Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers

Serge Ibaka reaches three-year, $65 million to stay with Toronto, per report

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Serge Ibaka has reportedly reached a deal to stay in Toronto, according to reports from The Vertical.

The deal is reportedly worth $65 million over three years. Ibaka, traded to the Raptors from Orlando before the All-Star break, finished his fourth and final year of his contract in 2016-17, a year in which he made $12.3 million in base salary.

Ibaka averaged 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 30.7 minutes per game in 2016-17. He played his final 23 games of the season for the Raptors, averaging 14.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 31.0 minutes played.

The move comes after losing P.J. Tucker to free agency on Sunday. Tucker reportedly signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Rockets.

The Sixers weren’t content with trading up to land the No. 1 pick in the draft, Markelle Fultz. On draft night, they obtained the Magic’s No. 25 pick (Anzejs Pasecniks) for their 2020 first-round pick (via Oklahoma City) and 2020 second-round pick.

Denver selected Louisville shooting guard Donovan Mitchell with the No. 13 pick, but he didn’t have a chance to get too comfy in that Nuggets hat. Denver traded Mitchell to the Jazz in exchange for Trey Lyles and the No. 24 pick (Tyler Lydon).

With three first-round picks, the Blazers packaged two of them in a deal to move up in the draft. Portland sent the 15th and 20th picks (Justin Jackson and Harry Giles, respectively) to Sacramento for the rights to the No. 10 overall pick (Zach Collins). lightning_138

The Packers defense ranked second in the league in points allowed in 2010 and second in yardage allowed in 2009.

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Since 2012, however, the Packers have only had six total defenders earn Pro Bowl nods. At no area has their defensive decline been more apparent than in the secondary. Injuries and aging phased out a once-intimidating unit, forcing the team to look for help in the draft. Instead of breeding a new generation of ball hawks, Green Bay has gotten limited returns from draftees like Quinten Rollins, Damarious Randall, and Demetri Goodson. The biggest free agent defensive back it signed from 2012 to 2016 was Jarrett Bush.

Further compounding the problem has been the team’s inability to retain valuable contributors. Casey Hayward struggled with injuries toward the end of his tenure with Green Bay and was allowed to walk in free agency in 2016. He earned his first All-Pro selection last season with the Chargers after leading the league with seven interceptions. The loss of other free agents like Davon House (who returned to Green Bay this offseason after two years with the Jaguars) and Tramon Williams didn’t have as big an impact but still cost the Packers valuable contributors in a season they were desperately needed.

That limited output has shown up in the box score. The Packers defense ranked second in the league in points allowed in 2010 and second in yardage allowed in 2009. Since 2011, they haven’t ranked higher than 11th in either category. Last fall, those ranks dropped to 21st and 22nd, respectively, and they managed just four interceptions all year.yankees_1092_6e22755ac0c004f0-180x180

Jusuf Nurkic will return from his leg fracture for Game 3 against the Warriors

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Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic will play, albeit limited minutes, in the team’s Game 3 matchup against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Nurkic suffered a non-displaced fibular fracture in his right leg in a March 30 win over the Houston Rockets and has been sidelined ever since. He returns to action in a game where the Warriors will be without Kevin Durant, Shaun Livingston, Matt Barnes and Steve Kerr.

The Trail Blazers acquired Nurkic and a 2017 first-round pick in a trade deadline deal with the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Mason Plumlee. The Bosnian big man has since proven indispensable, helping lead Portland to a 15-7 record after the trade, knocking the Nuggets out of the Western Conference’s eighth seed in the process.

Portland finished the season 4-5 after losing Nurkic in late March. He averaged 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.3 steals in 29 minutes per game for the Trail Blazers this season.

What’s been absolutely out of left field, however, is the response from Pittsburgh media. Two pieces in particular have made their way across the internet over the last few days, the second more incredulous, and more dangerous, than the first. I’m linking them here for the sake of journalistic integrity in sourcing your information. One of the first rules of journalism school, kids. Don’t forget it.

The Magic have been incredibly stale since the Dwight Howard trade in 2012. Fox could change that. He plays both ends of the floor as hard as anyone in this draft. He’ll be one of the fastest players in the league for the moment he plays his first game. He also just has a way of making winning plays. That’s been missing from the Magic for years.
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Lynch narrated his original Beast Quake run.

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Lynch coined his own nickname, Beast Mode, when he came into the league. Those words came to represent his style of play, best epitomized by his two Beast Quake runs.

In the first one, against the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round following the 2011 season, Lynch made contact with seven different Saints defenders, none of whom came close to slowing him down, on his way to the end zone. The Saints had finished the regular season 13-3 and were heavily favored to beat the home team. Seattle went 7-9 in 2011 and made it into the postseason by being just good enough to win the NFC West with a losing record.

