NBA Free Agency Roundup: Meet the New Under-the-Radar Contenders

Don’t sweat the NBA offseason’s transition to relative inactivity. There’s a silver lining to the free-agency frenzy winding down to a slow, lifeless laze: We get to step back, take a breath, survey the landscape and properly celebrate the birth of new nfl authentic jerseys and newish might-be contenders!

Are you pumped? You should be pumped. You’re pumped aren’t you? How could you not be? The dust is gradually settling on the league’s silly season and the flurry of transactions has yielded a host of talking points that journey nfl authentic jerseys cheap beyond the Golden State Warriors sewing up the next eleventy titles.

To be clear: This space is not dedicated to teams with an exceptional shot at dethroning the reigning champs. For one, that type of threat doesn’t exist. Mostly, though, we’re nodding to afterthoughts and footnotes who have a fathomable path to winning their conference and making it to the NBA Finals.

Offseason additions are part of the allure for certain candidates, but not all of them. Some are here by default, due more to what has happened around them. Others have long been championship hopefuls in training. nfl jersey wholesale One franchise’s case boils down to moves unmade (so far).

All the usual suspects receive their due elsewhere. best nfl jerseys Get your Warriors, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors fixes another time. This one’s for the less ballyhooed—the non-favorites who aren’t popular picks among us hoops head to make it out of their conference.

Power Ranking Every NFL Team’s 2017 Draft Haul One Year Later

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Each NFL team’s 2017 draft class either raised the bar for expectations or left much to be desired for the upcoming season.

This power ranking isn’t an indicator of how good or underwhelming a group will become over the next few years. Instead, we leaned on what we know more than what we think a player can become.cheap nfl authentic jerseys

In other words, first-year production took precedence over second-year potential. Secondly, a solid draftee at a premium position held more weight than a quality kick returner or third linebacker. Finally, teams are rewarded a little extra for hitting on productive middle- and late-round picks.

For each team’s 2017 rookie class, we broke down the good, starting with a top performer, and factored in the shortcomings for a one-year assessment.

To account for the size differences between draft classes, smaller ones with high-end contributors ranked as high as larger ones with widespread production.cheap authentic nfl jerseys

Which high-potential players fell short, whether due to injury, scheme fit or the inability to deliver in sizable roles? Which rookie classes flourished? Read on to find out.

Draft Picks: DE Derek Rivers (No. 83 overall), OT Antonio Garcia (No. 85), DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (No. 131), OT Conor McDermott (No. 211)

Total Starts: 3

Top Performer: Wise cheap nfl jerseys from china

With a small draft class, the New England Patriots didn’t have much room for error, and only one player made a notable contribution. Wise logged five sacks at defensive end to help the team get to 42, which tied for seventh in the league. That’s where the good news ends with this group.

There’s no chance at a bounce-back season for offensive tackle Garcia. The Patriots waived him after he sat out 2017 because of blood clots in his lungs, which led to significant weight loss. The New York Jets claimed him off waivers.nfl cheap jerseys

McDermott played one snap on offense at tackle, and Rivers missed the entire 2017 term at defensive end with an ACL tear. There’s little to talk about pertaining to this class, though Wise and Rivers have some upside as rotational assets.nfl jerseys cheap china

Jimmy Butler Rejects Timberwolves’ 4-Year, $110M Contract Extension Offer

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Amid reports of his frustration with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jimmy Butler has rejected a long-term deal with the team.

According to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said Butler turned down a four-year extension in the $110 million range.cheap youth nfl jerseys

Wolfson added that Butler appreciated the offer but knew it made more sense financially to wait until next summer when he can cash in even more—barring serious injury.

This comes less than two weeks after Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported Butler has no intentions of signing an extension with the organization because he “has been frustrated with the nonchalant attitudes of younger teammates—specifically Karl-Anthony Towns.”

On Thursday, Cycle’s Thomas Duffy pointed out that the Minnesota guard liked an Instagram comment that suggested he and Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving team up with the New York Knicks next summer.youth nfl jerseys cheap

Butler is under contract for $18.7 million next season and holds a $19.8 million player option for the 2019-20 season, per Spotrac. When asked about his star’s reported unhappiness, Minnesota head coach Tom Thibodeau sidestepped the question.youth nfl jerseys

“We know how important Jimmy is to the team,” Thibodeau said Monday, per Nick Friedell. “But we don’t talk about contract negotiations or anything like that, so just get ready for the season.”

