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Julian Edelman: ‘Durability is better than ability’

Julian Edelman had a career-year in 2013. (AP)

Julian Edelman had a career-year in 2013. (AP)

FOXBORO — Last season, Julian Edelman was one of those rare twentysomething pass catchers who saw his stats jump from middle-of-the-road numbers into the stratosphere. The former college quarterback had one of the best starts of any receiver of the Tom Brady era, and was the first receiver in a New England uniform other than Wes Welker to finish a season with 100-plus catches since Troy Brown turned the trick in 2001.

As a result, Edelman was rewarded in the offseason with a four-year, $17 million deal, with $8 million in guaranteed money.

But as the receiver enters his sixth season in the NFL, he says that his newfound security hasn’t changed his mindset.

“I haven’t even thought about it. I’m just trying to go out there very day and try and get better,” he said after a soggy OTA session Thursday on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. “Every guy has a different kind of goal, whether it’s trying to make the team, whether it’s trying to contribute to something. I’m just like one of those guys — trying to earn a role and go out there and help this team.”

A major goal for Edelman in 2014 is building on his 2013 performance, creating the sort of consistency needed to truly emerge as one of the league’s elite pass catchers. That starts with staying on the field. The 6-foot, 198-pound Edelman played a full 16-game season for the first time in his professional career last year, and would love to keep that streak alive.

“Being on the field is priority No. 1, because durability is better than ability,” he said. “You guys know that this is a tough game. It’s a grind. But definitely trying to be on the field for 16 games will be on my list [of priorities for 2014].”

There’s also taking advantage of the opportunities throughout the spring practice sessions. The biggest thing to focus on throughout the OTAs is timing, and getting back into the rhythm of the game.

“You want to go in and work your timing,” he said. “You want to get reps, muscle memory on your fundamentals when you’re running routes. catching the ball at a high pace with a guy on you — stuff like that. You want to have little mini-goals of not going in and making a mistake if there’s some new material each and every day, something like that. You want to try to execute to the best of your ability the first time instead of taking one or two times to do it. Just stuff like that. It’s good to get out here and get reps like a unit and try and not to be that one guy making a mistake on one play.”

Edelman said Thursday that things have been helped along this spring with the addition of new receiver Brandon LaFell (“a great addition” and “a smart guy,” according to Edelman) and new cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Revis and Browner — as well as returning defensive backs like Devin McCourty, Alfonzo Dennard and Logan Ryan — have lifted the play of the passing game, consistently challenging the receiving corps.

“You go out there and you’re playing against premier corners,” he said. “We had premier corners last year, and then, adding the new guys, it’s good. It’s going to make you better. You know if you don’t focus on a fundamental or if you’ll be lazy or something, these type of guys they will take advantage of that type of opportunity. It’s going to make me better and hopefully, we’ll make them better.

“All of them, these guys are instinctive guys. They know football,” he added. “If you don’t stick to your fundamentals, your concepts, your coaching points, or any of that, they will take advantage of it.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Rico Petrocelli on MFB: Don Zimmer ‘was a great, great baseball man’

Former Red Sox shortstop/third baseman Rico Petrocelli joined Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the life of baseball icon Don Zimmer, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 83. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Zimmer, who spent 66 years in baseball as a player, manager, coach and executive, had a lasting impact on many within the game. While Petrocelli was only on the Red Sox roster during Zimmer’€™s first season as Boston manager in 1976, he had many positive takeaways regarding the man known to many as “Popeye.”

“He was a guy that sometimes players got mad [at], but they didn’t stay mad very long,” Petrocelli said. “Zim was tough, he expected a lot from the players, and what that meant was that he wanted guys to hustle and to play hard every game. … That’€™s all he asked as a coach and as a manager.

“He was the type of guy that you wanted to protect, like a teddy bear. You couldn’t dislike him. The only guy I know who really disliked him was Bill Lee. They had their problems, but overall Zim was a great, great baseball man. Everyone respected him.”

Zimmer coached the Red Sox from 1976 until 1980, averaging 92 wins over his four full seasons at the helm. Despite his track record, Zimmer drew the ire of the Boston fans at the end of his tenure with the club, something that Petrocelli said really affected the Sox skipper.

“€œHe was very hurt,” Petrocelli said. “The fans started to get on him. … He took it hard.  That’€™s the thing about him. He could be tough on the field, he wanted players to play hard and sometimes get all over you if you didn’t, but he also was very emotional.”

