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#pounditSunday, September 20, 2020

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Report: Bucks will try to trade for Chris Paul

Chris Paul

The Milwaukee Bucks have been eliminated from the NBA playoffs and may try to make a big move this offseason to make up for it.

The Bucks on Tuesday lost 103-94 to the Miami Heat in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinals to end the series and their season. The Bucks entered the restart in July with the best record in the league, but it was downhill from there. They went 3-5 in their eight games of the restart, lost their first playoff game to Orlando before winning the series, and then got eliminated by Miami in five.

The team even did not seem to be focused on the season.

So where does Milwaukee go from here?

They still have Giannis Antetokounmpo under contract for another season. They lost Malcolm Brogdon last offseason, but re-signed Khris Middleton.

Now, the New York Times’ Marc Stein says teams believe the Bucks will pursue Chris Paul in a trade.

Paul is under contract for $41.3 million next season and has a $44 million player option the season after that.

Getting the finances to work would be difficult, but Milwaukee will try anything to seek improvement. Given their reason for getting rid of Billy Donovan, it seems the Thunder would be open to a trade too.

Von Miller feared to have suffered season-ending ankle injury

Von Miller

Von Miller suffered an ankle injury at the end of practice on Tuesday that the Denver Broncos fear will end the linebacker’s season.

Miller is undergoing an MRI for the injury, which will give more information about the extent of it. ESPN’s Adam Schefter says the injury was described as a freak one.

The Broncos are only days away from the start of the season and could be without one of their top defensive players.

The 31-year-old linebacker had 46 tackles and eight sacks last season. He is an eight-time Pro Bowler, three-time first-team All-Pro, and a Super Bowl champion. Miller also battled the coronavirus earlier in the offseason.

Giannis Antetokounmpo ruled out for Game 5 against Heat

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks will have to keep their season alive without their best player.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Bucks have ruled Giannis Antetokounmpo out for Game 5 due to his sprained ankle.

It’s a massive blow for the Bucks, who have their backs against the wall down 3-1. There was some optimism that Antetokounmpo might be able to play at least some role, but that will not be happening.

Giannis scored 19 points in 11 minutes on his injured ankle in Game 4. Then he aggravated the injury and did not return. The Bucks ended up winning in overtime behind a huge game from Khris Middleton and key contributions from the supporting cast. Those players will have to step up again if the Bucks want to force a Game 6.

Report: Alvin Kamara, Saints close to finalizing contract extension

Alvin Kamara

Alvin Kamara has been seeking a new contract from the New Orleans Saints prior to the start of the season, and it sounds like the star running back is going to get it.

Kamara and the Saints are “extremely close” to finalizing a contract extension, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The two sides are optimistic about getting a deal done prior to Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kamara is currently set to make just $2.1 million in the final year of his rookie deal. He missed several days of training camp recently, and it was initially assumed that he was unhappy about his contract situation. However, Kamara said Monday that he has never held out.

Despite playing through a significant injury for much of last year, Kamara still racked up more than 1,300 yards from scrimmage. He has also scored 37 touchdowns through his first three NFL seasons.

Any talk of the Saints being open to trading Kamara appears to have been short-lived.

Paul George lives up to ‘Playoff P’ nickname in Game 3 win

Paul George

Paul George’s playoff struggles may be a thing of the past, and that is a problem for the rest of the league.

George scored 32 points in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 113-107 win over the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinals series on Monday night. He made 12 of the 18 shots he took, including an impressive 5-for-7 performance on threes.

That was a huge turnaround from Games 2-4 in the first round against Dallas. George was 10-for-47 (21.3 percent) during those games and got mocked online and by Charles Barkley over his “Playoff P” nickname. George sparred with his haters on Instagram and even admitted he was depressed from the criticism.

Things have changed since then.

George is averaging 24.3 points per game in the series against the Nuggets on 49.9 percent shooting.

He’s also playing some good defense and mentioned that after the game.

“That’s what we have to hang our hat on. We (take) pride on defense,” George said.

The Clippers now have a 2-1 series lead on the Nuggets. Game 4 will be on Wednesday.

Cam Newton admits he was uneasy about playing for Bill Belichick

Cam Newton

Bill Belichick has a reputation for being hard on players, and Cam Newton was well aware of that prior to signing with the New England Patriots. The former MVP even had concerns about it, but he already sounds happy with his decision.

In an appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” Monday morning, Newton admitted he was a bit uneasy about the idea of playing for Belichick. However, he quickly realized the two are a “match made in heaven.”

“I didn’t know what to expect. Just the same questions that a lot of people and talk shows, gossip talk, barber shop talk, chit-chatter, text messages — they wanted to know, I wanted to know as well,” Newton said. “I wanted to know is it real what they say about Belichick? Just, I didn’t know.

“Honestly, it’s been a match made in heaven for me just knowing I am at a place where everything is pulling in the same direction and everything is geared towards winning.”

Newton said any previous opinions he had about Belichick changed the first time he had a conversation with the future Hall of Famer.

“I think every type of stereotype that I had about Coach Belichick changed the day I talked to him,” Newton added. “You look at the players he’s had over the years — obviously the Brady’s, the Randy Moss’, the Corey Dillon’s, the Lawrence Taylor’s, and the list goes on, Tedy Bruschi, it’s no wonder why he’s sustained success over the years.

