Orioles interested in Ichiro? 

December, 19, 2014
Dec 19
8:41
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Ichiro Suzuki's at-bat total has been on a steady decline since 2011, but the veteran is not quite ready to hang it up. The outfielder has been hoping to get signed to a deal that would allow him to be an everyday starter in 2015, and it looks like he may finally have an interested party.

Stan Van Gundy targets more energy 

December, 19, 2014
Dec 19
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The Detroit Pistons are 5-21 after 26 games and to no surprise president of basketball operations/head coach Stan Van Gundy is on the phone talking trades to improve the roster. So, what area is Van Gundy targeting?

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Padres continue to wheel and deal? 

December, 19, 2014
Dec 19
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Although trade talks went through a roller coaster ride's worth of ups and downs along the way, when all is said and done it looks like Matt Kemp will indeed be in a San Diego Padres uniform in 2015. However, the Padres are far from finished with their roster makeover.

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Nicolas Batum may miss some games 

December, 19, 2014
Dec 19
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Nicolas Batum was in a lot of pain on Thursday thanks to a nasty fall on Wednesday due a Flagrant 2 foul from Milwaukee's Larry Sanders when the Portland Trail Blazers starting small forward was driving towards the basket. Batum's status is uncertain for Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs as the team is listing him as questionable.

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Lance Stephenson off market, for now 

December, 19, 2014
Dec 19
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The Charlotte Hornets have reportedly made calls around the league offering up Lance Stephenson, but they have yet to receive a suitable offer. With that in mind, the team has decided to keep the shooting guard "for now," reports ESPN.com's Chris Broussard and Ramona Shelburne.

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Is Josh Freeman done in the NFL? 

December, 19, 2014
Dec 19
7:44
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We haven't seen Josh Freeman on a football field since October of 2013, during his lone appearance for the Minnesota Vikings, following his severance from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was a disastrous performance, as he completed 23 of 50 passes for 190 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT, as the Vikes lost 23-7 to the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.

Despite his obvious struggles on the field and issues off of the field, Freeman is just 26 years old, so he should have more gas left in the tank. It sounds like he doesn't believe he is done in the NFL.

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Fantasy implications of the Rondo trade

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
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After years of constant trade rumors and speculation, the Boston Celtics finally did it -- they traded Rajon Rondo. The deal became official Thursday evening, sending the four-time All-Star point guard to Dallas for Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, along with a first-round pick in the 2015 draft and a second-rounder in 2016.

It's a good trade for the 28-year-old Rondo in that it takes him from a rebuilding team in the Celtics to a veteran Mavericks team with championship aspirations. But what will it mean for his numbers? And should we expect Rondo to be better or worse as he switches conferences?

Those questions will ultimately be answered by how quickly Rondo adjusts to his new team and his new surroundings, but there's certainly reason to believe the trade will translate to more assists:
  • Think about this: if Rondo was able to lead the NBA in assists per game (10.8) this season on a young Boston team with unproven and inconsistent shooters, what are his assist numbers going to look like when he is dishing to guys like Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons and Monta Ellis?
  • Also, there's decent chance that the presence of Rondo will speed up the pace at which the Mavs play. They currently rank No. 9 in the league with 96.4 possessions per game on average, but with Rondo leading the charge in Boston the Celtics led the NBA in pace with 100.5 possessions per game.

Yes, more passing and less shooting could have a negative impact on Rondo's scoring, but it's difficult to imagine his points-per-game dropping too much lower than the 8.3 he was averaging in Boston this season.

