Big gambles by Hawks, Mavericks, Nuggets will come to define 2018 NBA Draft

There was size in this year’s NBA Draft. There was depth. There were shooters. There were quality point guards.

But more than that, this draft was marked by players who carry superstar ability. And, in the end, it was what happened to three of those potential superstars — and the risks their new organizations took to get them — that ruled an unpredictable night here at the Barclays Center.

No one put more on the line on this night than Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk, who gave up on Doncic — considered by some to be the best player in the draft — to land Young, who was a knockdown scorer at Oklahoma, where he averaged 27.4 points and 8.7 assists.

Schlenk has some history to go on here. He took over in Atlanta last year after having been with the Warriors going back to 2004, and was in the Golden State war room in 2009 when the team took a player deemed too skinny to withstand the rigors of the NBA. That player was Stephen Curry, who has gone on to a near-certain Hall of Fame career.

The knocks on Young are eerily similar to those on Curry, and others, for that matter. It’s a lot to ask Young to live up to Curry’s career path, but the Hawks are in need of a franchise cornerstone, a guy who can reliably put up 20-plus points per night. Young figures to be that guy.
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San Antonio will also bring in Marco Belinelli, who agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with the team, a league source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Belinelli returns to San Antonio after playing a couple seasons for the Spurs between 2013 and 2015. He played a combined 80 games for Atlanta and Philadelphia last season, averaging a career-high 21.1 points per game.

With Belinelli and Gay, the Spurs project to have $107 million in committed salary, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Belinelli contract will hard cap the Spurs at $129 million, based on the guard’s using more than the $5.3 million midlevel exception.

Bird expects to be a major contributor to this madness very soon.

I’m getting back into the everyday grind of baseball, which I love, he said. That’s how you figure it out… getting back into it. I’m a big believer in little things change and all of sudden you have two homers instead of two flyball outs, you’ve got a walk instead of a strikeout. It can change quickly.

But the putting issue is also nothing new; Woods couldn’t buy a putt in his last start, which came two weeks ago at the Memorial.

On Saturday alone at that tournament, he missed five putts from inside eight feet, including a pair of four-footers.

At least on Thursday, Woods only missed two such putts, both of which came from inside six feet, six inches. But he also didn’t make a single putt of significant length, with only one make coming outside of five feet – a 10-foot-8 bogey putt on No. 2.

Beyond that, his list of makes read more like a list furniture measurements: one foot, three inches; two feet, four inches; one foot, four inches; four feet, two inches; one foot, two inches; one foot, six inches…

Boston, 25, spent last year with the Chargers after toiling for the Panthers from 2014 to 2016. The former Panthers defender is mired in a dead safety market along with Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro and Mike Mitchell.

Boston has met with the Colts and Cardinals, saying of his Indianapolis visit: I didn’t meet with the [general manager], [head coach] or [defensive coordinator]. I was in the lunch room for [two] hours. I even got to play basketball.

As for his Cardinals meet-and-greet, Boston told Sirius: They rolled out the red carpet for me, but the offer was very, very disrespectful.

People think that you can find safeties anywhere, one former defensive coordinator told NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks. Listen to how people always talk about aging cornerbacks moving inside to safety when they lose their athleticism. Sure, some guys can do it, but there’s a lot more that goes into the position than some realize. You have to be smart and a communicator to play in the back end. You also need to be a solid tackler in the open field.

You can’t just throw anybody in there and expect them to have success.

Justin Verlander has won nine games this season and maintained a sub-2.00 ERA into the middle of June.

He’s reached 197 victories for his career. Verlander hit the 2,500-strikeout mark earlier this season, so when he hits 200 wins, he will join some rarefied air. Only Mike Mussina, Bob Feller and Walter Johnson have recorded at least 200 wins and 2,500 strikeouts while spending their entire career in the American League.

Well, if Verlander gets to 19 wins this year (an aggressive assumption), he will have averaged 17 wins over the past three seasons. As mentioned, he’s on top of his game and playing for the best team in the big leagues, one poised to remain in the elite tier for the time being.

Let’s say Verlander extends this 17-win average for three more seasons. He’s then at 261 wins. If he gets that close, is there any doubt he’d go for it, especially considering his adulation of historical greats like Nolan Ryan?

