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#pounditSunday, February 12, 2023


James Harden shares interesting comment about dysfunctional Nets

James Harden dribbles

Feb 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) brings the ball up court against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets hoped to be championship contenders when they signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the summer of 2019. Those hopes were reinvigorated when the Nets acquired James Harden in a 4-team trade in 2021. However, things never worked out as all parties wished, and the Nets finally have broken apart their core.

The Nets traded Harden to the 76ers last year. Then just last week, the Nets traded Irving to the Dallas Mavericks and Durant to the Phoenix Suns.

Harden addressed the matter on Saturday night after his Philadelphia 76ers beat the Nets 101-98. He said it was “frustrating” that due to injuries or other reasons, he, KD and Irving hardly ever played together and never got the chance to see what they could do on the court.

“Frustrating. It’s a lot of what ifs, I think when you play less than 20 games together. So it’s a little bit frustrating, but it is what it is. Hopefully everybody’s in a good place now and we can move on,” Harden said, via ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

Harden then shared an interesting comment and said that he feels vindicated that people now see he wasn’t the problem or crazy one on the Nets.

“I don’t look like the crazy one,” Harden said. “I don’t look like the guy or the quitter or whatever the media want to call me. I knew what was going on and I just decided to…hey, I’m not built for this. I don’t want to deal with that. I want to play basketball and have fun.”

Harden said he got out of Brooklyn last year because of all the dysfunction that he didn’t see changing.

That’s true. Harden is not the crazy one. That would be Irving. What’s crazy is that Harden didn’t realize Irving was crazy and a flake prior to requesting a trade to Brooklyn. Did he miss how Irving ended his tenures in Cleveland and Boston?

Harden asked to be traded away from Houston and wanted to go to the Nets. He cost himself a season with his poor decision-making.

Young girl goes viral for reaction to sitting next to LeBron James

A young girl surprised to sit next to LeBron James

A young girl has gone viral for her great reaction to sitting next to LeBron James on Saturday night.

James did not play in his Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Golden State Warriors at the Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif. due to his left ankle. Instead of being dressed in a Lakers uniform and sitting on the bench, James was in street clothes and sat at the end of the bench, next to fans who had purchased courtside seats.

A 12-year-old girl happened to have the seat next to James and couldn’t believe it when the star player came and sat down next to her.

The young girl went viral for her reaction. She was later interviewed by Lisa Salters during ESPN’s telecast and shared her story.

The girl said that she had requested tickets to the game (presumably from her parents) three months ago because she figured James would be close to breaking the scoring record. Though she didn’t get to see the record, which James broke on Tuesday, she got a pretty amazing consolation prize.

“I look up and see LeBron James and what’s going through my mind is, ‘Oh my god, like the greatest player of all time in basketball is sitting next to me.’ I’m just thinking, ‘oh my goodness, this is like the best moment of my life,'” the young fan said.

The young girl was told not to bother the players, but we wouldn’t blame her if she said something to LeBron at the end of the game.

Dodgers sign former All-Star reliever

The Los Angeles Dodgers logo

The Los Angeles Dodgers logo on the outside of Dodger Stadium on July 15, 2018. Photo Credit: Larry Brown/Larry Brown Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers are taking a chance on Alex Reyes.

The Dodgers on Saturday agreed to a 1-year contract with Reyes that is pending a physical.

According to Dodgers reporter Juan Toribio, the deal is for $1.1 million in 2023 but includes a team option for $3 million in 2024. The deal could reach $10 million if Reyes hits all his incenctives.

Reyes missed the entire 2022 season after undergoing labrum surgery on his right shoulder. He is expected to miss time to start the season, but the Dodgers are betting that he will be ready to contribute after a few months.

Reyes, 28, has been a very good reliever when available. In 2016, he went 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 46.0 innings. However, he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017 and missed most of the 2018 season too. From 2017-2019, Reyes only pitched in 7.0 big league innings.

Reyes made his way back to the Cardinals and went 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA in 19.2 innings during the 2020 season. In 2021, he was an All-Star after going 10-8 with a 3.24 ERA and 29 saves.

