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NBA free agency rumors: Trevor Ariza signs 1-year deal with Suns

Trevor Ariza is signing a one-year deal, worth $15 million, with the Suns, according to Yahoo Sports.

Houston free agent Trevor Ariza has agreed to a one-year, $15M deal with the Phoenix Suns, league sources tell Yahoo.

Ariza is a solid two-way wing who averaged 11.7 points and 4.4 rebounds last season. He signed a four-year, $32 million contract with Houston in July 2014.

Ariza has spent 14 years in the NBA and won a championship with the Lakers in 2008-09. He has a career average of 10.5 points.

I’m told that Jabari Parker, who was born and raised in Chicago, has received interest from the Chicago Bulls. The 23-year-old is a restricted free agent, so the Milwaukee Bucks can match any offer sheet he signs.

Milwaukee selected Parker out of Duke with the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. But, he has struggled with injuries throughout his career.

Parker missed most of last season after he suffered his second torn ACL in February 2017. He returned for 31 games and averaged 12.6 points.

If the Seahawks are going to extend Thomas, it will be on their terms, not his. So their offer might be this: play out the last year of your deal or get the franchise tag in 2019, which would mean waiting at least two years for a multiyear extension as opposed to one more.

Thomas’ stance would seem to keep the Cowboys in play, but roadblocks would remain if talks became serious.

Texans safety Andre Hal diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Houston Texans safety Andre Hal has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of cancer that affect white blood cells, the team announced Friday.

Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry and Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner were diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and have since returned. Berry was diagnosed in December 2014 and returned to earn Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2015. Conner was diagnosed as a junior at the University of Pittsburgh and returned as a senior.

Hal’s teammate in Houston, David Quessenberry, was diagnosed with non-Hogkin’s lymphoma in 2014 and rejoined the Texans in 2017.

The Texans say Hal is currently discussing his treatment options and is continuing to undergo testing and evaluation.

However, in Watson, we have a player with elements of risk but also with a demonstrated production upside that is far higher than any of his peers. In his short stint as a starter last season, Watson lapped everyone else in production. Even if there is no guarantee that he repeats that level of dominance as a sophomore, there is more beneficial upside to your fantasy team in taking that chance than there is downside if you swing and miss. Because if Watson isn’t as impressive this season, or if he gets injured again, we’ve already established that quarterback is a deep position and more than likely you’d be able to get a quarterback whose production isn’t far off the best.

But if you swing and connect, if Watson’s production last season is who he really is, and he can replicate it this season, you would have a quarterback who is significantly better than everyone else. And one, by the way, whom you can likely get in the fifth round because many people don’t start drafting quarterbacks until later. That kind of upside from that type of draft slot can legitimately win leagues.

Is Watson a guaranteed bet for 2018? No. But he is the best fantasy quarterback prospect in the league and the one who should be drafted first in any 10- or 12-team format.Miller: ‘I try to be an all-around defender’

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco hasn’t been well-supported in years

Flacco might be a lot better off with Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead than he was with Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin in 2017, especially since there’s also hope for young wideouts Chris Moore and Breshad Perriman. 

The Cleveland Browns hope they’ve found a franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield, but before Mayfield sees the field in the regular season, bridge starter Tyrod Taylor will get to work with a group that has more talent than the majority of NFL offensive supporting casts. 

The Browns have one of the most intriguing receiver trios in the league now that Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry has been brought in to work with 2016 first-round pick Corey Coleman (finally healthy) and redemption-seeking former superstar Josh Gordon (finally eligible). 

At 26, top wideout DeAndre Hopkins just might be on a Hall of Fame track. He’s coming off a 96-catch, 1,378-yard, 13-touchdown first-team All-Pro season despite the fact that Watson played only seven games and the offense was terrible without the rookie quarterback. Meanwhile, 24-year-old 2016 first-round pick Will Fuller scored seven touchdowns despite playing just 10 games as a sophomore in 2017. 

