Brown is under contract for two more seasons

Bell wants to be paid as a No. 1 running back and a No. 2 receiver, which isn’t likely to happen. Last year, Bell had 1,268 yards on the ground, and he was still Pittsburgh’s second-leading receiver with 616 yards. But his production doesn’t matter. Teams don’t value feature backs at $15 million per year. Still, Bell deserved a long-term deal from Pittsburgh, and now there’s no chance of that until 2018.

Holding out won’t change the fact that Bell’s options are limited. He can either sign the tag and play this season, or he can sit out and lose a paycheck for every week of the regular season he misses. The time has passed for the Steelers to offer him a long-term deal, so that $12 million is the best Bell is going to do this year.

Brown is under contract for two more seasons, and the team doesn’t have a sense of urgency about getting an extension done. General manager Rick Smith went so far as to say the team has no contract dispute with Brown. But considering that Brown skipped OTAs and mandatory minicamp and is now staying home from training camp, it’s pretty obvious this is a holdout.

The three-year rule is especially pertinent under the current CBA. With rookies locked into four-year contracts, teams have the 2017 season to decide whether their 2014 draft picks are worth keeping around. They also need to make a decision on their first-round picks, who are eligible for a fifth-year option in 2018 but could also see a massive extension if they’re good enough.

The 2013 draft was largely a dud, but thankfully there were a lot more interesting players in the 2014 draft. Just a quick scan of the first round reveals star players who walked in and immediately made their teams better. There are also a handful of infamous busts, some of whom involve the same team (look away, Cleveland Browns fans!). Nevertheless, this was a vast improvement on 2013 and could end up being one of the best drafts of the modern era when all is said and done.
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Will Fuller broke his collarbone, and he’ll miss 2-3 months

Texans wide receiver Will Fuller will be out indefinitely after breaking his collarbone in practice on Monday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He is expected to miss anywhere from two to three months, putting his return in October or even November.

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien confirmed that Fuller is set to return this season:

One of the best feelings when watching a game has to be just sharing that experience with other people. You can watch it with friends, family, or strangers at a bar. But when something special happens, you’re all part of it. And you can do this with just a TV.

Elite Mens Doug Martin Jersey But some events are more unique just because you were at the arena or stadium. The game itself doesn’t have to be a championship game or anything. In fact, a random regular or preseason game that you remember vividly could be as important to you than any title. It’s all on how you experienced and remember it.

Authentic Mens Frank Zombo Jersey Paul Pierce’s buzzer-beater that wasn’t for the Wizards in 2015 was so freakin’ cool … until it was called off. This was the same series that Pierce didn’t call bank, he called game. I’ll never forget hearing my mom scream for like two straight minutes and the entirety of the Verizon Center shook. I wish I could forget having to explain to her that the shot didn’t count though.

Fuller was hoping to rebound from what he felt was a tough rookie season. It’s like I just put myself in a shell and just put my head down and [was] just working as hard as I could and just trying to prove myself, he told ESPN’s Sarah Barshop on Monday. I feel like this year I’m just trying to have more fun with it, and I can tell already that it’s a lot more fun for me.

Why Sidney Crosby, caught in ‘UFC move,’ shoved P.K. Subban’s head into ice

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Sidney Crosby wasn’t exactly on his best behavior during the Penguins’ Game 5 blowout win Thursday, so he had some explaining to do afterward.

You’re playing in the finals, the biggest stage in your career, and you’re not happy obviously, Rinne said. But I never take it personally. It’s not about me. It’s all about us. I try not to take it personally. The reasoning behind it, I always believe that it’s to wake up the team. Of course sometimes if I’m not getting the job done, it’s better to put the other guy in.

After getting pulled in his last two road starts, Rinne admitted to having doubts after getting yanked from Thursday’s Game 5.

Of course you have those thoughts, ‘Why right now? Why pucks are getting deflected in off our guys?’ or something like that, Rinne said. You try to work so hard that the luck is also on your side. When bounces are not going your way, sometimes you… have second thoughts in your head. But that’s life.

Even though he has not played well on the road in the Final, Rinne could still wind up as the Conn Smythe winner if the Predators can find a way to win the Cup. But they have to win Sunday first, and then find some way to solve the Penguins on their home ice.

Obviously they played a really strong game last game and beat us pretty bad, but right now there’s no favorites, Rinne said. We get to play at home. We get to prepare for this. It’s just a one-game [situation]. Our mentality is going to be just taking care of this one game, and after that we have all the chances.
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Panthers hire Bob Boughner as new coach

The Florida Panthers have high expectations for their young roster, and they’re turning to a relatively youthful coach to lead the group.

The team named Bob Boughner as its new coach Monday. It will be the first NHL head coaching job for the 46-year-old, who most recently has been an assistant with the Sharks.

After an exhaustive search, we are pleased to welcome Bob as the new head coach of the Panthers, general manager Dale Tallon said in a release. He sees the game in a modern way and is eager to work with our young players. During the interview process, Bob blew us away with his preparation, his passion, knowledge and dedication to the game. We believe that he is the right leader to get our team back to competing towards our goal of winning the Stanley Cup.

