– According to Sheridan Hoops, the Nets have dropped out of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, and will now focus on re-signing F Brook Lopez, F Kris Humphries and G MarShon Brooks. Orlando will continue to field offers for Howard, and will also look for a coach in the meantime. Howard Beck also reports that the Magic and Nets could revisit talks after January 15, when Lopez is eligible to be dealt again (assuming he re-signs with the Nets). Stay tuned.
– According to ESPN, the Nets are afraid that if they don’t trade or extend F Brook Lopez on Wednesday, he’ll sign an offer sheet with the Trail Blazers, or possibly the Rockets. The Blazers have cap space and need a big man after the Pacers matched their offer sheet for F Roy Hibbert. The Rockets should have the cap space if the Bulls match their offer to F Omer Asik. Stay tuned.
– While practicing with Team USA for the Summer Olympics, Wolves’ F Kevin Love revealed that his patience with the organization is running thin.
“My patience is not high. Would yours be, especially when I’m a big proponent of greatness surrounding itself with greatness? All these [Team USA] guys seem to have great players around them.
“It’s tough seeing all these guys that are young and older who have all played in the playoffs. When they start talking about that, I have nothing to talk about. If I don’t make the playoffs next year I don’t know what will happen.”
– The Warriors have acquired G Jarrett Jack from Hornets as part of Dorell Wright-to-Phily trade. The Hornets only requirement is to take back the draft rights to F Edin Bavcic (originally to Philadelphia) to complete the deal. Jack’s addition could mean that G Nate Robinson won’t be brought back. G Greivis Vasquez could now start at the point for the Hornets. The move will also get $5.4M off New Orleans’ cap.
– The Capitals have signed F Wojtek Wolski to a 1-year contract/$600K on Wednesday. The 26-year-old posted four goals and eight assists in 31 games between the Rangers and Panthers.
– The Hurricanes have signed D Marc-Andre Gragnani to a 1-year/2-way contract worth $800K in the NHL and $105K in the AHL. The 25-year-old had three goals and 15 assists in 73 games with the Sabres and Canucks last season.
– Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey’s longtime general manager, who has led the Devils to three Stanley Cup titles and five Eastern Conference crowns, was named Wednesday to this year’s induction class of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Former players Mike Modano, who won a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars, and Eddie Olczyk, who won one with the New York Rangers, are also a part of the class that will be enshrined in the fall. Since Lamoriello took over in 1987, the Devils have secured nine division titles and won the Cup in 1995, 2000, and 2003. Modano, who lost the Cup finals to New Jersey in 2000 as a member of the Stars, played in 21 NHL seasons. He finished with 561 goals and 1,374 points, and holds the record for most post-season points (145) by an American. His Stars defeated Buffalo in the 1999 Cup finals. Olczyk was the third overall pick of the 1984 draft and played for 16 years with the Blackhawks, Maple Leafs, Jets, Rangers, Kings and Penguins. He finished with 342 goals and 794 points in 1,031 games. His Rangers defeated Vancouver in 1994 to win the Cup.
– Next season’s Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will include two alumni games and around 100 players from the storied franchises. Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Chris Chelios and Larry Murphy are expected to appear for the Red Wings at the alumni games, along with Mickey Redmond, John Ogrodnick, Luc Robitaille, Dino Ciccarelli, Mark Howe, Chris Osgood, Mike Vernon and Alex Delvecchio. GM Ken Holland also said four members of Detroit’s “Grind Line” — Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty and Joe Kocur — are expected. Clark, Darryl Sittler and Doug Gilmour are expected to represent the Maple Leafs, along with Rick Vaive, Darcy Tucker, Felix Potvin, Mike Palmateer, Kevin Maguire, Dave Andreychuk, Curtis Joseph, Johnny Bower, Ron Ellis and Jim McKenny.
– According to his coach Neil Melanson, Chael Sonnen could retire from the UFC after losing his title fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 148.
“Any time you’re a part of training camp or you’re friends with somebody and they lose, you just worry about them like, how are they gonna handle it mentally? Are they gonna come back from this? You know, I don’t know what Chael’s plans are, but I got a feeling he’s done fighting. I don’t know. I’ve just got a feeling he’s done. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think he was serious when he said, ‘If you beat me, I will leave forever,’ and there’s a very good chance of that,” Melanson said.
“I never met anyone that had a scenario where it’s like, ‘If I don’t win this then I’m done,’ it never worked out positive for them because, just in my experience, you have to love the grind and if you love the grind, eventually you’ll get what you want because you give up what you need to give up.”
