Andrew Bynum gets quite a welcome in Philly

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Andrew Bynum gets quite a welcome in Philly

From Comcast SportsNet
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- He heard the roar from hundreds of Philadelphia 76ers fans chanting "An-drew By-num! An-drew By-num!" the moment he stepped into the National Constitution Center. Andrew Bynum instantly felt at home in Philadelphia. He enjoyed his first days in the city so much, Bynum made it clear he wouldn't mind playing in that No. 33 Sixers jersey for more than a season. "My first experiences here have been so great," Bynum said, "I'm really leaning toward making this my home. With that proclamation, Sixers fans erupted. The superstar the organization and their fans craved since Allen Iverson split actually loved them back. Imagine the sounds he'll hear after some clutch fourth-quarter buckets over a deep playoff run. Wearing a Sixers T-shirt, Bynum made his first appearance Wednesday since he was acquired last week from the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a four-team megadeal. Former Philadelphia All-Star Andre Iguodala landed in Denver and Orlando shipped Dwight Howard to the Lakers as part of the trades. The Sixers scrapped the usual ho-hum press conference and turned Bynum's arrival into a full-blown pep rally that included moving the location from their arena to just a few hundred feet away from the Liberty Bell. The event was open to the public and fans arrived early to greet Bynum and Jason Richardson -- and plunk down 30 bucks for some hot-off-the-presses Bynum T-shirts. "It makes me super-excited," said Bynum, who never stopped smiling. The Sixers have every reason to feel giddy over this deal and what this means for the long-term future of the franchise. For years, Philadelphia has been mired in the middle of the Eastern Conference, only busting out last season under new ownership to advance to the second round for the first time in nine years. But the glow of that achievement soon faded once management realized the team had maxed out with veterans Iguodala, Elton Brand, and Lou Williams. Iguodala was traded, Brand was amnestied and Williams was allowed to walk in free-agency, freeing up some needed dollars to make a move this big. Bynum is the All-Star, the franchise player, expected to soon help the Sixers win their first championship since 1983. Only 24, the New Jersey native won two championships with the Lakers. But in Los Angeles, the offense ran through Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Bynum is The Man for the Sixers. "Obviously, there's a lot of pressure," Bynum said. "I want to be ready for it." Consider this: Until last week, Kwame Brown was listed as Philadelphia's starting center. That's called an upgrade. But once the hoopla and "Beat L.A.!" chants quieted down, two questions loomed in the building that honors the U.S. Constitution: Would Bynum put his John Hancock on a possible-five year contract extension; and how will his achy knees respond to treatment next month in Germany? Bynum is set to make 16.1 million this season in the final year of his deal. If he waits until after the season, Bynum can sign a five-year deal worth nearly 102 million. No other team could offer Bynum as many years or as much money. "I enjoy Philly, I'm from here, I don't see anything wrong," Bynum said. "I don't see any problem why I wouldn't want to stay here." Bynum is set to have injections of plasma-rich platelets that supposedly stimulate healing in arthritis-affected areas in both of his knees. Bryant, his former teammate, has credited the therapy with dramatic improvement in his own troublesome right knees and an injured left ankle. Sixers president Rod Thorn said Bynum and his surgically repaired knees checked out fine after a lengthy physical on Tuesday. "You've got to take calculated risks sometimes," Thorn said. "Players of his level don't come on the market every day." Bynum is coming off his best NBA season after averaging career highs with 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds while making his first All-Star team, starting for the West. He was the NBA's third-leading rebounder and 20th-leading scorer, while also ranking sixth in the league with 1.93 blocked shots per game. Bynum also avoided the injuries that have dogged him throughout a seven-year career since the Lakers made the New Jersey high schooler the youngest player ever drafted in 2005. Bynum played in 60 of the Lakers' 66 regular-season games, missing four due to suspension. Ah yes, that suspension. Bynum may be the best center in the East, but he brings a touch of baggage that shouldered him with a reputation as being a handful, as well as a monster rebounder. He was busted three years ago partying at the Playboy Mansion posing with a girl on his shoulders during his rehab from a torn knee ligament. Bynum served a four-game suspension this season for his vicious fouls against J.J. Barea in the Lakers' final playoff game last spring. He's has declined to participate in certain team huddles, sitting down the bench by himself. He once slapped hands with opposing fans while taking a long time to leave the court after he was ejected from a game last season in Houston. "I think somewhere along the line, maybe he said a couple of immature things here and there, but everybody has," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "I'm sure he'd be the first one step up and say, Hey, I messed up.' The unfortunate thing in life, when you make a mistake like that, it's one video replay from living it again." The Sixers would prefer more replays of Bynum's 30-rebound game like he had last season against San Antonio. Except for some minor tinkering with the deep bench players, the Sixers should be finished with their roster overhaul. They added Bynum, Richardson, Brown, Royal Ivey, Dorell Wright and Nick Young to a team counting on returners Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young to help make that second-round exit the start of something big, not a one-season wonder. With one season left on his deal, Thorn is still calling the shots, even as the organization spent the summer interviewing general manager candidates. Thorn will remain with the team next season as a consultant and the Sixers would like to have a succession plan in place. "That will happen over the next year but it's going to depend on who we can to terms with and who's out there," owner Joshua Harris said. "There's nothing imminent right now. Rod's still the GM of the team." Thorn drafted Michael Jordan in Chicago. He's the executive who traded for Jason Kidd in New Jersey and turned the Nets into winners. His boldest move with the Sixers is his best one yet.

