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Dejounte Murray trade allows Hawks to reorganize around Trae Young.

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Dejounte Murray trade allows Hawks to reorganize around Trae Young.

In any case, the fact that the Atlanta Hawks have finally taken off the Band-Aid must make them feel lot better today. Trae Young or Dejounte Murray have to leave, at the very least. The answer today was Murray, who the team traded to the New Orleans for two first-round selections, Dyson Daniels, Larry Nance Jr., and E.J. Liddell on Friday, according to league sources. The Hawks look to have recovered around 97 cents on the dollar from the disastrous transaction that brought Murray to Atlanta in the first place, a trade that left them stuck in a mediocre but unavoidably unaffected state.

Dejounte Murray trade allows Hawks to reorganize around Trae Young.

Dejounte Murray trade allows Hawks to reorganize around Trae Young.

It’s a startling and noteworthy accomplishment for a front office that managed to go a whole year without making a single transaction more significant than promoting Trent Forrest from a two-way deal. Let us examine side by side. Three first-round picks, two of which are unprotected, and a pick exchange were sent to San Antonio in the original Murray trade; on Friday, the Hawks acquired two first-round selections along with Daniels, a former lottery pick. As a salary match, experienced big man Nance is included in the contract.

But keep in mind that one of those firsts, a lottery-protected first from Charlotte, that was originally assigned to San Antonio, has not yet been conveyed and is more likely to result in two second-round selections in 2026 and 2027. That is what will occur if the Hornets, as most people anticipate, miss the playoffs this year. The Hawks owe the Spurs a trade in 2026, by which time the Victor Wembanyama-led San Antonio team should be formidable. The Hawks will not have their own selections in 2025 or 2027. Not very good, Bob. We’ll return to this section in a moment.

However, Atlanta recently regained an unprotected Lakers selection in the 2025 draft, which is quite likely to go in the teens. In addition, the Hawks were given an unprotected pick in 2027—though it is the lesser of Milwaukee’s and New Orleans’ picks. The second gem, though, is Daniels, a promising defensive specialist who joins a squad whose terrible incapacity to stop the ball led to their defense finishing the previous season ranked 27th in the league.

Dejounte Murray trade allows Hawks to reorganize around Trae Young.

Dejounte Murray trade allows Hawks to reorganize around Trae Young.

Daniels’ rookie contract, which pays him $6.1 million this year and $7.7 million the following year, has two years left on it. He had trouble shooting and didn’t really fit in New Orleans because there were so many other questionable marksmen. However, in Atlanta, he develops into an important player and has the potential to start countering renowned matador Young.

The Hawks are also able to repurpose the $23 million John Collins trade exception for another year thanks to the date of this transaction; it will now be known as “the Murray exception,” worth $18.2 million through June 28 or 29 of next year. The supporters of Atlanta won’t have to mention the name “John Collins” in connection with deal proposals going forward. (It should be noted that, should the Hawks become impatient with the trade machine, $6 million will still be available on the Collins exception through July 8).

Atlanta also gets to lower the threshold by $6.3 million after their draft lottery victory temporarily placed them over the top, hanging another “avoided luxury tax” banner in the State Farm Arena rafters. Although Nance appears to have made Bruno Fernando’s non-guaranteed $2.7 million agreement fungible—his guarantee expires on Saturday—the Hawks still have 14 players under contract.

Dejounte Murray trade allows Hawks to reorganize around Trae Young.

Dejounte Murray trade allows Hawks to reorganize around Trae Young.

I’m kidding about the wealthy tax evasion, but Atlanta has more options because of the more cash. While it appears inevitable that the Hawks would sign Vit Krejčí to a roster contract, they may also take into consideration making a small trade for Saddiq Bey, a free agent forward. He will probably miss the most of this season due to a ruptured ACL, but assuming he continues under contract in 2024–2025, the Hawks will still own his Bird rights through the summer of 2025.

Most importantly, Atlanta can now look to sign other talent with its whole nontaxpayer midlevel exemption. For the non-Young minutes in especially, the backcourt could use an additional shot maker.

Even in the absence of any new additions, the Hawks have rapidly transformed into a younger squad. Zaccharie Risacher, the first overall pick in the draft, Daniels, 2023 first-round pick Kobe Bufkin, and 2022 first-round pick Jalen Johnson—who was surprisingly one of the league’s most improved players last season—all appear to be key players at this point.

