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#pounditFriday, June 2, 2023


DeAndre Hopkins takes visit with notable AFC team

DeAndre Hopkins without a helmet

Dec 6, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) against the Los Angeles Rams at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins may be on his way back to his former team.

Hopkins spent time visiting the Texans while in Houston this week, according to John Crumpler of Texans Wire.

This follows up on a report from Houston-based NBA writer Roosh Williams, who had suggested this was a possibility on Wednesday.

Hopkins started his career in Houston, playing there from 2013 to 2019. He made four All-Pro teams while there. He would be returning to a very different franchise, as the team is in the middle of a hefty rebuild, but he could provide the kind of veteran leadership they might need, and a high-profile target for rookie quarterback CJ Stroud.

For his part, Hopkins seems to be enjoying keeping everyone guessing, but a visit to Houston suggests some mutual interest.

Report reveals price Lakers are willing to pay for Austin Reaves

Austin Reaves in warmups

Nov 6, 2021; Portland, Oregon, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Austin Reaves (15) warms up prior to a game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Reaves is expected to draw plenty of interest as a restricted free agent this summer, but the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly going to fight hard to bring him back.

The Lakers can offer Reaves around $50 million over four years, but the 25-year-old is expected to receive offers that far exceed that. Jovan Buha of The Athletic said on the Hoops Hype podcast this week that L.A. is willing to pay as much as $100 million to keep Reaves.

“The Lakers are going to match any contract offer sheet that he signs up to that $100 million,” Buha said. “The Lakers view him as the third-best player on this team if you look at the regular season and postseason he had.”

Buha added that multiple teams are expected to pursue Reaves, including the Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. The reporter believes Reaves is “priority No. 1” for the Lakers this offseason and that they learned their lesson when they chose not to match the offer sheet Alex Caruso signed with the Chicago Bulls.

Reaves elevated his game during the postseason. He averaged 16.9 points, 4.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game after averaging 13.0 points, 3.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds during the regular season. He became a regular starter in the playoffs.

If the Lakers are truly willing to pay $100 million to bring Reaves back, that is likely further evidence that they may let another key player walk.

Mike McDaniel is seriously torn on his NBA Finals rooting interest

Mike McDaniel at practice

Sep 25, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel enters the field prior to a game against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel is in a bit of a fix when it comes to his NBA Finals rooting interest.

McDaniel is a Denver native and grew up rooting for the Nuggets. That allegiance is being tested, however, with the Miami Heat as their Finals opponents. McDaniel has been spotted at Heat games during the playoffs and has a relationship with coach Erik Spoelstra, and admitted he might be learning their way this time.

“Realistically, when it comes down to it, the stuff that I’ve been able to really get access to with the Heat coaching staff led by Spo last summer,” McDaniel admitted, via Kevin Patra of “Getting to know them, following their journey and getting to know the people you know I’ve become extremely invested. So I don’t lose any sleep by saying you know what, Denver Nuggets, why don’t we wait 48 years? Not 47. So that’s kind of where I stand on that.”

Of course, the Heat have won three titles in the last two decades, while the Nuggets are still searching for their first. That does not appear to be playing on McDaniel’s mind as he tries to figure out where his allegiances lie.

Denver is well-rested, as they have acknowledged, and is seen is the favorite with the series starting Thursday. Whether that helps or hurts them remains to be seen, but McDaniel will be able to find the bright side no matter the outcome.

Report: Celtics players had 1 big issue with Joe Mazzulla

Joe Mazzulla on the sideline

Dec 16, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla watches from the sideline as they take on the Orlando Magic at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics had to deal with some significant turmoil this season, particularly with coach Joe Mazzulla taking over as head coach after Ime Udoka’s preseason suspension. That led to some noteworthy growing pains, particularly with regard to one apparent priority.

Some Celtics players believed Mazzulla put too much emphasis on offense at the expense of the Celtics’ defense, according to Jay King and Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Celtics players felt they had forged an identity on defense, and felt that Mazzulla was not doing enough to maintain that.

One particular issue was the coach’s treatment of Grant Williams, who had been a key defensive piece during the 2022 playoffs. Williams saw his playing time decrease significantly in the second half of the season to the point that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown went to Mazzulla in March and asked the coach to put Williams back in the rotation, which he did.

In one instance during the second round of the playoffs against Philadelphia, after Mazzulla ran a film session that focused heavily on offense, Brown hinted at the disagreements by breaking a huddle with “One, two, three, defense.”

