Kevin Durant: Could he really consider leaving the Thunder?

It's a strange and scary thing to think about, but Kevin Durant's current contract ends in 2016. Even though it's not on many sports fans minds. It's already on his however.

Reports from CBS Sports writer Ken Berger, Durant has said that in terms of 2016 he will "keep his options open". He also thought Lebrons return to Cleveland was classy and respectable to add to what he said about free agency. All these comments were at the Team USA practice in prep for the FIBA World Cup. A tournament the US is expected to win in.

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Why Big Name Restricted Free Agents Are Still Available.

Two names come to mind when it comes to restricted free agents. Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe. Both of which, this late into free agency are still available. No one will argue with you that both these players could make a big impact on almost any team in the league. So why are they still sitting on the RFA list?

Well it all stems from the rules surrounding RFA's and the fact that they are almost always over paid or underpaid. To get them at fair market value means either the team they returned to paid more than they should have or the team they left for got them over some other unknown issue. See Chandler Parsons.

Teams have rules set out over RFA's, unwritten rules. Some teams will not even put in an offer. The CBA gives the team who has the players matching rights 3 days to match any offer. That means the team that makes the offer has that free agency money tied up for 3 days. Not only that but a team can request a physical and extend that 3 days to 5 days. 5 days of millions in cap space wrapped up waiting on a team to pass or match. So essentially you could tie up 10+ million in cap space just to net nothing because the team matched the offer, then that means you missed out on your plan A, possibly B and are now on plan C because you rendered yourself useless for 3-5 days.

So GM's go after unrestricted guys 1st. So this is why Monroe and Bledsoe are still there, why tie up cash when Bosh, LeBron, Wade, Carmelo are still there? It's a dumb move for any GM who has any possible shot of landing the big name guys. That's why Dallas struck on Parsons when Bosh was keeping Houston waiting, they forced their hand and called their bluff and it actually netted them a player, one of the few times that happens.

Now waiting til the end of free agency to sign a RFA means that cap space is dwindling and  roster spots are few and far between. Phoenix already signed Isiah Thomas to give themselves more leverage in negotiations and the ability to walk on Bledsoe if he were to sign elsewhere for too much. Less spots and cash means the RFA is getting underpaid. Bledsoe is wanting max money, he won't get it. I guarantee that. Monroe will probably re-sign with Detroit at a reasonable amount. Bledsoe im not sure what happens. They have Dragic, Thomas and drafted Tyler Ennis. Makes for few minutes to go around.

As free agency winds down though it's getting close to signing time for the big name RFA's. Or, you know they could take the route less traveled and accept a 1 year qualifying offer and be unrestricted next year. That would shock the fans I'm sure.
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Cleveland Browns: Josh Gordon Didn't Exhale

We all remember when former President Bill Clinton famously said that he didn't inhale when referring to a question regarding his past marijuana use.  It was the punchline of many jokes for a while but I'm not sure Josh Gordon's camp saying the same thing in a way will be the brunt of too many jokes for that long. 

Gordon's legal team plans to use the second hand smoke marijuana defense in court as the star wide receiver faces a possible year long suspension after a laundry list of prior relevant complications like being charged with a DWI.  It's not so funny because the young man appears to have a serious drug/alcohol problem and anyone who has walked in those shoes will tell you that the soles of your feet get used to that ground and want to stay in the land of drug abuse disease.  And don't be fooled, it is a disease once you become addicted.

But for Gordon's legal advisers to even conceive of the notion that second hand smoke marijuana will account for his failed drug test is ludicrous.  I've read that he was barely over the "intoxication barometer" when tested but so what?!  He failed the test, it could have been weeks after his last puff when he got tested and/or the fact that he has a bunch of previous allegations, accusations and arrests on his record already that he can't afford to put himself in these situations.

Even if it's actually true that he tested positive because of second hand smoke, which sounds insane anyway and pleading that way may be his best option at this point, it shows the NFL, the Cleveland Browns and football fans all over the world that Josh Gordon is hanging with the wrong people.  Most people believe that and additionally say that Gordon himself has a drug abuse problem which has been highly publicly stated on several occasions.  I hope his lawyers are better than that because if second hand smoke is their defense then they will have to defend Gordon's company as well and bring in other names in which I'd doubt that Josh would "rat out" his buddies.  

