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#pounditFriday, July 12, 2024

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Anthony Edwards signs massive new endorsement deal

Anthony Edwards in his Timberwolves jersey

Oct 26, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards (1) reacts to a call by referee Cheryl Flores in the first quarter of the game with the San Antonio Spurs at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Edwards cemented himself as one of the biggest names in the NBA this past season, and the Minnesota Timberwolves star has been rewarded with a massive new endorsement deal.

Edwards on Wednesday signed a multi-year contract extension with Adidas, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. The deal is said to be worth eight figures annually.

Edwards has gotten better and better in each of his first four NBA seasons. He averaged a career-high 25.9 points per game this season to go along with 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists.

The 22-year-old Edwards has elevated his game even more in the playoffs over the past three years, where he has averaged 27.8 points per game in 27 contests. Edwards had three games with 40 or more points in the postseason this year and led Minnesota to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost 4-1 to the Dallas Mavericks.

It has also helped his brand that Edwards is a fierce competitor who is not afraid to speak his mind. We even saw that with the bold comment he made this week about where he stands with Team USA.

Edwards will likely turn out to be a very wise investment for Adidas.

Jaylen Brown shares cryptic message after Team USA snub

Jaylen Brown in his Celtics uniform

May 19, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) brings the ball up court during the first half of game two of the 2022 eastern conference finals against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

A third Boston Celtics player was added to the Team USA roster on Wednesday, but it is fair to wonder if Jaylen Brown feels the wrong one was chosen.

Kawhi Leonard, who has battled knee injuries for years, withdrew from Team USA on Wednesday to instead focus on the upcoming NBA season. With Leonard not taking part in the Paris Olympics, USA Basketball announced that Celtics guard Derrick White has taken Kawhi’s place.

At around the same time all this news broke, Brown shared a cryptic post on X featuring three monocle emojis.

The monocle emoji is typically used when a person is showing that they are puzzled or disagree with something. Naturally, fans speculated that Brown felt disrespected when Team USA chose White over him as a replacement for Leonard.

Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday are also on the Team USA roster. It was Brown, however, who was arguably Boston’s best player during the postseason and was named NBA Finals MVP after the Celtics defeated the Dallas Mavericks.

Brown averaged 23.0 points per game during the regular season and 23.9 during the playoffs. He was also outstanding defensively against Luka Doncic in the NBA Finals. You can understand why he feels he deserves a Team USA spot over White.

Of course, Team USA is not just an All-Star team. It is possible Brown is not viewed as a good fit, which would undoubtedly give Stephen A. Smith more ammunition to use against the Celtics star.

Viral video provides glimpse into how NFL teams prep for press conferences

Joe Schoen talks with a Giants communications staffer

NFL coaches, players and executives often seem like they are giving rehearsed responses to questions they are asked during press conferences, and that is because they usually are. We were given a much closer glimpse into the process that goes into that during the latest episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”

One very unique scene from Tuesday night’s episode of “Hard Knocks: Offseason with the New York Giants” has gone viral. In the clip, Giants general manager Joe Schoen is shown discussing a game plan with senior director of football communications Dion Dargin just before Schoen’s media availability at the NFL Scouting Combine.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter had just reported that the Giants did not plan to use the franchise tag on Barkley. When Dargin asked Schoen how the GM might respond to a question about that report, Schoen joked that he was going to tell reporters the Giants “wanted to give (Barkley) a lot of money a year ago and he didn’t want that.” That was obviously how Schoen really felt, though he would never say that in a press conference.

Instead, Schoen and Dargin strategized that the GM should tell reporters “all options are on the table,” which is exactly what Schoen said. You can watch the full exchange:

The behind-the-scenes look was confirmation of what is hardly a secret — members of NFL organizations think one thing and say another publicly. That is all part of the job. Still, it is rare to be able to see that laid out so plainly.

Barkley signed a three-year, $37.75 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles that includes $26 million guaranteed. There were reports that the Giants had offered roughly the same amount annually, though they were not willing to guarantee as much.

In a separate “Hard Knocks” scene, Schoen offered some strong comments about why the team chose to let Barkley walk.

Team USA chooses replacement for Kawhi Leonard

A USA Basketball logo

A reigning NBA champion is replacing Kawhi Leonard on the Team USA Olympic roster.

Kawhi Leonard, who has battled knee injuries for years, withdrew from Team USA on Wednesday to instead focus on the upcoming NBA season. According to ESPN’s Marc J. Spears, Boston Celtics guard Derrick White is taking Leonard’s place.

