An NBA free-agent class with a little something for everyone hits the market on July 1. The group includes an array of superstars [url=http://www.authenticsnewyorkgiants.com/cheap-saquon-barkley-jersey]Saquon Barkley Jersey Elite[/url] , big men, glue guys and sharp-shooters.
Here’s a look at some of the players to follow when the action begins:
– Kevin Durant (player option): Has expressed his desire to remain with the Warriors. He’s in the middle of his prime as one of the game’s premier players.
– Paul George (player option): He has one of the best all-around games in the league and is still fairly young at 28.
– LeBron James (player option): Still the free-agent grand prize at age 33, James has shown few signs of wear and tear despite 15 stellar seasons in the league.
– Chris Paul (unrestricted): Among the league’s best point guards even at 33, but he’s struggled some with injuries over the years, including a hamstring issue in last year’s playoffs.
– Clint Capela (restricted): He’s emerged as one of the league’s top young big men after averaging 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and nearly two blocks per game with the Rockets. Houston surely would like to keep him, but the price tag could be steep.
– DeMarcus Cousins (unrestricted): He was playing very well for the Pelicans before an Achilles injury ended his season. Questions about his long-term health are real, but he’s also a guy who can score 25 points a game if he regains form.
– Derrick Favors (unrestricted): He’s not flashy and doesn’t stretch the floor, but the 6-foot-10 forward has had several productive seasons with the Jazz and will likely garner some interest.
– DeAndre Jordan (player option): He’ll be 30 years old next season, but was still one of the league’s dominant rebounds last season [url=http://www.billscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-micah-hyde-jersey]Micah Hyde Jersey[/url] , averaging more than 15 per game.
– Brook Lopez (unrestricted): He averaged just 13 points per game for the Lakers last season, which was his lowest since his rookie year, but he remains a 7-footer who could help several teams.
– Julius Randle (restricted): He’s quietly turned into a promising young player with the Lakers, averaging 16.1 points and eight rebounds last season while shooting nearly 56 percent from the field.
– Trevor Ariza (unrestricted): A valuable forward who can stretch the floor, he’s provided solid shooting and good defense for the Rockets over the past four seasons.
– Avery Bradley (unrestricted): Struggled with injuries last season, playing just 46 games, but is still considered a solid two-way player that can help a team in many ways.
– Aaron Gordon (restricted): Still just 22 years old, the 6-foot-9 Gordon turned into a productive all-around player for the Magic last season, averaging 17.6 points and 7.9 rebounds. His ability to make 3-pointers last season is a big plus.
– Marcus Smart (restricted): The Celtics guard is not a great shooter, but can impact the game in many different ways. He averaged 10.2 points [url=http://www.ramsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-brian-allen-jersey]http://www.ramsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-brian-allen-jersey[/url] , 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds last season while playing great defense.
– Wayne Ellington (unrestricted): He’s emerged as a reliable shooter off the bench for the Heat the past few seasons. He averaged a career-high 11.2 points last years while shooting nearly 40 percent from 3-point range.
– Doug McDermott (restricted): Mr. McBuckets has turned into a very good role player, staying excellent from 3-point range while improving the other parts of his game.
– J.J. Redick (unrestricted): Had a solid season for the 76ers, averaging a career-high 17.1 points per game and shooting 42 percent from 3-point range. He just turned 34.
The rival Koreas moved toward easing their bitter animosity during rare talks, with North Korea agreeing to take part in next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea. The countries also agreed to hold more discussions on reducing tension along their border and to reopen a military hotline.
The first meeting of its kind between the nations in about two years was arranged after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an abrupt push for improved ties with South Korea following a year of escalating tensions with the outside world over his expanding nuclear and missile programs. Critics say Kim may be trying to divide Seoul and Washington in a bid to weaken international pressure and sanctions on the North.
In comments that appeared to back up those critical views, chief North Korean delegate Ri Son Gwon said his country’s nuclear weapons are aimed at the United States, not South Korea. He made the comments while complaining about what he called inaccurate South Korean media reports that he said Tuesday’s talks dealt with North Korea’s nuclear disarmament.
