehead released by Cowboys amid arrest controversy

Lucky Whitehead

Lucky Whitehead has endured a tumultuous day that now sees him released by the Dallas Cowboys.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says the Cowboys informed Whitehead Monday night that they have released him.

The news comes hours after TMZ Sports reported that an arrest warrant was issued to Whitehead for his failure to appear in court earlier this month regarding a shoplifting arrest from June.

But based on what Whitehead’s attorney says, the special teamer may have a legit grievance with the club for releasing him based on the arrest report.

Whitehead and his attorney need to get to the bottom of this to try and clear things up. The 25-year-old has mostly contributed to the Cowboys the past two seasons as a punt and kick returner.

Report: Pat Neshek drawing interest from Nationals, Dodgers, Red Sox

The Pat Neshek Express may be pulling into Contender Lane.

Mark Feisand of MLB.com reported on Monday that the market for the Philadelphia Phillies reliever is beginning to heat up with the Washington Nationals, the LA Dodgers, and the Boston Red Sox all showing interest.

The 36-year-old righty Neshek, who recently provided one of the best quotes of trade deadline season, earned his second career All-Star nod this year and sports a sparkling 1.12 ERA with a 0.82 WHIP and 45 strikeouts in 43 games. But he is a free agent after the season, and it stands to reason that the bottom-feeding Phillies would want to cash him in for a return before then.

Reliable veterans capable of performing in high-leverage, late-game situations are an extremely valuable postseason commodity, so it’s none too surprising that some of the best teams in baseball are after Neshek.

Mississippi State fan discovered phone call that brought down Hugh Freeze

Hugh Freeze

Hugh Freeze was ousted as head coach at Ole Miss last week amid publicized reports that he had made a phone call to an escort service. Freeze and Ole Miss were already in trouble with the NCAA, so the embarrassing and inappropriate phone call provided the school with a convenient opportunity to call an end to the Freeze era in Oxford.

But wouldn’t you know? It was a fan of Ole Miss’ rival, Mississippi State, who helped bring down Freeze.

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach has a long article on the backstory surrounding Freeze’s ouster at Ole Miss. As Schlabach explains, the man who brought down Freeze is Steve Robertson, a lifelong Mississippi State fan who is writing a book.

Robertson received Freeze’s phone records via an information request from Ole Miss and carefully examined the calls. He was looking for a call between Freeze and a reporter when he stumbled upon the phone call to the escort service. Freeze had the opportunity to redact personal calls prior to handing over the records and did so, but he failed to redact that number.

Robertson then presented the information to the attorney representing Freeze’s predecessor, Houston Nutt, who is suing the school. That attorney presented the info to the school, which conducted a more thorough investigation of the phone records. That review revealed a pattern of inappropriate phone calls. In the end, Freeze resigned following pressure from the school, which would have fired him otherwise.

As is so often the case in the SEC, it was a rival school that helped bring down a program. You may also recall that back in 2010, it reportedly was Mississippi State that tried to bring down Cam Newton and Auburn. The fans are cut-throat in the SEC.

Greg Olsen reportedly will not hold out

Greg Olsen

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen will not follow up on his threat to hold himself out of training camp in search of a new contract.

A source told Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer that Olsen intends to report to camp on time, soothing fears that Panthers camp would begin with a high-profile holdout.

The 32-year old Olsen is the only tight end in NFL history to put up three consecutive seasons with 1,000 receiving yards, but is due to make $6.5 million a year in each of the next two years. His $12 million guaranteed puts him 12th among active tight ends.

The firing of former general manager Dave Gettleman may prove to be a key to getting Olsen to camp. Sources told Person that his refusal to give new deals to Olsen and linebacker Thomas Davis were ultimately the biggest factor in his firing.

Olsen had previously threatened to sit out camp without a new deal. He still doesn’t have one, but with Gettleman no longer at the helm, there may now be a chance that he gets one.

H/T ProFootballTalk

Steve Kerr wants JaVale McGee back

Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr is hoping to have his pogo stick big man back for another hurrah.

Speaking over the weekend, the Golden State Warriors head coach said that he would like for the team to bring back JaVale McGee.

“I’d like to see JaVale back, and we’ll see how that shakes out,” said Kerr, according to Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area. “We’d love to have him back. If he doesn’t come back, then I think we would be patient and explore our options. But we feel great about what we have heading into the season.”

The 29-year-old McGee impressed in limited minutes off the bench for Golden State during their title run last season, using his activity and athleticism to impact games on both ends. But he is reportedly unhappy with the team over the way the offseason has played out, desiring more money and a bigger role.

The Warriors already have 14 of 15 roster spots filled and can probably only offer McGee the same minimum salary he was playing for last year. Thus, it’s unclear if McGee shares Kerr’s sentiment as well, especially since his value is arguably at its peak right now, and he already has his championship ring.

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