11

Sporting Kansas City defender Ike Opara asks club to consider trading him

According to Vermes, Opara told him that the player’s preference is to finish his career in Kansas City, but that he’d like to make more money, and if any trade offers came in for him from other teams, to consider them.

“These are the kind of conversations that go on all the time at the end of the year,” Vermes said via telephone. “Everybody wants more money. That’s not abnormal.“cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

Opara, 29, signed a contract extension with Kansas City just prior to the 2018 season, and it is set to run through 2019 with a club option for 2020. Vermes noted that Opara could have let his contract run out after the current season and chose not to.

According to salary information provided by the MLS Players Association, the deal paid Opara $342,916.63 in guaranteed compensation in 2018. But SKC signed defender Andreu Fontas just before the close of the summer transfer window in a deal that according to the MLSPA pays him just under $1 million a year.11

Despite that disparity in salary, Opara maintained his partnership with Matt Besler in the center of the SKC defense for the rest of 2018. Fontas made just two appearances and one start after joining Kansas City in August.

Vermes pointed out that SKC isn’t averse to making bold moves, including the trading of Dom Dwyer in July of 2017 for what was then a then-record haul of $1.6 million in allocation money. But after a season that saw SKC finish atop the Western Conference during the regular season, Vermes indicated that he feels his roster is strong.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

“I can’t tell you that people aren’t coming to me,” said Vermes. “If a deal makes sense, I’ll consider it. If it doesn’t, I’m good with where we’re at. The [salary] cap is great. We have money and we have players. I’m not really concerned.”

Opara was drafted third overall in the 2010 SuperDraft by the San Jose Earthquakes, but injuries stunted his growth as a player and he was traded to Sporting Kansas City prior to the 2013 campaign. Opara finally shook off the injury bug in 2016, and has made at least 25 appearances in each of the past three seasons. His MLS career has seen him make 157 league and playoff appearances, scoring 15 goals and adding five assists.

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving says he’s fine after tweaking shoulder

Irving left Thursday night’s game with 3:34 left in the fourth quarter and the outcome already decided after getting tangled up. He had ice put on the shoulder while he watched from the bench, and did his television walk-off interview with it still on, but had nothing on the shoulder in the locker room, and said he’d be fine.

“It was just a weird play at the end of the game,” Irving said. “I don’t know. It’s like I got caught up as I was trying to get the ball out and pass it to Marcus for a 3. It just caught me weird on my shoulder. So it’s probably an AC joint or something like that. I’m not diagnosing myself, I’m pretty sure. I saw the doctors afterward and they said AC joint or something going on there, but I’ll be all right.”cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Irving continued his hot shooting over the past several weeks, scoring 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting (and 3-for-6 from 3-point range). Since Nov. 1, Irving is averaging 24.8 points while shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from 3.

After losing here to the lowly Knicks two weeks ago, Irving said he and the Celtics were happy to not only exact some level of revenge but continue the momentum they’ve built over what now is a four-game winning streak.

“We just had fun kicking people’s ass,” Irving said. “We should, we really should. And it should be … competition in itself, it should bring the best out of you. And the way you bring the best out of your opponent is you play at a certain level where they either match it or they exceed it or they don’t do anything at all and they just give up.”

Celtics center Aron Baynes, meanwhile, exited the game after just two minutes because of a sprained left ankle, and didn’t return. After the game, though, Baynes walked out of the arena without a limp or any kind of boot, and said he felt fine — which was precisely what Celtics coach Brad Stevens expected him to say.nfl cheap nike jerseys

“In typical Baynes fashion, he’ll do 3-on-3 drills tomorrow after he does full-court sprints and runs a marathon and then he’ll get ready for the flight, then he’ll play on Saturday,” Stevens said with a smile, and tongue planted firmly in cheek. “But I don’t know if the doctors agree with that, so we’ll see.”

9

The Sixers being this good is a minor miracle

Philly arrives in Toronto on Wednesday essentially in a second-place tie in the Eastern Conference standings. That’s a minor miracle. The past nine months have seen an incredible streak of bad luck and, for lack of a better term, uncontrollable happenstance that has threatened to wreck the momentum that took so many years to craft.

