Obamas rooting for Knicks, thanks to player development chief Craig Robinson

It’s hard to overstate how important player development is to the New York Knicks right now.

The club is in the early stages of a rebuild, looking for talented players to fit around Kristaps Porzingis while the star forward works his way back from a torn ACL.

In the best-case scenario,cheap nfl nike jersey the Knicks build a young core around Porzingis that’s strong enough to attract free agents in the summer of 2019 or 2020, when they should have significant cap space.

New York has the wherewithal to add this young talent: The Knicks own all of their first-round picks going forward and likely will have top-10 picks in the next two drafts.

The trick, of course, is adding the right players and then developing them once you have them on the roster.57

That’s where Craig Robinson comes in. Over the summer, Knicks president Steve Mills called Robinson, his old teammate at Princeton and, at that point, a Milwaukee Bucks executive, with a job offer.

“I think I have the perfect job for you” was Mills’ pitch. The timing wasn’t great for cheap nfl jerseys china nike Robinson because he was close to finalizing a home purchase in Milwaukee.

“Then he explains the job and I’m like, ‘Oh, that is the perfect job for me,’cheap nfl jerseys china nike” Robinson, the brother of former first lady Michelle Obama and brother-in-law of President Barack Obama, recalled on Wednesday.

After speaking with his family, Robinson accepted a position as vice president of player development and G League operations for the Knicks.

In a half-hour chat with a group of reporters Wednesday, Robinson, a former head coach at Oregon State and Brown University, discussed his vision for the Knicks’ player development program. He also revealed that the former president and first lady are now Knicks fans.

Former Raiders LB Aldon Smith Pleads Not Guilty to Domestic Violence Charges

Former Oakland Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic violence, assault, false imprisonment and vandalism, TMZ Sports reported Monday.

Smith turned himself in to authorities and posted a $30,000 bond March 6.22

According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Cabanatuan and Matt Kawahara,cheap customized nfl jerseys police had reported to the scene of alleged domestic violence March 3. The victim suffered “non-life-threatening injuries,” and a person identified as Smith left before authorities could question him.

The Mercury News’ Rick Hurd and Matthias Gafni reported the victim identified herself as an ex-girlfriend of Smith’s during a call with an emergency dispatcher. The woman also told the dispatcher Smith bit her wrists before exiting her home out of a window.

According to TMZ Sports, Smith’s next court appearance is scheduled for April 5.

The Raiders announced March 5 they released Smith after he played just one season for the team. While under contract with Oakland in the 2016 and 2017 seasons, he hadn’t appeared in a regular-season game since 2015.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

The NFL suspended Smith for one year in November 2015, which stemmed from his arrest in August 2015 on charges of driving under the influence and a hit and run. Smith pleaded no contest to the charge of hit and run in September 2017.


Wenger gets boost as Arsenal end Premier League losing run

LONDON — Three thoughts on Arsenal’s 3-0 win vs. Watford in the Premier League.

1. Finally, a comfortable day for Arsenal

In the broader scheme of things, this game could not possibly have meant less to Arsenal. The three points gained by beating Watford 3-0 merely moved them to within 10 of fourth place; with just eight games remaining, it’s still a gap too wide.

But victory was important to continue what goodwill and confidence the Gunners gained by winning in Milan last week, ahead of Thursday’s Europa League last-16 second leg. The competition is king, and it’s the only thing that should carry any importance for the remainder of the season. Indeed, if Arsenal’s remaining league games serve any purpose, it is to ensure they are in good shape for Europe.

Goals from Shkodran Mustafi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were enough to secure the win on Sunday, while Petr Cech saving a Troy Deeney penalty put the cap on a very pleasant afternoon for the home side.

Arsenal took the lead with just seven minutes on the clock, Mustafi finding room from a Mesut Ozil free kick to head brilliantly into the far corner. The atmosphere, which already seemed much lighter than in previous weeks, lifted even further.

But the remainder of the half didn’t provide much by way of quality football. Both teams had chances, but neither took them and traded glaring misses: Ozil shot against Watford keeper Orestis Karnezis’s legs with the goal gaping, while Ricardo Pereyra missed a chance to make it 1-1 when he shanked over from close range.

Cech made a couple of fine saves — particularly from a Richarlison header just before the break — as the Arsenal defence showed only a passing interest in defending. The players, perhaps understandably, were giving a sense that they had more important things on their minds.

The second half started slowly, to say the least, but Arsenal doubled their lead just before the hour mark. Mkhitaryan slipped a neat pass through to Aubameyang, who stepped around Karnezis and side-footed home.

Watford had a chance to pull one back immediately when Pererya was fouled in the area. Deeney stepped up, but his kick was weak and poorly directed. Cech saved and the home fans, recalling the Watford striker’s assertion that Arsenal lacked “cojones” earlier in the season, enjoyed the moment enormously. It was Cech’s first penalty save for Arsenal and preserved his 200th Premier League clean sheet.

The scoring was completed with 13 minutes remaining, as Mkhitaryan swept in after a penalty-area scramble. “Deeney, what’s the score?” sang an admittedly sparse home crowd. For once in recent weeks,cheap nfl jerseys china they could go home with a feeling of contentment rather than frustration.

2. Much-needed win for Wenger

While the Premier League might have little meaning for Arsenal from now until May, things are perhaps slightly different for Arsene Wenger,

You still doubt that there is anyone strong enough at the club to send him on his way this summer, but things have certainly been put things in place for a post-Wenger world, in which the old-style “manager” is replaced by a coach-led group to share the load.

Raul Sanllehi was brought in as head of football relations and, more significantly Sven Mislintat arrived as head of recruitment. Meanwhile, a series of other appointments were made to spread the work that Wenger has traditionally done.

When this new era will begin is another matter, despite such things now being in place. Wenger certainly wants to stay; otherwise, he would surely have left by his own accord. So the attention turns to these past few weeks of the season.

There are some similarities to Jose Mourinho and Manchester United last season, in that progress in the Europa League will determine the success of the season as a whole.

The difference is that Mourinho’s position was reasonably secure, and a league finish outside the top four could be just about ignored. Wenger’s is not, and he still needs a strong domestic finish in order to present as good a case as possible for his retention.authentic nfl jerseys

3. Watford’s away-day woes continue

The chances are that Watford are safe — they might even stay up without winning another point — which means the January decision to replace Marco Silva with Javi Gracia has certainly been justified. Still, they would like a few more points to settle some nerves and there remain issues to work through.

Their theoretical safety has been broadly down to home form: Since the managerial change, they have beaten Chelsea 4-1 and collected valuable victories against West Brom and Everton at Vicarage Road. In three games, they’ve scored six and only conceded once.official nfl jerseys cheap

Away form has been more of a problem. Watford haven’t scored on the road since the start of January and haven’t won since beating Newcastle 3-0 in November. Next week they visit Liverpool; should they lose, which form suggests they will, a nervier finish to the season is possible.

An upturn in away form will be handy for the team as a whole, but might be more important to Gracia. He signed an 18-month contract when he arrived but will know as well as anyone that when it comes to Watford, the dates on managerial contracts are little more than a very rough guide.


Ranking the top 30 NBA draft prospects by stats and scouting

With conference tournaments in full swing and the NCAA tournament a week away, it’s time to take a first look at my WARP projections for the college prospects who could be in this year’s NBA draft.

As always,wholesale nfl jersey outlet my projections are built on three factors:

The player’s projected performance as a rookie, based on translated NCAA stats over the past three seasons, adjusted for strength of schedule and a factor regressing outlier performance to the mean;

The player’s age;
Where the player ranks in the latest top 100 rankings from my Insider colleagues Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz.

(For more on how the projections work and a look back at past projections, see here.)

Even without factoring in international prospects, most notably Luka Doncic and his historic production in EuroLeague, this looks like a strong crop at the top. There’s an unusual amount of agreement between my stats-only projections (factoring in translated production and age) and this year’s top 100. Still, there are some surprising names in my top 30 and the order isn’t quite the same as our top 100, starting at the very top.

The report of three years, $39 million for Richard Sherman may be “a mirage”

You know the drill by now. Player agrees to terms. Numbers get leaked to reporter who passes them along without scrutiny, analysis, or caveat. Real numbers come out later,cheap nfl nike jerseys china  exposing that the initial number was a lie.

Multiple league sources, based on history and some of the details already emerging about the deal signed Saturday night by cornerback Richard Sherman in San Francisco, predict that the three-year, $39 million package first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Media) is “a mirage.”

Already, signs are emerging that the deal may not be what it seems. Josina Anderson of ESPN tweeted on Saturday night that Sherman told her the deal is worth “up to $39.15 million.” cheap nike nfl jersey The key words there are “up to,” because it implies a ceiling based on incentives and other payments tied to playing time or performance. Which means that Sherman’s base deal is lower than $39.15 million.gettyimages-459771512-e1520776077386

Tom Pelissero of NFL Media has since posted the breakdown for the first year: $5 million signing bonus, $2 million base salary (there’s no mention as to whether it’s guaranteed, but as a practical matter it most likely is), $2 million in 46-man per-game roster bonuses, $1 million playing-time incentives, and a $3 million Pro Bowl incentive. (One source cautions that the “Pro Bowl” incentive may be an “All-Pro” incentive, which is harder to achieve since only two are selected for the entire league.)

Per Pelissero, if Sherman makes it to the Pro Bowl (or, possibly, All-Pro), $16 million of the deal becomes fully guaranteed over 2019 and 2020.

While those details aren’t nearly enough to show that the “three-year, $39 million” figure is a “mirage” (Pelissero may be trying to avoid committing NFL Media-on-NFL Media crime), it’s a strong clue that the contract isn’t what Rapoport reported it to be. Pelissero’s breakdown shows a maximum package of $13 million for 2018 (one third of $39 million), if Sherman dresses for all 16 regular-season games, achieves the total playing-time threshold, nfl nike jersey cheap and make it to the NFC Pro Bowl team (or, possibly, the AP All-Pro team.)

Soon enough, the real numbers will emerge. And it could be the first example of what perhaps will be multiple instances of a common dynamic in the reporting of NFL contracts: In order to be first, reporters often will willingly be not entirely accurate.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
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