The Latest on Asante Samuel

The Latest on Asante Samuel

After months of speculation, Asante Samuel could be wearing a new uniform in a matter of days.

CSN's Derrick Gunn reports the Eagles are working on a trade that would send the four-time Pro Bowl cornerback to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in 2013. The buzz originated from Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com on Wednesday morning, though Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean writes today that a swap is not imminent.

Whether it is or not, this is just the latest chapter in a story that has but one logical conclusion: Samuel playing football elsewhere in 2012.

Why Are The Eagles Trying to Trade Samuel Again?
The motivation is at least partially financial. Samuel earns $9.4 million this year, $11.4 in '13, and looming somewhere in the background is a new contract request. The organization has even more money tied up in Nnamdi Asomugha, plus Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season.

Fit has also managed to become a hot-button issue. Samuel strongly prefers playing left corner, but Asomugha and DRC are both better on the outside as well, and we all saw the result of moving those two around to accommodate the other. Meanwhile, coaches have indicated they would like their corners to press -- Asante Samuel don't press.

As cliche as it is to say, this situation may be the very definition of addition by subtraction.

Why Not Trade Nnamdi or DRC?
One thing the trade will not be based on is performance. Despite the reduced interception total in 2011 (4), not only was Samuel the best Eagles cornerback -- by some measures, he was one of the best in the league. For the second consecutive season, Samuel ranked at or near the top in several of the measures favored by the advanced metrics sites like Football Outsiders.

He may have a bad rep in Philly for his aversion to tackling, and to a lesser extent, the perception he is a risk taker, but Samuel can still be considered an elite NFL corner. He had seven picks a year ago, nine in 2010.

It's mathematics though. The remainder of Samuel's contract is not guaranteed; plenty of Asomugha's is. Even if the front office would rather bet on Asante, moving Nnamdi's contract is not feasible, particularly after the subpar season he had. As for Rodgers-Cromartie, he's five years younger than Samuel. When you take into account the question of fit, not to mention the disgruntled-player factor, Samuel is the logical odd man out.

Is Anyone Interested?
Funny, as early as a few days ago, some folks were worried Samuel might be difficult to move because his salary is too high. Funny, for instance, because the Cowboys recently signed Brandon Carr to a five-year deal worth the rough equivalent of $10 million per.

Carr is a nice player. He's young, has good size, ability. He also set a career-high with four interceptions last season. Nobody is confusing his contribution through four seasons with what Asante Samuel does for a defense. And it just so happens, if money is an issue, Samuel's camp reportedly are willing to restructure. Of course, that should not come as so much of a surprise -- restructuring likely means more years.

Of course teams have interest. According to the Inq's Jeff McLane, the Eagles very nearly had a deal with the Detroit Lions last summer. Not much has changed in eight months.

What Is He Worth?
The report states the Titans would send a conditional third-round pick, which sounds about right. Samuel's play probably warrants a bit more, maybe a second, or an additional pick, but his contract and age (31) hurt his value.

McLane's previous report stated last summer's failed trade with the Lions would have sent Samuel to Detroit for two second-day draft picks, but the deal fell apart for "reasons other than draft compensation."

The DeMeco Ryans trade is actually a pretty close template for what to expect. The Eagles sent a fourth-round pick and exchanged thirds for Ryans, a two-time Pro Bowler with a sizable contract. Ryans's value is probably slightly less due to his coming off a serious injury and the position he plays, but similarly, opposing general managers know the Birds need to move Samuel, and that before the draft will be the best time to do it.

Will He Be Missed?
I, for one, always liked what Asante Samuel brings to the table. He's great at what he does, which is daring quarterbacks to throw to his side of the field, then making them pay for their sin. He's also better than advertised in the locker room, and rarely gets beat for big plays.

Yet there is no doubt he's become a distraction while being publicly critical of the front office, and the issue of finding a place for all three of their Pro-Bowl corners to play is not going away. Samuel can still bring it, maybe better than Asomugha or Rodgers-Comartie, but it's not that simple.

Unless Nnamdi returns to shutdown form in 2012, or DRC can replace the high volume of interceptions, the Eagles won't be able to exactly replicate having Samuel on the field. So, yes, they will miss having one of the best corners in the game from that respect. However, those guys are still good in their own right, and the Birds have young players who deserve their shot. Sure they'll miss Asante, but the team is dead set on moving on, with good reason.

Report: Sixers in California for NBA draft workouts

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Report: Sixers in California for NBA draft workouts

As the Western Conference Finals are taking place in Oakland, the Sixers are looking for new talent of their own in California.

This week, members of the Sixers' front office are attending pre-draft workouts organized through multiple agencies, including BDA Sports Management, CAA Sports, Landmark Sports Agency, Octagon and Wasserman Media Group.

While the Sixers hold the No. 1 pick, these workouts are opportunities for them to evaluate players that could be fits for their 24th and 26th selections.

On Thursday, the list of workout participants included projected first-rounders Deyonta Davis (Michigan State) and Cheik Diallo (Kansas), according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

The scouting process takes NBA teams coast to coast. Earlier this week, the Sixers reportedly attended a private workout with Excel Sports Management in New York City, in which Brandon Ingram and Jamal Murray participated.

The Sixers have held two workouts at their own practice facility, bringing in a total of 12 prospects thus far.

As the draft nears, 57 early-entry candidates withdrew their names from the 2016 draft.

NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors fight off elimination

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NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors fight off elimination

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND, Calif. -- "We ain't going home! We're not going home!" Stephen Curry screamed at the top of his lungs.

No, his Golden State Warriors are going back to Oklahoma City, after keeping their title reign and the winningest season in NBA history alive for at least one more game.

Curry scored 31 points, raising his arms in the early moments to fire up Golden State's raucous crowd, and the defending champions staved off elimination with a 120-111 victory over the Thunder on Thursday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

"We just did what we're supposed to do. We're supposed to win at home," Curry said. "We know what we still have to do going forward. ... We knew if we didn't win we were going home. There's no other motivation you need."

For all the speculation about the current state of Curry's beat-up body -- that troublesome ankle, sore knee or tender elbow -- he did it all.

"I thought he looked like 91 percent," coach Steve Kerr cracked. "He came out and played a really good game. That's all I can tell you. He's going to compete every night. He had an excellent night and helped us get it done."

Led by Curry, the Warriors looked like their old winning selves again.

The MVP made a snazzy layup late and dished out six assists, while Klay Thompson added 27 points as Golden State sent the best the best-of-seven series back to Oklahoma City for Game 6 on Saturday night. The Warriors trail 3-2 and are trying to become just the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit.

"None of us want to go home," Thompson said. "We're having too much fun out there."

Kevin Durant scored 40 points and Russell Westbrook added 31 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals for the Thunder, trying for the fifth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history and first championship since moving from Seattle.

The record-setting, 73-win Warriors, coming off their first back-to-back defeats all season, had been blown out in two losses at Oklahoma City by a combined 52 points.

"We have to take that game and travel," Curry said of keeping momentum.

Durant's 3-pointer with 4:34 left got the Thunder within 103-98, then Curry answered with a three-point play.

Curry scored seven points in a 58-second stretch of the second quarter and hit more big shots late, but the Thunder didn't go away easily.

"I liked our will, I liked our fight," Kerr said. "We were embarrassed in OKC the last couple games."

Trailing 58-50 at halftime, Oklahoma City came out of the break with a 9-2 run. Westbrook's 3-pointer with 6:06 left in the third put Oklahoma City ahead 68-67 for its first lead of the night. But Golden State led 81-77 going into the fourth and began the final period with an 8-0 burst.

"We didn't shoot a particularly good percentage when we got into the lane and got into the deep paint," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "We had our opportunities."

Curry shot 9 for 20 and also had five steals, while Thompson had his 11th 20-point game for the second straight postseason despite shooting 2 for 9 from 3-point range. After struggling the past two games, Draymond Green had 11 points and 13 rebounds a day after receiving some encouraging words from Kobe Bryant on the phone.

"We really relied on the entire team tonight, which is when we're at our best," Curry said.

Kerr figured his Warriors might have an edge against the percentages of teams having trailed 3-1 because they're the defending champs and were playing at home, where they have been nearly unbeatable.

He wasn't surprised to see this team respond so well.

"We played with great desperation," Kerr said. "I knew how we would play. This is a championship team."

Kerr called for center Andrew Bogut to do more and the 7-footer delivered with a playoff career-high 15 points and 14 rebounds for his second double-double this postseason and seventh of his career.

Marreese Speights had a pair of three-point plays on follow shots and a 3 in the second quarter to give Golden State a nice lift off the bench. He had nine points in four minutes during that stretch and 14 points overall for his fifth double-digit scoring game this postseason.

"Their bench came in and made shots, made plays for them," Durant said. "We know we're going home. We can't relax."

Golden State made 31 of 34 free throws.

With his 1,248th career postseason point in the third, Curry passed Wilt Chamberlain (1,246) for second place on the franchise's playoff scoring list.

"That's who he is, that's what he's done, and that's what's made him a very good player," Donovan said.

Tip-ins
Thunder: The franchise lost in the finals in 1977-78, 1995-96 to Kerr and the Chicago Bulls and in `12. ... Steven Adams sat down with his second foul at the 9:34 mark of the first quarter. The Thunder had seven fouls to Golden State's one after the first. ... Oklahoma City took Game 1 at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have lost only three times all season. ... The Thunder started the game 3 for 14.

Warriors: Green picked up his fifth technical of the postseason. He also has at least one steal in 16 straight playoff games. ... Golden State missed six of its first seven 3s. ... The Warriors supported Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager with "Sager Strong" T-shirts for sale to support awareness and research for leukemia and lymphoma, both blood cancers.

Best of MLB: Jose Fernandez strikes out 12 in Marlins' win over Rays

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Best of MLB: Jose Fernandez strikes out 12 in Marlins' win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Jose Fernandez struck out 12 in seven innings Thursday and won his sixth straight start for the Miami Marlins, a 9-1 decision over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Fernandez (7-2) struck out eight of the last 10 batters he faced and struck out every hitter in the Rays lineup at least once. The 23-year-old right-hander from Tampa gave up six hits in beating his hometown Rays for the first time in three tries. He finished the game with 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings, highest among major league starters.

Adeiny Hechavarria and Chris Johnson homered for the Marlins, who won three of four in their annual series against the Rays.

Hechavarria's third home run drove in the final two runs of a three-run second inning off Rays starter Drew Smyly. Johnson made it 5-0 with his second homer an inning later, Johnson's first hit in 22 interleague at bats (see full recap).

Rockies silence Red Sox, Bradley's hit streak
BOSTON -- Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story and Dustin Garneau hit two-run homers and the Colorado Rockies stopped Jackie Bradley Jr.'s 29-game hitting streak with a 8-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night.

The win ended a three-game losing streak by Colorado and it ended a four-game winning streak for the Red Sox. Bradley's major league-best streak was halted when he went 0 for 4 after moving up to the leadoff spot for the first time this season.

Jon Gray (2-2) gave up a two-run home run to David Ortiz in the first, but pitched six scoreless innings before leaving in the eighth.

Clay Buchholz (2-5) took the loss. He pitched three perfect innings before things came apart in the fourth, when he gave up Gonzalez's homer with the other two coming the following inning (see full recap).

Happ leads Blue Jays past Yankees
NEW YORK -- J.A. Happ pitched seven strong innings, Edwin Encarnacion and Devon Travis had two-out RBIs, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Yankees 3-1 on Thursday to win the three-game series.

CC Sabathia was the tough-luck loser for New York, allowing just two unearned runs. Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his first game since going on the disabled list May 4 with a strained right hamstring.

Happ (6-2) allowed one run on three hits in seven innings with five strikeouts and three walks. He has given up three earned runs or fewer in 19 of his last 20 starts.

Sabathia (3-3) retired the first seven batters before an error by shortstop Didi Gregorius on Travis' grounder with one out in the third (see full recap).