The Rockets’ Backup Plans Are Good

The Rockets got themselves one of the best three-and-D options left on the market in James Ennis, who agreed to a two-year deal with the team Wednesday.

This doesn’t force a re-evaluation of how much they’ll miss Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. Their departures are still borderline catastrophic for a Rockets team that built its defensive identity on switchable wings. But perhaps we can ease off Houston for its decision not to overpay role-fillers, even when those roles seemed so important.wholesale nfl jerseys

There’s a parallel here to the Rockets’ unwillingness to match the poison-pill offer sheet Chandler Parsons signed with the Dallas Mavericks in 2014. Parsons wasn’t a star, and Houston refused to pay him like one, even if it meant losing him for nothing.

The Rockets replaced Parsons with Ariza then,nfl jerseys wholesale  and it seems as though they’re doing something similar now by slotting Ennis into a key role.

Ennis projects as a starter, and he’s a decent facsimile of the guys Houston let go. A career 35.9 percent shooter from deep, Ennis can guard several positions and gets most of his offense on the catch. B/R’s Dan Favale noted that his standstill game will play well in Houston’s attack, as Ennis took over 63 percent of his shots without a dribble last season.nfl jerseys china

“Obviously, losing Trevor and losing Luc, it’s going to hurt,” head coach Mike D’Antoni told ESPN.com’s Tim McMahon. “You don’t replace that, but we’ll figure it out. … There’s different ways to go. We’re going to be good. Like Chris is saying, we’re going to run it back at Golden State. We’ll see. We’ll be ready.”nfl wholesale jerseys

It’s likely wrong to say this is how the Rockets wanted free agency to play out all along, but it’s still fair to trust general manager Daryl Morey and his contingency plans. They’ve worked out well in the past.

NBA Free Agency Roundup: Rockets Facing $100 Million Question with Clint Capela

The Houston Rockets are tightening their purse strings in the second week of NBA free agency, which is producing mixed results.

On the one hand, they added James Ennis on a two-year deal, according to Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania, patiently waiting out the market and landing a three-and-D wing to offset the losses of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. On the other, they’re playing a dangerous game with restricted free agent Clint Capela, who remains unsigned and may be inching closer to signing his qualifying offer as the parties remain far apart on contract terms.authentic nfl jerseys cheap

Spending big isn’t an issue for the Mi nfl jerseys for cheap nnesota Timberwolves, who might soon lock up their franchise cornerstone in Karl-Anthony Towns—a year after foolishly dumping heaps of cash on Andrew Wiggins.

Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin are linked again for the first time since Linsanity, and Isaiah Thomas still needs a home.

Never a dull moment.

It should come as no surprise that the Houston Rockets, a team committed to the cold math of basketball, are making a percentage play with Clint Capela.cheap nfl jerseys

The 24-year-old restricted free agent remains unsigned, and according to ESPN.com’s Tim McMahon, Capela and the Rockets have been as much as $40 million apart in their negotiations. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relayed one rejected offer, noting Capela turned down a five-year, $85 million deal.nfl jersey cheap

If we invoke comparisons, Capela is right to hold out for at least $100 million. Steven Adams, then 23, inked a four-year, $100 million extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder just before the 2016-17 season started. He got that money after putting up 8.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Andre Drummond signed his own five-year, $127 million contract just a month before his 23rd birthday in 2016.

The way NBA basketball is played today, Capela is likely more valuable than both Adams and Drummond.

At 24, Capela is coming off a season in which he averaged 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while leading the league in field-goal percentage. His defensive versatility—you won’t find many bigs better equipped to defend guards on switches and protect the rim—made him an integral component to Houston’s sixth-ranked defense. When factoring in how Capela fits into (and perhaps enables) Houston’s scheme, he’s worth even more to the Rockets than he would be to the rest of the market.

But the market is the problem.cheap nfl jersey

Few teams have the available cap space to make Capela a significant offer, and because the Rockets have matching rights on any deal he signs, they have no urgency to fork over a hefty contract preemptively.

This is rotten timing for Capela, and Houston is exploiting it.

Rushing Yards: Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a new offensive coordinator in Randy Fichtner, but the switch from Todd Haley to the former quarterbacks and wide receivers coach bodes well for Le’Veon Bell.

Fichtner isn’t a stranger to maximizing NFL talent at running back. As an offensive coordinator at Memphis, the program ranked 32nd, 18th and fifth in rushing yards per game between the 2003 and ’05 seasons—the final three years of DeAngelo Williams’ collegiate career.nfl authentic jerseys china

Former Memphis assistant coach Pete Roussel praised Fichtner for speeding up Memphis’ offensive tempo at the collegiate level, per ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler. “As a play-caller, Randy never got credit for this publicly, but he was one of the pioneers of tempo and the one-word play calls.”

