Nets Favored to Land Kyrie Irving in Free Agency… Knicks Also in Running

With the Celtics on the brink of elimination, everyone is turning their focus away from Boston’s playoff hopes and towards Kyrie Irving’s intentions in free agency.

According to Vegas, Irving is likely to leave Boston in favor of a New York team, with the Nets holding the best odds of snagging the six-time All-Star.

It is worth noting that the Knicks are not far behind in this pursuit. As a New Jersey native, Irving has ties to the area so signing with either New York team would make perfect sense for the 27-year-old point guard.

Kyrie has said in the past that he intends to resign with Boston, but that assertion seems as likely to be accurate as his Flat Earth Theory.

At first glance, the Knicks would be the better fit for Irving over the Nets considering Brooklyn’s loaded backcourt, but the Nets are young and already competitive which is attractive to a player like Kyrie who wants to win now.

While no one really knows Irving’s thoughts on his future in the league, it is apparent that a New York franchise is his likely destination.

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

Mets Showing Interest in Mike Minor

The Mets have begun to show significant interest in Rangers ace Mike Minor, continuously searching outside the organization for pitching help due to the staff’s inauspicious start.

New York currently ranks 25th in the MLB in earned run average (5.62), with each starting holding an ERA above a 3.68. Two starters in their rotation, Jason Vargas and Zack Wheeler, even hold ERAs above 7.45. It is no wonder that they are looking elsewhere for pitching relief for this defensive shortcoming.

Among the teams interested in the phenomenal pitcher is division rival Philadelphia Phillies. Both teams’ starters have been lacking, and the race to acquire a player of this caliber will be a close one as each NL East squad intends to contend in the postseason.

Minor has been exceptional thus far in his 2019 campaign. He currently holds a 2.60 ERA to go along with 22 strikeouts in four separate outings. The Vanderbilt product also threw a complete game shutout in his last start against the Los Angeles Angels.

Although his resumĂŠ isn’t all that much to be impressed about,  Minor feels his game has evolved. He noted after a game, “I think I have better stuff now than I did back then.” Promising improvement, Minor feels prepared to make a name for himself in the MLB and helping any team that wants him to postseason prosperity.

 

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Mets Sign Two-Time All-Star Carlos Gomez to Minor-League Deal

According to reports, the New York Mets have signed centerfielder Carlos Gomez to a minor league contract.

Gomez started his career with the Mets when he signed as an international free-agent back in 2002 and debuted in the majors in 2007. He spent a year with the Amazins’, batting .232 and stealing 12 bases before being traded to the Minnesota Twins in a deal that would send two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana to New York.

He was almost traded back to the Mets again in 2015 for Wilmer Flores, an incident that left Flores on the field in tears. However, the trade fell through because of Gomez’ medical evaluations.

“In the game, I heard I was getting traded, and I got emotional, and when I came in, they told me there was no trade,” Flores said at the time. “I was sad, being a Met forever, I have all my teammates here, that’s why I got emotional.”

Now having been named an All-Star twice and a Gold Glover once, Gomez will look to redeem himself after a shotty 2018 campaign, hitting .208/.298/.336 with just nine home runs and 32 RBIs and 15 doubles over 118 games. He was also hit by pitches a career-high 21 times.

Gomez will have plenty of competition in the outfield as he attempts to make the Mets Opening Day Roster. Despite the injury to Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Juan Lagares, and Keon Broxton are all on major league deals. Also, Rajai Davis and Gregor Blanco are in camp on minor league deals. 

The Mets will hope to milk the last of Gomez’ baseball skill as the veteran’s career comes to a close. His best season came in 2013 when he hit a career-high .284 10 triples, 24 home runs, 73 RBIs, and 40 stolen bases, winning a Gold Glove and being named an All-Star in the same year.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/Keith Allison

Knicks Trade Kristaps Porzingis to Mavs in Blockbuster Deal

Coveted Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis voiced his frustrations with team management regarding the organization’s direction, giving the impression that he would prefer to be traded from New York. His wish was granted as the Latvian big-man will head to Dallas along with Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and two first-round picks.

This move opens up immediate cap space for a Knicks team banking on a successful 2019 free agency to crawl their way back into contention. By dealing Hardaway and Lee, New York rids themselves of two multi-year, $10M+ contracts to make room for two max contract slots in July.

However, Knicks fans are in shock over losing their franchise centerpiece for expiring contracts. Porzingis was supposed to be the cornerstone that the team was built around, but now the front office must start over to bring a competitive team back to the World’s Most Famous Arena.

The only player still on the books at the end of this season is Dennis Smith Jr., who the Knicks infamously passed on with the 8th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft for Frank Ntilikina. Smith was named to the All-Rookie Second Team in his first year after averaging 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game.

New York also acquired DeAndre Jordan, a former All-Star center who led the NBA in rebounding twice. He is primarily known for his defensive prowess and dunking abilities, a combination that has allowed him to consistently be among the top players at his position. He has earned a spot on the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2015 and 2016, a year where he also made the All-NBA First Team.