Naturally, I’m saying all of this as though the Hawks have had enough. Do they? Although there have been persistent rumors about Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter, league sources generally believe that the Hawks will not receive a significant return for them.

Dejounte Murray trade allows Hawks to reorganize around Trae Young.

Dejounte Murray trade allows Hawks to reorganize around Trae Young.

The elephant in the room is the last item on the list. Without bringing up the nuclear option—trading Young to San Antonio in order to regain those picks—no conversation about Atlanta’s predicament would be complete. This would enable Atlanta to proceed with a real tanking reset centered around Risacher, Johnson, and Daniels.

Given that the Spurs presently own three consecutive Hawks draft picks, San Antonio is the only logical trading partner for such a transaction. Fortunately, San Antonio could easily match Young’s $43 million salary by adding non-core money (Devonte’ Graham, Zach Collins, and Tre Jones) to their roster. San Antonio also sorely needs an exceptional point guard. Graham’s guarantee date was just moved back by the Spurs to July 8, which at least raises some questions.

It is much, much difficult to turn into a tank by dealing Young to any other team. In theory, Atlanta might also pull off “The Brooklyn Special” and return their own picks to San Antonio by dealing the picks they recently acquired in the Murray trade, although the Spurs would probably demand more in firsts than that. Thus, moving Young elsewhere is probably not a wise move for Atlanta unless the bids are in Mikal Bridges territory (think four or five firsts).

Hence, for the time being at least, this is unquestionably Trae Young’s squad.

The components fit much better, at least this time. Let’s take a moment to give a brief shout-out to Murray, who played—and played admirably—despite a number of injuries throughout the second part of the previous season, even though he was aware that he would likely be traded during the summer. However, he and Young had little connection, and he lost one of his old strengths when Murray was asked to guard the twos.

There are still existential concerns about this team’s ability to succeed beyond becoming “first-round cannon fodder” given Atlanta’s unimpressive 161-157 record over the previous four seasons. It was only fitting that they were selected first in a year when most people considered the number one pick to be a useful backup rather than a star. Let’s head to the Play-In!

Still, Friday was the best day since Landry Fields’s reconstruction of the front office began. The Hawks have reclaimed their flexibility to go in a variety of directions, with or without Young, by letting go of Murray. (Don’t ignore the fact that they traded their own first in 2026 or 2028, for example, to get around the Stepien rule.)

By doing this, they were able to assemble a roster that is more cohesive, younger, less expensive, and better suited to their finest player. We simply don’t know how long that final clause will remain relevant.

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John Lynch says 49ers ‘had good talks’ with Brandon Aiyuk.

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John Lynch says 49ers 'had good talks' with Brandon Aiyuk.
San Francisco 49ers General Manager John Lynch is determined to keep wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk with the team for the long haul, despite the ongoing contract negotiations. Aiyuk, a key offensive player for the 49ers, is entering the final year of his rookie contract, making his future with the team a critical topic.
John Lynch says 49ers 'had good talks' with Brandon Aiyuk.

John Lynch says 49ers ‘had good talks’ with Brandon Aiyuk.

Lynch has emphasized that securing Aiyuk’s contract is a top priority for the organization. Recognizing the importance of stability and avoiding distractions that could impact performance, Lynch is keen on settling the contract sooner rather than later. Previous contract negotiations with other players have occasionally dragged on, causing uncertainty and affecting player focus. To avoid a repeat of such scenarios, Lynch is pushing for a swift resolution.

Aiyuk’s participation in voluntary workouts has been minimal, which is not uncommon for players in contract negotiations. However, it does add a layer of urgency to the situation. While voluntary workouts are not mandatory, they are valuable for building team chemistry and ensuring players are in peak physical condition heading into the season. Aiyuk’s limited involvement raises concerns about his readiness and the potential impact on his performance if the contract situation remains unresolved.

Despite the ongoing negotiations, Lynch remains optimistic about Aiyuk’s future with the 49ers. He does not anticipate Aiyuk leaving the team. However, Lynch is also pragmatic, acknowledging that the NFL is a business and if an irresistible offer comes along, it could change the dynamics. The team has to weigh the value of retaining Aiyuk against potential offers from other franchises that might be willing to pay a premium for his talents.