The Celtics plan to keep Mazzulla despite their exit in the Eastern Conference Finals, but it is clear he and the team were not on the same page all the time. He may need to reassess some things for next season to get everyone pulling in the same direction.

Report: Knicks hoping 1 star player becomes available via trade

Tom Thibodeau looking on

Jan 2, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts during the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have been trying to acquire a franchise-altering superstar for several years now, and it sounds like they are planning to aim high once again this summer.

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said on the latest episode of “The Hoop Collective” podcast that the Knicks will keep an eye on Joel Embiid this offseason. The hope for New York is that things might go “haywire” with the Philadelphia 76ers and the reigning MVP will ask for a trade.

“They’re not hoping for patience, they’re hoping for The Process. I don’t know if that’s coming, but they’ve looked at that situation in Philly and there’s been a hope in New York that stuff in Philly will go haywire to the point where Embiid will ask out,” MacMahon said, via Adam Wells of Bleacher Report. “I don’t know the percentage odds on that, I would say they are slim, but that’s been the hope.”

It seems like an understatement to say there is a “slim” chance of the Sixers trading Embiid. The 29-year-old signed a four-year, $210 million supermax extension last year that does not even kick in until next season.

Philadelphia just fired Doc Rivers and made a big splash by hiring Nick Nurse. The goal for the 76ers is to get over the hump in the postseason with a new championship coach, not trade their best player and rebuild.

If the Knicks truly are holding out hope that Embiid will want out of Philly, it shows how desperate they are to find a star player to pair with Jalen Brunson. And even if Embiid did become available, the Knicks always seem to think the asking price for franchise cornerstones is too high.

Tom Brady shares update on his FOX broadcasting plans

Tom Brady puts up his hand

Aug 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) jogs off the field after a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of speculation in recent months about Tom Brady potentially backing out of the massive agreement he signed with FOX, but the former quarterback seems as committed to the deal as ever.

Brady discussed his future this week during an interview with Robin Lundberg of SI Now. While shooting down the latest round of rumors that he could come out of retirement, Brady mentioned his role with FOX.

“I’m looking forward to my broadcasting job at FOX next year,” Brady said.

New York Post media reporter Andrew Marchand said last month that he believes there is a more than 50 percent chance that Brady will never wind up working for FOX. Brady issued a pretty clear response on social media, but what he said to Lundberg was even more detailed.

In addition to confirming that he plans to honor his reported $375 million contract, Brady also provided a specific timeline by saying he is looking forward to starting next season.

For whatever reason, some very prominent members of the media believe Brady is not fully committed to FOX. As of now, it does not sound like the 45-year-old is on the fence in any way.

Joe Buck makes big admission about his broadcasting future

Joe Buck smiles

Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; FOX analyst Joe Buck before the NFC Divisional Playoff football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Buck has not called a Major League Baseball game since he left FOX for ESPN last year, but the longtime announcer says that arrangement may not be permanent.

Buck was the voice of the World Series, MLB All-Star Game and more during a run at FOX that lasted more than two decades. ESPN also has a baseball package, but Buck said last year that he turned down the network’s request to call some MLB games and is focusing solely on his job with “Monday Night Football.”

At the time, Buck said he was “ready to move on” from baseball broadcasting and no longer has the itch to do it. That was last November. The 54-year-old’s stance has since changed a bit, as he told Audacy’s “The PBP: Voices of Baseball” podcast this week that he sees himself calling baseball games again at some point.

“I think I will (do baseball again). I’ve never said that before but I just feel like I’m 53, basically 54, I think it’s too early to say nevers at this point in my life,” Buck said. “I think at some point, I’ll get the itch again.”

If and when he does return to the baseball booth, Buck says it would be to do a handful of local broadcast games. He said he is “done” calling World Series games and would rather be in a position where he can represent the fans like his father Jack Buck did with the St. Louis Cardinals.

“I just remember my dad’s thing was two on and nobody out, ‘We need a triple play!’ You don’t say that when you’re doing — We? ‘We’ means John Smoltz and me. ‘We’ means those of us at FOX. There is no ‘we’ in national broadcasting,” Buck said.

ESPN paid a hefty price to bring in Buck, so they would probably be thrilled if he eventually called some MLB games for the network. For at least the foreseeable future, it sounds like Buck will just be an NFL man.

