Buffalo Sabres win 2021 NHL Draft Lottery

Originally posted on Pro Hockey Rumors  |  By Zach Leach  |  Last updated 6/2/21

For the final time for the foreseeable future, all non-playoff teams were eligible to win the first overall pick in the NHL Draft Lottery. Beginning in 2022, a team can only move up a maximum of ten spots, meaning the teams who finish No. 12 through No. 16 in the final league standings cannot move high enough to take over the top pick.

Well, the lottery balls decided not to take a crazy bounce in their last opportunity to move a team from the middle of the first round all the way to the top. Instead, the draft order stayed virtually the same. The Buffalo Sabres, who held the worst record in the NHL this season and thus the top odds in the lottery, retained the pick. The expansion Seattle Kraken, awarded the same odds as the third-worst record in the league, moved up one spot, switching places with the Anaheim Ducks. Here is the official first-round draft order for the top 15 picks:

  1. Buffalo Sabres
  2. Seattle Kraken
  3. Anaheim Ducks
  4. New Jersey Devils
  5. Columbus Blue Jackets
  6. Detroit Red Wings
  7. San Jose Sharks
  8. Los Angeles Kings
  9. Vancouver Canucks
  10. Ottawa Senators
  11. Chicago Blackhawks
  12. Calgary Flames
  13. Philadelphia Flyers
  14. Dallas Stars
  15. New York Rangers

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LeBron James leaves Game 5 with five minutes left

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  By Larry Brown  |  Last updated 6/2/21

LeBron James did not stick around for the end of his team’s ugly loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

The Los Angeles Lakers were without Anthony Davis in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against Phoenix. They got hammered by the Suns 115-85.

The Suns blew out the Lakers in the second quarter and took a 30-point lead into halftime. The Lakers were unable to significantly close the margin.

So with his team down big in the fourth quarter, James left the court even though there were five minutes left in the game.

There is some speculation that James left the floor to go get treatment on his ankle, which caused him to miss time towards the end of the regular season. Whatever the reason for the exit, James obviously felt he couldn’t wait the five minutes for the game to end.

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Brad Stevens to take over for Danny Ainge, lead search for new head coach

By Erin Walsh  |  Last updated 6/2/21

The Boston Celtics are already making some significant changes entering a crucial offseason for the club. 

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens will transition to president of basketball operations, replacing Danny Ainge, who announced his retirement from the C’s on Wednesday.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Stevens will lead the search for the new Celtics head coach. 

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Top 40 MLB trade candidates

Originally posted on MLB Trade Rumors  |  By Steve Adams  |  Last updated 6/2/21

Memorial Day is behind us, which is typically the time of year that teams at least begin to shift their focus to the summer trade market. With this year’s draft pushed back to July, it’s possible some clubs will look to be active a bit earlier than usual. Even if things don’t really pick up until next month, as is typically the case, we at least have some semblance of an idea as to how things will play out.

As in past years, this list aims to rank players on a combination of likelihood of being moved and overall value as a trade chip. It’s all subjective, of course, but “value” in this instance is a reference to a player’s on-field production, salary, remaining club control, etc.

Club control and salary dovetail nicely with a player’s likelihood of being moved. Rebuilding clubs and clear sellers are obviously more likely to move impending free agents — particularly those who aren’t candidates to receive a qualifying offer. Players with one extra year of control are also frequently moved at the deadline, but once you start getting into players with two, three and four years of affordable control remaining, the likelihood diminishes. The composition of a club’s farm system comes into play, too. Does a veteran with a year and a half of club control remaining have a top prospect breathing down his neck? Is the team’s farm so bleak that it needs to consider moving players with several years of control remaining? There are many factors to consider.

As the deadline draws nearer, the names on the list will change. Teams will fall out of contention, and some who look far from the top of their division will make a surge. Injuries or poor performance will sap some players’ value, while a return to health or a turnaround on the field could boost the performance of others. Again, it’s subjective and highly debatable, which is part of what makes the whole thing a fun exercise.

On to the list!

1. Jon Gray, RHP, Rockies: The Rockies turned over their front office earlier this year after yet another lackluster start, and Gray stands out as the likeliest trade candidate on the roster. The former No. 3 overall pick and top prospect is in the midst of a solid rebound campaign, but he’ll be a free agent at season’s end. The Rockies probably wouldn’t issue a qualifying offer without a huge finish to the year, and starting pitching is always in demand at the deadline.

