Did Billy Packer actually make sense?

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Did Billy Packer actually make sense?

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

I'm in a weird situation.

Normally, I know exactly where I stand with Billy Packer: I think he's a racist, sexist, homophobic jerk.

Every time I watched March Madness coverage on CBS I imagined him taking swallows off a bottle of scotch and chain smoking.

Remember this drunken trainwreck of analysis?

What? How? Listening to that makes me want to rip my face off. Deadspin's summation is perfect:

Of all the "Sweet Christ, Billy Packer is so full of equine excrement" moments, we have to say, the "Just Going For The Ball!" foul from Gerald Henderson on Tyler Hansbrough at the end of the Duke-UNC game is definitely near the top of the list.

Getting rid of Billy Packer was one of the best things CBS ever did. And I'm including the War of the Worlds broadcast and the decision to make the M.A.S.H. finale 2.5 hours long in that list.

But I might be on his side today.

Charles Barkley called Packer a jackass during halftime of Thursday's MavericksKnicks game. This much is true. The reasoning is where Sir Charles and I part ways. See, Chuck is mad because Packer said he and Steve Kerr won't be a good fit for NCAA tournament analysis.

And boom goes the backlash.

We might not be very good and know all the players on all the teams in college basketball. Barkley said. I don't know any players on Wofford or UNC Asheville. You are absolutely right. But stop being a jackass.

Listen, we're going to do a good job. And I know you said they should have went to ESPN. Well, there was one problem. ESPN didn't have 11 billion dollars. We did. That's why we got it. So sit back, enjoy the March Madness with Greg Gumbel, Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and all of us. And shut the hell up.

YEAH. SHUT THE HELL UP.

Oh, wait. I'm on Billy's side.

Barkley basically says that the better "man" didn't get the job, the richer "man" did. Somewhere, in the walk-in closet of suits that is ESPN, there's a guy who knows every player on Wofford and UNC Asheville. And he's not a weirdo like The Schwab, he's simply sacrificed any chance he has at a normal human relationship to devote himself to the SoCon, which is awesome. Plus, this guy lives in the WWL's closet so he's got that trademark voice and smile and hair -- all the broadcasting must-haves.

What I don't want is for No. 15 Wofford to stage an historic upset over No. 2 UNC, and when we cut the studio for a halftime breakdown, we just see Steve Kerr screaming

"SHOW 'EM HOW TO DOUGIE, CHUCK! THAT'S HOW YOU DOUGIE, CHUCK."

while Barkley gets down.

Maybe it won't be that bad. It's comforting to know that Packer was almost always wrong in the past.

Jerk.

Here are before and after photos of Pablo Sandoval's weight loss

Here are before and after photos of Pablo Sandoval's weight loss

Pablo Sandoval has put in work.

The Boston Red Sox third baseman has lost significant weight since his shoulder surgery. According to a post from his trainer, Sandoval has lost 35 pounds. He started at 275 pounds in June 2016 before the surgery. Sandoval told MassLive.com he took the after photo (in the Instagram post below) in December 2016.

According to the post, Sandoval's wife took over Sandoval's nutrition, and helped him restructure his diet. And then he spent five days a week at Bommarito Performance Systems in Miami, according to a lengthy feature on ESPN.com.

"He's like a new Panda," Sandoval's personal assistant Josmir Romero told ESPN.com.

There's no doubt: Sandoval looks a lot more fit. If he keeps this weight, his belts won't be in danger of bursting this season.

Bommarito Performance Systems featured on ESPN! Incredible article on BPS client and 3x World Series Champ Pablo Sandoval (@kfp48) and his journey to being the best shape of his life! Here is an excerpt from the article: ”Having watched Ferrer help Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez overcome a 2015 shoulder injury and revive his career last season, Sandoval decided to enlist the strength and conditioning specialist to oversee his workouts. The days began at 7:30 a.m., Ferrer said, with an hour long "turf workout" to improve Sandoval's agility. After a series of core-strengthening exercises, they moved to the weight room, alternating upper- and lower-body lifts every other day. The Red Sox received frequent progress reports -- "Panda watch," if you will -- because Ferrer is close with Boston strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose. Meanwhile, Sandoval put his new wife, Yulimar, in charge of his diet. She worked with a nutritionist to come up with healthier meals for Sandoval and cooked for him throughout the off-season. "Part of [Sandoval's] issues in the past didn't work ethic. It was other aspects of his life when we start talking about nutrition and those types of things," Dombrowski said. "This winter, I would say he was more committed to the total program." Said Ferrer: "I'm actually really pleased with his progress this off-season. I said that to Kiyoshi multiple times. The Red Sox wanted him to get down to, I think, in the 240s, and he's right there. But with him, I think it's just about his strength levels. He's a strong guy. He's powerful. He took our workouts very seriously all off-season. He's definitely ready to play baseball right now.’” Click the link in our bio to read the full article! #KungFuPanda 🐼  #PabloSandoval #Boston Redsox #RedSox #Soxnation #Bommaritos #HanleyRamirez #ElNino #MLB #Baseball #Baseballtraining #miggy #miguelcabrera #Venezuela

