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#pounditSaturday, June 25, 2022

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Geno Smith deletes tweet that drew attention

Nov 21, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) jogs to the locker room following a 23-13 loss against the Arizona Cardinals at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Geno Smith deleted a tweet that drew attention during the week.

Smith on Thursday replied on Twitter to a tweet asking why he hasn’t gotten more time as a starting quarterback in the NFL.

“We all know what it is.. but the reality I live with when I wake up is all that matters to me.. my whole life a dream I can’t thank God enough,” Smith wrote.

The tweet drew attention from a Seahawks writer who suggested Smith was implying that race was the reason he hasn’t gotten more time as a starting quarterback. Smith has since deleted the tweet.

Smith was a second-round pick (No. 39 overall) by the New York Jets in 2013. He got to start for the Jets in his first two seasons and the team went 11-18 in his starts. He passed for 25 touchdowns and 34 interceptions over those two seasons.

Smith has since spent time with the Giants, Chargers and now the Seahawks as a backup. He has only played sparingly since 2015.

If there is any wonder why Smith hasn’t gotten more time as a starter, it’s because he isn’t starter quality. His off-field behavior hasn’t helped matters either.

Infamous ex-NBA coach could land with Jazz?

Jan 16, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz are leaving no stone unturned this offseason.

Ian Begley of SportsNet New York reported that former NBA head coach David Fizdale is interviewing for a front office position with the Jazz.

Fizdale, who spent last year as an assistant for the Los Angeles Lakers, has become infamous for his losing ways. He previously served as head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies (going 50-51 overall before being fired) and then as head coach of the New York Knicks (going 21-83 overall before being fired). Fizdale then joined the Lakers last season in time for their disastrous 33-49 campaign (including a 1-5 record in games that Fizdale coached when Frank Vogel was in health and safety protocols).

Granted, Fizdale has history with several current Jazz figures. He coached guard Mike Conley in Utah as well as center Hassan Whiteside (and even Jazz minority owner Dwyane Wade) as an assistant with the Miami Heat.

It is worth noting here that Fizdale is reportedly being considered for a front office gig, not Utah’s head coaching vacancy. That job could potentially end up going to this well-known coach.

Former No. 1 pick finally called up to MLB at age 30

The story of Mark Appel is proving that few things are as sweet as when perseverance pays off.

Appel was a top pitcher in college at Stanford and became the No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012. He did not sign and returned to school. After another strong season, he became the No. 1 pick by the Houston Astros in 2013.

But Appel’s professional career did not go as planned.

The right-handed pitcher was not dominant as expected. Instead, he was posting an ERA in the mid-4.00s in both Double- and Triple-A in 2015.

The Astros traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies, and his struggles continued. Appel had a 5.27 ERA in Triple-A in 2017 and struggled with his command.

The Phillies DFAd Appel after 2017, and the former top prospect decided to step away from baseball in 2018.

Appel’s story did not end there.

The former Stanford pitcher decided to attempt a comeback last year in the Phillies’ organization. He struggled across Double- and Triple-A. But this season, he converted to a full-time reliever and has been dominant.

In 28 innings in Triple-A this season, Appel has posted a 1.61 ERA and 0.93 WHIP with five saves.

On Friday, the Phillies said they were calling up Appel to the majors.

Appel is now 30 and probably thought when he walked away in 2018 that his MLB dream might be over. But he made his return and is finally set to play MLB. With the way he’s been going, he might even be an asset to the Phillies.

Video: Canelo Alvarez, GGG have most intense staredown

Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin sure dislike each other.

The two men are set to fight for the third time in their careers. They are doing some work promoting the third fight in their triology, which is scheduled for Sept. 17 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

During a press conference in Los Angeles Friday to promote the fight, the two had a faceoff to give photographers a chance to take pictures. The faceoff was intense:

Alvarez and GGG do not like each other. They fought to a draw in 2017. They had a rematch the following year and Alvarez won a narrow decision.

Canelo spent the next handful of years avoiding GGG, but he finally is giving Golovkin the third fight between them. GGG is 40 years old at this point, while Canelo is 31. Alvarez seems to have a lot going in his favor.