One of Zimmer’s most infamous moments occurred during Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS, when the then-72-year-old Yankees bench coach attempted to throw a punch at Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez during a bench-clearing brawl. Martinez proceeded to throw Zimmer to the ground.

“€œFirst of all, I didn’t think Pedro was right in pointing at [Jorge] Posada in the dugout and pointing to his head. That was a bad mistake,” Petrocelli said. “You’ve got to remember that Zimmer was hit in the head twice — once in the minor leagues where he almost died, and once in the eye in the major leagues. … He never told a pitcher to throw at somebody. So that’€™s when he got mad.

“€œSo when the incident happened and everybody came out of the dugout, [Zimmer] was angry, he went after Pedro. … Pedro just put his hand on his head and Zim went down. … Zim was embarrassed. He thought that when he did things like that, he [thought he] embarrassed baseball, he embarrassed the Yankees.”

For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan

Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo wakes up America

Promoting the NBA Finals, Rajon Rondo appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday wearing a jean vest of some sort and addressed a few fan questions for the show’s Instagram account.

The biggest thing we learned — other than the fact Channing Tatum may be a better Pop-A-Shot player than the Celtics point guard — is that Rondo finally made his desire for “big changes” this summer public. He’s skirted similar questions about this offseason’s supposed “fireworks” in recent interviews, so there’s that.

“Hopefully this summer we’re going to make some big changes, get the ball rolling and get back in the finals pretty soon,” said Rondo. “I know [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge is doing his job, and I’m going to go out every summer, do my job and get better.” (Might want to work on that Pop-A-Shot game, too.)

Here are Rondo’s responses to some more questions submitted by fans on Twitter.

On defending LeBron James: “That’s a tough one. There’s really no answer to stopping LeBron. You have to stop the guys around him. He’s going to do his thing every night — some nights are going to be better than others — but for the most part you just have to stay consistent and stop the other guys.”

On NBA Finals memories: “My favorite memory of ’08 was blowing the Lakers out at the Garden for Game 6 and being able to come out in the early in the fourth quarter and start celebrating with my teammates.”

On his finals prediction: “It’s a tough pick, but I believe the Spurs will win in seven. He probably won’t be MVP, but my darkhorse who has to play well for the Spurs is Danny Green. MVP? Probably [Tim] Duncan or [Tony] Parker.”

P.S. Forget the jean vest. GMA’s social media manager isn’t doing Rondo any favors here.

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Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

250 former players added to NFL drug lawsuit

A group of 250 former NFL players, including Pro Bowl defensive end Marcellus Wiley, have joined in on a lawsuit Wednesday that accuses NFL teams of illegally distributing potent drugs in an effort to keep players on the field with no regard for long-term health.

“The first thing people ask is, knowing what happened, would you do it again?” Wiley said. “No. No I wouldn’t.”

Now 750 players are serving as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was originally filed May 20 in U.S. District Court in California. Wiley is the ninth player identified by name in the case, joining former Bears players Jim McMahon, Richard Dent and Keith Van Horne, among others.

The suit, which is attempting to gain class certification, spans from 1968 to 2008. It claims that NFL physicians illegally doled out potent narcotics such as Percocet and Vicodin to players before games in order to mask pain or discomfort.

Head attorney Steven Silverman stated that some teams would fill out players’€™ prescriptions without their consent while also adding that these drugs were “handed out like candy on Halloween.”

Players in the lawsuit have claimed a range of devastating effects as a result of the drug use, including chronic muscle and bone issues, addiction and permanent nerve and muscle damage.

Wiley decided to joined the lawsuit after suffering partial renal failure in April, even though he had no previous history of  kidney problems.

“You can’t walk into a doctor’s office and say, ‘€˜Give me this, give me that, just to get through the day.’ Somebody would shut the place down,” Wiley said. “But that’s what was going on in the NFL. It’s easy to get mesmerized. I won’t deny that; there’s this ‘play through-the-pain, fall-on-the-sword’ culture, and somebody in line ready to step up and take your place.”

Wiley added: “€œAnd the next question when people hear about this stuff is ‘where’s the personal responsibility?’ Well, I’m not a medical doctor … but I did take the word of a medical doctor who took an oath to get me through not just one game, or one season, but a lifetime. Meanwhile, he’s getting paid by how many bodies he gets out on the field.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league had no comment on the lawsuit.