“Apparently Chael had his limit like, ‘This is it, I’ve had enough. If I don’t win this then it’s all not worth it.’ Having lost that, yeah, there’s a very good chance he could pursue other things. He’s a very smart guy, very well spoken. I know, whether he’ll admit to it or not, he has a lot of passion to be a broadcaster of sorts. He seems to excel in any type of speaking arrangement. He loves doing interviews. He loves hyping fights and I’m sure he loves training. He’s a good fighter. He’s a great fighter and he’s an awesome athlete but he can’t fight forever and maybe he’s at a point he’d like to do something else. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope I’m wrong.”
Sonnen also shot down rumours of a potential move to WWE in an interview published on USAToday.com. Sonnen said he’d go to the WWE as a fan, “but I go back to my promoter Dana White at the end of the night.”
– Suspended UFC heavyweight fighter Alistair Overeem believes current UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos is scared of him.
“For me, I’m a fighter, I’m here to kick ass, I don’t care who I’m fighting. I’m already a three-time world champion, I’ll fight anybody, anywhere, so I’m going to leave that to the gentlemen of the UFC to decide. I know [Junior dos Santos] didn’t want to fight me in the first place. I know he was happy [about the NSAC decision], I just know that. I hit very hard, I’ve knocked out a lot of people, I’ve submitted a lot of people. I am, in any way you look at it, a legitimate threat to his title.”
I’m gonna get it. He knows that. Cain (Velasquez) is also doing very well right now, but Cain doesn’t hi”t as hard as I do. Cain is smaller than I am and has less experience. I’m the biggest legitimate threat out there, that’s why he’s afraid.”
“I’m continuing to train. I’m continuing to improve my game. But I feel good because I was always in fight preparation – always, from one guy to the next. Now I’m having some time for myself. I’m using this time wisely. I’m settled into Miami. I really love it there. I’m finishing my house. And if you’re in fight preparation all the time, you can’t really do that. You’re just training all the time, and you have to go to bed every night at 11 p.m., and you’re not really meeting new people, so for me, this time off is great. I’m clearing my mind, and I can assure you I’m going to be back stronger in December.”
“Dana is an honest guy. He’s also a direct guy. We’re actually very alike. I’m also very direct. I think we’ll get along. We’re just taking our time. It was a good meeting. It was very calm. We voiced our opinions about what happened and just took it easy. It was positive. We were actually very much on the same page. He appreciated that I came in to speak to him directly, and I was satisfied after the meeting. It was very positive.”
– The Athletics have released LHP Brian Fuentes. Fuentes cleared waivers after being designated for assignment last week. He’s still owed roughly $3M for the rest of the season. The 36-year-old had a 6.84 ERA and 18/10 K/BB ratio over 25 innings, but should sign elsewhere.
– Red Sox’ OF Carl Crawford (left groin) will restart his minor league rehab assignment Thursday with Triple-A Pawtucket. Crawford hoped to be ready to rejoin the Red Sox right after the All-Star break, but was pulled from his minor league rehab assignment over the weekend due to a mild left groin strain. He should rejoin the team later this month, barring setbacks. He’ll also likely require Tommy John surgery, but will try and put that off until after the season.
– The Mets announced that RHP Dillon Gee’s (right shoulder) arterial blood clot was resolved, and he’ll be discharged from the hospital Wednesday. Gee will consider additional treatment options over the next few days–including possible surgery–to prevent a recurrence of clotting in the same location of the shoulder. There is no timetable for his return.
– Check out all 28 of Prince Fielder’s bombs in the 2012 MLB Home Run Derby:
– Check out this insame thunder clap in a recent Twins/Rangers game:
Twins’ OF Ben Revere tweeted the following after the game:
“My heart stopped when I heard the thunder at the stadium.. Glad no heard me scream like a little girl too!!! Lol.”
– Randy Orton, who is currently serving a 60-day suspension for his second violation of WWE’s Talent Wellness Program, is scheduled to compete in a future World Heavyweight Championship Match. On September 18 at the SmackDown taping at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he will face Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio in a Triple Threat Match for the belt. WWE Chief Operating Officer Triple H is advertised to make a special appearance at the event. Orton is expected to return to the SmackDown brand’s main event scene upon his return. Despite WWE’s typical reluctance to push wrestlers with two Wellness strikes against them, WWE’s lack of roster depth will likely result in Orton’s return to the the top SmackDown cards.
– According to the PWInsider, there is a lot of excitement behind the scenes in WWE surrounding Tyson Kidd’s push and his involvement in Sunday’s Money in the Bank match. Kidd, widely considered to be one of the most underutilized members of the roster, is determined to steal the show. With just days to go until Money in the Bank, there was actually some concern that Tensai’s recent attack of Kidd would result in him being taken out of the match.