Under Fichtner, the Steelers offense could run more efficiently and at a faster pace, which would create more opportunities for Bell, who has eclipsed 1,200 rushing yards in three of the last four seasons. At this point, Bell doesn’t have a long-term deal in place, and he’s set to play under the cheap personalized nfl jerseys  franchise tag for consecutive seasons. Look for him to show his best through a contract year.

The Dallas Cowboys parted ways with wideout Dez Bryant, and tight end Jason Witten retired and took a job in the Monday Night Football booth. Both pass-catchers served as big-bodied targets in the red zone in recent seasons. They combined for 11 of the team’s 22 receiving touchdowns last year.nfl jerseys official

Nonetheless, the Cowboys offensive line, which featured three Pro Bowlers in 2017, should help maintain a strong ground attack.

All eyes will follow quarterback Dak Prescott’s progression, but running back Ezekiel Elliott clearly projects as the focal point of an offense that now includes receivers Tavon Austin, Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson, Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson.nfl best jerseys

Expect Elliott to get the majority of the touches at the end of drives. He’s logged 22 scores on the ground in 25 contests. The third-year ball-carrier should lead the category as a reliable option running behind a strong front five.buy nfl jerseys online

Elliott’s Projected Total: 14 rushing touchdowns

Runner-Up: Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears

Mike Freeman’s 10-Point Stance: Is Flag Football the Future of the Game?

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1. Is the future of football already here?

While many of you spent July Fourth week at cookouts, or swimming, or stuck in traffic, I was watching flag football.

Call it my duty to keep you, our esteemed readers, up to date on all that’s happening in pro football. Or maybe it was just what was on the NFL Network as I flipped channels. Either way, it was on, and, to me, it was wholly unwatchable. I mean, it was Battlefield Earth bad.

There was no defense. No strategy. Despite the high caliber of the athletes, it still resembled the football I played in Central Park when I was a flag football all-star.

It was awful.

But it could also be what we’re all watching years from now.where to get nfl jerseys

Despite my feelings, two people who know a lot of something about the game of football believe flag football could take a major hold.

One was Bucky Brooks, a former NFL player and scout and current analyst, who tweeted how much he enjoyed watching the game:

People like me look at flag football and see it’s missing several elements that make us love football—namely, the violence. Americans love violence, and we especially love it in our football. This is unfortunate, but it’s true.nfl jerseys china nike

There’s a younger generation of football lovers, however, that wants less violence in the sport, and in some cases, none at all. They are more educated about head trauma and CTE and, unlike a lot of football fans, don’t see players as drones. They actually care about their health.nike nfl jerseys on sale

This is how flag football can gain a foothold. nfl jersey for sale And while us old-school NFL diehards may not see it now, there might be a hidden market for flag football that could emerge—soon.

Still, it’s unclear how long this run will last, and at what point Americans, despite our craving for barbarism in some of our sports, might say, I no longer want to watch a sport that destroys brains.

Flag football could fill that void. where to buy nfl jersey There are people throughout the league who believe this, and they say in the coming years the NFL will push more flag football.

The NFL wants to be prepared for the day when there’s a CTE test, I’m told by numerous team and league sources. If, in a few years, scientists develop a way to test for the disease, and parents begin testing their 10-year-old Pop Warner players, and some start testing positive for a deadly brain disease, parents could start pulling their kids by the millions from tackle football. That would crush the NFL.

That’s where flag football could swoop in. It would give those parents an outlet for their football-loving kids.women nfl jersey

Predicting Where Top Remaining NFL Free Agents Will Sign

With training camp only a few weeks away, most NFL players are enjoying one last vacation before the 2018 grind begins in earnest.

Others can’t wait for vacation to be over.cheap nfl jerseys china

Though the calendar has flipped to July, a number of well-known veterans remain without a team. For some, it’s a matter of money. For others, it’s age or injury.

Whatever the reason, these players are still waiting for the phone to ring.

For the most part, these veterans will find work at some point, whether it’s with a team that loses a player to an injury in training camp or one looking to shore up an area of weakness.

Let’s play matchmaker, pairing the best available free agents with a prediction for where they will land.authentic nfl jerseys

Dez Bryant already had a chance to sign with a new team. The Baltimore Ravens made him a multiyear offer in April, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, but he declined it.

If Bryant is willing to settle for a short-term prove-it deal—which he’s what he’s going to get at this point—teams will show interest in him, even if he’s not as dominant as he once was.

On the surface, the San Francisco 49ers don’t appear to be in need of wideout help. San Francisco has 11 wide receivers on its roster, including a pair it added in this year’s draft.

But as CBS Sports’ John Breech noted, the Niners do need help in the red zone.wholesale nfl jerseys

“In 2017, the 49ers ranked second-to-last in the NFC in red-zone scoring percentage, ahead of only the Arizona Cardinals. Although Bryant has had some trouble staying healthy over the past few years, he did manage to make it through the entire 2017 season unscathed nfl jerseys china and he put up some decent numbers in the process (69 catches, 838 yards, six touchdowns).”

