One of the most intriguing signings of the first day of NBA free agency is Montrezl Harrell’s decision to leave the Los Angeles Clippers and join the Lakers. It elicited some strong reactions, including from one of Harrell’s former teammates.
Clippers guard Patrick Beverley reacted to the news of Harrell agreeing to terms with the Lakers with blatant disapproval on social media.
Initially, it wasn’t clear if Beverley was upset with Harrell for making the move. Subsequent tweets made clear, however, that he had no hard feelings toward the veteran forward.
Keep in mind that Beverley and Harrell have been teammates for all of Harrell’s NBA career until now, which spans the last five seasons.
Beverley seems to be on the same page as lots of Clipper fans. He doesn’t begrudge Harrell the move, but he’s not pleased to see him go. Perhaps he feels the Clippers could have done more to keep him. That said, there may be some reasons Harrell didn’t want to come back.
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Dwight Howard teased the Los Angeles Lakers only to leave them for Daryl Morey for the second time in his career.
In 2013, Howard was a major free agent, and the Lakers reportedly tried everything to convince him to stay. Instead, Howard left and signed with the Rockets. Morey was running things in Houston at that time.
Fast forward to 2020, and the Lakers reportedly wanted to retain Howard yet again. And guess what happened? He teased Lakers fans by tweeting he was staying, only to delete the tweet. An hour later, we learned that Howard agreed to join the Philadelphia 76ers.
And guess who’s running the Sixers now? That’s right, Morey.
Naturally, the Twitter reactions were great.
Howard signed with Philly on the veteran minimum for $2.6 million. The low salary makes many wonder whether the Lakers rescinded the offer, possibly because they have something else cooking. There are some possibilities that could make sense for the Lakers.
Something odd is going on with Dwight Howard.
The Los Angeles Lakers want to bring Howard back next season and are negotiating with him in free agency. On Friday, Howard even announced on Twitter that he was staying with the Lakers.
“I’m staying right where I belong,” Howard wrote in his tweet. “Laker nation I love y’all. Purple and gold never gets old.”
Even Shams Charania reported that Howard agreed to a deal with the Lakers.
However, Howard quickly deleted the tweet, raising some questions.
Was the tweet sent out in error or prematurely by the center or a member of his team? Did some term of the deal with the Lakers change? Did another team come through with an offer he is considering?
Howard previously seemed to indicate a report about the Lakers heavily pursuing him in free agency was a lie. Howard averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in 18.9 minutes per game last season. Interestingly, Howard deleted around the same time a report said free agent center DeMarcus Cousins was also receiving lots of interest.
Gordon Hayward appears to know where he wants to go in free agency.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Hayward is “fully focused” on joining the Indiana Pacers in free agency. The veteran forward was born in Indianapolis and played college basketball at nearby Butler.
Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe reported that the Celtics are aware of Hayward’s desire to join the Pacers and are engaged in sign-and-trade negotiations with Indiana. That deal would involve Myles Turner. However, the Celtics want T.J. Warren or Victor Oladipo, while the Pacers only want to part with Doug McDermott. The Pacers would need to work out a sign-and-trade to get Hayward given the cap situation.
Hayward declined his option with the Celtics and is clearly set on a homecoming. It makes sense after a couple difficult years in Boston, and he’s clearly soured on staying there. Ultimately, though, the Pacers are at Danny Ainge’s mercy here in trade negotiations. We will see how badly they want Hayward.
It has been widely assumed that Jameis Winston will start at quarterback for the New Orleans Saints now that Drew Brees is expected to miss several weeks, but it sounds like the team is planning to go in a different direction.
Taysom Hill has been getting the starter reps in practice for the Saints this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports.
While some have wondered if both Hill and Winston could see snaps against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reports that Winston will not be part of any offensive packages.
Winston took over for Brees last week after the 41-year-old left the game with a rib injury. He completed 6-of-10 passes for 60 yards.
Hill is used in different offensive packages for the Saints even when Brees is healthy. He’s more of a combination between a quarterback, fullback and tight end, and Sean Payton likes to line him up in different spots and use him as a change-of-pace option.
The Saints signed Hill to a lucrative extension even after they brought in Winston last offseason, which shows they envision him as part of their future. There has been talk that he could be the starter when Brees retires, so it would make sense for Payton to give him the job while Brees is out.
Brees is dealing with multiple injuries that sound quite serious. He is expected to miss several games.
Mark Sanchez thinks Sam Darnold should consider whether it’s time to move on from the New York Jets.
Darnold was the No. 3 overall pick by the Jets in 2018 and treated as the franchise quarterback. But he hasn’t lived up to that billing so far.
Darnold missed time with mono last year and has had a shoulder injury this year. The Jets are 0-9 and in position to land the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft, which would give them a crack at another quarterback.
Putting that all together leads Sanchez to believe Darnold needs to ponder his future with the Jets. Sanchez shared his thoughts during an appearance on the New York Post’s “Gang’s All Here” podcast.
“Because of the way things have transpired, he’s got to make some serious decisions about the longevity of his career and whether or not playing the rest of this year is even worth it,” Sanchez said, via the New York Post. “If it’s in his best interest. If this season is at a loss, which it looks like already. It’s not like they’re going to turn around and make a playoff run. Now you get into these tough decisions as a competitor thinking, ‘Man, maybe my time’s up here and that’s okay. Maybe it’s best for both sides to move on.’”
