– The Bulls have signed G Derrick Rose to a 5-year/$94M extension. The deal will start in the 2012-13 season, when Rose is eligible to make about $16M. Both sides were trying to get a deal done before the start of the season, and there was never any doubt that D-Rose would be leaving anytime soon. Rose went from rookie of the year to all-star to MVP in his first three seasons, becoming the youngest player to win the latter award. One of the league’s MVPs stays in Chicago for the next half-decade.
– The Warriors and G Monta Ellis are being sued by a former employee for sexual harassment. The plaintiff is accusing Ellis of sexually harassing her from November 2010 to January 2011. The Warriors are being sued for firing the accuser and covering up the allegations on Ellis’ behalf. Following that, a press conference, where supposedly a photo of the evidence sent from Ellis’s cell phone and the identity of accuser will be revealed, will be held to discuss the allegations. The plaintiff plans to file the lawsuit Wednesday morning in Oakland at the Superior Court of Alameda County.
– The Clippers are reportedly close to signing free agent F Reggie Evans. Evans would provide some nice leadership and mentoring for F Blake Griffin and F DeAndre Jordan if signed. It’d be a rock solid move for the Clips.
– David Aldridge reports that the Rockets are balking at F Samuel Dalembert’s asking price and will pass on him “for now.” Dalembert may be able to re-sign with the Kings, but his time is running out.
– Grizzlies’ F Darrell Arthur (torn Achilles tendon) will miss the entire 2011-12 season. It’s a big blow to an already thin Memphis frontcourt.
– The Grizzlies have tendered an offer sheet to Bobcats’ RFA F Dante Cunningham, giving Charlotte three days to match the offer. Cunningham averaged 9.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 22 games for the Bobcats last season after a Feb. 24 trade from Portland. He shot 51 per cent from the field and averaged 24 minutes with Charlotte.
– According to Yahoo! Sports, the Nets are finalizing a 1-year deal with F Kris Humphries. He should be ready to go for the regular season.
– After getting a double-double in 18 games during his rookie year and 33 games in his second season, Nets’ F Brook Lopez regressed on the boards last year, managing only nine double-doubles seeing his rebound total drop to a mere six per game. Last season Brook Lopez grabbed 10 percent of the available rebounds when he was on the floor, while teammates Kris Humphries (22%) and Troy Murphy (15.4%) were considerably more successful on the glass. “It was a number of things – I was being lazy, first and foremost. Hump was doing such a good job a lot of the time, that I’d see him doing his thing and kind of leak out offensively…there’s really no excuse for that because I didn’t leak out defensively at all.” Lopez has made an effort to focus more on rebounding, and it showed in their first preseason game when he pulled down 11 boards. We’ll see if it continues into the regular season.
– The Hawks have signed G Jannero Pargo. Pargo signed with the Bulls on March 20 but didn’t appear in a game last season. He played in 63 games with Chicago in the 2009-10 season and averaged 5.5 points and 1.4 assists.
– According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, the Rangers have had several conversations with C Mike Napoli’s representatives about a long-term extension. The club is also talking with the agents of LHP Derek Holland, 2B Ian Kinsler and OF Josh Hamilton this offseason in an effort to lock up their core. Nothing is believed to be imminent yet, and there likely won’t be progress until after RHP Yu Darvish’s fate has been determined. Napoli, 30, earned $5.8M this past season while batting .320/.414/.631 with 30 home runs, 75 RBI and a 1.046 OPS over 432 plate appearances. He’s arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter.
– According to ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand, the Yankees and Cubs bid less than $20M for RHP Yu Darvish. In contrast, the Rangers won the bid with a record $51.7M posting fee. Darvish, 25, posted a solid 1.44 ERA and 276/36 K/BB ratio in 232 innings this past season in Nippon Professional Baseball. Texas now has a 30-day window to work out a contract with him.
– According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, RHP Roy Oswalt has informed teams that he’s willing to accept a 1-year deal. Oswalt started by asking for a 3-year contract this winter, but didn’t draw much interest. Both have changed now, as the Nationals, Yankees, Red Sox and Royals have all expressed interest. Oswalt, who still has a gimpy back, posted a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts this past year for the Phillies.
– According to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, the Yankees are “BIG” on Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes. The 26-year-old defector is expected to gain residency in the Dominican Republic this week, and will be eligible for major league free agency shortly. The Yankees are known to be interested in him, and could be saving their offseason spending for him. The Marlins, Cubs and Tigers are among his other potential suitors.