Igwenagu has long been close to making Rutgers his pick, but took some time to mull over his other options Army, Temple, Buffalo, Kent State, Bryant, UMass and Rice as well as schools close to offering, like UConn, Boston College and UCLA.

He’s an explosive defender, who projects to safety strong, free and nickel but could also kick down to Sam or Will linebacker if Rutgers were to have a need there.

Igwenagu been recruited to Rutgers primarily by defensive backs coach Noah Joseph, who surely appreciates Igwenagu’s twitch, hips, range and ability to move with all that length.

When the Browns took Ward fourth overall this year, they passed on a player many considered to be the best player and/or the best defender in the draft in pass rusher Bradley Chubb. That doesn’t make the selection of Ward a bad pick, but it does put a bit more pressure on Ward to produce, not that he wouldn’t have been under pressure if he’d gone later in the first round.

Larry Fitzgerald won’t say whether this year will be his last

Many think Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald will exit the NFL after the 2018 season, the 15th of his Hall of Fame career. Fitzgerald isn’t thinking that far ahead.

I’m just trying to make it to February in one piece, Fitzgerald said after a Wednesday minicamp practice, via the Associated Press.

When I say that I’m not saying it jokingly, that’s the mentality that you have to have, Fitzgerald added. All these guys, they’re not bringing them in here for their own health. They’re bringing them here to give them the opportunity to take your job. That’s not lost on me ever. I’m fighting and competing just like everybody else is.

Fitzgerald’s longevity may depend on the quality of quarterback play. He seems to be impressed with rookie Josh Rosen, the 10th overall pick in the draft.

Besides the skirmish, Shurmur was overall pleased with what he got out of his team through offseason activities. The Giants headed their separate ways Thursday for five weeks until training camp begins.

Very productive offseason, Shurmur said. I told the players we’ve come a long way, but we got a long way to go in all areas.

I don’t like watching myself argue, Piniella told the Daily News. If I’m on TV and see ESPN or anybody running it I turn it off. I’m a little embarrassed about that. I wish I hadn’t gone through the gyrations that I did. I’m very, very passionate, but I probably overdid it at times.

No disrespect to Sweet Lou, but clips of his old arguments — some of them bordering on legendary — are quite entertaining, and show the kind of passion some feel is missing in the sport today. Here’s a mix of some of his greatest hits.

Surprisingly, Piniella said he’s good friends with some of the umpires he blasted on the field.

I feel bad for some of the umpires that I had some run-ins with, he said. They are good friends of mine and I respect the job that they’ve done. But I don’t watch those things.

B.J. Hill may have been overshadowed at times on a North Carolina State defensive line that included fifth-overall pick Bradley Chubb, but he has still found ways to make a strong early impression with the Giants.

Joe Cardona gets four-year extension with Patriots

Fullback James Develin wasn’t the only role player to land a contract extension with the Patriots on Thursday.

Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports that the team has agreed to a four-year extension with long snapper Joe Cardona. Word of Develin’s two-year deal surfaced earlier in the day.

Cardona was a 2015 fifth-round pick out of the Naval Academy and had his active service requirement delayed under a policy that was rescinded by the Department of Defense last year. That change is not retroactively applied to Cardona or other players granted an exemption.

And so, Webb said he will not take much of a break. He will go home to Texas for a short time, but even there he will not put away football. He intends to hang out at Prosper High School, where his dad, Matt, is a coach, to throw, work out and study film. Webb also plans on increasing his running to get in top condition for his second NFL training camp.

As a result, the Cardinals now have 89 players on their active roster. That leaves them with a spot to fill before training camp gets underway in a little more than a month.

Ginda entered the draft with a year of eligibility left, but went undrafted out of San Jose State. He signed with the Cardinals right after the draft was over and will now try to continue his bid for an NFL career elsewhere.

Prior to leaving the Giants facility, Webb went upstairs into the coaching offices, seeking four or five bullet points of things I need to work on these next six weeks. He already had three in mind: Increase his knowledge of the protection schemes, better understand why certain routes are getting called and become more efficient moving around in the pocket.

I want to be a good player, Webb said. I’m not there yet. I want to be good and I’m gonna try to do as much as I can to get good.