Five of Bryant’s six scores last season came in the red zone.nfl jerseys wholesale

With north of $45 million in cap space, the Niners have more than enough room to bring Bryant in, and they’re looking to make the jump from a rebuild to a contender. Bryant has also indicated his interest in joining them, according to Breech.

John Lynch hasn’t been shy about getting aggressive during his tenure as San Francisco’s general manager. It’s time for him to make another splash.

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

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Wojnarowski reported Zach LaVine is the proud owner of a four-year, $78 million contract. The Sacramento Kings first made the offer, but the Chicago Bulls stepped in and matched it.

It is the one contract of the summer that is emphatically horrible.nike nfl jerseys for sale

The Kings tried to Kangz, but the Bulls front office said, “Hold my Chicago-brewed beer.”

Nick Friedell of ESPN.com pointed to the possible motivation, tweeting: “The Butler deal is a sunk cost. It’s over. Matching the LaVine offer sheet just because you don’t want to lose an asset from a past trade isn’t good business if the price is too high.”nfl cheap jerseys china

Friedell was referring to the fact LaVine was one of the three assets the Bulls got in return for four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton last summer—a trade for which John Paxson and Gar Forman were criticized. Ironically, the other two parts of that trade, cheap official nfl jerseys Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen, have acquitted themselves well and made the swap look better.

Now, though, almost as if to prove they were right, the Bulls gave LaVine almost $20 million per year. Even if LaVine evolves into the playmaker and scorer they hope he can be (he averaged 18.9 points per game on 57.6 percent true shooting in 2016-17 before he tore his ACL), he still has major issues on the other end. His DRPM ranked 490th.

That isn’t just a statistic, either. The eye test backs it up. His inability to stay in front of ball-handlers is rivaled only by his failure to pay attention when he’s not the point of attack. Remember, these are problems even Tom Thibodeau couldn’t fix while LaVine was with the Minnesota Timberwolves.cheap nfl jerseys cheap shipping

LaVine can make incredible plays on offense, but it’s doubtful he’ll live up to this contract.

Sacramento Summer League 2018: Monday Scores, Stats, Highlights and Reaction

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The inaugural Sacramento Summer League tipped off Monday night with two games at Golden 1 Center.

The Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat opposed one another in the opening game, with the Sacramento Kings displaying their young squad—headlined by No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III—against the Los Angeles Lakers.
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Below is a brief recap for how the night unfolded.

Derrick Jones Jr.’s Big Night Encouraging Sign for Heat

Derrick Jones Jr. appeared in 14 games for the Heat in 2017-18, so summer league is an opportunity for the 21-year-old to play himself into a bigger role with Miami next season.ones looked good in a losing effort, scoring 24 points and collecting 11 rebounds as the Heat lost 79-68 to the Warriors. Jones is 6-of-29 on three-pointers over two years in the NBA, so Miami will be particularly happy to see him go 4-of-5 cheap authentic nfl jerseys from beyond the arc Monday.

The way in which he threw down this two-handed jam in the fourth quarter showed how Monday’s game was more than a preseason exhibition for Jones:

Heat center Bam Adebayo also posted a double-double (14 points, 14 rebounds) but shot 3-of-13 and picked up seven fouls.

On the other side, Kendrick Nunn and Damian Jones combined to score 33 points for the Warriors. Nunn added 11 rebounds and two assists, while Jones grabbed six boards.

Jordan Bell might still be basking in the glow of the Warriors’ championship, as he didn’t have as much of an impact on the game as one would’ve expected based on his role in Golden State’s squad.

Bell had four points, five rebounds and three assists, but the only thing anybody will remember will be his missed alley-oop late in the fourth quarter. He appeared to put too much power behind his toss off the backboard, as he couldn’t complete the left-handed jam.

Both the fans in Sacramento cheap nfl jerseys from china and Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma were ruthless with their reactions to the mistake:
The Kings have gone 12 straight seasons without the playoffs, and they’re bound to go another two or three years before they’re seriously contending for the postseason.

But the trio of Bagley, Fox and Giles give the fanbase something to get excited about. That might not seem like much, but it’s more than could be said about many of the recent Sacramento squads.

Wagner and Josh Hart each chipped in 23 points for Los Angeles, cheap nfl jerseys china and Svi Mykhailiuk was 3-of-6 from beyond the arc en route to a 15-point night.

MLB’s Most Dominant Pitcher Isn’t Even an Ace or a Closer

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There are 440 pitchers in Major League Baseball with no more than two wins and no more than six saves thus far in 2018. They are neither ace starters nor shutdown closers. They are the Everypitcher.