Those two should only get better, especially with Watson back. But they’re not perfect (Hopkins has caught a shamefully low 54 percent of the passes thrown his way the last two years, while Fuller has missed eight games in two seasons because of injury), and they don’t have a lot of support. Reserve receivers Bruce Ellington and Braxton Miller have clear ceilings, while top tight ends Stephen Anderson and Ryan Griffin are far from being game-changers. 

The Texans offense does have a nice veteran-youngster backfield duo in Lamar Miller and D’Onta Foreman, but Miller’s yards-per-attempt average has plummeted in three consecutive seasons (from 5.1 to 4.5 to 4.0 to 3.7), and Foreman is still trying to rehab a torn Achilles that ended a promising rookie season in November. 

Hopkins and Fuller can make up for a lot of those shortcomings, but if anything happens to either of those guys, the Texans might not have enough firepower for Watson in 2018. There’s a lot of potential, but it’s risky being that thin.

MLB wrap: Cubs get extra-inning win to split doubleheader with Dodgers

Center-fielder Albert Almora Jr. hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning to give the Cubs a 2-1 victory earning a doubleheader split with the Dodgers Tuesday.

Kris Bryant opened the inning with a triple, and after an intentional walk to Javier Baez, Almora had the stage set to be the hero.

The Cubs earned some payback with the win, as the Dodgers had won the first game of the doubleheader, 4-3, thanks to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer’s two-run double in the top of the ninth.

I’m very proud of what school I went to and obviously people don’t think of Richmond as a big football school, Lauletta told The Post on the last day of minicamp. Richmond was amazing to me, so I’m very grateful.

Those are three people I’ve worked with for five straight years, so I know them really well and got a chance to talk to them yesterday before practice. So it was definitely good seeing them out here.

Lauletta recalled how his time at Richmond was a challenge, both academically and in football. But he isn’t the only player on the Giants’ roster with roots in Virginia.

Pederson is in a much different boat now in 2018, but he might approach it in training camp, which begins in late-July, in a similar way.

Maybe we’ll do the same type of thing, Pederson said on Thursday at NovaCare Complex.

He has Nick Foles, the reigning Super Bowl MVP residing on the top of the depth chart as Wentz recovers from knee surgery. This is Wentz’s team, Pederson said as much this week, but until he’s ready to go, Foles is the No. 1 quarterback.

Of course, Wentz is rapidly progressing, already working in 7 on 7 drills in minicamp despite suffering a Torn ACL in December.

So if Wentz makes enough progress to become a full — or near-full — participant in training camp, don’t expect him to receive 100 percent of the first-team reps just yet.

Tentatively, Pederson’s plan would be to have Nick (and) Carson working with the ones, working with the starters so we’re not losing a lot of that valuable time, Pederson said.

Ravens sign first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens’ entire draft class is now signed.

Baltimore signed first-round tight end Hayden Hurst today, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Hurst is due a four-year, $11.1 million deal as the 25th overall pick in the draft. He’ll also have a fifth-year option, like every first-round pick.

A former minor league baseball player who once got a $400,000 signing bonus from the Pittsburgh Pirates, Hurst caught 44 passes for 559 yards and two touchdowns at South Carolina last year.

The Ravens had two first-round picks and have already signed the other first-rounder, quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Adam Vinatieri not looking to hang them up anytime soon

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri will likely be making some history in 2018.

That way, you’ve got to have that versatility in that room, that if somebody gets injured or something like that, the next guy’s gotta be up, Edwards said, via the team’s website. And he’s [a great example], especially for the young guys — ‘Hey, the more that you can do, the longer you’re going to be able to stick around and help us win football games.’

The Vikings have had a need for a body at safety as Andrew Sendejo has been out with an undisclosed injury and Newman got into the spirit by wearing Sendejo’s No. 34 on the practice field. If he and Harrison Smith stay healthy in the regular season, Newman’s reps at safety may not come into play directly but all that experience will factor into Minnesota’s defense one way or another.

