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Monday, July 15, 2019

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Ben Simmons agrees to max extension with 76ers

Ben Simmons

As has been widely expected, Ben Simmons has agreed to a max contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Simmons’ agent Rich Paul told Shams Charania of The Athletic that Simmons has agreed to the five-year, $170 million max deal he was eligible for, locking him down in Philadelphia long-term.

This had been a formality for roughly two weeks and maybe even longer. Simmons is a key part of the Sixers’ future and they’ve planned around him becoming one of their go-to players.

Simmons turns 23 next week. He’s coming off a season which saw him average 17.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 8.1 assists as the Sixers came frustratingly close to reaching the Eastern Conference Finals.

Alex Smith has leg brace removed eight months after injury

Alex Smith

Alex Smith took a step toward recovering from his catastrophic leg injury with the removal of a brace on Monday.

Smith’s wife posted a picture to Instagram of the Washington Redskins quarterback holding up his complex leg brace, adding in a caption that it was a “big milestone” in his recovery.

The next step in Smith’s rehab is unclear. He has previously said that he is essentially having to relearn how to use his leg to run and move, which is a major obstacle for an NFL quarterback.

Smith suffered the gruesome leg injury last Nov. 18. He is hopeful of playing again, though almost certainly not in 2019, and his coach sounds optimistic that he will. He has a long way to go, though, and no guarantees.

Rockets, Clippers reportedly want Andre Iguodala but are facing obstacles

Andre Iguodala face

The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers are two contending teams that would love to add a player with the experience Andre Iguodala can bring, but they are finding that may be a lot easier said than done.

Shams Charania of The Athletic confirmed on Monday that the Rockets and Clippers are “strongly pursuing” Iguodala, but both are running into obstacles in talks with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Rockets are concerned about the significant luxury tax bill they would rack up by working out a sign-and-trade for Iguodala and giving up a draft pick. LA would likely have to send forward Maurice Harkless to Memphis, and that is not ideal for them.

In other words, the two teams that want Iguodala more than any others may not be the best trade suitors. That could result in them having to get a third team involved, which always complicates a deal further.

It makes sense that the Grizzlies want to trade Iguodala rather than buying out his contract, as the Clippers and Rockets are not the only two teams that have shown serious interest. The demand for the 35-year-old makes him a valuable asset to Memphis at the moment.

Report: ‘No appetite’ among teams to take on final year of Chris Paul deal

Chris Paul Rockets

The Oklahoma City Thunder are having a very hard time finding anyone to take Chris Paul’s contract off their hands.

According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, based on conversations with NBA general manager, there is “almost no appetite” around the league to touch Paul’s contract, particularly the $44 million player option in 2021-22. Paul will be 37 years old by the time that deal expires.

The Thunder are running into the same problem the Houston Rockets had: Paul’s contract is nearly untradeable unless the pot is sweetened with extra picks. That runs counter to what Oklahoma City is trying to do, which is stockpile future first-round selections in order to strengthen their rebuild. Ultimately, they’re reportedly open to keeping the point guard, largely because, at this point, they may have no other choice.

Report: Brewers, Giants have discussed Will Smith trade

Milwaukee Brewers logo

In need of bullpen help, the Milwaukee Brewers appear to be zeroing in on one of the better players on the market.

According to Robert Murray of The Athletic, the Brewers and San Francisco Giants have had discussions about left-handed reliever Will Smith in recent days. While no deal is said to be close, the two organizations are scouting each other’s players.

The Brewers relied heavily on their bullpen during their successful 2018 season. The problem they’ve run into is that the three players they leaned on haven’t been as good this season. In Corey Knebel’s case, he won’t pitch again in 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Jeremy Jeffress has seen his ERA rise near four, while Josh Hader, while solid, has given up nine home runs in 45 innings.

The left-handed Smith has a 2.17 ERA in 2019, striking out 54 batters in 37.1 innings while walking just eight. Smith would be a rental, and he has experience with the Brewers, having pitched there from 2014 to 2016.

Smith is unlikely to be the only big name leaving the Giants before July 31. He’s also likely to demand a pretty high asking price.

Padres players dressed like Manny Machado for road trip

Manny Machado

Manny Machado has rubbed plenty of people the wrong way during his impressive career, but it would appear he has quickly established a strong relationship with his new teammates in San Diego.