The real implications of this deal come after the end of the season when the Knicks enter free agency with $70M to spend. If the organization is unable to land Kevin Durant as they plan, what is the next move? They just traded away the only All-Star caliber player on the roster, which makes New York even less desirable as a potential offseason destination. The city is known for striking out when it comes to adding big names in the summer, and if they are unable to land a marquee player, the Knicks may have pushed the rebuilding process back another five years.

Although the team currently owns the worst record in the NBA which gives them a 25% chance to land the #1 pick and a chance to draft Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett, this trade improves the roster in the short-term. This should lead to a spike in wins and move them further out of the running for these high-level prospects.

The future is uncertain, but this organization is going to have to roll with the punches.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Image via Flickr/Keith Allison

Troy Tulowitzki Signs With New York Yankees

Veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has reached an agreement with the New York Yankees for the league minimum.

Tulowitzki was released by the Blue Jays in December after his worst season since he was a rookie, batting .249 with 7 home runs and 26 runs batted in. The Yankees are in need of a shortstop as Didi Gregorius recovers from Tommy John surgery so they will give the accomplished middle infielder a shot.

Once upon a time, Tulowitzki was the best shortstop in baseball. He is a five-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove Award winner, and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He even has two fifth-place finishes in the MVP race.

His best season came in 2011 with the Colorado Rockies when he hit .302 with 32 homers and 105 RBIs, but since then, he has steadily declined. However, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. According to Toronto Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins, “He looks like he is healthy. He’s recovering well. He has full range of motion. He has his strength. … Our reports are very positive.”

The Yankees can only hope that a change of scenery will revitalize the once dominant shortstop and truly transform him into a “Bronx Bomber.”

 

Featured Image via Flickr/ Terry Foote

Enes Kanter Ejected After Scuffle With Giannis Antetokounmpo

After suffering a fourteen point loss to the Bucks on Christmas Day, the New York Knicks couldn’t bounce back in their rematch with the Greek Freak, losing in Milwaukee by a score of 112-96.

However, the real story was the altercation between Knicks center Enes Kanter and MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo. Following a collision between the two players where no foul was called, Giannis appears to pump Kanter before they went head-to-head in a very heated moment. Kanter was issued two technicals and ejected from the game as a result.

Enes took an elbow on the previous play from Thon Maker that would require three stitches, which was why he thought he had to leave the floor. He thought he was just receiving medical attention for the gash to his eye, not knowing that he had been ejected and unable to return.

Referee Brian Forte explained why he gave the two technicals to Enes by saying that “during instant replay review for the altercation, we observed an unsportsmanlike act by Kanter, and that is what led to his first technical foul. After the out-of-bounds foul, Giannis and Kanter came face-to-face, and so they were both assessed dead-ball technical fouls.”

After the game ended, fellow teammate Kristaps Porzingis posted on his Instagram story to express his frustrations with the way the whole situation was handled.

“That was some bs tonight!!!” Porzingis said. “And that bucks assistant coach needs to sit his ass down before grabbing Enes like that. Grab your own players not the opp. team.”

It has been a rough couple of weeks for Kanter. He had lost his starting job to Mitchell Robinson earlier in the year, but Robinson was sidelined due to an ankle injury that allowed Kanter to re-enter the starting lineup for a short time. However, in last night’s game against the Bucks, Fizdale decided to give the starting nod to Luke Kornet instead. Kornet had a career night, scoring 23 points while logging 5 assists and 3 rebounds. This was much to the dismay of Kanter, who conveyed his frustration on Twitter after being benched yet again.

His effectiveness on the floor has also taken a hit as of late. Despite averaging 14.7 points and 10.8 rebounds this season, his numbers have dipped to 10 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in the last seven days.

Hopefully, this altercation will motivate the Knicks big man to continue improving his game and return to being the scoring and rebounding machine from earlier in the year.

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

The Mets Are Interested in Corey Kluber

The Mets recently completed a trade for 8-time All-Star Robinson Cano and Edwin DĂ­az, the AL Reliever of the Year. This move by Brodie Van Wagenen sent a message to all Mets fans that the organization is attempting to build a win-now team, and more transactions could be on the horizon.

According to reports, New York has also expressed interest in standout starting pitcher Corey Kluber.

Kluber has been a force to be reckoned with in the past few years. He had a 2.89 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with 222 strikeouts during the 2018 season, finishing third in the voting for the American League Cy Young Award. This is not unfamiliar territory for Kluber, who won the coveted award the year prior as well as in 2014.

He is one year removed from the best season of his career. During the 2017 season, Kluber’s numbers were astounding, posting a 2.25 ERA (1st in the AL), 18 wins (1st), and 265 strikeouts (2nd).

Kluber has been particularly effective in the last three years, being named an All-Star in each season as he quickly rose to one of the most dominant pitchers in the MLB today.

Although the Mets gave up their No. 3 & 4 prospects in the Cano deal, they still have plenty of young studs in their farm system that they could move to acquire the Indians starter. If New York can work out a deal, pairing Kluber with deGrom would undoubtedly be the deadliest 1-2 punch that the MLB has seen in a long time.

While it remains to be seen whether or not the Indians have any motivation to trade their ace, Brodie Van Wagenen and the Mets front office have made it clear that they are willing to pay top dollar to compete next season.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/ Erik Drost