This whole story is abnormal and I felt the need to express my feelings about it.  Please comment if you have something to say on this topic.
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Fantasy Football Mock Draft 2014

I recently sat down and had a live mock draft on my computer with 11 other guys making a 12 team league.  We all know each other for years so this was taken seriously.  We only did the first 7 rounds and all agreed to not draft a kicker or defense as these positions are usually picked after the 7th round.  This was not an official draft, just preparation to get an idea of where players are going to be drafted this 2014 Fantasy Football season.

We did a snake style draft meaning that if you had the 1st pick in the draft you had to wait til the 20th pick to make your next selection.  And if you had the 10th pick you also drafted 11th as well.  This is the basic style of non-auction drafts and is the most fair as fantasy football freaks and geeks know all about.

Round 1:
Team 1 - Jamaal Charles
Team 2 - Adrian Peterson
Team 3 - LeSean McCoy
Team 4 - Matt Forte
Team 5 - Peyton Manning
Team 6 - Eddie Lacy
Team 7 - Arian Foster
Team 8 - Calvin Johnson
Team 9 - Marshawn Lynch
Team 10 - A.J. Green

Round 2:
Team 10 - DeMarco Murray
Team 9 - Drew Brees
Team 8 - Alfred Morris
Team 7 - Jimmy Graham
Team 6 - Demaryius Thomas
Team 5 - Giovanni Bernard
Team 4 - Aaron Rodgers
Team 3 - LeVeon Bell
Team 2 - Matthew Stafford
Team 1 - Dez Bryant

Round 3:
Team 1 - Julio Jones
Team 2 - Brandon Marshall
Team 3 - Antonio Brown
Team 4 - Montee Ball
Team 5 - Randall Cobb
Team 6 - Doug Martin
Team 7 - Alshon Jefferey
Team 8 - Andrew Luck
Team 9 - Vincent Jackson
Team 10 - Matt Ryan

Round 4:
Team 10 - Jordy Nelson
Team 9 - Larry Fitzgerald
Team 8 - Ryan Mathews
Team 7 - Zac Stacey
Team 6 - Colin Kaepernick
Team 5 - Michael Crabtree
Team 4 - Keenan Allen
Team 3 - Rob Gronkowski
Team 2 - Wes Welker
Team 1 - Tom Brady

Round 5:
Team 1 - Victor Cruz
Team 2 - Emmanuel Sanders
Team 3 - Cordarrelle Patterson
Team 4 - Andre Johnson
Team 5 - C.J. Spiller
Team 6 - Julius Thomas
Team 7 - Robert Griffin III
Team 8 - T.Y. Hilton
Team 9 - Reggie Bush
Team 10 - Andre Ellington

Round 6:
Team 10 - Toby Gerhart
Team 9 - Sammy Watkins
Team 8 - Bishop Shankey
Team 7 - Pierre Garcon
Team 6 - Roddy White
Team 5 - Cam Newton
Team 4 - Vernon Davis
Team 3 - Frank Gore
Team 2 - Ben Tate
Team 1 - Rashad Jennings

Round 7:
Team 1 - Percy Harvin
Team 2 - Chris Johnson
Team 3 - Jeremy Maclin
Team 4 - Julian Edelman
Team 5 - Jason Witten
Team 6 - Darren Sproles
Team 7 - Torrey Smith
Team 8  - Marques Coltson
Team 9 - Mike Wallace
Team 10 - Golden Tate
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Will the Detroit Lions Roar Back into the Playoffs

The toughest part about the Lions getting back to the post season as they did a couple of seasons ago for the first time since the days of Barry Sanders will be the division they play in.  Perhaps reason 1A as to whether or not Detroit can be one of the six teams to reach the playoffs is public enemy number one.  Themselves!

The Lions seem to beat themselves more than the opposition does so maybe with Jim Schwartz out as head coach with Jim Caldwell as his replacement may be able to take away that stigma the team carries around with them on a daily basis.

We all know they have the talent.  Certainly on offense which is why I was confused when they brought in Caldwell as the new head coach because scoring points wasn't the Lions problem.  The major issue was that the defense allowed way too many points and contributed to the frequent comebacks teams had against Detroit.  It seemed every game they played in 2013 came down to the final few minutes of the 4th quarter.

Matthew Stafford is a very good quarterback in my opinion but it's obvious he can go on an interception tangent at any point during the game.  But man what an arm he has.  That arm has been connecting with Calvin Johnson a.k.a. Megatron since Stafford was drafted in 2009 out of Georgia.  Megatron played his college ball at Georgia Tech so maybe they drank the same Georgia water to develop the on field chemistry between the two.

The Lions also drafted Tight End Eric Ebron who is supposed to be the next big time player at that position and they signed Golden Tate to a 5 year deal and many don't realize how good that kid is.  Plus they still have a dynamic Running Back with Reggie Bush who fits in this offense like a glove.  Backing up Bush in this throw first offense are Mikel Leshoure who has great talent but rarely gets to show it because of various injuries and Joique Bell who proved he can play some ball and give Bush a break.

Like I said in the beginning, the Lions continue to beat themselves and end up on the losing end of close games more often then not.  Here's a few examples of games they either blew or couldn't close out as time expired in 2013.

Cardinals - Lost by 4
Bengals - Lost by 3
Buccaneers - Lost by 3
Ravens - Lost by 2
Giants - Lost by 3
Vikings - Lost by 1

Wow!  That's 6 games they lost during the 2013 season by a total of 16 points.  That's a killer!  Especially when the Lions were very much in control of their playoff destiny last year and blew it by losing their last 4 regular season games.  That's been the story of the Detroit Lions for about 4 or 5 years, only making the playoffs once in 2011.  By the way they lost in the first round to the Saints.

Okay so the Lions are going to score points again, no doubt.  They can drop 40 on you in their dome or outside of it.  The questions remain, can the Lions win these close games by not blow it at the end and can the defense finally step up and get the job done when they have a 4 point lead with 2 minutes to go in the game?

They have a top notch defensive line with one of the best in the game in Ndamukong Suh.  I don't hate people I don't personally know.  But from a distance I dislike the man by his on field antics and "dirty play."  If he can focus and not get suspended then he can become the true leader of the defense and hopefully raise everyone's game up a level.

Forget the names on the back of the jerseys.  You probably don't recognize many of them but we'll have to wait and see what they can do under the tutelage of Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin who will be taking many of his cues from an NFL lifer, former head coach and long time DC around the league in Gunther Cunningham.

To close out, you never know what you're gonna get.  Maybe the Lions deflate and only average 21 points a game as the defense pulls a 180 and finishes in the top 5 in the league.  My guess is that the offense will be a top 5 unit given all their talent and former Offensive Coordinator and HC for the Indianapolis Colts Jim Caldwell running the show with an offensive mindset.

I believe the defense will improve and we may end up remembering a few names besides Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.  Detroit didn't focus on defense at the top of their draft but did address the need a bit later by trying to improve that dreadful secondary with a few rookies.  Late round picks can turn out to be gems as the pre-season goes and if a player is good enough he'll get a chance with the pro's.

Though behind that front four which isn't that great anyway but still very good, their isn't much to get excited about so DC Teryl Austin will have to be creative and careful when his defense takes the field.  The Lions can go (10- 6) or (6 - 10), it just depends on their mental toughness as they use their athletic ability on and off the field.
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Chicago Bears: Is Marquess Wilson the next impact player?

The Chicago Bears are stacked offensively, they have the best receiver duo in Jeffrey-Marshall and have a top 5 running back in Matt Forte. They spend the draft and free agency trying to reconstruct a defense that had too many lapses and was not like the old Bears defenses we have been used to seeing in the past. But there is one player on offense who could have a big impact for the Bears.

That player is Marquess Wilson.

Wilson is coming into his second year with the league and Bears with big expectations. With the departure of Earl Bennett and the injuries to other receivers, this is Wilson's job to lose for the Bears.

