Many travelers find layovers in Atlanta trying, if not flat out miserable. This week former University of Maryland star Jordan Williams is no exception. The rising second-year forward was handed his walking papers by the Hawks afterbeing shipped to Atlanta as part of the trade that sent All-Star Joe Johnson to Brooklyn. Sounds like Williams was caught up in a numbers game after the Hawks re-signed forward Ivan Johnson.After conditioning issues delayed the start of his rookie campaign, Williams averaged 4.6 points and 3.6 rebounds in 43 games for the Nets. Notastonishing numbers, but the burly Williams provided decent bench punch whiledisplaying his soft touch around the rim, making 50.7 percent of his attempts. Those rebounds project out to a solid 8.8 over 36 minutes according to Basketball-Reference.com. In other words, sure he wasn't a first-round pick and sure he likely will never be an NBA starter and sure his decision to turn pro early - Williams would be entering his senior season this year - looks more dubious by the minute, but he's got skills. Some around the league already are speculating that it won't be long before some team snaps up the 21-year-old. No, can't imagine it's the local outfit, not with their logjam up front, but some team makes the move.
The NHL named Capitals goalie Braden Holtby as the league's Third Star for the month of February on Wednesday behind Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks and Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators.
Holtby went 8-0-1 in nine starts in February with a 1.88 GAA and .928 save percentage. He is now 17-0-2 in his last 19 decisions dating back to Dec. 29.
The Caps netminder had a slow start to the season, but has closed the gap on Devan Dubnyk in the Vezina Trophy race. Holtby won the trophy last season, but looked to be falling behind a crowded race that included Dubnyk, Carey Price, Tuukka Rask and Sergei Bobrovsky. Now Holtby has to be considered one of the frontrunners.
In 47 games this season, Holtby is among the league leaders in wins (2nd), save percentage (3rd), GAA (1st) and shutouts (1st).
Shortly after Kirk Cousins got the exclusive franchise tag from the Redskins on Saturday, two sort of conflicting reports. One, from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, was that Cousins “is not going anywhere” and a trade is essentially off the table. Mike Florio of Pro Football talk, quoting “a source familiar with the dynamics of the situation” reported that the Redskins would have to be “blown away” by a trade offer in order to pull the trigger on a deal.
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On the face of it, the reports conflict. One says that Cousins is available, the other says that he isn’t. But that valuation of them assumes the sources for these reports were intent on putting out the truth. The fact is that Cousins is very much available for the right offer.
A conversation along the lines of this one could well take place in Indianapolis this week:
“How much do you want for your house?”
“It’s not for sale.”
“No, really, how much do you want.”
“Really, it’s not for sale.”
“I’ll give you $50,000 over whatever it gets appraised for.”
In short, you don’t need to have a “for sale” sign up in front of something to sell it. In fact, sometimes it’s better to act as though you have no intention of selling whatever it is. That can intrigue potential buyers even more.
The analogy falters a bit as it seems that the Redskins are unlikely to get a premium over whatever Cousins’ valuation on the open market might be. The receiving team will have to give the QB a massive contract. In addition, a team that wants Cousins is likely to be able to get him with no compensation in a year, when Cousins is likely to be an unfettered free agent. But you get the idea.
More Redskins: What happens next with Cousins?
The message from the Redskins is, don’t come at us with a couple of mid rounders. There is some point where the compensation for giving up Cousins a year earlier than they might have to isn’t enough. It literally would be better to rent Cousins for one more season than get, say, a third-round pick with a 2018 fifth thrown in.
That being said, they are not going to get the RG3 type haul—three firsts and a second—in exchange for Cousins. The likely would accept something south of that in exchange for Cousins’ rights.
So, he’s not available at any price—unless the price is right.