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Friday, June 23, 2017

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Mike Trout reportedly wanted to sign ‘lifetime deal’ with Angels

Mike Trout

Mike Trout will be just 28 years old when he becomes eligible to hit free agency after the 2020 season, and the Los Angeles Angels are going to have to pay an astronomical amount of money in order to keep him. According to a report, Trout proposed an idea back in 2014 that could have prevented him from ever having to sign another MLB contract.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports was told by sources that Trout proposed the idea of a “lifetime deal” when he was negotiating his last contract extension with the Angels. The idea would have been to sign something like a 14- or 15-year deal rather than the six-year pact the two sides eventually agreed to.

Angels owner Arte Moreno apparently felt a deal of that length for a 23-year-old player with only two full seasons under his belt was a bit too risky.

Trout set himself up for life with that rare, record six-year deal and will have a “second bite at the apple,” after he broached an extreme mega deal in talks (14 or 15 years, according to people familiar with those talks) before word came back that Angels owner Arte Moreno decided not to go for the lifetime deal for the two-year superstar, but hardly anyone’s repeating that strategy. It’s no certainty they would have been able to work it out the super mega deal, anyway, as Trout seemed pleased at the middle ground of six. But it was quite an interesting thought put forth by Trout’s side.

As Heyman notes, the Angels had already committed a combined $442.5 million to Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson at the time. In hindsight, none of those were good deals.

Pujols is signed through 2021 at an average annual salary of $24 million. He’ll make $29 million when he’s 40 and $30 million when he’s 41, which is a disturbing thought for a 37-year-old who is hitting just .239 with a .286 OBP and .382 slugging percentage — all career-lows by far. Hamilton is gone and Wilson was average, but never the ace L.A. expected him to be.

Trout could still end up signing an extension with the Angels before he hits free agency, but it will cost the team more than it would have if they worked out a lifetime deal. While he probably won’t get as much as this soon-to-be free agent, his contract will be eye-popping. If for some reason the Angels lose Trout, the “lifetime deal” report will infuriate fans.

H/T CBS Sports

Report: Celtics believe they can sign Paul George to extension

Paul George

The Boston Celtics were reportedly in serious discussions with the Indiana Pacers about a Paul George trade on Thursday, and those talks are not necessarily dead just because the 2017 NBA Draft has come and gone.

The Celtics are still loaded with future first-round picks, and the Pacers may be looking at a total rebuild. It seems unlikely that Boston would give up much in a trade if George is just going to leave as a free agent next summer, but one sports anchor in Boston says he has heard the Celtics believe they can sign George to a three-year extension as long as they also add Gordon Hayward this offseason.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who reported back in March that George would love to play with Hayward, is skeptical of George signing an extension with Boston.

If anything, it seems more likely that there would be a handshake agreement in place. Would Danny Ainge risk giving up a bunch of assets without putting pen to paper? There would obviously be some risk involved.

Skeptics will argue that George wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, who are the Celtics’ biggest rival. However, George is 27 and the Lakers could be years away from being able to contend with the Golden State Warriors in the West — unless a certain someone joins George in LA. If the Celtics find a way to add George and Hayward to a starting lineup that already includes Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Avery Bradley, George may decide his best chance at capturing a title will be in Boston.

Matt Forte expected to be ‘offensive workhorse’ for Jets?

Matt Forte is one of only a handful of players the New York Jets have left that have already celebrated their 30th birthday, but he is expected to remain a huge part of the team’s offense in 2017.

While there has been some speculation that Forte could end up being the next veteran released by the Jets, Connor Hughes of NJ Advanced Media predicts that Forte will be an “offensive workhorse” for New York this upcoming season. There has been some talk about Bilal Powell earning a bigger role, but Hughes expects him to remain a complimentary piece in the Jets’ backfield.

Former Louisiana-Lafayette running back Elijah McGuire, the Jets’ sixth-round draft pick, could also get some work, but Forte will likely be given the chance to dominate touches. The question is how well the veteran’s body will hold up, especially after he suffered what sounded like a significant knee injury late last year.