It hasn’t been framed that way because the Sixers and their fans maybe haven’t stopped to consider it; they’ve just dealt with one trauma after another. But what a run.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

It seems like it started in late March against the tanking New York Knicks on a simple give-and-go with Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz. Fultz’s shoulder — yes, that shoulder — ran into Embiid’s face and fractured his orbital bone. Watch the replay, it was crazy; they weren’t even in traffic. It was just a horrid bit of fortune.

At that point, the Sixers had won seven in a row and were just laying waste to teams. They were ramping up to their finest ball of the season. Heck, they were ramping up to their finest ball of the decade.9

Embiid needed surgery and missed 10 games. The Sixers kept winning, eventually getting to 17 in a row, but that belied the fallout. When Embiid came back in the playoffs he wasn’t himself. He had a few good games, but his shooting, rebounding, scoring and efficiency plunged in the postseason. Against the Boston Celtics they needed their best player because Ben Simmons was frozen and Embiid just couldn’t deliver.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Then, of course, we have the great Bryan Colangelo twitter fiasco of 2018. There was so much scrutiny and stress as amateur and professional investigators combed through the internet that it might have been lost on the masses just how ludicrous the entire scenario was.

It is incumbent on any major business to prepare contingency and disaster-response plans. But even in the world of the NBA — in which there seem to be disasters of some sort every few weeks — there was nothing in the handbook for this one. Even now, months later, it still isn’t totally clear what happened as Colangelo has gone underground and no one wants to talk about it. The upshot is the Sixers lost their GM days before they were about to embark on arguably the most important offseason in franchise history.

Would having Colangelo at the controls instead of the front office scrambling to hold things together have made a difference? Would the Sixers have landed a free agent instead of striking out and having to absorb Wilson Chandler as their major offseason move? Would they have been able to close the Nemanja Bjelica deal instead of it falling apart? We don’t know.

What we do know is that it was a letdown of a summer as their competitors made major moves. It created pressure for them to make the in-season move for Jimmy Butler, rolling the dice that he’ll re-sign.

12

Without Chris Harris Jr. and Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos must lean on youth

Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph has watched his team overcome obstacles this season, using words like “grit” and “fight” to describe his players’ efforts.

Now they’ll need those two things more than ever, as wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was lost for the season Wednesday with what team officials believe is a torn left Achilles tendon. Sanders suffered the injury in Wednesday’s practice, or roughly 72 hours after cornerback Chris Harris Jr., a three-time Pro Bowl selection, fractured a fibula against the Cincinnati Bengals.

That’s one of their premier players on offense and one of their premier players on defense out with injuries just as the team had finally clawed its way back into the playoff race.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“This is the 2018 Denver Broncos,” said quarterback Case Keenum. “Nothing’s been handed to us — we’re going to earn everything we get.”12

It also means a team that has leaned, and leaned hard, on its rookie class will do so again. Because while necessity may be the mother of invention, desperation might be the dad. In Sanders’ case, he was already in a wide receivers meeting room each day with four other players who either were rookies or had spent much of their rookie years in 2017 on the Broncos’ practice squad.

That was the choice the Broncos had largely already made when they shipped Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans on Oct. 30. At the time it put Sanders on the depth chart with two rookies (Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton) and two inexperienced players (Tim Patrick and River Cracraft).

The Broncos claimed Andre Holmes, a 30-year-old in his seventh season, off waivers less than an hour after they had finished Wednesday’s practice. The Broncos saw Holmes plenty during his four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, and Holmes had a touchdown catch against the Broncos last season when he was with the Buffalo Bills.

But Holmes or no Holmes, it will be the youth movement at wide receiver that determines how the Broncos move the ball in the passing game in the weeks to come.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“When you see somebody go down, it sucks, but each person who has been hurt will tell you that the person replacing them has to go in and do their job,” Sutton said. “If they don’t, the team ultimately suffers and nobody wants to see the team suffer.”

What that means for the Broncos is Sutton has to be, and play like, a No. 1 receiver. He’s won some matchups this season as a complementary player, often physically overwhelming defensive backs, but now he’s going to get a steady diet of top coverage players who would have been covering somebody else if the Broncos were anything resembling a healthy team.

11

The NFL’s ‘willful ignorance,’ and how it botched the Kareem Hunt case

Kareem Hunt apologized to the world, the Kansas City Chiefs organization, his family and his close friends before he finally got around to apologizing to the young woman he shoved and kicked in February — more than seven minutes into Sunday’s interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters. But just as telling about the assault that ultimately cost Hunt his job was his confirmation that the league had never interviewed him about it.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Hunt talked to the Chiefs after the assault outside his Cleveland hotel residence, and the Chiefs then talked to the league, and then Hunt was free to play 11 games and to help his team emerge as a Super Bowl contender. NFL officials accepted a version of events first supplied by a star running back invested in protecting his career, and then passed along by a team invested in keeping said difference-maker on the field, as part of yet another investigation and decision exposed as disturbing, revealing and woefully inadequate by a video aired on TMZ.

“It should surprise me, but it doesn’t,” said Kathy Redmond, who founded the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes more than 20 years ago. “These are non-investigations. It goes back to willful ignorance, and arrogance and hubris on the part of the NFL. It feels like everything the NFL does is on the surface, and to address PR and the brand they have to protect.”

Yes, the NFL says it did try (and fail) to obtain the video from Cleveland police and the hotel, and did try (and fail) to interview the victim it described in a Sunday statement as a “complainant.” That statement said the league’s “ongoing” investigation will include more attempts to interview “the complainants involved in the incident. It will include a review of the new information that was made public on Friday — which was not available to the NFL previously — as well as further conversations with all parties involved in the incident.”11

“Our investigation identified a number of investigative steps that the League did not take to acquire additional information about what occurred inside the elevator. League investigators did not contact any of the police officers who investigated the incident, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, or the Revel to attempt to obtain or view the in-elevator video or to obtain other information. No one from the League asked Rice or his lawyer whether they would make available for viewing the in-elevator video they received as part of criminal discovery in early April. And, after the initial contacts with the Ravens in the immediate aftermath of the incident, League investigators did not follow up with the Ravens to determine whether the team had additional information.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

That report was dated Jan. 8, 2015. Nearly four years later, with Mueller a bit tied up at the moment, it sure would be interesting to see what an independent review of the Hunt “investigation” would turn up.

Understand this: By making multiple attempts to speak with witnesses and to secure the video from hotel officials and law enforcement — even after Cleveland police decided they wouldn’t file charges against Hunt — the league believes it has been more aggressive in the Hunt case than it was in the Rice case, a low standard indeed. An NFL spokesman declined comment when emailed this question: “Why didn’t the league interview Kareem Hunt after the alleged assault?” A person with knowledge of the case said investigators always prefer to speak with the victim of an alleged crime before they speak with the alleged perpetrator, and that the woman’s refusal to respond to the league’s requests for an interview scuttled the plan to interview Hunt.

12

Brighton overcome red card to swat aside poor Crystal Palace in southern derby

Replays appeared to show the Palace man had touched the ball before the Colombian went down, but Glenn Murray converted the spot kick for his ninth league goal of the season. Only Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has a better return this campaign than the 35-year-old.

Brighton and Palace share a feisty rivalry with the fixture dubbed the “M23 derby” after the road that links the two clubs and last season’s fixture was marred by crowd disturbances.cheap wholesale nfl jerseys china

Those violent scenes were not repeated on Tuesday but Brighton were reduced to 10 men four minutes after going ahead when Shane Duffy was shown a straight red for attempting to head butt Palace defender Patrick van Aanholt.12

The decision did not halt their momentum, however, as substitute Leon Balogun, brought on to compensate for the dismissal, drilled the ball in from the middle of the area.wholesale cheap nfl jersey china

The home side lost Murray to an injury and his replacement Florin Andone scored Brighton’s third in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time. The Romanian finished off a fast break by striking the ball into the far corner past Wayne Hennessey.

Balogun conceded a penalty 10 minutes before the end by fouling Wilfried Zaha and Luka Milivojevic stepped up to pull one back, but it was not enough to stop Chris Hughton’s side from sealing all three points to rise to 10th in the standings.

“When it was 11 vs. 11 we were the best side. I thought we were outstanding. It’s shame their penalty went in,” Brighton boss Hughton told BBC Sport.

“All first goals are decisive. Anyone who has seen the replay of the penalty will have seen what I have seen so there is no point commenting. That wasn’t the crucial factor. The second goal was the really decisive moment.”

12

What Jean Segura trade says about Phillies’ pursuit of Manny Machado

The Mariners-Phillies trade is finally official: The Mariners will send shortstop Jean Segura and relievers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos to the Phillies for first baseman Carlos Santana and shortstop J.P. Crawford.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

As with so many trades, the money and contracts must be considered. Segura is signed for four more seasons at $59.4 million (there is a $17 million team option for 2023 with a $1 million buyout). Santana has two years remaining at $41.1 million, plus a $500,000 buyout or $17.5 million team option for 2021. Nicasio will make $9.25 million in 2019 while Pazos and Crawford and not arbitration-eligible.12

While finding a taker for Santana’s contract was a nice bonus to this deal, the fact that the Phillies took on more overall money in the deal is an indication — at least to me — that they were hesitant to hand shortstop to Crawford in 2019.

A former first-round pick, Crawford’s minor league career had some ups and downs, but after a solid season at Triple-A in 2017 (he hit .243/.351/.405 with 79 walks and 15 home runs in 556 plate appearances) and a 23-game cameo with the Phillies, he entered 2018 as Keith Law’s No. 10 overall prospect.

Crawford began the season as the Phillies’ starting shortstop and was hitting .188 on April 28, when he landed on the DL with a forearm strain. He returned in June, started eight of 11 games at third base, and then suffered a broken hand when hit by a pitch. He returned in September and ended up hitting .214/.319/.393 in 138 PAs with the Phillies (and .208/.339/.317 in 29 games in the minors). It was mostly a lost season given the injuries, so it’s hard to evaluate his progress. It’s worth pointing out that the Phillies know him best of all and decided to trade him.

The basic scouting report: good glove, bats lefty, won’t hit for much for average or power, good plate discipline.

There doesn’t appear to be a lot of upside on offense, although if he draws enough walks at least he won’t kill the offense with a poor OBP. If he’s a .350 OBP guy with 10 home runs and good defense, that’s a valuable player. If he’s a .300 OBP guy with limited power, there’s pressure on the defense to be elite, and that seems to be the overriding issue in evaluating him: Is he an elite defender?nike nfl jerseys cheap china

His defense has always been scouted as a strength, with range, good hands and a strong arm. The metrics, however, were not kind to him in 2018, with minus-6 DRS in just 229 innings. Some of that was courtesy of a high error rate — he made eight errors, all on throws, for a poor .931 fielding percentage. Two of those came trying to complete double plays, one trying to double a runner off first and the other five came on grounders. The curious thing is when Crawford returned in June, Scott Kingery — who had played two games at shortstop in his minor league career — continued to get the majority of the starts at shortstop while Crawford played third base. Seems like a strange decision to move the player who is supposed to be the potentially elite defender.

11

Pirates avoid arbitration, reach deal with reliever Michael Feliz

The Pirates avoided arbitration with reliever Michael Feliz, reaching an agreement on Friday on an $850,000, one-year contract.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Feliz went 1-2 with a 5.33 ERA in 47 appearances for the Pirates in 2018 after being part of the trade that sent pitcher Gerrit Cole to Houston.

Pittsburgh offered contracts to left fielder Corey Dickerson and reliever Keone Kela.11

Dickerson is likely due a significant raise over the $5.95 million he made this year. Dickerson hit .300 with 13 home runs and 55 RBI and earned the first Gold Glove of his career after being obtained from Tampa Bay on the eve of the regular season.

Pittsburgh acquired Kela at the trade deadline in July. He went 3-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 54 appearances for Texas and Pittsburgh, earning $1.2 million. The Pirates ended his season early September as a precaution due to his workload. Kela’s 52 innings were his most since 60 1/3 as a rookie in 2015.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

11

Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: Doncic keeps dominating

Luka Doncic and James Harden put on a playmaking party last night in Houston. As far as the winner’s side, Doncic continued to impress with an efficient 20 points on 11 shot attempts.

Harden led both teams outright in points (25), rebounds (11), assists (17) and steals (6), but the Rockets fell 128-108 to the Mavericks, losing their fourth straight game. Remarkably, at 9-11, Houston is second to last in the Western Conference standings a season removed from finishing with the best record in the NBA. Houston is now 1-7 when either Chris Paul or Harden sits (0-5 without Paul) and 8-4 when both play this season.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

Harden picked up his 36th career triple-double, seven back of Fat Lever for eighth all-time, but also added eight turnovers. Harden has 35 turnovers in his past four games, the most by any player in any four-game span on record (first tracked in 1977-78). Bob McAdoo held the previous distinction, with 34 turnovers in a four-game span back in January of 1978, per Elias.

Harden is averaging 38.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 12.8 APG in Houston’s past four games and they’ve lost them all. Harden’s fantasy managers, however, stay winning.11

The performance marked Doncic’s 10th 20-point performance in his 19th career game, becoming the fourth player with 10 20-point games within his first 20 career games during the past 10 seasons. The other three eventually won Rookie of the Year: Tyreke Evans, Kyrie Irving, and Damian Lillard.

With an impressive slash of 19.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 4.2 APG, 2.5 3PG and 1 SPG as a 19-year-old import to the league, we find only Paul George currently matching Doncic’s production in each of these categories this season. Meanwhile, Doncic is the lone rookie on record to produce that many points, assists, rebounds and 3-pointers.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

With Doncic universally rostered in ESPN leagues, it’s worth noting just how effective Dallas’ bench mob has proven this season. For instance, J.J. Barea is averaging 17 PPG, 9.0 APG, 1.3 3PG and 1.0 SPG during his past three outings, all wins for the Mavs. Barea is available in roughly 85 percent of ESPN leagues as of Thursday morning. Going a bit deeper into Dallas’ rotation, we find one Maximilian Kleber, who is one of just seven players averaging at least one made 3-pointer and 1.3 blocks per game this season. Wesley Matthews, for his part, is tied with Devin Booker and Danilo Gallinari with 2.5 made 3-pointers per game.

12

The hottest NFL coaching candidates: Don’t rule out Josh McDaniels

Five weeks from now, a half-dozen or so NFL teams are going to be looking for new head coaches, and most of them are going to want their candidates to be guys who know how to score points.

There’s a guy with the New England Patriots who knows how to do it. And before you laugh off the notion that any NFL team would trust Josh McDaniels enough to bring him in for an interview after what he did in Indianapolis 10 months ago, you need to understand the landscape.cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

Baggage and all, McDaniels’ talents as a coach and playcaller make him a very interesting candidate for teams that will find themselves in the head-coaching market in January. It’s rough out there if you’re looking for the next offensive coaching wunderkind. The list of guys with McDaniels’ credentials is pretty short, and demand for those kinds of guys isn’t fading away.

All seven of the head-coaching hires in 2016 were from offensive backgrounds, as were four of the six in 2017. Out of those two groups, one (Doug Pederson) has won the Super Bowl, a few (Sean McVay, Anthony Lynn, Kyle Shanahan) are still trying, a couple (Dirk Koetter, Adam Gase) are barely hanging on, and a few more (Ben McAdoo, Hue Jackson, Chip Kelly) didn’t make it.12

But offense is still the name of the modern NFL game, and teams are looking for the guys who are the best at coaching it. Problem is, after a couple of years of accelerating smart, young, relatively inexperienced offensive coordinators into head-coaching positions, the pipeline starts to look a little bit dry. The sense around the league right now is that, while you can expect the usual six or eight head-coaching openings the NFL creates every year, the list of candidates to fill those openings is a little lighter than it has been in recent years.

Which is why it’s not at all crazy to think that some coach-needy team, or teams, will turn their lonely eyes once again to Bill Belichick’s brilliant but mercurial offensive coordinator. McDaniels was the hottest name on the circuit last year, and assuming he wants another shot at those interviews, there’s a good chance he will be again. Multiple sources close to the situation say McDaniels would be interested in a head-coaching opportunity if it were the right one, which is something we’ve heard of McDaniels before. If you want to roll your eyes, it’s hard to blame you.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

Any team interested in bringing in McDaniels for an interview is going to want to put him through a series of pointed questions specific to his situation and his history. Whereas he spent the past couple of interview cycles answering questions about what went wrong during his first head-coaching stint with the Denver Broncos — he went 11-17 and was fired during his second season — McDaniels now will face those again as well as fresh questions about what in the absolute heck happened with the Indianapolis Colts.