Wizards

Pacers lose Stephenson, 76ers lose 2 players

Pacers lose Stephenson, 76ers lose 2 players

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Philadelphia 76rs will play Friday night at Indiana without leading scorer Jrue Holiday.

Coach Doug Collins is hoping it isn't much longer.

Holiday, who started the first 22 games this season and is averaging 18.4 points, has a sprained right foot, and Collins acknowledged he was holding him out so the injury doesn't get worse.

``We're erring on the side of caution,'' Collins said. ``I don't want him out there playing on one foot and getting back spasms of something because he's playing on one foot. ... I'm hoping it's going to be a few days is what I'm saying.''

The 76ers (12-10) aren't just losing a scorer. Holiday also leads the team in minutes and assists.

Without him, the 76ers will let Evan Turner play the point and start Dorell Wright for only the fifth time this season.

Collins knows his team is facing a major challenge by playing one of the NBA's top scoring defenses without its best player.

``We've got to be able to get into our offense,'' he said. ``I expect the Pacers to pressure us tonight. We've lost our best penetrator, who re3ally creates a lot of shots. So with Jrue out, we're going to find some ways to manufacture points.''

Philadelphia also will play without guard Royal Ivey, who has a strained right groin, and Collins acknowledged that center Kwame Brown still needs to lose some weight to reach his potential.

The good news for the 76ers is that the Pacers (11-11) also will be short-handed.

Starting guard Lance Stephenson is out with a right ankle injury. He's been averaging 7.3 points and 3.1 rebounds this season and will be replaced by Gerald Green.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel said it's possible Stephenson could return Saturday when the Pacers play at Detroit.

``What they told me was that he can't go today,'' Vogel said, referring to the team doctors. ``But he's got a body that heals pretty quickly.''

Indiana's top player, Danny Granger, still hasn't played this season because of patellar tendinitis in his left knee.

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Rui Hachimura says, 'Kobe was a hero for me'

Rui Hachimura says, 'Kobe was a hero for me'

Kobe Bryant's popularity stretched far beyond the United States. He was a global icon and especially loved in Asia. 

Following the NBA star's shocking death on Sunday, the entire sports world grieved and shared fond memories of Bryant all over social media. 

Rui Hachimura grew up in Japan idolizing Bryant, so he took to Twitter a day after the accident to share his thoughts on his hero.  

"I was very shocked to hear of this incident," Hachimura said. "I really can't believe it. I can't speak. Kobe is also a hero to me, and I've seen [him] a lot since I was little. I have met him only once.

"Three years ago, during [the] Final 4, [Bryant gave] a special pair of shoes as a surprise to the team," he said. "Not only that, he talked about what Mamba Mentality is and what people should be before basketball players. 

"He was more than just a basketball player," he said. "It is really sad that this accident was like this. I wish good luck to his family and those who have been involved in this accident. Thanks, Kobe."

After Michael Jordan retired, Bryant became the most popular player in Japan. Along with Hachimura, he inspired players like Grizzlies forward Yuta Watanabe to play the game of basketball in the first place. 

Similar to what made Bryant so popular in the United States, Japan loved him for his tireless work ethic and killer instinct on the court. That's what earned him 15 All-NBA selections and five NBA titles, and along with his efforts off the court post-retirement, earned him the love and respect of so many people around the world. 

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Ravens' options in a potential Matthew Judon trade

Ravens' options in a potential Matthew Judon trade

According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Ravens have expressed interest in moving on from Matthew Judon through a trade this offseason. 

Judon, who isn’t under contract for next season, was tied for 19th in the league in sacks with 9.5 — a team-high. He was also the team-leader in quarterback hits with 33. The next best pass-rusher was Tyus Bowser, who registered 10. 

Lined up for a big payday, and with a high-priced franchise tag an option, the Ravens could lose their second pass-rusher in as many years on the free agent market should they elect to not pay Judon the elite pass-rusher money he’ll likely command.

Which brings the Ravens to the report from Schefter that indicated the team could move on from Judon, 27, through the sign-and-trade route. 

Should Judon, or the Ravens, walk away from the negotiating table in free agency, two options exist: The Ravens could either let him walk freely to another team and likely receive a 2021 third-round pick as compensation, or place the franchise tag on Judon. 

With the franchise tag option, the Ravens could keep him for a season and essentially kick the can down the road for a year, or trade him for a return that would likely be greater than the compensatory third, and more importantly, the help would be immediate. 

A few weeks ago, coach John Harbaugh said re-signing Judon would be, “pretty hard,” but that the team was going to try.  

But if the Ravens aren’t able, or are unwilling, to sign Judon, a potential blueprint for a future trade might have been laid out last year by the Chiefs. 

Last season, the Chiefs traded Dee Ford to the 49ers for a second-round pick just a month before they sent first and third-round picks to the Seahawks for Frank Clark and a third-round pick.

Ford had 13 sacks in 2018 and 29 quarterback hits while Clark had 13 as well and 27 quarterback hits. They both immediately signed long-term, expensive contracts with their new teams. 

Baltimore could make a move similar to that with Judon and get better, and more immediate, compensation for him and later add a pass-rusher with the draft capital than the team added.

The Ravens have just under 29 million dollars in cap space, meaning they’ve got the space to sign Judon to a long-term deal or keep him on the franchise tag, but they’d need to make some moves to be able to field a full roster. And that full roster, if Judon isn’t in Baltimore in 2020, needs pass-rushing help. 

Baltimore had 37 sacks as a team, and just over a quarter of them came from Judon. It also had 111 total quarterback hits, and 29.7 percent came from Judon. 

So the report that the Ravens could move Judon could play out, perhaps the most interesting aspect of a Judon trade would be the replacement the Ravens would need to have lined up.

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