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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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Zach LaVine ‘upset’ with way Bulls’ season has gone

Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine is in his sixth season in the NBA and hasn’t experienced much team success. That is wearing on him.

LaVine conducted an interview with Chicago Bulls writer Sam Smith that was published on Monday. The 25-year-old guard talked about how he has been handling things during the coronavirus shutdown. LaVine said he is spending his time in Seattle at his new home, nearby his family.

Also in the interview (which you can read here), LaVine expressed his frustration over the Bulls’ season. Chicago was 22-43 when the season was suspended.

“To be blunt, I’m upset,” LaVine admitted to Smith. “We had high expectations coming into the season and it didn’t go our way anyway we could have thought of. We played through some adversity, but we didn’t go out there and do what we were supposed to do as a team.”

LaVine says he had hopes they would be able to make the playoffs, but things didn’t work out that way. He has never played on a team that won more than 31 games in a season, and that is understandably “frustrating” to him.

On a personal level, at least there have been some positives for LaVine. His 25.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game are career-high numbers. That explains why LaVine has been off limits in trade talks.

LaVar Ball explains why LaMelo should be No. 1 pick in NBA Draft

LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball is among the top prospects for the 2020 NBA Draft (whenever it ends up taking place) and will most likely go in the top five picks. If it’s up to his big-mouthed father, LaMelo would be going No. 1 overall for a few reasons.

LaVar Ball joined the “Pardon My Take” podcast last week and told hosts Big Cat and PFT why LaMelo should go No. 1.

“In the draft, when you have the No. 1 pick, you want to take a guy who’s most popular. That’s one of the things you want to have — like Zion (Williamson) was most popular last year. And then the second thing is you probably want to take the best guard because that’s how the game is changing. Melo is both of those,” LaVar said.

“So if you’re going to start your franchise and you want to put people in the seats, you gotta get Melo.”

CBS Sports has LaMelo as the No. 1 prospect in the class. ESPN has him No. 2, and SI has him ranked No. 3.

There has been some chatter that the inability of teams to interview players would hurt LaMelo, because teams would want to learn what kind of involvement LaVar would have in matters. LaVar has already shared some opinions. He says he doesn’t want LaMelo to go anywhere a coach would restrict him and put him in a box, which is what he felt happened with oldest son Lonzo on the Lakers.

Of course, a LaVar Ball interview would not be complete without some outlandish talk. LaVar talked his usual nonsense, saying he would win a championship in the NBA if he were coaching all three of his sons. He also said he would have schooled Zion Williamson if they played. That’s almost as funny as LaVar’s original comment about Michael Jordan.

Phillip Lindsay embracing competition with Melvin Gordon: He’s ‘not my enemy’

Phillip Lindsay

Phillip Lindsay is looking forward to doing battle with the newcomer in town.

In an interview Monday with Mike Kils of 9News in Denver, the Broncos running back said that he was embracing the competition for the starting position with the newly-signed Melvin Gordon.

“Melvin’s not my enemy,” said Lindsay. “He’s my teammate. He needs to do his job but best believe I’m going to do my job.”

“When camp comes around it’s going to be a battle,” Lindsay went on. “I’m not just going to sit there and give somebody the job. They can. But I’m going to go out there and I’m going to battle. I’ve heard this stuff my whole entire life. And it’s never ever panned out how everybody has wanted it to pan out. Until someone proves me wrong, I’m going to continue to do what I do.”

The 25-year-old Lindsay, who has rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons, started all 16 games for the Broncos in 2019. He also added seven rushing touchdowns and 35 receptions for 196 yards.

The two-time Pro Bowler Gordon, however, is expected to take the lead in the Denver backfield next season after signing a two-year, $16 million deal with them this offseason. But Lindsay has played with a major chip on his shoulder since going undrafted in 2018, and he is not about to relinquish his starting spot without a fight.

Darko Milicic takes high road in response to Carmelo Anthony shade

Darko Milicic took the high road in response to some recent shade from Carmelo Anthony.

Melo was on an Instagram Live conversation with friend Dwyane Wade on Friday and talked about their careers. Anthony pretended not to know who was drafted ahead of him at No. 2 overall (Detroit took Milicic). Anthony also said that if the Pistons took him instead of Darko, he would have won a few championships.

Milicic, who is 34 and a farmer in Serbia now, responded in comments to Serbian outlet Blic.

Here is the rough translation via Google Translate. The takeaway theme is that Milicic was taking the high road.

“As for these stories, so if my story is not told, they thank God have succeeded – I have not. We are not kids, we are adults, I hope, mature to understand that life is full of ups and downs. Advice to them, since I consider them less good guys, you should not be judged and ridiculed when thank God you didn’t last time I am, and you didn’t have a job at the beginning of your career with a vain and meanwhile senile Larry Brown who might be trying to explain to you that what you are actually doing best is not good for you and trying to make you something you are not really and still be humiliated for everything you do well. As always, I wish them all the best and every honor on their careers and in further life, many successes and less condemnation,” he said.