NL East: Mets vet Wright says Harvey should have spoken to media

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NL East: Mets vet Wright says Harvey should have spoken to media

Mets pitcher Matt Harvey didn't only duck the media on Tuesday night after his start, he also avoided them on Wednesday morning before the team's series finale at Nationals Park. Reporters approached him, but he declined. At some point he'll talk, of course, but he has essentially been delaying the inevitable.

The backlash for Harvey in New York for not talking was strong. One Mets columnist even said the move speaks to Harvey's entitlement and went into detail about how he's been enabled by the Mets. 

Nationals manager Dusty Baker admitted on Wednesday that it may have made things easier for Harvey if he had addressed the media. And now Mets teammate David Wright has said about the same. 

"Accountability is big and I think [Harvey] just had a bit of a lapse in judgement," Wright told the New York Post. "I think the consensus is we should all be accountable for what we do on the baseball field."

Wright has been with the Mets for 13 years and has a strong voice in their clubhouse. It wouldn't be surprising at all if he is speaking for a large number of Harvey's teammates with those words.

Whether Mets fans actually care may be another story, but we now know how at least one of his teammates feels.

Five Ravens worth watching at OTA's open to media

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Five Ravens worth watching at OTA's open to media

The Ravens began OTA’s on Tuesday, but will hold their first workout open to the media on Thursday. While some key players are still rehabbing from injuries, here are five players expected to be on the field worth paying close attention to:

Dennis Pitta, TE – As he continues his comeback from a second serious hip injury, Pitta could cause a pleasant problem for the Ravens, who are well-stocked at tight end. If Pitta makes it back, how will playing time be divided among Pitta, Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams, and Ben Watson? That doesn’t even include Nick Boyle, who will start the season serving a 10-game suspension for his second PED violation. Figuring out who stays, and who plays, could be difficult.

Breshad Perriman, WR – He didn’t play a snap as a rookie, making Perriman’s 2015 knee injury one of the most disappointing developments of 2015. Perriman’s blow-by speed was impressive during OTA’s last year, before his injury on the first day of training camp. The Ravens need Perriman to trust his knee, and to stay healthy throughout the summer into Week 1.

Will Davis, CB – The Ravens traded for him last season, but he promptly tore his ACL in October. The starting spot at corner opposite Jimmy Smith is wide open, with Shareece Wright and Jerraud Powers among those vying for it. But if Davis is healthy again, don’t sleep on his potential to help the Ravens’ secondary.

Lardarius Webb, S – Making the full-time position switch from corner to safety presents a new challenge for Webb, entering his eighth NFL season. The Ravens are confident Webb has the ball skills and experience to make a smooth transition. But getting more reps under his belt this offseason is probably more important for Webb than in previous years.

Matt Elam, S – The Ravens declined to pick up the fifth-year option for Elam, a first-round pick in 2013. Making the roster is no guarantee for Elam, who missed the entire 2015 season with a torn triceps. If Webb is ever going to be a consistent contributor for the Ravens, it needs to happen quickly.

Trimble, Turgeon comment on guard's decision to return to Maryland

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Trimble, Turgeon comment on guard's decision to return to Maryland

Maryland guard Melo Trimble has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft and will return to College Park for his junior season, the program confirmed officially after reports from CSN and others late Wednesday night.

After partaking in the NBA Combine in Chicago earlier this month, Trimble went through a series of workouts with teams but retained the opportunity to return to Maryland because he had not signed with an agent. 

“I am really excited to return for my junior season at Maryland,” Trimble said in a release from the school. “It’s truly special that I get to continue to play in front of my family, friends and our amazing fans. I’m looking forward to working out with my teammates this summer and I am excited for what we can accomplish.

"I learned a great deal through this experience and I am committed to working hard in getting better each day. I’m appreciative of all the support that I have received from Coach Turgeon, my family and my teammates throughout this process. I look forward to continuing my education and building upon the success that we have had at Maryland.”

MORE TERPS: FUTURE MARYLAND GUARD GETS INVITE TO TEAM USA CAMP

Trimble will be the lone returning starter from last season's Terrapins team that made the program's first Sweet 16 appearance since 2003. Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman have both exhausted their eligibility. Robert Carter, Jr. and Diamond Stone both chose to forgo their remaining seasons of college eligibility and sign with agents prior to the NBA Draft.

With Trimble back, Maryland will shift from a team centered around big men to a guard-heavy team next season. Freshman point guard Anthony Cowan gives the team an opportunity to run lineups with multiple ball handlers on the floor at the same time -- which head coach Mark Turgeon has said in the past is an idea he likes. 

In addition, guard Dion Wiley returns from knee surgery, wing Jared Nickens is back, plus Jaylen Brantley and freshman Kevin Huerter. 

Turgeon commented on Trimble's return in a release Wednesday night.

“Melo informed me tonight that he has decided to return to Maryland for his junior season,” Turgeon said. “After gathering information throughout this process, I agree that this is the best decision for him.

"Melo is a very special person. He is a winner and his impact on our program has been immeasurable. Melo has an extremely bright future ahead of him both on and off the basketball court. We are excited that he will continue to pursue his degree and build upon his legacy in College Park.”