Monthly Archives: September 2016

Julius Erving sells majority rights to ‘Dr. J’ name, image

Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving sold majority rights to his name and image to Authentic Brands Group on Tuesday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources say that Erving will get an upfront guarantee as well as royalties associated with the deal.

As part of the contract, ABG has filed for the trademark to “Dr. J” as well as Erving’s signature in the US and in various countries.

ABG president and chief marketing officer Nick Woodhouse said the company will use Erving’s name and image to expand into luxury, travel and corporate partnerships as well as do licensing deals and merchandise his name.

It’s the second deal made in the past few months by ABG, who structured a similar deal with Shaquille O’Neal earlier this year. ABG also controls the licensing rights to Muhammad Ali, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley and owns sports brands including Prince, Spyder, Tapout and Tretorn.

“Paul is not going to be in a lot of highlights, but when you watch how he played, and fundamentally how well he played, I think that’s actually what kids should really watch, is how he did it without using his athleticism that he actually has,” Rivers said.

Pierce has averaged 20.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in his career. After his Boston tenure, he spent one season with the Brooklyn Nets, another with the Washington Wizards and last year with the Clippers. He averaged 6.1 points and 2.7 rebounds per game last season.

“With the Clippers, in the city where I grew up, I feel like I have that opportunity on a great team,” Pierce wrote Monday. “We’re hungry. We want to win a championship.

“After 18 NBA years, it’s hard to believe I’ll be playing in each arena for the last time. So I’m going to enjoy every practice, every bus ride, every team dinner, every time running out through the tunnel. I’m going to do my part to give us a shot at the ultimate goal.”

Pierce was the No. 10 pick out of Kansas in the 1998 NBA draft. The 10-time All-Star is currently 16th on the NBA all-time scoring list with 26,316 points.

“I’ve been in the NBA 18 years, but I’ve been playing basketball, like, 30 years,” Pierce said Monday. “It’s hard to walk away from that, but like most homes, you get that 30-year mortgage. I’ve paid it off, so it’s time to ride off into the sunset.”

Warriors’ Stephen Curry hopes North Carolina makes changes to HB2

SAN FRANCISCO — Stephen Curry said he is disappointed to see sporting events pulled from his home state of North Carolina over a law that limits the legal protection of LGBT people. And the two-time NBA MVP for the Golden State Warriors hopes lawmakers make changes to the so-called “bathroom bill” before more major events follow the NBA’s All-Star Game and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament out the door.

Curry, who grew up in Charlotte and played college basketball at nearby Davidson, said Thursday he has mixed feelings about sporting events leaving the state. The NBA has pulled next year’s All-Star Game out of Charlotte, and the NCAA this week began the process of relocating seven championships from North Carolina, including the opening weekend of the men’s basketball tournament.

The big cap hold for the Knicks next summer belongs, obviously, to Rose. Rose’s cap hold is projected to be nearly $29 million (which is his projected max salary for 2017-18).

So if you take Rose’s cap hold and add it to the total guaranteed money the Knicks have already committed to 2017, you get to around $104 million.

In other words, with Rose’s hold on the books, the Knicks have zero available cap space in the summer of 2017.

So to create significant space, the Knicks would have to renounce Rose. Doing so would provide about $19 million in cap space, a number that includes their remaining free-agent holds of Jennings ($6 million), Sasha Vujacic ($1 million), Justin Holiday ($1 million) and one cap hold of approximately $500,000.

The ACC followed suit and said its conference championship football game will not be played in Charlotte.

“I think it’s unfortunate for our city and our state to be under the microscope with [House Bill 2] and how it’s unfolded,” Curry said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I’m all for equal and fair rights and treatment for everybody. Until it gets addressed, until some changes are made, this could be a recurring theme in North Carolina. I don’t want that happen.”

The Knicks currently have about $75 million in guaranteed salary for the 2017-18 season. That would put them in great position to land a max player, but the $75 million doesn’t account for free-agent cap holds, which total $43 million.

