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Should The Sixers Call About Zach LaVine?

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Although the NBA has still not decided on what to do with the rest of this season does not mean it’s too early to look into the offseason. Whether this Sixers’ core gets the chance to show what they can do in the postseason or not, the roster could use some tweaking. 

The Al Horford experiment did not pan out the way that the team had hoped, so finding a suitable trade partner for him and his large contract should be at the top of the offseason to-do list. 

One name that has been thrown around for the Sixers to target is Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield, but I would like to throw another name out there. That is Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine. 

The Bulls have not been able to break out of the bottom tier of the NBA and could potentially look to move on from their star. Chicago has only won 22 games each of the last two seasons and might be looking to move forward and build around young point guard Colby White, who showed a lot of promise leading up to the suspension of the season.

LaVine had a career year with the Bulls this season and was arguably a snub for the All-Star game. He averaged 25.5 PPG (career-high), 4.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, and 1.5 SPG. On top of that, he also shot 38% from deep on a career-high 8.1 attempts a game. 

His fit on the Sixers would be almost seamless. LaVine is the kind of player that compliments both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, and at 6’6 he fits the big defensive identity that this team is looking to build. 

Pairing Zach LaVine with Ben Simmons is something that puts fans in seats. The two would easily be the most athletic backcourt in the NBA, along with one of the best defensive ones as the two combined for close to four steals a game this season. Seeing Simmons and LaVine throw down together in the open court would be an awesome sight to see. 

LaVine is also the perfect kind of guard to put around Joel Embiid. He is a guy that could catch and shoot when defenses collapse on Embiid in the paint and is a guy that could come off screens around the arc and knock down shots when needed. 

We saw in the past how well the Embiid/Redick dribble hand-off worked for the Sixers in the past. That is a play they could recreate with LaVine who would also have the ability to attack the rim.  

There is a little bit of risk when bringing in LaVine. Although he has recovered nicely from it, there is no forgetting that he is just three years removed from tearing his ACL as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The injury has not seemed to affect him much since returning but a scary injury like that is something that will always loom over a player.  

Some external things that also make LaVine a good fit for the Sixers is his age and his contract. He is signed through the 2021-2022 season so he would be around while this team feels its championship window is open. Not to mention at 25 years old that LaVine is in the perfect age gap with Embiid, Simmons, and Tobias Harris. 

The final reason why the Sixers should call about the young star, LaVine indirectly brought up wanting to play with a team like the Sixers earlier this year. 

 

During All-Star weekend LaVine was a guest on ESPN’s First Take as the representative of the hosting city Chicago. They started off talking about LaVine’s past dunk contest performances and his decision to compete in the three point contest this year, then things got interesting. 

Max Kellerman went on to ask LaVine about what players he would want to play with and then what kind of players he wants to play with. He then went on to drop two interesting quotes. 

LaVine went on to say that he wants to play with a “point guard you can get up and down the floor and pass the ball” and then went on to say “playing with a dominant big man is great too.” 

Based on those quotes it seems like LaVine would love the idea of playing in Philadelphia. He basically came out and said that he wants to play with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. 

Trading for a guy like Zach LaVine is going to be no small task. Chicago is going to have a steep price for their star player. But making the call to see what it would take to add a guy like him could completely shift the direction of the franchise for the foreseeable future. 

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NHL Issues Update on Pause

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Since the NHL went on pause, joining the other major sports leagues is halting play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of speculation regarding if, when and how the league would resume play.

Last week, one scenario was shot down. There had been reports that the NHL was exploring neutral sites like North Dakota, New Hampshire and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where teams would be able to report and remain in isolation. The NHL and NHLPA later confirmed that the idea never made it off the drawing board. Instead, the league’s focus has been to find 4-5 neutral locations within the NHL where teams from specific divisions or other new alignments based on what works best would be able to report and play out the regular season and playoffs. Commissioner Gary Bettman said the reason NHL arenas are needed is because of the “back of house” area that they provide, meaning more locker rooms and facilities for teams that meet the standards of the NHL that smaller venues just can’t accomplish.

Wednesday evening brought the latest update from the NHL and NHLPA regarding the possibility of a return to play. The update states:

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Corey Clement Returns To Eagles On One-Year Deal

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Eagles GM Howie Foreman said after the draft that the team was planning to remain active in an attempt to approve the team.

Standing with that statement, the team announced a move Wednesday they hope will be a boost to the team - the re-signing of running back Corey Clement.

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Alain Vigneault on Flyers: ‘The Goal Hasn’t Changed’

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

In the now seven weeks since the NHL and other major sports leagues put play on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the few members of the Flyers we have not heard from yet has been head coach Alain Vigneault

Vigneault has arguably been the greatest addition to the Flyers this season. In his first season as head coach, the Flyers were not only carving out a path to the playoffs and starting to secure their spot at the time of the pause, but making a push to take over the Metropolitan Division lead, something that certainly wasn’t on the radar of expectations at the start of the season. 

