Kareem Hunt is the X factor the Chiefs have been waiting for

You can win a championship with Alex Smith, but Alex Smith is not going to win you a championship. Yes, there is a difference. A big one.

An athlete first and a quarterback second, Smith proved Monday night that, at 33 Cheap Jerseys China Wholesale years old, he still has plenty of life in his arm and in his legs. As he was establishing the Chiefs as pro football’s best team in a 29-20 comeback victory over the Washington Redskins, Smith showed the toughness and wisdom shaped by a dozen years of hard living in the NFL.

Newton on his raised-fist touchdown celebration: “It was to signify Black Power, but more importantly, I pray every night for God to give me a pinnacle to give people hope. I did it to raise — to show Black Pride because I am an African American, but more or less, I want all people just to see when I play, I want them to see the joy that I go out there and play with. Win lose or draw, it was a great win for us today. I just hope that I put a lot, or not I, we as a team put a lot of smiles on the beautiful people of the Carolinas.”

Steelers receiver Antonio Brown on throwing a Gatorade bucket on the sideline after Ben Roethlisberger didn’t see he was wide open in the second quarter of Pittsburgh’s win over the Ravens: “I’m passionate about the game. Any time you work as hard, and you expect something out of the play Cheap Jerseys Cn and it doesn’t go the way you wanted, you get a little frustrated.”

Gordon Hayward’s free agency is being fought through Twitter emojis

The Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat are in the midst of a frantic bidding war for free agent Gordon Hayward, who is taking meetings with all three over the first three days of free agency. There’s no clear favorite right now, so players on those teams have taken to tweeting their own arguments for Hayward joining those teams. Emojis only, though.

Luke [Walton]’s a helluva coach, but I thought [Russell] was just looking for a fresh start, he told SB Nation. So we’re like a fresh program, fresh start, and I really hope that can jumpstart him.

For Atkinson, a Northport, N.Y. native, coaching the Nets has been a dream too good to be true. But he can’t stop to pinch himself. Atkinson’s a go guy; it’s how he’s risen up the ranks from an assistant coach in France to an assistant coach with both the Knicks and the Hawks before landing his dream job at home.

That’s why pacing back-and-forth along the Thomas & Mack Center sidelines, Atkinson has the demeanor of a man who knows his work is cut out for him. Because the Nets aren’t competing for the now; they’re pacing themselves for the future.

Then there are the good players with question marks. Really good players future or current stars don’t make it to restricted free agency, and if they do, their teams lock them up immediately. The best young players usually sign rookie extensions after their third seasons. Some don’t, and become restricted free agents ever so briefly after mutually agreeing to a new contract (as happened with Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, and Draymond Green) or being yanked into a new max contract (as happened with Jimmy Butler). Below the star level, it’s not so simple.

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Sue Bird comes out as gay, is dating Megan Rapinoe

Sue Bird won Olympic gold in Rio with the U.S. women’s basketball team. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
WNBA player and Olympic champion Sue Bird has come out publicly in an article with ESPNW. Bird told Mechelle Voepel that her sexual orientation isn’t a surprise to anyone who knows her. From ESPNW:

I’m gay. Megan’s my girlfriend … these aren’t secrets to people who know me, Bird says. I don’t feel like I’ve not lived my life. I think people have this assumption that if you’re not talking about it, you must be hiding it, like it’s this secret. That was never the case for me.

After averaging a career-high 19.6 points per game two years ago with Phoenix, Knight struggled last season. He averaged only 11 points per game while shooting just under 40 percent from the field, also recording a career-low 2.4 assists per game. It looked like there was a path for Knight to bounce back this season, but the injury derailed any chances to do that.

For the Suns, this is an unfortunate blow. Phoenix has been rumored to be in the market as a third team in a Kyrie Irving or Carmelo Anthony trade, taking on assets in exchange for a veteran like Eric Bledsoe. One reason Bledsoe was likely seen as expendable was Knight, however, and now his absence for most of the season could potentially change the mind of the Suns front office. For now, that’s just speculation, especially since the Suns haven’t been definitively linked in any deals. However, it’s a possibility that Knight’s injury has bigger ramifications.

Knight’s injury opens up a larger role for Tyler Ulis and perhaps second-round pick Davon Reed, whom the Suns selected with the 32nd overall pick last month.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is sitting out EuroBasket 2017, and Greece is livid for some reason

Against all odds, Giannis Antetokounmpo, an NBA wunderkind, was slated to play with the Greek national basketball team at EuroBasket 2017 this summer. EuroBasket has essentially become an exhibition tournament played for pride: It no longer figures in qualification for the Olympics or the FIBA World Cup. EuroBasket simply crowns the champions of Europe every couple of years.

On the surface, it’s just a bag of course. It’s meant to carry school supplies, which isn’t a small thing, but it’s also very common. But each year now, for four years in a row, Wall has mattered in some child’s life. He’s showed them that they matter, and that they can make a difference given the proper tools. They don’t have to resort to other, sometimes more dangerous, means to make ends meet.

I just want these kids to understand that no matter where you start at or what you go through, you always can accomplish anything in life, Wall said. It might not be a professional basketball player. It might be a doctor, it might be a nurse. It might be whatever you want it to be. But if that’s what you want to be, lock in and set your goal for it and work hard every day for it.