New York is banking on one of the new faces (Justin Holiday, Willy Hernangomez, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Maurice Ndour, Marshall Plumlee, Ron Baker, Chasson Randle, J.P. Tokoto) shouldering a significant role.

Kershaw, Sale, the Big Unit and … Robbie Ray?

It’s been a disastrous season for the Arizona Diamondbacks, as they have baseball’s third-worst record at 59-84. What’s remarkable is they have actually had several things go right: Jake Lamb, despite slumping in the second half, has still had a breakout season; Jean Segura has put up a 4-WAR year; Yasmany Tomas has hit 29 home runs. Then there’s Robbie Ray, who starts Tuesday night. He’s 7-13 with a 4.46 ERA, numbers that scream mediocrity more than greatness, just another cog in the Diamondbacks’ losing ways. And yet there’s this:

Those are the eight starters who have averaged 10-plus K’s per nine, which would be the largest that list has been in a single season, and there’s Ray, No. 2 on the list. Ray’s season ranks 20th all time in K’s per nine, and the only left-handers with a higher rate have been Randy Johnson, Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw. So that’s obviously good company to be hanging with. But then there’s this: Ray has allowed 163 hits in 155.1 innings, a lot of hits for a pitcher who strikes out so many batters. I did a quick search for all pitchers who have struck out 10-plus batters per nine in a season, a list of 80 seasons. Batters have hit a collective .212 against those pitchers. The worst averages allowed:

Garcia is at the center of the storm at the moment, but he’s hardly alone in having gotten the Cardinals into this perilous spot, a half-game behind the New York Mets for the second wild card with only 18 games left. The Cardinals have three of the highest ERAs in the National League among qualified starters: Garcia is fourth with a 4.65 ERA, Mike Leake is fifth with a 4.60 ERA and Adam Wainwright is eighth with a 4.45 ERA.

Then it happened again nine days ago in a game in Baltimore that Girardi dubbed “the most important game of the season,” following two losses that threatened to drop the Yankees out of the AL wild-card race. Once again, Ellsbury, who presumably was signed to play center field everyday for the Yankees, found himself on the bench.

Fast forward to Tuesday and another “must-win” game, this time against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had won big on Monday. With rookie lefthander Julio Urias on the mound, once again Ellsbury was on the bench.

That Ellsbury got off the bench had a lot more to do with an injury to Aaron Judge than any change of heart on the part of the manager. That Ellsbury delivered what turned out to be the winning blow in the Yankees’ 3-0 victory, a solo home run in the seventh inning that broke a scoreless tie, is unlikely to change anything going forward.

Ellsbury is the Yankees’ everyday center fielder, except when he’s not.

The weakness that could derail each remaining contender

If March is when fans of every club get to dream the biggest dream, September is when certain dreams transition from feeling possible to feeling probable. Every team in the race has some well-defined strengths, and the belief that if the players execute, the World Series will be theirs. The Baltimore Orioles, for example, will win so long as they can hand a close game over to the bullpen. The Boston Red Sox will win if they hit the way they’ve spent the summer hitting. The Chicago Cubs will win unless they shoot themselves in the foot. On and on, for each team in contention.

That said, I talked to several scouts at Dedeaux Field who found snippets of encouragement. One evaluator took note of Tebow’s weak arm but said the results were better when Tebow chased down balls on the run and came up throwing without obsessing over his mechanics. Former big league reliever David Aardsma, who threw live batting practice to Tebow, said after the workout that Tebow was gripping the bat too tightly and looks more natural on the back field when he’s not trying to impress 40-something scouts.

ESPN dispatched Paolantonio and his crew to Cortland, N.Y., to cover the New York Jets’ training camp in 2012 — a.k.a. The Summer of Tebow. It was a media frenzy for those three weeks, with dozens of journalists chronicling Tebow’s every move. It made for an entertaining summer that bordered on farcical.

