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#pounditSaturday, June 22, 2024


Report reveals how desperate Bulls are to trade Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine warming up

Dec 7, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) warms up before an NBA game against the Washington Wizards at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

A new report suggests just how desperate the Chicago Bulls are to offload Zach LaVine this offseason.

Bulls vice president Artūras Karnišovas has floated as many as 15 LaVine trade proposals to various teams so far this offseason, according to KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, and Philadelphia 76ers are among the teams the Bulls have approached, though they have yet to strike a deal.

It is telling that the Bulls appear to be the ones doing a lot of legwork on moving LaVine. The team would not be able to re-sign both DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Williams as well as bring in a first-round pick without entering the luxury tax unless they can find a way to offload LaVine’s $43 million cap hit. That money, however, is the biggest impediment to moving him, especially since the guard has dealt with numerous injury issues in recent years.

LaVine certainly appears to be the odd man out of the Chicago roster. The team has reportedly lowered their asking price in a bid to move him on as quickly as possible, but it has yet to work. The 29-year-old was limited to just 25 games last season, where he averaged 19.5 points per game.

Pistons plan to interview former rival coach

Jul 30, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores answers questions from reporters Friday, July 30, 2021. Mandatory credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press via USA TODAY NETWORK

The Detroit Pistons are poised to start their head coaching search by speaking with someone they have played against numerous times in recent years.

The Pistons plan to speak to former Cleveland Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff about their head coaching vacancy, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The Pistons also plan to interview Dallas assistant Sean Sweeney and Minnesota’s Micah Nori once they receive permission from their teams.

Bickerstaff had been the Cavaliers’ head coach since 2020 and oversaw the franchise’s rebuild into a playoff team. During that time, he and the Pistons saw plenty of each other in the Central, and the Pistons would love to mimic Cleveland’s rebuild as quickly as possible. The Cavs let Bickerstaff go after a second-round exit this year, as the organization clearly felt he had taken them as far as he could.

The Pistons will have their third coach in as many seasons next year after firing Monty Williams this week. One name that had been linked to the job has already found another one, so this search appears to be wide open.

A’s player has hilarious crowd interaction after being ejected

An Oakland Athletics player had a great way of leaving Thursday’s game against the Kansas City Royals after he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

A’s backup catcher Kyle McCann was ejected from the dugout for barking at home plate umpire DJ Reyburn over a low called third strike against teammate Zack Gelof. Whatever McCann said was enough to get him tossed.

The ejection sparked a brief back-and-forth, but McCann largely left peacefully. As he headed down the tunnel, he passed a number of fans in the stands, gave them the rockstar gesture, and even offered some high-fives.

This looked more like an NBA ejection than anything else. It would not be possible in most other ballparks, but since McCann actually had to leave the dugout to get to the clubhouse, it is possible here. It is just another little quirk of the Oakland Coliseum, one of many that come up from time to time.

McCann is in his first MLB season and has seen limited action, though he is hitting .278 with three home runs in 81 plate appearances. This move will probably make him a lot more popular with fans, though.

Top suitor may be losing interest in Paul George

Jan 22, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) brings the ball up court against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

One team that has been heavily linked to a possible pursuit of Paul George appears to be backing off.

The Philadelphia 76ers’ interest in George has “significantly waned” in recent days, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Sixers are instead likely to be more aggressive elsewhere instead of launching an all-out pursuit for George in free agency.

It is unclear what changed regarding George in the Sixers’ view. Joel Embiid even went out of his way to recruit George on live television less than a week ago. Perhaps George is no longer seen as a fit, but it does seem to be an abrupt shift from a team that had been heavily linked to George in recent months.

The Los Angeles Clippers are believed to be reluctant to offer George a max contract, and he could fetch $212 million over four years on the open market. Perhaps the Sixers view that as a poor investment, though some other teams might still be eager to get into the mix.

Stephen A. Smith could make $20 million a year on next contract?

Dec 18, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith broadcasts before a game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen A. Smith is already highly compensated by ESPN, but he could be in line to make a whopping amount on his next contract.

Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy published a column on Thursday in which he discussed Smith’s contract status. He says that Smith’s agents are already talking with ESPN about a new contract for the media personality, whose current contract expires in July 2025.

Smith reportedly makes $12 million per year from ESPN as part of a 5-year, $60 million deal he signed in 2019. McCarthy says Smith could make as much as $20 million per year on his next deal.

Part of the reason McCarthy shared that lofty figure is because ESPN hired Troy Aikman to provide analysis on “Monday Night Football” at the price of $18 million per year.

ESPN could try to appeal to Smith by offering him more of an active role covering the NFL; Smith has long been known as having an NBA specialty.

There has been talk in the past that Smith is considering branching out more to politics. The 56-year-old talks politics and other subjects on his podcast, “The Stephen A. Smith Show.”

Despite expressing interest in multiple subjects, Smith has remained attached to his sports roots and focuses on hosting/making appearances on ESPN programs SportsCenter, NBA Countdown and First Take.

Chicago Bulls trade Alex Caruso to Western Conference team

Apr 3, 2018; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso (4) warms up prior to the game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Caruso is back in the Western Conference, though with a different team.

The Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to a trade that will see the teams swap guards. Caruso will head to the Thunder, while the Bulls will receive Josh Giddey.