TOKYO (AP) – It’s still unclear how many Russian athletes will compete next month in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, but a few things seem certain.
Athletes from winter powers like Germany and Norway could pick up unexpected medals with some top Russians absent because a massive doping scheme four years ago at the Sochi Games.
One medal forecast for Pyeongchang, compiled by Gracenote Sports, which refers to itself as a ”sports and entertainment provider,” shows the impact if Russian athletes are missing.
Gracenote released its medal-table projection on Wednesday [url=http://www.kansascitychiefsteamonline.com/kareem-hunt-jersey]Womens Kareem Hunt Jersey[/url] , this time removing all Russians from the calculation. The U.S.-based company said it would release a final prediction just before the Olympics open on Feb. 9, this time including Russians who are known to be eligible and who will compete under the name ”Olympic Athlete from Russia” or OAR.
ATLANTA (AP) – The national championship showdown between Alabama and Georgia drew 28.443 million viewers for ESPN, making it the second-most watched title game in the four years of the College Football Playoff format.
Alabama beat Georgia in overtime , rallying from 13 points down in the second half before winning with a game-ending touchdown pass . Viewership for the all-Southeastern Conference matchup on Monday night in Atlanta was up 13 percent from last season’s Clemson-Alabama rematch from the season before, ESPN said Tuesday.
ESPN said the audience peaked late in the first half at around 30 million viewers and more than 28.4 million were watching when the winning touchdown was scored.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – A new report predicts 18 states will introduce bills to regulate sports betting this year, with 11 having a good chance of passing legislation.
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, which tracks gambling legislation nationwide, says that’s just the minimum; the firm predicts more than 30 states could introduce sports betting bills.
The U.S. Supreme Court this year will decide a case brought by New Jersey that seeks to overturn a ban on sports betting in all but four states: Delaware, Montana [url=http://www.coltscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-clayton-geathers-jersey]Clayton Geathers Jersey[/url] , Nevada and Oregon. A favorable ruling in that case could open the floodgates in terms of states adopting a new form of gambling.
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) – Jon Gruden finally decided the time was right to finish what he nearly achieved in his first stint in Oakland and deliver another Super Bowl title to the Raiders.
Nearly 16 years after he was traded to Tampa Bay following a crushing loss in the ”Tuck Rule” game in New England and after a six-year courtship by Raiders owner Mark Davis, Gruden is officially back in Oakland where he started his head coaching career 20 years ago.
Gruden was introduced in front of a large crowd that included nearly 50 former Raiders and nine Pro Football Hall of Famers as the coach Davis believes can carry Derek Carr and the Raiders back to the top.
The Raiders nearly got there in Gruden’s first stint from 1998-2001 but the team lost to Baltimore in the 2000 AFC title game and followed that with the memorable loss in the snow against the Patriots that still haunts the franchise.
Gruden was then traded to Tampa Bay the following month for four draft picks and $8 million. He beat Oakland in the Super Bowl the next season but always identified with the Raiders.
”For my career to end that night in New England, it still ticks me off,” Gruden said. ”I’m so thrilled to be back here. I hope people understand the emotion inside. I feel there’s unfinished business. I also feel a lot of loyalty and I feel a lot of responsibility to get the Raiders going again. It’s been a while since we consistently performed at a high level. That’s all I care about.”
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Bills general manager Brandon Beane said there may have been a misunderstanding during an on-field exchange that led to Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue accusing Buffalo guard Richie Incognito of using ”weak racist slurs.”
Beane said the Bills have spoken to Incognito and understand their player’s side of the story of the alleged exchange that occurred during Buffalo’s 10-3 loss to the Jaguars in an AFC wild-card playoff game on Sunday. Beane confirmed some type of exchange happened but declined to get into details.
He added during the team’s end-of-season news conference on Tuesday that the Bills take the allegation ”very seriously,” and are cooperating with the league’s investiga [url=http://www.officialusafootballs.com/cincinnati-bengals]Cincinnati Bengals Jerseys[/url]
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