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#pounditSunday, May 28, 2023

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Report: Teams using extra caution when contacting DeAndre Hopkins

DeAndre Hopkins without a helmet

Oct 24, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) against the Houston Texans at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NFL teams are free to negotiate with DeAndre Hopkins after the star wide receiver was released by the Arizona Cardinals this week, but those who are interested are apparently proceeding with caution.

Hopkins does not have an agent. With the veteran technically representing himself in any free-agent contract negotiations, Mike Florio reports that teams have chosen to not communicate with Hopkins via email. The reason for that is that team executives do not want to unknowingly communicate with a non-certified agent who is pretending to be Hopkins.

Back in March, the NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams reminding them that they are prohibited from negotiating with player representatives who are not certified by the NFL Players Association. At the time, it was believed that an unauthorized individual was attempting to communicate with teams on behalf of Lamar Jackson, who also does not have an agent.

Florio notes that uncertified player representatives have been known to communicate with teams either by pretending to be the player or through burner email accounts. One team became aware of the practice when they received an email from a player who was on the practice field at the time the email was sent.

By insisting on either telephone, video chat, or in-person communications with Hopkins, teams can be certain that they are negotiating with him and him only.

Hopkins was released by the Cardinals after they were unable to find a trade suitor for him. He has been repeatedly linked to one AFC team, though he will likely draw interest from plenty of others.

Boston radio host Fred Toucher raises concerns with social media activity

Fred Toucher on the air

Longtime Boston radio host Fred Toucher has dealt with some health issues in recent months, and some of his social media activity on Saturday night left fans deeply concerned.

Toucher, the co-host of 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich Show,” sent a couple of tweets on Saturday night that raised concern for his wellbeing. The first, which was sent just before 8 p.m., read “You ever wish to die.” The second read “I want to die baby.”

Shortly after he sent those tweets, Toucher shared a selfie that showed him strapped into what appeared to be some stretcher. He captioned the photo, “At the hospital again!”

There were no updates as of Sunday morning. However, it is worth noting that Toucher only recently returned to the air from what he said was a cancer scare. The 48-year-old revealed in April that he had to undergo throat surgery. He lashed out at some of his co-workers over what he perceived to be their lack of concern for him.

Toucher has co-hosted the “Toucher & Rich Show” alongside Rich Shertenlieb for nearly two decades. A few years back, Toucher took a hiatus from the show following a series of bizarre on-air rants. He soon after revealed that he was going through a divorce and had sought treatment for alcohol dependency.

Jimmy Garoppolo has noteworthy clause in his Raiders contract

Jimmy Garoppolo at a press conference

Mar 17, 2023; Henderson, NV, USA; New Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo speaks to the media at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending foot injury last December, but the issue was not viewed as a big concern when the veteran quarterback entered free agency. The Las Vegas Raiders have protected themselves in case it becomes one, however.

A report this week revealed that Garoppolo underwent surgery on his left foot after he signed with the Raiders. Garoppolo’s official introduction as a member of the Raiders was strangely delayed after he agreed to a deal, but both he and the team insisted there were no issues. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk learned, the Raiders appear to have made a significant tweak to Garoppolo’s contract after the 31-year-old underwent his physical.

Florio obtained a copy of Garoppolo’s contract, which contains a final clause titled “Addendum G.” The clause is a waiver and release acknowledging that Garoppolo would not pass his Raiders physical “because of a preexisting medal and middle cuneiform and a fracture of the base of the second metatarsal in the Player’s left foot and that the Club would not enter into an NFL Player Contract with Player.”

You can see the entire clause below:

As part of the agreement, Garoppolo acknowledged the risk of further injury and assumed all risks of continuing to play. The clause also states that the Raiders can terminate the deal for any reason determined to be related to Addendum G.

Florio also notes that Garoppolo initially had an $11.25 million signing bonus in his three-year deal with Las Vegas and $11.25 million base salary for 2023. The signing bonus was removed after his physical and the full $22.5 million became base salary.

In other words, Garoppolo’s foot injury was viewed as a big deal by the team. That does not mean they think it will become an issue, but they are protecting themselves in case it does.

Garoppolo suffered the foot injury on Dec. 6 and was shut down for the season. The San Francisco 49ers feared that he had sustained a Lisfranc injury and would need surgery. However, doctors determined that it was a different type of fracture that did not need surgery and would require a recovery period of about two months.

