Kristaps Porzingis feels ‘better than I ever have in my life’ entering 1st full season with Dallas Mavericks


DALLAS — Dallas Mavericks power forward Kristaps Porzingis said he feels “probably better than I ever have in my life” and will have no limitations entering training camp, almost 20 months after he tore the ACL in his left knee in the last NBA game that he played.

Porzingis, the 7-foot-3 All-Star who the Mavs acquired in a blockbuster deal with the New York Knicks before last season’s trade deadline, bulked up to a personal-high 242 pounds over the summer. Teammates raves about the explosiveness displayed by Porzingis in recent pickup games.

“I feel great physically. I feel 100%. I feel probably better than I ever have in my life,” Porzingis told ESPN.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been out, but I’ve been putting in work throughout this rehab process. I’m extremely excited to be back on the court and to remind everybody what I’m capable of doing.”

Porzingis has been medically cleared for full basketball activities for several months. He practiced with the Mavs late last season, but Porzingis and the team mutually agreed that it was in his best interests long term to continue prioritizing strength and conditioning work instead of playing in the final 10 or 15 games of the season.

Dallas will continue to take a long-term, cautious approach with Porzingis, who re-signed with the Mavs this summer on a five-year, $148 million maximum contract, although details of his load management program have yet to be finalized.

“If I had a gun to my head, I would say that there’s a good chance that we will be very careful on back-to-backs, particularly to start the year,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “But I don’t know for sure. I don’t know how he’s going to be feeling at that point. He may be insisting on playing, but I do believe in his case and in the case of any player like that, the Mavericks or whatever team is going to err on the side of caution.”

The Mavs believe Porzingis and 20-year-old Luka Doncic, last season’s Rookie of the Year, can eventually be the pillars of a contender. They have been frequently compared, by those inside and outside the organization, as a larger version of the Dirk Nowitzki-Steve Nash duo that played such a critical role in the franchise’s revival in the 2000s.

“It could be a nightmare for the teams going forward,” said Porzingis, who averaged 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game in his final season with the Knicks before suffering the knee injury in early February. “We just have to develop that chemistry on the floor.”

The hope is that Porzingis and Doncic can lead the Mavs back to the playoffs this season, which would end a three-year drought.

“He’s an amazing player, great talent, hard worker,” Doncic said. “We have him, me and a lot of great players on this team, so that’s why I want to make the playoffs and I hope we do.”



Source link

Giannis Antetokounmpo says talking free agency during season is ‘disrespectful’ to Milwaukee Bucks teammates


MILWAUKEE — It didn’t take long for Giannis Antetokounmpo to address the elephant in the interview room at Fiserv Forum.

“I’m not gonna talk about it a lot this season, and I’m not going to try to address it,” said Antetokounmpo, the NBA’s reigning MVP.

Antetokounmpo, 24, is eligible to sign a five-year, $253.75 million super max extension in the summer of 2020 with the Milwaukee Bucks, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, which would be the largest in NBA history.

This would apply even if Antetokounmpo fails to earn All-NBA honors this season, but his focus remains on team goals.

“I feel like if you have a great team, and our goal is to win a championship and be the last team standing and get better each day, I think it’s disrespectful towards my teammates talking about my free agency and what I’m going through,” Antetokounmpo said. “So, when the time is right, we’re all gonna talk about it. I don’t think the time is right.”

Antetokounmpo would leave behind more than $90 million if he signs elsewhere with a team that has cap space in 2021, which could only offer $161.3 million for up to four years.

After falling to the eventual champion Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference finals last season, Antetokounmpo has made it clear that his goal is to lead the Bucks to their first NBA Finals appearance since 1973-74.

He already made franchise history last season as the first Bucks player to hoist an MVP trophy since Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1974. Milwaukee also finished with a league-best 60 wins in the process.

Although training camp won’t begin until Tuesday at the University of Wisconsin, head coach Mike Budenholzer has already noticed some differences in Antetokounmpo — notably from his FIBA World Cup experience.

“I think he’s working a lot on his leadership skills to be honest with you,” Budenholzer said. “His ability to connect and communicate with his teammates, whether they’ve been with the team for a while or new guys that are coming in.

“I’ve been so impressed with how his leadership continues to grow and improve day-to-day, and you would think that doesn’t happen in the summer but it does.”

The NBA recently fined Bucks general manager Jon Horst $50,000 for violating league rules of discussing Antetokounmpo’s supermax extension during a televised town hall event, so he stayed away from the topic Monday. During media day, however, he showed up in a great mood while touching on a range of topics, notably managing outside expectations, alongside Budenholzer, with the ultimate goal of a title in mind.

