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Gio Gonzalez, Dee Gordon and ’16’ intersect on emotional night in Miami

A solid black circle with a white “16” in the middle of it sits on the left breast of every Marlins uniform. The circle has been there all season. It will be there another two months, a period that will include the one-year anniversary of the reason it’s there.

After that, the circle will go away. The sadness associated with it won’t, of course.

On Monday, on a night the Marlins were close to being no-hit at home by the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez, “16” was very much on the minds of Gonzalez, the man who would end his bid, and nearly everyone else inside Marlins Park.

Hours earlier, Gonzalez, the pride of Hialeah, Fla., had met with the family of the late Jose Fernandez, a close friend and the last man to ever wear 16 for the Marlins. Monday would have been Fernandez’s 25th birthday. Gonzalez got to see Fernandez’s 5-month-old daughter.

With ace Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list with a back injury, Los Angeles has increased its likelihood of pulling off a trade before the July 31 trade deadline. In fact, according to MLB Network, the Dodgers are “increasingly confident” they will acquire either Justin Verlander, Sonny Gray NBA Cheap Jerseys or Yu Darvish.

Verlander made some headlines before the season when he and fiancee Kate Upton New York Jets Cheap Jerseys purchased a home in Beverly Hills. There was speculation even then that Verlander could be headed to the Dodgers.

While Verlander does have a no-trade clause, it appears he will waive it under certain circumstances. He certainly left the door open for a move after his last start on Monday.

They don’t want to deal with him.

Murray isn’t the greatest receiver out of the backfield, but he was targeted a combined 96 times in his final two Raiders seasons. Lynch doesn’t offer much in the passing game, either, but during his final two full seasons with the Seahawks, he got 92 targets. Lynch was more efficient there in that sample size, with 73 receptions vs. Murray’s 74.

Other than Lynch in and Murray out, another key change in camp is having a second capable power back, seventh-rounder Elijah Hood. The rookie (5-11, 230 pounds) is built like Lynch (5-11, 215 pounds) and carries the same weight as Murray. He can be more than an early-down pounder, but with his inexperience, that’s Hood’s initial, natural reserve role.

With Taiwan Jones being released and Jamize Olawale left as the lone fullback, the Raiders seem set on their four running backs, with Lynch and Hood as the primary ball-carriers and Richard and Washington toggling as third-down pass catchers.

“All of those people that were, ‘Go ahead Colin Kaepernick, we’re proud of you,’ Smith said, “Where are you now? Do you pay his bills? Do you employ him? Are you going to make up for the $12 million he missed out on?

“So when you sit up, and you’re going, ‘Bravo, Bravo, Colin Kaepernick,’ where is it going to get you?”

Yes, many in sports media (including myself) admire Kaepernick for putting his career on the line for his personal beliefs. But did ESPN, Time and other media boosters underestimate the anger and resentment of #BoycottNFL fans who saw Kaepernick’s protest as un-American and insulting to Lebron James Cheap Jerseys police and the military?

Will Smith’s own cost-cutting ESPN hire Kaepernick if his NFL career is over? The Miami Heat Cheap Jerseys network can’t get get enough of the Kaepernick story — it led Monday’s noon “SportsCenter with his job prospects.

“They don’t know how to deal with him.”

Roethlisberger has contemplated the retirement

Freeman is a pending free agent in 2018. He has risen well above his fourth-round status with his consistent excellence as a rusher and receiver the past two seasons. Atlanta seems to know his new high value, too, and it’s likely that even with Tevin Coleman, it locks up its more indispensable back.

Butler was a top-five cover corner in the league last season, unlike new teammate Stephon Gilmore, who got signed away from the rival Bills for $31 million guaranteed as part of a five-year, $65 million deal. There was no reason for New England, with tons of cap room, to move Butler, but rather take advantage of one more cheap year from the Super Bowl hero before he likely walks for megabucks elsewhere.

Credentials: It’s early, but Wilson has led the Seahawks to two Super Bowls, winning one, and they easily could have won the other. He owns a 99.6 passer rating over those five seasons. He’s certainly on the right trajectory.

Credentials: Roethlisberger has contemplated the retirement, but he’s still a quarterback capable of adding to a distinguished career with the Steelers that includes two Super Bowl victories and three appearances. He’s one of the toughest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

Credentials: Brees also could work into that conversation. He has 465 career TD passes and with 66,111 yards should join Manning and Brett Favre in the 70,000-yard club next. Brees has five Great Cheap Jerseys seasons with 5,000 passing yards or more, but the Super Bowl XLIV championship remains Jerseys Wholesale the most impressive accomplishment with New Orleans.

Those athletes put years of training in before making their debuts in the big leagues, but their gridiron backgrounds prepared them for the physical toll of stepping in the ring.

Niederreiter ready for bigger role for Wild with new contract

Nino Niederreiter spent the 2016 NHL offseason strapped to the wing of an airplane, a daredevil feat that provided quite the thrill for the Minnesota Wild forward, and maybe quite the lump-in-throat for his coaches and the Wild brass.

But this offseason? Without a contract in tow, Niederreiter said he took a more grounded approach to the summer months.