The “Quake” part of its name came from the seismic activity at CenturyLink Field immediately after Lynch’s touchdown. It registered as a magnitude-one earthquake, SB Nation’s Matt Ufford learned from John Vidale, the director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

And that wasn’t the only time Lynch pulled off a Beast Quake. In 2014, he pulled off the longest touchdown run of his career, bouncing off multiple Arizona Cardinals defenders en route to a 79-yard touchdown. The Week 16 win over the Cardinals helped the Seahawks lock up the NFC West.

During a visit to the NFL Films Studio, Lynch narrated his original Beast Quake run. Lynch’s commentary is probably the only thing that could make this play better.

We can’t get enough of Beast Quake, or anything else Marshawn does, and we’re thrilled he’s back.

He struggles to shed blockers — a lapse that will only grow during the transition from the AAC to the NFL. He also has a tendency to bite hard on play-action fakes, luring him toward the line of scrimmage and taking him away from his duties over the top. These are all coachable fixes, but at 23 years old, he’s an older prospect who may not have as high of a ceiling as some of the younger defensive backs in the class of 2017.
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Yup, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes is the pitcher Pat Mahomes’ son

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If you’re a fan of journeymen Major League Baseball relief pitchers from the mid-1990s and early 2000s, this is your kind of NFL draft.

Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes went 10th overall to the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night. Mahomes is a former 37th-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2014 and, more significantly, the son of 11-year MLB reliever Pat Mahomes. This is a family that’s proven adept at throwing balls in competitive environments.

The elder Mahomes has a glorious Baseball Reference page. He tossed 709 major league innings between 1992 and 2003, pitching for the Twins, Mets, Red Sox, Rangers, Cubs, and Pirates. He had a cup of coffee in the Montreal Expos’ organization in 2004, which is why he’s in an Expos uniform in the headshot topping this article.

And the impact of the rebuilt line doesn’t stop there. If the Browns draft a quarterback to develop into the franchise signal caller the team has needed since 1999, he’ll have a solid line to play behind. That, coupled with Crowell’s production, should ease a young player’s transition to the NFL.

Corey Coleman, last year’s first-round pick, has the potential to become the Browns’ top wideout this season. Last year’s quarterback woes and injuries kept him from contributing much in his rookie year.

On defense, the Browns acquired outside linebacker Jamie Collins from the New England Patriots via trade last season. Collins only played in eight games, but finished 2016 third on the team for tackles and added two sacks. The Browns signed him to an extension this offseason, locking him up for the next four years. He could have an even bigger impact on the defensive side if the Browns can add an edge rusher to complement him.dodgers_351

NFL injuries, Week 11: Wes Welker, Jabari Greer and more

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have a disappointing 3-6 record, and tensions are rising regarding the team’s 25th-ranked offense. At the helm is a growing feud between the Steelers and veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has reportedly mulled requesting a trade from the team that drafted him in 2004.

On Friday, Michael Silver reported on NFL Total Access that there are grumblings within the Steelers front office that Roethlisberger doesn’t do the preparation necessary of a franchise quarterback.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor is officially listed as questionable for Sunday when the Oakland Raiders are scheduled to travel to face the Houston Texans. However, his chances of playing appear closer to doubtful. It was undrafted rookie Matt McGloin who took the majority of the snaps for the Raiders on Friday, while Pryor appeared to be at much less than full-speed in practice. McGloin completed 60.5 percent of his passes with 24 touchdowns and five interceptions.

That physicality and lack of a consistent attacking outlet started to make the rest of the US side struggle. Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones struggled to offer any meaningful contribution, and the struggles of the midfielders intended to shield them meant that the USMNT’s makeshift defense struggled at times as well, especially when Panama challenged Graham Zusi with direct balls on counter attacks.

It seemed like the US were going to get some breathing room late in the first half when a brilliant moment of individual play from Christian Pulisic saw him turn both Anibal Godoy and Roman Torres inside out in Panama’s defense, before slipping a delightful ball to Dempsey to tap home and make it 1-0 for the USMNT.cardinals_1190-115x115

Desmond Trufant injury: Falcons CB ‘questionable’ to return

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Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant left in the first half against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night due to a thigh injury. The team announced on its official Twitter account that he’s questionable to return.

Trufant left the game early in the second quarter after suffering the injury to his thigh. It’s unclear when exactly the injury was sustained, as he left the field outside of a regular defensive play.

The rookie cornerback has struggled to cover Saints wide receiver Marques Colston early in the game, but he’s an important part of the Falcons secondary. The team can’t afford to be without a key defensive back against one of the league’s most potent offenses, and it’s now on Robert McClain to cover Colston.

Atlanta and New Orleans are locked in a close game — the Saints lead, 14-13, with just over two minutes remaining in the first half. Neither team has broken out offensively yet, setting up a fascinating conclusion.

The Saints might not be the most complete team in the NFL, but they’re the best equipped to manage the tempo of the game. There have been overwhelming offenses in the past, but New Orleans has such varied weapons and Drew Brees is so talented that the team can throw deep and force teams to try and match them offensively. This is what happened on Sunday and why the 49ers lost.

We’ve seen teams lose by trying to stay in step with the Saints, but San Francisco self-sabotaged on Sunday when they quit on the run. Frank Gore had success moving the chains, but the 49ers inexplicably moved away from this strength and forced Colin Kaepernick to win with his arm. This was a bad move and only served to further hit the young quarterback’s confidence.
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Selection Sunday 2017: What to expect when the NCAA bracket is revealed

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The greatest Sunday of the sports calendar year and perhaps America’s most celebrated nonofficial holiday has finally arrived. Selection Sunday means hours of speculation, then an hour of observance, followed by a few more hours of reaction and predictions. The entire day is a symphony.

Check out our full NCAA bracket, updating live throughout March Madness. You can find a printable bracket here.

Reporters wanted to ask the pair if they were tired on Saturday after playing four games in four days. Naturally, fatigue crept in a little, but it’s something they’re both used to. Giles compared it to practicing four days in a row earlier in the season, which he admitted might have been more difficult than the games themselves. Then he smiled, and with Tatum sitting by his side, compared the short turnarounds to his time on the EYBL circuit.

This time, the competition was stronger and the lights brighter. The biggest difference, however, is that his friend Tatum was on his side instead of on the other bench. Just like the two had planned.

Coach Krzyzewski said that didn’t matter.

“Harry wants to be at Duke,” he said “I love him for that, and these guys know that too, and they love him. He’s always up. He’s got such a good personality.”

Slowly, Giles has built himself back up. Late in Duke’s semifinal win over North Carolina, he caught another lob from Allen, and that moment sparked a memory for Tatum.

“That was a flashback of what he used to do all the time,” Tatum said.

“He’s Big Play J,” Giles said. “He’s going to get it done every time. I know him.”15

Hayes falls under that change.

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4 adults, 1 baby, and a banana protested Washington’s NFL team on Friday morning

Angry Washington NFL fans decided to hold a rally on Friday morning to express their anger at the organization after an infuriating first day of free agency.

Over the course of his career, Hayes has been a 4-3 defensive end. With Wade Phillips now their defensive coordinator and switching to a 3-4, the move shouldn’t be too shocking, all things considered.

Phillips said in late January when he was hired, “Four out of the last six teams I’ve gone to were running a 4-3, and we went to a 3-4 and went to the playoffs every year, and they hadn’t been to the playoffs the year before,” via ESPN. “I think we can fit whatever we need to fit in. And if we couldn’t, we would change.”

Hayes falls under that change.

If Hayes’ name rings a bell but you aren’t sure why, it might be because the man not only believes that mermaids exist, but he also believes that dinosaurs do not exist.

The trade gives the Rams eight selections in Rounds 2-7 in the 2017 NFL Draft. They’ve been one of the more busy teams early in free agency, signing wideout Robert Woods, signing Andrew Whitworth, and re-signing Rodger Saffold.

But seniors Picasso Nelson Jr. and Tarvarius Moore are keepers, and Hopson attempted to address this need in recruiting, bringing in a pair of JUCOs (Xavier Marion, Tyler Jack) and a couple of mid-three-star freshmen (Emanuel Dabney, WyDale Flott).
Attacking experience and a green set of safeties? Is it possible to be even more all-or-nothing than Southern Miss was? The Golden Eagles ranked ninth in success rate and 127th in IsoPPP (which measures the magnitude of the successful plays), so the bar is both high and low.
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These responses to Dirk Nowitzki’s 30K points show us how much his peers love him

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Dirk Nowitzki scored his 30,000th point on Tuesday night, and while the entire NBA celebrated his monumental achievement some of the best messages came from the players and people who know him best. Former teammates and people close to the Mavericks sent some really sweet messages.

Big congrats to my buddy Dirk! 30 stacks!!! Only six players in the history of the game have scored 30,000 points. On this day in ’98 I would’ve never believed you’d still be with the @Mavs, be an MVP, NBA Champ and in the 30k club no matter how many nights we went back to the gym for 1 on 1 and shooting battles. Unreal, historic, clutch player and better person.

Who would have ever thought this kid I carried for 1 season would go on to be the best player in Mavs history.

Official team practices don’t start for five months, but that doesn’t mean the NFL offseason will be boring. Contract extensions, free agency drama, and the 2017 NFL draft will ensure the league remains in the news throughout the spring and into the summer.

Headlines will emerge from the ether to fuel debate. Last season, it was moves like Josh Norman getting de-franchise tagged, DeMarco Murray moving to Nashville, and everything that happened to Laremy Tunsil on draft night. This year, almost anything is in play.

But plenty of breaking news will come from expected sources. A handful of veteran quarterbacks are set to find new homes in 2017, led by four-time Pro Bowler Tony Romo. Standouts like Le’Veon Bell, Dont’a Hightower, and Eric Berry are all set to ink new contracts with their teams — or send the free-agent market into a frenzy by refusing.

Here’s a breakdown of the biggest stories set to dominate the NFL’s news cycle before the draft this spring.2