– Daniel Bryan spoke to USAirwaysCenter.com this week to hype Sunday’s WWE Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Here are some highlights of what Daniel Bryan said about:
His Match With Punk on Sunday: “I don’t know what fans can expect. Obviously, whenever I wrestle CM Punk, they’re going to get a great wrestling match. But the one thing that is unknown about this whole thing is that AJ is going to be our referee. So when you put a 95-lb woman in a referee shirt, you never know what’s going to happen.”
How They Can Take It Up A Notch: “Well, it’s interesting. This is a pay-per-view match and it’s for the WWE Championship, so that obviously ups the intensity. I expect to be in the main event of the pay-per-view, so anytime that happens, and you have two guys with as much pride as me and CM Punk, you know it’s going to be intense.
What Caused Vince To Push Him: “Well, I think a lot of it was just opportunities. We were in a situation where Mark Henry and a lot of other guys were hurt. Then when I cashed in the Money in the Bank contract and won the championship, they gave me an opportunity to see what I could do. They gave me the opportunity to go out there and talk on the microphone in the ring. And the more that I was able to go out there and do it, and perform well, the more responsibility they were able to give me. “Okay, he did good last week, let’s give him a little more time this week. Let’s see if he can be out there for 10 minutes or 12 minutes on the microphone and hold people’s interests.” Luckily, I’ve been able to do it.”
“If you would have asked my high school English teacher if I would have been able to stand out in front of 10,000 people and talk on a microphone. He would have said, “Wait a second, this guy stuttered doing a book report.” So yes, it’s been pretty crazy.”
Who Will Win Money in the Bank: “Gosh, I think it’s a toss-up. Initially, I would say John Cena, but he’s never been in a Money in the Bank match and until you’ve been in one of those, you don’t know how they are or what’s going to happen. You’ve also got Chris Jericho, Kane and Big Show, who have all been in this match before. But I guess if I had to put my money on it, I would put money on John Cena.
– WWE Superstar the Big Show recently spoke to AZCentral.com to hype Sunday’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Here are some highlights of what Big Show said about:
Is He Like His WWE Character?: “I think my persona when I’m a bad guy is me in a bad mood on a bad day amplified. I don’t run around like I do on TV; if I did, I’d be in a lot of trouble ( laughing). Sometimes my family and my wife will see me on TV and say, “I’ve seen that mood before, like the time you went for the jelly and the jar was empty.”
“One beautiful thing about being a WWE superstar is that you may have things going on in your life that are stressful and weighing on your mind. For 15 or 20 minutes, you’re in front of the crowd and you can let off all that steam and all that pressure. It’s like therapy.”
His Long Career & Turning 40: “I’ve had an 18-year career, and physically and mentally, I feel fantastic. I have too much fun doing what I’m doing to stop. Barring injuries, I plan on doing this a while longer. Obviously, the sun sets on every athlete at some point, but I don’t think that time is near.”
“Forty is a little bit hard for a man. It’s like, “Where the hell did it go? I remember 30 like it was yesterday!” But after going through the birthday, I was able to mellow out and calm down and realize it’s just another year, and you’re still doing what you love, so don’t worry. But there were probably about two days there where I was freaking out.”
Advice To Young Wrestlers: “(Laughing) Well, back when they used to talk to me, I would see a lot of the younger guys were frustrated. Everybody wants to be Undertaker or Triple H or John Cena. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s consistency, consistency, consistency. You have to go out there every night and deliver, and when the opportunity is presented to you, it’s up to you to come through.”
– World Heavyweight champion Sheamus was recently interviewed by Digital Spy. Here are some highlights of what Sheamus said about:
Defeating Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds at WrestleMania: “It was phenomenal. It was my second WrestleMania, I had my whole family there. I opened the WrestleMania show, became the World Heavyweight Champion in 18 seconds so a record was made there and it was an incredible experience for me, one I will never forget.”
Whether He Wanted A Longer Match: “I was happy to walk out heavyweight champion regardless! I obviously wanted to have a WrestleMania match, something special, but the problem was I just didn’t trust Daniel Bryan. The Raw before that he screwed me out of the match with Kane by using [his girlfriend] AJ as a distraction. I wasn’t sure if he was going to do that again, so it made perfect sense to me. I didn’t want him walking away or running away and getting himself disqualified or getting me disqualified. He’s done that in the past. I saw the opening with AJ, I took it, I ripped his head off and I walked out World Heavyweight Champion in a record 18 seconds.”
Why He Got Into Wrestling: “I watched it for years. I watched it since World of Sport on ITV. People like Regal, Robbie Brookside, Dave Taylor, Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy. Then Sky came along with WWE and I’ve been a fan ever since I can remember.”