“If he was able to accomplish those things with those players, it made a lot of sense. The time when I spoke to him and obviously meeting with him face-to-face, it removed any type of doubt, if I even had any. It’s just exciting to play for a person like that.”

The only thing that will matter is the results, but the feeling appears to be mutual. Belichick has had nothing but positive things to say about Newton throughout the offseason. Newton has been named the starter for Week 1, though Belichick will not admit that publicly.

Most of the NFL has given up on Newton because of his injury history. Health will still be the biggest question mark, but he has a tremendous opportunity to revive his career in New England. Even if there are times when he becomes frustrated with Belichick’s style, Newton knows this is his best chance to prove he can still be an elite starter.

Cam Newton is now a member of the Patriots! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Cam Newton Patriots shirt. You can buy it here.

Novak Djokovic apologizes for behavior at US Open

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic issued an apology on Sunday for his behavior at the U.S. Open that led to his default.

Djokovic apologized to the tournament and to the linesperson he accidentally struck with a ball during Sunday’s match. In response to his actions, he added that he needs to “go back within and work on my disappointment” and grow from the incident.

View this post on Instagram

This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok. I‘m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong. I’m not disclosing her name to respect her privacy. As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being. I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behavior. I’m very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I’m so sorry. Cela ova situacija me čini zaista tužnim i praznim. Proverio sam kako se oseća linijski sudija, i prema informacijama koje sam dobio, oseća se dobro, hvala Bogu. Njeno ime ne mogu da otkrijem zbog očuvanja njene privatnosti. Jako mi je žao što sam joj naneo takav stres. Nije bilo namerno. Bilo je pogrešno. Želim da ovo neprijatno iskustvo, diskvalifikaciju sa turnira, pretvorim u važnu životnu lekciju, kako bih nastavio da rastem i razvijam se kao čovek, ali i teniser. Izvinjavam se organizatorima US Opena. Veoma sam zahvalan svom timu i porodici što mi pružaju snažnu podršku, kao i mojim navijačima jer su uvek uz mene. Hvala vam i žao mi je. Bio je ovo težak dan za sve.

A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole) on

You can see what happened to lead to Djokovic’s default and apology here. These are his first public comments about the incident, as he did not speak to the press after the default.

There have been concerns about how Djokovic vents his frustration on the court during matches. He was dismissive of those concerns before, but it sounds like he might take a second look in the wake of being disqualified at a Grand Slam.

Novak Djokovic defaults at US Open after hitting line judge with ball

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic is out at the U.S. Open under remarkable circumstances after hitting a line judge with a ball in frustration.

Djokovic had just been broken by Pablo Carreno Busta in the first set of Sunday’s fourth-round match, falling behind 6-5. The current world No. 1 struck a ball in frustration and inadvertently hit a linesperson in the neck or chest.

Djokovic could be heard pleading his case with a match official after the incident, trying to avoid a default.

Though there did not appear to be anything intentional about it, it is an automatic default if a player strikes a match official on the court. Djokovic was subsequently disqualified and is out of the tournament.

Djokovic having a temper is nothing new. The 33-year-old was chasing his 18th Grand Slam title and had not lost a match in 2020. With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both opting to skip the U.S. Open, Djokovic was the overwhelming favorite to claim the title. Now that won’t happen.

The optics won’t help Djokovic either, especially when he’s already had a controversial summer.

Adrian Peterson agrees to sign with Lions

Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson was a surprise release by the Washington Football Team this week, but it didn’t take him very long to find a new home.

Peterson told ESPN’s Josina Anderson on Sunday that he is signing with the Detroit Lions. He said his familiarity with Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who served in the same role with the Minnesota Vikings several years ago, was a big factor in the decision.

“They’re giving me an opportunity to play,” Peterson told Anderson. “I know coach (Darell) Bevell from my days in Minnesota. Ultimately I feel comfortable going there and helping them to get better.”

Peterson had a productive season last year with Washington. The 35-year-old rushed for 898 yards and averaged 4.3 yards per carry, which was his highest mark since 2015. He has made it clear that he is nowhere close to considering retirement.

Lions running backs D’Andre Swift and Bo Scarbrough have been banged up this offseason, and Kerryon Johnson is coming off knee surgery. Peterson should provide some valuable depth for Detroit.

Jadeveon Clowney reportedly to sign with Titans

Jadeveon Clowney

The Tennessee Titans appear to have won the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes.

Clowney went the entire offseason without signing with a team, but the pursuit for the former No. 1 draft pick heated up in recent days. Why? He reportedly wanted to miss training camp before signing with a team.

Now that camps have ended, Clowney is expected to sign with Tennessee, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reports.

On Thursday, Russini reported that Tennessee and the New Orleans Saints were making big pushes to sign Clowney. In Tennessee, Clowney would be playing for head coach Mike Vrabel, who coached him in Houston.

Clowney had 31 tackles, three sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception in 13 games last season for Seattle. He is still a big factor on defense, though it may take some time for him to get game-ready after missing camp.