White became a full-time starter for the Celtics this season after the team traded Marcus Smart, and he had a breakout season. He averaged 15.2 points per game during the regular season and played even better during Boston’s championship run. White had 16.7 points and 4.1 assists per game in the playoffs and shot 40.4% from three-point range.

The Celtics showed how much they value White by signing the 30-year-old to a massive contract extension this offseason.

In addition to possessing clutch shot-making ability, White is also a great defender. He was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team the past two seasons.

Two of White’s teammates, Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday, are currently part of Team USA’s 12-man roster as well.

Kawhi Leonard withdraws from Team USA ahead of Olympics

Kawhi Leonard in Clippers uniform

Feb 26, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA is sending a star-studded roster to Paris for the Olympics this month, but Kawhi Leonard will no longer be a part of it.

USA Basketball announced on Wednesday that Leonard has withdrawn from the team. No specific injury was cited, but the team said in a statement that a decision was made for Leonard to focus on the upcoming NBA season rather than competing in Paris.

Leonard has battled chronic knee injuries over the last several seasons. He most most of the Clippers’ first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks this year because of inflammation in his right knee.

Team USA said Leonard “had a few strong practices,” but it would not be a surprise if he experienced issues with his knee again. When Leonard arrived at Team USA camp last week, a video went viral after many felt it showed the 33-year-old walking gingerly.

The Clippers might have to lean on Leonard more than ever next season after Paul George signed with the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency. That may have been another factor in Leonard’s decision to sit out the Paris Olympics.

Anything less than a gold medal in Paris would be a disappointment for Team USA, though they did already have a scare in a scrimmage game.

Peyton Manning names the 1 WR he wishes he played with

Peyton Manning smiling

Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning claps during a Ring of Honor induction ceremony for Tarik Glenn on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, during a game against the Washington Commanders at Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Photo Credit: Jenna Watson/IndyStar/USA TODAY NETWORK

Peyton Manning had a chance to throw to some of the best wide receivers in NFL history during his Hall of Fame career, but there is one player from a previous generation that he would have loved to play with.

Manning attended an event on Tuesday night for the premiere of Omaha Productions’ new “Receiver” documentary series on Netflix. He was asked at one point which receiver he would choose if he could throw a pass to one player he never threw to during his 18-year NFL career. Manning went old school and picked Baltimore Colts legend Raymond Berry.

“I got to play with a number of them in the Pro Bowl. I got to play with Jerry Rice and Tony Gonzalez, so I guess that eliminates them,” Manning said. “You know, playing with Marvin (Harrison) and Reggie (Wayne) and Demaryius (Thomas) and Emmanuel (Sanders) in real football.

“One? Raymond Berry, old Baltimore Colt. I’m going with Raymond Berry. Got to spend some time with him. He was a true master of his craft, the way he studied film, the way he studied precision route-running. Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry had great timing. I think it’d be Raymond Berry.”

Berry, who is now 91, played for the Colts from 1955-1967. He won two NFL championships, led the league in receiving three times, and made six Pro Bowl teams. Berry finished his career with 631 catches for 9,275 yards and 68 touchdowns, but keep in mind that the game was played much, much differently back then.

Manning played in a far more pass-happy NFL than Berry, so it is a great compliment that he chose the Colts legend. That shows you the level of respect Manning has for the history of the game and also how much he has studied it.

Arch Manning makes decision on appearing in college football video game

Arch Manning ready to throw

Texas Longhorns quarterback Arch Manning warms up before the game against the BYU Cougars at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Saturday October 28, 2023. Photo Credit: Jay Janner/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

The highly anticipated return of EA Sports’ popular college football franchise is less than two weeks away, and Arch Manning has finally revealed whether he will appear in the video game.

Manning and his uncle, Eli Manning, filmed a promotion for “EA Sports College Football 25” that was released on Tuesday. The funny clip shows Eli calling plays for his nephew, who is at the controls of the game. After Arch throws a touchdown while playing as himself, he fires off a spin-off of the famous “EA Sports: It’s in the game” slogan.

“EA Sports: I’m in the game,” Manning says.

Beginning in February, over 11,000 college football players from 134 FBS programs were given the option to be paid $600 to be included in “EA Sports College Football 25.” There were initially reports that Manning would decline, but he may have changed his mind. It is possible that Arch and the Manning family have signed some sort of deal with EA Sports promote the game.