2. Trevor Story, SS, Rockies: While Gray may be something of a borderline QO candidate, Story seems like a lock to receive a qualifying offer if he isn’t traded. That’s the key difference between him and Gray in terms of trade likelihood; the Rox need to feel that whatever they receive in return is more valuable than that 2022 draft pick. It should be noted that outside of a brief hot streak from mid-April to early May, Story hasn’t really hit much in 2021. He’s also on the IL with what the team has termed minor elbow inflammation, and the hope is his stint will last only 10 days. Story is also striking out at a career-low 22.4 percent clip without sacrificing anything in the walk department, and his track record is so strong that if he shows his health in the next few weeks, interest should be robust.

3. Mitch Haniger, OF, Mariners: It was great to see Haniger take the field at all after his 2019-20 seasons were derailed by a bizarre series of escalating injuries, but the fact that he’s returned as one of the American League’s most productive hitters only makes his story better. They’re enjoying the comeback in Seattle for now, but Haniger only has a year of control remaining beyond the 2021 season. With a deep crop of young outfielders on which to rely — 2020 Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis, plus top prospects Jarred KelenicJulio Rodriguez and Taylor Trammell — the Mariners seem likely to explore the market for Haniger this summer. He’s earning $3.01M in 2021.

4. Matthew Boyd, LHP, Tigers: The Tigers held onto Boyd when he was one of the most oft-mentioned trade candidates in the game in 2019, but their club control on him is beginning to dwindle. Boyd is eligible for free agency after the 2022 season, and he’s enjoying a nice year thanks largely to a new-look changeup that has helped him neutralize opposing right-handers. So long as Boyd stays healthy and reasonably effective, this summer will be his trade value’s apex. It’s hard to see him sticking around into August.

5. Tyler Anderson, LHP, Pirates: Anderson’s signing couldn’t have worked out much better for the Bucs so far. He’s pitching his best baseball since his rookie year in 2016 and sporting career-best marks in swinging-strike rate and opponents’ chase rate. Durability is a major question mark for Anderson, who has only twice started 25 games in a season. But he’s been healthy since Opening Day 2020, and his $2.5M base salary is a bargain for clubs in need of some reinforcements at the back of the rotation.

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Legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to retire after 2021-22 season

By Erin Walsh  |  Last updated 6/2/21

Legendary Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will retire after the 2021-22 season, reports Stadium’s Jeff Goodman. The leading candidate to replace “Coach K” is assistant Jon Scheyer.

An announcement could be made as soon as Wednesday afternoon, according to Goodman.

Krzyzewski, who turned 74 in February, has led Duke to five NCAA Tournament victories, 12 Final Four appearances and 27 ACC titles in tournament and regular-season competition since taking over before the 1980-81 season. 

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Chelsea win Champions League title behind goal by Kai Havertz

By Erin Walsh  |  Last updated 5/29/21

Chelsea have been crowned Champions League champions for the first time since their 2012 miracle victory over Bayern Munich after beating Manchester City 1-0 in the 2020-21 final on Saturday. 

Kai Havertz‘s first-half goal was enough to stun Pep Guardiola’s side at Porto’s Estadio Dragao in Portugal. The 21-year-old snagged a great through ball from Mason Mount that split the defense and passed it into a wide-open net just moments before halftime. 

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Former Jazz center Mark Eaton dies at age 64 after bicycle accident

By Erin Walsh  |  Last updated 5/29/21

Former Utah Jazz center Mark Eaton has died at age 64, the team announced Saturday:

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year was found lying in the road around 8:30 p.m. Friday after crashing his bike in Summit County, Utah. According to the Jazz, Eaton was taken to the hospital, where he later died, and there is no reason to believe a vehicle was involved in the accident. 

The team said in a statement:

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Which NFL teams had the best and worst offseasons?

Posted 3 days ago  |  By Sam Robinson

With minicamps approaching, the most interesting parts of the NFL’s offseason have taken place. From coaching hires, to free agency additions and subtractions, to trades, to draft picks, which teams fared the best during the latest NFL offseason?

