LeBron Beasts and Barely Wins; Westbrook’s Prom Fit; Can Spurs Win for Pop? | Out of Bounds

While Gilbert Arenas is off on an Agent Zero international mission, Pierce and Adam hold things down for #OutofBounds, starting with a quick tutorial on black hair care before getting into last night’s NBA playoff games. Those Game 2’s raised some interesting questions: What does it mean that the Cavs eked out a three-point win at home despite LeBron going off for 46 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals? How many fire emojis should Russell Westbrook’s tux look get in “Fire Fit”? With Karl-Anthony Towns scoring a total of 13 points in two L’s to start his playoff career, what the hell is going on with KAT? Looking forward to tonight’s playoff Game 3’s, OOB has some more questions: Will Kevin Hart’s trash talk keep 36-year-old Dwyane Wade cooking in Miami? Is the All-Star Damian Lillard we know and love finally going to show up against New Orleans? After coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, passed away yesterday, can the overmatched Spurs pull out a win for them against the Warriors? Only time will tell. The same can be said of whether Tom Brady will retire or play QB for the Patriots in 2018. In “The Step-Back,” OOB discusses whether an ESPN story about Brady having not committed to play yet is a legit story or just click-bait. Finally, following a report that “handlers” for standout Penn State running back Saquon Barkley don’t want the Browns to draft him, in “Fair or Foul?” the guys weigh in on players forcing undesirable teams to not draft them.

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LiAngelo Ball Is Being Scouted by the Los Angeles Lakers

Although many people thought it would be impossible, it looks like LiAngelo Ball actually might have a shot at being drafted by an NBA team. According to reports, the middle brother of the polarizing Ball family is being scouted by none other than the team of his older brother Lonzo, the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas provided the scoop on Twitter that the Lakers paid a visit to Lithuania to watch Gelo ball in a contest between his team, Prienu Vytautas, and Nevezis. LiAngelo provided a decent contribution to his team's victory by dropping 12 points and going 3-for-3 from behind the arc.

The 19-year old LiAngelo officially declared for the NBA Draft this past March (and dropped an insane 72 points in a game the same day), but many feel that he is not an NBA-ready prospect.

There are least a few people who believe LiAngelo should be drafted, one of which is his father LaVar. After all, he did say previously how he hopes that all three of his sons will be able to play together rocking the iconic purple and gold. He even claimed Lonzo would not re-sign with the team if it didn't happen. Paul Pierce has also recently said he thinks there is a “good shot” Gelo will make it to the league.  

LiAngelo's draft status still might be up in the air, but the fact the Lakers are scouting him has to be at least somewhat of a good sign. Everyone will have to wait and see if a second Big Baller will make his way into the NBA when the 2018 NBA Draft takes place on June 21. One thing can be guaranteed—he will not be selected No. 2 overall like his brother Lonzo was last year.

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New York Knicks Fire Coach Jeff Hornacek and Associate Head Coach Kurt Rambis

Jeff Hornacek won't be coaching the New York Knicks anymore.

ESPN reports the former coach was fired after a flight back from Cleveland, where the Knicks won against the Cleveland Cavaliers, 110-98. However, his overall record was under par. During his time as their coach, the Knicks gained their sixth-worst record in the NBA by going 60-104. Although Hornacek still had one year left on his contract, it seems this was enough to push him out. 

“Jeff is a true professional who has worked tirelessly for this organization the last two seasons,” said Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry in a joint statement. “We sincerely appreciate his efforts and considerable contributions to the team and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

The Knicks' associate head coach, Kurt Rambis, was also fired.

“Kurt has been a big part of the Knicks over these last four seasons, as both an associate head coach and interim head coach,” said Mills and Perry. “We thank him for his dedication to New York and wish him the best moving forward.”

Former team president Phil Jackson hired Hornacek ahead of the 2016-2017 season. Now Perry, who started as a GM in July, will be able to hire his own coach.

The Knicks will also be entering an enticing free-agent market in the summer of 2019. As for a new coach, they're reportedly looking to replace Hornacek with David Fizdale, David Blatt, or Mark Jackson.