The Raiders’ medical staff had a different opinion, and Garoppolo underwent surgery.

Garoppolo should be recovered in plenty of time for training camp, but this is the second straight offseason where he has undergone surgery. Last year, the Niners had difficulty trading him because he needed a shoulder procedure.

NBA players react via Twitter to incredible Game 6 finish

Derrick White reacts

The ending to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night was thrilling for everyone who was watching, including several current and former players.

Derrick White made a tip-in just before the buzzer to lift the Boston Celtics to a 104-103 win over the Miami Heat, forcing a Game 7 in the series.

In response to the amazing finish, many current and former players reacted via Twitter. Take a look:

It’s nice to feel like everyone is reacting in the same way to these moments, including those who play in the league.

Game 7 of the series is scheduled for Monday night.

TNT made big error at end of Heat-Celtics Game 6

The Boston Celtics celebrating at the end of the game

The Miami Heat blowing the box-out on Derrick White wasn’t the only mistake at the end of Saturday’s Game 6.

The Boston Celtics guard White had a miraculous putback game-winner to force a Game 7 in his team’s Eastern Conference Finals series against Miami (video here). White got his shot off with a mere 0.1 seconds left on the clock, and it was so close that it even had TNT fooled.

Soon after White’s shot went in, TNT’s score bug read that the final score was Heat 103, Celtics 102. To make matters even worse, the top of the graphic read, “MIA wins series 4-2.” That created an unintentionally hilarious visual with the Celtics celebrating in the background.

Almost nobody knew if White had successfully gotten the shot off in real time. But apparently someone in charge at TNT had a quick trigger finger. Perhaps it would have been better if they had just eliminated the score bug altogether until a final determination on White’s shot had been made.

Whether intentional or unintentional, you can always count on TNT for the entertaining content. At least the series shifting back to Boston for a Game 7 means that we might get to hear Charles Barkley’s Beantown accent again.

Did officials put too much time on clock before Derrick White’s game-winner?

Al Horford fouling Jimmy Butler

Derrick White produced perhaps the moment of the postseason thus far in Saturday’s Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. But was White only in that position to begin with because of a generous clock decision by the refs?

The Boston Celtics guard White forced a Game 7 by the slimmest possible margin, downing the Miami Heat with an incredible putback layup as time expired. White’s amazing shot gave the Celtics a 104-103 win (video here).

But the play immediately before White’s game-winner also drew scrutiny. With the Celtics clinging onto a 102-100 lead, Al Horford fouled Heat star Jimmy Butler on a shot attempt. After the initial whistle, the clock stopped at 2.1 seconds. But with a challenge still in his back pocket, Boston coach Joe Mazzulla disputed the foul call. While the challenge was unsuccessful, the referees did get the opportunity to review the game clock and determined that Horford’s foul had actually occurred with 3.0 seconds left on the clock.

Those extra 0.9 seconds ended up being absolutely massive as White got off his ensuing putback attempt with just 0.1 seconds left on the clock.

Here is the full clip (where Horford appears to only lightly touch Butler at 3.0 seconds and not make any actual contact on Butler’s upward shooting motion until 2.8 seconds or so).

Of course, the replay review ended up helping the Heat as well since it was determined that Butler’s feet were behind the three-point line. That gave Butler three free throws instead of two (all of which he made).

White and the Celtics deserved to win the game, especially since Butler and Heat co-star Bam Adebayo were largely no-shows until a frantic late run put Miami in a position to almost steal away the victory. But that clock decision just goes to show how perilously close Boston’s season was to ending before they pulled a rabbit out of their hat and somehow forced a Game 7.

Derrick White forces Game 7 with unbelievable tip-in at buzzer

Derrick White attempts a shot

There will be a Game 7 in Boston.

The Boston Celtics were down 103-102 to the Miami Heat with three seconds left in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday. Boston was taking the ball out and had Derrick White inbound it. He passed in to Marcus Smart, who attempted a 3-pointer that missed. But White, who was preparing for a pass back, followed Smart’s shot and tipped in the rebound for the game-winning basket.

Take a look at just how close that was to the buzzer:

Boston led 98-88 with 3:51 left, so it would have stung extra for them to not only lose the series, but lose it while blowing a 10-point lead late in Game 6. Luckily for them, White was in the right place at the right time.

White scored 11 points — including the two biggest of the game.

There will now be a Game 7 in Boston on Monday night.

The Celtics are the fourth team in NBA history to force a Game 7 after being down 0-3 in a playoff series, though none of those other teams won the final game of the series.

Coach Larry Brown thinks he knows why so many good NBA coaches have been fired

Larry Brown wearing glasses

Mar 30, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Former basketball coach Larry Brown during the Kansas Jayhawks practice before the Final Four of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Several accomplished head coaches have been fired by NBA teams recently, and Larry Brown has a few thoughts about the reason.

Mike Budenholzer, Nick Nurse, Frank Vogel and Monty Williams are all coaches who reached the NBA Finals since 2019 (Nurse and Budenholzer won championships) and all have been fired since. The Philadelphia 76ers also fired Doc Rivers, who is accomplished but has been experiencing disappointing playoff exits.

Brown was a guest with NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark and offered some thoughts on what’s happening.

Brown believes that teams are full of young players and often lack veteran leadership, and many of the players don’t listen to their coaches. Additionally, he feels like players are calling the shots in many cases.

“So many young kids coming in the league now,” Brown said. “And I look at these benches now and see 15 people all dressed the same. It kind of troubles me. When I was starting out… you could really establish a relationship with the players. Now it’s different. I think so many people are looking out there to try to find somebody young that they think can communicate better with young players. I don’t buy it. I think a lot of people are afraid to coach these guys.”

Brown also believes many players are in charge.

He said some players are making so much “they are kind of running the teams. You can understand that — guys making $40 and $50 million — you’re going to have some say,” Brown said.

With the way NBA teams are firing coaches, the league has become something similar to the SEC with football coaches.

Brown, 82, has been coaching since 1972. He won an NBA championship with the Pistons in 2004. He has been both an NBA and college coach of the year.

Here is video of the interview:

H/T Basketball Network

Not everyone with Bucks wanted Nick Nurse as head coach?

Nick Nurse in a suit

Mar 8, 2020; Sacramento, California, USA; Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse gives instructions during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks surprised many people on Saturday when it was reported that they would be hiring Adrian Griffin as their next head coach.

Nick Nurse was also a candidate for the job, and he recently won a championship with the Toronto Raptors (in 2019). Griffin is a former NBA player who has been an assistant coach since 2008. He has been an assistant with the Raptors since 2018, which is when Nurse took over in Toronto.

So why would the Bucks go with Griffin over Nurse? It’s possible that Nurse decided he preferred another job instead (one report said he withdrew from consideration). But it’s also possible that the Bucks just preferred Griffin to Nurse.

SNY’s Ian Begley reported on Friday that “not all key stakeholders in Milwaukee were aligned on Nurse.”

Nurse is also believed to be a candidate for the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers jobs. If Nurse quickly ends up with a new job, maybe that will be a sign that he preferred a different team. But if not, it’s quite possible that the Bucks just preferred to hire Griffin instead.

Mavericks could hire interesting new lieutenant for Jason Kidd?

Jason Kidd coaches from the sideline

Mar 16, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd coaches against the Brooklyn Nets during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It could all be coming full circle for Jason Kidd in Dallas.

Tim Cato of The Athletic reported this week that the Mavericks have rumored interest in hiring former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel as an assistant coach. Cato adds that Vogel is being looked at as a “front-of-bench assistant” and would be brought in to assist Kidd rather than to signal a lack of confidence in Kidd on the part of the Mavericks.

Vogel, an 11-year NBA head coaching veteran, is a really interesting name. He led to the Lakers to the title in 2020 with Kidd as his top assistant coach. There were even rumors at the time that Kidd might be coming for Vogel’s job in LA. Now the two may just reunite in Dallas, only this time with their roles reversed.

Kidd led the Mavs to a surprise Western Conference Finals berth during his first year in charge last season. But he did not exactly look good this season as Dallas went 38-44 and missed the playoffs despite making a blockbuster trade for All-Star Kyrie Irving. While it sounds like Vogel would only play a supporting role with the Mavericks, the dynamics with his potential arrival will be worth keeping an eye on if Dallas continues to struggle under Kidd.