Washington State head coach Mike Leach fell hard for the fake.

Yankees’ offense stagnant in loss to Rays

CC Sabathia did his part. The offense just couldn’t support the starter on Sunday.

The Yankees failed to record multiple hits in any inning, and outside of an Aaron Hicks solo home run, the offense sputtered in a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium.

So, will this be Kay’s last contract with the team? Don’t count on it.

I don’t see any end in sight, Kay told The Post. I want to keep doing this as long as I want to and as long as they want me to.

Kay will continue to host his afternoon drive show on 98.7 ESPN. In the latest ratings, Kay and his crew were beat by the return of Mike Francesa on WFAN.

He was hardly a factor in 2013 and 2014, was suspended the entire 2015 season for a third violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing substance policy and didn’t play a down after being reinstated in 2016. 

Jordan was a good-riddance cut the following offseason, but the Dolphins were left wondering about everything else they could have done with the two premium draft picks and $19 million they wasted on the guy. 

It takes a hell of a mistake to trump the five-year, $60 million deal the Dolphins gave Mike Wallace the same year, but that 2013 draft decision does the trick. 

Jackson was easily the most athletic and fastest quarterback in this year’s draft, and maybe in quite some time. He’s so athletic that some teams wanted him to work out as a wide receiver. Jackson turned that down, because, well, he’s a first-round quarterback prospect, so why on earth would he need to play another position? The Ravens insisted after the draft that they see Jackson strictly as a quarterback as well, but they’re also using him to run the ball in some practices.

Minkah Fitzpatrick sees some things in common between Saban, Gase

On the surface, Nick Saban and Adam Gase don’t seem all that similar. Rookie first-round cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick sees it differently.

The contract’s going to come, Williams said, via the New York Post. There’s no pressure for it. I’m not like thirsty for it or anything like that. I just want to keep working hard and keep focusing on year by year and just making myself the best possible and helping my team be the best possible, and the money will come.

I set my own expectation, Mayfield said. I don’t listen to anybody else’s, that’s how I always have been. And so for me, the pace has been a little bit slower than I really wanted it. There’s always bumps in the road, it’s not going to be perfect, that’s for sure.

It’s weird. Even now I’m like, it’s me. I’m the punter, Martin said. I always was with Nate and Tulloch and it was just sitting here. All the sponsors still wanted to do it so it just really needed a name to put on it. It was an easy thing for me to pick up last year.

It’s definitely a good feeling. I still have a bigger vision for my foundation but after five years, I like where we’re at.

Martin put his money on quarterback Jake Rudock being one of the best players on the diamond and he turned out to be right.

We’re just focusing on the guys that are here, but we’re always in constant dialogue with Aaron and his group, and would like to come to a solution.

When that’s going to happen, it’s hard to say.

Cora joked about the coaches having to pitch to Martinez in the cage behind the dugout during games.

jets_043There’s a few sore arms on the coaching staff throwing during the game, he said. But we’re happy, there’s plenty of ice for them after the game.

White Sox: RHP Reynaldo Lopez (1-4, 3.42 ERA) is scheduled to make his first career start against the Red Sox in the series finale Sunday. He’s 0-3 with a 4.86 ERA in seven road starts this season.

The top pitcher in each league will take the hill Sunday as Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber are slated to close out the fantasy week. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have either on your roster, there are a few options to help make up some ground late. There’s also a nice array of bats to aid on that side of the ledger.

Good luck to those playing in head-to-head leagues. Here are some readily available players in favorable spots to help in all formats.

Nathan Eovaldi (R), rostered in 20 percent of ESPN leagues, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Seattle Mariners: Since returning from the disabled list, Eovaldi has been his own opening act, tossing a total of 11 innings with a modest eight strikeouts but only two walks. His velocity is at its usual 97 mph, so he should get more punchouts. The Mariners are an average offense versus righties, so don’t expect a dominating performance, but something similar to Eovaldi’s first two outings will suffice.

I was just happy to get through it and be healthy, he said. Obviously wish I would’ve made some better pitches and got ahead of guys. I fell behind, led to some more pitches.