Everything became a story: Tebow signing autographs. Tebow running the Wildcat offense. Tebow going to the local church on Sunday. Tebow running shirtless through the rain after practice — a video that went viral.

The SportsCenter set was adjacent to the practice field, feeding live reports to the Tebow-loving world on his progress.

The most memorable day occurred when the Jets decided to hold a clandestine practice, designed specifically for the Tebow package in their offense. No fans were allowed to watch, but reporters were granted access under the proviso that nothing pertaining to strategy could be reported.

All three have also stolen 20-plus bases, so Trout doesn’t even get extra credit in that department. So why does Trout have the higher WAR? He has a big edge in on-base percentage, for starters — .442 to Altuve’s .406 and Betts’ .357; he has more walks than Altuve and Betts combined. That’s important; outs matter. He also has an edge over Altuve in baserunning value. FanGraphs estimates Trout has been worth 7.7 runs above average on the bases compared with Altuve’s minus-0.3 (Betts is at 8.8, as he ranks second in the majors and Trout fourth). This stat includes double plays hit into, and Altuve has hit into 13 compared to Trout’s four. Betts also plays in a good hitter’s park, which cuts into his value (runs produced in a higher run environment are less valuable since there are more of them); Trout plays in a pitcher’s park.

Defensively, Betts has been spectacular, according to Defensive Runs Saved, at plus-24. Trout is rated at plus-6, and Altuve at 0. That’s what makes Trout so good: He has no weaknesses. The only chance Trout would have of winning MVP honors while playing on a bad team is to compile big home run and RBI numbers. But in a season in which home runs are way up, Trout isn’t going to come close to the 41 he hit last season. He may not drive in 100 runs. Dismissed (by some).

Steering Tebow toward the Mets is logical for his representatives at Creative Artists Agency, as well. CAA also represents Mets aces Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, and had a hand in negotiating Yoenis Cespedes’ contract with the Mets. So there should be benefits for all of their Mets clients in terms of exposure.

former gators teammates rooting for tim tebow ?

They watched and rooted him on as he made history on the college gridiron. They watched and rooted him on as he made his mark in the NFL. They watch and root him on as he works in the community to better the lives of those around him.

Former Florida Gators and current Cubs catcher David Ross has seen a lot in his 14 years in the Majors. He also admires Tebow’s passion and said he would never criticize someone for giving a heartfelt effort.

Last season, Cole went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA in 208 innings over 32 starts, finishing fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting. He avoided the disabled list entirely and credited his routine for his consistent success on the mound.

Leake was replaced by Alex Reyes, the Cardinals’ top prospect, in the rotation Saturday. Reyes, who is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings, likely will continue to pitch in Leake’s spot while he is out.

“I just think it was inevitable [he would go on the DL] given that he wasn’t turning the corner, but it does look better now,” manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s a little more contained, his energy level’s up, his appetite is better. Things are starting to go a positive direction for the first time.”

But for every rule, or assumed rule, there’s always going to be outliers. In the case of Sanchez, who made his most recent return to the big leagues less than a month ago, we seem to have exactly that. Small samples or not, you can’t fake arm strength like this. For all the talk of his hitting feats, clearly he’s not going to be hitting .405 for the foreseeable future. The arm, though, that’s very real. We expected that coming up. Now, we know it for certain. You can be pretty sure that opposing runners have figured that out, too.
Mike Petriello is an analyst for and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The Cardinals signed Leake to a five-year, $80 million deal in December shortly after they learned that Lance Lynn would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Leake is 9-9 with a 4.56 ERA for the Cardinals.

With Michael Wacha and Leake out, the Cardinals have rookies in two of their five rotation spots. Luke Weaver took over Wacha’s rotation spot three starts ago.

“There wasn’t anything I saw from Luke Weaver or anything I saw from Alex Reyes that tells me they shouldn’t be back out there, regardless of the situation,” Matheny said. “They’re young pitchers, but they’re young pitchers with good stuff and they’re getting better each time they go out. So, keep them rolling.”