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Rap-reality TV star sits in on Hawks broadcast

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Rap-reality TV star sits in on Hawks broadcast

ATLANTA (AP) T.I. added a new line to his expanding resume - broadcaster.

The Grammy Award-winning rapper and reality television joined the Atlanta Hawks' broadcast team Friday night for the first half of their 95-89 loss to the NBA champion Miami Heat.

``This was a phenomenal opportunity,'' said T.I., proud that the Hawks built a 46-42 lead during his time on air for SportsSouth. ``I really enjoyed myself. I look forward to the next time and doing an entire game.''

After several bouts with the law, including a stint in federal prison on weapons charges, the Atlanta native has become active in the community and frequently attends Hawks' games. He sat at courtside between play-by-play man Bob Rathbun and analyst Duane Ferrell.

``They did all the heavy lifting,'' said the rapper, who was wearing several gold chains and an old-school Hawks cap. ``I just chimed in here and there. I have a close relationship, both personally and professionally, with a lot of the guys out there.''

Asked if he had any desire to buy a piece of the Hawks, following the path set by hip-hop star and Brooklyn Nets part-owner Jay-Z, T.I. just smiled.

``I would love to be a part of the organization in whatever way possible if I can make a significant contribution,'' said the entertainer, whose actual name is Clifford Harris. ``But there's no pressure. Baby steps.''

T.I. gave a hint of new album, ``Trouble Man,'' which is scheduled for release on Dec. 18. It includes collaborations with Andre 3000, Cee Lo Green and Pink.

``I'm extremely proud of it,'' he said. ``I put a lot of work and energy into it. I think it will be the classic album the fans have been wanting me to make. ... I wanted to mix it up. I wanted to raise the bar on what's considered stellar material.''

He also stars with his wife in ``T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle,'' a reality show on VH1. Camera crews from the show trailed him around Philips Arena.

T.I. is hopeful about the Hawks, who overhauled their roster during under offseason in hopes of breaking a history of postseason failures.

``This is a new team, a young team,'' he said. ``They have a lot of heart, a lot of desire, a lot of talent that can take them deep in the playoffs.''

As for his own athletic prowess, T.I. was frank about his abilities.

There was none of the boastfulness one might hear on his songs.

``I have no organized sports background,'' he said. ``I've done a lot of watching. I'm a professional spectator. I can observe like no one's business.''

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says

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Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says

After already making significant changes to their roster, the Wizards may not be done this offseason, as they have been in talks with the San Antonio Spurs about a potential trade for superstar Kawhi Leonard, according to a new report by ESPN

Read this from Adrian Wojnarowski:

Still, the bidding war among Boston, Philadelphia and the Lakers never materialized. The Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, Toronto and Washington are among teams who've talked with San Antonio, league sources said.

The Wizards certainly make sense as a Leonard suitor. They are in the East, meaning the Spurs could trade Leonard to them and not have to worry about facing him as often. Plus, they have a solid group of tradeable assets and ones that seem to fit the Spurs model.

Otto Porter is a versatile, young player under team control who plays an unselfish style and would likely embrace playing in a small market. He also has a salary ($26M in 2018-19) that isn't far off from Leonard's ($21M in 2018-19), so the money could be easily matched.

The Wizards also have Tomas Satoransky and Kelly Oubre, Jr., two young and up-and-coming players. Plus, they have draft picks, though ones that are unlikely to convey as lottery selections.

The Spurs have reportedly been more interested in getting players that can help now rather than draft picks to rebuild. That makes sense, as they still won 47 games last year despite Leonard only playing in nine of them due to injury.

The question in any Wizards and Spurs talks would be whether they would want one of Washington's All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal. It would be tough to imagine the Wizards parting with either guy for Leonard, who carries some risk not only because of his quadriceps injury but also because he can opt out of his contract and leave after next season.

Just because the Wizards have talked to the Spurs doesn't mean they are serious contenders for Leonard, but it does show they are serious about improving their roster this summer. If they got Leonard and didn't part with Wall and Beal, that would be some team.

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Orioles reportedly have deal in place to trade Manny Machado to Dodgers

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Orioles reportedly have deal in place to trade Manny Machado to Dodgers

When Manny Machado returns from the 2018 MLB All-Star Break, he will not be donning a Baltimore Orioles uniform. 

The All-Star shortstop is expected to be traded from Baltimore to the Los Angeles Dodgers, barring any last-minute changes, according to multiple media reports. 

That being said, the Machado trade talks remain fluid and both the Phillies and Brewers are still trying to work a trade for the 26-year-old third baseman, according to Jon Heyman. The Diamondbacks are also reportedly trying to lure the four-time All-Star to the desert, while the Yankees decided to pull out of the Machado sweepstakes just prior to the All-Star festivities in Washington, D.C. 

While the details of the trade have yet to be revealed, the Dodgers will reportedly include top outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz in the Machado trade, according to Heyman.

According to Jim Bowden, when regular-season play returns, Machado will be in the National League, although which team he plays for is still up in the air.

With the Orioles sitting a historically awful 39.5 games out of first place at the All-Star Break, trading Machado is the first major step toward a complete overhaul. The Orioles drafted Machado out of Brito High School in Miami, Fla., with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. Since then, Machado has drawn comparisons to iconic third basemen Brooks Robinson and Alex Rodriguez, despite being moved to shortstop full-time this past season, and is widely considered one of the three best position players in professional baseball.

Machado is currently batting .315 with 24 home runs and 65 RBIs.

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