Audible Legacy


Bucks Fired Head Coach Jason Kidd, Antekokoumpo Tried to Save Him

The Milwaukee Bucks fired head coach Jason Kidd on Monday, the team announced.

Kidd told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo called him about 15 minutes before Kidd was officially notified he’d been fired by the Bucks and offered to help save his job.

“He called me and said, ‘Coach, this isn’t right what they’re about to do, but (they) are gonna let you go,’ ” Kidd said.

Kidd says he told Antetokounmpo that “I had a feeling that was gonna take place.”

To which Antetokounmpo replied: “What can I do? I’ll call the owners, I’ll call my agent.”

Kidd said he told him, “There’s nothing you can do. All you can do is tell the truth. That’s it.”

Kidd said he thanked Antetokounmpo for his loyalty and that he was “thankful to be able to coach him and help him become the player he is today. And I know when our paths cross again, he’ll be much better.”

Kidd said he was officially informed he’d been fired about 15 minutes later when he met with general manager Jon Horst and team president Peter Feigin at a pizza restaurant.

Assistant Joe Prunty will coach the team Monday night against the Phoenix Suns. He will be named interim coach, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

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#Dodging: Kyrie Irving Scared to Defend His Flat Earth Theory After Flight to London

Being half a world away hasn’t stopped Kyrie Irving from being asked about his frequently espoused theory that said world is not relatively spherical in shape but is instead flat. Irving has made it known he’s in the camp of conspiracy theorists on the periphery of scientific skeptics who tout the flat-Earth theory. The Boston Celtics superstar, who is in London along with his teammates for Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, was asked about his beliefs.

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Kobe Bryant links up with ESPN for new show “Detail”

The Black Mamba is headed to a television near you.

On Friday, ESPN announced Kobe Bryant will write, host and produce a new basketball analysis show titled Detail that is set to debut in March.

According to the network’s release, “viewers will experience unparalleled game observations from Bryant as if he were one of the players featured in an ESPN game played the day before.”

The show will be made in collaboration with Bryant’s storytelling platform, Granity Studios.

“Studying game film is how the best get better. It’s the university for a master’s degree in basketball,” Bryant said. “I learned how to study film from the best coaches of all time—Phil Jackson and Tex Winter. Detail provides an opportunity to teach that skill to the next generation on large platform with ESPN.”

Bryant hasn’t been a regular presence on television since he retired in 2016, but his insight was famously on display in 2009 when he narrated Spike Lee’s ESPN documentary Kobe Doin’ Work which chronicled his efforts throughout a game against the San Antonio Spurs in April 2008.

Bryant also appeared on ESPN’s NBA Countdown last March.

Via BleacherReport

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Raiders preparing 10-year, $100M deal for John Gruden

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is poised to commit to Jon Gruden for the next decade and pay a mountain of money for the privilege.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Raiders are preparing to sign Gruden to a 10-year, $100 million contract, per sources informed of the deal.

The pact, once finalized, is believed to be the richest coaching contract in NFL history, according to Rapoport. NFL teams do not disclose financial details on coaching deals.

Davis isn’t opening the purse strings wide just for Gruden. Rapoport reported the coordinators are getting four-year deals. The deals would keep the staff under contract amid the team’s move from Oakland to Las Vegas.

The Raiders are expected to announce Gruden as the new head coach on Tuesday.

Rapoport reported that Gruden has three key coordinators already in place: Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson as offensive coordinator, Bengals ex-defensive coordinator Paul Guenther as defensive coordinator, and Cowboys’ Rich Bisaccia to run special teams.

The 10-year deal with a massive salary underscores the Raiders’ commitment to bringing back Gruden after trading him to Tampa Bay in 2002. Gruden spent the past nine NFL seasons as a color commentator for the ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcasts.

With a move to Las Vegas on the horizon, Davis will pay a boatload to provide the Raiders with a glitzy coach who will marshal the franchise through the transition.


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Eric Bledsoe Traded to Bucks

The Phoenix Suns have traded disgruntled guard Eric Bledsoe to the Milwaukee Bucks for center Greg Monroe, a 2018 protected first-round draft pick and a 2018 protected second-round pick.

The teams reached an agreement in principle late Monday night and finalized the terms Tuesday morning, league sources told ESPN. The Bucks resisted including guard Malcolm Brogdon, the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year, in the deal, league sources said.

“He’ll be another great player for us, a guy who can create for others and create for himself on offense,” Middleton said. “I’m excited to play with him. We can do a lot of things. We’ll have more ball-handlers on the court at the same time. He’s going to be a great for us.”

In particular, Bledsoe’s arrival will ease the playmaking and ballhandling burden on Antetokounmpo. One Eastern head coach told ESPN that he believes Bledsoe immediately becomes the Bucks’ best pick-and-roll player, but the coach wondered how Bledsoe will assimilate away from the ball when Antetokounmpo is making plays.