After coming off the bench most of his career with the Lakers, Caruso has mostly been a starter with the Bulls. He started 57 of 71 games with the Bulls last season. The 30-year-old has been honored as an All-Defensive player two years in a row.

Giddey has played well for the Thunder since they drafted him No. 6 overall in 2021. The Australian guard has averaged 13.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game during his three-season career in the NBA. The 21-year-old Giddey is entering the final season of his rookie deal that will pay him $8.3 million next season. OKC may have felt comfortable trading him away knowing that he’s not far off from a big contract extension.

Caruso is in a similar position with his contract. He had signed a 4-year, $41 million deal with the Bulls as a free agent in 2021 and is set to make nearly $10 million in the upcoming season.

The Thunder may have made the trade with the belief that Caruso is a more affordable long-term option for them than Giddey.

French swimmer suffers major injury while celebrating Olympic qualification

A 17-year-old French swimmer will have some serious rehab to do ahead of the Olympics after he celebrated a bit too much upon achieving qualification.

Rafael Fente-Damers qualified for the 2024 Summer Olympics on Tuesday by finishing second in the 100m freestyle event at French trials. In response, he slapped the water in celebration, but injured his shoulder doing so and was in immediate pain.

Fente-Damers was later pictured with his arm in a sling during the medal ceremony, and French newspaper L’Equipe reported that he had suffered a dislocated shoulder, via Reuters. It was unclear if he would recover in time for the Olympics, which start in roughly five weeks.

Fente-Damers is not the first person to suffer a celebration injury like this, but not many have done it at such a bad time. He does not have much of a period to recover fully at this point.

Dan Quinn reverses strict rule Commanders players had to follow

Mar 26, 2024; Orlando, FL, USA; Washington Commanders head coach Dan Quinn speaks to the media during the NFL annual league meetings at the JW Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Commanders appear to be taking a more relaxed approach to certain things this year under new head coach Dan Quinn.

Commanders offensive lineman Sam Cosmi recently revealed that last season, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy forbid his players from wearing their hats backwards under any circumstances. Quinn has not only relaxed that policy, but he himself as been seen wearing his hat backwards on multiple occasions.

“Last year, I was not allowed to wear my hat backwards [in the building]. So that’s a little fun fact there,” Cosmi told Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. “That was something that we as players, offensive side, we weren’t allowed to wear our hat backwards.”

Quinn, meanwhile, has made the backwards cap part of his signature look. It is safe to say Bieniemy’s policy is no longer being enforced.

The Commanders brought in Bieniemy to run their offense last year after he departed the Kansas City Chiefs. While there was much fanfare around the hire, players struggled with his concepts at first, and the unit wound up finishing 25th in the league in points scored. Things like specifying how one can wear their hat may seem small, but it certainly sounds like the approach might have been too strict for some players.

Quinn is leading a new coaching staff, and Bieniemy was not asked back for the 2024 season. The former Chiefs offensive coordinator has since landed at UCLA as their offensive coordinator.

Details of JJ Redick’s contract with Lakers revealed

Apr 12, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard JJ Redick (17) warms up before the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have officially hired JJ Redick as their new head coach, and the former sharpshooter will earn a respectable salary for someone who has never coached before.

Redick agreed to a four-year deal on Thursday to become the head coach of the Lakers. According to a report from The Athletic, Redick’s salary will be around $8 million per year.

While the exact structure of the deal is unknown, an $8 million salary would make Redick one of the 10 highest-paid coaches in the NBA. Head coach contracts are not made public, but Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr are believed to each make around $16-17 million per year. Erik Spoelstra is next with the $15 million per year he gets from the Miami Heat. Monty Williams, who was fired this week only one season into a massive contract with the Detroit Pistons, made an estimated $13 million last season.

Nick Nurse, Doc Rivers, Michael Malone and Rick Carlisle all make in the neighborhood of $8 million per year. All have won NBA titles.

The Lakers may not have offered Redick anything close to what they were willing to pay Dan Hurley, but Redick has no previous coaching experience. He should be pleased with the deal given the circumstances.

Darvin Ham angling for Doc Rivers’ job in Milwaukee?

Nov 30, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham at a press conference during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Darvin Ham may be playing chess and not checkers as he makes his return to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Longtime Milwaukee sportswriter Gery Woelfel reported this week that Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo had major input in the team’s recent reunion with Ham as an assistant coach. Woelfel further adds that Ham had offers from several other teams but took the Bucks job with the assumption that he will eventually succeed Doc Rivers as the team’s head coach.

Ham, who was fired as Los Angeles Lakers head coach last month, already has rich history with the Bucks. He was previously an assistant there from 2018-22, including as a member of then-head coach Mike Budenholzer’s championship-winning staff in 2021. As a result, Ham is familiar with multiple key Milwaukee figures, including their franchise player Antetokounmpo, GM Jon Horst, and owner Wes Edens.

That is an advantage that Rivers, who took over as head coach of the Bucks in the middle of this past season, does not quite have yet. Ham, 50, is also far younger than Rivers, 62, and it seemed like Rivers wasn’t always on the same page as Milwaukee’s stars during the year. All of those are reasons why Ham might indeed make sense as an eventual replacement for Rivers in the lead chair for the Bucks.

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