Darby is a solid talent, and the Eagles thus far are raving about him.

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Smith hasn’t changed that tact during a far more successful stretch with the Chiefs despite the outside clamoring for Mahomes that will continue to grow if Smith hits a rough patch, which is entirely possible this season considering the youth on Kansas City’s wide receiving corps. Not to mention a running game that has dipped ever since the now-departed Jamaal Charles suffered a major knee injury early in the 2015 campaign.

Certainly, it does get in here and there, but I think you just get older and accept it for what it is, said Smith, 33. You get the draft, you get the new guys in, and that’s a good thing. Fans should be excited about that. I don’t think I need to necessarily make it about me or take offense to anything. I still need to go about doing my job and to not lose that focus.

He has done that so far this preseason, even as Mahomes makes the kind of throws in practice that have wowed teammates and Smith himself.

In return, Beane with those trades acquired second- and third-round picks in next year’s draft and a fourth-rounder in 2019, a starting receiver in Jordan Matthews and a backup corner (as of now) in E.J. Gaines.

Darby is a solid talent, and the Eagles thus far are raving about him. Ragland is a thumper at linebacker. He was a difference-maker at Alabama who missed his rookie season due to a torn ACL, but he was not seen as a fit for new coach Sean McDermott’s 4-3 defense.

Elite Frank White Jersey It’s also unusual for a team to make major trades of starters during the preseason, much less doing it with three players. Is the GM listening too much to his coach, who likely was telling him Watkins, Darby and Ragland were not his kinds of players? Allowing a coach to engage in house-cleaning is a dangerous game for a GM.

NBA free agent signings: Patrick Patterson to Thunder for 3 years, $16.4 million

Needing a power forward, the Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to a three-year, $16.4 million deal with former Toronto Raptors big man Patrick Patterson, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Patterson should slide into the starting power forward spot vacated by the departures of Taj Gibson and Domantas Sabonis.

The third year is a player option, according to Wojnarowski.

The 28-year-old Patterson averaged 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in just under 25 minutes per game with the Raptors last season while shooting 37 percent from three-point range. He battled a knee injury throughout the year, though he did play in 65 games. The Raptors elected not to bring him back because they were too far over the luxury tax after re-signing Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka.

It’s probably not enough to scare teams off, but it’s worth a shot at least. Making the list public at least frustrated the Cavaliers, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
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Beyond that, the market for point guards has dried up even further. The best options are off the market and there aren’t many obvious names available for trade. Rose has very little leverage in his corner at this point.

The reason the Warriors were hoping to sign Iguodala cheaper than they did — and have a partial guarantee on his 2019-20 season — was that they’re quickly rocketing towards luxury tax hell. They’ve given Stephen Curry nearly $200 million over the next four years, and Kevin Durant isn’t far behind him. By 2019, when the team will have to re-sign Klay Thompson to an enormous deal or let him walk, they will have been over the luxury tax limit for several seasons. For every dollar over, they’ll be paying three or four dollars in penalties, something that will rapidly add up and could even dwarf the team’s actual salary.
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DeShone Kizer wins Browns starting QB job

Rookie DeShone Kizer will start at quarterback for the Browns in Week 1 against the Steelers, cleveland.com reports.

Kizer secured the job during the Browns’ 13-9 preseason win at the Buccaneers on Saturday night, even though he completed just 6 of 18 attempts for 93 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. It doesn’t take much to beat out Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler.

“I feel comfortable with him,” Jackson said of Kizer after Saturday’s game. “He has the right feel for me and for what I’m looking for.”

Jackson is expected to make a formal announcement of his decision Sunday.

Kizer, a second-round pick out of Notre Dame, will become the 27th quarterback to start for the Browns since 1999 and the second rookie QB to start in Week 1, cleveland.com notes. Brandon Weeden was the first, in 2012, when Cleveland lost its season opener to the Eagles, 17-16.

Colin Kaepernick can’t find a home in the NFL, but items related to his national anthem protest have found a place in the Smithsonian.

USA Today reported Friday that Kaepernick’s game-worn jersey, shoes and a photo of his controversial protest will be displayed as part of a Black Lives Matter exhibit at the famous museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibit will reside in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History.

“The National Museum of African American History and Culture has nearly 40,000 items in our collection,” Damion Thomas, the museum’s sports curator, told USA Today via email. “The Colin Kaepernick collection is in line with the museum’s larger collecting efforts to document the varied areas of society that have been impacted by the Black Lives Matter movement.”seahawks_098

NBA free agency 2017: Nene’s deal with Rockets fell apart, and he now he’s a free agent again

Late Friday night, The Houston Chronicle reported Nene and the Rockets had agreed on a four-year, $15 million deal. It appears that is no longer the case.

Daniel Kilgore Authentic Jersey At age 34, Nene averaged 9.1 points and 4.2 rebounds on 62 percent shooting as mid-range-and-in scorer off the bench for the Rockets, who posted the NBA’s third-best record last season.

But don’t question an NBA players’ worth to LeBron James. He is one of the biggest supporters of NBA players getting paid as they rightfully deserve, and he’s not afraid to speak up about it.

LeBron is expected to make just over $33 million next season, but up until 2016 he had never been the highest paid in the NBA or even on his own team. LeBron, given his greatness, has always been underpaid and has been an advocate for other players making as much money as they possibly can. And he’s not shy speaking out against leadership in the NBA when it comes to his fellow players.

There is no doubt a rivalry between the Cavaliers and the Warriors and we’ve never really seen LeBron James and Steph Curry be friends off the court. That said, no one is a better ambassador for the game and its players than LeBron James.
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Another wrinkle is that free agency in general is front-loaded: Most players want their status resolved ASAP, and take all of their meetings within the first few days of July. However, nothing can officially be signed until the moratorium ends on July 6. The Otto Porter ordeal provides a good example of the timing issues chasing an RFA creates. The Nets reached a deal with Porter late on July 4 after the player met with multiple teams over four days. The match clock didn’t start ticking until the moratorium ended on July 6. The Wizards had until the end of July 8 — Saturday — to officially inform Porter and the Nets of their decision. For four days a huge chunk of Brooklyn’s cap space was tied up in the Porter decision, despite it being pretty much a lock that Washington would eventually match.

solid veteran players might help keep James around next summer.

All that said, with their future fluctuating on the whims of both James and Irving, the Cavaliers have a duty to prepare for life without them. Getting veteran players who help win championships this season doesn’t do that.
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Shamar Stephen Limited Jersey Sure, solid veteran players might help keep James around next summer. But he still won’t commit to a decision no matter what the return in the Irving deal ends up being — or if it even happens at all. James is a master businessman and decision maker who always keeps his options open. He won’t change that just because of a new acquisition or two.

Trading for youth sets the Cavaliers up for the long-term, and that’s their best bet to remain competitive in the future. James’ best years are behind him, even if he’s still amazing and chasing championships.

The Warriors are still the team to beat in the league and no one is coming close anytime soon. The league is thinking differently because of their presence and, even though they have James, the Cavs may need to do the same. Building for the future is their best move.

Tampering is so fuzzy and subjective. Players, coaches, and general managers talk to each other all the time. Agents have increasingly transitioned into front office roles; retired players are moving into that direction, too.

Meanwhile, the financial rules governing cap space and contracts are complex and rigid. It’s quite hard to differentiate between two teams that have cap space. Without the Durant Rule contract, home teams have limited advantage in retaining stars. (Again, look at Hayward.) Plus, everyone under the sun knows who has cap space and who doesn’t.

LaVar Ball is such a Big Baller he lost a shooting contest to Ice Cube

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The BIG3, a professional 3-on-3 basketball league for old timers, knows how to market itself. For its Sunday visit to Los Angeles — which will be broadcast on delay Monday on FS1 — the BIG3 invited notorious misogynist and loud sports dad LaVar Ball to challenge league commissioner, legendary rapper turned family-friendly movie star Ice Cube, in a shootout. Specifically, the shootout would occur from the BIG3’s innovative four-point circle.

The decision would be tougher this time around. After all, LeBron has guided the Cavaliers to three consecutive NBA Finals appearances, including the franchise’s lone championship victory over the Golden State Warriors in 2016. His best odds at winning another championship — his fourth to pull him within two of Michael Jordan — are in Cleveland, as heading out West would result in a conference playoffs matchup against the Warriors, Rockets or Spurs.

Elite Youth Brett Hundley Jersey But LeBron left Cleveland in the past. Kyrie Irving’s doesn’t want to play with The King anymore, and James’s chances at taking down the Warriors — in a Cavaliers jersey, at least — could be out the door with his All-Star point guard.

That’s why the city of Akron is already letting The King know how much the value him with these Stay Home hats and shirts. Because they know what life without LeBron James is like in Cleveland. And if he leaves again, you can bet the house he’s not coming back.

Miami-Dade County tells new Marlins ownership the home run sculpture ‘is not movable’

Everybody breathe deeply and relax. The Marlins home run sculpture isn’t going anywhere.

After some initial panic that it could be sayonara to the gaudy, garish, colorful mass of dings and lights and spinning things in the outfield once new ownership takes over, Miami-Dade County has come to the rescue.

Since Marlins Park was built with taxpayer money, county laws require that it include art. The $2.5 million sculpture qualifies as that art, and since it is a part of Miami-Dade’s Art in Public Places program it cannot be moved without prior approval from the county.

“Listen kids, this can be our little secret. I’m going to get you a Pop-A-Shot for your sixteenth birthday part and all of your friends can come. Come on, please don’t tell mom. You can have a DJ too!”

The players are having fun with it, as Bastian reports the competition was intense pre-game on Friday, but there’s the slightest thing off about it since it seems to be a random idea with no special meaning for this weekend or this series specifically.