Milicic was only 18 when he was drafted and barely played until he was traded to Orlando after three seasons with Detroit. Had he been selected outside of the lottery and later in the first or even the second round, he wouldn’t have been ridiculed for his career. Instead, he had the misfortune of being selected behind LeBron James and before Carmelo, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. You had four possible Hall of Famers in five picks, and Darko was taken ahead of three of them. That’s a rough legacy.

The last time Milicic played in a game last year, he was looking massive.

Vince Carter breaks bad news to fan over supposed autograph

Vince Carter broke some bad news to a Toronto Raptors fan/media member on Tuesday night in pretty humorous fashion.

The Athletic sent a tweet on Tuesday asking followers to share the most random piece of sports memorabilia they own. Tas Melas, best known as a host of the recent NBA TV show “The Starters,” shared a photo of a signed program by Vince Carter.

Unfortunately, that $125 autographed program Melas bought actually features Alvin Williams’ signature.

Williams played in the NBA from 1997-2007 and was with the Raptors for eight seasons, where he teamed with Carter.

Melas says he now understands why he was the only bidder on the item at the silent auction.

Maybe Carter will hook up Melas with a fresh autograph to make up for it.

Jon Jones issues statement after reaching plea deal for DWI

Jon Jones

Jon Jones issued a statement on Tuesday after reaching a plea deal in his DWI case earlier in the day.

Jones was arrested on March 26 for alleged DWI and a gun charge. He failed three field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer showed his blood alcohol content to be twice the legal limit.

On Tuesday, the UFC star reached a plea deal that will punish him with house arrest, probation, outpatient therapy, and a fine.

“While we all work to understand and cope with stress and uncertainties surrounding the current state of our world, I want to express how truly disappointed I am that I have become the source of a negative headline again, especially during these trying times,” Jones said. “I am disappointed for letting down the people I care about the most – my family, friends and my fans. This morning I entered into a plea deal with the Albuquerque DA’s office. I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I know that I have some personal work to do to which involves the unhealthy relationship I have with alcohol,” Jones said in a statement via his publicist.

“I have dedicated so much time and energy to improve my community, and I will not allow this personal setback to hinder my work within the community when we need it most. I truly appreciate the support I have received from the community of Albuquerque and all my fans around the world. I very much look forward to putting this behind me. Thank you all for your continued love and support and please take care of yourselves.”

The 32-year-old fighter has had numerous legal issues. He had a DUI in 2012, a hit-and-run incident in 2015, and numerous failed drug tests.

Steelers plan to begin video interviews with NFL Draft prospects this week

Steelers logo

NFL teams are making adjustments to their draft prospect evaluation process this year due to changes related to the coronavirus. Teams were unable to watch players work out at their Pro Days, and they aren’t able to conduct the types of in-person visits with prospects they wanted. Teams hoping to talk with prospects are planning to do so via video interviews.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert says the team will begin their video interviews on Thursday.

The Steelers do not have a first-round pick this year because they traded theirs to Miami for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. They do have a second, third, two fourths, a sixth and seventh-round pick and will look to improve based on those selections.

Many team employees were said to be upset about the draft remaining on schedule for April 23-25, but they will now have to do the best they can.

Larry David shares perfect video message encouraging people to stay at home

Larry David Curb

Larry David recorded an absolutely perfect video message that was shared through the California governor’s Twitter account on Tuesday.

In the message, the “Seinfeld” creator and star of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” encouraged people to stay at home and watch TV.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt for David to encourage people to stay at home and watch TV during a time when the newest season of his show is available on HBO, but that doesn’t mean his message isn’t a good one.

And California really couldn’t have gotten a more perfect character for that message. This is exactly who LD is in the show.

Johnny Juzang announces his top six transfer destinations

Johnny Juzang

Kentucky guard Johnny Juzang is looking to transfer and has announced his top six possible destinations.

Juzang shared a graphic on Twitter Tuesday that showed Oregon, Texas Tech, Arizona, UCLA, Villanova and Notre Dame are in his final six.

Juzang is from Los Angeles, so it’s no surprise he would be considering three schools on the West Coast/in the Pac-12.

Juzang reclassified to the 2019 recruiting class last year and joined the Kentucky program. Juzang averaged 2.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game in 28 contests this season for the Wildcats.

The 6-foot-6 guard was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school.

Adrian Clayborn gets 2-year deal from Browns

Adrian Clayborn

The Cleveland Browns have made an addition to their defense.

The Browns and Adrian Clayborn agreed to a 2-year deal. The contract is for $6 million and worth up to $7 million, according to reports.

Clayborn is a rotational pass rusher who had four sacks last season for the Falcons. He will turn 32 and likely be part of Cleveland’s rotation on the defensive line.

The deal is an upgrade over the $2 million Clayborn made last year with Atlanta. The Browns were also thought to be a possible landing spot for Everson Griffen on the defensive line. It’s unclear whether the addition of Clayborn would impact that.