– The Nuggets sent a stern warning to the Nets late Monday night, threatening to trade F Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks if the Nets do not keep trade talks private. For a deal that was reportedly imminent 24 hours ago, this is a huge stumbling block if the Nets and Nuggets don’t quit bickering. Al Iannazzone’s report in the New Jersey Bergen Record from Sunday night called the Nuggets executives “inexperienced,” and while that may be the case, by allowing this sentiment to be portrayed by one of their mouthpieces, the Nets may ultimately lose their sought-after man. As for the Nuggets, they aren’t doing themselves any favors with their fan base by threatening to take less because the Nets are behaving poorly. Bottom line, this trade is far from a done deal. The Nets can still offer the best package of young players and cap space, but the Nuggets appear to be holding out for more and negotiating in the media.
In an update, according to SI.com, the Rockets are making a push to acquire Carmelo. The Rockets can’t offer the Nuggets much young talent, but they do have three huge expiring contracts in F Yao Ming of Yao Ming ($17.7M), F Shane Battier ($7.4M) and F Jared Jeffries ($6.9M). The problem here is that Anthony is unlikely to sign an extension with the Rockets, basically killing any momentum. Not only does he want to live in the New York area, but the Rockets would have very little talent around him after the deal.
– On Monday’s RAW, Shawn Michaels was announced as the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011. No announcement was made regarding who would induct Michaels. This year’s ceremony will take place at the Phillips Arena from Atlanta, Georgia on April 2 during WrestleMania 27 weekend. HBK wrote on Twitter:
“Surprise! Surprise! Seriously, thanks to all of u for making my career such a joy. I will carry those moments w/me all my life. Thx 4 sharing it w/me.”
After it was announced that HBK would be inducted, longtime friend Sean “X-Pac” Waltman wrote the following on Twitter.com/TheRealXPac:
“I have no words right now to describe how happy I am for Shawn.”
“No one deserves it more. I will be there to see him inducted if I have to f—ing hitchhike to get there… I would love for the Wolfpac to be in attendance that night. I’m trying to think of the last time The Kliq were all together. 2002?”
– The Undertaker (rotator cuff surgery) has begun physical therapy. He was backstage at the TLC PPV last month and was said to be in good spirits and good physical shape. WWE and The Undertaker remains optimistic about his chances of working WrestleMania 27, although him being healthy by then is a “best case” scenario. As has been discussed before, the possibility exists of the Undertaker working in a tag match if he’s not able to wrestle singles.
– WWE has been issuing copyright claims to YouTube regarding the trailer for WWE Studios’ upcoming Triple H themed movie The Chaperone in an effort to have it vanquished from the video sharing website. Company officials were reportedly upset over the version that hit the web, feeling that it is of poor quality. WWE, however, launched a website featuring the very same trailer as well as a promotional photo for the film. The website is www.TheChaperone.com.au. The Chaperone is slated for a short theatrical release starting the weekend of February 18. The film will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on March 8th. This is the same strategy WWE went with for Big Show’s “Knucklehead” movie, with a limited release prior to the DVD release.
– Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Yankees are stepping up their pursuit of free agent RHP Justin Duchscherer. Duchscherer, 33, has battled a range of troubling injuries over the last season seasons and made only five starts for the A’s in 2010 before requiring hip surgery, but he’s outstanding when healthy and is expected to be fine by the time spring training rolls around. He has a solid 3.13 career ERA and 1.14 career WHIP.
– The Tigers are nearing a 1-year/$3M deal with performance-based incentives with RHP Brad Penny. He posted a strong 3.23 ERA and 35/9 K/BB ratio in nine starts with the Cardinals last season before a back injury ended his season. If Penny can stay healthy, he’s a highly effective starter. He should be 100% this spring.
– Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that the Rangers are “actively trying to lure” free agent DH Jim Thome to Texas. The Rangers have committed to using 3B Michael Young as their primaryDH this season, but Young could simply take half of his starts at first base and allow Thome to bat solely against righty pitching. The 40-year-old posted a stellar .302/.455/.698 batting line with 19 home runs in 189 at-bats against righties last season for the Twins, and would probably do quite well at the Ballpark in Arlington.