– The Rockies have signed 3B Casey Blake to a 1-year/$2M contract with $1M in performance-based incentives, pending a physical. Blake, 38, batted .252/.342/.371 with four homers and a .713 OPS over 239 plate appearances in 2011 before undergoing season-ending neck surgery in September. He’ll be a stopgap at third until prospect Nolan Arenado is ready.
– The Royals have signed SS Yuniesky Betancourt to a 1-year contract. The club’s official Twitter account states that Betancourt will be a backup infielder this season. He posted a pedestrian .252/.271/.381 batting line in 2011 for the Brewers with below-average defence.
– The Rockies have officially signed OF Michael Cuddyer to a 3-year/$31.5M contract. Cuddyer, 33 in March, batted .284/.346/.459 with 20 home runs, 70 RBI, 11 stolen bases and an .805 OPS over 584 plate appearances with the Twins this past season. He’s expected to start in right field.
– The D’Backs have officially signed OF Jason Kubel to a 2-year/$16M contract with a $7.5M option for 2014. The 29-year-old will make $7.5M in 2012, $7.5M in 2013, and the option for 2014 carries a $1M buyout. Kubel is expected to start in left field next season.
– According to Dan Hayes of the North County Times, the Rays and Cubs have expressed interest in Padres’ 1B Anthony Rizzo. He batted just .144/.282/.248 in 153 plate appearances this past year in the majors, but has outstanding minor league numbers.
– According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien, OF Cody Ross is now asking for a 2-year deal. Ross began the offseason looking for a 3-year contract, but was never realistically going to get one. The 31-year-old batted .240/.325/.405 in 121 games this past season for the Giants. He’s drawn interest from the Reds and the Cardinals.
– According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Red Sox have “increased dialogue” with free agent RHP Francisco Cordero. The Reds declined a $12M option on Cordero at the end of the 2011 season, but they’re hoping to bring him back at a lesser rate and might represent Boston’s primary competition. The 36-year-old right-hander registered a cool 2.45 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 37 saves in 69 2/3 innings this past season for Cincinnati. He’s likely seeing a two-year deal worth about $10 million annually.
– The Rays have signed RHP Joel Peralta to a 1-year contract, avoiding arbitration. Peralta, 35, went 3-4 with a 2.93 ERA in 71 appearances last season while recording a career-high six saves.
– It has been confirmed that the UFC 141 main event will remain intact. Alistair Overeem has been cleared for the fight with Brock Lesnar. Recent issues with the Nevada State Athletic Commission have been resolved with Overeem’s latest drug test. UFC president Dana White was the first to make a statement today via Twitter, which was later confirmed by multiple web reports. White wrote, “Overeem is ready to go!!!” He continued with, “Lesnar vs. Overeem is on!” UFC 141: “Lesnar vs. Overeem” takes place on Saturday, December 30, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Speaking of Lesnar, WinnipegFreePress.com is reporting that Lesnar has plead guilty to “improper tagging of an animal” on a November 2010 hunting trip. The other two charges were dropped. Lesnar will pay a $1,725 fine and his hunting license will be suspended for 6 months.
– Flames’ F Rene Bourque spoke out about his 2-game suspension for his hit on Blackhawks’ D Brent Seabrook:
“Honestly, I thought the ref was a big part of it. Especially right before I hit him, he does get tangled up and does turn towards the boards. I thought that would have a bigger role in the decision. Unfortunately it didn’t. I thought I’d get maybe a fine or a game. But two? A little harsh maybe.”
– The Kings have officially named Darryl Sutter the team’s new head coach. Sutter will assume his duties beginning with practice Wednesday, after which the club will hold a news conference to introduce him. He takes over a Kings team (15-14-4) that entered Tuesday three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with the second-fewest goals in the league, just three behind the Islanders. Sutter, 53, has a career regular-season record of 409-320-131 and 47-54 mark in the playoffs. This is his 13th season as a head coach in the NHL.
– Flyers’ F Claude Giroux (concussion) skated for the third straight day Tuesday. There remains no timetable for his return, but Giroux is flying with the team on their current roadtrip. He has now missed three games since he was kneed in the back of head by teammate Wayne Simmonds on December 10 against the Lightning.
