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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Watch: Shaq gets down at Tomorrowland music festival

Shaq Tomorrowland

There was an unmistakable 7-foot-1 giant in the crowd at the Tomorrowland music festival in Belgium on Friday.

Former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal was seen getting down among the fans at the electronic dance music festival. He was head banging in the front row during Kill the Noise’s set.

A bunch of people later were seen circled around him:

Shaq actually spins records under the name “DJ Diesel” and had tweeted that he would have a live set at Tomorrowland that day.

He’s fun, enthusiastic, and likes his EDM. This is just another reason why people love Shaq. Next we just need to see him make good on the Steve Kerr bet.

Darren Sproles returns to Eagles on one-year deal

Darren Sproles

Darren Sproles’ NFL career is not over just yet.

The Philadelphia Eagles announced on Friday that they have agreed to a one-year deal with Sproles.

Sproles has only played in nine games the past two seasons due to injuries. He missed most of the regular season last year due to his hamstring.

Although he is 36, Sproles still scored three touchdowns last season — two receiving. He can serve as a special teams returner in addition to his work out of the backfield.

Lakers reportedly feel they were ‘played’ by Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard

Now that Kawhi Leonard has signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, the general consensus seems to be that the cross-town rival Lakers never had an actual chance at the NBA Finals MVP. For whatever reason, they didn’t seem to realize that throughout the free agency process.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his podcast this week that the Lakers feel like they were “played” by Leonard. The Toronto Raptors aren’t thrilled with how the process went down, either.

“I’ve heard complaints in the days after the signing. I heard complaints from the Lakers that they got played,” Windhorst said, via Jorge Alonso of Bro Bible. “I heard complaints from the Raptors that Kawhi came in and asked for the sun, the moon, the stars then left them at the altar.”

Why it took the Lakers so long to realize that they were likely being used as a pawn is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps they should have listened to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who said from the start that Leonard was deciding between returning to Toronto and signing with the Clippers.

Leonard just put the Raptors on his back and carried them to their first title in franchise history. He has proven without a doubt that he can be the No. 1 guy on a team, so it never made any sense for him to join forces with LeBron James. What most likely happened is that Leonard needed to use the Lakers to put more pressure on the Clippers to trade for Paul George, and it worked.

There have been some theories that Leonard sabotaged the Lakers’ entire offseason, and it sounds like some within the organization might subscribe to those.

Spurs reportedly angry with Knicks over Marcus Morris signing

Marcus Morris

The San Antonio Spurs agreed to a deal with Marcus Morris in the first week of free agency only to have him back out and sign with the New York Knicks, and you can probably guess how Gregg Popovich’s team feels about the situation.

One NBA general manager told Frank Isola of The Athletic that the Spurs are “pissed” that Morris did not honor the verbal agreement they had in place with him for a two-year, $20 million deal. He instead signed a one-year, $15 million contract with the Knicks, and that came after San Antonio created more cap space by trading Davis Bertans and having free agent DeMarre Carroll tweak his deal. While there are no rules against what Morris and the Knicks did, it is certainly frowned upon.

The Spurs and Knicks have a rivalry that dates back to when there was some bad blood when the two teams met in the 1999 NBA Finals, and Isola was told by a source close to the Morris situation that New York considered it a “small victory.” There’s a belief that they were happy to pull one over on the Spurs because they think some members of the San Antonio organization made illegal contact with Kristaps Porzingis when he was still playing for New York.

Morris and his agent, Rich Paul, parted ways after Morris agreed to sign with the Knicks. A report has since claimed that was because Paul wanted Morris to stick with the Spurs.

Morris has a right to change his mind, but you don’t see things unfold that way often in NBA free agency. It’s no surprise it has likely negatively impacted the relationship between the Spurs and Knicks.

Report: D-Backs willing to eat significant portion of Zack Greinke’s salary in trade

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke is having another terrific season and would be a nice addition for a contending team in need of starting rotation help, but his salary makes him a bit less appealing. If any team is interested in acquiring the right-hander, the Arizona Diamondbacks are willing to help remedy that issue.

Greinke, who will turn 36 in October, is still owed $80 million over the next two-plus seasons. Jon Heyman of Fancred said Friday that the D-Backs could be willing to eat as much as $10 million a year to move Greinke, but he can block a trade to 15 teams and may want to remain in Arizona.

If Greinke doesn’t want to be traded, he probably won’t be. No-trade lists typically include contending teams, so we can assume several of the clubs that might be interested in him are on that list.

Greinke is set to make $32 million in each of the next two seasons. Despite his age, he has an impressive 10-4 record and 2.95 ERA this season. He has also been incredibly durable, making 30 or more starts in four of the past five seasons.

The Diamondbacks traded Paul Goldschmidt over the winter but committed to not blowing up their roster, and they actually remain in the playoff hunt. They’re only 1.5 games back in the NL wild card race, but they would almost certainly take advantage of an opportunity to move Greinke if the right offer came along.

Report: People around NFL ‘shocked’ by Tyreek Hill decision

Tyreek Hill

It was not that long ago that Tyreek Hill seemed almost certain to be suspended by the NFL regardless of how the child abuse allegations against him played out legally, but that did not happen. That has apparently led to some disbelief across the league.

After the NFL announced on Friday that Hill will not be suspended, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports commented that a lot of people around the league are “shocked” with the outcome. Michael Lombardi of The Athletic took it a step further.

