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#pounditThursday, June 17, 2021

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Chicago mayor roasts Bears in response to stadium speculation

Chicago Bears logo

It’s safe to say the Chicago Bears’ potential move to the suburbs has not gone down well with the city’s mayor.

The Bears confirmed Thursday that they have submitted a bid to purchase the Arlington International Racecourse property in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights. The land has long been mentioned as the potential site of a new stadium if the team decides to move from Soldier Field, which is the oldest stadium in the NFL, having opened in 1924.

In response to the bid and the Bears’ possible move to the suburbs from the city itself, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a statement that did not hold back. She dismissed the bid as a “negotiating tactic” and “noise.” Lightfoot, who described herself as a season ticket holder, then went straight for the jugular.

“Like most Bears fans, we want the organization to focus on putting a winning team on the field, beating the Packers finally and being relevant past October,” Lightfoot said in her statement.

Ouch. That’s actually pretty rough considering the Bears have made the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, even though they lost in the Wild Card round both times. She has a point about the Packers though, as the Bears are just 4-22 against their rivals in their last 26 meetings.

One thing is clear: big changes could be in store for the Bears in the coming years. That may cause some bumps in the road, but if their franchise quarterback turns out to be as good as the initial feedback makes him sound, the team will probably be okay no matter where they play their home games.

Video: Kevin Na hits ridiculous flop shot at US Open

Kevin Na Flop shot

Kevin Na escaped some trouble at the US Open at Torrey Pines in Calif. on Thursday with a ridiculous flop shot.

Na was on the Par 3 No. 16 hole in the first round of the event and he was in the rough. He got back onto the green by utilizing a flop shot that skied into the air. It was unlike anything most people have seen:

That was some crazy height.

Na was able to make par on the hole, but he finished the round at seven over, putting him towards the bottom of the group.

Na has done this before, including in February at the Saudi International.

At least Na is finally making up for his lengthy pre-shot routines with some entertainment.

Tip via Tennisdude

Rick Carlisle could be head coach candidate for this team

Rick Carlisle

It did not take long for speculation to begin about where Rick Carlisle could land following his departure from the Dallas Mavericks.

Carlisle announced his departure as Mavericks coach on Thursday, opening up an attractive job with a young superstar that will be very closely watched. However, it also means that someone will have the opportunity to hire one of the league’s most experienced head coaches in Carlisle, who has an NBA title on his resume.

Apparently, the speculation had already begun even before Carlisle announced his exit. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, there have been “rumblings” for weeks linking Carlisle to the Milwaukee Bucks if the team decides to make a change.

The Bucks are facing an elimination game Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets, and a loss could seal Mike Budenholzer’s fate. Despite three successful seasons, including two as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, Budenholzer has only led the Bucks to the Eastern Conference Finals once. A defeat on Thursday would mark the second consecutive season the Bucks have been eliminated in the second round. The team has been built to win now, with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton in their primes and lots of money and future assets spent to acquire Jrue Holiday.

Rumors about Budenholzer being on the hot seat have persisted for a while, and have only grown louder during the team’s series against the Nets. Blowing a 16-point third quarter lead in Game 5 may end up being the last straw unless the Bucks can win two in a row. That may open the door for Carlisle, who would be an ideal replacement in such a win-now environment.

Jordan Willis suspended first six games of 2021 season

San Francisco 49ers logo

The San Francisco 49ers will be without one of their defensive linemen to start the 2021 season.

Jordan Willis was suspended the first six games of the season due to a violation of the NFL’s PED policy, the team announced on Thursday.

The Niners acquired Willis in a trade with the Jets last season. He played in seven games as the team needed some help due to their injuries. The 26-year-old had 13 tackles and five quarterback hits with the Niners.

Willis will be eligible to return to the Niners in Week 8 since the team has a bye in Week 6. Willis signed for $990,000 this year but will be losing over a third of that due to the suspension.

La La Anthony officially files for divorce from Carmelo

Carmelo Anthony

The relationship between La La and Carmelo Anthony has been rocky for years, but now it appears to finally be over.

La La Anthony has filed for divorce from Carmelo, citing irreconcilable differences. She filed for divorce on Thursday in New York, TMZ reported.

The two got engaged in 2004 and were married in 2010. But they split in 2017 as rumors percolated over Carmelo impregnating another woman. The two reportedly reconciled in 2018 but have been separated since then.

Carmelo played for the Knicks from 2010-2017, but has since bounced around teams. He has played for Houston, Oklahoma City, and now Portland the last two seasons.

The two have a son together, 14-year-old Kiyan.

Report: Luka Doncic and Rick Carlisle had ‘simmering tension’

Luka Doncic

Rick Carlisle’s surprise departure as coach of the Dallas Mavericks may have been down to some drama within the organization that has been building for some time.

Carlisle announced Thursday that he was stepping aside as Mavericks coach with two seasons remaining on his deal. He stressed that the decision was “solely” his. However, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon indicated that there has been “simmering tension” between Carlisle and star Luka Doncic throughout the season that had grown to be a concern within the organization.