– The Leafs have placed F Colby Armstrong (concussion) on the IR. Armstrong collided with Canucks’ F Ryan Kesler on Saturday, but the team wasn’t made aware of Armstrong’s symptoms until Monday. Armstrong was nursing a foot injury sustained in the same game. The 29-year-old was making his way back from a sprained ankle that sidelined him until December 9. The Leafs have also placed F Philippe Dupuis (upper-body injury) on the IR.
– Senators’ F Milan Michalek (concussion) skated by himself prior to the team’s morning skate. It was the first time he skated since suffering the injury on December 13.
– NoDQ.com’s Jack Foley has posted the following theory in regards to the “It Begins” promos currently airing:
These videos are hyping a potential WM28 feud between CM Punk and Chris Jericho and here’s why: In the video the little boy is representing Jericho and the little girl is representing Punk. Keep this in mind throughout my explanation. Notice, how the little boy continues to write in his notebook and the little girl keeps trying to look at what he is writing. Once the boy goes into the corner (Jericho’s time off from WWE), The girl tries to do the work herself, but can’t come up with anything. Keep in mind that she looked at the boy’s notebook and this is implying that she has stolen the boy’s work, which represents Jericho going to come back and claim that Punk is a fraud and has stolen his ideas and gimmick and what not. Also the ball in the video represents Jericho “dropping the ball” by leaving and Punk “taking the ball and running with it”. The ball belonged to the boy and the girl took. At the end the girl, is standing in the spotlight and the boy is in the dark with his head down indicating that we have forgotten about Jericho and that Punk is the new guy we all know and love. This will lead to WM match with Punk and Jericho. Look within the video not what the kid is saying….
In addition, the latest installment of WWE’s cryptic promos leading up to January 2 appears to have the name “Chris” crossed out on the cover of the notebook written in by the little boy in the videos, adding to speculation that the person in question is Chris Jericho. Stay tuned.
– WWE has rescinded their contract offer to Ring of Honor star Chris Hero after results from his drug test showed elevated testosterone levels, according to a report at Wrestling News World. Stay tuned.
– Skip Sheffield has deleted the cryptic tweets he made over the weekend that he’s returning on January 2nd as his former gimmick, “Ryback,” a terminator cyborg. Sheffield’s weekend tweets read:
“Sitting in a chair at a table in Sin City wondering why this ladder is in front of me? Laughing at the gossip, the Secret Power, it begins..
“Who am I? Only time will tell, but rest assured narkboys Im not a Terminator sent to save John Connor. I also hate College Station #Fake
“I refuse to type it yyywid is fake, accept n forget. My life my rules. Born n raised in Sin City, soon a psycho will be unleashed. #Patience.”
Sheffield been out of action since breaking his leg and ankle on August 18, 2010 at a Raw live event in Honolulu, Hawaii.
– Alberto Del Rio and Beth Phoenix were both injured at Monday’s WWE RAW Supershow from Philadelphia. Del Rio was carried out of the building by trainers after Raw went off the air. There was some fear that he may have suffered a groin injury, but after being checked out by WWE trainers, he’s said to be doing alright. He’s not expected to miss any ring time, despite some soreness. Beth Phoenix has a nasty lump on the side of her face following her match with Alicia Fox. At this time, it’s unclear at what point in the match the injury takes place, but it looks like she has a golf ball sticking out of her right temple. She tweeted:
@AliciaFoxy tried her hardest to destroy my face. There will be hell to pay for trying to tarnish my beauty.”
“After hours in the trainers room, I broke a lot of mirrors with my fists.
Phoenix’s partner Natalya tweeted a message of support:
“@TheBethPhoenix i am sorry to see what happened on Raw…But we are still UNBREAKABLE.”
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has updated his blog, which you can read in its entirety over at JRsBarBQ.com. Here are some highlights of what JR wrote about:
The Cryptic 1/2 Promo Videos: “I have no firm idea on who these well produced/written vignettes are for but I have my suspicions. Again, if I truly knew, why would I spoil the surprise? Doing these types of vignettes always builds anticipation in a big way with many fans which is why I think that they should be used more frequently. ”
Daniel Bryan’s Title Win: “Proud to see Daniel Bryan make it to the top of the card as the new, World Heavyweight Champion. Those that knock Bryan for his lack of size generally don’t understand athletics especially MMA. I like that Daniel Bryan breaks the old mold, by and large, and he provides something/someone new for which the fans to emotionally invest. Bryan will be an effective fan favorite and someday, down the road, will be an outstanding wrestling villain.”