Niskanen was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for cross-checking.

Crosby, who has a history of head and neck injuries, has 11 points in seven playoff games as the Penguins hold a 2-0 lead in the second-round series.
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Washington chose to dress seven defenseman due to an injury to Karl Alzner, who was playing in his first game since April 15.
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Niskanen’s absence meant Alzner and the Caps’ remaining blueliners needed to make up for those lost minutes in Game 3.

Of greater influence on the series would be the fallout from a potentially serious injury to Crosby, who was named a finalist for the Hart Trophy earlier Monday. The 29-year-old superstar lost dozens of games in his otherwise remarkable career due to post-concussion syndrome in 2011 and two fractured vertebrae in his neck in 2012.

Crosby’s latest concussion scare cost him the first six games of this past season. It was at least the third concussion diagnosis of his career.

NFL Week 1 schedule and TV coverage

The NFL preseason is over, and now the meaningful games finally are set to start. The NFL season kicks off Sept. 7 with a marquee AFC matchup, while the rest of the weekend features a few interesting divisional battles.

The Chiefs and Patriots start the season Thursday night on NBC. Tom Brady faces Alex Smith for the first time after the Patriots downed the Chiefs at Gillette Stadium in the divisional playoffs two seasons ago.

Thursday’s matchup looks like the best game of the weekend, though there are plenty of other great Sunday matchups. Seahawks vs. Packers looks to be the highlight of the Sunday afternoon games, while NBC’s Sunday night game pits the Giants against the Cowboys.

On Monday night, newly-signed Saints running back Adrian Peterson returns to Minneapolis to take on his former team. Then a matchup between the Chargers and Broncos will set the tone in the AFC West.

It’s hard to imagine the NBA under those rules.

Five teams used the core designation this offseason, meaning their other restricted free agents (beside the “core player”) will be unrestricted. The result: The much-anticipated offseason in which there should be a lot of talented free agents available.

Delle Donne — described by The Times as “the first WNBA star at her high level of play and prime age to switch teams” — just won’t be among them.

Hawkins entered the NFL in 2011 with the Bengals and played three seasons in Cincinnati, then three in Cleveland before signing with the Patriots in May. He finishes his NFL career with 209 catches for 2,419 yards and nine touchdowns.t_rangers_007-115x115

Patrick Ewing comes home to Hoyas for opportunity NBA never gave him

Kenny Stabler Authentic Jersey Congratulations to Georgetown for giving Patrick Ewing what the NBA never did.

Authentic Kids Demetrius Harris Jersey No, not a championship. A chance to be a head coach.

That’s the one dark cloud in the sunny skies over the return of Georgetown’s greatest player to take over his alma mater in its time of need. This should not be Ewing’s first head-coaching job.

The Wizards struck the first deal of the day, landing the Nets’ Bojan Bogdanovic to add needed bench depth. It cost them Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton and a lottery protected first-round pick. The Wizards also added Chris McCollough, who isn’t likely to see any court time. Bogdonovic becomes a restricted free agent at the end of this season, while Nicholson is playing under the first year of a four-year, $26 million deal. Thornton is expected to be waived, per the Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Sixers traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks for Tiago Splitter, a 2017 second-round pick via Miami, and a 2017 second-round pick swap with Atlanta. Ilyasova wasn’t a part in the Sixers’ rebuild process, and instead they’ll gain another draft pick, and move up in the second round using their own. The two players’ contracts are set to expire at the end of the season, and are essentially a wash.

The Bulls want Crowder in any deal for Butler, but Boston is hesitant to part ways with a quality forward on an extremely cap-friendly contract, per NBA.com’s David Aldridge. Chicago is under no pressure to ship Butler, and is unlikely to send him if isn’t the right deal.

James himself had expressed minor anxiety about the Cavs’ struggles

Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg helped Washington begin the second half of the season with a four-game sweep of the Reds. Strasburg struck out 11 and walked just one while giving up one run off four hits over seven innings in a 6-1 victory in Cincinnati. Helping to give Strasburg plenty of run support were Ryan Zimmerman, who went 3 for 5 with a solo homer, and Bryce Harper, who hit a three-run home run as part of a two-hit day.
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Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton went 2 for 3 with a pair of monster homers in Miami’s 6-5 win over the Phillies. Stanton was also walked twice, but the Marlins needed a Dee Gordon single in the 10th for a walk-off win. Gordon had three hits, including the game-winner.
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James himself had expressed minor anxiety about the Cavs’ struggles, but he mostly shrugged off the notion of Eastern Conference threats and the idea this game represented a big one for his team.

I’m sorry, he said Tuesday. I’ve been to six straight Finals, man. I’m the last person to ask about a regular-season game, dude. Sorry.

He’s right. James has been a postseason force in recent years. His playoff averages for the last six seasons have been 27.2 points on 48.9 percent shooting, with 9.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists.

For the advanced-stat crowd, he has led the postseason in VORP (value over replacement player) in all six postseasons, and in box score plus-minus in the last five. He has led the playoffs in win shares in five of the last six years. That’s how you get to all those Finals. When his teams — the Heat, and now the Cavs — have needed him, James has been at his best.