Bledsoe will get the opportunity to defend the opponent’s point guard, and he’ll have to prove that he can return to being the higher-level defender he was before having knee procedures in Phoenix. Nevertheless, Bledsoe is long and athletic and could be part of a game-closing unit that would include Antetokounmpo, Brogdon, Middleton and Tony Snell.

“Eric is a dynamic player who brings scoring and toughness to the court while enhancing our young and talented core,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst said in a statement announcing the deal.

Added Bucks coach Jason Kidd: “We’re excited. Eric’s excited,”

Milwaukee has lost three straight — and four of five games — to drop to 4-5 on the season. Bledsoe did not join the Bucks for Tuesday night’s game Cleveland. The plan is for Bledsoe to meet the Bucks in San Antonio on Wednesday, two days before their road game against the Spurs.

The Bledsoe trade has salary-cap implications for the Bucks, who’ll almost assuredly will become a luxury tax-paying team should they re-sign or match an offer sheet on restricted free agent Jabari Parker next summer.

With the move, Milwaukee creates a $3.38 million trade exception that will be available to use for one year. The Bucks also have a $5 million trade exception that will expire in February. They are now $4.4 million below the luxury tax.

The Suns (4-7) potentially could have three first-round picks in 2018: their own, Miami’s (top-seven protected) and Milwaukee’s (lottery protected). Phoenix could have seven first-round picks from 2018 to 2021.

Milwaukee will send its 2018 first-round pick to Phoenix if it lands between Nos. 11 and 16. If the pick carries beyond 2018, the Suns get a loosening of protections in 2019 (Nos. 4 to 16), 2020 (Nos. 8 to 30) and 2021, when the pick would come unprotected. The Suns will get the Bucks’ 2018 second-round pick if it lands between Nos. 48 and 60. Otherwise, the Bucks keep the pick.

Bledsoe has been away from the Suns since general manager Ryan McDonough sent him home on Oct. 23. One day earlier, Bledsoe tweeted, “I don’t wanna be here.”

McDonough announced at the time that Bledsoe “won’t be with us going forward,” and said he didn’t believe Bledsoe’s explanation that he was tweeting about wanting to leave a hair salon.

McDonough reiterated on Oct. 31 that the Suns had no timetable for a potential trade involving Bledsoe.

Bledsoe previously had met with Suns owner Robert Sarver and McDonough during the preseason and requested a trade, sources told ESPN. Bledsoe was told by management, according to sources, that the team had underperformed ever since he was given starting point guard responsibilities.

Bledsoe, 27, averaged career highs in points (21.1), assists (6.3) and rebounds (4.8) last season, but the Suns (24-58) finished with the worst record in the Western Conference. It was the second consecutive season that Phoenix’s winning percentage was less than .300.

“He adds a veteran point guard, a guy who plays with pace and can get into the paint, can make the right play,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “He’s been on the cusp of being an All-Star the last three years. He brings a different dimension to their team. He can shoot the basketball, get in the paint, run pick-and-roll and he’s a good defender also.

Monroe, 27, has played only five games this season and hasn’t played since Oct. 26 because of a left calf strain. The Suns prefer to explore the trade market on the expiring contract of Monroe before proceeding on contract buyout talks, league sources told ESPN.

“Moose did everything we asked him to help us win, from being a starter to being asked to go to the bench and help us have a stronger bench,” Kidd said. “I wish him the best because he did everything we asked.”

Monroe averaged 15.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game for Detroit and Milwaukee from 2011-12 through 2015-16. His production dipped last season, when he played 81 games without making a start.

Credit: ESPN

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Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma light it up playing 1-on-1 | ESPN

The Lakers are set to go on the road next week, and before they took off, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma got in a 1-on-1 match in their L.A. training facility.

The two rookies have Lakers fans excited for the future of the team, given their potential and poise on the court. Kuzma and Lonzo also have the media paying attention to a budding bromance between the two. Kuzma recently commented on their friendship, telling the media, “The goals that we each have are pretty similar. So for me and him, we want to be great. And on the court, it’s like yin and yang pretty much. We just have a type of vibe that goes together.”

Credit VladTV

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Deontay Wilder KOs Bermane Stiverne and Calls Out Anthoy Joshua

NEW YORK — Heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder has lost out on the opportunity for two marquee fights because his opponents, Alexander Povetkin last year and Luis “King Kong” Ortiz last month, failed drug tests. The cancellations of the fights left Wilder emotional and upset, particularly the one with the big-punching Ortiz, whom he was supposed to fight on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Wilder instead faced replacement Bermane Stiverne, his mandatory challenger and from whom he took the title by lopsided decision in January 2015.

It wasn’t pretty and it might not have been the exciting fight fans wanted, but Shawn Porter dominated Adrian Granados to become one of the mandatory challengers for titleholder Keith Thurman.
Wilder was so upset over the change of opponent that at the final pre-fight news conference on Thursday he promised a knockout in graphic terms, saying: “The ambulance better be ready. The medical teams better be ready. The referee better be ready. They better have that towel to be able to throw it in because every blow is going to mean something. … The only thing he’s going to be able to do is pick his spot on the ground where he’s going to lay at.”