1 of 32

32. Houston Texans

Houston Texans
Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Caserio will be given more time than ex-Patriot right-hand men-turned-decision-makers Josh McDaniels or Scott Pioli, in all likelihood. He inherited a brutal situation before Deshaun Watson’s trade demand and off-field trouble became known. The Texans hired a 65-year-old coach (David Culley) who had not been a coordinator since the 1990 season (at UTEP) and used their only top-80 pick on a midlevel QB prospect (Davis Mills). One of the Texans’ bevy of one-year contracts went to the underrated Phillip Lindsay, but the post-Bill O’Brien Texans appear to be punting their rebuild to 2022 and beyond. 2021 prognosis: bleak.

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31. Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers’ Kenny Mayne tribute added more fuel to the NFL’s defining offseason story. This potential era-ending impasse between the MVP and management dwarfs everything else Packers presently. Rodgers has seen peers’ franchises cater to them and build Super Bowl rosters through various means; Tom Brady’s Buccaneers — with Lambeau Field as a key backdrop — used the latest such plan to win a title. The less flexible Packers did well to re-sign Aaron Jones, but non-Green Bay residents would be wise to read up on this franchise’s 20-plus years between Bart Starr and Brett Favre. The Pack’s astray-at-QB 1970s and ’80s may be relevant again soon.

3 of 32

30. Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders could use some good inside-the-box thinking. Their zags have not pushed a wayward franchise onto the contender map. Jettisoning three proven O-linemen (expensive blockers, but still) could have Derek Carr set to play behind three first-year starters; the O-line overhaul could set back the less mobile starter’s recent progress. The Jon Gruden-Mike Mayock regime’s latest off-radar first-round pick (Alex Leatherwood) continued a strange path that could keep undercutting Gruden’s coaching. The Raiders need an experienced personnel man, as it has become difficult to believe in anything the current regime does.

4 of 32

29. Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers
Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Every team that rostered a golden-generation QB has moved on or formed a succession plan; the Steelers are the last ones standing. The cap reduction hurt them more than most, due to their annual can-kicking financial strategy. Their roster worsened this year. Pittsburgh said goodbye to starters Maurkice Pouncey, Alejandro Villanueva, Mike Hilton, and Bud Dupree. They drafted a talented running back (Najee Harris), but their offensive line looks like one of the NFL’s worst. Not ideal for an immobile Ben Roethlisberger, who still has no true heir apparent. The Steelers are vulnerable at a few spots, looking a year out from a rare rebuild.

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28. Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans are paying an awful lot of money to a supporting cast edge rusher who tore an ACL in November. Bud Dupree should be an upgrade on Jadeveon Clowney, but instead of a post-injury prove-it deal, the ex-Steeler capitalized on the Titans’ historically bad third-down defense. Tennessee also will count on 33-year-old Janoris Jenkins and first-round injury risk (Caleb Farley) in coverage. The defensive play-caller responsible for last year’s woes, Shane Bowen, is back with a title bump. The exit of the OC in charge of Ryan Tannehill’s revival, Arthur Smith, will leave a void. And unless the Titans land Julio Jones, their aerial attack lacks depth.

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27. Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles hired Frank Reich’s right-hand man, Nick Sirianni, before trading the quarterback Reich has championed (to Reich’s current team). Their previous Carson Wentz-Doug Pederson-Howie Roseman plan blew up, revealing organizational strife. Wentz’s exit/Eagles dead-money bloodbath sets up a begrudging rebuild. Philly’s roster features several pieces from the 2017 Super Bowl team; those 30-somethings may be playing out a depressing string. The Eagles added a 2022 first-rounder (possibly two, if Wentz stays healthy), outflanked the Giants for diminutive DeVonta Smith, and signed a bargain safety in Anthony Harris. Other than that, this is a clear transition year.

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Helio Castroneves wins Indy 500 for record-tying fourth time

By Erin Walsh  |  Last updated 5/30/21

Helio Castroneves beat Alex Palou to win his record-tying fourth Indy 500 title on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Brazilian then scaled the fence for his victory celebration in front of about 135,000 fans, the most spectators at a sporting event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Lakers star Anthony Davis suffers groin strain in Game 4 vs. Suns

By Erin Walsh  |  Last updated 5/30/21

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis suffered a left groin strain during Sunday’s Game 4 against the Phoenix suns and did not return. 

Davis suffered the injury before halftime while going up for a shot and hitting the floor hard. He finished with six points, four rebounds and three assists in 19 minutes. 

Davis was initially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game after suffering a knee sprain in L.A.’s Game 3 win. 

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