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan

Flip Saunders reportedly will coach Timberwolves

Timberwolves president Flip Saunders apparently has settled on a new coach for his team, and he didn’t have to look far. On Thursday, Saunders reportedly decided that he will serve as coach for the 2014-15 season.

Saunders, also a part-owner, coached the Timberwolves for 10 1/2 seasons, from 1995-2005, guiding Minnesota to 411 wins and eight playoff appearances, including a trip to the Western Conference finals in 2004. The team has not reached the playoffs since he was fired midway through the 2004-05 season.

Saunders, who went on to coach the Pistons and Wizards, compiling a 638-526 career record, rejoined the Timberwolves last year as team president, following a brief stint as an adviser to the Celtics.

Saunders reportedly met with owner Glen Taylor earlier in the week after being unable to find a veteran coach who would be the right fit. Part of the problem is the uncertainly over the future of star big man Kevin Love, who can become a free agent next offseason and has made it clear he would like to play elsewhere.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Red Sox minor league roundup: Henry Owens’ dominance creates promotion dilemma; Mookie Betts blasts off in Triple-A; Allen Webster staying on track; Jamie Callahan struggles

Left-hander Henry Owens threw a career-high eight shutout innings on Wednesday. (365DigitalPhotography.com)

Left-hander Henry Owens threw a career-high eight shutout innings on Wednesday. (365DigitalPhotography.com)

The Feats of Mookie have made it to Pawtucket — and it seems very likely that the Feets of Henry will soon be reunited with them.

Left-hander Henry Owens, possessor of size 17 feet qua flippers, continued a breakthrough stretch in Double-A Portland. The 21-year-old, almost exactly three years after being taken by the Red Sox in the supplemental first round of the draft, delivered a career-high eight innings of shutout ball in which he permitted just two hits (both singles), struck out two, punched out six (with 15 swings and misses on his fastball and changeup) and recorded 14 outs via groundball. His fastball angle and execution down in the strike zone were little short of dazzling (on a night when he topped out at 93 mph and averaged 90 mph), complemented by a characteristically nasty changeup and a smattering of curveballs.

Through the first 58 outings and two-plus years of his pro career, Owens had never posted back-to-back outings of more than six innings. He’s now done so in three straight starts, with Wednesday’s eight-inning effort following consecutive seven-inning efforts. During that time, Owens has walked just five batters during 22 scoreless innings, a drastic departure from the three-start command struggle that preceded it in which Owens issued 14 free passes in 15 2/3 innings.

Owens has achieved new heights in his pitch efficiency and strike throwing. On Wednesday, he found the strike zone with 73 of his career-high 107 pitches (68 percent). He’s compromised his strikeouts (he’s struck out 17 in his 22-inning scoreless run) but he’s addressed the walks issues that had permeated his earlier outings this year while eliciting terrible contact on a consistent basis.

“Same as every time, he goes out there and competes and controls the strike zone with all three pitches,” catcher Blake Swihart told the Portland Press-Herald. “He’€™s pitching to contact ‘€¦ get them in swing mode and get them out.”

This is what it means to be better than your competition: In his last six starts dating to May 8 — a period, it is worth adding, during which the left-hander had to work through the aforementioned control issues — Owens has held hitters to a .097 average, easily the best mark in the minors during that time. He has a 4-1 record and 0.72 ERA during that stretch. His *worst* start during the run came when he gave up one run on two hits (and four walks) in four innings; his second-worst came when he threw four no-hit innings but walked five.

On the year, in 12 starts, Owens is 7-3 with a 2.24 ERA, 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings and 4.0 walks per nine (a mark that has dropped like an anchor in his recent run) while holding batters to a .170 average. Astonishingly, one year after he was the most unhittable pitcher in the minors (11-6, 2.67 ERA, .177 average against while splitting the year between High-A and Double-A), he’s been even *more* unhittable while spending the entire year at the level where he finished 2013.

In short, he’s pitching like someone who has figured out the level where he’s pitching and who requires the challenge of a higher level of competition. That doesn’t mean that a promotion is imminent — unlike Betts, who had no intractable road blocks in front of him in Pawtucket — Owens faces some bottlenecks, particularly as the Red Sox will have to steer Felix Doubront and Clay Buchholz through their rehabs, with Brandon Workman and/or Rubby De La Rosa likely to move back down to Pawtucket once the two big leaguers demonstrate they’re ready to return to the majors.