If Darnold decided to move on, he would pack it in this season and let Joe Flacco continue to play. The Jets would probably land the top pick, get their choice of college QB, and move on from Darnold.
The similarities between Sanchez and Darnold are not lost on many observers. They were both former USC quarterbacks taken highly by the Jets. Though the Jets had success during Sanchez’s first two seasons, it was mostly thanks to their defense and in spite of Sanchez. Sanchez ended up best known for a huge blunder. Darnold also hasn’t elevated the team. Maybe a new franchise would be helpful for his career.
Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson suffered a lower leg injury on Wednesday that was feared to be serious, and tests have unfortunately confirmed the worst.
Thompson suffered a torn Achilles and will miss the entire 2020-21 season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
Simply put, the injury luck could not get much worse for Thompson. He had been working his way back from a torn ACL that cost him all of the 2019-20 season, and he will now miss at least two consecutive years.
Thompson’s torn ACL was to his left knee and the torn Achilles is to his right.
The Warriors signed Thompson to a huge contract last year despite the torn ACL. He has four years and around $157 million left on the deal.
Thompson had made five consecutive All-Star games prior to missing last season. He was expected to have a more important role with Golden State after Kevin Durant left in free agency. He missed the entire year and Stephen Curry just played in five games, which turned the Warriors into one of the worst teams in the NBA.
With Thompson now out for the season, the Warriors may look to make a big splash on the trade market.
The New York Knicks drafted Obi Toppin with the No. 8 overall pick in Wednesday night’s NBA Draft, and many people feel they got a great value with the former Dayton star that far down the board. As far as Kendrick Perkins is concerned, Toppin was a steal.
Perkins said on ESPN’s “First Take” Thursday morning that drafting Toppin was the best thing the Knicks have done in a decade. He strongly believes Toppin can help rescue one of the most tortured franchises in sports.
“This is the best thing the New York Knicks have done in the last 10 years. He’s electrifying. He’s box office. He reminds me a lot of Blake Griffin when he was coming out,” Perkins said. “He’s gonna fill up seats. He’s must-see TV. He led college with 107 dunks last year and I’m not talking about Kendrick Perkins-type dunks — little one-hand and two-hand flushes. I’m talking about between the legs, windmilling and all. And he can stretch the floor. He’s ferocious and he’s ready.”
There has been some talk about the Knicks potentially making a big trade for a player like Russell Westbrook. If that happens, Perkins thinks Knicks fans should get their popcorn ready.
“New York fans, y’all have something to be proud about and be happy about,” Perkins said of Toppin. “You can get the popcorn popping again back in Madison Square Garden. If the Knicks can pull off a trade for Russell Westbrook, you might as well add the butter to the popcorn. I’m all-in with Obi Toppin to the New York Knicks. I think they hit a home run.”
Perkins went on to call Toppin “a dog” and say he feels the Knicks won the draft by getting him. In a draft that was not considered all that deep, the claim is not as wild as it sounds.
Toppin was National Player of the Year at Dayton and averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season. He made an impressive 63.3 percent of his field goals. There are questions about his defense, but one NBA star went out of his way to praise Toppin after the Knicks took him.
While few are higher on Toppin than Perkins, the general consensus seems to be that the Knicks made a smart pick at No. 8.
Klay Thompson was just coming back from one major injury, and now he may have another.
Thompson had to be helped off the court after suffering a lower right leg injury while working out in Southern California on Wednesday. He was expected to undergo testing in the next few days.
Yahoo’s Chris B. Haynes reports that the Golden State Warriors fear Thompson has a “significant” Achilles injury.
Thompson’s torn ACL was in his left knee, so this injury is on his other leg.
The Warriors did not let Thompson’s torn ACL get in the way of a major contract extension offer. They still signed him to a huge deal last year. He has four years and around $157 million left on his contract with Golden State.
The 30-year-old shooting guard made five straight All-Star teams prior to missing all of last season.
The New York Giants made a surprising decision on Wednesday to fire offensive line coach Marc Colombo, and there are some wild rumors circulating about the circumstances surrounding his dismissal. The Giants say those rumors are completely unfounded.
After news surfaced that Colombo has been fired, Jason McIntyre of FOX Sports 1 said he was told Colombo and Giants head coach Joe Judge got into a fistfight on Wednesday morning. Colombo supposedly got the better of Judge and was fired on the spot.
Numerous NFL reporters and just about every Giants beat writer have shot down McIntyre’s report. According to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, Judge had recently taken on a more active role in trying to fix some of the team’s offensive line issues. The head coach also brought in his former colleague Dave DeGuglielmo as a consultant. Colombo was unhappy with the arrangement and had an argument with Judge, but it did not turn physical.
Despite numerous denials, McIntyre is standing by his source or sources.
Daniel Jones has taken 31 sacks this season, which is third-most in the NFL behind only Carson Wentz and Joe Burrow. The Giants need to get better with their pass protection, which is why Judge is trying to address the issues. Colombo coached an extremely successful offensive line with the Dallas Cowboys before following Jason Garrett to New York. It sounds like he took Judge’s recent moves personally.
We’ve seen flashes of Judge’s temper this season, like when he went off on officials in a recent game for picking up a pass interference flag. You can see that video here. Still, it would be a surprise if he and Colombo traded blows.