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EPL Season Preview: Liverpool Will Try to Erase 25 Years of Failure

The last time Liverpool FC won the English Premier League was the 1989-90 campaign in which Liverpool won the league by nine points over Aston Villa. Is Liverpool capable of doing that twice in a century? We shall see.
Liverpool made headlines this offseason by parting ways with the ever-so controversial Luis Suarez. For all those that are completely oblivious to the sports universe, Suarez was caught biting his third victim, Giorgio Chiellini, in the 2014 World Cup.
Brendan Rodgers has been busy in the 2014 Summer Transfer Window leading to Rodgers bringing in Emre CanDejan LovrenRickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic. Along with these five signings, Liverpool has been linked to many other players including Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri. Rodgers will be looking to replace a thirty goal scorer in Suarez. Luckily, Liverpool still has Daniel Sturridge who scored a little more than twenty goals last season. Lallana is most likely the answer but at the moment Lallana will miss the season opener due to an injury.
Rodgers is known to play a two forward system so a replacement for Suarez will need to happen since the remaining forwards outside of Sturridge and Lambert, on the roster include Fabio Borini, Samed YesilKrisztian Adorjan and Jerome Sinclair. I am not confident in the rest of forwards on the team having an influence. Bringing in Origi will be the best bet for Rodgers due to his impressive stint in the 2014 World Cup.
Last season was disappointing for Rodgers and Liverpool. Liverpool squandered first place in the last few games of the season to Manchester City. Liverpool was riding an eleven game win-streak before losing to Chelsea, 2-0 and drawing Crystal Palace, 3-3. This allowed Manchester City to sneak in and take control of first place.
Rodgers and Liverpool does not want to see this happen again but as history tells us, Liverpool has a knack for giving up the lead late in the season. With all the spending Rodgers is doing in this transfer window, I do not believe Liverpool will win the league but will once again finish second.
Collin Ruby is a writer for, “Follow” him on Twitter @Collin_Ruby and “Like” him on Facebook
by Stoppage Time Soccer
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MLS: Ronaldinho Would be Perfect Fit for Orlando City SC

Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldinho has announced that he is leaving current club Atletico Minero and is looking for a new home in a new league. Immediately, leagues such as the A-league (Australia) and Major League Soccer have jumped into the discussion. Several MLS teams are desperate for a game changing Designated Player and, because Ronaldinho is not a former MLS or U.S. Men’s National Team star, allocation order does not come into play when pursuing the former world star.
However, the perfect fit for Ronaldinho is not an established MLS team, but the rising league’s new addition, Orlando City SC.
Orlando City SC will join MLS in 2015 and already have a Brazilian star in Kaka on their roster, which means that Ronaldinho would immediately feel at home with his new club. Adjusting to MLS takes time (unless you’re Thierry Henry) and playing with another player who he is familiar with could rapidly aid Ronaldinho’s adjustment to the style of play in a new league.
Ronaldinho and Kaka would not only form one of the most dynamic midfield duos in MLS almost immediately, but it would all but ensure that OCSC doesn’t struggle in their first season. The success of Orlando City will determine the path of soccer in the Southeastern United States for a long time – a devastating first season could reignite the irrational fear by many that “SEC Country” is far from ready for professional soccer.
An interesting side note: Florida has one of the largest populations of Brazilians in the United States. Five of the top ten cities in America with the highest Brazilian population are in the state of Florida, and fans will flock in droves to Orlando City games in order to see one of the most memorable players in the history of soccer. OCSC already has a fairly large and extremely loyal fan base that would only be bolstered by the addition of Ronaldinho.
Orlando City has been relatively quiet after the signing of Kaka, and bringing in Ronaldinho would be a brilliant move for the fan base, marketing, and the future of the club. Stay tuned to (@StoppageTimeSoc) for updates on Ronaldinho and other players rumored to come to MLS. Also, this article will be updated with any breaking Ronaldinho news concerning MLS in the near future.
by Stoppage Time Soccer
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San Diego Chargers: People Still Sleep on Philip Rivers in Fantasy