The Mavericks are being built around Doncic, and anyone not on the same page isn’t likely to last long. It may be that Carlisle saw the writing on the wall and decided to pursue other opportunities, both for his own good and for the good of the Mavericks. Carlisle can settle into a new situation where he may be more influential, while the Mavericks can pursue a coach who will be fully on the same page as the team’s young superstar.

It’s been a week of major upheaval around the Mavericks, with GM Donnie Nelson also being ousted. Doncic did not seem to happy about that move. If he was clashing with Carlisle, however, this one may be more to his liking.

Mets may have Jacob deGrom stop swinging at plate over injury concerns

Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom is having one of the finest pitching seasons in history, but he’s struggled to stay completely healthy through it.

deGrom left Wednesday’s start after three innings due to shoulder tightness. MRIs and various exams continue to show nothing serious, but it marked the third time he was removed from a game early due to an issue with either his right shoulder, arm, or side. He has also missed several starts with similar issues.

While it doesn’t appear serious, both deGrom and the Mets are frustrated with both the lingering issue and the inability to get to the bottom of what’s causing it. On Thursday, Mets manager Luis Rojas revealed that the team has not ruled out hitting as a possible cause, and might ask deGrom to stop swinging during his at-bats.

deGrom has actually gone 11-for-26 on the season, hitting a remarkable .423 with 6 RBIs. In fact, he’s driven in at least one run in five of his 11 starts, including his last two outings.

As good as deGrom has been at the plate, it’s his pitching that makes all the headlines. That’s what the Mets need him healthy for. If having him stand at the plate and take three strikes helps keep him healthy, that’s what they’ll do.

Even if hitting isn’t behind deGrom’s injury issues, the fact that it’s a concern is one of several reasons that this MLB rule change is inevitable.

Dwayne Haskins makes surprising admission about release from Washington

Dwayne Haskins

It’s rare that a first-round pick falls out of favor as quickly as Dwayne Haskins did in Washington. While it may have been a surprise to outsiders, it certainly sounds like Haskins somewhat saw it coming.

Now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Haskins reflected on his exit from the Washington Football Team on thursday. The No. 15 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft admitted that his midseason release in 2020 had not come out of the blue to him.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say I was surprised,” Haskins said, via Kevin Patra of NFL.com. “It’s just a part of the business. Wasn’t necessarily the people that, you know, were brought in by the new coaching staff and understanding that this is a business and realizing that as the season went on that things weren’t going the way that we both wanted it to.

“Just grateful for the opportunity Washington gave me, but it wasn’t completely surprising, but it was also definitely unfortunate to be able to be released the way that I was.”

Haskins was anointed Washington’s starting quarterback for 2020. He didn’t play well and didn’t help his cause with some irresponsible behavior. Another report indicated that Haskins had a multitude of behind-the-scenes issues that never got sorted out prior to his abrupt release in December.

Haskins is getting another shot with the Steelers. If this one isn’t a success, he may quickly find himself left behind by NFL teams, so he’d better get this one right.

Rick Carlisle steps down as Mavericks head coach

Rick Carlisle

The Dallas Mavericks parted ways with longtime general manager Donnie Nelson on Wednesday, but it turns out that is not the most significant change they are making this offseason.

Rick Carlisle informed Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on Thursday that he will not return as head coach next season. He said in a statement to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the decision was “solely” his. Carlisle also said he is “excited about the next chapter of my coaching career,” which indicates he will look for a job elsewhere.

Carlisle had been the head coach in Dallas since 2008. He led the Mavericks to an NBA title in 2011, but they have not advanced past the first round of the playoffs since.

Carlisle, 61, will be one of the top candidates on the market for other NBA head coaching jobs if he chooses to coach next season.

The Mavericks say they mutually parted ways with Nelson, but a report from The Athletic claims the longtime GM was fired. Nelson was concerned about the increasing influence of former sports gambler Haralabos Voulgaris, who was hired by Cuban in 2018 as director of quantitative research and development. It’s possible the organizational dynamic was an issue for Carlisle as well.

Mavericks star Luka Doncic does not seem pleased about the departure of Nelson. It will be interesting to see what he has to say about Carlisle’s exit.

Nets guard responds to Reggie Miller’s suggestion about punting Game 6

Reggie Miller

Unfortunately for Reggie Miller, the Brooklyn Nets will not be taking him up on his proposed strategy for Game 6 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Brooklyn guard Landry Shamet reacted Thursday to Miller’s recent remarks about the team. The retired ex-All-Star and current TNT analyst suggested that the Nets, who are currently up 3-2 in the series, should sit stars Kevin Durant and James Harden for Game 6 in order to go all-in for Game 7.

“That would be insane,” replied Shamet, per Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News. “I don’t know what universe you would even consider just giving a game away in the playoffs. That doesn’t make sense to me.”

Miller got absolutely roasted on Twitter for the suggestion and rightfully so. While the Nets are badly hobbled by injury right now, it is pretty ludicrous to suggest that they should intentionally allow the Bucks, a formidable team headlined by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, to get back into the series. Brooklyn also has strong incentive to close things out as quickly as possible with Atlanta and Philadelphia still duking it out in the other Eastern Conference playoff series.

The 55-year-old Miller has had some other embarrassing moments before. But Shamet and the Nets probably think this one takes the cake for him.