Tom Brady responds to juicy Raiders rumor

Tom Brady looks ahead

Sep 20, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady is on the verge of becoming a part-owner of the Las Vegas Raiders, but the seven-time Super Bowl champion says any rumors of him coming out of retirement for a second time are bogus.

Brady’s deal to become a part-owner of the Raiders needs to be formally approved by the other team owners by at least a 75-percent vote (at least 24 of 32 owners would have to vote yes). If he wanted to also play quarterback for the team, a separate proposal would need to be submitted and also require a 75 percent approval.

TMZ Sports ignited a new wave of speculation on Wednesday with a story that claimed “it doesn’t feel like there’d be much opposition” to Brady being a player and part-owner in Las Vegas.

But that is not going to happen, according to Brady. The 45-year-old told Robin Lundberg of SI Now that he is “certain I’m not playing again.”

“I’m certain I’m not playing again,” Brady said. “I’ve tried to make that clear and I hate to continue to profess that because I’ve already told people that lots of times, but I’m looking forward to my broadcasting job at FOX next year. I’m looking forward to the opportunity ahead with the Raiders, and we’re in the process of that along with the other different things that I’m a part of professionally and in my personal life.”

The Brady rumors ramped up again recently when it was revealed that Jimmy Garoppolo, who signed with the Raiders this offseason, underwent foot surgery in March. The Raiders discovered some issues during the quarterback’s physical and reworked his contract to give themselves the ability to cut him due to the foot issue.

Brady briefly retired last offseason only to return a month later. That is why many people remain unconvinced that he has ruled out playing again. The report about Brady’s plan with the Miami Dolphins last year has kept the rumor mill churning, too. Despite all that, Brady insists he is done playing.

Duncan Robinson reveals awesome reason he taunted Celtics fans

Duncan Robinson taunts Celtics fans

Duncan Robinson grew up in New England rooting for the Boston Celtics, but he openly took great pleasure in ending his hometown team’s season on Monday night. The Miami Heat guard says he had a good reason for that.

Robinson made a layup with 6:08 left in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to put the Heat up 94-73. As he ran back up the floor, he put his hand to his ear as if to tell the fans at TD Garden, “I can’t hear you.”

Apparently it was personal for Robinson, who was born in Maine and grew up in New Hampshire. During an appearance on “The Old Man & The Three” podcast this week, Robinson explained how he somehow ended up in a massive group text chat with all Celtics fans after Boston won Game 6 to even the series at 3-3. Robinson said he has not changed his phone number since high school, so one of his old friends probably included him.

“It was a massive group chat. So after we lose Game 6, my phone is blowing up from all these random New England numbers,” Robinson explained. They’re like, ‘Get f—ed! Celts in 7!’ They’re sending memes of the Curt Schilling bloody sock and it’s just all these random numbers, like 70 texts.

“So then I start thinking and creating all these scenarios in my head and I’m like, if I get the chance and I go into the Garden, I’m gonna do something. I didn’t know know what it was gonna be. Honestly, it was probably a little underwhelming, but you would be shocked at how many people that really bothered.”

Robinson joked that he probably should have had more than 10 points if he wanted to taunt the home fans, but he simply could not resist after the group text fiasco.

If you ask us, Robinson earned the right to brag. He scored 43 fourth-quarter points during the Eastern Conference Finals. Robinson had 22 points in 24 minutes in Miami’s Game 3 win. It had to have been bittersweet to do that against the team he grew up watching.

Packers coach already impressed by 1 player

Matt LaFleur stands on the sideline

Head coach Matt LaFleur during Green Bay Packers training camp at Ray Nitschke Field Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in Ashwaubenon, Wis. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis. via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Green Bay Packers are hoping to keep their offense on track in the post-Aaron Rodgers era, and head coach Matt LaFleur seems confident that one of their rookies can help them do that.

LaFleur was asked on Wednesday about tight end Luke Musgrave, whom the Packers drafted in the second round out of Oregon State. LaFleur said Musgrave has already earned first-team reps and that the 22-year-old “looks different” from tight ends Green Bay has had in the past.

One thing that has been lacking for the Packers in recent seasons is a true play-making tight end. Robert Tonyan looked at times like he could become a trusted target for Rodgers, but he caught just 53 passes in 17 games last year.

Having an athletic tight end is a huge asset in the NFL. The Packers want to make life as easy as possible on Jordan Love, which is one of the reasons they prioritized drafting Musgrave. The former Oregon State star will be a player to watch this season.