Kawhi Leonard Declines Contract Option; ‘Seriously Considering’ RaptorsA

In a widely expected move, Kawhi Leonard will decline his 2019-20 player option with the Toronto Raptors to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

However, Haynes noted that Leonard is “believed to be seriously considering re-signing with the Raptors.”nfl cheap nike jerseys

Leonard would have earned roughly $21.3 million in 2019-20 had he exercised the option. But even if he intends to return to the Raptors, opting out was a no-brainer for the three-time All-Star.

The Raptors can offer him a five-year, $189.7 million max extension, while other teams can’t give him more than a four-year, $140.6 million contract

Either way, the 27-year-old had no reason to see out the remainder of his old contract.hi-res-20f7d0da0390e8aea1bb3f2dfec4e354_crop_north

Now the question becomes whether he stays in Toronto or bolts after one season north of the border.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

Leonard and the Raptors didn’t get off to a great start after they acquired him from the San Antonio Spurs. Last July, Sporting News’ Sean Deveney reported Leonard had “no interest” in playing for his new team.

Over time, the relationship between the two sides grew stronger. In March, TSN’s Josh Lewenberg reported Toronto was “increasingly confident” about its chances to retain Leonard this summer:

“However, as they’ve gotten to know Leonard better, they have come to understand the other priorities that drive him on daily basis. That’s what their pitch will centre on: trust, familiarity, cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys a commitment to maintaining his health and the shared goal of chasing a championship, as well as the extra year and contract worth nearly $50 million more than anyone else can offer.”

Then came the first NBA championship in Raptors history, an achievement that wouldn’t have been possible without Leonard. He averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists throughout the playoffs, building a case for himself as the NBA’s best player.cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

On the court, the Raptors built their offense around Leonard. According to Basketball Reference, his 30.3 percent usage rate was the highest on the team, and he attempted the most shots (1,129) of any Raptor despite missing 22 regular-season games.cheap nike jerseys nfl

Leonard sat out so frequently because Toronto wanted to proactively manage his workload following an injury-plagued 2017-18 season. With an eye toward winning his trust and preserving him for the playoffs, the coaching staff was careful not to push him too hard during the regular season.
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General manager Masai Ujiri took a big risk sending a fan favorite in DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio for a player who might only be a one-year rental. Because of that, the Raptors had to go above and beyond to make Leonard feel comfortable.

Leonard acknowledged the plan ultimately ensured he continued to be effective into the postseason.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

Roquan Smith, Linebacker

Roquan Smith fits the mold of the modern quick twitch NFL linebacker who can flow side-to-sideline with the play.

At 6’1″ and 236 pounds, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds, which ranked fourth among linebackers at the combine. That speed is the foundation of his effectiveness against the run and as a pass-rusher. It’s how he recorded 137 tackles and 6.5 sacks during his final season at Georgia.best nfl jerseys

His speed is also what makes Smith a likely top-10 pick widely mocked to the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately, he experienced some hamstring tightness while showing off his quickness at the combine.

Concern about Smith’s injury grew slightly in early March when Draft Analyst’s Tony Pauline reported he was flagged medically by several teams. But that turned out to be only a passing scare, as later NFLDraftScout’s Dane Brugler reported Smith has been cleared and wasn’t scheduled for a combine medical recheck.
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Smith should be just fine going forward, and he is racing Tremaine Edmunds to be the first linebacker selected.
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Evaluating Harold Landry requires a good memory.

The defensive end erupted for Boston College in 2016, leading the nation in sacks with 16.5 while also recording 22 tackles for a loss. He was a constant menace in the backfield because of his burst to accelerate around blockers.