Timberwolves working to sign Andrew Wiggins to $148M extension, report says

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Acquiring guard Andrew Wiggins in 2014 was the first step the Timberwolves took to relevancy, jumping them to the top of the NBA’s up-and-coming teams.

By adding Karl Anthony-Towns the next year in the draft and Jimmy Butler via trade a month ago, the Timberwolves are now a force to be reckoned with. And they apparently want to remain that way for years to come by signing their talented young players for the foreseeable future.

Wiggins is the first up for an extension, and the Timberwolves have plans to get that done soon, according to ESPN.

We’re working on it right now, team president Tom Thibodeau said at an introductory press conference for Jamal Crawford.

The former University of Kansas guard is locked up through the 2018-19 season, and the extension is for five years worth some $148 million, ESPN reported.

Elite Kids Roberto Aguayo Jersey Wiggins averaged a career-high 23.6 points in 2016-17 and added 2.3 assists per game.

Tucker might be the surest bet to be moved on Thursday of any player on the market. He is in the final year of his contract, he can be a solid wing defender for a contending team and he won’t cost much either in salary (final year of a deal paying $5.3 million) or assets needed to acquire him.

It’s that last aspect that has Phoenix sitting tight until late in the game. Ultimately, they’d like a first-round pick in return for Tucker, even a future first-rounder that they can package in a trade down the line. But because Tucker is mostly likely a rental, teams that are interested in him have been reluctant to part with a pick. The hope for the Suns is that the horde of teams interested in Tucker 鈥?Utah, Boston, the Clippers, Denver, Minnesota, Atlanta, Chicago 鈥?will wind up creating enough bidding as the deadline approaches to convince some team to give up a first-rounder.

DeMarcus Cousins sips Hennessy atop Mardi Gras float

Don’t worry.

DeMarcus Cousins isn’t letting his rough start with the Pelicans get him down too much.

While Boogie has yet to help lead New Orleans to a victory since being sent to the Crescent city prior to last week’s NBA trade deadline, he’s still out here winning in these 504 streets. He casually sipped from a bottle of Hennessy as he and new teammate and fellow Kentucky product Anthony Davis paraded through town on a Mardi Gras float on Fat Tuesday.

He may not have turned the Pelicans (23-37) around yet, but his turn up is definitely real.

Cousins is a true professional. After recording his 18th technical foul, Cousins is suspended for the Pelicans’ game Wednesday against the Pistons. He won’t be in action again until they host the Spurs Friday. I’m sure he’ll be ready to go.

Wilt Chamberlain has a statue in Philadelphia, and all you have to do to see why is take a gander at the NBA record book, aka “The Wilt Chamberlain Story.” He owns almost all of the league’s major records, making Michael Jordan look like just another hoopster. As the gold standard, he deserved his statue.

The Sixers lowered the bar more than a few rungs when they honored Julius Erving with his likeness in bronze. So there’s always a chance that Iverson one day will get a statue. He’s already had his number 3 retired, justifiably, winning one MVP award and four scoring titles.

But he’s not one of the NBA’s immortals and when you’re talking about a statue, that is one of our prerequisites. No, it didn’t apply when Dominique Wilkins was cast in bronze by the Hawks, so there’s always a chance that the Sixers pay homage to Iverson. But other than his MVP season in 2001, he had no other top-three finishes in his career. He went to one Finals and didn’t win a ring. He’s also 24th all-time in scoring, but soon to be 25th with Carmelo Anthony closing in fast. We just don’t see bronze in AI’s future.broncos_117

The Blue Jays are far underperforming expectations this year

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Analysis (Rivera, Gatto): The Cubs’ front office is trying to create some mojo for its consistently inconsistent squad heading into the latter stages of the season. Justin Verlander has been very good this year aside from three very bad starts — nine runs allowed vs. Cleveland in April, six runs allowed vs. Houston in May and seven runs allowed vs. Cleveland in July.

With the money Verlander has left on his deal — $56 million over the next two seasons and a $22 million vesting option for 2020 — he’s going to be pricey, both in terms of payroll and prospects. An anonymous Cubs official told Gammons the money is prohibitive. That’s why Chicago reportedly inquired instead about the Tigers’ best young starters, Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris. The 24-year-old Fulmer, last season’s AL Rookie of the Year, would seemingly require a huge talent outlay, but the Cubs have that type of depth and appear to be willing to part with some of it.

Elite Kids Trey Flowers Jersey The Blue Jays are far underperforming expectations this year, and they have some very intriguing pieces to offer teams. Third baseman Josh Donaldson is one, and starting pitcher Marcus Stroman is another. While the Jays still have boppers who can do damage in August and September, they’re probably best suited to sell, and moving Donaldson and/or Stroman would definitely bring back a hefty haul.

But now, after this resurgence, the Pirates might actually be able to get an acceptable return. It seems weird to say they need to strike while the iron’s hot for a guy who finished in the top five of the NL MVP voting four consecutive years — he won in 2013 — but that might be true. If they don’t move him before the July 31 non-waiver deadline and he struggles in August and September, the offseason market for McCutchen might not exactly be buzzing.