Some experts (and oddsmakers) are eyeing the Boston Celtics as a potential candidate to overtake the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference once the NBA resumes play in late July. But they’ll need a little help to get there, to say the least.
Enter Jayson Tatum.
The 21-year-old has done big things in his third season with the Celtics. On top of being named an All-Star for the first time in his NBA career, Tatum averaged a whopping 23.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in 59 games (including two 41-point performances) before the 2019-20 season was halted March 11 due to COVID-19.
If you ask Scottie Pippen, Tatum will help lead the charge as the Celtics seek their first championship since 2008. In fact, the NBA Hall of Famer believes Tatum currently has what it takes to be the best player on an NBA title team.
“I think this has been a breakout season for Tatum,” Pippen said Monday on ESPN’s “The Jump.” “He started this season sort of on a mission to separate himself from the other players that have grown and developed as well as really showing some leadership, I think, by becoming an All-Star this season. But his scoring was really starting to peak right there (before the league suspended play over COVID-19). He, again, separated himself a little bit from the other players to show that he was going to be the go-to guy, the offensive leader for that team. And I think if this team is to make a run, it has to rely on Tatum’s ability to carry them offensively. And I feel like he’s totally ready.”
We couldn’t agree more.
The Boston Celtics resume play July 31 against the Bucks. No players have tested positive for COVID-19 or opted out of the season restart at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Fla.
More NBA: Jaylen Brown Reveals Why Celtics Almost Didn’t Attend Orlando Restart
The NBA is preparing to resume its 2019-20 season in late July at the Walt Disney World Resort, though several players from across the league have opted to sit out.
And according to Jaylen Brown, a number of Boston Celtics players considered not going to Orlando as well.
Among the players’ chief concerns included the ability to speak out on social issues and the NBA’s willingness to support their message should they do so. This came after several C’s players — including Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier — attended protests addressing racial injustice and police brutality following the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
All of this, plus a lack of direction regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, sparked concern amongst the team.
“I think a lot of guys are choosing to go down to Orlando because we have an ability to play for something bigger than ourselves,” Brown said Monday, via MassLive’s Tom Westerholm. “I think a lot of people — including myself — had some apprehensions not just because of social injustice but COVID-related, etc. And a lot of us just initially, even on this team, just didn’t want to go. But I think the ability and the option to play for something bigger than yourself, I think a lot of guys will sign up for that nine times out of 10. Ten times out of 10.”
More Celtics: Gordon Hayward Admits Continued Foot Soreness Despite Layoff
Initially, Brown was worried about the NBA’s resumption taking away the momentum gained by the Black Lives Matter movement. But his mind has since changed.
“Those were my first thoughts,” Brown said, per Westerholm. “Just the role that sports plays in our society, that it could serve as a distraction. But now, with the conversations that we’ve had, I think it’s going to enhance, rather than dim, the light that’s being spread right now. I think everybody wants to watch basketball and the NBA, and we have voices of influence in our communities and we have obligations to our communities, not just obligations to our organizations. The more the NBA understands that, the better everybody will feel about it, especially players.”
The Celtics are scheduled to resume play July 31 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
More Celtics: Jared Sullinger Gearing Up For Potential NBA Comeback
Patrick Mahomes made it clear to Kansas City he won’t be going anywhere for a long, long time.
The Super Bowl LIV MVP and the Chiefs reportedly agreed to a ridiculous 10-year deal worth $503 million Monday, keeping him in a Kansas City uniform through the 2031 season.
And while the contract is not yet official, that didn’t stop Mahomes from all but confirming he’s not going anywhere.
Here to stay. . .! pic.twitter.com/mfwMga3Kl0
— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) July 6, 2020
Mahomes also couldn’t resist adding some humor to the matter when DeShon Elliott tweeted he now understood the reason behind the QB’s absence at Monday’s workout.
Had to make a quick trip I’ll be back tomorrow https://t.co/mllfzNXdXj
— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) July 6, 2020
It was rumored back in January that Mahomes and the Chiefs would come to an agreement on an extension within 12-15 months. But we don’t think Chiefs Kingdom, or Mahomes for that matter, will complain that it came in just a matter of six months.
