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#pounditSaturday, July 13, 2024

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Report: Shohei Ohtani making big change after purchasing home in Los Angeles

Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani on the field

March 20, 2024; Seoul, SOUTH KOREA; Los Angeles Dodgers player Shohei Ohtani reacts after playing against the San Diego Padres during a MLB regular season Seoul Series game at Gocheok Sky Dome. Photo Credit: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters via USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani is making a big change just months after purchasing an expensive home in Los Angeles.

The Japanese star signed with the Dodgers in December after spending his entire MLB career previously with the Angels in Anaheim. In May, news broke that Ohtani had purchased a modern luxury home in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif. for $7.85 million. The home previously belonged to comedian/entertainer Adam Carolla.

But so much information about the home had been publicly published that it became easy for fans to learn where Ohtani’s new house is and what it looks like. On top of that, the Dodgers designated hitter/pitcher reportedly felt like some Japanese media outlets crossed a line by filming near his home and interviewing neighbors.

Consequently, a report from a Japanese outlet says Ohtani plans to sell the home, feeling like his privacy was violated.

The report says “Ohtani said that he could no longer live in the 1.2 billion yen mansion he had purchased, and indicated his intention to sell it without moving into his new home,” according to a Google translation. The report adds that Ohtani has not yet moved into the home.

La Cañada Flintridge is located around 10 miles north of Dodger Stadium. There typically is not much traffic to fight on the way to and from the stadium — especially compared to other cities around Los Angeles — which makes it a convenient place to live for Dodgers personnel. Based on this report, Ohtani may not end up seeing what that commute is like.

LeBron James answers whether he will compete at 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles

LeBron James in a Lakers jersey

Apr 4, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts to being called for a foul against the Utah Jazz in the last minute of the fourth quarter at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James has successfully stiff-armed Father Time up to this point, but even he has to draw the line somewhere.

The Los Angeles Lakers star James sat down for an interview this week with Craig Melvin of NBC’s “Today.” During the interview, James, who will be competing for Team USA at the Paris Olympics this summer, was asked whether he would be participating at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles as well.

James stated affirmatively that he would not be and added that he won’t even be in the L.A. area when the Olympics are held there.

“No, I won’t be there,” said James. “I’m getting the hell out of that city when the Olympics come to Los Angeles. Alright, I’ll live there all year. I will not be in Los Angeles in ‘28. I’m getting out of there.”

At 39 years old, the four-time NBA MVP James will already be the oldest-ever Olympian in U.S. men’s basketball when he takes the court in Paris. On top of that, James has already won three Olympic medals (two golds in 2008 and 2012 as well as a bronze in 2004) and is widely expected to take home a fourth this year as well. Thus, James has no desire to suit up again in 2028 when he will be 43 years old, even if the Olympics will be held in a very familiar location.

At 43, James would still be younger than, say, Tom Brady was at the end of his NFL career. But James will very likely be done playing basketball by then, and one of his sons even thinks it may come far sooner than 2028.

US Soccer rebuffed by their big-name target to replace Gregg Berhalter

Gregg Berhalter looks ahead

Jun 23, 2024; Arlington, TX, USA; United States head coach Gregg Berhalter looks on before the game between the United States and Bolivia in a 2024 Copa America match at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Despite their best efforts, the U.S. men’s national soccer team will not be getting coached by another Jurgen.

David Ornstein of The Athletic reported on Thursday that former Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has rebuffed an approach from the United States Soccer Federation to take over as their next head coach. Ornstein notes that initial contact was made with Klopp but that Klopp reiterated that he would like to take a break from coaching soccer.

Klopp, 57, is regarded as one of the top soccer managers on the planet. Over nine years in charge of Liverpool, Klopp led the Reds to eight total trophies, including a Premier League title in 2019-20 and a UEFA Champions League victory in 2018-19. Klopp also previously served as the manager of Borussia Dortmund in Germany, guiding them to their two most recent Bundesliga league titles in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

But Klopp who has worked as a manager since 2001, just stepped down from his post at Liverpool, citing a desire to take some time off. While many, including former U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, had been lobbying for Klopp to take the USMNT job, it seems he has no plans to do so for the time being.