Terez Owens first reported the rumored coupling in April, after Vonn, 33, was spotted at a number of Subban’s games. Following Nashville’s elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs, the athletically gifted duo took in Game 7 of the Cavaliers-Celtics series in late May.

Vonn previously dated NFL coach Kenan Smith for a year, before calling it quits last November.

NFL suspends Victor Bolden four games for PEDs

The NFL has suspended 49ers receiver Victor Bolden the first four games of the regular season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Bolden is eligible to return October 1, following the 49ers’ September 30 game against the Chargers. He can participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

Bolden, 23, said he unknowingly used a supplement on the NFL’s banned substance list.

Chargers seventh-round RB Justin Jackson has been described by his college coach as a unicorn. (That’s good, right?)

Chris’ older brother John Mara is one of the Giants’ co-owners and also right-hand man to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on major league-wide issues (like the anthem policy) in his role as chairman of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee.

I’m ready for the big show, Hardy said before the signing was confirmed, per Simon Samano of MMAjunkie. I love the opportunity. I train at the best gym in the world, and I have full confidence and faith that those guys are there to get me ready for whatever comes next.

I am so grateful for all of the support my family, friends, and certainly my fans, have shown me throughout my entire career in the National Football League. When it was announced that I was going to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the response received from my fans was overwhelming, and I am truly humbled. I am honored to be included among this group of fellow inducted individuals.

The 27-year-old Kendricks started 13 games for the Eagles last season. He has played his entire six-year career in Philadelphia.

Kendricks joins a deep linebacker corps that also includes Jamie Collins, Christian Kirksey, Joe Schobert, James Burgess and fifth-round rookie Genard Avery.

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, D-Essex, said passing the bill is a big deal because sports betting will not only generate tax revenue but generate thousands of jobs in the state and more business to hotels and restaurants.

Steelers sign a pair of players after losing two to injuries

The Steelers added two players to their roster on Monday to take the place of two others who suffered serious injuries during OTAs.

Also in October 2017, Trump admitted to orchestrating a walkout of an NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts, in which Pence attended the game briefly and then left when players knelt during the national anthem.

In late October 2017, a handful of NFL owners met with a select group of players during the league’s New York meetings.

In a confidential meeting that was secretly taped and then leaked to the New York Times, Kraft can be heard referring to kneeling as the elephant in the room.

The problem we have is, we have a president who will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don’t feel is in the best interests of America,Kraft said, according to the Times.

… It’s all about what you want to do, if something makes sense. I know this next deal is going to be potentially my last deal. Hopefully, I get more after that, but you just never know, so I want to make sure that I get it done right so it works for both ways. For me, playing out this year and hopefully getting something done. I think it’ll happen as long as I come back from this ankle injury and look better than I did before, which I’m feeling good about, because everything is going according to plan right now. You will know how they feel as we’re talking.

But Ertz, for example, said he wasn’t even sure if he was going to the White House right up until the end.

I don’t know what I was going to do, Ertz said. It doesn’t really matter at this point.

Other players wouldn’t comment on their intentions, either. That included right guard Brandon Brooks, who said, I’m just going to leave that one alone.

But they disagreed with the assessment that they were abandoning their fans.

Rays return to using relievers as starters vs. Blue Jays

jets_116The Tampa Bay Rays haven’t had much to be genuinely excited about in an up-and-down first third of the season, but a youth movement could do that with more games like Monday’s 8-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

For the first time in the major leagues, two of the franchise’s top prospects, shortstop Willy Adames and first baseman Jake Bauers, played together. Each drove in two runs to open a three-game series against Toronto.

Toronto has stuck with traditional starters, even when they haven’t fared well, like Jaime Garcia, who pitched for three teams last season and is on his fourth in less than a year with the Jays. Garcia is 2-4 with a 5.57 ERA, though his last outing was a solid one, holding the Baltimore Orioles to one run and four hits in six innings.

Garcia, who spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, has only faced the Rays once, holding them to one run in 4 2/3 innings last year for a 1.93 ERA.