More NFL: Players’ Families, Cohabitants Reportedly To Be Tested For Coronavirus Before Training Camp
It seems like only yesterday that Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi was getting called up from Double-A straight in 2016 and becoming the youngest player in franchise history to hit a home run in a postseason game.
Well, time flies when you’re having fun dancing in the outfield and making clutch, diving catches to help your team get to a World Series, like he did over and over again in 2018.
Benintendi on Monday turned 26 years old, and the team took to Instagram and Twitter to wish the World Series champion a “happy birthday.”
A big shoutout to the birthday boy and his flow!
Happy Birthday, Benny! pic.twitter.com/diQRLM2OZj
— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 6, 2020
View this post on Instagram
This guy is 26 today! HBD Benny!
A post shared by Boston Red Sox (@redsox) on Jul 6, 2020 at 7:15am PDT
Drafted by Boston in the first round of the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft out of Arkansas, Benintendi has played 471 games, slashing a .277 batting average, .354 on-base percentage and slugging .442.
Happy birthday, Benny!
Red Sox Schedule Release: Opponents For Every Game Beginning July 24
We all knew the Kansas City Chiefs wanted to lock-up quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a long-term extension before the 2020 season began.
The question was always, “for how much?”
Well throughout the afternoon on Monday, various reports have given us quite the idea.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported that the 2018 league MVP had agreed on a 10-year deal with the Chiefs expected to be worth more than $450 million. That contract would have already given Mahomes the richest salary in sports, but it’s gone beyond that in terms of breaking records.
As it turns out, he may be the first athlete on the planet to get offered a salary worth half of a billion dollars.
According to both Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the extension is actually worth up to $503 million, which includes $477 million in “guarantee mechanisms” (whatever that means), with the ability for Mahomes to opt-out if those guarantees aren’t exercised by the Chiefs.
“It’s the first half Billion dollar player in sports history and the largest contract in sports history,” Rapoport noted. “It’s also the first time an NFL player has been the highest-paid player in sports history.”
It’s the first half Billion dollar player in sports history and the largest contract in sports history. It’s also the first time an NFL player has been the highest-paid player in sports history. https://t.co/dSzKmS7wbM
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 6, 2020
The Chiefs officially announced they’d reached an agreement with Mahomes, but no dollar amount has been officially revealed.
We have signed QB Patrick Mahomes to a 10 year extension. Mahomes secured with Chiefs for the next 12 seasons. pic.twitter.com/ZsADdVkvxZ
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) July 6, 2020
But if reports are true, then Mahomes is having himself quite the year.
NFL Rumors: Players’ Families, Cohabitants To Be Tested For Coronavirus Before Training Camp
It’s official: We have the 2020 Major League Baseball schedule.
We’ve known the season will start July 23 and 24, with both the American and National League playing 60 games in the shortened campaign. Teams also will play 40 games in their division and have 20 interleague games.
There’s plenty of notable games on the schedule, which was released Monday night. Here is the Opening Day slate of games, which begins July 23 with the World Series champion Washington Nationals taking on the New York Yankees.
MLB's regular season begins on July 23rd with two great matchups. pic.twitter.com/jXH6OO8Doc
— MLB (@MLB) July 6, 2020
Are you ready? #MLBTonight pic.twitter.com/DDEjT2DRwC
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) July 6, 2020
More: MLB Releases Statement On Delayed COVID-19 Tests After Teams Cancel Workouts
Rejoice, Red Sox fans. We have Boston’s 2020 schedule.
Most of the squad has been at Fenway Park for Summer Camp as the Sox prepare to begin the 60-game shortened season. And now we know when regular-season baseball will happen for Boston.
The Red Sox will open their season at home July 24 against the Baltimore Orioles at 7:30 p.m. ET. Boston also will play its rival New York Yankees a total of 10 times, with seven of those games taking place at Yankee Stadium.
Here’s the full schedule with opponents and how many games they’ll play each team, which was released Monday night.