Arch is entering the 2024 season as a backup at Texas once again. The Longhorns avoided burning his redshirt last year, so he is still a freshman.

Fans have been anxious to see Manning in action strictly because of his last name, and the buzz grew even more when Arch lit up Texas’ spring game earlier this year. Even if the 19-year-old plays sparingly for the Longhorns again this season, fans will be able to play as him as much as they want in the new college football video game.

Keegan Bradley addresses whether he will put himself on Ryder Cup team

Keegan Bradley looks on

Jun 18, 2022; Brookline, Massachusetts, USA; Keegan Bradley looks on from the sixth tee during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Keegan Bradley was viewed by many as a Ryder Cup snub last year, but he now has the power to put himself on the team. He wants to earn a spot like everyone else, however.

The U.S Ryder Cup team is comprised of 12 golfers — six who automatically qualify based on points and six captain’s picks. Points are accrued based on money earned at certain tournaments in 2024 and 2025.

Bradley on Tuesday was announced as the captain of the 2025 U.S. Ryder Cup team, which means he could make himself a captain’s pick. He told reporters that he does not plan to do that but wants to earn one of the six automatic spots.

Bradley, 36, was left off of last year’s Ryder Cup team by captain Zach Johnson. Many felt that Bradley was deserving of a spot because of his strong Ryder Cup record. The 2011 PGA Championship winner went a combined 4-2 in his two Ryder Cup appearances in 2012 and 2014. The U.S. lost both times, but Bradley and Phil Mickelson went 4-1 together in the two tournaments combined.

There was also some drama last year when Johnson did not want certain LIV golfers on the team, but Bradley says that will not be a factor in 2025.

“I don’t care about the LIV stuff,” Bradley said Tuesday.

Fans may have been hoping for a different U.S. captain to be chosen, but the team can probably only go up from the beating they took at the hands of Team Europe in Italy last year. Still, Bradley is going to face a great deal of pressure with the U.S. hosting the event at Bethpage Black in New York.

Ryan Garcia has serious drama with his baby mama

Ryan Garcia flexes

Ryan Garcia flexes at a weigh-in ahead of his April 2024 fight against Devin Haney. Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions/Cris Esqueda

Ryan Garcia was part of headlines again this week for all the wrong reasons.

A week after being banned by a boxing organization over comments he made in an audio conversation on X, Garcia was part of more drama, this time involving a woman with whom he shares a child.

In video clips he shared on his Instagram story, Garcia accused the woman of cheating on him and breaking a bottle. In the video on the left, you can see what he posted. In the video on the right, you can see the woman’s side of the story. The woman, who goes by Drea Celina on Instagram, shared screenshots of harassing behavior she claims came from Garcia. The harassment included multiple text messages and phone calls to her phone. She also shared photos that seemed to be evidence of him having trashed a home.

Beware of the bad language in the first video.

After all that, Garcia went on to share multiple posts on X and host another audio program.

Garcia has been on a seemingly self-destructive cycle ever since being suspended for a year for failing a performance-enhancing drug test after his since-overturned win over Devin Haney in April.

Mike Gundy addresses his controversial comments about his player’s DUI arrest

Mike Gundy wearing a headset

Sep 16, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The Cowboys won 59-21. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy caused a stir with his controversial comments Tuesday during Big 12 media days at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. Gundy later took to social media to clarify his initial comments.

Oklahoma State star running back Ollie Gordon II was arrested on June 30 for suspicion of DUI and speeding.

Gordon, 20, had been driving 82 mph in a 65 mph zone along an Oklahoma highway. Gordon was eventually booked on charges of DUI under 21 years of age after his breath samples registered a breath alcohol content of 0.11% — above the state of Oklahoma’s 0.08% legal limit.

Gundy chose not to suspend Gordon over the incident. The Oklahoma State coach announced the decision to reporters Tuesday at Big 12 media days.

Gundy came to the defense of Gordon later in the day during an interview on ESPNU. The soundbite that went viral on social media was when the 56-year-old coach said that he himself has driven with a couple of beers in his system “a thousand times in my life.”

Gundy felt as though the quote circulating online had been taken out of context. He posted on X later Tuesday to clear up the point that he had been trying to make.

“My intended point today at Big 12 media days was that we are all guilty of making bad decisions. It was not a reference to something specific,” Gundy wrote.

Gordon led the nation with 1,732 rushing yards last season on 285 carries. His tally of 21 rushing touchdowns ranked second in the country.