CM Punk As The Face Of WWE: “Based on WWE TLC PPV and Monday’s Raw from Philly, it certainly seems as if CM Punk has become the newest ‘face’ of WWE. No, John Cena hasn’t disappeared and Cena will still face The Rock at WM28 in the longest promoted and, arguably, the biggest Wrestlemania main event ever but Punk has been positioned to be the leader of a transitioning roster of young, WWE Superstars, many of who are ‘this close’ to taking the much needed step to the next level.”
– Alicia Fox has commented on the damage she did to Beth Phoenix’s face during their match on RAW last night. Phoenix tweeted pictures of a nasty looking bump on her left temple. Fox tweeted on Tuesday afternoon:
“@TheBethPhoenix wow!!!! I think your face looks better than ever!!!! Next one I’ll put more STANk on it!!!! Kiss kiss”
– CM Punk and The Rock were both listed on Guyism.com‘s list of the “Top 75 Guys We Wish We Were in 2011.” The Rock ranked #17 and CM Punk ranked at #5. Actor Ryan Gossling got the #1 spot. The description for CM Punk reads:
“C.M. Punk, the straight-edge champion of the WWE, kept things interesting in 2011 with his outspoken critique of the company, his feuds with John Cena and Alberto Del Rio, and his short-lived retirement from the company. With the year that he’s had, it’s clear the WWE needs him. We just hope debuting a new theme song, ‘Cult of Personality,’ is a sign the sober wrestler is back for good.”
– TNA star Samoa Joe was interviewed this week on AllWrestling.com’s Week In Review podcast. You can listen to the full interview here. Here are some highlights of what Joe said about:
Not being in the world title picture: “It’s always rough not to be in the world title picture but at the same time right now we are finding new talent and establishing new characters. TNA gives me opportunity to work with tremendous young talent. Playing a part in developing young talent is rewarding.”
Bruce Prichard As The Head of TNA Creative “TNA put me in the main event picture pretty early and these guys have been around just as long if not longer in Storm’s case. I’m very thankful to see those guys where they are right now from a personal standpoint.”
Whether He Would Jump Ship To WWE: “I’m still with TNA; we have a fantastic financial agreement. The relationship between me and TNA has always been great. I’m the type of person that really lives in the moment. I don’t put too much into trying to build scenarios that are bad. As long as I get an opportunity to wrestle and wrestle great people then I have the greatest job in the world.”
Stone Cold Saying WWE Should Sign Him: “That was one of the greatest compliments ever given to me in my career by far by one of the greatest athletes in the industry. Just hope that TNA sees that and we can take it from there. I’m big on loyalty. Some people are of the thought process that if you don’t like something, you quit. You go somewhere else. That’s just not me. I think it’s silly. I think it’s shallow and tawdry. I don’t think I’m done with what I want to do in TNA.”
Matt and Jeff Hardy: “I’m ecstatic for Jeff. I’ve never seen him more healthy and look so much more alive. God bless Matt. Matt is battling those same demons now. I hope and pray that he makes it through. At the end of the day, wrestlers are human beings. These are real people. No matter how much you hate their antics, no matter how much they disgust you, as a person, as a responsible human being I would never wish death on these people.”
On TV wrestling: “TV wrestling is very flash, bang, get it going. I’ve been told by many people in creative that those wrestling fans love the wrestling but it’s the other fans that don’t understand what a wrist lock is etc. I have had my disagreements on this. I think that the art of professional wrestling speaks for itself. I think if you are good enough professional wrestler you can tell your own story regardless of what extraneous feuds you have going. Fundamentally we may differ on that.”
His shoot on Scott Hall At Turning Point 2007: “There was an incident where Scott Hall no-showed. They handed me the mic and said “get him”. That’s what I was told. I went out there and got him. I ruffled a lot of fathers that day, in particular Kevin Nash. Kevin knew about the demons Scott was facing. None of us knew the extent of Hall’s issues.”
– 49ers’ coach Jim Harbaugh said Tuesday that he believes QB Alex Smith is the long-term answer at quarterback. This, despite the team ranking 29th in pass attempts. Harbaugh added that he believes Smith belongs in the Pro Bowl with QBs Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Sure. The team is reportedly trying to work out a long-term extension with Smith this summer.
– The Patriots will place RE Andre Carter (torn quad) on the IR, as he requires surgery. Ouch. The league’s last-ranked defence now loses their best pass rusher. Carter, 33 next year, will draw free agent interest after recording 10 sacks in 13 games.