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Will Durant stay or go? Like Thunder, Warriors are stuck in a waiting game

Kevin Durant will stand on the floor at Oracle Arena on Tuesday night and watch another banner lifted into the rafters and wait for another ring to be presented to him, this time with the slight discomfort of his former team in the building on the same night.

The Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder share a strange, awkward bond, with it less a rivalry and more sympathetic schadenfreude. Durant left the Thunder to join the Warriors, a seismic moment in NBA history, altering the trajectory of one franchise, and enhancing the other.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

But as the Warriors kick off their final season in Oakland, the bittersweet taste of their pending move across the bay lingering over it, like the Thunder experienced themselves, Durant’s uncertain future and the growing rumbles surrounding it will blanket everything else.4

There has been swelling noise Durant could leave the Warriors next summer, with connected insiders dropping hints and close associates either backing them up, or not outright denying them. And speculation goes back even further: In the days following Durant’s departure from OKC, those close to him predicted the Warriors wouldn’t be his final career stop.

But it’s not even an open secret that Durant will consider leaving the Warriors next summer; it’s just reality. And it’s been that way since he signed another short-term deal in July (a two-year contract, with an opt-out after this season).nfl jerseys nike cheap

There’s no financial incentive this time around, no 10-year threshold to hit. Another one-year deal next summer could give Durant full Bird rights in 2019, allowing him to sign a five-year max, but if he had his eye on that he would’ve signed a two-plus-one. (The cap jumping from a $109 million to a projected $116 million could be financially beneficial to a small degree, but that projection wasn’t when Durant signed.)

The actual incentive behind another single-season deal, as Durant said himself, is to keep his options open.

“I could have easily signed a long-term deal but I just wanted to take it season by season and see where it takes me,” Durant told ESPN’s Nick Friedell a few weeks ago. “And I think this year is going to be a fun, exciting year for us all. I’m looking forward to just focusing on that and we’ll see what happens after the year.”

Why Ryan Howard is investing in the gambling space

Standing on the outside, looking back in at baseball, former MLB slugger Ryan Howard sometimes wonders how much money was bet on him and his team’s performances or what Las Vegas had the over/under on his home runs for a season set at during in his prime.

For a century, staying away from gambling has always been one of baseball’s cardinal rules, so Howard didn’t think much about the odds during his 13-year career.cheap nfl nike jerseys china6

“All the fantasy managers, I guess, kind of let me know how I was doing later on,” Howard told ESPN in a recent phone interview. “It was funny. You’d always have a random person coming up, saying, ‘Ryan, thanks, bro. You helped me with my fantasy team.'”

Howard, who announced his retirement from baseball in September, is now a partner SeventySix Capital, a venture capital firm targeting opportunities in the growing legal sports betting market in the U.S. SeventySix Capital recently invested in the Vegas Stats & Information Network, a sports betting media outlet featuring hall-of-fame broadcaster Brent Musburger and a studio located in middle of a Las Vegas casino.nfl nike jersey cheap

Howard and SeventySix Capital partner Wayne Kimmel spoke with ESPN about entering the sports betting and what next as more and more states elect to offer legal sports betting.

Colorado Rapids rally for 2-2 draw with LA Galaxy

For a second consecutive game, the LA Galaxy twice gave back a one-goal lead in the second half and was forced to settle for a 2-2 draw at home, this time against the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Edgar Castillo scored and then assisted on Niki Jackson’s goal for Colorado. With a tie following two victories, the Rapids have strung together a three-match unbeaten run for just the second time this season.cheap youth nfl jerseys

Sebastian Lletget scored in his second consecutive game and Ashley Cole also scored for the Galaxy. LA still moved up one spot to fourth in the Western Conference standings on a night when everyone else was idle.

The Galaxy also saw two players depart injured by halftime for a second consecutive match. This time, midfielder Jonathan dos Santos left in the 34th minute with groin soreness before defender Michael Ciani followed at halftime with an undisclosed ailment.

Winger Romain Alessandrini and attacker Giovani dos Santos both departed the Galaxy’s 2-2 draw against Minnesota United last weekend and were unavailable Tuesday.9

Colorado endured its own unforeseen loss five minutes after the break, when Kellyn Acosta left due to illness shortly after vomiting on the field.

Cole had not scored since July 4, 2017, but the defender opened the scoring with the style of a forward in the 59th minute. Cole took Chris Pontius’ pass and sliced to the other side of one defender with his first touch, split two defenders with his second and chipped on-rushing goalkeeper Tim Howard with his third.

