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NBA COVID fallout: Lance Stephenson (Pacers), Mario Chalmers (Heat), among players signing 10-day contracts

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With the omicron variant spreading at shocking speed, the NBA and the players union have agreed to new rules aimed at helping teams field fuller rosters and helping the league avoid postponements. Teams are permitted to sign one replacement player for each player who tests positive for COVID-19, and teams are required to sign at least one replacement player if two test positive, at least two replacement players if three test positive and at least three if four or more test positive, per ESPN. (For a game to be played, both teams must have eight available players.)

The new rules, which will be in effect until Jan. 19, stipulate that replacement players’ salaries will not count toward the salary cap or luxury tax. When a team has multiple COVID cases on its roster and must sign a replacement, the player must be available by the beginning of its next game.

More than 100 players have signed 10-day contracts, thanks to this new hardship allowance. Isaiah Thomas made his Dallas Mavericks debut last Wednesday, after a short stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, but entered health and safety protocols the next day. Lance Stephenson, briefly Thomas’ teammate with the Grand Rapids Gold, is once again a member of the Indiana Pacers after spending 10 days with the Atlanta Hawks.

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Another unlikely reunion: Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat. The two-time champion has taken his talents back to South Beach after globetrotting from Italy to Greece to Puerto Rico. Chalmers, who last appeared in an NBA game in 2018 with the Memphis Grizzlies, was called up from — you guessed it! — Grand Rapids. 

If you’re having trouble keeping track of who has gone where, here is a team-by-team list of players who are on 10-day contracts, along with the date they signed (or, in some cases, the day the signing was reported):

Atlanta Hawks

  • Chris Clemons (Dec. 29)
  • Cam Oliver (Dec. 29)
  • Justin Tillman (Dec. 28)
  • Chaundee Brown Jr. (Dec. 27)
  • Cat Barber (Dec. 25)
  • Malik Ellison (Dec. 25)

Boston Celtics

  • Al-Farouq Aminu (Dec. 25)
  • Norvel Pelle (Dec. 25)

Brooklyn Nets

  • Shaquille Harrison (Dec. 29; second 10-day)
  • Langston Galloway (Dec. 26; second 10-day)

Chicago Bulls

  • Mac McClung (Jan 1; second 10-day)
  • Jordan Bell (Dec. 30)

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Brandon Goodwin (Dec. 31)
  • Malik Newman (Dec. 29)

Dallas Mavericks

  • Marquese Chriss (Dec. 31; second 10-day)
  • Theo Pinson (Dec. 31; second 10-day)
  • Isaiah Thomas (Dec. 29)

Denver Nuggets

  • Carlik Jones (Jan. 1)
  • Rayjon Tucker (Dec. 31)
  • Davon Reed (Dec. 30; third 10-day)

Detroit Pistons

  • Jaysean Paige (Dec. 31)
  • Micah Potter (Dec. 29)
  • Trayvon Palmer (Dec. 28)
  • Justin Robinson (Dec. 28)
  • Deividas Sirvydis (Dec. 26)
  • Derrick Walton (Dec. 25)
  • Cassius Stanley (Dec. 25)  

Houston Rockets

Indiana Pacers

  • Justin Anderson (Jan. 1)
  • Lance Stephenson (Jan. 1)
  • Ahmad Caver (Dec. 31)
  • Nate Hinton (Dec. 30)

Los Angeles Clippers

  • Wenyen Gabriel (Dec. 31)
  • Xavier Moon (Dec. 26)

Memphis Grizzlies

  • DaQuan Jeffries (Jan. 1)
  • Dakota Mathias (Dec. 30)
  • Xavier Sneed (Dec. 27)
  • Shaq Buchanon (Dec. 25)

Miami Heat

  • Mario Chalmers (Dec. 31)
  • Chris Silva (Dec. 31) 
  • Nik Stauskas (Dec. 31)
  • Kyle Guy (Dec. 30)
  • Haywood Highsmith (Dec. 30)
  • Aric Holman (Dec. 30)

Milwaukee Bucks

Minnesota Timberwolves

New Orleans Pelicans

  • Feron Hunt (Dec. 28)
  • Justin James (Dec. 26)

New York Knicks

  • Ryan Arcidiacono (Jan. 3)
  • Damyean Dotson (Dec. 31; second 10-day)
  • Matt Mooney (Dec. 31; second 10-day)

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Jaylen Hoard (Dec. 29)
  • Rob Edwards (Dec. 27)
  • Scotty Hopson (Dec. 27)
  • Olivier Sarr (Dec. 27)

Orlando Magic

  • Tim Frazier (Dec. 31; second 10-day)
  • Freddie Gillespie (Dec. 31; second 10-day)
  • Admiral Schofield (Dec. 27; second 10-day)
  • Hassani Gravett (Dec. 27; second 10-day)

Philadelphia 76ers

Phoenix Suns

  • Bismack Biyombo (Jan. 1)
  • Paris Bass (Dec. 31)
  • MJ Walker (Dec. 30)
  • Emanuel Terry (Dec. 27)

Portland Trail Blazers

  • Reggie Perry (Dec. 28)
  • Jarron Cumberland (Dec. 26)
  • Cameron McGriff (Dec. 26)  
  • Brandon Williams (Dec. 26)  

San Antonio Spurs

Washington Wizards

  • Tremont Waters (Jan. 1)
  • Jaime Echenique (Dec. 30)
  • Brad Wanamaker (Dec. 29)
  • Alize Johnson (Dec. 28)
  • Craig Sword (Dec. 28)
  • Jordan Goodwin (Dec. 27)



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Patriots’ Mac Jones made his preseason debut against the Panthers. Here’s how it went.

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The last time New England quarterback Mac Jones took the field for a game, the Patriots lost, 47-17, against the Buffalo Bills in the 2021 AFC wild card round. On Friday night, Jones got to see some playing time under the lights, as he started in the home game against the Carolina Panthers

Jones did not play in the team’s preseason premiere against the New York Giants, but he got his chance to kick off his sophomore year during Week 2 of the preseason.

From warmups to the team entrance, Jones was fired up to be in front of the Gillette Stadium crowd, and the home fans reciprocated the love.

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The Patriots offense got off to a slow start, going three-and-out on its first and second offensive drives. Its third drive was a different story, going 10 plays for a touchdown.

The highlight of the series was a beautiful 45-yard completion from Jones to receiver Nelson Agholor that set them up well for the eventual score. 

Jones, who changed his offseason workout routine and has been open about his diet, showed off his athletic ability by rushing in the red zone for seven yards. Then, a two-yard run from Ty Montgomery put the Patriots on the board to give them the lead. Jones was done for the night after that, finishing 4-for-8 for 61 yards.

The second season for a highly drafted quarterback, especially one who starts in his first year, is an integral one, and while Jones’ preseason debut was nothing crazy, he was able to shake the rust off.

Heading into a season where he knows the coaching staff and is familiar with the offense, Jones should improve from his rookie year. Training camp was not too impressive for the offense, which has no official coordinator and instead will be led by a combination of Joe Judge and Matt Patricia, two coaches with not much offensive experience.

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However, the connection between Jones and Agholor is what concerned fans can look at for hope as the preseason soon comes to a close.



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Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns finally clash on SmackDown! | WWE on FOX

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Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns finally stepped into the ring face-to-face, leaving The Universal Champion on the ground without his titles. 



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‘It’s everything’: Johnson leads Canada through semifinal for chance at gold – Sportsnet.ca

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EDMONTON — After an undefeated run through their first six tests at the 2022 World Junior Championship, Canada will meet its biggest on Saturday night, under the lights at Rogers Place. The red and white are going for gold.

“It’s everything,” Canadian standout Logan Stankoven said of the opportunity awaiting them, a wide grin spread across his face after his side took down Czechia 5-2 on Friday to advance. “There’s no place I’d rather be than playing for the gold tomorrow, on our home soil, in front of the fans.”

For the second straight game, it was Stankoven and his linemates who played a lead role in guiding Canada to the win column, he and wingers Kent Johnson and Tyler Foerster keeping their crown as the team’s most dominant line heading into the tournament’s finale.

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After Stankoven took his turn at a dominant performance to clinch Wednesday’s quarterfinal, Friday’s tilt was Johnson’s time to show the world what he can do.

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The Columbus Blue Jackets prospect was certainly due for a big night. Entering this semifinal with the most shots of any skater in the tournament, and only one goal to show for it — albeit a spectacular one that saw him pull off The Michigan — Johnson finally saw the floodgates creak open a little bit more on Friday.

It started as it has for his line the past few games — a dominant shift in the offensive zone in which he, Stankoven and Foerster whirled around the opposing defenders looking for the right moment to strike. Eventually, it came on the heels of a Stankoven-to-Foerster look, the chance leading to a rebound that found Johnson in the slot. After pouring on shot after shot every game for the past two weeks, the 19-year-old made no mistake.

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But it was as a setup man in the second period that Johnson truly flexed his offensive muscle. Ten minutes into the frame, he was dancing along the wall and drawing defenders towards him before flipping a beautiful backhand over to a streaking Stankoven, who put it away. Five minutes later, he was loading up a slapper at the top of the point on the power play, only to fake out the Czech defenders and instead dish it softly to a waiting Mason McTavish, who wired home the signature one-timer he’s burned many a goalie with during this tournament.

“It’s just incredible some of the passes he makes,” Stankoven said of Johnson post-game. “The things he does are crazy, and it just goes to show how great of a player he is. He’s pretty nifty.”

Added Connor Bedard, who added to Canada’s goal tally with a gorgeous snipe of his own in the first period: “He’s probably the smoothest player I’ve ever seen, just the way he can find seams and look guys off.”

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Key to Johnson’s standout performance over the course of the tournament has been the two players he’s been able to hop over the boards with, too. While the rest of Canada’s lineup has seemed in constant flux, with head coach Dave Cameron shuffling his lines in search of the right combination of skill-sets — even splitting up Bedard and McTavish for Friday’s semifinal — the trio of Johnson, Stankoven and Foerster has been a no-doubter game in and game out.

“I think [it’s] just our compete level, and being able to create chances off the forecheck,” Stankoven said of why his line has been able to emerge as the squad’s best. “I thought at the beginning of the tournament there wasn’t as much of that, but as the tournament’s gone on we’ve found our chemistry and know where each other are, so it’s been great.”

Even with the sterling night from the trio, putting away Czechia — who entered Friday’s game fresh off upsetting the similarly-undefeated Americans — was no easy assignment. Things got particularly dicey in the second period, as the Czechs picked up steam and started making a strong push, peppering Dylan Garand from all angles.

The netminder stayed calm and composed, looking as unflappable as he has each time he’s been in the cage over these past two weeks, holding the Czechs at bay.

In the third, though, Czechia finally made things interesting, sniping twice in a two-minute span to cut the host’s lead in half, before Joshua Roy tucked home Canada’s fifth to put his team’s minds at ease.

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“They’re a good team and they didn’t get away from their game at all. They pushed back, and they wanted to climb their way back into the game,” Stankoven said of that late chaos. “Obviously when they made it 4-2, we realized, ‘Hey, we’ve got to shut this thing down and make sure that we play well enough defensively.’ And that fifth goal sealed the game.”

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With Czechia dispatched, the page now turns to Saturday night, where months of preparation and weeks of toil out on the Rogers Place ice will culminate in one 60-minute chance at history.

“We’re going for the gold. That’s what we come for,” coach Cameron said of the task at hand. “It’s not going to be easy. I mean, the last couple of games showed the nitty gritty of it — it’s a grind. So, we’re excited about the challenge, but we also realize it’s going to be a battle.”

If there’s any solace to be taken, it’s that the red and white will march into the tournament’s finale with some experience under their belt, a number of this 2022 group’s leaders having claimed gold at last year’s U18 Championship in Texas.

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Bedard, Stankoven, and Brennan Othmann all put up goals in the gold-medal game during that championship run. That education is crucial, Cameron explained, because there’s simply no other way to get it.

“One of the things you can’t practice is pressure,” the coach said. “You can talk about it all you want, but the pressure of the game, the pressure of a shootout, and all that — you can practice it until hell freezes over, but you can’t duplicate that pressure.”

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On Saturday night, Canada will find out just how battle-tested they are, just how much they’ve learned on the paths that led them to this moment. For McTavish, the team’s captain, who’s dominated this tournament to the tune of eight goals and 15 points through six games, that final battle for gold can’t come soon enough.

“It’s something special,” he said Friday at Rogers Place, a maple leaf-adorned hat pulled low over his curls. “You know, it’s why you play the game. Every kid dreams about the gold-medal game.

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“Hopefully we can take advantage of the opportunity.”

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