Jefferson would 'love' to return to Boston

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Jefferson would 'love' to return to Boston

BOSTON When Doc Rivers watches former Celtic Al Jefferson on video now, he's amazed at what he sees -- and we're not talking about the significant weight loss, either.
"He just keeps getting better and better," Rivers said. "The thing that I thought I'd never say about Al, but Al's becoming a better passer and I'm very happy about that for him."
Indeed, the once-overweight big man who entered the NBA straight out of high school has evolved into one of the more offensively-gifted big men in the NBA with multiple means in which to impact games for the Utah Jazz.
On Wednesday, he delivered a solid performance of 13 points and 14 rebounds against his former team. But the C's still managed to escape with a win, 98-93.
With his size, experience and skill set, it's a given that Jefferson will be one of the more sought-after players this summer when he becomes a free agent.
"I'll cross that bridge when I get there. You don't want to think too far ahead," Jefferson said. "You have to take are of business, day by day. I really believe if I do my part, everything will work out."
Jefferson has said he's focused on doing all he can to get the Jazz back to the playoffs for the second straight year, but added that he would consider a return to Boston when he becomes a free agent.
"This is my first home," said Jefferson, who added that he loves it in Utah because they do things the right way, "kind of like Boston."
"This will always be my home away from home, first place I've been; gave me a chance when nobody else did," added Jefferson. "If that (returning to Boston) ever happened, I'd love to do that again. But right now, it's all about taking care of business and finishing the season off right."
Doing that means getting back to the playoffs, something that was a bit unexpected for the Jazz last season.
That experience bodes well for Jefferson, who had not been to the postseason since his days with the Celtics.
"Making that playoff run, he was a big part of that last year," Rivers said "That's kind of re-stoked him. It's good. He's a heck of a guy."
And a heck of a player who isn't the same wide-eyed youngster learning all he could from the slew of Celtics veterans ahead of him on the depth chart.
These days, he's the one doling out advice to youngsters like Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
"I think what probably surprises Al is how quickly you become a veteran," Rivers said. "And now, you have to give direction. It happens quickly."

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe

The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.

“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”

Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.

Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.

“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.