Butler had another solid performance in his first year in Minnesota, averaging 22.2 points on career-high 47.4 percent shooting while adding 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. His strong play earned him a fourth consecutive All-Star nod.nfl youth jerseys

Teaming Butler with former No. 1 overall picks Towns and Andrew Wiggins figured to make the Timberwolves a force in the Western Conference. However, the T-Wolves had to fight to the wire to make the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, and the Houston Rockets eliminated them in the first round.nfl youth jerseys cheap

Now, Minnesota will have to determine how it will handle Butler as he enters his walk year. The team can hope that he turned down this offer strictly for financial purposes and try to re-sign him next summer, or it can explore his trade market over the next few months so it doesn’t risk losing him for nothing in free agency.

Lakers News: Lonzo Ball Will Have Surgery to Repair Knee Injury

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday, the team announced Friday.

A timetable for recovery will be provided once the operation is complete. cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania reported June 29 that Ball had been diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his left knee and was expected to be healthy for the start of training camp.

The 2017 No. 2 overall pick was hampered by left knee pain throughout his rookie season and missed 15 games between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15 because of a sprained MCL.

The Lakers will have the luxury of leaning nike jersey nfl cheap on veteran Rajon Rondo to shoulder the load at point guard in the event Ball—who averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game as a rookie—isn’t 100 percent when the 2018-19 season opens.

Deal or No Deal: MLB Trade Predictions 2 Weeks from the Deadline

Anything could happen in these last couple of weeks before Major League Baseball’s July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

As for what will happen, we have a few ideas.wholesale nfl jerseys

What follows is one trade-deadline prediction for each of MLB’s 30 teams. These are strictly speculative, but nonetheless based on reported rumors and the general realities of each squad.

We’ll go in alphabetical order by city.

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As they seek their first National League West title since 2011, the Arizona Diamondbacks have their sights set on Manny Machado.nfl jerseys wholesale

According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, Arizona has already made the Baltimore Orioles an offer that supposedly ranks second among the ones they’ve received for the slugging shortstop.

The field is a crowded one, however, and the D-backs are disadvantaged in a bidding war. They’re short on top prospects, and the best of theirs (RHP Jon Duplantier) was recently shut down with biceps tendinitis.

The Diamondbacks will need an impact bat even if they miss out on Machado. The best pivot they could make would be to a different rental infielder: breakout Minnesota Twins star Eduardo Escobar. He’s racked up an .844 OPS and 51 extra-base hits while playing shortstop and third base.

Call it a hunch, but they’ll ultimately make that pivot.

If the Atlanta Braves want to outlast the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals to win the NL East, they must address their bullpen.nfl jerseys china

Atlanta’s pen has come undone with a 5.38 ERA over the last 30 days. Although there’s nothing it doesn’t need, a tried-and-true relief ace is the best it can shoot for.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Braves’ focus is on relievers who are controlled beyond 2018. Among the players on that list, none suits them better than Brad Hand.

The two-time All-Star owns a 2.63 ERA and a rate of 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings since 2015. He’s also signed for cheap through 2021.nfl wholesale jerseys

Of course, the San Diego Padres will need a serious offer in order to give up Hand. The Braves, however, have plenty of prospects. It wouldn’t be shocking if they gave up a few to get a guy who would stabilize their bullpen for this year and beyond.

NBA Free-Agency Roundup: Isaiah Thomas Signing Comes with No Risk, High Reward

Feel free to stop and take a breath, especially now that another domino has fallen.

As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, Isaiah Thomas has agreed to a one-year minimum contract with the Denver Nuggets, for whom he’ll attempt to rebound from his disappointing 2017-18 campaign before hitting 2019’s free-agency period in better standing. The diminutive point guard couldn’t get anything going with either the Cleveland Cavaliers or Los Angeles Lakers after the surprise trade centered around Kyrie Irving moved him outside his established comfort zone with the Boston Celtics, but he’s now landing in a situation that represents the perfect balance of risk and reward.

