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Dwyane Wade’s last dance with Heat begins

Dwyane Wade doesn’t know how this whole notion of his final season being called “The Last Dance” even started.

Fun fact: He can’t dance.

But the three-time champion and 12-time All-Star can still play, and the Miami Heat are hoping — and expecting — Wade to still be extremely valuable in this, his 16th and last season in the NBA. And at Heat media day Monday, Wade said that even he doesn’t know what to fully expect from what will be the last months of his playing career.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“I have no idea what I want out of this year,” Wade said. “We’re going to be able to figure this thing out as the year goes on. It’s going to take on a life of its own. … To me, that is the beauty of it, is that I do not know and we do not know.”11

Starting Tuesday, the story starts getting told.

Wade and the Heat head about 45 minutes north to Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida for training camp — five straight days of workouts preceding Sunday’s preseason opener at San Antonio. Decisions will have to be made quickly about playing time and roles, and part of that formula is figuring out how Wade best fits into coach Erik Spoelstra’s plan.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“Most pro athletes, unfortunately, they don’t get to know when the end is — or at least they’re the last ones to know and it’s certainly not on their terms,” Spoelstra said. “He has this incredible blessing to know when that finish line will be and be able to have the perspective to make every day matter. It’s the right player, the right organization, the right coaching staff, the right timing for all of this.”

Wade said one of the reasons why he’s back is to fulfill a promise to Udonis Haslem that they would end their careers together. Later Monday, Haslem — also entering his 16th season with Miami — confirmed that he is retiring when this season ends.

“I don’t have a video,” Haslem deadpanned after climbing — without a ladder — atop a backboard on the Heat practice floor.

Wade announced his decision in a 10-minute video released on Sept. 16 that he was coming back for a final season, after at one time leaning about “90 percent” toward retirement over the summer. He agreed to a minimum contract worth $2.4 million, or roughly about $200,000 less than he made in his rookie season after the Heat took the Marquette guard with the No. 5 pick in the 2003 draft.

“At the end of the day, he’s a Hall of Famer,” Heat point guard Goran Dragic said. “He still can produce. He showed that last year. He can still take over a game at any time. And just to have him on the court is special. His ability, his aura, his presence on the floor, it influences everyone. It’s contagious, know what I mean? His confidence spreads, his ability, it’s a feeling that’s so good for us.”

Andre Drummond: Pistons’ Dwane Casey gave me ‘green light’ to shoot 3s

Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond said he’s been given the “green light” by new coach Dwane Casey to shoot 3-pointers this season.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Drummond, who’s made just five 3-point field goals in his six seasons with the Pistons, said he has worked on his perimeter shooting throughout the offseason and his career.

The 6-foot-11, 279-pounder said he will still be selective with his long-range shots.8

“It’s not something I’m going to just start jacking up randomly,” Drummond said Monday. “They’re going to be opportunity 3s. [Casey] has given me the green light to shoot it, and if somebody backs up off me, I’m gonna shoot it.”

Drummond, 25, averaged 15 points and a league-leading 16 rebounds last season with the Pistons but shot 0-for-11 from 3-point range. He is 5-for-30 in his career from beyond the arc but reiterated he won’t hesitate if he’s “wide open.”cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“It’s not something ]where] I’m gonna just come down and [shoot] pull-up 3s,” Drummond said. “If I’m contested, I’m not going to shoot the pull-up 3. But if I’m wide open and someone backs up off me, I’m gonna shoot it.”

The Dolphins-Mike Martz special: Inside trick play made Miami 3-0

Adam Gase had a secretive smirk on his face as he watched Albert Wilson line up everywhere on the practice field. It was coming, but nobody knew exactly when. The Oakland Raiders had no idea.

Wilson had played running back, receiver, wildcat QB and took reverses in his first two games as a Dolphin. But Gase knew he’d eventually let his do-it-all weapon pass the rock soon. Real soon.

The time came with 7 minutes, 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Raiders. cheap official nike nfl jerseys The Miami Dolphins were just two yards shy of midfield, down 17-14, with a first-and-10.

Ryan Tannehill took the snap under center and faked a toss to the right to receiver Jakeem Grant, who was lined up in the backfield. Tannehill then turned to handed the ball off to Gore, who was lined up as an H-back on the right side. Gore smoothly handed it off to Wilson, who was in motion from his flanker position on the left side.12

Wilson sold it well, looking if he was going to run it on the reverse, which gave Raiders linebacker Marquel Lee happy feet trying to figure out what was happening. Wilson quickly got in throwing motion and delivered a pass 25 yards in the air to Grant on a wheel route.

Grant made an open-field move to make Raiders safety Marcus Gilchrist miss around the 15-yard line. It was a key portion of the play because it led to the TD, and because Grant didn’t want to be $100 lighter in his wallet. Grant and Wilson have a $100 fine with each other if they are tackled in the open field.

The team embraced in the end zone and on the sideline after the successful trick play. It gave the Dolphins a 21-17 lead, their first of the game, and led to a 28-20 win. Miami is now 3-0 and sports a two-game AFC East lead as it heads to New England on Sunday.

The play had some elements of the Philly Special, a play the Philadelphia Eagles ran at the end of the first half of their Super Bowl LII victory. The Dolphins wouldn’t reveal the play’s name, but it isn’t original. We’ll just call it the Dolphins-Mike Martz special.

“It was just straight thievery. I mean we stole it. It’s an old Martz play,” Gase said. “It’s just nobody watches his old stuff. They might now.”nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Martz, who coached the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” teams and currently is the head coach of Alliance San Diego, visited Gase for a week at the end of training camp. Gase considers Martz the most influential mentor he’s learned from his coaching career. The two specifically discussed how to expand the packages of Wilson and Grant, two of their fastest and most versatile playmakers.

Jimbo Fisher and the never-ending quest to catch Nick Saban

Before the start of fall camp last month, Nick Saban gathered everyone inside Alabama’s team auditorium to lay out his vision for the next 30 days. The 66-year-old head coach told his players about how difficult the training would be, how they’d have to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, how they needed to realize “we’ve kind of raised the standard in college football.”

It was a message meant to challenge a team coming off a national championship, china nike nfl jerseys cheap a team hoping to avoid complacency while also wearing the burden of a preseason No. 1 ranking. In other words: You set the bar, so you’d better find a way to get over it.

Nine months earlier, Jimbo Fisher stood in front of reporters, university staffers and hundreds of alumni inside the “Hall of Champions” at Kyle Field as he was introduced as the new head coach at Texas A&M. Donning a maroon blazer and tie, Fisher — a onetime offensive coordinator for Saban at LSU — went into detail about why he left Florida State and how soon he hopes to take the Aggies from being a good college football program to an elite one.6

“Yesterday,” he said with a laugh.

“Listen, I’m not a very patient guy. Now, in saying that, we have a process. And you’re going to hear me say this word a hundred times: It’s not about the outcome, it’s about the process. If the process of how you do your business and what you’re doing is right, the outcomes will be there.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Sound familiar? It certainly does to Saban, who coined the term “The Process” back when he was coaching at Michigan State — before he won a combined six national championships at LSU and Alabama and became the gold standard of college football coaches everywhere.

Now, as Saban told his players at Alabama, people were trying to “figure out what we do” by hiring his former assistants. Four of his protégés are currently head coaches in the SEC alone.

“They’re trying to catch us,” Saban said. “They’re trying to get what we got. And we’ve got to do it better.”

Mauricio Pochettino must restore Tottenham’s confidence after Inter collapse

It is strange to think that just three weeks ago Mauricio Pochettino’s biggest concern was overconfidence, after a winning start to the campaign culminated in a 3-0 triumph at Old Trafford.

Now, after suffering three straight defeats for the first time in his Tottenham tenure, the Argentine finds himself trying to repair damaged morale and inject some belief.

“At 46 years old, loving this game, I understand that some tough periods can arrive,” he said after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss against Inter Milan. “Of course, I am so disappointed because I told you after Manchester United, ‘be careful, be careful,’ and the tough period arrived after beating Manchester United at Old Trafford.

“It is my responsibility to try and change that dynamic, but when the dynamic is not good the most important thing is to work harder than before and be strong.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

After 2-1 defeats against Watford and Liverpool — the latter a scoreline that flattered Spurs, masking the gulf between the sides — it seemed the North Londoners had encountered a vulnerable Inter Milan side at the ideal time. While the Italians have great European pedigree, they are a shadow of their former selves and have lost two of their opening four Serie A fixtures, winning just once. They were placed in Pot 4 for the Champions League draw for a reason.

Tottenham, seemingly scarred by their chastening experience against Liverpool, looked anxious in possession for most of the opening 45 minutes but got away with it. Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier all gave the ball away dangerously deep in their own half. Ben Davies, skittish throughout, lost the ball under his feet and over the touchline. Serge Aurier sent a backwards header out for a corner rather than to Michel Vorm.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Sources: Jimmy Butler most interested in joining Clippers

Butler’s ability to partner on the Clippers with a second star player in a deep summer free agency market holds a strong appeal to Butler, league sources said.cheap nfl nike jersey

The Clippers have two max contract slots available in July, and are emerging as a front-runner for Toronto’s All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard when he becomes a free agent in July, league sources said.

Butler told Minnesota president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau that he would like to be traded before reporting for Timberwolves media day on Monday and prefers the possibility of the Clippers — as well as the New York Knicks, league sources said. Butler told the Timberwolves that he planned to leave the franchise in free agency next summer, sources said.

The Brooklyn Nets’ ability to sign two max free agents in the summer will keep them in consideration for Butler, but he has prioritized the Clippers and Knicks over them, league sources said.6

Thibodeau’s initial reaction to the trade request was that he wanted to win now, and trading Butler would almost assuredly bring back a package that would diminish the Timberwolves’ chances in the short-term, league sources said.

The Clippers have a roster that includes a blend of good, hard-playing veterans (Tobias Harris, Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams) and talented young guards who could appeal to Thibodeau’s desire to surround All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns and forward Andrew Wiggins with playoff-competent talent.

Nevertheless, it remains uncertain how much — if anything — the Clippers would trade for a player whom the team could sign this summer without surrendering any assets.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

In any circumstance, Butler wants a trade to a team that plans to sign him to a five-year, maximum contract that could be worth $190 million in the summer, and his list could expand based upon the Timberwolves’ and rival teams’ willingness to negotiate a trade for him, league sources said.

Real or Not? New pen problems could hurt Cubs, Braves

Let’s talk about National League bullpens. The Chicago Cubs announced that closer Brandon Morrow won’t pitch again this season or in the playoffs, as he has been slow to heal from a bone bruise in his pitching arm. Pedro Strop, who has served as Morrow’s replacement as closer the past two months, is also out for the rest of the regular season and maybe the playoffs after suffering a hamstring strain while batting last week. Jesse Rogers has the story on Morrow being shut down.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Plus, teams have proven you can win with bullpen issues. In 2006, the Cardinals lost closer Jason Isringhausen late in the season. Rookie Adam Wainwright took over and St. Louis won the World Series. The 2011 Cardinals had bullpen issues most of the season, but Jason Motte took over as closer down the stretch, the bullpen pitched well in October and that team won the World Series. Consider last year’s Astros. Ken Giles blew up early in the postseason and A.J. Hinch basically had to wing it in October and ended up relying on using starters in relief.5

Still, managers like to have some certainty in the pen. The Atlanta Braves are another playoff team that is scrambling a bit in the bullpen. The Cardinals led the Braves 2-1 in the eighth — Anibal Sanchez, one of the season’s big surprises, had another good start for the Braves — and then St. Louis broke the game open off the Atlanta bullpen with four runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth. Braves manager Brian Snitker paraded four relievers out in the eighth (Jonny Venters and Dan Winkler allowed all four batters they faced to reach) to no avail. Not all parades are fun.

That’s four straight losses for the Braves, although they still lead the NL East by 5.5 games over the Phillies. The Phillies won Tuesday but are 5-11 in September and 9-19 since the middle of August, so they don’t seem capable of making a late push. But the Braves haven’t buried them just yet and the teams have seven games left against each other. The Phillies are only four games over .500, yet remarkably they are still very much alive.cheap nfl nike jersey

The Braves’ bullpen has a 5.67 ERA in September, and the control issues that popped up Tuesday night have plagued them all month, as the relievers have more walks (49) than strikeouts (46).

It’s not a surprise that the Brewers, Rockies and Dodgers all have winning records in September — they rank 1-2-3 in the majors this month in bullpen ERA. The point here: With the NL playoff picture still up in the air and many starters tiring down the stretch (see some of the young guys on the Braves and Cardinals in particular), the best bullpens these final 10 games might deter

Brock Boeser overcomes personal, family hardships to star for Canucks

The summer of Brock Boeser took place at a 6,000-square-foot Minnesota lake house with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the water (and an inflatable trampoline volleyball court docked just outside). The Vancouver Canucks winger rented the place with three high school buddies, and before you begin wondering if this is some “Entourage”-esque setup, the 21-year-old clears things up.

“Come on, they’re my friends!” he said. “They’re not using me; everyone pays rent.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

In the mornings, Boeser drove 20 minutes to his parents’ house to have breakfast and play with Coolie, the Australian Cattle Dog mix the Boesers fell in love with — and adopted — at January’s NHL All-Star weekend. He’d then work out and spend afternoons lake surfing.6

Things might be good in Minnesota, but they’re just as pleasant in Vancouver, where Boeser has fallen in love with the city because “the fans are awesome, it’s beautiful, everyone is really active … and the sushi, the sushi is so good. They have it for us after games, and I only need a few pieces because I’m satisfied and move on.”

Boeser led the Canucks in scoring (29 goals and 55 points in just 62 contests), wooing just about everyone who saw him. Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz compared Boeser’s release to Alex Ovechkin’s. Says Vancouver defenseman Erik Gudbranson: “His release is ridiculous, just ridiculous. The puck is on and off his stick in a split-second.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

In January, Boeser raked in an impressive All-Star haul. As the first rookie to win MVP, he picked up $675,000 — more than two-thirds of his salary — in bonuses and prize money, plus a new car. That has led Boeser to enjoy the unexpected spoils of fame. He was taken aback when he found out somebody was selling a T-shirt featuring a collage of … his face.

“Just a bunch of pictures of me,” he said. “All over.” (Indeed, they retail for $24.99 and also come in tank-top form.)

Because of his platinum blond locks, Boeser is constantly being tagged on social media alongside photos of Prince Charming from “Shrek.” Then there are the even crazier perks, like filming a skit for the Canadian Juno music awards with singer Michael Buble.

How the ESPN Fantasy Soccer tier system works

Each week, you’ll select a Tier 1 and Tier 2 forward; a Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 midfielder; and a Tier 1 and Tier 2 defender, in addition to your goalkeeper. The best players available obviously will be in Tier 1. Tiers 2 and 3 will feature less heralded players, mostly from teams that are not championship contenders, testing your knowledge of the entire league.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Makes sense, right? But remember, you’ll want to pick a new team of players every week — taking advantage of lopsided-looking matchups, for instance. When Manchester City plays Huddersfield Town, for example, you’ll probably want to stock up on City players.

But it’ll also be important to take a close look at the tiers each week, because there will be changes. Players could move up or down a tier, depending on their current form. Fulham midfielder Jean Michael Seri might have been a Tier 3 midfielder at the start of the season, since he plays for a newly promoted side. But Seri already has a goal and an assist, and is sixth in the league in passes completed, so he’s a Tier 2 midfielder this week.6

Players could change positions, too. West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic had generally played as a midfielder prior to last season, but he then was shifted to center forward over the course of the campaign. He’s playing at center forward again this season, so he’s a Tier 2 forward this week, rather than being listed among the midfielders.

As you’ll see, the tiers aren’t exhaustive — there are nine Tier 1 forwards available for selection in the Premier League this week, for instance. There will be more players available in the lower tiers, but not that many more. We want to give you plenty of options, but not overwhelm you.

And some players will be added or dropped from the game altogether due to injury, form, etc. Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne is expected to be out for at least a couple more months, but once he’s back, you can bet he’ll be a Tier 1 midfielder every week for the rest of the season, as long as he’s healthy.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

So, don’t forget to check your team, and the list of players in each tier, before every round of games begins. Because the tiers can be adjusted any given week, and that could really impact your results. Your team from the previous week will roll over automatically, but if one of your players changes tiers or drops out of the game altogether, you’ll be left with a blank spot and earn no points at that position.

Why goals and assists aren’t everything in ESPN Fantasy Soccer

The first weekend of fixtures since ESPN Fantasy Soccer launched is quickly approaching! Since our game allows you to pick new players each week, strategy is going to be very important. You can’t just study up for a draft at the start of the season, like with fantasy NFL, and ride that team all year long. You’ll probably get left in the dust.

We’ll all be learning about this game together, as the season unfolds. But certain lessons can be learned from studying the numbers from last season, nike nfl jerseys cheap china as if ESPN Fantasy Soccer had launched one year ago. And one of those lessons is, don’t just focus on goals and assists!5

It sounds simple, I know. But there will be a temptation to concentrate on those two categories when making your selections each week. And that’s natural. They offer the biggest rewards — 10 and 5 points, respectively — and they’re the easiest to spot, too.

But they’re also pretty hard to come by. Only nine Premier League players scored more than 12 goals last year, in a 38-game season. Think about that. Every other player in the league, at best, averaged less than a goal every three games.

And that number was only slightly higher in Spain. Thirteen La Liga players scored more than 12 goals last year, also in a 38-game season. And two of those players finished with exactly 13.

Assists are even less common than goals. Only nine Premier League players finished in double-digits in assists last season, and seven of those nine finished with 10 or 11. Kevin De Bruyne was the league leader with 16, and that’s just half the number of goals scored by Mohamed Salah.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Only four La Liga players finished in double-digits in assists. Lionel Messi was tied for the league lead with 12, which is nearly a third of the number of goals he scored, 34.