GGG has only fought once in the last 18 months, though he has gone 4-0 since his 2018 loss to Alvarez. Canelo is 57-2-2 and coming off a surprising loss to Dmitrii Bivol.

Kendrick Perkins makes big confession on podcast

Nov 18, 2015; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center Kendrick Perkins (5) reacts during the first quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

You never pray for an athlete to be injured unless of course you’re Kendrick Perkins and that athlete is LeBron James.

During a recent appearance on the Old Man and the Three podcast, Perkins admitted that he once feared James. He also admitted that prior to Game 7 of a 2008 second-round matchup between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, he prayed that James would suffer an injury.

“I got a confession,” Perkins said. “We played the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008 and it was a Game 7. We just had lost Game 6. And I’m not going to lie, man. I was scared as hell going into that Game 7 against LeBron James. And this was the only time that I actually prayed that something happened to him at practice.

“I was like, ‘let us get breaking news that LeBron has torn his ACL or something.’ I did, bro. I’m not even lying and I’m not even exaggerating … this is real. That’s how terrified I was of LeBron.”

Co-hosts JJ Redick and Tommy Alter were completely taken aback by Perkins’ admission and even suggested editing those comments out. Perkins insisted they not and then continued…

“Let me tell you,” Perkins said. “We got by the Hawks and I remember it was Game 6 in Cleveland and he drove down the lane and dunked on [Kevin Garnett] and James Posey. I seen it in his eyes because I was sitting on the bench — I had a horrible game. And I kept saying to myself, ‘we’re not getting past this mother f—–r. He’s coming in here and he’s going to beat us.’ I could see it.

“I was scared. I was like, ‘this is just a different dude right now’ and I was scared. And I actually was sitting up there really praying that I woke up to news that some type of way he was going to be out of the game.”

Pressured further on the torn ACL comment, Perkins refused to back down. He would not have been satisfied if James had sprained his ankle or come down with the flu because he felt like The King would play through it. He remained steadfast that he prayed for a debilitating injury.

“I did not want him to play in this Game 7,” Perkins said.

James ended up playing in that Game 7 and dropped an impressive 45 points. But it wasn’t enough as Perkins and the Celtics not only sent the Cavaliers home, but went on to win the NBA championship.

Situation between Kyrie Irving, Nets getting ‘acrimonious’

Mar 15, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The sour relationship between Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets is only getting more sour. “Acrimonious” even.

That was the word ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski used to describe the growing dissent between the two parties on Friday. And by all accounts, an ugly divorce with added ramifications appears to be looming.

“Listen, people try to gain leverage,” Wojnarowski said. “If you’re Kyrie Irving, you’re trying to go get the Nets to give you a longer-term deal with more guaranteed money than they want to give. The Nets are trying to go in the other direction—shorter deal, incentivized, because he just hasn’t been on the floor as much as they’d like the couple years.

“This is getting acrimonious, and I think that’s the concern when you look at not just Kyrie Irving’s future in Brooklyn, but Kevin Durant’s future and whether they can hold this thing together right now.”

Irving, who holds a $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season, has also reportedly given the Nets a list of six destinations he’d prefer if a deal cannot be reached.

The 30-year-old Irving, who averaged 27.4 points and 5.8 assists, has until Wednesday to pick up or decline the option.

Sha’Carri Richardson avoids reporters after disappointing showing

May 9, 2021; Walnut, CA, USA; Sha’Carri Richardson (USA) celebrates after winning women’s 100m heat in 10.74 during the USATF Golden Games at Hilmer Lodge Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sha’Carri Richardson looked to bounce back this week after losing her berth in the Olympics last year, but that’s not what happened.

In a moment that left the athletic world in utter shock, Richardson failed to advance in the women’s 100 meter at the U.S. Track and Field Championships on Thursday. She finished with a time of just 11.31, which was well short of her finish earlier this month in New York (10.85).

Following the race, the 22-year-old Richardson wasn’t interested in speaking with the media. She rushed past a group of reporters without even acknowledging they were there, according to the New York Post.

While some may view that as a bad look, Richardson was undoubtedly dealing with an intense level of personal frustration. She’s a far better athlete and runner than she displayed on Thursday, and she likely just needed a few moments to herself.