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Blake Griffin Chimes in on Rookie of the Year Beef With Hilarious Joke

Over the weekend, Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons made sure we know where he stands when it comes to this year's Rookie of the Year race.

“Who would I pick? Me, 100 percent,” Simmons said in a recent interview with ESPN. “I think I have been playing solid all year. If you look at the numbers, you will see. People who know the game know.” When asked if any rookies impressed Simmons this season, he answered “none.”

Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell, Simmons' only real competition for the award, took exception with Simmons' blind spot, and the two stars have been beefing ever since. First, Mitchell tweeted a Waka Flocka Flame GIF in response to the slight from Simmons.

And Tuesday night, he showed up to the his team's game against the Golden State Warriors wearing a hoodie with the definition of the word “rookieprinted across the front. It was an obvious reference to Simmons, who sat out the entire 2016-17 with an injury, but still had the benefit of being around the team and learning the ebbs and flows of life in the NBA. Mitchell later explained how Simmons' extra year gives him an advantage. 

Detroit Pistons forward (and amateur comedian) Blake Griffin, who also sat out his first season with the L.A. Clippers due to injury and won Rookie of the Year the following season in 2010-11, chimed in with an appropriate joke.

For what it's worth, Simmons didn't seem too bothered by the hoodie.

The 2018 NBA Awards will be presented on June 25.

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Carmelo Anthony Says Russell Westbrook ‘Steals Rebounds,’ But Team Is Cool With It

If Russell Westbrook is able to grab 16 rebounds against the Grizzlies on Wednesday, he will become the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double in multiple seasons. That sounds like a stretch, but he did grab 18 boards on Monday night against the Heat, and he has averaged 14 per game in the four contests he's played in April.

As active as he's been on the glass, his OKC teammates have joked around about him “stealing” boards as he zones in on becoming the first player in league history to accomplish the aforementioned feat. That topic was brought up on Tuesday as Carmelo Anthony spoke to the media, with Anthony responding (jokingly) in the affirmative, while also stating the team ultimately doesn't care about it.

“Sometimes you want to fight him a little bit, push him out of the way,” he told ESPN's Royce Young. “For me, it’s good to have a guard like that, being able to crack back and get rebounds. He steals rebounds sometimes, but any time you have a guard like that to come back and rebound the way he does…he’s able to jump start the break, and a lot of good things happen from there.”

When pressed further, Anthony said that he “steals,” but it's seen as a joke on the team rather than something more problematic.

“We got a defensive rebound,” he added. “I don’t think nobody thinks twice about that. As long as we get the rebound, I don’t think we worried about that. Like individually, we’re not like ‘Damn, I gotta get this rebound. I gotta rebound more.’ As long as we get the rebound, we all cool with that.”

Of course this is not the first time that people have taken note of Westbrook's rebounding style (or just clearing out for other guys to acquire boards in general):

Watch extra closely Wednesday night.

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LeBron James and Ben Simmons Share Instagram Props After Dueling Triple-Doubles

After a 132-130 win that went down to the wire and saw his Philadelphia 76ers surpass the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings Friday, Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons used his Instagram account to show respect to the man widely regarded as the NBA’s best player.

 

FRESH PRINCE X KING JAMES 👑

A post shared by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on Apr 6, 2018 at 9:04pm PDT

“Fresh Prince X King James,” Simmons wrote as a caption to a picture of he and LeBron James embracing after the 76ers pulled off the win. Both Simmons and James put up triple-doubles, as Simmons dropped 27 points, 13 assists, and 15 rebounds. While James took some heat for missing a potentially game-tying free throw, he led the Cavaliers with 44 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Off the court, James gave the all-important IG nod of approval to Simmons’ nickname for the matchup.

“Fresh Prince X King James,” LeBron commented, while dropping no less than eight flame emojis.

“Ah, he was awful,” James joked, when asked about Simmons’ performance during postgame comments obtained by ESPN. “Come on, man. You’re asking these questions. He was great, of course.”

Friday’s win moved the 76ers a half-game ahead of the Cavs in the Eastern Conference playoff standings, as the Sixers and Cavs look to wrap up the regular season in the coming days.