What others say in the next 10 months surrounding Antetokounmpo is out of his control.

“Internal expectations are what matter to us, and we’ve been saying this for over a year now,” Horst said. “We believe it, we live it. We care about getting better everyday. We want to improve on what we did last year.”



Source link

Jacoby Brissett among top fantasy football free-agent finds for Week 5


One thing that’s important about monitoring the waiver wire each week is to know what you need. Early on in the season, it’s hard to know exactly what you need given the small sample size of data we have under our belt.

We overreact after just one week of the season (can you blame us? We waited eight months to play fantasy football again!), do so again after two weeks and perhaps once more after three weeks. That isn’t to say we are spared the overreacting after four weeks, but we do typically have a better feel for what our roster needs and how to accomplish fine tuning it.

Do we really need a quarterback upgrade? Can our tight end actually be trusted? Dang, Dalvin Cook really is that dude! We’ve learned a lot now that we are one quarter of the way through the season, and I would contend that that knowledge allows us to scour the waiver wire with a sharper lens.

Whether you’re 4-0 or 0-4, deep at receiver or pressed for depth, needing to swing for the fences or just planning ahead, you likely have a pretty good feel for what you really need.

With that, here’s the Week 5 ESPN Fantasy waiver-wire adds.

Note: All players on this list are available in more than 50% of leagues.

Bye week: Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins


Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans (47.4%)

No need to overthink this one much: Davis is a unique talent whose production has been stunted by inconsistent quarterback play. I understand why people dropped him after three weeks as he has not yet risen to the level that many (myself included) had hoped for on a weekly basis. But with his overall ability, he’s a player who should be rostered in all leagues and available during bye weeks — or if Marcus Mariota can carry over the sharp play we saw in Week 4.

Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay Packers (27.2%)

Davante Adams‘ toe injury doesn’t sound significant right now, but we’re still waiting to see whether he will be available in Week 5. Should he not be, Allison is primed to slot into a co-top receiver role with Marquez Valdes-Scantling for the Packers. Allison is a talented dude who found the end zone in Week 4.

Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts (31.2%)

Here’s a fun fact: Brissett has multiple passing touchdowns in each game so far this season and has at least 16 fantasy points in each of them as well. He has shown to have a worthwhile rapport with T.Y. Hilton but still found the end zone three times in Hilton’s absence Sunday. With a Week 5 matchup against the Chiefs ahead, expect Brissett to be a coveted streaming option.

Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (41.3%)

We’re back! Another week of finding Jones in this column, despite the fact that Peyton Barber remains the starter in Tampa Bay. The reason Jones should be added is simple: His ability has flashed way more this season than it did as a rookie. He has 70 or more rushing yards in three games already and found the end zone in Week 4. Get him at least on your bench because if he ever solidifies a workhorse role, there’s value there. As colleague Mike Clay noted Sunday night, Week 4 marked the first time Jones has ever out-snapped Barber in a game.

Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (44.8%)

I’ll say it: I counted out Winston too early this season and doubted that he could get back on track after a slow start through two weeks. He has been awesome the past two weeks and was a force in Week 4, slicing up the excellent Rams secondary. If you’re looking for a streaming option in Week 5, why not ride the hot hand of Winston, who you know has incredible weapons? Great to see Bruce Arians, Byron Leftwich and the Tampa Bay staff get this offense going.

Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (35.3%)

Good things come to those who get work in a Kansas City offense. Williams scored twice on his eight rushing carries, finishing the game for the Chiefs with the go-ahead score. Given that Damien Williams has not even practiced over the past two weeks, it seems at least plausible he will miss more time. Darrel Williams can be a flex play given the scoring potential in this offense.

Dontrelle Inman, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (0.0%)

The Chargers’ rash of injuries among pass catchers is hard to believe, but Inman stepped up when needed in Week 4 with five catches on seven targets and 76 yards. He’s a familiar player in the system and a deeper-league consideration given that his role should persist while the Chargers await the return of Mike Williams to the lineup.

Benjamin Watson, TE, New England Patriots (2.2%)

Now eligible to return from a suspension, Watson figures to play a starting role for the Patriots at the tight end spot. The Patriots have been far more reliant upon three receiver sets so far this season than last, but some of that could be traced to Matt LaCosse’s injury (ankle) and Watson’s absence. Watson is worth the add for an offense that should be very good most weeks.



Source link

NBA Media Day – Live quotes and video from around the league


If it seems as if the NBA never went away this offseason, well … it didn’t. Not really. Among the draft, free agency, summer league and the FIBA World Cup, there was plenty to keep even the most avid NBA fans satisfied.

Now the real fun begins. It’s time for training camp, followed quickly by actual preseason games. Before you know it, the Raptors will be raising their championship banner, handing out rings and hosting Zion Williamson for his first NBA game Oct. 22.

But before that happens, players get to meet with the media. We’ll have you covered with all the best media day quotes, anecdotes and shenanigans across the NBA.

Watch Media Day Streaming Live

Monday, Sept. 30

Milwaukee Bucks


Golden State Warriors


Philadelphia 76ers

Sixers media day gets off to a rousing start.

And then there’s Mike Scott‘s retelling of his highly publicized parking lot fight at the Redskins-Eagles game.

Full story – 76ers’ Scott: Should have walked, not fought


New Orleans Pelicans

Zion: Not a savior, maybe not human?

play

1:36

Lonzo Ball describes his goals for the upcoming season, his willingness to help Zion Williamson and his injury status.

Ball’s big brand move

The rivalry is real


Boston Celtics

Don’t sleep on Kemba

play

1:50

Kemba Walker says he isn’t thinking about replacing Kyrie Irving, he’s focusing on bringing leadership and having fun with the Celtics.

It’s Tacko… Monday?

play

1:21

Tacko Fall says it’s been crazy being recognized all over the country. He also is excited to get to work with Brad Stevens and the Celtics.


Oklahoma City Thunder

CP3 back in OKC

Chris Paul actually began his career in Oklahoma City, playing there when the then-New Orleans Hornets were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Now, after an offseason trade sent him from the Rockets to the Thunder, he can call OKC home once again.


Dallas Mavericks

The incredible shrinking JJ

High hopes in Dallas

play

1:07

Luka Doncic likes the Mavericks’ roster going into the new season, saying this team can make the playoffs.


Orlando Magic

Fresh start for former No. 1 pick


Phoenix Suns

Wave Papi’s new drip

Sunday, Sept. 29

LA Clippers

The returning Clippers trio of Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell welcomed new teammates Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. LA took the eventual champion Golden State Warriors to six games in the opening round of the playoffs last season, and added George and Leonard in one of the biggest moves of the summer.

Leonard’s playing time was regulated last season, but the Finals MVP says he is feeling much better as he enters his first season with the Clippers. The more Leonard and George play, the more formidable Doc Rivers’ defense will be. Rivers has two of the best two-way players in the game in Leonard and George to go with the tenacious Beverley among others.

Full story – Healthier Kawhi has no limits entering season

Paul George’s return

George, who is recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, will not play in the pre-season and will miss the start of the season.

Full story – Clips’ George to miss time; targeting Nov. return

New group chat, who dis?

Saturday, Sept. 28

Toronto Raptors

The reigning NBA champions enter the season without Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, but they still have a strong core group of Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam.

Team president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri said, “Kawhi decided to go to the Clippers, so our team moves on. I can’t sit here and trade DeMar [DeRozan] and Kawhi leaves us and be upset. That’s the nature of the business. We move on. There are many bright spots with our team.”

“I think Pascal will make another jump,” Ujiri said. He later added, “I think he can become one of the best players in the league.”

On Siakam’s contract status, Ujiri said, “He’s somebody who I’m definitely going to keep for a long time here.”

Meanwhile, shooting guard Norman Powell is ready for his fifth season with the Raptors.

Full story – New-look Raptors ‘hungry’ for another title run

Friday, Sept. 27

Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are teammates in Brooklyn now, and the two of them opened NBA media day Friday.

How KD, Kyrie and DeAndre Jordan came together

Irving:

“They reached out to my family as soon as I committed. And it felt like they were very inclusive with everything they had going on here. And it felt like it was just a step away, being away from home. And they made me feel as comfortable as I could as well as reaching out to KD and DJ and as well as other guys on the team to make sure they know what’s going on. That this is for the future. We’re here to build.”

Durant: “I just evaluated my life up until this point. And once I did that, it was pretty easy to see the direction that I needed to go into. I had some great options on the table with some championship-winning organizations, some smart business minds behind the scenes as well that I could have dealt with around the league, but ultimately, I couldn’t have made a bad decision, but this one was the perfect one for me.”

DeAndre Jordan: “I mean we always had conference calls. Now we can group FaceTime. That was big. You might want to thank Apple for that.”

[What was that conversation like?]

“I mean, it wasn’t as exciting as me getting locked in my house a few years ago. But it was cool. It wasn’t any crazy conversation. … It was just like, ‘All right. You guys want to do it?'”

On Durant’s injury and rehab process

Irving:

“You have to go inside the mind of a competitor and realize that a lot of people have responsibilities for why that ended up happening the way it happened on a national scale. We all know K was not ready to play in that environment. We all know that, whether people want to admit it or not. He was out 31 days, and we put him on a national stage in the Finals to end up selling a product that came before the person Kevin, and now I’m here to protect that. And I’m going to be the protector of that all throughout the year and not allow people to infiltrate the circle.”

Durant: “When I went down, it felt like everybody wanted to put their arms of protection around me. From people I didn’t know to my best friend Kyrie. So it felt like everybody grew protective of me at this time. And I feel like they will continue to be that way, especially involving my health. But, I make my own decisions.”

Full story – KD’s focus for season: Health, being teammate

Kyrie goes deep on final season in Boston

Irving:





Source link

Finding the meaning of family in Seoul


My parents’ house is sparse and unsentimental. Everything about its location and existence is efficient. It’s on the corner of two busy streets in Boston, within walking distance of the nearby elementary and junior high schools.

Inside, there are photo albums hidden on a shelf below the coffee table but very few visible photographs. Everything is in shades of beige, save the kitchen, which I repainted during my freshman year of university, shocking them with bright peach and red trim.

There are two drawers in my parents’ house that always baffled me. They’re full of drawings and a variety of random accomplishments and flights of fancy from my time in elementary school through college. Inside are odd stories about Martians, horrid Narnia rip-offs in speckled composition notebooks and typed “books” in which I gave myself spectacular praise from the New York Times and Children’s Library Journal. I delighted in reading them to my university friends one night, laughing until beer came out of our noses.

But my parents never seemed interested in nostalgia. I never understood why my parents kept those drawers of memories, given the cold and clinical appearance of the rest of the house, until I visited a small restaurant in Chang Dong, South Korea, the day before last year’s League of Legends World Championship.

Yumine is owned by Kim Yoon-mi, the mother of League of Legends jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho, and her family. Its walls are the opposite of the ones inside my parents’ house. Photographs of Peanut are framed and mounted near dried bouquets, signed posters, cartoon caricatures and a few smaller banners with cheerful slogans such as “#Operation Wang-ho-ah!” These are a mixture of mementos of Yoon-mi’s trips to watch Peanut play and fan-created gifts. This is a mother’s love for her son on display where any restaurant patron who shuffled in off of the busy street to grab a bite to eat could see.

On a November day in 2018, the day before the League of Legends World Championship final, I took a train across Seoul to Chang Dong with my friend and interpreter, esports journalist Ashley Kang. A petite woman with dark hair that curled out from underneath a knit cap and bright brown eyes greeted us as soon as we walked through the doors at Yumine.

Her enthusiasm was clear the moment our food came. The server plopped on the table three extra plates that couldn’t be passed off as complementary side dishes like the yellow pickled radishes and kimchi that are traditionally served with almost every meal in South Korea. She mentioned that I hadn’t been the only visitor among world championship attendees. A few fans from around the world had stopped by during their time in South Korea to experience a bit of Peanut’s life, despite the fact that he wasn’t on the worlds stage that year.



Source link

Spence, Porter elevate their careers in a classic; create big opportunities


LOS ANGELES — Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter gave boxing fans everything they could have asked for. Not only did they, their teams, Premier Boxing Champions and Fox do an A-level job promoting the fight, but when the bell rang the boxers delivered what will probably stand as fight of the year.

I know there are three months to go in 2019, and several good fights are still to come on the schedule, but they will be hard pressed to live up to what Spence and Porter displayed on Saturday night at Staples Center, where an enthusiastic crowd of 16,702 was treated to an instant classic.

Although Spence rightfully won the split decision and unified two welterweight world titles — 116-111 on two scorecards, while Porter got the nod 115-112 on one scorecard — both fighters shined in an all-out battle. To me, that’s one of the best parts of boxing: a night when two quality fighters and people put on a great show and give the fans their money’s worth, while each elevates their career.

Without question, the win is the biggest in Spence’s career, against his best opponent. His stock goes up.

In the buildup to the fight, some questioned Spence’s resume and wondered how he would respond when finally tested by a serious opponent, or how his chin would hold up when that serious opponent inevitably nailed him.

“They said I never been tested before or I never been hit with a great shot before or I never been uncomfortable before,” a marked up Spence said at the postfight news conference. “I think I showed a lot, that I’m a real dog and that I do have a lot of grit and I do have a lot of ability to take a shot and give a couple back.”