Nonetheless, Owens has forced the conversation to a place where the Sox have to take stock of his readiness for a higher level whenever an opportunity presents itself, as the Red Sox’ top pitching prospect continues to rocket through the system.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 8-7 WIN (11 INNINGS) AT DURHAM (RAYS)

(BOX)

– Feats of Mookie (Triple-A edition): Winning. Mookie Betts recovered from a baffling 0-for-6 slump to open his Triple-A career (0-for-4 on Tuesday, hitless in his first two plate appearances on Wednesday) to collect hits in three of his next four at-bats — including a solo homer in the top of the 11th to send Pawtucket to victory. The home run showed Betts staying back on a hanging breaking ball before whipping the bat through the zone, clearing the Blue Monster in left field with the sort of stroke that suggests that he is likely to become fairly well-acquainted with a similar landmark in Boston:

Betts now has eight three-hit games this year between Portland and Pawtucket — an average of one for every seven games he’s playing. And he’s showing across-the-board improvement in his performance while getting pushed to higher levels of competition. His home run rate is roughly the same as it was last year. Beyond that, compared to what he did in Single-A and High-A last year, his average is up (from from .314 to .353), his OBP is up (from .417 to .439), his slugging percentage is up (from .506 to .554), his strikeout rate is down (from just over 10 percent to just under 8 percent) and he’s stealing more bases (though at a slightly reduced effectiveness).

Betts did get picked off of first on Wednesday, and he also grounded into a double play in the ninth inning. Still, he’s doing a great deal to show that he has a chance to impact the Red Sox at the big league level down the stretch.

– Right-hander Allen Webster had his second straight solid outing since being passed over for a spot in the Red Sox rotation, delivering six innings in which he scattered seven hits (six singles and a double) while walking three and punching out four. Webster has now gone at least six innings in six of his 13 starts this year, matching his total number of outings of that duration in 21 Triple-A starts a year ago.

– With Betts playing second base in Pawtucket, Ryan Roberts made his first appearance in the outfield this year, playing left field. Roberts went 2-for-5 with a homer, double and walk. Both of his homers have come against lefties.

– Left-hander Rich Hill threw a season-high three innings. He gave up neither a run nor a hit, walked one and punched out four.

– First baseman Travis Shaw went 0-for-6 with four strikeouts.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-1 WIN VS. ERIE (TIGERS)

(BOX)

– Catcher Blake Swihart had his second straight multi-hit game, going 3-for-5 and driving in a pair of runs. Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press-Herald looks back on Swihart’s Red Sox origins in the draft three years ago.

– Outfielder Keury De La Cruz had his third straight 2-for-4 game with a double since joining Portland following his season-opening DL stint.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 4-4 TIE (SUSPENDED AFTER FOUR INNINGS) VS. FREDERICK (ORIOLES)

(BOX)

– Right-hander Simon Mercedes was roughed up for four runs (three earned) on four hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings. It marked just the second time this year that the 22-year-old has given up more than three runs.

– Second baseman Reed Gragnani collected doubles in each of his two at-bats before rain suspended the contest.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 9-3 LOSS VS. LEXINGTON (ROYALS)

(BOX)

– Right-hander Jamie Callahan allowed five runs on 10 hits in five innings, though of the 10 hits, eight were singles (with two doubles), and he attacked the strike zone, with 64 percent of his pitches for strikes while walking just one. He also struck out just one. On the year, the 19-year-old has a 6.79 ERA with opponents hitting .326 against him. His velocity has been strong — up to the mid-90s — but even though he’s yielded just three homers, he hasn’t been missing the barrel (or the bat altogether) with the same frequency that he did last year in Lowell, where he had a 3.92 ERA with a .221 batting average against. Callahan also struggled to control the running game, as five bases were stolen while he was on the mound.

– Outfielder Kendrick Perkins went 2-for-3 with a walk (his fourth in 27 games) and didn’t strike out. The 22-year-old — a giant with considerable raw power but who came out of high school as a fairly raw baseball talent as a result of his two-sport pedigree — is amidst his best offensive stretch as a professional, hitting .302 with a .365 OBP (a mark inflated by a number of HBPs) and .453 slugging mark.