The matching triple-doubles will likely add to the comparisons between James and Simmons, as both combine point guard ball handling and passing abilities with the size of a traditional power forwards. Both James and Simmons are also represented by Klutch Sports Group, which is owned by James’ friend and business partner Rich Paul.

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Chris Brown Sympathizes With Conor McGregor: ‘We All Get Crazy Sometimes’

Conor McGregor's infamous bus incident is the topic on everyone's mind today, with 50 Cent in particular finding a lot of joy in the situation. Chris Brown, however, has a little more sympathy for the fighter, who just lost his UFC featherweight title. When confronted by TMZ, Brown was asked for his thoughts on the situation, and considering he's found himself in similar fits of rage before, he feels for McGregor.

“We all get crazy sometimes,” he responds, offering more support for McGregor than 50 Cent. On the same night, TMZ caught-up with Chris Brown again, this time showing him acting up once again.

In the video, Brown can be seen arguing with a valet parking attendant outside TAO Los Angeles, threatening to get violent with him. He was supposedly disputing the charge, saying at one point “I should knock you out.” It's not clear how much he was being charged, but he clearly wasn't happy. He goes on to say the valet “did [him] dirty” and was “trying to rape [him] right now.” He's collected during the ordeal, but it's clearly very tense.

Meanwhile, McGregor has been arrested after injuring several people during the outburst, placing his future in the UFC uncertain. UFC President Dana White has explained that he has no interest in helping McGregor out, reports ESPN. “Normally, yes, I would dive right in and do everything in my power to help one of my guys. But not in this situation,” he explained to ESPN.

With two fighters having suffered injuries at the hands at McGregor, White is not eager to sort things out for him.

“He came into the Barclays Center, attacked our fighters and attacked my staff with a bunch of guys. No, you don't get my help on this one,” he says.

Chris Brown previously threw a chair through a window at Good Morning America back in 2011 in a similar outburst. At the time he was on probation for the domestic violence incident with his ex-girlfriend Rihanna.

Recently he was spotted with hands around a woman's neck, although he insisted he was playing around.

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Canelo Alvarez Pulls Out of Rematch Against Gennady Golovkin Following Failed Drug Tests

On Tuesday, Canelo Alvarez withdrew from his much hyped rematch against Gennady Golovkin as he faced an extension of his temporary suspension that came down due to a pair of doping violations.

The two fighters were set for a May 5 pay-per-view rematch of their September 2017 bout, which ended in a draw amidst much controversy. Though it might not have been entirely apparent at the time, a couple of random urine tests taken by Alvarez on Feb. 17 and Feb. 20 (which tested positive for the banned performance-enhancer clenbuterol) ultimately tanked the highly anticipated bout. ESPN adds that that suspension, which is likely to be doled out at a Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing scheduled for April 18, could likely be for a length of at least one year.

“We're going to have to cancel the May 5 rematch,” said Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez at a press conference on Tuesday. “As you all know there is a hearing on April 18 and it's extremely unlikely this will get properly resolved by then and we need enough time to promote this fight.

“Additionally, given the current regulations in Nevada we have been advised, and it is unfortunate, that Canelo won't be cleared to fight in May. We are hopeful this matter will be resolved and we are hoping Canelo will be cleared so we can reschedule the fight for August or September.”

Adding to that, Alvarez maintained his innocence (as he previously blamed his positive test on tainted meat) but simultaneously said he was ready to accept his punishment from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

“I am truly shocked about what has happened and for those who have doubts and suspicions about my integrity I have always been and always will be clean fighter,” Alvarez said through a translator. “I want to apologize to HBO, (sponsors) Tecate and Hennessy and all my other sponsors, the media and to everyone who is involved in the promotion of this event, and especially to the fans. I respect this sport. I will always be a clean fighter.”

As pointed out by ESPN, he did not apologize to his opponent, who said less than two weeks ago that it was obvious that Alvarez was cheating prior to their first fight.

“To be honest, what Golovkin or his team say doesn't bother me at all because, No. 1, they are not doctors, not experts,” added Alvarez. “I don't pay attention to them. It sounds more like an excuse that he doesn't want to fight me or he's scared.”

He also stood by his claim that contaminated meat was to blame for the positive test.