The Future Of WWE: “I think we’re evolving all the time. If you look back in the ’80s at what the superstars were like and what they’re like now. We’re much more athletic. We can move better than we ever have. I think we’re the best athletes in the world. We never take any time off, we’re on the go minimum four days a week. I don’t think anyone else can do what we do, so right now we’re in a great place. We’re putting on very exciting, entertaining matches for everybody and I think that you see our fans are enjoying it more than ever.”
Suffering A Neck Injury Early In His Career: “I trained for about two and a half months and then I got hurt, I got into WWE properly in ’05. You can’t think about that. If you go in thinking that you might hurt yourself, then you’re gonna hurt yourself. You’re going to be more likely to cause something to strain or mess up. I think that you have to have a good mind about you. But it also gives us a good message to give to fans – please don’t try what we do – we’re highly trained and still injuries can occur. If you want to imitate what we do, buy the action figures or play the video games. Don’t actually physically try what we do.”
Whether He’s Looking Ahead To WrestleMania 30 Yet: “No, you can’t. You have to think one pay-per-view at a time. I’ve got the Money In The Bank match, a world title match, soon with Alberto del Rio on Monday, July 16. You’ve got to work on the next one and the one after that. You can’t look too far ahead. Obviously it’s going to be great and it’ll be here in no time, but the way you do it is one week at a time, and that’s the way I try to be successful. Keep your eye on the prize and everything else will fall into place.”
Who He Wants To Wrestle At WrestleMania: “I definitely think The Undertaker. The Undertaker is the one I want for WrestleMania XXIX or XXX. Obviously something like that would be – his streak – no-one has ever beaten him on his streak and I could be the first to ever do that.”
Doing More Acting: “I’m just concentrating on my career right now. I have a lot to achieve, a lot to accomplish. Everything else is a bonus. Don’t get me wrong, if they want me to do it and it feels right I’ll gladly do it, but WWE is right now where my priority lies.”
His Favorite Gimmick Match: “The street fight. I love a street fight. Candlesticks, chairs, brawling everywhere, not worrying about the count. Just a good old-fashioned fight where anything and everything gets picked up and used. It’s definitely my favorite match, it definitely suits me and favors me more than anything.”
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross his blog, which you can read in its entirety at JRsBarBQ.com. Here are some highlights of what JR wrote about:
Possible NXT Championship Tournament: “There is talk of having a tournament to crown a NXT Champion which, if and when it is held, could create some amazing opportunities for several young athletes looking to get noticed with the hopes of making it to a Raw or Smackdown WWE roster.
Kane: “I’ve been extremely impressed with Kane the past several weeks as I have previously mentioned here. The veteran continues to deliver in a big way inside the ropes which is where it counts the most. Kane is a great success story as he migrated through the independent scene to earn a HOF level career in WWE. When I first saw Kane, it was in an arena of maybe 100 fans, he looked a great deal like Sycho Sid in size and wrestled under a mask known as the Unibomber. We had him come to a WWE TV, which I think was in Georgia, for a try out and officials were impressed with his size, athleticism and demeanor. No major star that I can recall has been easier to work with than the highly intelligent and articulate Kane. I have great respect for the man….even though he tried to BBQ me once upon a time.”
Bob Backlund’s Return to RAW: “Good seeing Bob Backlund on Raw Monday night but in hindsight I’d have loved to have seen Bob make his cameo while RAW was in the northeast. Perhaps he wasn’t available. The former champion is in amazing condition for a guy in his 60?s but Bobby has always been a cardio freak and his strength was always grossly underrated. I have no knowledge of the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Class but Backlund has to be high on the list of potential inductees. Backlund was a two sport All American in College both on the gridiron as a defensive end and on the mat 190.”
– The PWTorch has confirmed rumours that Benjamin Satterly, who appears as PAC for various international and independent wrestling leagues, has signed a developmental contract with WWE. The English grappler will report to Florida Championship Wrestling in the near future.
– Heath Slater tweeted the following message after getting beat up by yet another WWE Legend (Bob Backlund) on Monday’s RAW:
All of these so called legends are making me sick. Stay out of my spot light. 1000th Raw is very soon, so all of you better watch out.
WWE officials are planning a big payoff to the Heath Slater/Legends angle, expected to take place at RAW’s 1,000th episode.
– Episode 24 of WWE Inbox is now online, with Jack Swagger, Alicia Fox and other Superstars answering Twitter questions from fans, including any weird talents they may have.
– Check out Vikings’ RB Adrian Peterson’s mugshot following his resisting arrest charge: