LeBron James ‘Bothered’ Dwyane Wade Signing Was Unpopular with Cavs Players

LeBron James ‘Bothered’ Dwyane Wade Signing Was Unpopular with Cavs Players

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Dwyane Wade has started to settle into life with the Cleveland Cavaliers during their recent nine-game winning streak, but the start of his tenure with the team was evidently a bit rocky. 

Speaking to The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd (h/t USA Today‘s Erik Garcia Gundersen), LeBron James disclosed several of his teammates weren’t thrilled by the team’s decision to bring Wade aboard on a one-year deal. 

"There was a couple guys with it," James told Lloyd. "But it wasn’t a lot.

"I still know what he’ capable of doing. Why wouldn’t you want another guy in the locker room that brings a championship mentality and a guy who can still play? So, of course, it bothered me, but f–k it. It is what it is."

LeBron’s candor comes less than two months after ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst reported Wade’s signing "triggered some angst within the Cavaliers organization" because it forced out Richard Jefferson and required head coach Tyronn Lue to reshuffle his starting lineup by sending JR Smith to the bench. 

However, it wasn’t long before Wade and the Cavaliers agreed a move to the second unit was best for the team. 

"For me, coming here, knowing I could be on the second unit and all the guys that could be on that unit, I thought that was important for me to come," Wade told Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon

"That’s why I took myself out of the starting lineup early, because I knew that would be the most important thing for this team, to be on that unit. That’s what I thought coming here."

Entering Thursday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, Wade is averaging 11.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game while shooting 42.9 percent from the field through 14 games in November. 

Broken down further, Wade has registered 12.9 points, 5.2 boards, 4.1 dimes and 1.1 steals a night over the nine-game winning streak that has seen the 14-7 Cavaliers vault all the way up to No. 3 in the Eastern Conference. 

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November 30, 2017 at 03:55PM

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Manchester United Transfer News: Napoli Enter Alex Grimaldo Race, Latest Rumours

Manchester United Transfer News: Napoli Enter Alex Grimaldo Race, Latest Rumours

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Napoli have reportedly entered the race for Benfica full-back Alex Grimaldo with a rejected €20 million (roughly £17.6 million) offer, amid rumours Manchester United are interested in the former Barcelona man.

According to O Jogo (h/t Sport Witness) negotiations between the Partenopei and Benfica haven’t necessarily concluded, and if United manager Jose Mourinho is truly interested in the Spaniard, he needs to get a move on.

The report also states Benfica value Grimaldo at €30 million (roughly £26.4 million), and club president Luis Filipe Vieira believes a deal will be made―he has already told scouts to start looking for a new left-back. The Portuguese giants need to recover funds after a disastrous European campaign.

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The Red Devils have been linked with the 22-year-old for some time now, and they scout every Benfica match, per Sport Witness. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re at those matches for Grimaldo, but left-back is an issue for the Premier League squad.

The Spanish under-21 international spent the last years of his youth career in Barcelona’s setup and was regarded as one of the club’s brightest prospects, but due to a lack of minutes, he moved to Portugal in late 2015.

He’s impressed for Benfica when healthy, although staying on the pitch for extended periods of time has been a struggle. Grimaldo has only just returned to action after his latest setback, and as reported by Planet Benfica’s David Pritchett, those frequent issues make it difficult to gauge his value:

Grimaldo is an impressive player, blessed with tremendous athletic gifts, vision and tackling ability. He’s also something of a set-piece specialist and regularly scores free-kicks for the Eagles.

Benfica have a superb reputation when it comes to talent development and evaluation. They rarely sell under market value and usually get the most out of deals―if they value Grimaldo at €30 million, he’s unlikely to leave for less.

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But his health will be a huge factor in any deal. If he can put together a solid, uninterrupted stretch, his value could well rise beyond Benfica’s asking price, but it could just as easily plummet with yet another injury.

United have mostly relied on a combination of Ashley Young and Daley Blind at left-back this season, while Luke Shaw has barely seen the pitch. Mourinho is expected to invest in the position, bringing in a top talent.

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November 30, 2017 at 03:55PM

Liverpool Transfer News: Emre Can Contract Latest, Divock Origi Exit Rumours

Liverpool Transfer News: Emre Can Contract Latest, Divock Origi Exit Rumours

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Liverpool midfielder Emre Can has again refused to commit his future to the club amid rumours of a move to Juventus. Meanwhile, Divock Origi has suggested he’d be open to making his loan move to Wolfsburg a permanent one.

It’s no secret Can’s Liverpool contract expires in June, meaning the player will be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with any foreign club in January. The Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce asked Can if he’ll still be at Anfield next season, to which he replied:

“Why do you ask me this? Really, I concentrate on this season and let my agent handle all the rest. 

"It is not about money, that’s all I can say. Yes I could (sign a pre-contract with another club next month), but tomorrow I could also sign for Liverpool. We’ll see.”

According to Pearce, Can looks "increasingly likely" to leave the Merseysiders at the end of this season, and the J Stadium remains the most fervently linked destination.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gave a prickly response when asked for a recent update on Can’s situation, insisting it’s always a priority to convince the best players to remain with the club, via Goal:

Despite any off-the-field speculation, Can has racked up a tally of 15 starts in his 18 appearances for the Reds this season, albeit with the absences of players like Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana opening the door.

Can arrived at Anfield from Bayer Leverkusen for a fee of £9.75 million in the summer of 2014, and his start in Wednesday’s 3-0 win at Stoke City was a landmark moment for the 23-year-old:

The Germany international has developed since coming to England from the Bundesliga and still has much room for improvement considering his age. However, the contract obstacles that have blocked the path to an extension thus far appear to still be present.

Elsewhere, Origi has hinted at a potential stay in Wolfsburg after praising Germany’s top flight following a promising start to his loan spell with the club, per the official Bundesliga website. When asked if he could remain in Germany after this season, he replied:

"Yes, sure. Anything can happen in football. The agreement is for the loan to expire at the end of the season. Then I’ll return to Liverpool because I have a good relationship with the club and also with the fans. But as I said, you never know what will happen. Right now, I am very happy at Wolfsburg and I’m developing well. It’s a great fit."

Origi went on to praise "the soul of the league," adding that football was "a way of life" in Germany, where he has scored four goals in 11 league games for the Wolves.

However, his form on the pitch could be something of a double-edged sword, according to Wolfsburg sporting director Olaf Rebbeper Belgian football journalist John Chapman:

Origi scored 21 times in 77 outings for Liverpool before being farmed out to his temporary club this past summer, with former Chelsea forward Dominic Solanke arriving at Anfield in his stead.

It would still be difficult to see Origi getting much of a chance as long as the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino sit ahead of him in the Reds pecking order, with Wolfsburg potentially offering an alternative route.

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November 30, 2017 at 03:55PM

Will WWE Be Able to Reignite ‘Broken’ Matt Hardy Gimmick After Lengthy Layoff?

Will WWE Be Able to Reignite ‘Broken’ Matt Hardy Gimmick After Lengthy Layoff?

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Matt Hardycredit: wwe.com

What once was broke is now awake.

Matt Hardy may finally be on the eve of transitioning into his wildly popular Broken gimmick. Hardy and Brother Jeff have been back in WWE since WrestleMania 33, and since that time, the company has only teased Matt’s Impact Wrestling character.

But after months of rumors and speculation, it could be that WWE is now moving ahead with its interpretation of Hardy’s over-the-top persona. So will it work?

The easy answer is “yes.” Hardy completely revitalized his professional wrestling career with this gimmick and rediscovered his love for the business along the way. His creativity spawned one of the most original concepts that fans had ever seen, and though it probably shouldn’t have worked, it got him over like never before.

Many believed he was the only reason to watch Impact Wrestling during his run in 2016. He was just so good at what he was doing and had embraced it to the point that he made even the most ardent critics stand up and take notice. 

He operated somewhere between brilliance and ridiculousness. Fans ultimately decided it was the best mix of both.

The key is Matt himself. His Twitter account has exploded recently as he seems to be preparing fans for the transformation ahead. He’s gone far beyond teasing the return of his Broken character; he’s done everything but guarantee that the change is indeed going to come.

He’s planting the seed, and he’s putting in the work. He does not need WWE to tell him how to proceed, and he doesn’t need any help in getting this over. He knows what works for his character, and no amount of direction from WWE Creative is going to further his cause. It could be that any type of any direction would hinder him.

Hardy has this. He’s good.

As long as he’s allowed to flesh this out for the WWE audience, everything should go his way. The beauty of the original Broken gimmick was that he could take it anywhere at any time and make it as ridiculous as he wanted. He could go places that no one had gone before, and he could do it with utter confidence because he was in total control.

With that in mind, if WWE decides to micromanage him, this could fall apart before it even begins.

Hardy is unique because he can be silly and it’s okay. He can be bizarre, and no one will complain. He can stare into the camera and deliver the wildest promo that a WWE audience has ever heard without fear of bombing. Nothing he does is out of bounds, and everything somehow always clicks together. 

When was the last time that was said of any WWE Superstar? 

But Matt had free rein on the independent circuit, and fans know that will surely not be the case in WWE. He will be directed, and the company will obviously be part of the process. However, he must be the one at the heart of it all in order for it to be successful. Of course, that’s assuming fans are ready for it to actually happen.

From the moment The Hardy Boyz returned, fans have waited for Matt to become Broken. They’ve waited. They’ve wished. They’ve wondered. Have they moved on?

Did this take too long to happen? If Hardy becomes Woken Matt, are fans going to buy in and accept it? The WWE faithful as a collective certainly understand the length of time it took to get to this point was not Hardy’s fault. Turning on him because of impatience makes no sense as it was never really up to him.

This is why WWE can only set the scene for Hardy. He must be the one to play the part.

He must come at this with the same reckless abandon that he did with the original gimmick. He must embrace it, live it and push it like he’s never done before. The Monday Night Raw roster is rife with top talent and main event players that dominate WWE programming every week. Hardy must not only stand out; he must rise above.

If fans accept him as they did before he came back to WWE, then the company could be on the verge of doing big business with him in the coming months. Hardy could potentially make Raw must-see TV for pro wrestling fans outside of WWE and possibly even draw the casual fanbase back to the product. All he needs is WWE’s support and the opportunity to shine. 

Woken Matt is about to take fans on a strange new trip. With any luck, WWE will stay out of his way.

Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, iHeart Radio, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at boinkstudios.com

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November 30, 2017 at 03:55PM

Report: Mets, Jay Bruce interested in a reunion

Report: Mets, Jay Bruce interested in a reunion

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Yesterday Jon Morosi reported that the Giants would be willing to take on nearly all of Giancarlo Stanton‘s contract in exchange for the Marlins’ slugger. Today Morosi reports what the Marlins would accept in return.

It’s substantially similar to an offer the Giants reportedly made to the Marlins in the past: second baseman Joe Panik and top prospects Tyler Beede and Chris Shaw. Morosi says that’d be enough if the Giants committed to taking on at least $250 million of Stanton’s salary.

Paink you know: He’s 27 and has a career line of .282/.345/. 408 in four seasons as the Giants second baseman. That’s nifty, and he’s a fan favorite, but it’s not the sort of thing you hold on to if it means getting the game’s best slugger.

Beede, the Giants first round pick of the 2014 draft, was a top-100 prospect as a starter heading into 2017, but had a poor campaign at Triple-A in his age-24 season, suggesting that the bloom is off of that rose to some extent. Shaw, their first round pick in 2015, hit a nice .292/.346/.525 with 24 homers across Double-A and Triple-A as a 23-year-old this past season. Not a couple of bad players from a thin system, but certainly worth parting ways with for Stanton. The money is a big thing, obviously, but the Giants have an extraordinarily profitable club in recent years. They can afford him.

For the Marlins, this looks like a poor haul for the NL MVP, but as we’ve said many times recently, they seem to be driven primarily by financial considerations in all of this. Marlins fans may enjoy Panik for a bit and may one day enjoy Beede and Shaw on the big league roster, but nowhere near as much as they’ve enjoyed Stanton or, for that matter, nowhere near as much as the team’s owners will enjoy saying money.

All in all, this is starting to sound like the framework of a real deal and not just a rumor. Stay tuned.

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November 30, 2017 at 03:54PM

Packers file to recover part of Bennett bonus

Packers file to recover part of Bennett bonus

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers have filed paperwork in an attempt to collect the unamortized portion of Martellus Bennett‘s signing bonus after they released him with the designation that he failed to disclose a medical condition.

The NFL Players Association told ESPN it is “aware of the situation and currently monitoring.”

The Packers released him with that designation to strengthen their case to recoup their money. They gave Bennett a $6.3 million signing bonus as part of his three-year, $21 million contract during free agency this past offseason.

The Packers could have tried to get back the entire signing bonus but considering Bennett played seven games, the stronger case will be for the remaining $4.2 million that’s prorated over the final two years of the deal. The case is expected to be heard by an arbitrator and would need to be settled before next season because of the salary-cap ramifications.

Bennett hinted that he was planning to retire during the Packers’ bye week. When he returned from the bye, he took part in the first practice. He never practiced after that and appeared on the injury report with a shoulder injury.

Shortly after the Packers released him on Nov. 8 and the New England Patriots claimed him the next day, Bennett disputed that he withheld any injury information and criticized the team’s medical staff, saying they were trying to force him to play. Several Packers’ players, both past and present, came to the defense of team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie, saying that if anything McKenzie is too conservative when it comes to clearing players.

Bennett was inactive for one game before the Packers released him. He later said he received multiple opinions that he needed surgery. He then played in two games for the Patriots before they placed him on injured reserve. Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews said the Packers “all got a good laugh” that Bennett was able to play for the Patriots but not the Packers.

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November 30, 2017 at 03:46PM

LeBron James ‘Bothered’ Dwyane Wade Signing Was Unpopular with Cavs Players

Dwyane Wade has started to settle into life with the Cleveland Cavaliers during their recent nine-game winning streak, but the start of his tenure with the team was evidently a bit rocky. 

Speaking to The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd (h/t USA Today‘s Erik Garcia Gundersen), LeBron James disclosed several of his teammates weren’t thrilled by the team’s decision to bring Wade aboard on a one-year deal. 

"There was a couple guys with it," James told Lloyd. "But it wasn’t a lot.

"I still know what he’ capable of doing. Why wouldn’t you want another guy in the locker room that brings a championship mentality and a guy who can still play? So, of course, it bothered me, but f–k it. It is what it is."

                

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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November 30, 2017 at 03:33PM

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