Earlier this week, the U.S. officially decided to sack manager Gregg Berhalter after six years of mostly disappointing performances by the national team (most recently, a flameout in the group stage of this year’s Copa America tournament). While it is possible that they could still circle back to Klopp in time for the 2026 World Cup (for which the U.S. will be one of the host nations), a different manager will have to take over for now.

Odds listed for 2024 MLB Home Run Derby

Pete Alonso swinging a bat

Apr 16, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets designated hitter Pete Alonso (20) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The field has been finalized for next week’s MLB Home Run Derby at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Eight sluggers will be participating, and two-time former champion Pete Alonso is one of the participants. He is also favored to win the event, according to one sportsbook’s odds.

SportsBetting.ag listed odds on the event and they have Alonso favored at 3-1 odds. Adolis Garcia and Marcell Ozuna are next up with 4-1 odds, following by Gunnar Henderson at 6-1 odds.

Pete Alonso 3/1
Adolis Garcia 4/1
Marcell Ozuna 4/1
Gunnar Henderson 6/1
Bobby Witt Jr. 7/1
Jose Ramirez 10/1
Teoscar Hernandez 12/1
Alec Bohm 16/1

Henderson (27) and Ozuna (24) have the most home runs in the regular season thus far among those participating in the derby. Bohm (11) has the fewest.

Alonso won the competition in both 2019 and 2021, which helps explain why he is favored. There is a new format for this year’s derby. Rather than have a tournament-style event with 1-on-1 matchups for each round, this year’s event will see the players with the top four home run totals in the first round advance to the second round. From there, the players will match up head-to-head on a seeded basis until a champion is determined.

Lakers reportedly eyeing former top-10 pick on trade market

The Lakers logo at half court

Apr 22, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; The Los Angeles Lakers logo at center court during game three of the 2023 NBA playoffs at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After coming up empty thus far in free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers may have a new plan.

Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports reported this week that center Wendell Carter Jr. of the Orlando Magic is a possible trade target for the Lakers. Deveney added that the Lakers are currently “monitoring” Carter on the trade market.

Carter, 25, was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He hit a career-high 37.4 percent of his three-pointers last season, averaging 11.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game overall. While Carter is not known as a particularly strong defender, his offensive skillset as a stretch 5 could fit very well alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

With two years and less than $23 million remaining on his contract, Carter is indeed a desirable trade target. With Goga Bitadze, Jonathan Isaac, and Moe Wagner (all three of whom got new deals from Orlando this summer) more than capable of picking up the slack at center for the Magic, Carter may be on his way out.

The Lakers are known to be eyeing stretch 5s and were recently linked to a potential trade for a better-known one. If Carter is their guy however, they will have to beat out another playoff team in the West that is in the mix too.

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Cody Bellinger’s injury could ruin Cubs’ trade deadline plans

Cody Bellinger in a Cubs hat looking on

Apr 28, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger (24) returns to the dugout after the third inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs got some injury news on Thursday that could negatively impact the team in several ways, both short-term and long-term.

The Cubs placed slugger Cody Bellinger on the injured list Thursday with a fractured left middle finger. Bellinger suffered the injury after being hit by a pitch in Wednesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Bellinger said he would be out through at least the All-Star break, and would likely not be back until late July at best.

The Bellinger injury is obviously a problem for the Cubs in the short-term. He is one of their most dangerous hitters and has hit .269 with nine home runs in 79 games this season. The Cubs enter play Thursday at 44-49 and cannot afford to fall much further behind, though they have won three in a row. Losing Bellinger will not help matters there.

The other problem is what this means for the Cubs if they cannot turn things around in the next two or three weeks. If the team decided to sell, Bellinger would be a valuable trade chip. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported over the weekend that Bellinger would draw interest if the Cubs decided to sell before the July 30 deadline. Bellinger’s value would undoubtedly take a hit if he is out for significant time, though a more limited absence might not be so bad for his trade value.

The Cubs have had an incredibly frustrating season, especially recently, and frustrations have been boiling over. Bellinger’s injury and the timing of it will only exacerbate those feelings.

Monte Kiffin has died – dead at 84

Monte Kiffin smiling

Jul 14, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers former defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is entered into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Ring of Honor at AdventHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime NFL defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has died at the age of 84, it was announced on Thursday.