The Jets are staring at a total rebuilding season, so it’s somewhat puzzling that they’re going to pay Forte $4 million in base salary. But if they’re going to keep him, they might as well try to use up every ounce of good football he has left.

Pacers president: Paul George wanting to leave team is a ‘gut punch’

Paul George

The Indiana Pacers had to have known there was a legitimate chance Paul George wouldn’t sign an extension with the team, but that didn’t make the official word any easier to handle.

After the NBA Draft Thursday night, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard revealed that he has not spoken to George since before the 27-year-old informed the team he plans on leaving after next season. When Pritchard received the call from George’s agent, he says he was devastated.

“For me it was gut punch,” Pritchard said, via Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star. “It was a total gut punch because we had many conversations over the summer about players that we’d like to add, a little bit of a style we’d like to play. In my opinion, I was very inclusive with (George) and the message over the summer up until this weekend was, ‘Let’s build a winning team.’ When that came in that he wanted to look at another place, it was gut punch for us.”

Pritchard was obviously upset on a personal level, but he was also unhappy with the way information leaked revealing George intends to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes a free agent next summer. That has made trading George far more difficult.

“Becoming public was a big issue,” Pritchard said. “The conversation with his agent was very challenging.”

Pritchard said he is still confident a trade will be completed before the season. In reality, the report about George wanting to play for the Lakers shouldn’t have affected much. Any team interested in trading for him is going to inquire about George signing an extension next offseason, and they would have likely learned of his intentions at that point.

George’s decision to move on from Indiana should not have surprised anyone, especially after the way he spoke about his teammates during the postseason. Pritchard simply thought he had more time to attempt to change the All-Star swingman’s mind.

Report: Chiefs GM John Dorsey was ‘blindsided’ by firing

The Kansas City Chiefs made a surprising decision this week to fire general manager John Dorsey, who had been with the team in that role since 2013. Typically moves of that nature come immediately after the season — not two months after the NFL Draft.

Something had to have been up, right?

If so, Dorsey wasn’t aware of it. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Dorsey was “blindsided” by the Chiefs’ decision to let him go.

Dorsey has been considered one of the better front office executives in football. While Andy Reid gets a lot of the credit (and got a contract extension the day the GM was fired), the Chiefs are 43-21 since Dorsey took over the roster and have made the playoffs three times.

There has been a lot of speculation as to why Dorsey was shown the door. Some wondered if the manner in which he informed Jeremy Maclin of his release played a role, but that’s highly unlikely. The most popular theory is that Dorsey, who has ties to the Packers and lives in Green Bay, is waiting for his mentor Ted Thompson to retire so he can become the GM of his hometown team.

Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star speculated that Dorsey may have asked for too much money from the Chiefs knowing he will eventually land a job in Green Bay regardless. Mellinger made it clear that he was only guessing, however.

Whatever the case, it’s hard to believe that the decision to fire a GM in June was strictly business related.

Josh Jackson canceled Celtics workout as they were flying out to meet him

Josh Jackson

The Boston Celtics used the third overall pick in the NBA Draft Thursday night on former Duke star Jayson Tatum, and it sounds like their decision was made simple by the refusal of another player to meet with them.

Just before the draft began, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge revealed that Kansas swingman Josh Jackson canceled his workout with the team while Ainge and others were in mid-air flying to Sacramento to meet him.

“I never talked with Josh. No one in our organization did,” Ainge said, via Nicholas Goss of NESN.com. “They canceled a workout on us when we flew out to Sacramento, and they just decided to cancel it as we flew.

“There was something, that he didn’t want to play for the Celtics. In spite of that, we’ve watched Josh for two years, and we’re fans (of him). He’s a terrific kid and a good player.”

Ainge compared the situation to when Kris Dunn didn’t want to work out for Boston a year ago, and he said the Celtics still considered Jackson at No. 3 and tried not to “penalize” him. Still, Ainge made it clear the last-minute cancellation bothered him.

