Archive for the ‘entertainment’ Category

Image result for demarcus cousins to make debut for warriors jan 18

DeMarcus Cousins is expected to make his highly anticipated debut with the Warriors on Jan. 18, sources tell Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Golden State will play the Clippers in Los Angeles that Friday night and then take on the Lakers two days later at the Staples Center.

Cousins is recovering from the torn Achilles he suffered last season with the Pelicans. He signed a one-year deal with the Warriors with the expectation of hitting the free-agent market again in 2019. The team can only offer him a modest raise on his $5.3 million deal, although reports indicate that Cousins might consider playing on a similar one-year deal during the 2019-20 campaign.

Playing with the Warriors will be different for Cousins. The pace and real title expectations are unlike anything Cousins has seen since he came into the league.

“They play faster than most other teams. It’s not even about the rust. That’s going to be part of the process. I’m aware of that. It’s about having my body in the best shape possible for an NBA game,” Cousins said last month.

Image result for kevin love and john wall

The NBA is just starting to flush out the poor contracts signed in an over-splurging summer of 2016, with the likes of Nicolas Batum, Evan Turner, and others receiving a handsome sum for little return in productivity. Yet one of the executives who spoke with Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger said Kevin Love’s four-year, $120 million extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers and John Wall’s four-year, $170 million extension with the Washington Wizards are “the two worst contracts in the league.”

Both contracts will pay these players a hefty sum of money into their mid-30s, but that is hardly the worst part of it. Love and Wall have been plagued by injuries during their respective careers, and while neither of them is currently enjoying the money from their extensions, they are currently out of action.

Love recently took back a presumed return date and is now noncommittal on a return, as the Cavs now boast the worst record in the league after LeBron James’ exit left them with a hollowed-out roster. Once a double-double machine, Love is no longer the board-inhaling, box-out bandit or the outlet pass king that made him a nightly triple-double threat as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

As the Texans prepare to face the Colts for the third time this season in today’s first wild card game, there’s one area in particular where they can feel very good: Their defensive line got the better of the Colts’ offensive line in both regular-season games.

Although the Colts’ offensive line was much improved this season, thanks in large part to the arrival of the great rookie guard Quenton Nelson, they struggled against the Texans’ defensive front. In the first game against the Texans, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was sacked a season-high four times, with J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney getting two sacks each. In the second matchup, Luck was sacked twice. Luck was only sacked 18 times all year, the fewest sacks in the NFL, but one-third of those sacks came courtesy of the Texans.

Running the ball, the Colts consistently struggled to create holes against the Texans’ defense.

Teams looking to fill roster spots temporarily are now allowed to add to on 10-day contracts. As noted by ESPN’s Bobby Marks, salaries for 10-day deals are based on a player’s years of service and will be either 10 days or three games, whichever is longer.

Current teams with open roster spots include the Warriors, Hornets, Pacers, Grizzlies, Heat, Thunder, Sixers, Suns, Raptors and Wizards. Teams are permitted to sign a player to two 10-day pacts and can sign him for the remainder of the season after the second one expires.

As Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) notes, luxury tax restrictions may prevent the Warriors, Heat, Thunder, Raptors, and Wizards from adding a 10-day player. Also, given Monday’s deadline to waive players before contracts become guaranteed. We examined five notable non-guaranteed contract situations that are worthy of monitoring. On Jan. 10, all contracts become fully guaranteed.

Image result for anthony davis

Following the Pelicans’ devastating loss to Brooklyn on Wednesday night, a defeated Anthony Davis couldn’t hide his frustration to the media.

“We’re a better team than our record shows. Everyone is frustrated. Players, coaches, front office. We’ve just got to do better,” Davis told ESPN. “We wasn’t playing no defense. The whole first half, they did whatever they wanted. They didn’t feel us on the defensive end. We wasn’t physical, wasn’t talking. They got a lot of layups, a lot of open 3s. They shot the ball extremely well in the first half due to our lazy defense.”

Despite Davis finishing the game with 34 points and a career-high 26 rebounds, New Orleans failed to pull off a victory against a team they should’ve beaten. Sadly, this kind of narrative has been normal for the young star since he was drafted back in 2012.

This reality has us all wondering when Davis will call it enough. How long will he keep on losing? How long will he continue to put up with a franchise that has routinely lacked the ability to build and sustain playoff teams?

Most think it won’t be much longer and, as Kay Williams put it on ESPN’s morning show “Get Up,” it’s only a matter of time until Davis forces a trade out of The Big Easy.

Image result for lebron james

LeBron James declaring himself the greatest NBA player of all time has sparked a pretty fierce public debate.

Perhaps that was all part of his plan?

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was asked Thursday what he thought of the Los Angeles Lakers star’s recent remarks about being the GOAT and made an interesting analogy while wondering aloud why James would make those comments with more basketball ahead of him.