Here are some of the other fantasy winners and losers in this deal:

Winners
  • Marcus Smart: It was difficult for Smart to carve out meaningful minutes while Rondo was ahead of him on the depth chart, but the rookie lottery pick should see his role and his playing time increase with Rondo gone. At 9-14, the Celtics aren't a serious contender this season and today's trade signifies that they aren't pretending to be contenders. With that in mind, there's little reason for coach Stevens to play Jameer Nelson more than Smart, who could even become the team's starting point guard in the near future.
  • The rest of the Mavericks' starters: A pass-first point guard who can push the pace, make creative passes and put players like Nowitzki, Ellis, Parsons and Tyson Chandler in position to score? That should equate to more production out of all of these players (and based on Rondo's shooting percentage, it also should mean more offensive rebound opportunities for Chandler).
Losers
  • Nelson: It can't be easy for a veteran like Nelson to go from a top team in the Western Conference to a young team that would be lucky to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, and now the 32-year-old could see his minutes diminish to Smart in the not-too-distant future.
  • Wright: He's an athletic big who runs the floor and shoots as efficiently as any power forward or center in the game. And he could potentially provide the Celtics with the rim-protector this team so desperately needs. So why do we list Wright in this column? Because it's going to be difficult for him to play consistent minutes in a frontcourt that already includes the likes of Tyler Zeller, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass. Any way you look at it, it's hard to envision him getting much more playing time than he did in his days in Dallas (18 mpg each of the last three seasons).
  • Boston's other big men: Any time Wright is on the court, it will mean that he's taking minutes that would have previously gone to Zeller, Olynyk, Sullinger or Bass. And less playing time means less opportunity, which is no good in fantasy.

Why have Cowboys been better on road? 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
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For all of the success that the Dallas Cowboys have had this season, their 10-4 record doesn't even guarantee them a playoff bid at this stage. On top of that, we have their perplexing records at home and on the road: 3-4 at home, 7-0 away.

While there may be deeper or more subtle issues that have impacted their home woes and road success, there are some seemingly simple explanations, too.

"One factor in the Cowboys’ performance in the four home losses was [Tony] Romo’s iffy status, a contrast to his Most Valuable Player caliber of play in the rest of the games," wrote Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram.

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The Detroit Lions D has turned into one of the top outfits in the league under the direction of first-year NFL coordinator Teryl Austin. As is the case for many successful coordinators, Austin may generate some head-coaching interest during the offseason from teams that fire their current coach.

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Thursday rumor roundup 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
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The intrigue surrounding the potential deal of Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres continues to undergo more twists and turns than the Serial podcast. Thursday morning, the prevailing feeling was that while there were some reported snags in the trade, everything was still expected to be ironed out by the end of the day.

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Week 16 expectations for Colts WR corps 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
12:41
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So far during his first season with the Indianapolis Colts, Hakeem Nicks has been a complete non-factor. He has totaled just 287 yards and 4 TDs on 26 receptions and has yet to top 50 yards in a game. He did manage to score a key 22-yard touchdown in Week 15, though he ended up with just one other catch (also for 22 yards).

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Broncos overworking C.J. Anderson? 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
11:22
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In recent weeks, the Denver Broncos have saddled up RB C.J. Anderson, while taking it easy on QB Peyton Manning. We can debate why that is -- Sunday, he was battling an illness and a thigh injury -- but it's fair to wonder whether they might run Anderson into the ground before the playoffs even start.

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Market for Asdrubal Cabrera 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
10:34
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Multiple teams are now looking at Asdrubal Cabrera as a possible addition to their roster for the 2015 season. As Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports, "the Giants, A's, Mets, Cards and Twins (are) among teams to show interest in Cabrera, who could play 3B or 2B as well as SS."

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Could Rajon Rondo land in Big D? 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
10:30
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The Rajon Rondo rumors have been going on for almost two years and Wednesday came word from ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the Dallas Mavericks are pushing hard for the point guard.

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PIT: return of no-huddle vs. KC? 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
9:58
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Early on this season, the Pittsburgh Steelers often went to a no-huddle offense. But about a month into the season, they largely ditched it as a central part of their offense. Since then, they've had one of the more productive offenses in the NFL and have themselves in playoff contention in the AFC North chase.

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