The team that swept Chicago and blew past St. Louis isn’t quite the same now. The Predators have gone 2-0 since Johansen suffered a season-ending thigh injury during their Western Conference final series against Anaheim. But Johansen had been the team’s most dynamic playmaker at the center spot, with 47 assists during the regular season and 10 more in 14 playoff games. They scored nine goals in those two games, although three were empty-netters that helped the Preds close out the series. Nashville’s top line dominated its first three playoff opponents with Johansen active.

Nashville also will be without promising winger Kevin Fiala, who had 11 goals in the regular season and an OT goal in the Chicago sweep before breaking his leg.

The return of captain Mike Fisher from an injury after missing two games against the Ducks should help, but it’s possible the Preds now will lean even more heavily on the defense to facilitate the attack, leaving them vulnerable to the Penguins’ speed and skill.

Of the 25 Penguins who will/might get ice time, 19 were part of securing the Cup in last year’s playoffs and 17 played in the Final against San Jose. Obviously, Nashville does not have much recent experience; the Preds lost in the second round last year.

Star Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has been perhaps the best single performer in these Kids Football Jerseys Cheap playoffs, but he also has only one career victory against the Lebron Cheap Jerseys Penguins.

The Penguins have been involved in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for five weeks

Of course, sacrifice is a relative term here. Shattenkirk’s new deal still averages a cool $6.65 million a year, a hefty salary cap hit the Rangers made room for by trading center Derek Stepan and his $6.5 million cap charge to the Coyotes before the draft. But it’s not easy to dismiss walking away from an additional $20 million or so, either.

“I think you have to give credit to Kevin on this one,” Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said. “He wanted to come here and that (longer) term deal was there for him somewhere else, but he’s a player who really wants to be here and left money on the table, that sent a pretty strong message to us.”

The Penguins have been involved in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Extremely Cheap Jerseys for five weeks; they’ve already had four players miss games with apparent or reported concussions, and there could be a fifth, depending on how forward Scott Wilson feels after getting a forearm/elbow in the head near the conclusion of Sunday’s 7-0 victory over Ottawa.

At the conclusion of the fifth game in the Pittsburgh-Ottawa series, which put the Penguins within a victory of their second consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearance, Ottawa nobody Tommy Wingels spun his body toward Wilson, who was executing a meaningless clearance of the puck. Wingels elevated his right arm and jammed it directly into Wilson’s face.

Gaudreau scored the first goal of his NHL career in the Game 1 loss. The Predators fell into an 0-2 hole when Malkin, the playoffs’ points leader, and the Penguins unloaded with nine goals in two games seemingly by exploiting the lack of center depth on the other end.

But Gaudreau netted the game winner Saturday and broke a 1-1 tie in Game 4 Find Cheap Jerseys with a wraparound that came so close to not going in that play continued for another 35 seconds until officials whistled for a review. The puck barely snuck inside the goal line, bouncing off a lunging Matt Murray’s blocker pad and back out in a split second.

Raptors quietly developed their own ‘Big 3’ and now the East should be worried

The Raptors have quietly developed a big three of their own, and they were all on full display during Thursday’s 101-93 win against the Jazz.

Kyle Lowry led the way with a game-high 33 points. The All-Star point guard hit 10 of 17 shot attempts while also grabbing six rebounds with five assists and three steals. After a slow start to the season, he has established himself as one of the best floor generals in the league.

DeMar DeRozan has cooled off a bit from the scintillating start to his 2016-17 campaign, but he still scored 23 points with seven rebounds.

Unfortunately, it took him 26 shots to reach that mark.

We have to assume voting as an NBA player would be a simple process, but many didn’t want to participate. ESPN’s Chris Haynes said, “A decent amount [of players] did not submit a ballot,” although he didn’t clarify the number.

However, the NBA claims 324 sent in a ballot, which would represent about 70 percent of the league.

As we mentioned earlier, the fan voting had an impact on Isaiah Thomas not making it in, but overall, the fan vote was hindered. Under the old system, Zaza Pachulia would have not only been an All-Star, but would have been named a starter. Funny enough, 19 players voted for Pachulia, joining in on the fun.

Joel Embiid also would have started as he had a lot of success in the fan NFL 21 Cheap Jerseys vote. But the players NHL Cheap Jerseys and media didn’t feel the same way, and therefore he will not be named an All-Star.

Chris Paul kicks chair, leaves court in anger after spraining thumb

Clippers fans experienced a bad case of deja vu after watching Chris Paul leave the court Monday night.

Paul injured his left thumb while trying to navigate a screen set for Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. Paul jammed the finger after Westbrook suddenly stopped on a 3-point attempt.

2016-17: Griffin is out while he recovers from knee surgery. Now Paul will join him on the bench.

2015-16: Griffin (quad) and Paul (hand) missed Games 5 and 6 against the Trail Blazers in last year’s playoffs, both Clippers losses. Griffin also missed 47 games in the regular season with the quad injury.

2014-15: Paul missed the first two games of LA’s second-round series against Houston after injuring a hamstring in Game 7 of the first round against the Spurs. Griffin missed 15 regular-season games with a staph infection in his elbow.