The Blue Jays, who had top prospect Vlad Guerrero Jr. at Tropicana Field as a guest as he works through an injury, had come to St. Petersburg fresh off a four-game sweep of the Orioles, but they let an early lead slip away Monday.

It was the first time in a while I can remember us scoring a bunch of runs early here, Jays manager John Gibbons said. Every time we did, they came back and answered and took the lead, and they broke it open late.

A federal judge dismissed the case. Judge Virginia Kendall said the board was allowed because the agreement allowed any expansion of Wrigley Field approved by governmental authorities.

A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in September upheld the decision to dismiss the case. The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear the case, leaving the lower court decisions in place.

The Cubs issued a statement Monday praising the ruling.

We are thrilled the Supreme Court of the United States today affirmed the Cubs’ right to renovate and improve Wrigley Field, it read. In declining to review the case brought by rooftop owners, the Supreme Court let stand previous court decisions and upheld the legal position the Cubs have advocated for more than a decade. The opposition of rooftop owners and local aldermen to Wrigley Field renovations has unfortunately cost the team time and energy to refute allegations we understood from the beginning were meritless.

Giuliani’s presence was noted by Yankees’ PR

jets_114The New York Yankees wish a very happy birthday to Mayor Giuliani, an announcer said over the loudspeaker during the game. The birthday greeting was greeted by loud and sustained boos throughout the crowd.

Some owners have had to testify as part of Colin Kaepernick’s grievance. The Wall Street Journal obtained some of what they said last week. In the deposition of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, he detailed a conversation with Trump last fall.

Here is what we have this week.

Joe Flacco is the guy who says I love you after the third date

Change is a constant in the free agency era of the NFL, so it should come as no surprise that the wide receiver spot has been a revolving door for Joe Flacco as a starting quarterback for the Ravens. The high point was when he could throw it up for Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin during the 2013 season when they won the Super Bowl. In the following seasons the Ravens would fail to bring back either receiver. Since then Flacco has been forced to throw to an older Mike Wallace. I can’t really include Breshad Perriman in that since the former first round pick really hasn’t been on the field enough.

History is not on side of ‘Hard Knocks’-bound Browns or coach Hue Jackson

As if the Cleveland Browns didn’t face a big enough challenge as they try to rebound from last year’s 0-16 season, now they’ll face the Hard Knocks Effect, which may be on the way to replacing the Sports Illustrated Jinx in the NFL.

Cleveland has won one game since Jackson’s arrival in 2016 with a quarterback carousel that has become comical. We can already picture how the first episode will begin — with slow-motion shots of Jackson’s impending leap into Lake Erie (scheduled for June 1) to make good on a promise that he’d dunk himself should the team fail to improve on its 1-15 showing in 2016.

And go ahead and toss in some dramatic b-roll from the January parade in which approximately 3,000 Browns fans “celebrated” the 0-16 season. There will be shots of fans wearing bags over their heads and scenes from the draft party — Cleveland’s version of the Super Bowl — celebrating Mayfield’s arrival.

“Good QBs are hard to find.” Still, a handful of NFL evaluators polled by Yahoo Sports agreed that even if Manziel initially wins the starting job for Hamilton — which is no sure thing, as the presumptive No. 1 quarterback, Jeremiah Masoli, started 12 of 18 games there last year — he will likely need to have at least one, realistically two, productive and drama-free seasons in the CFL before an NFL team feels comfortable bringing him in.

“He probably needs a few years of good football, combined with zero off-field issues,” one decision-maker said. “He needs to show that he is committed, and a changed person,” another added. “Go play in Canada and show you can play,” one league source said, who also wondered if Manziel’s pride would allow him to put in the necessary work to improve. And therein lies the rub.

“Last year I let everything get to me.” Ross said, via the team’s website. “I let my injury get to me. I was trying to do more than I could. I was out of shape. I’m not trying to make excuses, but its real life things. You can’t just come in the NFL and be that guy. You have to come in and prepare. I’ve learned that. It’s growth and progression from here on.”cowboys_073

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