Or, it could just be for fun and to blow off a little steam. As long as Andrew Miller doesn’t get too involved, he JUST got came back from injury after all.

Even funnier is the fact that the Indians are away at the Royals this series, so Francona had to coordinate all of this for a visiting clubhouse. Maybe it’s all a plot to make the Royals players jealous and distract them before games.redskins_010_d364e8b1330a300d-180x180

the snaky language and gaslighting that comes with The Real Home Run Record

Which is why it’s perfectly fine to believe something like, “If Giancarlo Stanton hits 62 home runs, that will impress me more than when Barry Bonds hit 73.” That is a rational belief that can be argued, supported, disagreed with, and fought for.

What I’m not into is the unsubtle shifting of the goalposts; the snaky language and gaslighting that comes with The Real Home Run Record. Because it isn’t. Someone who hits 62 home runs will need a dozen more to break The Real Home Run Record, even if you’re already more impressed by the new accomplishment.

We’ve been here before, actually, because my colleagues and I really, really enjoy needling Pete Rose fans. It’s absolutely funny to suggest that Ichiro is the true Hit King and watch them scramble to their battle stations, and I will not apologize for this. Especially when Rose is the durf who says stuff like this:

If they make the postseason, they’ll probably Eli Rogers Jerseys make it by a game or two.

Say, do you know who is probably worth an Adam Shaheen Jerseys extra win or two over the average player? Mike Trout, who has been the best player in baseball for several years running. If the Angels squeak into the postseason by a game, that means they probably wouldn’t have if they had replaced him with any outfielder other than maybe Aaron Judge, George Springer, or Mookie Betts. Which sounds pretty valuable to me. Perhaps it’s a good way to describe the most valuable player, even if he spent more than a month on the DL.

I’m playing the devil’s advocate here because I don’t really believe in the idea that a player needs to be on a contending team to be considered for MVP. I don’t like giving a player bonus points for his team barely making the postseason, and I’m not into diminishing the accomplishments of a player whose team finished 10 games up or 10 games back.

Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg agreed.

Robbie Gould Game Jersey John Ireland tweeted a picture of your old mural out, but his wife wants to get rid of it and it’s obviously a bit of a superstitious year for Dodgers fans since it’s been since ’88 and everything might need to stay the same now that they’re doing so well.

So when did you paint the mural? Was it after the World Series or had it been there for a while?
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Putting an impact on a team’s season with the All-Star Game is a challenge, he said. Especially when there’s a fan vote and also when there are guys here from teams that aren’t going to make playoffs, so [playing for home field advantage] wouldn’t have as big an impact on them. People are still going to watch the All-Star Game, they still want to see the best players out there see what they can do against the other leagues’ best.

Remember that Kershaw has more chances for these events, however, going head-to-head with an opponent over 100 times more than Judge this year, and that gap will eventually increase. Kershaw is the steadier bet for a positive outcome, and if you’re looking to sell someone on baseball’s beauty, this is the best way to go about it. Start with someone who is going to remind you of why he’s brilliant more often any of his peers.

A player like Trout or Judge also suffers from the biggest marketability problem that baseball has. I wrote about it last year:

Imagine that in another sport. Imagine Steph Curry passing through town, taking one shot every 45 minutes for three hours, missing them all, and leaving for the night. It’s not a zero-sum game, but that’s is baseball’s competition, and the odds are overwhelming that if you carve out three hours for Curry, he’s going to do something Curry-ish before the night is over, even if he has a dreadful night.

Cardinals’ Rally Cat is home safe after being lost on the streets of St. Louis

After making his (it’s a he!) first grand appearance on the field Wednesday night in St. Louis, the infamous Rally Cat bit a stadium worker, was taken into the tunnels of the stadium, and promptly disappeared.
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A few weeks ago, that wouldn’t have been quite as depressing as it is now, since the Mariners seemed more or less out of the playoff hunt with only the most tenuous of threads to hold on to for hope.

The commitment here should really be applauded, with the entire team taking part and props set up so everybody could really get in the spirit. In photos of the event Beltran is smiling and laughing about the whole thing, which is nice to see in any situation, but especially in one where a player has to poke fun at his own aging and shift in role.

Maybe the glove will be reincarnated in another piece of leather and its spirit will guide a minor leaguer to sliding catches and heroic saves in the future like some kind of inanimate A Dog’s Purpose spinoff.

Or maybe it will just sit in the clubhouse in a simple white box until Beltran moves on from the team, like a beloved token of past defensive memories. He’s past 40 now, and if he does see any time in the outfield again it won’t be for any sort of extended stretch. That’s not always easy to face for a former Gold Glove winner so good on Beltran for joining in on the fun.
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It’s also a reminder that no matter how invested we get in things, baseball is still just a game and there are issues in the world that hit close to home for MLB players and employees happening all the time.

The ongoing situation in Venezuela is just one of them.