Report: Saints and Jimmy Graham on verge of record deal

July 14, 2014 – 4:59 pm by Ryan Phillips
    Jimmy Graham

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham was upset that an arbitrator recently ruled him a tight end and not a wide receiver for franchise designation purposes. While that was a serious blow, it looks like Graham will wind up being pretty happy in the end, as he and the Saints are close to completing a record contract.

Adam Schefter is reporting that the 27-year-old and New Orleans are closing in on a long-term contract that would make him the highest-paid tight end in NFL history. The two sides have until Tuesday to complete the deal or he would be paid under the franchise tag designation for the 2014 season.

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Woe is Buffalo: America’s Most Miserable Sports City

July 11, 2014 – 1:25 pm by Hickey

norwood

LeBron James’ decision to return to Cleveland has had an unintended consequence: sealing Buffalo, New York’s fate as the most mind-numbingly depressing city in which one can be a sports fan.

For years, the competition on the opposite ends of Lake Erie was fierce and unrelenting. The resumes are remarkably similar: Cleveland hasn’t won a title since 1964, Buffalo since 1965. The ensuing years have been filled with countless moments of sports heartbreak set against the backdrop of once-glorious cities decaying into something we have derisively labeled as the Rust Belt.

“It was good once, but don’t go back there no more.”

And for all the scorn heaped upon LeBron for his much ballyhooed departure for Miami four years ago — plenty of it coming from this corner — he is now doing something admirable by reversing that trend. While it may not be altruism in a true sense — he’s jumping onto the horse that’s equipping itself to win the Triple Crown instead of one last race, after all — it is still refreshing. The Great Lakes region is oozing former residents across its borders, hence Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany’s reprehensible yet business-savvy expansion of the league to a larger population of East Coast snobs. I respect LeBron for saying “You know what? Being from Northeast Ohio is something to be proud of. Embrace this. Wear this.”

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Masahiro Tanaka has a partially torn UCL

July 10, 2014 – 9:13 pm by Ryan Phillips
    Masahiro Tanaka

Oh man, this is bad news. Masahiro Tanaka, the New York Yankees’ stellar Japanese hurler was placed on the disabled list yesterday with “elbow inflammation,” but after an MRI the news got much, much worse on Thursday.

Tanaka has reportedly been diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. That injury almost always leads to Tommy John surgery, but the Yankees are claiming the tear is small and their prized pitcher could return after six weeks following a platelet-rich plasma injection.

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Brooklyn Nets to pay record luxury tax bill

July 9, 2014 – 6:13 pm by Ryan Phillips
    Mikhail Prokhorov

The Brooklyn Nets and owner Mikhail Prokhorov have never been shy about spending money, but this is a little crazy. On Wednesday the NBA released its audit of teams ahead of the start of the new fiscal year (which starts at midnight) and the Nets will pay a ridiculous, record luxury bill.

According to Brian Windhorst, the Nets owe $90.57 million in luxury taxes for the 2013-14 season. How bad is that number? Only three teams had paid more than $90 million in total tax since its inception in 2001. In all, the team paid more than $197 million in salary and luxury taxes this past season.

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Putting Germany’s historic beatdown of Brazil in context

July 9, 2014 – 2:18 am by Hickey

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Few ass-kickings in sports history can measure up to Germany’s 7-1 annihilation of host Brazil in the World Cup semifinals. It was Brazil’s first loss on home soil in a non-friendly match since 1975, and tied a 1920 loss to Uruguay for the largest margin of defeat in the nation’s history.

But even a soccer power like Germany rarely beats the scrubs of the world by such a large margin. A look at German history shows that several nations that don’t have nearly the pedigree of Brazil have not been taken to the woodshed this severely by the Krauts.

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Would it be better for the Yankees if CC Sabathia retired?

July 8, 2014 – 2:28 am by Ryan Phillips
    CC Sabathia

Just a few years ago New York Yankees lefty CC Sabathia was one of the most feared pitchers in baseball. Now, at 33 years old, there is a chance his career will never get back on track. But would it actually be better for the Yankees if Sabathia wound up retiring? Some experts seem to think so.

At the height of his prowess, Carsten Charles (no, CC does not stand for “chewy center,” stop it) Sabathia was as dominant as any pitcher in the major leagues. He’s a six-time All-Star, has led the American League in wins twice (2009, 2010), helped the Yankees win the World Series in 2009, was the ALCS MVP that year, and won the 2007 AL Cy Young Award. On top of all that, he was (and still is) one of the most respected players in the game. But now he’s facing microfracture surgery on his right knee, and coming back from that is far from a sure thing.

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Jeff Samardzija ruled ineligible for All-Star Game

July 6, 2014 – 10:55 pm by Hickey

shark

Hey now, Jeff Samardzija’s an All-Star. But he can’t get his game on and go play. And yes, I really am using this scenario as an excuse to open a blog post with Smash Mouth lyrics, because I’m dropping the gauntlet on the rest of the blogosphere’s lack of awesome writing skills. C’mon, internet. I dare you to try and up the ante with some Sugar Ray or something.

Anyway, Samardzija was named to the National League All-Star team on Sunday, just two days after being sent by the Cubs in a deal with Oakland that Chicago is hoping will someday be classified as a blockbuster. And therein lies the rub.

Even though he has already made his first appearance with the Athletics, according to the rule book Samardzija is ineligible to play for the American League squad because he was selected for his work playing for a National League squad. He’ll still get All-Star status and the corresponding contract bonus, but can’t actually suit up. For now.

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Los Angeles Lakers offer Carmelo Anthony huge deal

July 3, 2014 – 7:59 pm by Ryan Phillips
    Carmelo Anthony

The Los Angeles Lakers met with New York Knicks free agent forward Carmelo Anthony for nearly three hours on Thursday and apparently offered him a max contract during that meeting. Reports now claim that the Lakers offered the 30-year-old a four-year, $95 million deal.

While details are still emerging about what the team’s plans are to build around Anthony and star guard Kobe Bryant, it’s clear the Lakers are serious about trying to land the Syracuse product. Bryant is scheduled to meet with Anthony Thursday night and the two have long been close friends. Whether Kobe can sway Melo to come to Los Angeles is completely unknown at this point.

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