Wilder lived up to his promise and absolutely destroyed Stiverne in the first round before 10,924 to retain his world title for the sixth time. He dropped an out-of-shape Stiverne three times before referee Arthur Mercante waved it off at 2 minutes, 59 seconds.

“So much frustration, it just seemed like my career, it’s been crazy … so many guys using PEDs,” Wilder said after the fight. “I just want to prove that I am the best. I know I am the best but I wanna prove I am the best. One champion, one face, one name, he goes by Deontay Wilder.”

The fight Wilder wants — the one boxing fans want — is a title unification showdown with two-belt titleholder Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs), 28, the hugely popular British fighter who retained his belts for the fourth time last Saturday with a 10th-round knockout of Carlos Takam before an indoor boxing-record crowd of 78,000 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

“I’ve been waiting on that fight for a long time now. I declare war upon you,” Wilder said as if speaking to Joshua. “Do you accept my challenge? I’ve been waiting for a long time. I know I’m the champion. I know I’m the best. Are you up for the test?”

Said promoter Lou DiBella, who also wants to see Wilder face Joshua: “He’ll put Anthony Joshua to sleep. No one has the reach he has. No one has the jab he has. No one has the power he has. Certainly, Anthony Joshua doesn’t have it. Deontay Wilder is the scariest heavyweight on the planet.”

Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing has campaigned for Wilder to first fight British contender Dillian Whyte, but there is little interest in that fight, at least on this side of the pond.

“Stop with this Dillian Whyte s—,” DiBella said. “Who the f— is Dillian Whyte? Come on, Eddie, let’s play. You want to do [Joshua-Wilder] at a soccer stadium in the U.K., let’s do it. Deontay Wilder will put Anthony Joshua to sleep the same way he just put Stiverne to sleep. Nobody has that kind of power. Deontay Wilder is Anthony Joshua’s worst nightmare. The winner of Joshua-Wilder is the real heavyweight champion. That fight has to happen. The boxing fans deserve it. We don’t want to wait.”

Whyte (22-1, 16 KOs) outpointed Robert Helenius on the Joshua-Takam undercard and suffered his only loss by seventh-round knockout to Joshua in the fight before he won a world title in 2015.

Wilder wants to dispense with the interim fight and go right to a showdown with Joshua, which is easily the biggest heavyweight fight in boxing and maybe the biggest fight in the sport, period.

“A king don’t chase the peasants,” Wilder said. “A king takes kings. I want Joshua. If he don’t give me the fight we have other plans. Why should I go to England to fight a peasant without the king on the contract? The world want Joshua, the world want Wilder. I want Joshua. Joshua come and see me, baby.

“No more dodging, no more dodging, no more excuses. Make the date, don’t wait. I’m too athletic. I told y’all I’m mobile, I’m hostile, I am the king, baby, and no heavyweight can compare to me. I’m very confident in what I do and tonight I showed that.”

Stiverne, fighting for only the second time in three years, showed up a portly 254.75 pounds and even though he outweighed Wilder by 34 pounds, it made no difference; he had nothing.

Nothing much happened in the first minute of the opening round, but then Wilder pounded his chest, walked to Stiverne and blasted him with a right hand to the head and knocked him down.

Stiverne beat the count, but Wilder marched to him again and nailed him with another right hand that floored him for the second time.

Mercante could have stopped the fight then, but he allowed it continue. It didn’t last much longer, as Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs), 31, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, hammered Stiverne yet again. He unloaded a brutal four-punch combination — right, left, right and another left as he was falling to the mat. Stiverne came to rest along the ropes, and Mercante immediately stopped it.

Stiverne looked totally out of it as he was moved to his stool.

“You gotta give props to Stiverne for getting in the ring,” Wilder said. “It takes a lot of courage, it takes a lot of pride to step in the ring with someone like me. We do what we gotta do in the ring and at least he stepped up. He was a clean fighter.”

According to CompuBox, Wilder, who earned $1.4 million, landed 15 of 39 punches (38 percent); Las Vegas-based Haiti native Stiverne (25-3-1, 21 KOs), who turned 39 this week, landed none of his four punches. For that, he was paid $506,250.

Stiverne had been the only man to go the distance with Wilder in their first fight, and the one motivation for Wilder in the rematch was the goal to knock him out.

Wilder would have preferred to face Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs), but he tested positive for two banned diuretics (chlorothaizide, hydrochlorothiazide) in a random urine test conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association on Sept. 22, and was dropped from the fight. He showed up ringside to watch Saturday night.

That left Wilder to face Stiverne, who was scheduled to fight on the undercard before being moved up to the main event.

Credit: ESPN

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Amir Khan calls out Flyod Mayweather

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