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Sources: Bulls asking for picks, young veterans in trade for Jimmy Butler

Sources: Bulls asking for picks, young veterans in trade for Jimmy Butler

NEW ORLEANS – All-star weekend is winding down and the Boston Celtics once again are seemingly at the epicenter of most trade discussions.

That’s in part because they have the pieces to help pull off a blockbuster deal for themselves, or become the third team to help facilitate a trade coming to fruition. 

But in talking with league executives and scouts this weekend in New Orleans, all agree that the Celtics are focused more on making a blockbuster-type move, rather than a deal that could make them slightly better than they are now. 

“Anything is possible as you know,” said one Eastern Conference executive. “But they’re not Toronto which is basically 'all in' this year to try and get past Cleveland. Boston’s in the thick of it all, but not pressed to do anything unless it makes them a lot better and to be frank, there aren’t a lot of those potential deals out there for them.”

That’s because the Celtics (37-20) have the second-best record in the East despite their preferred starting five (Isaiah Thomas; Avery Bradley; Jae Crowder; Al Horford and Amir Johnson) having played a very limited number of games (21) together thus far this season.

Even when everyone’s healthy, Boston understands that they still may not be enough to get past the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. So the addition of a likely role player at the cost of one or more of their major assets (this year’s right to swap picks with Brooklyn or next year’s Brooklyn pick outright), is reason enough for Boston to pause and assess whether the benefit outweighs the cost of what they will have to give up. 

Boston can make a push for Denver’s Danilo Gallinari or his teammate Kenneth Faried who are both available and would help Boston’s overall talent base. They could also revisit Jahlil Okafor discussions or Nerlens Noel with Philadelphia, too.

But for what they need to significantly improve upon where they are now, they have to add a game-changing difference-maker to the mix. 

Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Indiana’s Paul George and Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins are three players who on paper at least, would meet that criteria. 

Multiple league sources this weekend confirmed that each of their respective teams isn’t making a push to trade them. But like every team in the league, they will certainly listen to any and all offers. Only Indiana and Sacramento have come out publicly to say they are not planning to trade their players, with the Pacers indicating they’re willing to give up their first-round pick in order to add a stable, proven talent to the mix in order to help George going forward. 

Meanwhile, the Bulls have been somewhat indifferent to potentially moving Butler, who is playing his third all-star game tonight. 

That’s why several teams, the Celtics included, have inquired about Butler’s availability. While the Bulls haven’t set any specific parameters, league executives believe they are seeking some combination of high draft picks and young veterans (players with experience who are either near the end of their rookie deals or have team-friendly contracts) just to consider moving Butler.

Boston has exactly what the Bulls are looking for if they decide they are going to move on from Butler and rebuild, but how much are the Celtics willing to give up?

That more than anything else, is what will ultimately determine if a deal between the Bulls and the Celtics comes to pass. Boston loves Butler, and believes he could be part of their continued surge towards becoming an elite team that can bring home Banner 18. But the Celtics are not convinced that the addition of Butler would necessarily catapult Boston to the same level of Cleveland or ahead of them. 

Even if the Celtics decide to stand pat with its team as they are now and let the Feb. 23 trade deadline pass without making a move, the Celtics are still working from a vantage point that few teams in the NBA can work from – a team near the top of their conference with relatively young players all with good team-friendly contracts, and draft picks in the next two years that are each likely to be high lottery (top-14) picks.

"They’re well positioned for the future,” said Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors and the West all-star team. “Because of the young talent, because of the coach (Brad Stevens) and because of the draft picks that they have coming up. They could end up with the number one pick in the draft which is remarkable.”

Kerr added, “That doesn’t happen often when you’re talking about a team that’s one of the best in the league already. Boston’s in a great place.”