“I want to clarify the situation. I have always done tests with VADA before my fights. They are voluntary,” he said. “I have always agreed to them before my fights and they have always come back negative. I am a clean fighter. On this occasion the results showed small traces of clenbuterol. How did this happen, I don't know. Unfortunately, there is a public problem in my country of Mexico. Football, cycling, soccer, boxing — people have tested positive for clenbuterol. This can be transmitted through meat in Mexico. Contaminated meat is what caused this. That is my statement. This has happened in all sports.”

Alvarez's suspension for his first offense could earn him a one-year ban. However, ESPN adds that if he cooperates with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, it is within their rules to chop that suspension in half. If that were to happen (and was retroactive to his first failed test on Feb. 17) he would be eligible to fight by Aug. 18, with a likely rematch to be scheduled for Mexican Independence Weekend in mid-September.

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ESPN Reveals Release Date, Early Programming Schedule For ESPN+

On Monday, ESPN announced the release date of their direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service ESPN+, which will officially hit the market on Thursday, April 12. The service will carry a $4.99 monthly charge (or you can buy it for $49.99 annually). Early consensus would appear to be that you should keep your cable package, but the press release telling you what you'd get from the service was still pretty freaking long.

So what will be available, exactly? Here's the rundown:

  • An MLB game every day throughout the season, totaling more than 180. Furthermore these games will include all teams, except your local one (which would be blacked out).
  • Similarly, an NHL game for every day of the season. Just like the MLB offering that will total more than 180 match-ups. Also, just like the MLB offering, blackout rules apply.
  • A year-round boxing schedule with “feature high-quality boxing” throughout the year, plus a host of undercard fights.
  • All out-of-market MLS games (totaling over 250), plus it will be the local market for the Chicago Fire.
  • Thousands of college events, including “…football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, gymnastics, swimming & diving, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, golf and more” from often overlooked conferences, including the “America East, ASun, Big South, Big West, Horizon, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Missouri Valley, NEC, Southern Conference, Southland, Summit League, Sun Belt, WAC, and many more.”
  • Over 100 days of coverage from 31 PGA Tour events. This coverage will include broadcasts of Thursday, Friday, and “some” Saturday/Sunday events.
  • “Hundreds of tennis matches” from Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the Australian Open.
  • Plus rugby and cricket coverage.

Whether or not that sounds worth it to you is your call. For now, we remain skeptical (sorry cord cutters), but as the release states:

More details about ESPN+ and the redesigned ESPN App – including further details about live sports, original and on-demand programming and more – will be announced ahead of launch.

It's worth noting that it's just a start. It'd be naive to think they won't tweak/adjust this to service the demands of their subscribers at some point in the future. So stay tuned.

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LeBron James’ ‘Uninterrupted’ Threatens to Sue University of Alabama for Copyright Infringement

LeBron James' media company Uninterrupted could potentially jump into a legal battle with the University of Alabama. According to ESPNthe company is alleging that 'Bama has taken its intellectual property.

What exactly has the Crimson Tide taken from LeBron's company? Well, last week the official Twitter account for the university's football team tweeted out a trailer for a new show titled Shop Talk that showed Julio Jones chopping it up with Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban in the Bama Cuts barbershop at the team's athletic facility among other football players.

If you are unfamiliar, Uninterrupted airs its own show, The Shop, which premiered during the 2017 NBA Finals and uses an almost identical premise. LeBron and friends re-create the atmosphere of barbershop banter with a special guest while they get haircuts. Two episodes have aired already featuring guests like Draymond Green and 2 Chainz. 

LeBron and company are not exactly flattered that Alabama thought they could attempt to blatantly rip their original idea and sent them what essentially is a cease-and-desist letter to discontinue the series in its current format. A statement obtained by ESPN from Uninterrupted to the University of Alabama partially reads, “Your continued exploitation of Shop Talk infringes Uninterrupted's copyright, trademark rights and other valuable intellectual property rights in The Shop and significantly damages Uninterrupted's commercial prospects for The Shop.

While no official legal documentation has been filed yet by James' company, it has to extend an invitation for a conversation before taking any further legal action.

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