– RHP Kris Benson told Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com that he has decided to retire. “I’m done. I decided pretty much after this past season that I wasn’t going to pursue anything. I’ve been putting way too much into it and not getting enough out of it, as far as the rehab, working out, training, and then not getting the type of results I expect from myself.” Benson, 36, had a 5.14 ERA over three starts with the D’Backs last season, but didn’t make an appearance after April due to more shoulder problems. The former 1996 No. 1 overall pick calls it a career with a 70-75 record to go along with a 4.42 ERA.
– The Rangers have acquired F Wojtek Wolski from the Coyotes for D Michal Rozsival. The Rangers’ forwards have been decimated with injuries, and they needed to add some depth. Wolski has struggled this season with six goals and 16 points in 36 contests, but another change of scenery may help him get back on track. He was a point-per-game player when he joined Phoenix last season from the Avalanche in a deadline deal. The Rangers also saved $1.2M in cap room.
– Red Wings’ G Chris Osgood (sports hernia) has undergone surgery and will miss 6-8 weeks. GM Ken Holland said, “If the doctor sees a significant tear, it’ll be closer to eight weeks. If not, it’ll be closer to six. We won’t know until the doctor goes in there and sees how bad it is.” Osgood had been bothered by a sore groin for two months, hoping it would get better. The pain finally became too much after Saturday’s morning skate in Vancouver, and Osgood flew home Sunday and into Philadelphia today. F Kris Draper had the same procedure in October and ended up missing 6 weeks. Osgood should be returning around the same time as D Brad Stuart (broken jaw) and F Mike Modano (wrist). F Danny Cleary (ankle) and F Pavel Datsyuk (hand) are expected back at the beginning of February.
– Penguins’ coach Dan Bylsma said Monday that F Sidney Crosby (mild concussion) is “is progressing, getting better” in his recovery. The Pittsburgh captain missed a third straight game on Monday night and not surprisingly the team has struggled without him going 0-2-1 over that span. There is no timetable set for his return as the Penguins will wait until he is completely symptom-free before getting him back in the lineup. Stay tuned.
– LSU’ CB Patrick Peterson announced Monday that he will forgo his senior season and enter the 2011 NFL draft. “I’m projected to be top five,” Peterson said. At 6’1″ and 222 pounds, Peterson will be strong in zone coverage in the secondary. He’s also a very talented kick returner, ranking 7th in the nation on kickoffs with a 29.3 YPA in 2010. He ranked 6th nationally on punts, averaging 16.1 YPA.
– According to MMA Junkie, the card for UFC 129 (April 30, 2010) in Toronto, Ontario is loaded with Canadian content. The asterisk’d fights are not officially announced.
Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre (Montreal, Que) vs. Jake Shields
Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida*
Phil Davis vs. Matt Hamill*
Mark Bocek (Woodbridge, Ont) vs. Ben Henderson*
Claude Patrick (Toronto, Ont) vs. Daniel Roberts*
Rory MacDonald (Quesnel, B.C.) vs. James Wilks*
Brian Foster vs. Sean Pierson (Toronto, Ont)*
Pablo Garza vs. Yves Jabouin (Montreal, Que)*
Ivan Menjivar (Montreal, Que) vs. Charlie Valencia*
Jason MacDonald (New Glasgow, NS) vs. Ryan Jensen*
– With UFC 126 to UFC 129 officially announced, MMAjunkie.com reports that UFC 130 is expected to take place May 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and UFC 131 is expected to take place June 11 at Rogers Arena (formerly General Motors Place) in Vancouver. Both shows are expected to air on PPV.
UFC 130 is all but set in stone, and official announcement of the show could come this month. The fight is expected to feature Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Thiago Silva, and with his contract issues resolved, Roy Nelson is expected to meet ex-heavyweight champ Frank Mir. Health permitting, a third meeting between lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and challenger Gray Maynard also could be part of the show.
UFC 131, meanwhile, is in the final planning stages for Vancouver. UFC officials are working this week to finalize the show and venue. Vancouver hosted its first event, UFC 115, in June 2010 with a Rich Franklin vs. Chuck Liddell headliner. The event proved a hit and drew nearly 18,000 fans for a $4.2M gate.
No bouts are rumoured for UFC 131, but MMAjunkie reports that former heavyweight title-challenger Shane Carwin (back surgery) could be featured prominently on the card in his first fight back.