Hill met with the NFL last month, and reports at the time indicated he presented league officials with a significant amount of evidence that proved he had nothing to do with his 3-year-old son suffering a broken arm. He was apparently able to convince police of the same, which is the main reason he did not face charges.

The shock from people around the NFL likely stems from the audio recording that Hill’s fiancee, Crystal Espinal, supposedly gave to a friend as an “insurance policy.” In the audio, Espinal is heard telling Hill that the 3-year-old boy said “daddy did it” when asked how he injured his arm. It was also suggested that Hill uses a belt to discipline the boy. When Espinal told Hill the couple’s son is terrified of him, the star wide receiver responded, “You need to be terrified of me, too, b—-.”

While none of that necessarily proves that Hill abused his son, many are shocked that the threatening language he used wasn’t enough to warrant disciplinary action from the NFL. Hill also had some serious red flags surrounding him when he came into the NFL, which is why he slipped into the fifth round. Given his history and some of the details surrounding the child abuse case, he seems fortunate to be returning to the Chiefs so soon.

Phillies reportedly among teams interested in Marcus Stroman

Marcus Stroman

Marcus Stroman is among several high-end starting pitchers that are considered to be available heading into the trade deadline later this month, and the Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly keeping a close eye on the left-hander.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com, the Phillies have shown interest in acquiring Stroman.

Stroman, 28, is under team control through 2020, so trading for him would likely require giving up a significant package. It could help that the Toronto Blue Jays have won just 36 games this season and are nowhere near playoff contention, and they appear motivated to move him.

Stroman made his first All-Star team this year and has a 3.25 ERA despite his 5-10 record. His value is likely at its peak, and there has been talk about pairing him with another Blue Jays player in a potential blockbuster deal.

The Phillies have been inconsistent all season but remain in the playoff hunt. Adding a pitcher of Stroman’s caliber would give their rotation a major boost down the stretch.

Tyreek Hill releases statement after NFL decides to not suspend him

Tyreek Hill

The NFL announced on Friday that Tyreek Hill will not be suspended following an investigation into the child abuse allegations against him, and the Kansas City Chiefs star has weighed in on the decision.

In a statement he released on social media, Hill thanked everyone who has supported him in the wake of the “false allegations” that surfaced in March. He also promised to be “the best father, the best friend, the best role model and the best mentor that I can be” to his two children.

The NFL said a thorough investigation determined that Hill did not violate the league’s personal conduct policy. However, Hill will have to meet a number of conditions, and he could still face disciplinary action in the future if there is new evidence.

Hill vehemently denied the allegations against him from the start, and he reportedly provided the NFL with significant evidence that he had nothing to do with his 3-year-old son breaking his arm. An audio recording appeared to show Hill’s fiancee accusing him of abusing the couple’s son, but police did not prosecute him after reviewing the case.

Dan Le Batard mysteriously absent from first hour of show after Trump criticism

Dan Le Batard

Dan Le Batard broke an ESPN policy on Thursday when he admonished Donald Trump on the air, and the longtime radio host was mysteriously absent from the start of his show the following morning.

Le Batard did not come on the air until the second hour of his “Dan Le Batard Show” on Friday, which initially led to speculation that he may have been suspended. However, ESPN has yet to comment on the situation, and Le Batard’s co-host Stugotz would only say Le Batard was late because he was eating breakfast. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post wondered if that meant he was meeting with ESPN executives.

Marchand later noted that ESPN has informed its employees that the policy about avoiding political discussion has not changed. Le Batard eventually came back on the air and did not say why he was late.

Le Batard spent some time on Thursday ripping Trump for his recent “send her back” attacks. He acknowledged ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro’s policy about not discussing politics but said it is important for people to speak out against the “abhorrent, obviously racist, dangerous rhetoric” coming from Trump.

Former ESPN host Jemele Hill received a suspension for unloading on Trump via Twitter back in 2017, so some are saying Le Batard is being given favorable treatment. Though, Hill’s suspension came under former ESPN president John Skipper. The network may eventually be forced to address the situation.

Report: Padres are ‘most serious suitor’ for Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer

If the Cleveland Indians decide to move starting pitcher Trevor Bauer at the trade deadline later this month, the San Diego Padres will be a team to watch.

Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Padres have “emerged as the most serious suitor” should the Indians deal Bauer. However, Cleveland has won five games in a row and currently holds one of the American League’s two wild card spots. That could make trading Bauer less likely, but they are apparently still open to it.

According to Morosi, the Indians will insist upon getting a Major League talent in return for Bauer, as they are not going to give up on what has become a very solid season. The Padres could offer Franmil Reyes, Hunter Renfroe or Luis Urías — all MLB position players — in a potential deal for Bauer.

The Padres are looking for a veteran like Bauer to anchor their rotation, and the 28-year-old is 9-7 with a 3.67 ERA on the season. He’s also extremely reliable, having made 28 or more starts in each of the past four seasons. Bauer is on pace to surpass that mark this year, as he has already made 22.

Bauer has one more year of arbitration left, and he will likely make somewhere in the range of $20 million next season before becoming a free agent. The Indians appear to have decided they can’t afford to keep him, which is why a trade is being considered. There are multiple teams interested in acquiring Bauer, but it sounds like the Padres are among the favorites.