So, the best thing A-Rod can do for the Yankees now is not play? CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees have insurance on Alex Rodriguez‘s contract that would cover 75-80 percent of his salary if he proves unable to play due to injuries. Rodriguez is currently expected to miss 4-6 months following hip surgery…
The only difference between the Houston Rockets and Wizards is that they were in different conferences. Both were 41-41, except the West was weaker top to bottom so Houston had the No. 8 and final seed while Washington finished 10th.
The Wizards' goals are to get younger, more explosive and identify a few two-way players in the process to improve their 21st scoring defense. Adding players indiscriminately isn't an option because of the salary cap. The big fish (meaning, big-name free agents) will get signed first. Assuming the Wizards land one, even if it's not named Kevin Durant, they'll construct the roster with the remaining money with as many as eight other spots open. More than likely they'll retain 2-4 of their own free agents which will cut that number of open slots from 5-7.
They'll need a solid backup for Marcin Gortat at center, a true scorer behind Bradley Beal and a backup point guard for John Wall.
These are Houston’s free agents, in order of best fit (and realistically in the Wizards' wheelhouse cap-wise):
Donatas Motiejunas: He’s got the size at 7-foot tall and plays facing the basket. Injuries slowed him as he played in just 37 games for 6.2 points, after averaging 12 a year ago when he started 62 times, but Motiejunas can be a complementary player off the bench or a spot starter with three-point range. He’s also 25 and made just $1.6 million. Coming off a sub-par season with a dysfunctional roster, he can get a raise but still be very affordable.
Terrence Jones: Before the Wizards acquired Markieff Morris at the trade deadline, Jones was in the conversation but giving up a first-round pick for an unrestricted free agent this summer with no commitment long-term would’ve been silly. Plus, Jones is not better than Morris. Jones averaged 8.7 points and 4.2 rebounds in just 50 appearances. The 6-9 forward unrestricted and made $1.8 million this season. A good backup with stretch potential at 31.6% from three, he can be an fill-in starter and probably acquired for a moderate raise.
Jason Terry: The Jet, an unrestricted free agent shooting guard, will be 39 soon coming off averaging 5.9 points in 72 games. He still shot a respectable 35.6% from three-point range but Terry is a few years past his best. A player of his caliber is an ideal sixth man and he was a key reason the Mavs upset the Heat for the NBA title. But that was five years ago. If he continues to play, he’s a late rotation, end-of-the-bench guy for the veteran minimum who plays in a pinch. He played for the $1.5 million minimum.
Josh Smith: The unrestricted free agent ($1.5 million) has gone from being a double-digit scoring average from 10 seasons in a row to a bench player who has fallen out of favor because of his low-efficiency scoring. Smith is 6-10 and can be a good defender. He's also just 30, roughly the same percentage he shoots from three-point range which he does too liberally for a player with his accuracy. Smith isn't in demand. He'll be a cheap pickup. If he plays to his strengths, and Doc Rivers couldn't make him work with the L.A. Clippers, what are the chances that Wizards coach Scott Brooks would succeed?
Brooks Orpik is known as a physical player, but he may have gotten a bit too physical in Game 2 on Saturday with his hit to Penguins’ defenseman Olli Maatta.
The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Sunday via Twitter that Orpik will have a hearing later in the day for the hit.
Orpik was assessed a two-minute minor for the hit. Maatta did not return to the game.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was steamed afterward saying, “I thought it was a late hit. I thought it was a target to his head. I think it's the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game."
Orpik was not made available for comment after the game, but he did explain the hit to Barry Trotz who told the media the veteran defenseman thought the rebound from Maatta’s shot was going back to Maatta which is why he followed up with the hit.
"We'll let the league handle it," Trotz said after the game. "If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He's not a dirty player."
Nats (16-7) vs. Cardinals (12-12) at Busch Stadium
The Nationals enter Sunday with a chance to do something they've never done before, sweep the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. It is an unexpected turn of events after they were swept by the Phillies in their previous series, but here we are.
The Nats will aim for the sweep in a game with quite the starting pitching matchup in store. Max Scherzer (2-1, 4.35) will face off against one of the best young hurlers in the game, right-hander Carlos Martinez (4-0, 1.93). Martinez throws triple-digit heat and has held opponents to a .162 batting average against this year.
Scherzer has been one of baseball's best pitchers in recent seasons, but is off to a rough start this year. He aims to bounce back from a four-walk performance his last time out against the Phillies.
For the Nats, Michael Taylor and Ryan Zimmerman are getting the day off. The rest of their lineup, though, is as expected.
First pitch: 2:15 p.m.
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Max Scherzer vs. Cardinals - Carlos Martinez
CF Matt den Dekker
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
2B Daniel Murphy
LF Jayson Werth
1B Clint Robinson
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Max Scherzer
3B Matt Carpenter
RF Stephen Piscotty
LF Matt Holliday
1B Brandon Moss
C Yadier Molina
CF Randall Grichuk
2B Kolten Wong
SS Aledmys Diaz
RHP Carlos Martinez