So, even if it seems trivial, a little backpack goes a long way. Wall is showing children there is another way, through what he does and through what they can do in school. And for this community, that means the world.

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Kristaps Porzingis is being groped by a giant honey-soaked arm in this Latvian Visa commercial

A commercial for a new Visa card in Latvia has given us one of the most confusing, bizarre, awe-inspiring pieces of video ever to star Kristaps Porzingis. Pour yourself a stiff drink for this one, because you’re going to need it:

It opens with an uncomfortably long arm extending through the clouds and reaching out to us. The arm is covered in an extremely long sleeve, the maker of which we’re never introduced to. Conceivably, it’s from a God-like tailor of unimaginable skill in the arts of tensile strength and textile flexibility:

The arm swims with dolphins and strokes a vintage car before making its way to a very good dog alone in a field:

There are no clouds in this world. Humans have no deign to build in the pupper’s realm. It is alone, waiting to be touched by human hands and is sadly met with a hellish nightmare arm.

While they have been linked to every star player to come along, Ainge has been a discerning shopper at the moment of truth. He was nowhere near the DeMarcus Cousins fire sale and he held off on Jimmy Butler’s draft night trade to the Wolves.

He wanted Paul George, but he wanted to do it on his terms and his timetable. The Pacers said no and we’ll see if that was a wise move or impulsive. For his part, Ainge wasn’t giving up on the Brooklyn pick or the Sauce Castillo Swap (as Ziller has termed it) and he wasn’t giving up their young guys like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown either.

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Clippers sign European star Milos Teodosic to 2-year deal

After star point guard Chris Paul left Los Angeles via trade to the Houston Rockets, the Clippers addressed their need for a floor general by signing Serbian guard Milos Teodosic, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal is worth $12.3 million over two years and includes a player option on Year 2.

Pierce averaged 21.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists with Boston in 15 seasons. He was the Finals MVP for the Celtics in the 2008 Finals alongside Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen as they beat the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

His name will forever be a constant throughout the Celtics’ all-time leaderboards. The California native tops the franchise lists in three-point field goals (1,823), free throws (6,434), and steals (1,583), while also placing as the Celtics’ second all-time leading scorer with 24,021 career points.

Boston originally drafted with the No. 10 overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft out of Kansas. He made his first All-Star Game in 2002 when he was 24 years old.

For his career, Pierce played with four teams, including the Nets and Wizards later in his career. He averaged 19.7 points per game throughout his 19 seasons in the NBA.

Furthermore, if the player is willing to take a reasonable deal, he’ll just agree to it with the original team and bypass the games. If the original team values the player highly, they’ll likely make a generous offer to avoid the contract trickery that restricted free agency brings.

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Kyrie Irving requests trade from Cavaliers, stunning LeBron James and entire NBA

Kyrie Irving shocked the basketball world when he requested to be traded from the Cavaliers, according to multiple reports. Despite winning a championship and reaching three straight Finals, Irving is reportedly tired of ceding the spotlight to LeBron James and yearns to run his own team.

For those who are emoji illiterate (no shame in that!), here’s a translation: a palm tree represents the Miami Heat, who are trash. The shamrock emoji is the Celtics, of course, and they’re poop. And the Jazz, represented by a saxophone? The trophy emoji is often used to represent something that’s generally positive, but in this specific instance, perhaps Gobert is trying to say that if Hayward returns then Utah will win a championship.

Ah yes, the we have more rings flex. That’s what he’s saying: the Heat have three, the Celtics have 17, and the Jazz have … none. (That’s what the little emoji guy is saying, crossing his arms and shrugging.)

However you want to categorize him, Hayward is an offensive star and offensive stars solve problems. He should fit seamlessly into a system that was desperate for another shot-creator and shooter to pair with Isaiah Thomas. One or the other should be on the court at all times, meaning those interminable minutes when the Celtics couldn’t do anything but fire up contested threes will become a thing of the past.

Hayward does come with a cost. To clear the space to offer him a max contract, the Celtics had to waive Tyler Zeller and renounce their free agents, including Kelly Olynyk. They’ll also need to trade somebody from their roster. That somebody will be one or more of the following: Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, or Jae Crowder.

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How the NBA can keep self-destructive teams like the Nets from hurting the league

The Brooklyn Nets had a productive offseason, adding D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll, and Jarrett Allen.

But let’s be honest: We’re grading on a curve here. The Nets also lost Brook Lopez, who is better now than anyone else mentioned. It’s not clear Brooklyn will win more than the 20 games the Nets won in 2016-17. The Nets are still in deep trouble.

Consider it from this angle: Brooklyn swung its deal for Russell because the second-worst team in the league was from a team nearly as awful as the Nets themselves! This bodes poorly for immediate improvement.

What’s worse is that tanking still does nothing for the Nets this season: Brooklyn owes Boston its 2018 first-round pick outright due to the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce trade. That same trade cost the Nets the No. 3 pick in 2016 and the No. 1 pick in 2017. That pick could send Luka Doncic or Michael Porter to the Celtics in 2018.

So yes, the Nets found a way to improve this summer. But without a lottery pick in 2018, Brooklyn is still two years away from being two years away.

There are a number of reasons teams end up not moving disgruntled stars just look at how the Kyrie Irving buzz has stalled and Aldridge might be one of the most complicated cases around. That’s both bad and good.

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