“I was mad,” he said. “Flew across country, are you kidding me? I had to get up at 4 o’clock and fly back home. There’s nothing to do in Sacramento.”

Jackson is from California, so perhaps he wanted to be drafted by the Phoenix Suns at No. 4 to be closer to home. Either way, the comments he made about the Celtics earlier in the week don’t really match his actions.

Robert Horry believes Lakers will distance themselves from LaVar Ball

LaVar Ball said all along that his son Lonzo was going to be drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, and he was proven right on Thursday night. Does that mean the Lakers are going all-in on the Big Baller Brand? Robert Horry highly doubts it.

Horry, who played seven seasons in L.A. and won three championships there, expects the Lakers to distance themselves from LaVar Ball and his outspoken personality.

“As an organization, they’re probably going to tell him, ‘Bye,’” Horry told Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times. “It was all cool and good before it became a business. The Lakers are one of the biggest brands in sports and they don’t need all this other stuff going on.”

After the Lakers drafted Lonzo with the second overall pick, LaVar did not quiet down. Instead, he immediately guaranteed that his son will lead the team to the playoffs in his rookie season. Horry feels it’s time for the elder Ball to take a break from all that talk for a while.

“I think his Dad is at a point now, he needs to forget about Lonzo and start pumping up his other two sons,” Horry said. “He did exactly what he wanted to do, he got his son all this notoriety, shoes, all these things, how many times does the No. 2 pick get more TV time than the No. 1 pick? But now for his son, it’s about the Lakers, and it’s all different.”

Lonzo himself does not seem flashy at all, but he has a target on his back because of his father’s cockiness. For evidence of that, look no further than the tweet Joel Embiid sent during the draft.

Regardless of how Horry or anyone else feels about LaVar’s antics, they’re not going to stop any time soon. That’s what the Big Baller Brand is all about.

Deputy commissioner Mark Tatum cracks up as fans start yelling picks (Video)

Things tend to get a bit silly late in the second round of the NBA Draft, and the 2017 edition was no exception.

As is customary, numerous reporters, generally led early on by The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, tweeted out upcoming selections well ahead of when they were announced on stage. That continued in the second round, with Wojnarowski’s colleague, Shams Charania, spoiling numerous picks before deputy commissioner Mark Tatum was able to announce them.

As the arena began to thin out, a few fans at Barclays Center pulled out their phones and checked Twitter — and decided they, too, could beat Tatum to the punch.

Tatum openly cracked up upon hearing one fan scream out No. 52 pick Edmond Sumner’s name — a selection that had been shared on social media by Charania.

The group doing it seemed to be having the time of their lives.

Twitter users have gotten used to picks in both the NBA and NFL Drafts being spoiled before their official announcement, though the NFL has taken steps in the past to raise the suspense for TV viewers. This is probably the first time it’s happened to those in the arena, though.

Thunder fans dig up Terrance Ferguson’s pro-Warriors tweets

The Oklahoma City Thunder used their first-round pick on a pro-Kevin Durant Golden State Warriors fan.

The Thunder made Terrance Ferguson, a 19-year-old swingman who opted to pass on college and play professionally in Australia for a year, the No. 21 overall pick. It seemed like a solid choice for Oklahoma City — a young, quick wing player with a quality shot.

That is until, in what is becoming a draft night tradition, some of Ferguson’s old tweets surfaced.

(more…)

Report: Rajon Rondo buyout ‘a possibility’ for Bulls, Dwyane Wade will opt in

Rajon Rondo

The Chicago Bulls may be about to blow it all up.

Sam Amick of USA Today reported that, in light of the Jimmy Butler trade, the Bulls have not yet approached Rajon Rondo about a buyout, but it is “a possibility.”

In addition, despite earlier reports, Dwyane Wade will opt into the second year of his deal and take his $24 million.

The Bulls will have some decisions to make. Rondo has a team option with a $3 million buyout, while Wade has no interest in being part of a rebuilding effort at this stage of his career. The Bulls are clearly trending that direction, though, so there will be a lot of talk about buyouts and trades in the days and weeks to come.

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