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Report: TNT makes big decision regarding NBA broadcast rights

NBA court logo

Feb 18, 2023; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; The NBA logo on the court at Huntsman Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

TNT has reportedly made a major decision regarding the future of its NBA broadcast rights after the league concluded a new rights contract.

Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns TNT, intends to exercise its right to match the agreement the NBA made with Amazon, according to Tom Friend of Sports Business Journal. The move is WBD’s final play to try and keep some share of the rights to broadcast NBA games.

Amazon’s package is a streaming one, which could certainly complicate WBD’s case. The company would likely put forward Max, which it owns, as a comparable streaming platform to show live games on, with those games simulcast on TNT.

The next steps are unclear. Friend notes that the situation is likely to end with either an argument, a lawsuit, some sort of cash settlement, or a smaller fourth package carved out for TNT, which is believed to be WBD’s preferred outcome.

Language in the previous rights deal allowed TNT to match any new deal that it was not a part of. That does not necessarily mean they will retain the rights to NBA games, but it does leave the door slightly open for that possibility.

ESPN and NBC will receive the bulk of the rights in the new deal, but Amazon’s streaming package will also be a significant factor. Many NBA fans will be hoping some sort of agreement can be found with TNT, if only to ensure the possible survival of “Inside the NBA” beyond next season.

Bill Belichick’s future plans revealed after taking new media gig

Bill Belichick during a Patriots game

Nov 18, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick walks on the field before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick will be a busy man in 2024, even though he will not be working on an NFL sideline. The former New England Patriots coach is lining up multiple media jobs, but that reportedly should not be taken as a signal regarding his future career plans.

In an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show” Tuesday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero made clear that Belichick fully intends to coach again. The legendary coach is motivated by the possibility of setting the all-time record for coaching wins, but is also embracing the opportunity to remind people that he does have a personality beyond his coaching persona.

“Bill Belichick intends to coach in 2025,” Pelissero said. “He’s staying engaged in the game. He’s showing up to roasts. He’s now going to be on ‘Inside the NFL.’ We’ve seen him showing up to different events in high school, at the Manning Passing Academy. We saw him at the University of Washington, where his son Steve is now the defensive coordinator. He’ll be trying to better himself. He’ll be trying to remind you that he’s not Darth Vader, that there is more to Bill Belichick. He’s done a good job of that so far with media stuff.

“He’s fully invested, he wants to coach again. He wants to pursue the all-time wins record. Those are things that really matter a lot to Bill Belichick. Where is that going to be? I think that’s going to depend on a lot of different factors.”

Belichick added another media gig to his growing roster this week, but it does sound like these are one-year propositions if all goes according to plan. The big question is where he might coach, but without knowing what jobs are likely to become available, any suggestion there would be pure speculation.

Giants’ Logan Webb admits to being thrown off by All-Star experience

Logan Webb ready to pitch

Oct 14, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Logan Webb (62) throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning during game five of the 2021 NLDS at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco Giants pitcher Logan Webb did not have the All-Star Game experience he had hoped for, giving up three runs on three hits and a walk in an ugly third inning against the American League.

Webb took the mound in the third with a 3-0 lead and left with the game tied at 3. The Giants’ ace admitted after the game that he was badly thrown off by the unique preparation of the All-Star Game environment, and the fact that he had to come out of the bullpen.

“My first inning is usually my worst inning,” Webb said, via John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. “It was different coming out of the bullpen instead of starting. Max Fried and I were talking about it afterward. I played catch for a while, sat down and then sped it back up. I think I wasted a few bullets in the bullpen. If I threw like I did in the bullpen, I think I would’ve done a little better.”

Webb did add that the game was fun despite his struggles, and that he would love to make another appearance in the future to “redeem myself.”

This may sound like excuse-making from Webb, but starting pitchers are very much creatures of habit. When their routine is off, it can certainly impact them, especially when you are only going to get an inning of work like most would in the All-Star Game.

Webb holds himself and his teammates to high standards. One has to imagine that if he ever gets another shot at playing in an All-Star Game, he might do a few things differently.

Lakers to reunite JJ Redick with figure from his Orlando Magic days

JJ Redick holds a microphone

As JJ Redick begins his NBA coaching career, he will be getting support from someone who was around when he began his NBA playing career.

Jovan Buha of The Athletic reports this week that the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to add veteran assistant coach Bob Beyer to the staff of their new head coach Redick. Buha adds that Beyer has been at multiple Lakers Summer League games this year, sitting alongside the coaching staff.

Beyer, 62, has nearly two decades of NBA assistant coaching experience with nine different teams in total. That included a stint with the Orlando Magic from 2007-12, overlapping him with Redick (who began his playing career with the Magic). The two even made the NBA Finals together in 2009.

Most recently, Beyer spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach for the Charlotte Hornets. Now it looks like he will be reuniting with Redick in L.A. and joining a Lakers staff that already includes some well-known former NBA head coaches.

Nick Saban explains why he did not pick Alabama to win SEC

Nick Saban in a suit

Oct 21, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban does his traditional walk around at Bryant-Denny Stadium before a game against the Tennessee Volunteers. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban explained Wednesday why he did not pick Alabama to win the SEC.

Saban drew some negative attention when he revealed his pick for the SEC Championship Game — Georgia against Texas.

The former Crimson Tide head coach drew the ire of one of his former players. That led Saban to defend himself on ESPN’s “College Football Live” Wednesday.

Saban said it’s not a bad thing that he didn’t pick his former team.

“I picked Georgia and Texas, but as a coach, I never wanted to get picked to win the SEC. So the players out there disappointed in me for not picking Alabama, it’s because I never picked Alabama,” Saban explained.

Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy, who is a media personality for ESPN, joked that Saban was using “inverted rat poison.”

Saban always used to use the term “rat poison” to describe comments from the media that could adversely affect his program. He hated when Alabama would receive too much praise or hype from the media, and said it could kill a team like poison if you consume it. Based on what McElroy was trying to convey, Saban is downplaying expectations for Alabama to take the pressure off the team.

Marlins reportedly certain to trade one All-Star player at deadline

A Miami Marlins hat

Apr 11, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A view of a New Era Miami Marlins hat in the dugout during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins may already be packing one player’s bags for him.

Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported on Wednesday that the Marlins are “certain” to trade away All-Star closer Tanner Scott. The news comes with less than two weeks to go before the July 30 MLB trade deadline.

The lefty Scott, 29, was the Marlins’ lone All-Star representative this season and certainly deserved it. So far on the year, Scott has posted a sparkling 1.34 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 39 appearances. While save opportunities have obviously been sparse for the 33-63 Marlins, Scott has managed to convert on 14 of 16 chances.

Given Miami’s NL-worst record, they are obviously in the sellers category ahead of the trade deadline. They already traded three-time All-Star hitter Luis Arraez to the San Diego Padres in May and could now fetch a similarly strong return for Scott, who plays at a position that is highly coveted at this time of year. On top of that, the Marlins are rumored to be leaning towards a trade of a different former All-Star on their roster too.

Caleb Williams’ rookie contract was reportedly held up by 1 factor

Caleb Williams with a Bears hat

Apr 26, 2024; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears number one draft choice Caleb Williams at a press conference at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Williams waited until the day of training camp to sign his rookie deal, and a new report suggests that one major factor was the root cause of the hold-up.

Williams wanted the Bears to include language guaranteeing that he could not be franchise tagged when his rookie deal expires, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The Bears refused to blink, however, and Williams’ contract ultimately included no such language.

The demand represents an ambitious move for Williams. Only a handful of veteran players had succeeded in getting such a clause inserted in a contract, and no rookie ever had. Ultimately, Williams did not have a ton of leverage to get the Bears to agree to such a demand, so it is not shocking that he did not succeed.

Williams wound up getting the standard $39 million deal guaranteed by the rookie wage scale.

It does not appear that he got any special clauses inserted at all, so the lengthy standoff ultimately ended with Williams signing the deal most would have expected him to.

Jaylen Brown selling his Boston penthouse for nearly $5 million

Jaylen Brown in his Celtics uniform

May 19, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) brings the ball up court during the first half of game two of the 2022 eastern conference finals against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Jaylen Brown is coming off a championship win with the Boston Celtics, and now he is looking to sell his Boston penthouse.

Brown has listed his three-bedroom condo for $4.75 million, according to Top Ten Real Estate Deals. The home is located on the top floor of a converted textile factory and has a spiral staircase that connects to a rooftop terrace.

The home has an “open-floor layout, 12-foot ceilings, exposed brick walls, big windows and original wood beams.”

Brown has decorated his house to include a pool table, some framed jerseys, and some video game cabinets.

A look inside Jaylen Brown penthouse

A look inside Jaylen Browns penthouse. Photo Credit: Surette Media Group

Brown signed a 5-year, $285.4 million deal last year and is set to make $49.2 million next season. The $4.75 million he is asking for is a paltry sum relative to his career earnings. Maybe he will be looking to upgrade.

The 27-year-old former No. 3 pick averaged 23.0 points per game last season and made his third All-Star team.

Khris Middleton undergoes concerning double surgeries

Khris Middleton looking on

Jul 11, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton looks on during warmups prior to game three of the 2021 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Khris Middleton has a little bit more than three months before the start of next season, and he may need all of it to recover.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Wednesday that the Milwaukee Bucks star Middleton has undergone arthroscopic surgeries on both of his ankles this offseason. Charania describes them as “clean-up procedures to fix lingering issues” and adds that Middleton has already started “light” on-court work and is expected to be ready for the start of the 2024-25 season.

The three-time All-Star Middleton dealt with a lingering left ankle sprain last February that cost him over a month of the season. Middleton then sprained his right ankle during Milwaukee’s first-round defeat to the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs but played through the injury.

While the prognosis on Middleton sounds optimistic, getting arthroscopic surgeries on both ankles in the same offseason is a big concern, especially since Middleton is about to turn 33 years old. Middleton is often injured too (playing in just 33 games during the 2022-23 campaign due to a knee issue) and has seen his scoring averages go down from over 20 points per game previously to 15.1 points per game over the last two seasons combined.

In addition to Middleton, Milwaukee’s core around Giannis Antetokounmpo (who will soon be turning 30 himself) is getting very old. Damian Lillard is now 34, and Brook Lopez is 36. While the Bucks did just get younger with a smart signing in free agency, they will have a lot riding next season on Middleton’s ability to bounce back from his double surgeries here.

Do Jets have major doubts about Nathaniel Hackett?

Nathaniel Hackett on the sideline

Dec 18, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Evidence continues to mount suggesting the New York Jets do not have a ton of faith in offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and his play-calling abilities.

The Jets had discussions with former Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith early in the offseason regarding a possible play-calling role with the offense, according to Dianna Russini of The Athletic. The situation progressed to the point that quarterback Aaron Rodgers was made aware of them.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk confirmed Russini’s reporting, and added that talks ultimately fell apart because of a lack of clarity regarding Smith’s possible role. Smith went on to take the offensive coordinator job with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

This is the second time this offseason we have heard that the Jets tried to essentially replace Hackett, or at least strip him of a great deal of responsibility. It is pretty hard to read any of this as anything but a lack of belief in Hackett to get the most out of the Jets’ offense.

Hackett is known as a close ally of Rodgers, as the two worked together in Green Bay. Rodgers has publicly defended Hackett during the offseason, and there was definitely a perception that Hackett got the offensive coordinator job because of his Rodgers ties. His stock was unquestionably down after a disastrous tenure as head coach of the Denver Broncos that lasted less than a year in 2022.

The Jets struggled offensively last season, though much of that can be attributed to Rodgers’ injury four snaps into the campaign. With that excuse off the table, Hackett appears very likely to be firmly on the hot seat to start the year.