The good news for Richardson is that she can still quality for worlds by finishing top three in the women’s 200 meters on Saturday, which she had won in New York with a time of 22.38.

Report: Teams preparing trade offers for Kevin Durant

Oct 11, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) in action against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

As the Brooklyn Nets continue to battle it out with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant has apparently begun to consider his own future.

Whether or not Durant eventually becomes available remains to be seen, but several NBA teams are reportedly preparing in the event he does. And that’s a significant development.

“I can tell you this,” Zach Lowe said during The Lowe Post podcast this week (26:46 mark). “This is what teams are doing. Teams are already operating under the… not the assumption, but we need to prepare for the contingency Kevin Durant is available via trade in six days, or seven days.”

Durant signed a contract extension with the Nets in 2021 and has four years remaining on that deal. However, there are some who believe his future with the team is tied directly to Irving’s.

“There are teams rooting for Irving to opt-out and walk away from the Nets, believing it would give them a chance to cobble together trade packages to acquire Durant,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said this week. “As much as Durant asking out hangs over the Nets, there’s also the reality that four years on his contract will mean he has little, if any, voice on when or where he would be traded. This would be a small-market team’s dream, robbing a goliath of an MVP-level talent whose contractual circumstances would leave him little choice but to play for them.”

And for that reason, Lowe believes every single NBA team should prepare a “what-if” trade proposal for Durant.

“Every team in the league has to at least have a meeting about what we should offer for Kevin Durant,” said Lowe.

As Wojnarowski alludes, Durant will have little say over where he goes should a trade market develop, but expect several teams to be hot on his trail.

H/T: Grant Shirley

Video: Javy Baez sticks it to heckler after hitting grand slam

As Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez readied himself in the on-deck circle prior to a third inning at-bat on Friday, a fan seated nearby began giving him the business.

“Nothing bad,” Baez told The Detroit News of what the fan was saying. “Just talking good trash.”

As good as the trash talk may have been, it wasn’t nearly as good as Baez’s response.

With the bases loaded and a 1-2 count, Baez connected on a hanging curveball and sent it 459 feet over the left-center wall. And the very moment the ball left his bat at 111 MPH, Baez made sure that trash-talking fan knew all about it.

“He was just talking good trash,” Baez said. “I turned back and they were just laughing. It was competition stuff. As soon as I hit that ball, the first thing that came to my mind was all this other stuff that he was saying. It was very fun.”

Given some of the negative interactions we’ve seen between sports fans and athletes in recent years, this is a breath of fresh air. Baez and the fans were just having a little bit of fun — Baez more so than the fans in the end.

Browns’ plan revealed if Deshaun Watson is suspended

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The future of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson remains very much uncertain. And the same can be said for his fellow quarterback, Baker Mayfield.

That leaves the Browns in an unexpected position. They were certain their quarterback woes would come to an end with the acquisition of Watson, but it’s only ended up muddying the waters further. And as the NFL deliberates on a potential suspension for Watson, Cleveland is busy creating contingency plans.

Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reports that the Browns will plug Jacoby Brissett in as their starter should Watson be suspended.

Brissett has emerged as the fallback option due to the team’s deteriorated relationship with Mayfield, who skipped minicamp and openly wants to be moved.

“I have no regrets of my time in Cleveland, of what I tried to give to that place,” Mayfield told the “Ya Never Know” podcast in April. “The respect thing is all going to be a personal opinion. I feel disrespected, 100%. I was told one thing, and they completely did another.

“That’s what I’m in the middle of right now. And you know what, I got my taste of it because I’ve had four different head coaches in four years. 2021 was miserable — bunch of different coordinators. I’m just looking for stabilization right now.”

The 29-year-old Brissett was a third-round pick of the New England Patriots in the 2016 NFL draft. He was traded to the Colts in 2017 and spent four seasons in Indianapolis before donning a Miami Dolphins uniform last year.

In 60 career games (37 starts), Brissett has completed 60.2% of his passes for 7,742 yards, 36 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He’s also rushed the ball 178 times for 653 yards and 13 additional touchdowns.