Lucky Whitehead shames Cowboys for release: ‘I was pretty much called a liar’

Lucky Whitehead is taking the time to air his dirty laundry now that he’s cut ties with his former team.

The third-year wide receiver was released by the Cowboys on Monday after a Virginia court issued a warrant for his arrest stemming from a shoplifting charge on June 22, but police in Virginia dropped the charges Tuesday after admitting he had been a victim of mistaken identity.

Whitehead, understandably disappointed, only wishes the Cowboys would have given him more time to prove his innocence.

“Let’s not sugarcoat anything,” Whitehead said during a Tuesday phone interview, via the Dallas Morning News. “I was pretty much being called a liar.

“As far as the whole situation went down, I was blindsided. I didn’t know about a warrant that came about in the first place. Clearly because I wasn’t the person arrested. The head person [in the Cowboys organization] I told, no one backed me up. No one had my back in the whole situation. I knew about it at what? 12:45. By 2:30 I’m released.”

The Cowboys released Whitehead after learning he had missed a July 6 court date even after the wideout explained he had nothing to do with the incident.

Why he fits: The Yankees have missed the playoffs two years in a row, and Verlander would, in theory, breathe life into that rotation and help make a second-half push. And Verlander feels like the type of personality who would thrive under the lights of New York City.
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Teams meet with a slew of prospects at the NBA’s Combine in Chicago in May

It may be stupidity, but for NBA executives, especially those who would be eager to draft Ball, there is lingering consternation around dealing with Lavar Ball when you draft Lonzo Ball. Just how much drama comes with the Ball package? Does taking a guy averaging 15.0 points, 7.6 assists and 6.3 rebounds, a guy one scout called the first, talented pure passer I’ve seen since Jason Kidd, come with risk of excessive interference from Pops?
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It doesn’t help, all this stuff with his father, one general manager told Sporting News. I don’t know what is gained for the kid by putting that much pressure on him. Nobody from the league has been meeting with (Lonzo Ball) or anything, but that is going to be another thing to look at when it comes to due diligence before the draft. How does he handle his dad, is it just something he laughs about, or is it real pressure on him?

Teams meet with a slew of prospects at the NBA’s Combine in Chicago in May, and that offers an opportunity to gauge a player’s personality and how he represents his own background. Most around the league don’t expect Ball to participate in the Combine’s drills, and it is likely that he won’t show up at all. That would leave individual workouts as the only opportunity for teams to sit down and talk with Ball directly.

The trend of NBA coaches resting healthy stars is an absolute joke, Jackson declared. Who is protecting the fan? Who is protecting the game of basketball? Something’s got to be done.

Van Gundy accused the league, coaches and players of pulling a bait and switch on fans. If this was any other business, this would be a prosecutable offense, Van Gundy said.

David Amerson Limited Jersey That was Saturday night. You figured ESPN might be over its snit by Monday morning.

We obviously want to beat that team bad

Barry Church Elite Jersey Before we get there, though, the touted players involved will make some important decisions, starting with their agents. That can be influential in where the players wind up — agents who have top-shelf pre-draft programs can boost their players’ stock by a handful of picks, sometimes making the difference between the lottery and the 20s.

Sporting News talked to multiple sources to see where current NBA prospects are on their decisions about picking agents. Players are frequently make last-minute changes, and many have not yet made a decision, but here’s the current intel on where college players stand on their agent choices.

Authentic Will Middlebrooks Jersey Markelle Fultz, Washington: There are, of course, several agents in the mix for Fultz, who could very well be the No. 1 pick this year. But the name that has come up most often is Raymond Brothers, a respected veteran who has mostly older clients, including Zach Randolph and Tony Allen.

As the video tribute played and Korver saluted the crowd, it was at that moment he finally got to publicly say goodbye to a very important chapter in his career.

It felt like a very long road trip, Korver said. I learned a lot about life and winning here in Atlanta. It was tough to leave, but I have a great opportunity to win here.

Budenholzer misses Korver on and off the court, but he takes solace in doing right by him in the trade.

We obviously want to beat that team bad, Budenholzer said. So it’s hard to see your brother go there. But, he’s got a chance to do something special, which makes it easier. I feel better that he’s on a great team.

Sometimes in life, everybody does win. Korver has a shot a championship. The Cavs have a critical piece. And even the Hawks won by getting a pick that could help set the foundation going down the road.

Mark Cuban wants new Lakers front office to ‘fail miserably’

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sees the moves the Lakers are making and hopes it all goes wrong for the franchise.

As you may have heard, the Lakers recently named Magic Johnson as their team president and on Tuesday officially made Rob Pelinka their general manager. Speaking before Tuesday’s game between Dallas and Los Angeles, the Mavs owner offered his thoughts on the moves.

I hope they fail miserably. I hope they fail horrifically, Cuban said, via the L.A. Daily News. I hope Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka go down as the worst GM-president combination in the history of GM-president combinations. But I hope they live wonderful lives.
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From a business perspective this makes sense; it’s nothing personal. The worse other teams are, the better your team is. But first things first, your team needs to succeed in order to take advantage of the team’s failures. The Mavs are getting there but still have some work to do.

In the wake of the Kings’ blockbuster trade of DeMarcus Cousins, they’ve continued to look for ways to rebuild by sending away other noted veterans. But the fact is, Arron Afflalo — with another $12.5 million on his contract next season and his 32nd birthday looming in October — has very little value left around the league, and Ben McLemore didn’t have much to begin with.
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Collison is a different story. His contract, paying him $5.3 million this year, expires in the summer and despite an off-court guilty to plea to a domestic violence charge this summer, he has done well when on the court this year. He has averaged 17.3 points on 50.9 percent shooting from the field in his last 13 games, and potential playoff teams in need of point guard depth (Atlanta, Charlotte, Milwaukee) have had some interest in Collison.

Nike is interested in Lonzo Ball, Phil Knight says

ike is interested in signing Lonzo Ball to an endorsement deal, Phil Knight, the company’s co-founder, told USA Today.

Ball, a freshman at UCLA, is projected to be the second overall pick in June’s NBA Draft.

Among his countless outlandish statements, LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s father, said last month he wants to secure a $1 billion combined shoe deal for his three sons (Lonzo has two younger brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo, both of whom are also expected to attend UCLA).

Knight said if the Ball family can land such a deal, more power to them – it just won’t be with Nike.

“It’s a little steep,’’ Knight said of LaVar’s $1 billion asking price.

But Knight added of Lonzo, “He’s an awfully great player. Yeah, we have an interest.”

Minnesota’s second-year center is the one player most GMs and coaches would love to build their franchise around. He’s got the entire package, never gets hurts or misses a game and has the look of a big winner/future champ. Dare we say he’ll replace Garnett as the greatest player in Timberwolves history and be the one who gets a statue in 2045?

Don’t know where he’ll end up or if he’ll even hold up. But just going on the scouting reports that he’s got a lot of Jason Kidd in him, with a better shot, we’re going to go out on a limb and say he’ll be a transcendent playmaker at the next level.

In 2050, we can see Lonzo at a ceremony where they unveil his likeness in bronze. And yes, LaVar will be there to tell the world, “I told you so!”steelers_120

Manny Machado’s bad-luck season could parlay into MVP-caliber second half

Elite Eric Reid Jersey Ask just about anyone, Manny Machado is having an abysmal season.

He is batting just .230/.296/.445. His .296 on-base percentage is just two points higher than his batting average last season — a season in which he finished fifth in American League MVP voting.

That 2:57 was eight minutes faster than the average time for a nine-inning game in the major leagues at that point in the season. Major League Baseball is crawling toward a record for slowness; all but one club was averaging less than 3 hours per game through July 17. That’s why baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is threatening to do things to increase the pace of play, such as adding a pitch clock, without input from the union next offseason.

Of course I wrote down the time. Of course I glanced up at the scoreboard clock immediately after the final out and did the math. After all, tradition dies hard.

Only much later did I determine that watching the clock was a waste of my time, and that such bookkeeping is a waste of everyone else’s time. It’s a pastime that needs to become part of baseball’s past.

He has improved his balance, timing and plate discipline in his return to Triple-A in 2016, and he could be a higher-average hitter with 20 or so homers per season or more of a masher who delivers 30-plus long balls.

Coming into the 2017 season, Judge had hit a total of 56 home runs in 348 minor league games. This season, he has 30 at the major league level after hitting no more than 23 home runs at any level of baseball. He hit a combined six in his first two years at Fresno State.

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’80s All-Stars: Midsummer Classic lacks ‘wow’ factor in interleague era

“It was like ‘Who are these guys?’ And it was cool.”

Problems like a couple of major advertisers … uh, well … pulling out. (It’s Viagra and Cialis. Sorry.)

Problems like upfront ad sales for the upcoming season, especially from traditional sponsors like auto and movie companies, being … uh, well … the softest in nearly a decade, since the big recession, according to a recent report. (That was the last time for this theme, promise.)

Problems like regular-season ratings dipping over much of last season, and the anxiety over whether that was just an exception or not.

Authentic Kids Jamize Olawale Jersey And problems like players loudly objecting, for the second straight year, to how much less their stars (and others) are getting paid compared to those in the NBA.

Authentic Kids Pavel Datsyuk Jersey Either way, there’s nothing stopping Fournette from getting a monstrous workload. As the first pick of the new Tom Coughlin era, the Jaguars featuring him immediately is important to recasting the offense with a physical identity to match the Jaguars’ talented young defense.

Angels starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco allowed eight earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings of work, leading to a 10-0 loss against the Rangers. Nolasco is now 4-10 with a 5.06 ERA this season.

Why he’s here: Molitor’s time as the Twins’ manager has been interesting. In his first year, the squad overachieved, winning 83 games and staying in the wild-card conversation down to the wire (they finished three games back of the final spot). Then last year, the Twins lost 103 games. So, of course this season, they spent a large portion of May and June in first place in the AL Central and are still just a couple of games behind Cleveland in the division.

Michael Fulmer, Tigers send MLB into All-Star break with win over Indians

The MLB All-Star break will be a breath of fresh air for the Tigers, but they ended the first half of the season on a high note Sunday by beating the Indians 5-3 in Cleveland.

Michael Fulmer, who was selected to his first All-Star game this year, allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings Sunday. Fulmer gave up seven hits, but walked just one to hold Cleveland’s offense in check.

Indians All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to help get Fulmer out of the game. It was Ramirez’s 17th home run of the season, and he’s now batting .332.

Glenn Hall Limited Jersey While it appeared the Indians were inevitably going to rally past the Tigers, Detroit’s shaky bullpen banded together to orchestrate their way through the final three innings and beat the Indians for their 39th win of the season.

Briean Boddy-Calhoun Limited Jersey Fortunately for Jets fans’ spirits, Darnold threw cold water on the report.

I’m really just taking it one year at a time, one game at a time, and that’s my mind set, Darnold said Tuesday on ESPN (via the New York Daily News). I don’t know where he got his information from.

Certainly not from him, he assured us.

Based on 2017 season win totals posted in Las Vegas, the Jets are projected to finish with the worst record in the NFL. The Westgate SuperBook is dealing 4.5 wins on the Jets, with the under’ a substantial -200 favorite (the Browns are also posted at 4.5 wins, but the over’ and under’ are evenly-priced at -110).

In other words, tanking probably isn’t even necessary for the Jets to get first dibs on Darnold. But should the Jets outpace projections, Darnold asks they try their hardest through Week 17.

I don’t think any team should tank their season because of me, Darnold said, echoing the thoughts of any sports fan with a soul.

Isaiah Thomas chews up Wizards with career-high 53 points

Isaiah Thomas suffered Monday and Tuesday, undergoing hours of painful oral surgery after losing a tooth in Sunday’s Game 1 against the Wizards.

James finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals, a disappointment only in the context of the 41-point triple-double he’d slapped on the Pacers in the prior game. He was exactly a plus-4 in this game, which not so coincidentally was the margin of the Cavaliers’ victory.

“He said he wanted to close these guys out,” Lue said. “He understands how important the rest is, waiting on the next series. We played him. We get the win, great, so now it’s a chance to get some rest.”

James said a team never goes into a series thinking about a sweep, and the Cavs had to fight each game to get to this point. They won the four games by an average of four points each, tying the smallest margin ever for an NBA playoff sweep.

James was immense in all of the games, though, never more so than in the fourth quarter Sunday after the Pacers had grabbed a 102-100 lead when Young beat Kevin Love’s boxout for a baseline tip-in at the 1:31 mark. James held the ball through much of the next possession and waited for his moment.

“I got a switch-off on Myles Turner and he just needed to show me something where I could get much shot off,” James said. “Once I saw his hands drop, I knew I had the shot. I trust my mechanics, I know what I can do … and it went down.”

This is a perfect signing for a team that needed a defensive stopper on the wing, and it seems like he took a discount to do it. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Tucker had an offer on the table of three years, $33 million, a hefty price for a role player. Instead, the former Texas Longhorn will end up back in the state where he went to school and won Big 12 Player of the Year on a deal that is less than the full mid-level exception. Thanks for the help, state of Texas and your lack of taxes.
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Chris Bosh says he’s ‘still an athlete’, doesn’t rule out return to basketball

Chris Bosh has not played basketball since February 2016 due to recurring blood clots, but he hasn’t given up hope on an NBA return.

At heart, I’m still an athlete and that is not how I want it to end, Bosh said of his playing career in an interview with Larry King Live, via the Palm Beach Post. I do [miss playing]. But a part of me doesn’t. I’ve come to enjoy different aspects of life.

He had a game he didn’t take a three, which I told him that was important, Jackson said. If it’s not there you don’t have to take a three. That’s sometimes just a cheap way to score points or you get anxious to score points. He had a shorter delivery on his shot. He learned some post-up things that were good. I think that there were some things that were really positive about KP’s year.

Limited Youth Gary Zimmerman Jersey Expect the Knicks to dominate headlines throughout the offseason while they piece together their roster. Porzingis is not going anywhere anytime soon, but the same can’t be said for Anthony, or even point guard Derrick Rose.

Limited Youth Trent Williams Jersey Either draft or somewhere down the line in free agency (Knicks will address point guard position), Jackson said. Derrick has expressed hopes of coming back. We have some options. Derrick is a scoring guard first and foremost, organizing, leading, stuff like that is not particularly his strength. As a scorer, he is unparalleled.

What James did against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the third game of their first-round NBA playoff series would be the stuff of legend if America were inclined to fully appreciate what he delivers on a regular basis.