Except, of course,nfl jerseys cheap wholesale  for the guy who’s allowing the lowest OPS of any left-hander ever and striking out batters at a higher rate than any pitcher ever (minimum 30 innings).

If you haven’t already, meet Josh Hader.

The 24-year-old lefty has been working out of the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen since last June. And one swing and miss at a time, he’s rapidly progressed from an intriguing oddity into a likely All-Star with a growing reputation as MLB’s best relief pitcher. nfl jersey cheap wholesale

All Hader has done in 2018 is rack up a 1.13 ERA and, as noted above, overwhelm hitters to the tune of 18 strikeouts per nine innings and a microscopic .363 OPS allowed. He typically dominates them in bunches, as he’s squeezed 40 innings out of just 25 appearances.

Hader wasn’t necessarily destined for a role like this. He was starting games for the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox as recently as last June, at which time he was still rated as a top pitching prospect.wholesale cheap nfl jerseys

But with a 5.37 ERA and a rate of 5.4 walks per nine innings to his name, what Baseball America had written about him was ringing true: “Hader has front-line starter’s stuff but must improve his changeup and control to reach his ceiling.”

Instead, the Brewers made the call to promote Hader as a reliever.

And like Andrew Miller before him, he didn’t resist his team’s attempt to turn him into a new-age fireman who’s ready, willing and able to get as many outs as needed whenever they’re needed. He authored a fitting preamble to what he’s done in 2018: a 2.08 ERA over 47.2 innings in 35 appearances. nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“A big key to Josh is that he’s open to what’s best for the team,” Brewers general manager David Stearns told ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle in May. “He came up here and adapted to that [middle relief] role very well, and he enjoys that role.authentic nfl jerseys cheap wholesale  If tomorrow we asked him to go back to starter, he’d do that and enjoy that role. He’s a guy who really will take to any task.”

Do we have a winner of the Winston-Mariota debate?

The Buccaneers have never given a quarterback they drafted a second contract.

Winston could break that streak, but remember something as we discuss his future: He was picked first overall, and the Titans took Marcus Mariota second. There was intense debate before that draft about which player was better, and that argument continues to this day.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Since the NFL draft began in 1967, quarterbacks have been drafted first and second overall only seven times:

In 1971, it was Jim Plunkett and Archie Manning.

In 1993, it was Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer.

In 1998, it was Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf.nfl nike jersey cheap

In 1999, it was Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb.

In 2012, it was Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

In 2015, it was Winston and Mariota.

In 2016, it was Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.cheap nike nfl jersey

One of the quarterbacks often ended up being pretty good, while the other…not so much. (Goff and Wentz might break this trend.)

We may already have a winner of the Winston-Mariota debate. We’re closing in on one, at least.

Winston is coming off the better year statistically, but he also went 3-10 and is now potentially out for the beginning of the season. His future could go either way. Mariota, meanwhile, is coming off a 9-6 season, has the better career record and passer rating and has been drama-free. cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Mike Freeman’s 10-Point Stance: Do You Trust Jameis Winston?

1. On Jameis Winston’s future

The Buccaneers need to be asking themselves a simple question with quarterback Jameis Winston reportedly facing a three-game suspension following an NFL investigation into his alleged groping of an Uber  cheap nfl jerseys nike driver in 2016. And it’s one of the most important questions they have ever faced.

Can they trust Jameis Winston?buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“They shouldn’t have trusted him before, and trusting him now would be an even bigger mistake,” one NFC team official says.

“The chickens are coming home to roost” for the Buccaneers, an AFC team official adds.

The answer to whether the Bucs can trust Winston has the potential to shape the future of the organization for years, possibly even decades.

You think this is an exaggeration? The Chargers didn’t fully recover from the selection of Ryan Leaf in 1999 until Philip Rivers became a starter in 2006. The Raiders’ selection of JaMarcus Russell in 2007 left the organization rudderless until Derek Carr stabilized it seven years later. There are numerous examples of this.

Just like there are nike nfl jerseys for cheap  examples of what happens when a team gets it right. The Packers selected Aaron Rodgers to replace Brett Favre and, well, that worked out decently.

Trust is the warp core of a quarterback. A receiver must trust the football will be delivered to the right spot. A coach must trust a quarterback will execute the play. Linemen must trust that the quarterback called the right protection.nfl jerseys nike cheap

An organization must trust that its most important player won’t allegedly grab a female driver’s crotch after he steps into an Uber.

It’s important to remember that Winston was one of the most controversial draft picks ever. The Bucs selected him first overall in 2015, and teams stated privately to me and others in the media at the time that they would regret it.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

While at Florida State, he was accused of sexual assault and shoplifting, and he was caught on camera making vulgar comments on campus.

At the time, several NFL teams made it clear to me that they despised Winston. I don’t use that word lightly.new nike nfl jerseys cheap