Kiffin, the father of Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin, died peacefully in Oxford on Thursday while surrounded by family and friends.

Kiffin is regarded as one of the most influential defensive coordinators in football history. He is credited with inventing the Tampa 2 defensive scheme during his 13-year stint as the Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator between 1996 and 2008. He was the team’s defensive coordinator for their Super Bowl XXXVII victory in 2003 as well.

In later years, he followed his son Lane to various jobs, including stints as an assistant at Tennessee and USC. His final defensive coordinator job was in 2013 with the Dallas Cowboys. In his final years he served as a defensive assistant to Lane at both Florida Atlantic and Ole Miss. Monte was still very much involved with the program in recent years despite his advanced age.

Kiffin’s two sons both became football coaches as well. In addition to Lane, he is survived by his other son Chris, who most recently worked as the Houston Texans’ linebackers coach in 2023.

Report: Arch Manning got huge payday to appear in college football video game

Arch Manning in a Texas helmet

Sep 30, 2023; Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Arch Manning (16) warms up before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Arch Manning changed his mind about appearing in EA Sports’ upcoming college football video game, and we now have an explanation why.

EA Sports went out of its way to pay Manning over $50,000 in NIL money to get him to appear in the game, according to Pete Nakos of On3. Manning will also receive $600 and a copy of the game, as will every other college football player who agrees to appear.

Manning had initially chosen not to appear in the game, wanting instead to focus on his football career at Texas. The hefty financial sum obviously changed his mind, and he even made a video promoting the game and his presence in it.

For what it’s worth, Manning received an 87 overall rating despite the fact that he has just five career collegiate passes to his name.

Fair or not, Manning’s mere presence in the game will help sell copies. That alone made it worth the effort on EA’s part.

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Cowboys legend names 1 major factor the team is missing

Cowboys helmet on the field

Oct 16, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; A Dallas Cowboys helmet sits on the field prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Dallas won 30-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

A Dallas Cowboys legend thinks the team is missing one crucial ingredient in their pursuit of a Super Bowl title.

Ed “Too Tall” Jones, a former Pro Bowl defensive end who starred for Dallas in the 1970s and 1980s, believes the team lacks the necessary experience to win a championship. Jones won a Super Bowl with the Cowboys in 1977, and he feels the current roster needs proven winners for the current team to get a championship of their own.

“That is definitely one of the things,” Jones said, via Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports. “The team plays too well every year. They win 12 games every year and they’re a different animal in the playoffs. And let me say this in [Mike McCarthy’s] defense. Coaches can’t do it all to put you over the top. You must have internal leadership. I’m not just talking about captains. I’m talking about a guy in that locker room that’s been there, done that, knows what he’s talking about, and players will follow.

“Who will they follow? Dallas don’t have it. Several teams don’t have it. That’s just one of the things. They’re missing a few horses in key positions, too, but oftentimes, when you have the right leadership and the right chemistry, you make up for it.”

McCarthy coached the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl, but his roster does not have the same level of experience. Last season, the only prominent member of the team who had won a Super Bowl was cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who did it with the New England Patriots. He has not been brought back for 2024.

The Cowboys appeared well-positioned for a playoff run last year, but got blown out at home by Green Bay in their postseason opener. The team has made no major offseason moves and are now dealing with some complex contract standoffs. Jones’ concern certainly has not been addressed, at the bare minimum.

Kyle Lowry makes decision on his NBA future

Kyle Lowry warming up

Oct 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) warms up prior to the game against the Atlanta Hawks at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia native Kyle Lowry is staying right where he is.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Thursday that the six-time All-Star point guard Lowry has agreed on a deal to return to the 76ers. Lowry is continuing his partnership with the team after signing with them in the middle of last season.

Now 38 years old, Lowry has 18 seasons of NBA experience under his belt. But he was still very useful for Philly in 2023-24, averaging 8.0 points and 4.6 assists per game on productive 44/40/85 shooting splits.

There was some chatter in recent days that Lowry could leave for a Western Conference playoff team in free agency. But he has ultimately decided to stay home and will continue backing up Tyrese Maxey on a new-look 76ers team that just added Paul George on a max contract and is all-in on an NBA championship pursuit.