        I seriously wonder what some of these, 'fantasy football experts' are smoking for breakfast sometimes.
       I use for my fantasy football league so I usually check in to see what Dave Richard and Jeremy Eisenberg have to say.  
      I seriously lOL'd to my 5's of 10's of fans today when I saw Eisenberg had Philip Rivers ranked as the No. 17 Fantasy Football player in all of America.
      Do you not watch football?
      Alright, so I'm an AFC West guy and my buddy, White Mamba, just loves the Chargers. So, I've seen my fair-share of Philip Rivers and I gotta say, the man hit his prime last season and really took over as a leader of that team.
    The 2013 stats are undisputable.
16 games, 4478 yards with 32 td's and 11 int's.
    QB rankings from 2013
    TD passes - Philip Rivers - No.4 with 32
    yards passing - No. 5 with 4478
    (I'm not sure how other people score their leagues but I'm sorry, ranking Rivers as the No. 17 QB is just laughable. I shouldn't be surprised though, Eisenberg has Andy Dalton ranked at No. 18)
What the experts are saying: 
CBS - Jeremy Eisenberg - No. 17
CBS - Dave Richard - No. 12
Yahoo - No. 14
ESPN - No. 13
Fox - No. 14
      I just don't understand what all of these major fantasy players are looking at.
     Did they think P. Rivers had a one-hit wonder kind of year?
    Look what the man has been doing for the last six years
2013 - 4478 yards and 32 td's
2012 - 3606 yards and 26 td's (blame the yards on Norv Turner)
2011 - 4624 yards and 27 td's
2010 - 4710 yards and 30 td's
2009 - 4254 and 28 td's
2008 - 4,009 yards and 30 td's.
    Philip Rivers has been remarkable consistent since 2008 and to rank a bunch of young guns in front of him is just ludicrous.
     The Chargers have two great tight ends in Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green.
     The Chargers have an emerging start at WR in Keenan Allen and they have one of the best 3rd-down backs in football in Danny Woodhead who led the team with 76 catches for 600 plus yards.
      For most of you, I know your mind is already made up.
     For a lot of you, if you're not in a Charger loving league, wait until the 10th round to grab P. Riv, you will be glad you did.
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Denver Broncos Looking for Fantasy Football Points from Emmanuel Sanders

     At first glance the departure of Denver WR, Eric Decker, to the New York Jets made me think about how much better the Fantasy production of guys like Demearyius Thomas, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas might be.
      While those guys are Peyton Manning's go-to guys, you have to wonder if free-agent pickup Emmanuel Sanders might just step right in and fill Decker's stats with his own play-making abilities.
   For his part, Sanders is saying all the right things in Broncos camp and already has a new admiration for the guy who will be throwing him the ball, Peyton Manning. Sanders came out and said, among other things, that Manning is a better leader than Ben Roethlisberger. 
   "This is the first time that I've had a quarterback that every single day after practice -- no matter what his accolades, NFL MVP, Super Bowl ring -- he keeps guys like me and [rookie receiver Cody] Latimer after practice. . . . He's not one of those guys you've got to chase down. He's going to be right in the same spot, ready to work, every single day. I just feel like that's a difference from a mental standpoint."
     Decker put up some monster fantasy stats last season - 1288 yards and 11 td's.
     Sanders has been solid, not spectacular, during a four-year career in Pittsburgh. 
2010 - 28, 276, 2 td's
2011 - 22, 288, 2 td's
2012 - 44, 626, 1 td
2013 - 67, 740, 6 td's
     So, what do you do with Sanders as we Fantasy Football drafts get ready to commence around the globe?
      Because he's part of the Denver aerial assault, do we simply mark him down for 1100 yards and 12 td's or do we proceed with caution because we don't know if he will be one of Manning's primary targets?
What the experts say:
CBS - Jeremy Eisenberg - 24th
CBS - Dave Richard - 17th
Yahoo - 39th
ESPN - 29th - 
Rich Winter -  No. 32 - I'm a little torn on this pick and I think my fellow experts also don't quite know what to do with Sanders as you can see by the No. 17 - No. 39 rankings. While I think the Denver aerial circus will continue in 2014, I see them running the ball in the 2nd half and really trying to salt away wins. Manning isn't going to throw for 50 touchdowns and 5500 yards, more like 4500 and 40.
   With that being said, I think Sanders comes into Denver and has a nice season.
  Rich Winter projections - 750 yards and 7 td's.
  That puts him in that bubble area where I'm not looking at him for one of my top three receivers. Depending on how my draft goes, I'd love to see him on my bench in case Welker or one of the Thomas brothers goes out. With Sanders, I worry about him splitting reps with rookie, Cody Latimer. If the Broncos sustain an injury at WR, Sanders could step in and have a nice, 3-4 game stretch.
     If you can stash him away on your bench, great. I'm seeing some other team's No. 1 Wr's out on the board by the time you get to Sanders territory. I'm always going to take a No. 1 over a No. 4, I don't care if God himself is playing QB for Denver.
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