Agent for Gary Payton II issues strong response to Toradol report

Gary Payton holds a ball

Apr 10, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II (0) during warmups before the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The agent for Gary Payton II issued a strong response on Saturday to the report about his client’s use of Toradol pain-killing injections.

Aaron Goodwin, who represents Payton, shared a statement with NBA reporter Chris B. Haynes on Saturday.

“Despite of what’s being reported, my client never took Toradol shots to be available for games during his time in Portland,” Goodwin told Haynes.

The Golden State Warriors agreed to a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday that would send Payton to Golden State for five second-round picks. The deal involved Detroit and Atlanta, as James Wiseman was being traded to the Pistons and Saddiq Bey to the Hawks.

The trade is in jeopardy of being rescinded after the Warriors had concerns about Payton’s health following a physical. According to reports, Golden State believes the Blazers withheld pertinent information regarding Payton’s condition. Payton had core muscle surgery over the offseason that caused him to miss the first 35 games this season.

The Blazers have cleared Payton to play, but the Warriors reportedly believe the guard needs to rest for 2-3 months.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Anthony Slater reported Friday that Payton has been playing through pain and “the Blazers training staff had been pushing him to gut through it, giving him Toradol shots. This had not been relayed to the Warriors during the negotiation process.”

The Warriors seem to feel the Blazers negotiated in bad faith. Goodwin is saying that Payton never used Toradol injections to play in games.

Either the Warriors accept the trade or they rescind it, causing James Wiseman (Warriors) and Saddiq Bey (Pistons) to return to their original teams. Golden State has until Sunday to make a decision. The league could investigate the matter, but they wouldn’t have their findings for a while.

Fans keep hammering 1 stupid Super Bowl prop bet

Patrick Mahomes in a headband

Sep 11, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Many fans like to spice up the action when watching the Super Bowl by participating in a Super Bowl squares game or by wagering on many propositions. For some fans, it makes the game a whole lot more interesting to see if they can guess who will be the first to score a touchdown or how many receiving yards Travis Kelce will have.

But there is one prop bet that is being hammered by the public, and it’s for a completely idiotic reason.

Multiple sportsbooks have said they are taking tons of action from fans wagering on the exact score of the game. The wager is that the Philadelphia Eagles will beat the Kansas City Chiefs 37-34.

Why are so many people hammering that bet? For the dumbest reason imaginable.

There has been a popular trend on Twitter over the last few weeks that says “NFL rigged.” The idea is that every time there’s a call that helps one team over another, it’s because the league is rigged and the officials are in on the fix. The whole notion is silly, but while the concept may be a joke to some, it’s very real to many others.

Things took an even odder turn when a sarcastic sports show collaborated with a former NFL player to create a satirical sports bit saying that the NFL was scripted. The satirical bit even said players were handed their scripts for the season during training camp.

Well, after that whole bit spread, some idiots took things seriously. In response, a rumor spread that the “script” for this year’s Super Bowl had leaked, which said that the Eagles would beat the Chiefs 37-34. As a result, some people think they have inside info about the game being fixed and have been placing their bets accordingly.

It’s truly unbelievable that there are enough suckers out there who actually believe this. If the Eagles do happen to win 37-34, it will be a mere coincidence, not because the games are scripted.

But this is a big example showing exactly why pro sports leagues avoided any ties to gambling in the past. It also shows why the NFL and other leagues’ choice to be involved with sports gambling is detrimental to the integrity of their products. Now, more than any other time, people are starting to believe the NFL is fixed. That’s not good for the league.

Duke hosed on bad call at end of regulation against Virginia

Two players making contact with Kyle Filipowski

Duke got hosed by the officials late in their loss to Virginia on Saturday.

The Blue Devils and Cavaliers were tied at 68 with 1.2 seconds left. Duke was inbounding the ball and passed to Kyle Filipowski, who charged to the basket for a layup attempt.

Here is the play:

The officials called a foul on the play, but they convened and later ruled there was a clean block and that a body foul came after the buzzer. Instead of Filipowski going to the free throw line with a chance to win the game, things went to overtime.

Virginia was able to win 69-62 in OT.

That’s a tough loss for the Blue Devils, who are now 17-8 (8-6). The officials blew it on that one.

Charles Barkley reveals his big bet on Super Bowl

Charles Barkley on the sideline

May 20, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Former NBA player and current TNT television personality Charles Barkley prior to game one of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Barkley will have a lot at stake on Super Bowl Sunday.

The retired NBA icon revealed this week on “The Steam Room Podcast” that he is betting a large amount of money on Super Bowl LVII. Barkley said that he will “probably” put $100,000 on the Philadelphia Eagles to win.

“I’ll probably bet 100 grand on the game,” said Barkley. “Go Eagles.”

Barkley also said that he is going to Las Vegas with 12 friends for the Super Bowl (an annual tradition for them) and will likely be pulling an all-nighter Sunday into Monday. He plans to gamble all evening and then go straight to the airport.

Since Barkley does not have to be on television until Thursday’s edition of “Inside the NBA,” he can take the next few days to recover. As for his bet on the Eagles, it makes sense since Barkley began his NBA playing career with the Philadelphia 76ers and spent eight seasons in Philly.

$100,000 is a definitely a major sum of money for anyone to put on a single game. But no matter what happens, Barkley will still likely have better luck than this co-host of his when it comes to betting.

Mikal Bridges has honest take on being part of Kevin Durant trade

Mikal Bridges looking on

Feb 8, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) high fives fans while entering the court for the game against the Denver Nuggets at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Mikal Bridges was the key piece of the Brooklyn Nets’ return as part of the Kevin Durant trade, and the standout young winger is definitely not hurt by that.

Bridges is the most valuable player the Phoenix Suns gave up to acquire Durant, and he was asked Saturday about being part of the deal. The fifth-year forward was honest in saying he would miss Phoenix, but that he totally understood why the Suns made the move.

“It’s KD. I get it. That’s just how it is. I would rather be happy I got traded for KD than probably somebody else who I didn’t think would be good or something like that,” Bridges said. “I get it. You’re getting Kevin Durant, bro. I’d probably make that trade too.”

Bridges is moving from a title contender in Phoenix to a Nets team that has essentially given up on its season. That is a downer from his perspective, but he is right that it should probably be a point of pride that the Nets were so insistent on getting him as part of a trade package involving Durant.

Even if Bridges is looking on the bright side here, he probably wishes he could have found out about the deal differently. At least he’s come to terms with the outcome.

Top NBA free agent target moves to Klutch Sports ahead of offseason

Rich Paul looking on

May 20, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Rich Paul and Adele watch during the second quarter in game two of the 2022 western conference finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Rich Paul and Klutch Sports have landed another one.

Danny Marang of 1080 The Fan in Portland reports this week that Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant has moved to Klutch Sports. Grant, who is in the final year of his contract, will be represented by Klutch during his free agent negotiations this summer.

The 28-year-old Grant, who was previously represented by Mike Kneisley of Imperative Sports Consultants, will be a highly sought-after free agent. He is averaging 20.8 points per contest as a secondary option for the Blazers this season and is hitting on 48.4 percent of his shot attempts and a career-high 40.6 percent of his threes. On top of that, Grant plays superb defense as a 6-foot-8 combo forward with a 7-foot-2 wingspan.

Grant’s move to Klutch will likely spark rumors that he could end up signing with a Klutch stronghold like the Los Angeles Lakers or even the Utah Jazz. He also becomes the latest notable name in the Western Conference to land with Paul’s agency.

Micah Parsons sends concerning tweet about Gary Payton II trade situation

Micah Parsons in his Cowboys uniform

Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) looks on prior to the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Micah Parsons’ reaction to reports regarding the jeopardized Gary Payton II trade in the NBA will probably not be popular among NFL higher-ups.

Reports emerged Friday suggesting that the Portland Trail Blazers’ four-team trade involving Payton is in jeopardy after the guard failed a physical. One report claimed that the Blazers had been pushing Payton to play through an injury with pain-killing injections, though the team has defended its handling of the situation.

Parsons took notice of this portion of the report and said that 95 percent of NFL players were pushed to do the same thing.

There is nothing unusual about athletes wanting to play through pain, and Parsons is not necessarily accusing anyone of anything. Still, the NFL probably does not want to be linked to anything like this.

The Dallas Cowboys star has had some other thoughts for the league about player safety, too. This is hardly the first time he has mentioned something like this.