Before their road trip to Miami (which happens to be Machado’s hometown) on Monday, Padres players decided to surprise their $300 million man by all wearing outfits they believed would have come from Machado’s wardrobe. The results were fantastic.

Fernando Tatis Jr. went the extra mile by wearing shoes with “Sky is the Limit” written on them. Machado has a tattoo of that phrase and also had it written on his shoes at his introductory press conference in San Diego.

While Machado is disliked by many of his opponents, the Machado dress-up day is a good indicator that his teammates are fond of him. Plus, Machado even apologized for some of the antics that got him in trouble during the playoffs last year. Maybe that $300 million contract was all he needed to turn over a new leaf.

Report: Asking prices on MLB trade market are ‘enormous’

With the MLB trade deadline looming, things are a little bit distorted in the market due to the limited number of teams who are clear sellers.

As of Monday morning, 22 of 30 teams are within five games or less of a playoff spot, meaning many teams will be looking to add and few are immediately set to sell. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, trade prices are “enormous” with roughly two weeks to go before the July 31 deadline.

Olney uses the example of New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler, with the Mets seeking high-end prospects in exchange for him despite the fact that he would be a rental for the team acquiring him.

It is quite clearly a sellers’ market, with even teams sitting below .500 looking into adding players at the deadline. It could make for a chaotic few weeks, and a few teams desperately overpaying for players in the market.

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Anthony Davis has no regrets about in-season trade demand

Anthony Davis Lakers

Anthony Davis took a bit of a reputation hit when he publicly demanded that the New Orleans Pelicans trade him last season, but he has no regrets over the way he handled the situation.

One of the questions Davis was asked in a recent interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols was if he wishes he did anything differently when informing the Pelicans that he wanted out. He did not hesitate with his response, which you can see at about the 1:35 mark below.

“No, I wish I did it the way I did it,” he said. “I love the city of New Orleans, but from a professional standpoint I felt like it was time for me to move on.”

Davis added that the trade demand was about taking control of his own career and finally making his own decisions.

“I allowed people to tell me what to do and advise me to do things, and I’d think, ‘Alright, they’re looking out for me,'” he said. “Now, by me being able to take control of my career, any decision I make I can sleep at night. That’s the biggest thing for me.”

As for the timing, Davis claimed he felt it was appropriate since he was not planning to sign an extension with the Pelicans and wanted to give them an opportunity to get as much in return for him as possible. That would make more sense if he didn’t take the trade demand public, as that stripped the team of most of its leverage.

In the end, Davis ultimately got what he wanted. We saw a glimpse over the weekend of just how excited he is to be a Laker, so it’s no surprise he has no regrets over the way things unfolded.

Deal between Robbie Gould, 49ers likely to be only one for franchise players

Jadeveon Clowney

The San Francisco 49ers were able to come to a long-term agreement with kicker Robbie Gould prior to Monday’s deadline for franchise tagged players, but the same should not be expected for other players who were hit with the tag.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Gould has agreed to a two-year, $10.5 million fully guaranteed deal with the Niners that has an option that could turn it into a four-year, $19 million deal. Houston Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett are also hoping for long-term deals before the Monday deadline at 4 p.m., but sources told Schefter they are not expected to get them.

The situation between Gould and the 49ers turned ugly earlier this offseason when the veteran kicker informed the team he wanted to be traded, but Schefter reports that the option in the contract was a breakthrough for the two sides over the weekend. Gould is one of the best kickers in NFL history and has converted on 72 of 75 field goal attempts since originally signing with San Francisco.

As for Clowney, the former South Carolina star will likely continue his holdout through training camp if he does not get a long-term contract on Monday, but he is not expected to go the nuclear route.

LeBron James still has not posted one of rarest stat lines in the NBA

LeBron James

LeBron James has pretty much done it all in his 16 NBA seasons, but there is still one elusive feat he has somehow yet to accomplish. For whatever reason, that feat is one that seems completely attainable but is remarkably rare.

LeBron has averaged roughly 27 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists per game for his career. Shockingly, however, he has never posted that exact stat line in any of his more than 1,000 games. While 27/7/7 may not seem like that big of a challenge for a future Hall of Famer, there are only nine active players who have posted that exact stat line.

James is probably going to have at least 100 career triple-doubles when all is said and done, so you would think 27/7/7 would be something he has done multiple times. Apparently the stars just need to align perfectly for that to happen.