Aiyuk has shown tremendous potential since being drafted by the 49ers in 2020. His speed, agility, and ability to make critical plays have made him a valuable asset to the team’s offense. Last season, he had a breakout year, recording career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. This performance has undoubtedly increased his market value, making the contract negotiations even more pivotal.

Lynch’s goal is to ensure that Aiyuk remains a 49er for the foreseeable future. By prioritizing his contract now, Lynch aims to avoid the pitfalls of protracted negotiations and the performance issues that can arise from them. The 49ers’ leadership is committed to creating a stable environment where players can focus on their performance rather than contract uncertainties. As the team prepares for the upcoming season, resolving Aiyuk’s contract will be a crucial step in maintaining that stability and ensuring that one of their brightest stars remains part of the 49ers’ future.

John Lynch says 49ers 'had good talks' with Brandon Aiyuk.

Brandon Aiyuk, a key wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, has recently hinted at his frustration on social media, causing speculation over his future with the team. This has sparked various reactions from fans, analysts, and team members.

Aiyuk’s contract situation is a significant talking point. Linebacker Fred Warner, a prominent figure in the team, has commented on the matter, emphasizing the substantial financial aspects involved in Aiyuk’s deal. Warner noted that patience is required, likely referring to the complexities and negotiations that accompany high-value contracts in the NFL. This suggests that while Aiyuk’s frustration might be evident, the process of securing a deal that satisfies both parties is intricate and time-consuming.

The 49ers have expressed their appreciation for Aiyuk’s performance and contribution to the team. His skills and consistency on the field make him a valuable asset that the team is keen to retain. The management, including General Manager John Lynch, has indicated a strong desire to extend Aiyuk’s contract. They recognize his importance in their offensive lineup and aim to ensure he remains with the team for the foreseeable future. Lynch’s comments suggest confidence in retaining Aiyuk, despite the challenges that might arise during negotiations.

John Lynch says 49ers 'had good talks' with Brandon Aiyuk.

The upcoming draft is another factor that could influence Aiyuk’s situation. The draft can bring new talent to the team, potentially affecting roster decisions and contract negotiations. However, Lynch does not foresee Aiyuk leaving the 49ers. He believes that the team will navigate through the draft and contract discussions effectively, ultimately keeping Aiyuk as a core part of their offensive strategy.

In summary, while Brandon Aiyuk has expressed frustration on social media, prompting speculation about his future, the San Francisco 49ers value his performance and are hopeful of extending his contract. The financial aspects and complexities of high-value NFL deals require patience, as noted by Fred Warner. John Lynch remains optimistic that Aiyuk will stay with the team, despite the potential influence of the draft on the overall situation. The 49ers appear committed to retaining Aiyuk and navigating the contractual challenges to maintain his presence in their roster.

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Paul Skenes was the talk of MLB All-Star Game, but Jarren Duran stole the show.

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Paul Skenes was the talk of MLB All-Star Game, but Jarren Duran stole the show.

All-Star Game Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Paul Skanes had a big day in Arlington, Texas, but Shohei Ohtani proved again that he is the greatest player in the world at the All-Star Game on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, Boston Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran’s fairytale season added another chapter.

The American League won the All-Star Game 5-3, with Duran making history by becoming the second Boston Red Sox outfielder to win the MVP Award after Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski.

Despite finishing the game without a strikeout in the first inning, Skanes was the one everyone was talking about.

He arrived Sunday with his famous girlfriend, Livvie Duane, and everyone believed the All-Star Game could become a regular visit for him.

It was amazing for Skanes to be playing among the All-Stars he grew up watching. On Monday night he participated in the Home Run Derby with Dodgers pitcher Tyler Glasnow and Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds, and after pitching an inning on Tuesday night, sat on the bench with Atlanta veteran starter Chris Sale and ate dinner in the clubhouse with Glasnow, Hunter Greene (Cincinnati Reds) and Logan Webb (San Francisco Giants).

Paul Skenes was the talk of MLB All-Star Game, but Jarren Duran stole the show.

Paul Skenes was the talk of MLB All-Star Game, but Jarren Duran stole the show.

“I think the best part was that they embraced me with open arms and appreciated my start. It was really cool. I definitely feel like one of them,” Skanes said.