He showed that and more in the rousing battle, during which he dropped Porter with a left hand to the chin. But Porter, even in defeat, put on perhaps the best performance of his career. Spence (26-0, 21 KOs), for the first time in his career, really had to dig down. He gave two-time titleholder Porter credit for pushing him as hard as he has ever been pushed.

“It was definitely a tough fight. I knew that coming in. He’s a tough, rugged fighter,” Spence said. “He always comes in shape. He always comes ready to fight. And that’s what I was looking for.



Source link

Denver Broncos LB Bradley Chubb out for rest of season with torn ACL


Bradley Chubb has a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season, an injury that is a “huge loss” for the winless Denver Broncos.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio confirmed that Chubb, the fifth overall pick in the 2018 draft, suffered the season-ending loss in Denver’s 26-24 loss Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“It’s a huge loss,” Fangio said Monday. “He’s a tempo setter, a great person, a great leader.”

Chubb left the game twice — first for a calf injury, then for the knee injury — before returning to the lineup to close out the contest.

“He played that last series pretty damn well,” Fangio said Monday. “[He] had some pretty good pass rushes … he was as surprised as anybody this morning when he woke up.”

Chubb spoke at his locker after the game and made no reference to his knee. The second-year linebacker has 20 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble this season for the Broncos (0-4).

ESPN’s Jeff Legwold contributed to this report.



Source link

Los Angeles Angels fire Brad Ausmus after 1 season


The Los Angeles Angels have fired Brad Ausmus as manager after just one year with the team.

His status had been under review by the team’s leadership in recent days, at the end of a disappointing season on the field and a tragic one off it, with the midseason death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

“[Ausmus] navigated this franchise through one of its most difficult seasons with class and professionalism,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said in a statement. “This was an incredibly difficult decision but after significant consideration, we’ve decided it is necessary to go in another direction.”

The Angels finished 72-90, 35 games behind the American League West champion Houston Astros, and failed to make the playoffs for the fifth straight year.

The team cancelled a previously scheduled press conference with Eppler and Ausmus on Monday. Eppler will be available Tuesday, instead.

With Ausmus’ dismissal, there will be immediate speculation that his replacement will be Joe Maddon, who parted ways with the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. Before his first big league managerial job with the Tampa Bay Rays, Maddon worked for years in the Angels organization, and sources told Olney that owner Arte Moreno has high regard for Maddon.

Ausmus was hired as the franchise’s first new manager in nearly two decades with Mike Scioscia’s departure after the 2018 season. Scioscia managed 19 major league seasons, wound up with 1,650 career victories and led the wild-card Angels to a World Series title in 2002.

The Angels cancelled a previously scheduled press conference with Eppler and Ausmus on Monday. Eppler will be available Tuesday, instead.



Source link

Sources — Los Angeles Angels fire Brad Ausmus after 1 season


The Los Angeles Angels have fired Brad Ausmus as manager after just one year with the team, sources told ESPN’s Buster Olney.

His status had been under review by the team’s leadership in recent days, at the end of a disappointing season on the field and a tragic one off it, with the midseason death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

The Angels finished 72-90, 35 games behind the American League West champion Houston Astros, and failed to make the playoffs for the fifth straight year.

With Ausmus’ dismissal, there will be immediate speculation that his replacement will be Joe Maddon, who parted ways with the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. Before his first big league managerial job with the Tampa Bay Rays, Maddon worked for years in the Angels organization, and sources told Olney that owner Arte Moreno has high regard for Maddon.

Ausmus was hired as the franchise’s first new manager in nearly two decades with Mike Scioscia’s departure after the 2018 season. Scioscia managed 19 major league seasons, wound up with 1,650 career victories and led the wild-card Angels to a World Series title in 2002.



Source link

Sources — Denver Broncos LB Bradley Chubb out for rest of season with torn ACL


Denver Broncos pass rusher Bradley Chubb has a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season, a source tells ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Chubb suffered the injury in Denver’s 26-24 loss Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He left the game twice — first for a calf injury, then for the knee injury — before returning to the lineup to close out the contest.

After the game, Broncos coach Vic Fangio said Chubb “had some calf issues and then I think he had another injury in his leg issue that he was able to come back from.”

Chubb spoke at his locker after the game and made no reference to his knee. The second-year linebacker has 20 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble this season for the winless Broncos (0-4).

ESPN’s Jeff Legwold contributed to this report.



Source link