– First baseman Jantzen Witte didn’t double. Indeed, the 24-year-old didn’t get a hit, going 0-for-3 with a sac fly to drop his line for the year to a still whopping .355/.444/.589.

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 11-9 LOSS VS. DSL NATIONALS

(BOX)

– Catcher Roldani Baldwin, 18, had his third multi-hit game in four contests, going 3-for-5 and driving in two. He’s 9-for-17 thus far.

– Center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe reached base multiple times for his fourth straight game to open the year, going 2-for-5 with a walk. He’s reached in 11 of 21 plate appearances with six walks, five hits and six strikeouts thus far.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Emotional Yankees, Rays, others in MLB pay tribute to late Dom Zimmer

The entire MLB community is reeling at the news of baseball icon Don Zimmer‘€™s death.

Zimmer, who spent 66 years in baseball as a player, coach and executive, impacted many during his MLB career.

“Great baseball man. A baseball lifer. Was a mentor to me,” said a tearful Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Zimmer served as the bench coach of the Yankees for eight years, winning four World Series during his tenure in the Bronx.

“I hired him as a coach, and he became like a family member to me. He has certainly been a terrific credit to the game,” said former Yankees manager Joe Torre in a statement. “The game was his life. And his passing is going to create a void in my life and my wife Ali‘s. We loved him. The game of baseball lost a special person tonight. He was a good man.”

The news of Zimmer’€™s passing hit Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter particularly hard. Jeter’€™s first full season as starting shortstop for New York coincided with Zimmer’€™s first season as bench coach in 1996.

“That’€™s a tough one to swallow,”€ Jeter said after his team’s 7-4 loss to the A’€™s Wednesday night. “€œEveryone knows how much Zim has meant, not only to our organization, but to baseball as a whole. Your thoughts and prayers go out to his family. That’€™s tough news. I found out halfway through the game. That’€™s a rough one.”

Jeter added: ‘€œ’€œHe’€™s someone that taught me a lot about the game. €œHe’€™s been around and he’€™s pretty much seen everything. His stories, his experiences, he was close to my family and good to my family. We’€™ll miss him.”

Zimmer served as a senior adviser for the Rays from 2004 until his death, quickly becoming a favorite amongst players and especially the Tampa Bay coaching staff.

“We lost a good buddy tonight,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon. “I’m going to miss his advice … his feistiness and fire. He was about winning, doing whatever it takes to win.”

Rays third base coach Tom Foley has been wearing Zimmer’€™s No. 66 jersey as tribute this season to Zimmer’€™s lasting legacy.

“He had a lot of stories, a lot of history coming out of him,” Foley said after the game. “He had a lot to give, a lot to offer and he did.”

After Tampa Bay’€™s 5-4 loss to the Marlins Wednesday, the team hung Zimmer’€™s jersey in the team clubhouse.

Zimmer found success both as a player and coach, as “Popeye,” as he was commonly known, was an All-Star for Chicago in 1961 while later winning the 1989 NL Manager of the Year award with the same club. “On behalf of Major League Baseball and the many clubs that ‘Popeye’ served in a distinguished baseball life, I extend my deepest condolences to Don’s family, friends and his many admirers throughout our game,” said MLB commissioner Bud Selig in a statement. Zimmer, who played for the Dodgers, Mets, Cubs, Reds and Washington Senators and later served as manager for the Padres, Red Sox, Rangers and Cubs, impacted MLB players throughout his 66 years in the game. “Zim was a very special person to all of us. A very special person in baseball, period,”€ said Rays pitcher David Price. “He always lit everybody’s faces up whenever he’d walk in. Zim had a passion for baseball that rubs off on everybody.” “It’s a sad day for the game of baseball,’€” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. “Don impacted lives from the time he put a uniform on in the minor leagues until today.” Many other MLB figures and clubs took to Twitter to pay their respects to Zimmer:

 

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan

Colin Kaepernick reportedly inks six-year, $126 million extension with 49ers

Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be serving as San Francisco’€™s franchise play-caller for a long, long time — with the contract to show it.

The dynamic signal-caller agreed to a six-year contract extension on Wednesday, keeping the University of Nevada product with the Niners through the 2020 season. The contract is reported to be worth $126 million — with $61 million in guaranteed money.

Both Kaepernick and the 49ers made it a goal to reach an agreement on a new contract before the start of training camp in July.

“They were able to get it done six weeks earlier than what I think everyone thought,” Kaepernick said. “I’m very excited to have it done at this point and we don’t have to worry about talks or anything like that moving forward.”

Kapernick, who was set to make less than $1 million this season, now has the most guaranteed money of any current NFL quarterback under contract.

“I’m always striving to be in that group. An elite group in the NFL. Not necessarily pay, but as far as a player. Whatever comes along with that comes along with it,” Kaepernick said. “I’m very grateful for it. … I don’t think my motivation is money-driven.”

Once a relative unknown on a team that advanced to the NFC championship game during his one season as backup to current Chiefs play-caller Alex Smith, Kaepernick supplanted Smith as starting quarterback midway through the 2012 season and has led the team to one of its most successful periods in franchise history.

Kaepernick led the Niners to their first Super Bowl in 18 years during the 2012 year — losing by three points to the Ravens — while later helping his team make it to the NFC championship game in 2013, when San Francisco fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion Seahawks by a score of 23-17.

In 32 career NFL games, Kaepernick has completed 382 of 639 passes for 5,046 yards with 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Croatian F Dario Saric

As part of WEEI.com’€™s coverage of the 2014 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their two selections in the first round.

Dario Saric

Dario Saric

DARIO SARIC

Position: Forward
Country: Croatia
Age: 20
Height: 6-foot-10
Weight: 223 pounds
Wingspan: 6-foot-10

Key 2013-14 stats (Adriatic League): 16.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 58.9 TS%

Scouting report: Fans of the NBA are scarred forever over the growing number of international busts during the last decade, but they should feel confident knowing Saric is a relatively safe pick. He does so many of the “little things” well, even though he lacks the elite upside of some others.

Only 20 years old, Saric led Cibona to the Adriatic League championship, capturing league and finals MVP honors in the process. This success is unheard of, and he likely would be considered one of the consensus top picks had he done that in March Madness.

Saric’€™s greatest attribute is his playmaking potential. He’€™s arguably the most versatile player in the draft because of his ability to score from inside, mid-range and the perimeter. His 3-pointer is still improving, but he added the “hop”€ (a technique allowing shooters to get shots off more quickly) to his arsenal, which improving his productivity.

Already an efficient scorer inside, he has the ability to get to the hole with either hand. Most impressive is Saric’€™s ability to pass off the dribble, a trait that could translate well in the pick-and-roll heavy NBA.

Even though Saric’€™s average athleticism and short wingspan will hold him back from ever becoming a true superstar, he has all the physical and mental tools necessary to be on a tier right below that. Of course, he must first stay in the draft for that to happen, as there is a chance he withdraws before the June 16 deadline.

How he fits: Saric has go-to scoring potential and is a proven winner. If the Celtics decide to go international with one of their draft picks, he could be the best player available.

Related articles:

CelticsBlog: Adriatic League Final Four Analysis: Dario Saric leads Cibona to championship victory

ProBasketballTalk: Dario Saric will join NBA next season if Celtics or Lakers draft him

Video: Here is a video scouting report of Dario Saric.

(Kevin O’€™Connor also covers the Celtics for SB Nation and can be reached on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA.)

Blog Author: 
Kevin O'Connor

Donald Sterling’s lawyer says he won’t sue NBA or contest sale of Clippers

The Donald Sterling drama appears to be in its final act, as the lawyer for the banned Clippers owner said Wednesday that he will withdraw his $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA. Sterling also has settled with his wife, Shelly, regarding the sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Attorney Max Blecher said in an email to ESPN Wednesday that in return the NBA has agreed to not sue Sterling for anything.

Sterling was spotted at a charity function Tuesday night, and he told Los Angeles TV station NBC4 that he was ready to “move on.”

“I feel fabulous, I feel very good,” Sterling said. “Everything is just the way it should be, really. It may have worked out differently, but it’s good. It’s all good.”

Added Sterling: “I’m OK, I’m OK. Is the NBA OK? I’m not sure about that. Is Adam Silver OK? I’m sure he’s OK.”

The NBA approved Ballmer’s bid to buy the team Friday, although the new owner still must be approved by three-quarters of the league’s owners. A Tuesday hearing to make official Silver’s banishment of Sterling was canceled, although Sterling reportedly still will be banned.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar