Wizards

Arkansas-Little Rock beats SMU 69-56

Arkansas-Little Rock beats SMU 69-56

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (AP) Leroy Isler and Will Neighbour scored 15 points each to lead Arkansas-Little Rock to a 69-56 win over SMU on Saturday night in a semifinal game at the Hoops for Hope Classic.

Isler was 4 of 8 from the field and had seven rebounds. Neighbour was 6 of 9 from the field and had seven rebounds.

James White added 12 points.

SMU had a 33-32 lead at halftime, but Arkansas-Little Rock shot 50 percent from the field for the game. SMU shot 36.7 percent.

Shawn Williams scored 15 and had 10 rebounds for the Mustangs (5-1). London Giles scored 12 points from 3-point range. Cannen Cunningham scored 11, and Nick Russell added 10.

The game was the third of the four-game event. Arkansas-Little Rock (4-2) will play South Carolina on Sunday. SMU will play Missouri State.

SMU entered the game with their best start since beginning 10-0 in the 1997-98.

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Jimmy Butler requests trade, gives Timberwolves three preferred teams, not including Wizards

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USA Today Sports

Jimmy Butler requests trade, gives Timberwolves three preferred teams, not including Wizards

Just days before NBA training camps are set to begin, All-NBA guard Jimmy Butler is trying to force his way out of Minnesota.

The four-time All-Star has requested a trade from the Timberwolves and, according to ESPN, has given them a list of three preferred teams: the Knicks, Nets and Clippers. That list is extra-pertinent because Butler has a player option after this upcoming season, and he is reportedly willing to sign a contract extension with any of those three.

That does not mean the Wolves will honor his request, but any team other than those three that trades for him will be at risk of losing him after one year. That risk worked out well for the Thunder this past year in their trade for Paul George, but every situation is different.

Butler’s list tells us a few things about his priorities. For one, he wants to play in a major market. New York and L.A. are the top two markets in the NBA. To that point, it’s interesting he has omitted the Lakers.

The three teams Butler listed would give him no realistic chance of winning, at least in his first season. Either he’s taking a long-term approach to competing, or he would rather be the No. 1 guy on a bad team than the No. 2 or 3 star on a good team.

For those wondering if the Wizards would be a fit, those factors would seemingly work against them retaining him beyond one season. Though D.C. is a big market, it’s not L.A. or New York. And Butler would not be the clear star in Washington with two All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal already in place.

That is all beyond what the Wizards would have to give up for Butler. Though he’s not quite Kawhi Leonard, the return probably wouldn’t be far off. The Raptors had to give up DeMar DeRozan, a perennial All-NBA selection, among other pieces. The Thunder had to part with Victor Oladipo in their package for George and that has since proven to be a steep price.

Maybe the Wizards could offer Otto Porter, Jr. and/or some combination of draft picks and young, emerging players. But it would be a hefty price given the risk of him potentially leaving, and though Butler is very good, he’s not as young or as good as Leonard, for comparison.

To give up the farm in a trade, that player better make his new team significantly better. It’s questionable if Butler could do that for the Wizards.

The Wizards have done their due diligence in checking in on George, Leonard and others who have become available in recent years. It would not be surprising if they make a call for Butler, but as of now not enough adds up to make it a perfect match.

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Maroon 5 to perform at Super Bowl LIII halftime show

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USA Today Sports

Maroon 5 to perform at Super Bowl LIII halftime show

Super Bowl LIII will be played in the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., but the halftime musical performance will not be headlined by anyone from the A-T-L. 

Maroon 5 will take the stage in Atlanta on Feb. 3, according to Variety

The seven-man pop group will follow in the footsteps of Justin Timberlake, who performed during last year's halftime show in Minnesota. Notable recent performers include Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and the Black Eyed Peas.

Many expected the halftime performance to be an artist or group with Atlanta roots -- a city full of musical talent -- particulalry in hip-hop. Acts such as Usher, the Migos, Future, and Ludacris all come from the 'Big A.' But the NFL opted to go with the Los Angeles-based group instead. The NFL has not released a statement yet regarding the performer.

Maroon 5 has produced hits with many of today's musical stars, including a 2017 track with Future, as well as Cardi B and SZA. Should Maroon 5 want to bring out a suprise guest, they will have plenty of artists to choose from.

The NFL has seen several spectacular halftime performances, so it will be interesting to see where Maroon 5 will rank.