Three of Chicago’s infielders made an error: shortstop Tim Anderson booted a grounder, and second baseman Yoan Moncada and first baseman Abreu each had one throwing.

To be honest, I thought we just didn’t help him defensively, manager Rick Renteria said.

Boston had erased a 2-0 deficit by scoring a run in the first and second. Bradley’s homer into the center field seats tied it after Eduardo Nunez’s fielder’s choice grounder drove in a run.

Price gave up a run before getting an out in the first when Abreu doubled off the Green Monster after a single and walk. Kevan Smith’s groundout scored the second run.

Red Sox: Manager Alex Cora said OF Mookie Betts (10-day disabled list, left abdominal strain) actually felt better after taking BP on the field. If everything goes well, we’ll do it again tomorrow, Cora said. He seems like now he’s gaining momentum. The plan is likely for him to play a game on a rehab assignment. … The news wasn’t as good for 2B Dustin Pedroia (DL, left knee inflammation). Cora said his baseball activities are being limited.

Nashville named 2019 NFL Draft host city

The NFL will kick off the 2019-20 season in Music City.

Nashville has been selected as the host city of the 2019 NFL Draft, the league announced Wednesday at the owners’ meetings in Atlanta.

The report noted that cities under consideration for the 2019 and 2020 drafts include Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas City and a combination bid from Cleveland and Canton, Ohio. The 2020 draft site has not yet been named.

A sub-plot to the Thomas story is the fact that he’s a Texas native who grew up a Cowboys fan and was an All-American for the Texas Longhorns. After a Seahawks road victory over the Cowboys in December, Thomas ran to the entrance of Dallas’ locker room and yelled to coach Jason Garrett, “If y’all have the chance, come get me.”

Thomas tried to defuse the resulting media fallout by saying, “The biggest thing when I say ‘come get me’ is, I don’t literally mean ‘come get me now.’ I’m still in the prime of my career. I still want to be here, but when Seattle kicks me to the curb, please, the Cowboys come get me.”

Foster, a former league-leading running back with the Texans and now a rap musician performing under the name Bobby Feeno, told USA TODAY Sports that such views are widely held among NFL owners.

Todd Bowles, Jets: Credit the Jets for not being too quick to dismiss Bowles while general manager Mike Maccagnan overhauls the roster. But this could head to a Gus Bradley-in-Jacksonville situation, where the patience runs out in Year 4 before a potential breakthrough.

Known as a freakish athlete, Franklin was clocked running the 40-yard dash in 4.19 seconds earlier this year. The record set at the NFL combine is 4.22 seconds set by current Bengals wideout John Ross in 2017.

But the rumor mill had been fueled, and not helping matters were rumblings during the draft that the Cowboys (and at least one other team) had made a pitch for Thomas, but the offer reportedly was not enough to entice Schneider.ravens_154

Seahawks trade up to take a punter

The Seahawks continue to make news in the fifth round.

Fifth-round UCF product Shaquem Griffin is a passionate, driven locker room leader coming off a two-year run as a college starter in which he recorded 33.5 tackles for loss, 18.5 sacks, a pair of interceptions and 166 tackles. He was his conference’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 and a second-team All-American in 2017, and he followed that up by dominating his position with a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Griffin—who is already garnering praise for his work in organized team activities—has a star-level ceiling, which is great news for Seahawks fans considering that he cost the team only a Day 3 pick.

One day, he might even make such a large impact that most of us will forget that he’s doing so with one hand.

At the moment, that gives the Colts 11 picks in this draft.

Attorneys for free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick deposed Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider over the past two days as part of Kaepernick’s ongoing collusion grievance against the NFL, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday.

Kaepernick was scheduled to work out for the Seahawks in April. However, Schefter reported the team indefinitely delayed the workout upon learning Kaepernick wouldn’t commit to ending his protest during the national anthem.

Speaking to reporters, Carroll didn’t definitively rule out the possibility of the Seahawks signing Kaepernick, per the News Tribune’s Gregg Bell:

Seattle re-signed Austin Davis and added Stephen Morris this offseason to back up Russell Wilson, which likely eliminates any prospect of Kaepernick landing in the Pacific Northwest ahead of the 2018 NFL season.broncos_071_e39a365157dd20b5-180x180