Your Desolate Sports Morning Links: Haynesworth & Donny Mac, Deion & Dez, Plax, Sixers Sale, and Vokoun

Your Desolate Sports Morning Links: Haynesworth & Donny Mac, Deion & Dez, Plax, Sixers Sale, and Vokoun

So, it's midsummer, and the Midsummer Classic is behind us, which can only mean one thing. There's no sports today. Nada. I'm on vacation as I often am when the All-Star Game rolls around, so it's decent timing for me, except that I usually like to spend these few days reading up on the next NFL season in preparation for dominating my fantasy football league. With the lockout still in place and free agency yet to have its way with the current league reality, it hardly seems worth the effort yet.

But two full days without any live local sporting action are underway, so we'll get our Wednesday programming started with some stories of interest from around the Webs this morning. On the docket for today: The Sixers sale could happen very soon, reports on the future of McNabb and Haynesworth in DC, Plax's game of Mad Libs, Deion's Dez diss, Conlin declares WAR, and the "market" for Tomas Vokoun.

Let's start with the Skins. Jason La Canfora of is reporting that Washington will try to land some big targets in free agency. Someone needs to overpay a few guys they should probably stay away from, right? Of course, that will likely mean a few possible bidding wars with the Eagles, who were long ago predicted to be a big spender once the market opens. Also of interest in Jason's story is that the Skins will attempt to trade Albert Haynesworth and probably release Donovan McNabb, two of the bigger off-season acquisition busts in a franchise with a solid recent history of them. They'll want to try to get something for Haynesworth and keep him from heading up 95, but finding a team without Jim Washburn on its welcoming committee to trade for his contract will have its challenges. When FA does open though, remember the names of Haynesworth and McNabb when looking around the league at sure-fire team-improvers. [, via Rotoworld]

Elsewhere in the NFC East, it seems Deion Sanders has given up on Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys, although not given up talking about him. Note to NFL players who are still, ya know, playing: Give up on Deion before he tries to keep his name in the headlines by attaching it to yours. Unless you play for Dallas, in which case, feel free to keep this little carousel moving right along. [ESPN]

You remember all those nice things Plaxico Burress said about joining the Eagles? Remember Mad Libs? has a good version where "Chicago Bears" been substituted for "Philadelphia Eagles" in the "NFL team" field. []

The sale of the Sixers to a few business school All-Stars is close to being finalized, says Bob Cooney of the Daily News. []

Bill Conlin throws a grenade at Ryan Howard haters and the SABR community at large. Then he throws five more for good measure. []

One of the more interesting stories of the NHL free agency signing frenzy was that it didn't include goalie Tomas Vokoun, who ultimately received no initial offers and finally settled on a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Washington Capitals. While the match could make a true Cup contender out of an already very good team, Vokoun seems to have been hoping for a better financial reward for his many years of notable netminding. That he turned down a three-year deal prior to July 1 is telling of the disparity between market expectations and reality. [Puck Daddy]

Agholor, Huff and Green-Beckham avoiding Eagles' trade rumors

Agholor, Huff and Green-Beckham avoiding Eagles' trade rumors

While head coach Doug Pederson denied reports the Eagles have inquired about the availability of veteran wide receivers Wednesday (see story), it's fair to wonder how those rumors affect the psyche of the guys who are already here. True or not, there's a reason why stories about trades are believable.

The Eagles' current crop of receivers hasn't been very impactful, particularly Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff and Dorial Green-Beckham. Yet despite disappointing numbers, constant questions about their lack of production and now rumblings somebody like Torrey Smith or Alshon Jeffery could be coming to take their jobs, the young trio doesn't sound too worried.

"We all have a job to do here, and if you're worried about somebody else, you're going to lose sight of your own job," Agholor said. "Just like anybody else in any workplace, you need to focus on yourself and execute your job."

"That has nothing to do with me," Huff said. "As long as I'm confident in the way I do my job, everything else will speak for itself."

"It's something I'm completely not worried out," Green-Beckham added. "I'm really just focusing on myself and whatever happens, happens."

Not only do the Eagles' wideouts sound genuinely unconcerned by trade rumors, they almost seem to welcome the competition.