Castillo tied it in the 74th minute when he reached a clearing header from a Galaxy defender outside the penalty area, took a couple touches into the area and then unfurled a quick strike that beat diving goalkeeper David Bingham to his left.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Lletget put the Galaxy in front again four minutes later. After Colorado failed to clear a long cross toward the penalty area, Ola Kamara played a square ball toward Lletget that may have also grazed Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Lletget fired a first-time shot with his left foot, curling it beyond Howard and into the side netting.

However, Jackson had the final word, taking a pass from Castillo and firing a shot from the left corner of the penalty area that caromed off the leg of an LA defender and badly fooled Bingham as it knuckled into the net.

Bill Belichick on McCourty twins: ‘It’s hard to tell them apart’

Bill Belichick, who has been adept at creating effective disguises on defense over his 43-year coaching career, chuckled when he was asked about the possibilities with identical twin brothers Devin and Jason McCourty.

“It’s hard to tell them apart,” he said, smiling. “Got to take a second look to make sure I’m talking to the right one if they’re not in uniform.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The McCourtys are one of the NFL’s most notable sets of twins, and what has made 2018 particularly exciting for them is that they have a chance to play together with the New England Patriots. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the last time twins have played together in the regular season on the same professional team was 1926, when Gene and Tom Golsen suited up for the Louisville Colonels.

For the McCourtys, it is the first time they’ve been teammates since their time together at Rutgers from 2006-08.

Jason, who entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2009, has been a steady cornerback with Tennessee (2009-16) and Cleveland (2017).3

Meanwhile, Devin was a first-round pick of the Patriots in 2010 and has been with the franchise since, moving from cornerback to safety in his third season and elevating to captain in his second year.

The brothers talk all the time, but now that conversation can extend to the football field. Devin also notes that Jason’s experience playing for the winless Browns last season — and having never appeared in a playoff game — nike nfl jerseys cheap china brings an important perspective to the locker room.

“It’s something we always dreamed about, kind of thought would happen, but, you know, you kind of second-guess that and think maybe not,” Devin said. “I know he’s been a good player throughout his career, aside from us being twins or any of that. I thought he had a good year in Cleveland that helped him, and I thought a change of scenery might help him here. I think he has an opportunity to help us, as a veteran, a guy that’s played a lot of football, been in different circumstances.”

Has Matt Harvey made himself into a quality trade target?

“It’s a good sign that I can go out and not feel great and kind of be out of whack and still limit damage,” Harvey said. “But today was definitely a struggle and I’m happy to get through it.”

It’s no small point. By the end of Harveys’ tenure with the New York Mets, those small struggles tended to turn into raging dumpster fires. When you look at where Harvey was by the time the Mets designated him for assignment back in May, cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping routine outings such as the one Saturday have to be looked at as positive data points.

For one thing, it was the fourth straight outing in which Harvey pitched into at least the sixth inning and he hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his past five outings. Over his 11 starts for the Reds, Harvey is 4-3 with a 3.79 ERA. He has struck out 6.7 batters per nine innings and has whiffed over three batters for every one he has walked. From a results standpoint, Saturday’s performance was an ebb in his momentum. But only an ebb.

“He was laboring a little bit,” Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. “But he made the necessary pitches to minimize the damage. Kept that one inning to two runs. He put us right where we wanted to be.”

Under the hood, things look even more promising for Harvey’s revival than his overall Cincinnati stat line. First, there’s those past five outings: He’s 3-1 and would be 4-1 if not for the Reds’ bullpen meltdown Saturday. His ERA is 2.48. The strikeout rate is still more of that of a finesse pitcher (6.2), but his strikeouts-to-walks ratio is up to four and he hasn’t given up a home run in a month. The trend is good.59

“I do think that his slider has been better as the season has gone along, from the time that he joined us,” Riggleman said. “And as good as he’s throwing the ball, he’s more pitching now and really using the slider to get the strikeout. He wasn’t striking people out that first month.”

The results are solid, to be sure. No, they aren’t Harvey circa 2013, when he struck out more than a batter per inning and had the lowest home run rate in the National League. That guy had Tommy John surgery in 2014 and a procedure for thoracic outlet syndrome in 2016. This guy, though, is at least revving up his stuff to the point where we can believe he used to be the other guy, the one with the catchy superhero nickname.

“I am healthy,” Harvey said. “Definitely. Feeling healthy. I’m two years out from surgery now, so it’s been a lot of work to get to where I am now, but everything feels good.”

Much of Harvey’s velocity is back and, seemingly, it’s not going anywhere. His fastball has been sitting at 93-94 mph for each of these past five starts, and in each of them he has topped out at over 96. The bite on his slider is better — his six highest scores for average break length have come over his past six starts. As a result, Harvey’s chase rates are up, he’s getting more swinging strikes overall, he has stayed in the zone more consistently and stayed far more efficient with his pitch counts.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

“I’ve been doing that for five or six starts,” Harvey said when asked about his improved stuff. “That’s what happens when you feel good and everything is coming out fine.”

Marcell Dareus’ heritage spurs him to help Haitian children

Marcell Dareus didn’t understand what the children were saying, but he knew he wanted to help.

The Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle was touring Haiti in February 2017 with Hope for Haiti — a nonprofit organization whose goal is to improve the quality of life for Haitian people, particularly children — and was astounded when he saw the destruction that still remained from the earthquake that devastated the country in January 2010. Especially when he saw the more than 800 children the organization was trying to help.

That’s when he continued to pledge his support for Hope for Haiti, and it’s partly why he returned to the country for a second time in June.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“It means the world to me,” Dareus said last month. “It’s an opportunity where I can just help out, give a little bit back. Can’t change the world but I can change a life. Just a little token.”

Dareus’ connection to the country is through his father Jules Dareus, who grew up in Haiti before immigrating to the United States as a young adult. Jules died when Marcell was 8 years old and Dareus had long wanted to go to Haiti to learn about his heritage and possibly find some relatives he had never met.

That feeling intensified after the earthquake and Hurricane Matthew, which hit Haiti in October 2016. The country had not yet recovered from the earthquake when Matthew hit. Dareus did some research, found out about Hope for Haiti, and donated $25,000 to the organization.48

Dareus met with Haiti’s prime minister Dr. Jack Guy Lafontant, high-level government officials, Hope for Haiti board members and others before traveling to the school for the dedication.

“This new school building will revolutionize education in the whole community,” school director Augustin Bertrand said in a statement. “For the first time the Cammy children will have a nice, standardized and safe place to learn.”

In addition, Dareus has pledged additional funds to Hope for Haiti through his own foundation. The money will go to help with school construction, teacher training, salaries and mobile clinics.

Dareus said he’s hoping to make more trips to Haiti in the future and wants to continue to help the country and the children. He’s not concerned about whether his involvement will spur others to help, though.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“To be honest, I don’t really care what anybody else does,” he said. “This is just coming from me, how I feel, from the heart. I’m not asking anything. I just want to help out.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp delighted as coach Pepijn Lijnders returns

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said he is pleased to welcome Pepijn Lijnders back to the club, describing his return as “really important.”

Lijnders, who left his post as first-team development coach to manage NEC Nijmegen in January, returned last month in a “senior capacity” as part of Klopp’s backroom staff.

The 35-year-old was dismissed by NEC in May after failing to achieve promotion to the Eredivisie, but Klopp feels he returns to Merseyside with greater experience.where to get nfl jerseys cheap

“It’s good. It’s very, very good. We sent him away for half a year to get very important experience and to have him back now feels just fantastic,” he told Liverpool’s website.

“When he came in the building, everybody was really delighted about that. He’s a fantastic person and a fantastic coach, so it’s really important that we have him back and I’m really looking forward to working together with him.”11

Assistant manager Zeljko Buvac has been absent at the start of Liverpool’s preseason work.

Buvac’s situation remains unresolved after Liverpool confirmed in April that he would be spending time away from the club for personal reasons.

Meanwhile, the 26 Liverpool players not on international duty reported to Melwood on Monday after the summer break, with Andrew Robertson taking part in his first full preseason as a Liverpool player.

The left-back completed his transfer from Hull midway through last summer, meaning he missed out on the preseason tour to Hong Kong.

“I think I did the first three weeks with Hull so it was a lot different — it’s always good to get a full preseason with the team you’re going to be with,” he said.china nfl jerseys cheap

“Over the close season I’ve been working on getting fit and now I want to get fitter until August and it’s all leading up to that West Ham game [on the opening weekend] now.”

Angels LHP Lamb latest on team sidelined by Tommy John surgery

Los Angeles Angels lefthander John Lamb will have Tommy John surgery, the team announced Saturday.