We know fans won’t be allowed to attend games in Boston to start the season. Gov. Charlie Baker wouldn’t commit to a side for later in the year, though, as the COVID-19 pandemic still is sweeping the United States.
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The NHL and NHLPA have reached a tentative agreement on the league’s Return To Play plan, as well as a CBA extension and have set dates for training camps and the qualifying rounds.
An official statement was released Monday, noting both sides came to terms on a deal that “adds an additional four years to the term of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement and includes transition rules and a new critical dates calendar.”
The NHL’s Board of Governors and the NHLPA’s Executive Board now much approve the plan.
The release also offered some dates for the start of training camps, when teams will travel to the hub cities and the start of the qualifying rounds.
July 13 — start of training camps
July 26 — clubs travel to hub cities
Aug. 1 — start of qualifying round
NHLPA, NHL Reach Tentative Agreement on Return to Play Plan, CBA Extension; Set Dates for Resumption of Play https://t.co/QKnu4L2jWV pic.twitter.com/6ClJWYhQwH
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 6, 2020
The 2019-20 season was paused back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the regular season officially was deemed finished in May.
The Boston Bruins will not play in the qualifying round but will play in the round-robin tournament to determine their seeding, despite being the league’s best team.
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Now more than ever, sports leagues across the world are having discussions about how race plays into social injustices.
But unlike Black athletes in the NBA or NFL, those playing Major League Baseball are a significant minority among their peers, making up less than 10% of the league.
Boston Red Sox centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who is the only Black player on the team’s active 40-man roster, on Monday spoke to these issues of racism at Fenway park.
“It’s something that, it’s not going to be so called fixed overnight,” Bradley Jr. said. “This is something that requires change. It has to start with a change of the heart. That’s what it all goes back to. You’ve got to have the heart to physically, emotionally and mentally make that change to be better — not only for yourself but the others around.
“We’ve come a long way as a nation but we still have some ways to go. I’m praying that we can get to the place we need to be. I’ve had conversations with Ron, some of my teammates that I played with for quite some time. and if felt good to be able to hear from them and kinda hear what they had to say and for them to listen to me.”
Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke also addressed these issues on Monday, mentioning that he’s had conversations with his centerfielder for perspective, as well as retired MLB player Torii Hunter, who has publicly spoken about racist encounters with fans at Fenway Park.
More MLB: League Releases Statement On Delayed COVID-19 Tests After Teams Cancel Workouts
The New England Revolution are bolstering their backline. On Monday the Revs signed Revolution II defender Collin Verfurth to an MLS contract. This marks the first time ever that the Revs have signed a player off their USL League One side.
Despite Verfurth making the jump to the first team he is still expected to see a lot of action with Revs II and will for the time being serve as much needed depth to the first-time back-line.
“Collin made a good impression on our staff and players over the past two weeks, and it became apparent to us that he would be a good addition to our roster,” Revolution Sporting Director and Head Coach Bruce Arena said. “We anticipate that Collin will continue to contribute to Revs II as well as offer important depth to our backline”.
The 24-year-old appeared in four preseason matches with Revs II and spent last year with Loudoun United of the USL Championship. In his rookie season, he appeared in 23 matches with 22 starts and prior to becoming a pro he spent four years at Virginia Tech.
Since full-team training started back up Verfurth has impressed the first team coaching staff and it is interesting this news comes two days after the Matt Polster rumors were started. No update on Polster for the moment.
This does add much needed depth to the back-line and while his main position is center back he does have an ability to play a defensive midfield role
“As we built the Revolution II roster, Collin was selected because we felt he had the potential to make our first team roster,” Technical Director Curt Onalfo added. “We look forward to seeing Collin continue to develop with the first team, contribute to Revolution II, and for more players to follow in his path.”
This signing is one of the reasons why Revs II was formed. Yes it is a bridge from the academy to the first team but it is also a chance for the team to take more shots on players who are not yet MLS established.
The post New England Revolution Sign Revs II Defender From USL League One appeared first on Trifecta Sports.