Paul’s latest injury occurred when he collided with Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. He kicked a chair in frustration after being removed from the game. Now the rest of the franchise is feeling the frustration of having to go forward without its All-Star point guard.

Barring a trade, LA’s primary fill-ins for Paul will be Austin Rivers and Raymond Felton. Even if Paul is out just six weeks, that would be a late February/early March return. LA has 16 Soccer Cheap Jerseys games between now and Feb. 28. That’s a lot of time to lose ground in a tight race for a top-four spot in the Western Conference playoffs.

Once more, the Clippers are playing short-handed. There’s still a good chance Paul and Griffin will be on the court together for the postseason. History shows they might Toronto Blue Jays Cheap Jerseys not make it all the way through.

Chauncey Billups knew about Kyrie Irving drama when he turned down Cavs job

When Chauncey Billups turned down the Cavs’ GM job, it came as a bit of a surprise. Who wouldn’t want to be in charge of a team that’s made three straight NBA Finals appearances with the best player in the league? But Billups revealed Tuesday morning that he knew what we all know now.

Speaking to Vic Lombardi on Altitude Sports 950 AM in Denver, Billups revealed he was aware Kyrie Irving was upset with his situation in Cleveland. As we found out Friday, Irving has requested a trade from the Cavs because he reportedly doesn’t want to play alongside LeBron James anymore.

In contrast, Noah took just five shots in 40 minutes. He made two. At least he hit the glass, grabbing 14 rebounds.

The largest lead in the overtime periods was four points, by the Hawks with 2:20 to play in the second OT.

Six players, three from each team, didn’t even get into the game (they’re officially listed as DNP-coach’s decision, not DNP-bad): Marshall Plumlee, Maurice Ndour and Sasha Vujacic for the Knicks; DeAndre’ Bembry, Lamar Patterson and Mike Scott for the Hawks.

This was the Knicks’ first four-overtime game in 66 years. They went four OTs vs. the Rochester Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) in Rochester, N.Y., on Jan. 23, 1951. They lost that game, too, 102-92. Then they had to play the next night at home; they won that game, vs. the Tri-Cities Blackhawks who are now Cheap Oakland Raiders Jerseys the Hawks. Thankfully for the 2016-17 Knicks, they have Monday off before returning to Cheap NFL Jerseys Good Quality action Tuesday against the Wizards.

Celtics outlast Cavaliers in instant classic

If the Eastern Conference finals are as good as Wednesday night’s Cavaliers-Celtics clash, we’re in for a treat come late May.

The Celtics prevailed at home 103-99 in a contest that is as thrilling as its gets in the NBA’s regular season. There were six ties and 10 lead changes in the fourth quarter.

While Boston (39-22) is not likely to pass Cleveland (41-18) for the No. 1 seed in the East, Wednesday’s gutty performance indicates the Celts will at least be a game opponent for the defending NBA champions. Listed at odds of 1/5 to win the East in Las Vegas, the Cavs have already been penciled in by league observers as the conference’s representatives in the NBA Finals.

LeBron James, who has led his team to the NBA Finals five seasons in a row (the Heat three times, the Cavs twice), logged 28 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his seventh triple-double of the season and 49th of his career.

An 11th assist would have been enough for Cleveland to win the game, but Derrick Williams missed a 3-point attempt with about four seconds left on the clock after receiving a cross-court pass from James, who passed out of an Isaiah Thomas-Jae Crowder double team.

“Our focus has always been internal, man,” Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving said. “What we Cheap NFL Jerseys China have to fix internally. No disrespect to any other team in the league, but when we’re playing at Best Place For Cheap Jerseys a high level and we’re all focused and dialed in, we’re a tough team to beat.”

LaVar Ball’s wife Tina makes first public appearance since suffering a stroke

Tina Ball has always been supportive of her sons. She is a teacher and a mother who made sure her sons’ academics were always in order which made it much easier to nearly guarantee all of their enrollments at UCLA.

But while she was always a mainstay at Chino Hills basketball games and there Cheap New Zealand Warriors Jerseys for all three of her talented sons, she was forced to step aside after she suffered a stroke in February.

“I remember playing great and after the last game, we were just sitting there and Pop was like, ‘I need to talk to you,'” Jackson said. “He was like, ‘Jack, you had a great Summer League. You’re playing well. I really want you on my team, but there’s only one way that you gone make my team — during the season, you can’t smoke weed, Jack. You just can’t do it. I need you focused. I need you on your game because you know we have a chance to win a championship. I need you focused.'”

“Once he told me that, I shut it down,” Jackson said. “The NBA was way more Cheap Michael Jordan Jerseys For Sale important than weed. Trust me.”

It all worked out just as Popovich said it would. Over the course of the 2003 NBA postseason, Jackson started in all 24 of the Spurs’ playoff games, averaging 12.8 points and 4.1 rebounds to help the franchise capture its second title. Passing on puffing weed wasn’t a concession Jackson would’ve made for just anyone.

Russillo: “Does that mean that the next GM that signed you, if he didn’t ask you that question, that that wasn’t a rule you had to follow?”

Jackson: “We had to have that talk first. Let me know my role.”