“His career’s not over,” Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich.” “I’d just like to — why he’s saying that, I don’t know. Maybe he thinks that that sells. Maybe he’s taking the Donald Trump approach and trying to sell himself. I don’t know.”

James made the statement on his new show, “More Than An Athlete,” which airs on ESPN+ and is produced in partnership with his media company, UNINTERRUPTED. So, while LeBron is getting some pretty harsh blowback for his boast, he’s still drumming up awareness for his own business venture

Image result for lebron james

Image result for smith-schuster

It’s always been the little things that gnaw at Antonio Brown. It might be the ball not going his way. It might be something or someone rubbing him the wrong way. It might just be the wrong day.

Or it could be something as arbitrary as not being named team MVP.

Last week, Steelers players voted JuJu Smith-Schuster as the 2018 recipient of that award. This was in the aftermath of the Steelers’ Week 16 loss to the Saints, their fourth in five games and a defeat that took their playoff fate out of their own hands. Brown loaded the team on his back in that game, ringing up 14 catches for 185 yards and two scores, many of them spectacular and in critical situations, in the 31-28 loss in New Orleans.

Bitter? Sure he was. Or, at least, that’s what those in the organization believe—that he took the MVP snub personally, and that he carried that saltiness into work last Wednesday. It was there from the moment he walked in the building, and it boiled over in the much-discussed confrontation with Ben Roethlisberger at the morning walkthrough.

“He was just frustrated,” said one source. “The MVP vote—it’s those things that set him off. He was unreal in New Orleans, we still lost, and the vote comes out and it’s JuJu. So he shows up for work, he’s not voted MVP, he’s in a bad way, and that carried over into the walkthrough.”

Eight days later, the talk on Brown is starting to shift from what happened to how the team might manage the cap ramifications of trading him, all while Brown seems to be putting a social-media heel turn into motion.

How did we get here so fast? It’s actually not that complicated.

In this week’s Game Plan, we’re going to give you a player to watch—and some you may not be thinking of—in each of the four wild-card round games, get you ready for college football’s national title game with a couple prospects to keep an eye on, and answer your questions on the coaching searches, one offensive coordinator’s candidacy in the race for those jobs, and the offensive rookie of the year debate.

But we’re starting with the Brown story, and where the relationship between one of the NFL’s flagship franchises and perhaps the greatest receiver in its history went sour. That starts with the background on who the Steelers have always been, and who Brown is.

img_6123

Pittsburgh’s model for its coaches—one Tomlin fits into, as Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher did before him—calls for, first and foremost, a battleship commander, the type who can manage big personalities and big problems. That’s always allowed the Steelers to cast a wide net in talent acquisition, which routinely has added up to wildly gifted rosters. Building that way, of course, comes with risk.

Then you have Brown, who brings with him some of the standard diva receiver characteristics. He’s tough, and competitive, and as one staffer said, “Hands down, he’s the hardest worker on the team. I couldn’t even tell you who number two is, that’s how easy it is to say that.”

The flip side of that is, he wants that work to equal results, and getting results means getting the ball. And when he doesn’t, it can be a problem. There are examples, those there explain, in every game, where Brown will run a flawless route, be impossibly open, and Roethlisberger will just miss him. That eats at Brown. “His work ethic and his me-against-the-world attitude is what makes him great,” one coach says, “but it also creates some issues.”

And to put one element together with the other, for certain players, there’s what’s been referred to internally in the Steelers building as “necessary tolerance.” Le’Veon Bell was afforded it. Martavis Bryant got it. Roethlisberger has it too. As does Brown.

So why did that combustible mix finally erupt this time around?

Brown has explained to those close to him that he didn’t feel some of his teammates were as invested in 2018 as he was, and it was showing up in their work, and he was fed up with it. The standard, as he saw it, was slipping. And his side of the story holds that his handling of last week—from the Wednesday outburst to the Saturday no-show—was a manifestation of how he felt about the state of the team.

Of course, that reaction put Tomlin—as good at managing conflict as any coach in the NFL—in a thorny spot. Sit the best receiver in the NFL against Cincinnati in Week 17, and risk killing the team’s fading playoff hopes? Or let him play and send the message to the locker room that talent trumps all? In taking the former path, Tomlin, and the Steelers, finally drew a line in the sand with Brown.

It was, essentially, showing him the point where his problems outweighed his production, and that there was a point where football could be taken away.

Maybe the Steelers hoped it’d be a wake-up call. Instead, Brown added another chapter to his recent list of erratic behavior. Earlier this year, he reportedly called a Steeler beat reporter a racist and threatened an ESPN writer in response to the story that made the claim. This time around he didn’t like how ex-Steeler Ryan Clark critiqued his behavior on ESPN and called him an “Uncle Tom” on Instagram.

Image result for smith-schuster and antonio brown

So if Pittsburgh was going to have Brown back after this latest blow-up, there’s that background to deal with, and also the matter of how Brown’s current teammates would welcome him back after he abandoned them during what was, in effect, a playoff week.