Lamb becomes the fourth pitcher on the squad this season to have the season-ending surgery for a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the surgery in Los Angeles.

Lamb had started three games for the Angels after being called up June 16 and had a 7.20 ERA in 10 innings pitched.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

He lasted just an inning and two-thirds in his most recent outing against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, allowing five runs, three earned, on six hits and a pair of walks. He went on the DL the next day.19

Lamb joins teammates Garrett Richards, Blake Wood and Keynan Middleton in undergoing the surgery this season.

Righthander Jake Jewell underwent successful right ankle surgery Friday. Jewell broke the ankle as he ran in to cover home plate Wednesday in a game against the Red Sox.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The team estimated a six-month recovery time for Jewell.

Also Friday, shortstop Zack Cozart had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The team estimated a six- to eight-month recovery for Cozart.

Yanks’ new strikeout king? Severino chases Louisiana Lightning

Still, the shortstop’s three-run, go-ahead homer over the Green Monster in a single-game playoff with the Boston Red Sox wasn’t the only performance to go down in New York Yankees lore on Oct. 2, 1978.nfl authentic jerseys cheap

Starting pitcher Ron Guidry’s electrifying left arm helped earn the soon-to-be Cy Young winner his 25th victory of the season, against just three losses. His five strikeouts padded what was already a new Yankees record for punch-outs in a season. Guidry’s final strikeout total — 248 — topped Jack Chesbro’s 239, a mark more than 70 years old.

Guidry believes Yankees fans won’t have to wait quite so long to see his record broken.

“When he walks on that mound, he walks out there, and he just goes, ‘OK, I’m Luis Severino. I’m here. Come get me,'” Guidry said, referring to the current ace of the Yankees’ pitching staff. “He’s so good, he can just say, ‘Here, guys. It’s a fastball, middle of the plate. Go ahead.'”17

Forty years after Louisiana Lightning’s historic season for the eventual World Series champions, the 24-year-old Severino is on pace to rewrite the team’s record books. Entering his start Sunday night against the same rival franchise Guidry and Dent helped beat for that famed American League East title, Severino is on track to whiff 278 batters.nfl jerseys nike cheap

What’s more, Severino’s Yankees and this year’s Red Sox have spent much of the first half separated for the division lead by mere percentage points, which means this anniversary year could well end with another Yankees pitcher setting another organizational strikeout record at Fenway Park on another season’s final day. New York travels to Boston in late September for what could be a division-deciding three-game series. Similar to the 1978 pennant chase, the 2018 playoff push could be finalized on a single afternoon at Fenway.

Eight under-the-radar relievers who deserve All-Star consideration

As the All-Star Game approaches and potential rosters begin to take shape, one question predominates: How is baseball going to find room for all those worthy pitching candidates? It’s hard enough to choose when almost 30 starters have sub-3.50 ERAs and unheralded closers are putting up staggering numbers (Edwin Diaz and Blake Treinen are two who come to mind). MLB teams are also using a record 4.23 pitchers per game, which means starters are being pulled earlier and more heavy lifting is required of pitchers in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller have made a combined six All-Star teams since 2014 while posting dominant numbers in setup roles. But they’re not alone. nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap David Robertson, Kelvin Herrera, Darren O’Day and Brad Brach are among the other established names in that club. And Tyler Clippard and Pat Neshek each made two All-Star teams while someone else was pocketing the bulk of the saves.

Sometimes the one-representative-per-roster rule or a strong three months helps a surprise non-closer make an All-Star Game. Jesse Crain, Aaron Crow, Evan Meek and Jonny Venters (pre-Tommy John surgeries) all fall under this umbrella.

So which factors should the players and the commissioner’s office take into account this year when they assess All-Star pitchers — and more specifically, relievers?73

Josh Hader, who is averaging almost 18 strikeouts per nine innings for the Brewers, has been so dominant in a multi-inning shutdown role that he’s immune from the debate. If Hader’s fellow players don’t designate him an All-Star, they should be stripped of the vote and required to stand in the box against him one-by-one as punishment.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

The relievers listed below — most of whom pitch for National League clubs — generally have great peripherals and lots of holds. They produce in high-leverage situations, strand a large percentage of inherited runners and rank high in relief pitcher WAR. They don’t stand a great chance of making it to Washington, D.C., for the All-Star Game on July 17. But they at least merit a place in the conversation.