Most players leave after the All-Star Game, but Skanes decided to stay and watch Ohtani hit a 400-foot three-run homer in the third inning.

“I’ve been answering questions about Shohei for the last four or five years at All-Star Games. It’s still hard to describe in words what he’s doing,” All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman said. We always talked about his pitching and hitting, and now he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery for the second time, yet he remains one of the best players in the game.”

Skanes, who gave up a home run to Ohtani last month, was just grateful to be able to team with Ohtani one night and watch someone else do damage.

NL players also praised Skanes, talking about his fast-moving fastball, his splinker pitch, his background of being an Air Force Academy cadet and now his journey to becoming a great rookie pitcher.

“It was great to talk to him. I talked to a lot of pitchers and learned a lot of things,” Webb said.

Skanes’ first pitch was a lazy fly-out. Steve Kwan, who tops the Major Leagues with a .352 batting average, hit an easy fly-out. Next came Gunnar Henderson, who has hit 28 homers with a .286 hitting average, hitting a 50-mph bouncer.

Then came Juan Soto. Soto struggled against Skanes on seven pitches and drew walks on an 84.7-mph curveball and a 100-mph fastball.

“I was trying to hit him deep. Not gonna lie,” Soto said.

Aaron Judge, who leads the Major Leagues with 34 homers, came on the next pitch. Skanes threw a 99.7-mph fastball. Judge hit a routine grounder to third base.

Skanes’ night was over.

Paul Skenes was the talk of MLB All-Star Game, but Jarren Duran stole the show.

Paul Skenes was the talk of MLB All-Star Game, but Jarren Duran stole the show.

“It was pretty good,” Skanes said.

What was the most memorable pitch?

“Probably the first pitch, just the experience of being out there. I don’t think I was there when I was out there, but I was pretty close,” Skanes said. It was very special to be on that

occasion, but the most special thing was that I was able to share it all with my family.”

It was also certainly a memorable night for Jarren Duran, who hit a two-run home run in his first at-bat in the fifth inning. The homer helped him highlight his advocacy for mental health, which had plagued him early in his career. He wore a T-shirt underneath his Red Sox jersey that read “[Expletive] ‘Them’” and held the MVP trophy on his taped wrist with the phrase “Still Alive.”
Now, he has some hardware, too.

“It’s a little hard to put into words, but honestly, all I was thinking about was my family. It’s a surreal moment,” Duran said.

“I mean, All-Star Game, first home run, All-Star Game MVP. I’m so grateful. It’s hard to put into words.”

“I won’t feel it until I try to sleep tonight.”

“Who knows if I’ll be able to sleep tonight.”

Now, he has some hardware, too.

“It’s hard to put it into words, but honestly I’m just thinking about my family. It’s a surreal moment,” Duran said. It’s hard for me to put into words how grateful I am for a home run, an All-Star Game MVP.

“I won’t feel it until I try to sleep tonight.”

“Who knows if I’ll be able to sleep tonight.”

American League starter Corbin Burnes is an All-Star who certainly doesn’t sleep. He spent the last two days with his wife, son and twin daughters. He took a shot and immediately flew back to Phoenix, planning to spend the rest of the All-Star break with his family.

“They’re only two weeks old right now, so it’s been nice to see them. When I last saw them, they were just a few days old. It was hard to recognize them then. Now I’m glad I can recognize them,” Burnes said.

“So, I’ll go back, change some diapers, give the girls bottles and spend as much time with them as I can.”

It would have been easy for Burns to skip the All-Star Game. He didn’t need to be here. Everyone would have understood.

“I couldn’t do that. Every year my wife says, ‘You never know when it’s going to be the last time.’ So, if you get this honor, I feel like you should not only represent Major League Baseball, but also be a part of the team that I belong to.

 

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Aaron Rodgers appears quick to throw in the Jets’ latest offseason workout video.

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Aaron Rodgers appears quick to throw in the Jets' latest offseason workout video.

As Aaron Rodgers prepares for a healthier season with the New York Jets, all eyes are on the veteran quarterback. The latest social media buzz highlights a video of Rodgers looking in top form during an offseason workout at Florham Park, New Jersey. The footage showcases Rodgers dropping back in a light sweatshirt and shorts, effortlessly slinging the ball to wide receiver Garrett Wilson. This video is a promising indication of Rodgers’ recovery, as he demonstrates excellent footwork and pinpoint accuracy in his throws.

Aaron Rodgers appears quick to throw in the Jets' latest offseason workout video.

Aaron Rodgers appears quick to throw in the Jets’ latest offseason workout video.

Rodgers’ 2023 season was cut short by an Achilles injury, a setback that had many questioning his future on the field. However, his determination to bounce back has been evident throughout the offseason. The recent video highlights his progress, suggesting that he is on track for a strong return. The sight of Rodgers moving with ease and delivering sharp passes is a reassuring sign for Jets fans and the NFL community at large.

The connection between Rodgers and Garrett Wilson is also noteworthy. Wilson, a rising star in the Jets’ receiving corps, is expected to play a crucial role in the team’s offense. The chemistry between Rodgers and Wilson could be a game-changer for the Jets, who are looking to improve their offensive performance. The offseason workouts are crucial for building this rapport, and the video shows promising signs of a strong partnership.

Rodgers’ recovery journey has been closely monitored, with fans and analysts alike eager to see how he bounces back from the Achilles injury. The injury, notoriously challenging for athletes, requires meticulous rehabilitation and patience. Rodgers’ commitment to his recovery process is evident, and his progress in the offseason workouts suggests that he is poised for a comeback.

The offseason has been filled with speculation and updates about Rodgers’ condition, with each piece of news being dissected by the media. This latest video provides a concrete update, showing that Rodgers is not only recovering but thriving. His footwork, agility, and throwing accuracy indicate that he is regaining his form and confidence on the field.

Aaron Rodgers appears quick to throw in the Jets' latest offseason workout video.

As the new season approaches, the Jets and their fans have much to look forward to. Rodgers’ recovery and the developing chemistry with his teammates, particularly Garrett Wilson, are positive signs. The upcoming season holds promise, and the anticipation is building. Rodgers’ return to the field could be a defining moment for the Jets, and the latest video is a testament to his progress and potential impact. The focus now shifts to how Rodgers will perform in the season, with expectations high for a successful comeback.

In a recent social media video posted by the New York Jets, Aaron Rodgers appeared in great form, showcasing his confidence and athleticism as he aims for a healthier season following his Achilles injury in 2023. The video, which highlights the team’s offseason activities, captures Rodgers engaging in various drills and workouts, signaling his readiness and determination to make a strong comeback.

One of the standout moments in the video features Rodgers throwing a precise pass to his favorite wide receiver, Garrett Wilson. The chemistry between Rodgers and Wilson is evident, with Wilson catching the dart effortlessly. This connection is crucial for the Jets as they build their offensive strategy around Rodgers’ renowned passing abilities and Wilson’s exceptional receiving skills. The pass, delivered with pinpoint accuracy, underscores Rodgers’ recovery progress and his unwavering focus on regaining top form.

Throughout the video, Rodgers is seen performing handoffs and displaying excellent footwork, further emphasizing his mobility and agility post-injury. These drills are vital for a quarterback, as they reflect his ability to maneuver within the pocket and execute plays efficiently. Rodgers’ movements were fluid and decisive, indicating that his recovery is on track and that he is ready to lead the Jets’ offense with confidence.

The video serves not only as a testament to Rodgers’ physical recovery but also to his mental resilience. Overcoming an Achilles injury is no small feat, especially for a quarterback of Rodgers’ caliber, who relies heavily on his lower body for stability and power. His presence in the offseason workouts, actively participating and pushing himself, sends a strong message to his teammates and fans that he is committed to the team’s success.

Aaron Rodgers appears quick to throw in the Jets' latest offseason workout video.

Rodgers’ involvement in the offseason activities also highlights his leadership role within the team. By setting an example through his dedication and hard work, he inspires his teammates to elevate their performance and embrace the challenges of the upcoming season. His experience and expertise are invaluable assets to the Jets, and his visible determination to return stronger than ever boosts the team’s morale.

As the Jets prepare for the new season, the sight of Rodgers in good form is a promising sign. His ability to connect with Wilson, coupled with his impressive footwork and precise throws, suggests that he is ready to make a significant impact. Fans and analysts alike will be watching closely, eager to see how Rodgers’ return will influence the Jets’ performance and drive their quest for success. With Rodgers at the helm, the Jets are poised for an exciting season ahead.

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