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#pounditSunday, June 26, 2022

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Kendrick Perkins makes big confession on podcast

Kendrick Perkins leans over

Nov 18, 2015; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center Kendrick Perkins (5) reacts during the first quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

You never pray for an athlete to be injured unless of course you’re Kendrick Perkins and that athlete is LeBron James.

During a recent appearance on the Old Man and the Three podcast, Perkins admitted that he once feared James. He also admitted that prior to Game 7 of a 2008 second-round matchup between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, he prayed that James would suffer an injury.

“I got a confession,” Perkins said. “We played the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008 and it was a Game 7. We just had lost Game 6. And I’m not going to lie, man. I was scared as hell going into that Game 7 against LeBron James. And this was the only time that I actually prayed that something happened to him at practice.

“I was like, ‘let us get breaking news that LeBron has torn his ACL or something.’ I did, bro. I’m not even lying and I’m not even exaggerating … this is real. That’s how terrified I was of LeBron.”

Co-hosts JJ Redick and Tommy Alter were completely taken aback by Perkins’ admission and even suggested editing those comments out. Perkins insisted they not and then continued…

“Let me tell you,” Perkins said. “We got by the Hawks and I remember it was Game 6 in Cleveland and he drove down the lane and dunked on [Kevin Garnett] and James Posey. I seen it in his eyes because I was sitting on the bench — I had a horrible game. And I kept saying to myself, ‘we’re not getting past this mother f—–r. He’s coming in here and he’s going to beat us.’ I could see it.

“I was scared. I was like, ‘this is just a different dude right now’ and I was scared. And I actually was sitting up there really praying that I woke up to news that some type of way he was going to be out of the game.”

Pressured further on the torn ACL comment, Perkins refused to back down. He would not have been satisfied if James had sprained his ankle or come down with the flu because he felt like The King would play through it. He remained steadfast that he prayed for a debilitating injury.

“I did not want him to play in this Game 7,” Perkins said.

James ended up playing in that Game 7 and dropped an impressive 45 points. But it wasn’t enough as Perkins and the Celtics not only sent the Cavaliers home, but went on to win the NBA championship.

Situation between Kyrie Irving, Nets getting ‘acrimonious’

Kyrie Irving looks on during a game

Mar 15, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The sour relationship between Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets is only getting more sour. “Acrimonious” even.

That was the word ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski used to describe the growing dissent between the two parties on Friday. And by all accounts, an ugly divorce with added ramifications appears to be looming.

“Listen, people try to gain leverage,” Wojnarowski said. “If you’re Kyrie Irving, you’re trying to go get the Nets to give you a longer-term deal with more guaranteed money than they want to give. The Nets are trying to go in the other direction—shorter deal, incentivized, because he just hasn’t been on the floor as much as they’d like the couple years.

“This is getting acrimonious, and I think that’s the concern when you look at not just Kyrie Irving’s future in Brooklyn, but Kevin Durant’s future and whether they can hold this thing together right now.”

Irving, who holds a $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season, has also reportedly given the Nets a list of six destinations he’d prefer if a deal cannot be reached.

The 30-year-old Irving, who averaged 27.4 points and 5.8 assists, has until Wednesday to pick up or decline the option.

Sha’Carri Richardson avoids reporters after disappointing showing

Sha'Carri Richardson at a track event

May 9, 2021; Walnut, CA, USA; Sha’Carri Richardson (USA) celebrates after winning women’s 100m heat in 10.74 during the USATF Golden Games at Hilmer Lodge Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sha’Carri Richardson looked to bounce back this week after losing her berth in the Olympics last year, but that’s not what happened.

In a moment that left the athletic world in utter shock, Richardson failed to advance in the women’s 100 meter at the U.S. Track and Field Championships on Thursday. She finished with a time of just 11.31, which was well short of her finish earlier this month in New York (10.85).

Following the race, the 22-year-old Richardson wasn’t interested in speaking with the media. She rushed past a group of reporters without even acknowledging they were there, according to the New York Post.

While some may view that as a bad look, Richardson was undoubtedly dealing with an intense level of personal frustration. She’s a far better athlete and runner than she displayed on Thursday, and she likely just needed a few moments to herself.

The good news for Richardson is that she can still quality for worlds by finishing top three in the women’s 200 meters on Saturday, which she had won in New York with a time of 22.38.

Report: Teams preparing trade offers for Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant dribbles

Oct 11, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) in action against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

As the Brooklyn Nets continue to battle it out with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant has apparently begun to consider his own future.

Whether or not Durant eventually becomes available remains to be seen, but several NBA teams are reportedly preparing in the event he does. And that’s a significant development.

“I can tell you this,” Zach Lowe said during The Lowe Post podcast this week (26:46 mark). “This is what teams are doing. Teams are already operating under the… not the assumption, but we need to prepare for the contingency Kevin Durant is available via trade in six days, or seven days.”

Durant signed a contract extension with the Nets in 2021 and has four years remaining on that deal. However, there are some who believe his future with the team is tied directly to Irving’s.

“There are teams rooting for Irving to opt-out and walk away from the Nets, believing it would give them a chance to cobble together trade packages to acquire Durant,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said this week. “As much as Durant asking out hangs over the Nets, there’s also the reality that four years on his contract will mean he has little, if any, voice on when or where he would be traded. This would be a small-market team’s dream, robbing a goliath of an MVP-level talent whose contractual circumstances would leave him little choice but to play for them.”

And for that reason, Lowe believes every single NBA team should prepare a “what-if” trade proposal for Durant.

“Every team in the league has to at least have a meeting about what we should offer for Kevin Durant,” said Lowe.

As Wojnarowski alludes, Durant will have little say over where he goes should a trade market develop, but expect several teams to be hot on his trail.

H/T: Grant Shirley

Video: Javy Baez sticks it to heckler after hitting grand slam

Javy Baez makes a hand signal

As Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez readied himself in the on-deck circle prior to a third inning at-bat on Friday, a fan seated nearby began giving him the business.

“Nothing bad,” Baez told The Detroit News of what the fan was saying. “Just talking good trash.”

As good as the trash talk may have been, it wasn’t nearly as good as Baez’s response.

With the bases loaded and a 1-2 count, Baez connected on a hanging curveball and sent it 459 feet over the left-center wall. And the very moment the ball left his bat at 111 MPH, Baez made sure that trash-talking fan knew all about it.

“He was just talking good trash,” Baez said. “I turned back and they were just laughing. It was competition stuff. As soon as I hit that ball, the first thing that came to my mind was all this other stuff that he was saying. It was very fun.”

Given some of the negative interactions we’ve seen between sports fans and athletes in recent years, this is a breath of fresh air. Baez and the fans were just having a little bit of fun — Baez more so than the fans in the end.

Browns’ plan revealed if Deshaun Watson is suspended

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The future of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson remains very much uncertain. And the same can be said for his fellow quarterback, Baker Mayfield.

That leaves the Browns in an unexpected position. They were certain their quarterback woes would come to an end with the acquisition of Watson, but it’s only ended up muddying the waters further. And as the NFL deliberates on a potential suspension for Watson, Cleveland is busy creating contingency plans.

Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reports that the Browns will plug Jacoby Brissett in as their starter should Watson be suspended.

Brissett has emerged as the fallback option due to the team’s deteriorated relationship with Mayfield, who skipped minicamp and openly wants to be moved.

“I have no regrets of my time in Cleveland, of what I tried to give to that place,” Mayfield told the “Ya Never Know” podcast in April. “The respect thing is all going to be a personal opinion. I feel disrespected, 100%. I was told one thing, and they completely did another.

“That’s what I’m in the middle of right now. And you know what, I got my taste of it because I’ve had four different head coaches in four years. 2021 was miserable — bunch of different coordinators. I’m just looking for stabilization right now.”

The 29-year-old Brissett was a third-round pick of the New England Patriots in the 2016 NFL draft. He was traded to the Colts in 2017 and spent four seasons in Indianapolis before donning a Miami Dolphins uniform last year.

In 60 career games (37 starts), Brissett has completed 60.2% of his passes for 7,742 yards, 36 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He’s also rushed the ball 178 times for 653 yards and 13 additional touchdowns.

Brewers first base coach goes viral for awesome shoes

Quintin Berry smiling

Apr 12, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Milwaukee Brewers first base coach Quintin Berry (23) looks too the stands during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Quintin Berry was coaching in style on Friday night.

The Milwaukee Brewers’ first base coach was caught on camera sporting some “legit” kicks during Friday’s 9-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in Milwaukee.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the broadcast panned to Berry’s feet and showed the flashy shoes he was wearing. The shoes were gold with white soles that had blue lights that lit up.

This wasn’t the first time we’ve seen a creative pair of baseball footwear this season.

Berry has been a coach in the Brewers organization since 2018, and was named the team’s first base coach prior to the 2021 season. He played parts of five MLB seasons with the Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers. In 132 career games, Berry hit .262 with 80 hits, including three home runs and 33 RBI. He had 29 stolen bases.

Reds players respond to Giants’ fantasy football T-shirts

Tommy Pham in batting practice

May 12, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cincinnati Reds left fielder Tommy Pham (28) looks on at the batting cage before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Pham’s Cincinnati Reds teammates apparently aren’t letting the fantasy football feud between Pham and San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson go.

Earlier in June, some Giants players wore T-shirts with the message “Stashing players on the IR isn’t cheating” in support of Pederson. Pham had slapped Pederson in May over accusations that Pederson cheated in their fantasy football league (video here).

The Reds visited the Giants for a three-game series beginning on Friday, which is the first time the two teams have faced each other since the incident. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale shared a photo prior to Friday’s game via social media that showed Reds players wearing shirts with “Pham!” on them. According to Nightengale, a good number of Reds pitchers were wearing them.

Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area shared a photo of multiple Reds pitchers wearing “Pham!” shirts.

The writing style of the “Pham!” was similar to how “pow!” typically looks in cartoon writing, making it very fitting to describe the slap incident.

One of the crazier stories of the 2022 MLB season so far is not going to die out easily.

Pham accused Pederson of picking up a player after stashing a different player on the injured list when that different player was listed as out. ESPN’s fantasy football rules allowed Pederson to do this, but Pham said that their specific league had a rule against that practice.

Both teams have seemingly not forgotten the May dust up, especially based on recent comments from Pham about Pederson. It will be interesting to see if things escalate between both sides this weekend.

Alvin Kamara responds to report about his looming suspension

Alvin Kamara wearing an Atlanta Braves hat

Feb 9, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara watches a game between the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara appears to be miffed at a Thursday report containing details of his expected suspension for the 2022 season.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Thursday that Kamara will likely face a six-game suspension for an incident in Las Vegas during the Pro Bowl weekend. Kamara was accused of punching a man at a Las Vegas nightclub. While charges are pending, it’s expected that Kamara will have to miss time once criminal proceedings conclude.

Kamara responded to Florio Thursday via Twitter shortly after the report came out. The running back posed a likely sarcastic question for the NFL reporter.

“@ProFootballTalk can you tell us when Jesus gon return to earth?” Kamara wrote.

The 26-year-old has a hearing scheduled for early August. The NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy contains a six-game minimum suspension in the event of a felony battery, which is the charge that Kamara is facing.

According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department report of the incident, Kamara allegedly punched an unconscious victim while the victim was lying on the ground. Kamara and three other men were also accused of stomping on the victim dozens of times, leading to an orbital fracture on the face of the victim.

If Kamara is indeed suspended for six games, the Saints will have to rely heavily on veteran Mark Ingram II and second-year back Tony Jones Jr. The team worked out veteran running back David Johnson during minicamp, but did not sign him to a contract.

Report: 3 bidders for NFL Sunday Ticket revealed

Roger Goodell at the podium

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

DirecTV will no longer have the rights to the NFL’s Sunday Ticket after the 2022 season, and three streaming services have reportedly already made bids for the rights.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Apple was the favorite to land Sunday Ticket after the upcoming season. But Apple has some competition.

According to Alex Sherman and Jessica Golden of CNBC.com in an article published Friday, both Disney and Amazon submitted bids along with Apple weeks ago to become the new Sunday Ticket broadcast rights holder. It is now just a waiting game to see which bid wins out. The NFL reportedly is not in a rush to make a decision as DirecTV has the rights to the package for one more season.

The NFL reportedly wants bidders to pay over $2 billion for rights and a stake in NFL Media that will be packaged with Sunday Ticket. This has likely delayed the process of selecting a winning bid. According to Sherman and Golden, the NFL’s mobile rights could also be a part of the deal after the NFL’s agreement with Verizon has ended.

DirecTV currently pays $1.5 billion annually for the package. The NFL originally wanted to double that amount in the new deal, but the likelihood of that happening might be unrealstic; Sunday Ticket has reportedly lost DirecTV money historically.

H/T Pro Football Talk