However, Landry couldn’t repeat that high-end production in 2017 because an ankle injury limited him to just eight games played.nfl jerseys cheap authentic

However, he still notched five sacks despite the shortened senior season. Then Landry went on to tear apart the combine, most notably posting a three-cone drill time of 6.88 seconds. Only six other defensive linemen who weighed 250-plus pounds and were selected in the first round have recorded a sub-6.9 time, per PFF.
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So it feels pretty safe to say Landry’s ankle has healed nicely, and he’s worthy of first-round buzz.customized nfl jerseys cheap

Boston Celtics: Kyrie Irving’s Knee

Kyrie Irving’s “minimally invasive” left knee procedure could wind up having an outsized impact on the Boston Celtics’ postseason hopes.nfl wholesale jerseys

A three- to six-week timetable doesn’t guarantee his return before the end of the first round, let alone the start of the playoffs altogether. And if he’s unable to suit up, the Celtics face the prospect of an immediate exit.

It doesn’t matter that they have the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed. Possible matchups with the Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards (assuming John Wall returns) have close-call potential even if the Celtics are at full capacity.nfl jerseys from china

Remove Irving from the equation, and Boston may forfeit favorite status in any one of those hypothetical series.hi-res-8404aaa811b07d5cb78f5f7d71285c00_crop_exact

Indeed, the Celtics have shown they can survive without Irving. Al Horford continues to headline units that outscore opponents by 9.7  official nfl jerseys cheap points per 100 possessions whenever he plays without the All-Star point man. And the defense remains sturdy in the time rookie Jayson Tatum logs on his own.

But generating consistent offense without Irving is a chore the Celtics aren’t fit to complete in a playoff setting. They score like a bottom-three attack when he’s on the bench and don’t have a proven face-up alpha on which to lean in crunch time.

Tatum will be that player one day, just not now. Ditto for Jaylen Brown. Horford can helm an offense by himself for 43 minutes or so, but he’s not the from-scratch dribble-driver needed to excel with the game on the line. (Most big men aren’t, by the way. Boston is lucky Horford is nimble and effective at pump-and-drives from above the break.)reebok nfl jerseys

The Celtics have turned to Irving during high-pressure moments accordingly.

Among the 328 players to make at least five crunch-time appearances, only LeBron James has a higher usage rate or averages more shot attempts per 36 minutes. And just as the Cavaliers would have no way of offsetting his absence, the Celtics don’t have the experience, one-on-one maestros or healthy 6’8″nfl authentic jerseys¬† All-Star safety nets to last without him.

Muhammad Wilkerson, Packers Agree to Contract After 7 Seasons with Jets

The deal is for one year, $5 million plus an additional $3 million in incentives, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.

Working out a contract with Wilkerson continued a busy day for the Packers, official nfl jerseys cheap who also agreed to a deal with tight end Jimmy Graham and released wide receiver Jordy Nelson, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

New York officially released Wilkerson on Feb. 28. The Jets had placed the franchise tag on Wilkerson in 2016 to prevent him from hitting free agency, but his future with the team remained in doubt. reebok nfl jerseys

Wilkerson fell off even more in 2017 to the tune of 46 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 13 games. 0b6269137e4ec39bf4d068f12c9e5ed3_crop_exact

Head coach Todd Bowles made Wilkerson a healthy scratch in each of the final three games of the 2017 campaign.

That represented a huge fall from grace for Wilkerson.

The 2011 first-round pick made the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2015 after registering 64 tackles and a career-high 12 sacks.nfl authentic jerseys

He also posted double-digit sacks in 2013 with 10.5, and he has 44.5 sacks in 105 career games despite largely playing in a 3-4 defensive front.

In addition to that, the Temple alum has missed just seven games in seven NFL seasons, although he did break his leg in the Jets’ final regular-season game in 2015.

Wilkerson has proved to be a disruptive force against both the pass and the run when healthy and motivated, which could make him a steal of a signing.

Although there are some concerns regarding Wilkerson’s willingness to give 100 percent game in nfl authentic jerseys cheap and game out, the Packers could have a bargain on their hands if he lives up to his potential.

Offense has been Green Bay’s biggest key to success in recent years, but the signing of Wilkerson could go a long way toward improving its defense.