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Cavaliers a ‘team to watch’ in potential Ben Simmons trade with 76ers, per report

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The Philadelphia 76ers are still searching for a new home for disgruntled All-Star forward Ben Simmons, and their efforts on that front will likely increase as February’s trade deadline draws closer. Several teams have expressed interest, but the Sixers continue to hold an extremely high asking price for Simmons, who finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season. 

One team to keep an eye on as trade talks intensify is the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Cavs have a young core that Simmons would fit well with, and for that reason, they could look to make a deal. Here’s what Wojnarowski had to say about the situation during a recent appearance on NBA Countdown: 

Ben Simmons in Philadelphia, I think you’ll start to see the 76ers re-engage teams. Certainly he is no closer to agreeing to come back to play with the Sixers this season, and they don’t have any real traction on a trade yet… But here’s an interesting team to watch: the Cleveland Cavaliers, who before they went on this really incredible start to the season, had been engaged with Philly on Simmons. They’ve got some really intriguing assets, either in a straight deal or perhaps a three- or four-team deal. It was reported earlier J.B. Bickerstaff agreed to a new extension today through 2026-27. This is a team in Cleveland that’s just a game out of third place.

Philly’s a team right now, in that bunched up East, who could be out of the play-in with a couple of losses, the way it’s bunched up. So expect Philly to start talking more with teams as we get closer to that Feb. 10 deadline, and it will be interesting to see if Cleveland re-engages as a team that I think’s built for long-term success with all their young players. Ben Simmons is only 25 years old; he does fit into the timeline of that team.

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It remains to be seen if the Cavs can put together an offer that the Sixers would find intriguing enough to move on from the former top overall pick, but if not they could always look to get a third — or fourth —  team involved, as Wojnarowski suggested. In fact, it seems somewhat unlikely that the Cavs would be able to put together an attractive-enough deal without getting another team involved. 

Collin Sexton is a player who has been mentioned as an attractive asset in a return for Simmons, but he’s sidelined for the remainder of the season after knee surgery, so he won’t be able to help the Sixers in the short team. Plus, given how well they’ve played this season, it seems unlikely that the Cavs would be willing to trade either Darius Garland or Evan Mobley, and outside of them, there’s no one on Cleveland’s roster that would really move the needle for Philadelphia. So, if Cleveland’s interest in Simmons is genuine, they should start pondering some potential multi-team trades. 

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Several NBA Analysts Share A Bold Clippers Prediction

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(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

 

Going into the 2022-23 NBA season, the Los Angeles Clippers have plenty of reason for hope.

Coming off a dismal season during which they fell apart in the play-in tournament versus the New Orleans Pelicans, they’re expected to get superstar Kawhi Leonard and key scoring guard Norman Powell back from injury.

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As usual these days, they are expected to be in the running for a spot in the NBA Finals next summer.

As was the case three years ago when Leonard and Paul George first teamed up, some prominent members of the media are starting to drool all over the Clippers.

Tim Bontemps of ESPN said they’re “clearly the best team in the West,” while his colleague Bobby Marks piggybacked on his comment and said the Clippers are going to win 60 games.

The Clippers are certainly a force and could win it all, but let’s not get carried away.

In fact, more than any other title contender outside of the Brooklyn Nets, they have some real question marks.

 

Health

Leonard is coming off a partially torn ACL in his right knee, which is the type of injury that can rob an athlete of some of his viability.

Prior to the injury, which he sustained during the 2021 playoffs, he wasn’t exactly a picture of good health to begin with.

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Leonard missed 22 games in the 2018-19 season, 15 the year after and 20 in the 2020-21 campaign due to “load management” for multiple ailments, including what is believed to be quad tendinopathy.

During the 2019 playoffs, many commented that by the NBA Finals, it looked like he was playing on one good leg, due to what was believed to be a related tendon ailment.

Leonard has had such issues going back five years, and it drove a wedge between him and the management of the San Antonio Spurs during the 2017-18 season, which led to him being traded to the Toronto Raptors at the end of the year.

At age 31, Leonard seems to have more wear and tear than most NBA stars his age, and how good he will be this coming season is a fair question to ask.

How he will hold up through a long NBA season is another fair question to ask.

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In addition, George has also been injury-prone, as he has appeared in only 133 of a possible 226 contests during his three seasons in L.A.

 

The Clippers Have A Sizable Hole In Their Roster

Throughout the Leonard-George era, the Clippers have lacked a top-flight point guard who can dictate the tempo, set up his teammates and be a legitimate scoring threat.

After getting bought out by the Houston Rockets, John Wall signed with the Clippers, leading their fans to declare that they have their own version of a superteam.

In reality, Wall isn’t who he used to be when he made five straight All-Star teams not too long ago.

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Following a torn Achilles, he shot just 40.4 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from 3-point range in the 2020-21 season, and he didn’t play at all this past season after wanting out.

Such an injury all but ends the viability of most basketball players, and it seems unlikely Wall will regain anything close to his old form.

If he doesn’t, teams can sag off him defensively and watch him throw up brick after brick.

Without that top-flight point guard, the Clippers, more likely than not, will suffer another heart-wrenching playoff loss sometime in May or June of 2023.

The post Several NBA Analysts Share A Bold Clippers Prediction appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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Falcons vs. Lions odds, spread, line: 2022 NFL preseason Week 1 picks, predictions from expert on 45-26 run

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Second-year head coaches Dan Campbell and Arthur Smith will kick off their 2022 campaigns when the Atlanta Falcons head to Ford Field and face the Detroit Lions in the 2022 NFL preseason opener for both teams on Friday. Detroit is hoping this season will be different after finishing last in the NFC North and going 3-13-1. Marcus Mariota will be the new starting quarterback under center and will make his debut for the Falcons.

Kickoff from Ford Field in Detroit is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET. Atlanta is a 1-point favorite in the latest Falcons vs. Lions odds at Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is 35. Before locking in any Lions vs. Falcons picks or 2022 NFL preseason predictions, make sure you check out what SportsLine NFL expert R.J. White has to say.

Over the past seven years, White, a CBS Sports fantasy and gambling editor, has gone 329-250-21 in the world’s most prestigious football handicapping competition, the Las Vegas SuperContest. He also is SportsLine’s No. 1 NFL expert, going 445-378-24 on his against-the-spread NFL picks from 2017-21, returning $2,542 to $100 players.

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In addition, White has gone 45-26-2 on his last 73 picks involving the Lions, returning $1,580. Anyone who has followed him is way up.

Now, White has zoned in on Falcons vs. Lions and just locked in his NFL picks and predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see his picks and analysis. Here are the NFL odds and betting lines for Lions vs. Falcons

  • Falcons vs. Lions spread: Falcons -1
  • Falcons vs. Lions over-under: 35 points
  • Falcons vs. Lions money line: Atlanta -115, Detroit -105
  • ATL: Falcons are 5-2-1 against the spread in their last eight road games
  • DET: Lions have covered in four straight home games
  • Falcons vs. Lions picks: See picks here

Featured Game | Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons

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Why the Falcons can cover

Atlanta will have a few new quarterbacks on the field for the first time in 14 years after it traded Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts in March. Mariota is expected to play series or two to gain rhythm and continuity with his new teammates. His versatility provides Atlanta’s offense with a new dynamic.

Rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder will be making his first appearance for the Falcons after being selected in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Ridder plays with confidence and solid command and will look to make a good first impression. He’s played well in training camp thus far and should make plays against the basic coverages he will see.

Why the Lions can cover 

Despite finishing with a 3-13-1 record last season, the Lions showed plenty of effort. Campbell seems to have won over the locker room as he tries to change the culture in Detroit. Campbell said starters will play around a quarter before they are pulled.

Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, is making his debut as a Lion. Hutchinson is an explosive athlete who has an amazing bend off the edge. Backup quarterback Tim Boyle is expected to see plenty of the snaps in this matchup. Boyle knows the system and should be able to move the ball. He tossed 562 yards with three passing touchdowns last year.

How to make Lions vs. Falcons picks

White has analyzed this matchup and he’s leaning Under on the point total. He has also discovered a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. He’s only sharing what it is, and which side to back, at SportsLine.

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Who wins Falcons vs. Lions on Friday? And which critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see R.J. White’s Falcons vs. Lions picks, all from the NFL expert who’s 45-26-2 on his last 73 picks involving Detroit, and find out.



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The Ravens Are Trying To Continue A Shocking Preseason Streak

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(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

 

The Baltimore Ravens hope to rise from an injury-laden 2021 season.

But though they lost several key players to injuries, they still had a chance to enter the playoffs with an 8-3 record by Week 12.

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Unfortunately, quarterback Lamar Jackson suffered an ankle injury that abruptly ended his campaign.

Since then, the Ravens lost all their remaining matches to miss the postseason at 8-9.

This year, Jackson and the Ravens hope to bury their struggles from last season by potentially getting their full roster back.

Yet before they compete in the games that reflect in the standings, they have to continue their great preseason tradition.

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley tweeted, “As Baltimore opens the preseason tonight, the Ravens have won 20 straight preseason games, eclipsing the Vince Lombardi-coached Packers, who won 19 in a row from 1959 to 1962.”

The Ravens will face the Tennessee Titans in an all-AFC showdown.

To put their record in perspective, Baltimore won their three preseason games last season.

They chalked up four wins in 2019, five in 2018, and four each in 2017 and 2016.

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Preseason games for 2020 were canceled due to the COVID-19 virus.

Their last defeat came in Week 4 of the 2015 preseason wherein the Atlanta Falcons edged them, 20-19.

They also lost to the Philadelphia Eagles and the then-Washington Redskins in that preseason.

 

Hoping To Win The Real Games

Of course, the Ravens would like to score more wins during the regular season and the playoffs.

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They could not care less about ending their preseason streak if they will gain more victories in the real competition.

Baltimore has the chance to collect more wins with Jackson returning.

The Ravens will also need solid production from Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman on offense.

Calais Campbell, Tyus Bowser, Marcus Peters, Odafe Oweh, and Marlon Humphrey will be their stalwarts on defense.

The post The Ravens Are Trying To Continue A Shocking Preseason Streak appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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