Though the early portion of the 2018 NBA offseason featured fast-and-furious action as LeBron James donned a Los Angeles Lakers uniform, DeMarcus Cousins joined the Golden State Warriors and so many other big-name players decided on their immediate futures, the rumor mill had slowed down considerably prior to the Thomas news. But that’s largely due to a lack of money, not a talent void on what remains of the open market. nfl cheap jerseys

So journey with us as we first break down the Thomas signing, then, based on some combination of informed speculation, external reports and that good-old gut feeling, help tell you where the top five remaining free agents will end up when the dust firmly settles.

Every quality signing blends together risk and reward in sterling fashion, and this one is no different.

If Thomas is unable to rekindle the magic that made him one of the league’s most devastating offensive threats in 2016-17, the Nuggets can cut ties with him for only a minimal cost, instead turning to up-and-comers such as nfl jerseys cheap china Monte Morris while attempting to plug the gap behind Jamal Murray on the projected depth chart. Thomas, meanwhile, would just be back where he started—searching for a long-term home and attempting to prove his hip injury isn’t going to wreck what was once such a promising career. nfl jersey

But what if it does work? nfl jerseys

The Nuggets have prided themselves on their offensive prowess for a few years running, to the point that head coach Mike Malone has entirely switched philosophies. Though he entered Colorado as a signal-caller who focused first and foremost on defense, he’s now embraced the high-scoring habits and attempted to maximize the team’s production around the promising young core comprised of Murray, Will Barton, Gary Harris and Nikola Jokic. cheap nfl jerseys china

Thomas only adds to that identity.

In peak form, he can settle in as a high-scoring sixth man functioning as a change of pace whenever he enters the proceedings. That he has chemistry with Malone from their mutual time with the Sacramento Kings only adds to the upside, since it should presumably authentic nfl jerseys  take him less time to build a synergistic relationship with both the coaching staff and his new teammates. His potential in the Mile High City may still be capped by his role—he’s not displacing the Murray/Harris backcourt anytime soon—but small-ball lineups do allow for even more opportunities.

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

Eric Reid: Seattle Seahawks

Any team that signs Eric Reid will be entering into a complicated situation.

Reid was one of the most active players in the protest movement last year, and he filed a collusion grievance against the NFL in May. However, he’s also a versatile and talented 26-year-old safety who already has a Pro Bowl nod on his NFL resume.

His talent should be far more important to the Seahawks than his activism. Because right now, Seattle needs all the help it can get at safety.

Kam Chancellor recently announced his retirement. nfl wholesale jerseys Earl Thomas is in the midst of a holdout and has been the subject of trade rumors.

That leaves the Seahawks trying to keep their championship window pried open with veteran journeyman Bradley McDougald—and that’s about it.

Between the Seahawks’ need at safety and the progressiveness of the Pacific Northwest, the fit between Reid and Seattle makes almost too much sense. It’s also an opportunity for the Seahawks to pay back the 49ers for snagging Richard Sherman after they released him.

Turnabout is fair play. nfl jerseys from china

ociated Press

The New Orleans Saints would be a logical landing spot for DeMarco Murray, as Mark Ingram will serve out a four-game suspension to start the year. However, Murray declined to work out for them in mid-June, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, as “he preferred not to work out with a large group” of running backs.

That doesn’t mean Murray won’t land in the division, though.official nfl jerseys cheap

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off a miserable 2017 season. Jameis Winston’s season-opening three-game suspension threatens to carry that misery over to this year, especially in a division where every other team made the playoffs in 2017.

A Tampa team with no margin for error now needs a ground game to rely on in September. And with all due respect to rookie Ronald Jones and holdovers Peyton Barber, Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims, there’s next to no evidence the Buccaneers have one. After all, nfl authentic jerseys they managed only 90.6 yards a game in 2017, which ranked 27th in the NFL.

The Buccaneers can offer Murray a real audition. If he averages 4.5 yards per carry and starts piling up 100-yard games, they won’t be in any rush to push Jones out there. In turn, Murray would provide a measure of experience, stability and depth in the backfield.nfl authentic jerseys cheap

Desperate times call for desperate measures.nfl jersey wholesale

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.