"It motivates you, especially if you're still around," Agholor said. "Or if you get sent somewhere else, you understand that you have to wake up. You have to wake up and you have to make plays."

"I'm a competitor," Huff said. "I'm not going to say no to a competition, but if they do want a veteran receiver, so be it. It doesn't bother us."

It's certainly the right attitude to have, maybe even the only one. Still, trade rumors — whether rumors are all they are or not — is a clear indictment of this group's performance this season.

Jordan Matthews has been OK, but far from a prolific No. 1 receiver who makes up for a lack of complementary weapons. The third-year player is currently on pace to finish 2016 with 67 receptions for 944 yards and five touchdowns, all of which would be down from his previous season's totals.

Agholor is second on the team with 18 receptions for 191 yards, Huff has 12 catches for 63 yards and Green-Beckham has 13 for 139. All three have found the end zone once as well.

What's troubling about those numbers is that not only the lack of production, but the lack of plays they've made down the field. Agholor and Green-Beckham are both under less than 11 yards per reception, while Huff is averaging a paltry 5.3.

It's no wonder the Eagles' front office would show interest in deep threats like Smith and Jeffery, both of whom are proven capable of stretching the field.

"I just work every day and try to get separation to the best of my ability," Agholor said. "I have a great receivers coach that tries to help me with my releases and fine tune that, but the most important thing I feel like with creating separation is a mindset, because this is a league, where it's good on good every day."

"It's just what the coaches see, what the coaches want from us," Huff said. "Obviously, would I want to get the ball downfield? Yes. Has it gone that way? No, but my job is to continue to get better each and every day, and once my number is called, I'll be ready to make that play."

Pederson, who earlier denied the Eagles were looking into trades, defended the big-play ability of his wideouts.

"Nelson can stretch it," Pederson said. "Josh can stretch it. But I think it's protection and design of the play. When I think of stretching the field, I mean, a guy can run fast and that can be stretching the field, but who can really take the top off?

"Those two guys are two that can do that."

Agholor, the Eagles' first-round pick in 2015, has faced these kinds of questions since his underwhelming rookie season. He's getting used to people doubting his ability, but that's not stopping him from keeping a positive attitude.

"I think the most important thing is to progress each day, and have a next-play mentality too," Agholor said. "Some of the greatest players in this league, they drop balls, I'm sure guys have probably jammed them before, however it goes, but the best thing they can do is just bounce back, line up again and win the next matchup.

"I want to continue to have that mindset and allow it to speak for itself so I don't have to sit here and tell. If every time you're all asking me that, it must mean you all don't see that."

Green-Beckham has a little bit more of a unique perspective on this matter than Agholor and Huff. While the second-year receiver is staying positive and motivated as well, he's been on the other end of these rumors and was ultimately traded from the Titans to the Eagles back in August.

Because he's only been with the team for a couple of months, Green-Beckham didn't seem too worried he's running out of opportunities with the Eagles.

"I just got here, so I don't think I'm going to end up leaving when I just got here," Green-Beckham said. "For some guys, you really have to worry about that, and you just have to focus on trying to compete, trying to get better and better each and every day and doing the little things."

Green-Beckham also knows better than anyone how such a trade would increase expectations on the players already inside the locker room, and he had a message for his teammates.

"I just know how it feels for guys who come in as traded, and for guys who've been here, you just have to understand you're going to have to compete when stuff like that happens," Green-Beckham said. "It makes your job a lot hard, but you just have to focus more.

"It's a business. Like they say, the NFL stands for not for long, so you always have that in your thoughts, and know every opportunity, you have to take advantage of it."

Joel Embiid the gold standard by wearing gold shoes to NBA debut

Joel Embiid the gold standard by wearing gold shoes to NBA debut

For the better part of two years, most of Sixers fans' worries focused on Joel Embiid's foot.

Before his first NBA game on Tuesday night against the Thunder, Embiid made sure his very large feet were still the center of attention.

Embiid walked into the Wells Fargo Center sporting a flashy pair of gold shoes.

Hopefully he has a pair of matching basketball sneakers for tonight's game.

Also, this is cool: