Cubs

Meet the Knicks' unlikely new star

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Meet the Knicks' unlikely new star

From Comcast SportsNet
GREENBURGH, New York (AP) -- Linsanity has taken over Madison Square Garden, and even Magic Johnson was captivated watching the New York Knicks' newest star. The only guy who doesn't seem impressed is Jeremy Lin. The new point guard refuses to get his own place to live, just in case the NBA team decides to cut him this week before his contract becomes guaranteed. He takes no satisfaction in proving he wasn't a one-hit wonder, because he could be "like a two-time wonder." And no, the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent doesn't consider himself all that smart, regardless of that Harvard education. "That's a stereotype," Lin said on Tuesday. "(Former Golden State teammate) David Lee would be the first to tell you, he always calls me the dumbest smart guy he knows. Depends on who you ask I guess." Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni knew Lin was intelligent. What he didn't know was whether Lin could play in the NBA, and for a while he was hesitant to find out. The Knicks struggled at the start of the season, and even though D'Antoni had seen glimpses from Lin, he worried this wasn't the time to turn to a guy who just recently was sent to the NBA Development League. "I was afraid to do anything, we're already in a little bit of a crisis and I just can't be, you know, pulling straws, just trying something, a whim. Other players would be looking at me like You crazy?' if it didn't work," D'Antoni said. "Now he just kept showing stuff a little bit, a little bit. When he got one opportunity, he took advantage of it." Lin scored 25 points last Saturday -- after crashing at teammate Landry Fields' place because his brother, with whom he normally stays, had company. He then scored a career-best 28 on Monday in his first NBA start, a victory over Utah as "Linsanity" was trending on Twitter in New York. "The excitement he has caused in the Garden, man, I hadn't seen that in a long time. The way he can penetrate, and can get in that lane, and either shoot it or dish it, has really made them a better basketball team," said Johnson, the Hall of Famer who watched both games. "When they started chanting last night MVP!' I fell out. It was really wonderful for the young man. When you get a spark a like this, especially in a season like this, this could carry them for a long time because they needed something to happen positive. Everything has been really negative." D'Antoni had already gone through three point guards this season while waiting for Baron Davis to become available. Despite having All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks struggled to score because they couldn't find anyone to properly run D'Antoni's pick-and-roll offense. The coach said it wasn't that difficult, but it takes some intelligence, something the economics major has plenty of along with some overlooked physical gifts. "First of all, he has really good speed. He gets into the lane, he gets by people," D'Antoni said. "But he has pace in the sense of setting the guy up, sensing where the openings are, and it's hard to teach. Some guys have it. You can teach certain aspects of it and get him better, but they have to be able to read and stuff, and he can do that." Lin wasn't selected in the 2010 draft and was eventually signed by the Golden State Warriors, not far from where he starred for Palo Alto High School. He split last season between the Warriors and the D-League, then was waived before this season. Houston claimed him but cut him two weeks later, and the Knicks claimed him, with D'Antoni recalling being impressed after seeing Lin work out a year earlier. It seems unlikely he'll be hitting the market again anytime soon, but Lin won't risk it. Contracts become guaranteed for the rest of the season if a player is still on the roster on Friday, so he'll wait for that before checking out the local real estate market. Even though he outplayed an All-Star in the New Jersey's Deron Williams on Saturday, he knows he can be the one looking bad on Wednesday against Washington by John Wall's speed. "The minute as athletes you get complacent, that's when trouble comes," Lin said. "So I'm just trying to stay ready." Lin is a natural draw in New York, where Stoudemire said fans love the underdog. But it's not the box office appeal that matters to his teammates, who saw a promising season slipping away because they had nobody to get them the ball. Lin's done that, and the Knicks might need another big effort on Wednesday, with both Anthony and Stoudemire expected to miss the game. But Lin guided the Knicks past Utah without them on Monday, a surprising victory over a winning team. Not as surprising as the undrafted Ivy Leaguer becoming the most important player on an NBA team. "You never know who can step up. It only takes one guy to step up and all of a sudden everything turns and I think that's the way we're feeling around here now," center Tyson Chandler said. "Jeremy stepped up and put guys back in their natural positions and all of a sudden our offense is flowing."

Theo Epstein brushes aside rumors: 'There's essentially zero trade talks involving the Cubs'

Theo Epstein brushes aside rumors: 'There's essentially zero trade talks involving the Cubs'

No, the Cubs are not currently talking to the Baltimore Orioles about bringing Manny Machado to the North Side of Chicago.

So says Theo Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations who met with the media at Wrigley Field ahead of Friday's series opener with the San Francisco Giants.

Epstein vehemently shot down the notion of trade talks and specified the major diffence between trade rumors and trade talks, while refusing to comment on Machado in particular.

"I'm not addressing any specific rumor or any player with another team," Epstein said. "I would never talk about that in a million years. The simple way to put it is there's been a lot of trade rumors involving the Cubs and there's essentially zero trade talks involving the Cubs.

"There's a real disparity between the noise and the reality and unfortunately, sometimes that puts a player or two that we have in a real tough circumstance. And that's my job to clarify there's nothing going on right now.

"We have more than enough ability to win the division, win the World Series and we really need to focus on our roster and getting the most out of our ability and finding some consistency. Constant focus outside the organization doesn't do us any good, especially when it's not based in reality right now."

The Cubs have presented a united front publicly in support of Addison Russell, whose name has been the one bandied about most as a potential leading piece in any move for Machado.

After all, the Cubs have won a World Series and never finished worse than an NLCS berth with Russell as their shortstop and he's only 24 with positive signs of progression offensively.

Trading away 3.5 years of control of Russell for 3-4 months of Machado is the type of bold, go-for-it move the Cubs did in 2016 when their championship drought was well over 100 years.

Now, the championship drought is only one season old and the window of contention is expected to remain open until through at least the 2021 season.

Epstein likes to point out that every season is sacred, but at what cost? The Cubs front office is still very much focused on the future beyond 2018.

"Everybody's talking about making trades in May — the first part of the season is trying to figure out who you are," Epstein said. "What are the strengths of the club? What are the weaknesses of the club? What's the character of the club? What position is the club gonna be in as we get deeper in the season? What's our short-term outlook? What's our long-term outlook? What's the chemistry in the clubhouse?

"All those things. It's a process to get there and figure it out. If you rush to those kinds of judgments, you can oftentimes make things worse. I think it's important to figure out exactly who you are and give guys a chance to play and find their level and see how all the pieces fit together before you make your adjustments."

So there's no chance we could see the Cubs once again jump the market and make an early deal like they did last year for Jose Quintana or five years ago for Jake Arrieta? Will they definitely wait another five weeks until July to make a move?

"It's just the natural order of things," Epstein said. "We wouldn't be opposed to doing something, but that's not the case right now. It's not happening."

New Trier's Duke Olges gives Northwestern verbal commitment

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247 Sports

New Trier's Duke Olges gives Northwestern verbal commitment

New Trier junior three-star ranked athlete Duke Olges (6-foot-5, 260 pounds) gave Northwestern his verbal commitment last Sunday yet waited until Friday morning to make his decision public via his Twitter page.

Olges, who was recruited by the Wildcats as a defensive tackle, felt pressure to make a decision since the Wildcats already had one defensive tackle verbal commitment in Clear Springs Texas Jason Gold while another defensive tackle with an offer was making an on campus visit later that day.

“I didn’t know if it was the right decision, to be honest. It was impulse more than anything,” Olges told WildcatsReport.com's publisher Louis Vaccher. “But what comforted me is after having a couple days to think about it, I felt a sigh of relief. It would have hurt me too much to let that scholarship go. As much as I wanted to go and visit other schools, losing that scholarship would have hurt more than anything else.”

Olges is now the 10th known verbal commitment in the Wildcats Class of 2019  and the second in state pledge along with Bolingbrook junior DB Cameron Mitchell. 

Olges, who was holding 26 scholarship offers this spring, was planning to make summer visits to Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Virginia and Duke before giving the Wildcats his verbal commitment.