From the beginning, Vigneault had set the goal that the Flyers would at the very least be one of the 16 teams that has a chance to win the Stanley Cup and qualify for the playoffs. While the dynamic of the playoffs may change, Vigneault says that the goals remain in place.

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Report: Baseball Could Resume in a Three-League Season

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The good news in Philadelphia and New Jersey is that new cases of Coronavirus appear to be leveling off, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. As good news increases, the likelihood of Major League Baseball also increases.  We have heard about a season being played in Arizona, in Arizona and Florida, and maybe with Texas thrown into the mix.  But a new plan being discussed could include teams playing in their own ballparks...and another realignment.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that baseball could return in late June or early July:

Major League Baseball officials have become cautiously optimistic this week that the season will start in late June, and no later than July 2, playing at least 100 regular-season games, according to three executives with knowledge of the talks. They requested anonymity because the plan is still under consideration.

And not only would baseball be played, but it would be played in their own major-league ballparks, albeit with no fans.

To make that work: baseball would be temporarily realigned.

According to the plan, Nightengale reports, there would be three leagues:  The East, Central, and West.

The East could include the Phillies, New York Yankees and Mets, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins

The West could include the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners

The Central could Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers

The idea is that less travel would keep the players safer.  The teams would play in front of no fans, unless circumstances eventually allow for fans.  Then, at the conclusion of the season, they would have teams advance to the playoffs, in a format yet to be determined.

The 2020 Major League Baseball season will not look like a typical season.  But if there is baseball, that is something that could help people get through the summer with some sense of normalcy, at a time very interrupted.  Optimism continues that there will be something.


Carson Wentz and Wife Madison Welcome First Child

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

For the past four days, Eagles fans spent plenty of time critiquing the team for taking a quarterback in round two.

Many, including Donovan McNabb, have claimed to know how Carson Wentz felt about the news.

Surely, the situation is not among the things he is concerned about right now as he and his wife, Madison Oberg, had their first child on Monday night.

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Oskar Lindblom to Undergo Final Cancer Treatments

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It has been just over four months since the Flyers released the news that forward Oskar Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma and would be in a battle to beat cancer. The news sparked the #OskarStrong movement with t-shirts, signs and the constant reminder that Lindblom was still as much of a part of the team as ever and on the minds of every player, coach and member of the organization.

Tuesday brought some good news regarding Lindblom. Throughout this journey since mid-December, Lindblom has been undergoing treatments at University of Pennsylvania and every update to this point has been a positive one. Tuesday’s update was the best one anyone could hope for.

According to Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lindblom will undergo his final treatments very soon. Assistant GM Brent Flahr updated Lindblom’s status:

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Series in Review: Flyers-Bruins 1974

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

From humble beginnings of bringing hockey to the city of Philadelphia in 1967 to educating fans on the excitement and passion that the sport evokes, the Flyers were certainly forming quite the following when the spring of 1974 arrived. The team was in their seventh season in the NHL, and had started to emerge as one of the strongest contenders from the expansion class of 1967. That said, there were plenty of Original Six powerhouses in their way of achieving the ultimate goal.

After sweeping the Atlanta Flames in the quarterfinals, the Flyers outlasted the New York Rangers in the semi-finals in a seven-game series that went back and forth between the two teams with the Flyers barely getting the Game 7 win in a 4-3 final.

That set up a matchup against Bobby Orr and the Big Bad Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins had won the Stanley Cup in 1970 and again in 1972 and were going to be a mighty task for the Flyers, especially given the Flyers lack of success in Boston, where the series opened.

But the Flyers finally got the monkey off their back in Boston in Game 2 and took care of business in the Spectrum to claim their first Stanley Cup in franchise history and become the first expansion team to hoist the Cup.

Here is a look back at the 1974 Stanley Cup Final between the Flyers and Bruins.

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Eagles Acquire International Defensive End

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Eagles added Khalil Tate on Sunday night, bringing the Eagles roster to 90.

That didn't stop the Birds from adding to their roster, however.

The team announced on Monday that they had acquired defensive end Matt Leo through the International Player Pathway Program.

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Eagles To Exercise Fifth-Year Option On Derek Barnett's Contract

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

In a bit of a housekeeping move, the Eagles are exercised the fifth-year option on defensive end Derek Barnett's rookie contract, per Philly Voice's Jimmy Kempski.

The move would keep the young defensive end with Philadelphia through the 2021 season.

In his first three seasons with the Eagles, Barnett has dealt with some injuries and has yet to have the huge stat line that many thought he would.

Across 35 games, the end has totaled 14 sacks, 67 tackles, 49 QB hits, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Of course, he also added a forced fumble and sack in the 2017 NFC Championship game and the key fumble recovery in Super Bowl LII.

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