Wakeup Call: Big Al could be the big chip on the NBA trade market

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Wakeup Call: Big Al could be the big chip on the NBA trade market

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, January 22:

AUTO RACING
Democracy comes to NASCAR. (AP)

BASEBALL
If you're wondering why Bud Selig's in Cincinnati in late January, it's because he's about to award the 2015 All-Star Game to the Reds. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Marvin Miller's absence from the Hall of Fame is a travesty -- that's me talking -- and I agree with the retired players who urge that he be inducted. (AP)

So if you're left-handed, you can keep getting chances even if you're 35, haven't pitched in the major leagues since 2010, and had an 8.07 ERA in Triple-A last year. Would that all our opportunities be so bountiful. (Hardball Talk)

Was it really just a year-and-a-half ago that the Red Sox considered Erik Bedard to be their big midseason acquisition, the last piece of the puzzle? How far we sometimes fall . . . (CSN Houston)

There'll be a public visitation for the late Stan Musial in St. Louis on Thursday. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Georgetown's 63-47 win over No. 24 Notre Dame in South Bend left Irish coach Mike Brey speechless. (AP)

The Connecticut women slapped a 79-49 pasting on previously unbeaten Duke, meaning there are no longer any undefeated teams -- men's or women's -- in Division I. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Honey Badger's at the Senior Bowl, hoping to show NFL teams that he's changed his ways. (AP)

The nearly-two-year NCAA investigation of the U. is coming to a head. (AP)

GOLF
Phil Mickelson says the increased federal and state taxes he's due to pay "don't work for me right now." So, uh, when will they work for you, Phil? (AP)

HOCKEY
Keith Jones, like most hockey fans, loves fighting in the game. Mike Milbury thinks the staged brawls, the ones where the players drop the gloves to make a point or to try and inspire their team, are stupid. With the increased number of such fights in the season's first few days, they debate the issue -- spiritedly. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

It appears Tomas Holmstrom will call it quits today. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Beware, Sabres opponents: Ryan Miller's back on his game. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
Still pining away for Al Jefferson? He might be available. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

If the NBA owners say yes, the Seattle SuperSonics will be back in business. (AP)

The Lakers are getting worse, not better, and eventually they're going to have to do something about it. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Kobe Bryant agrees. (AP)

And if trading Pau Gasol -- who's now coming off the bench in Mike D'Antoni's grand scheme -- is part of that something, then he's all for it. (Pro Basketball Talk)

How can it be that the Nets and Knicks, who are developing quite the rivalry, are done playing each other for the year? (AP)

Good news, Sixers fans: Andrew Bynum's slow and steady -- emphasis on slow -- return  is right on schedule. (CSN Philly)

As is Derrick Rose's in Chicago. (AP)

A blood clot in his lower right lung will keep the Cavs' Anderson Varejao sidelined for the rest of the year. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
The Har-Bowl stuff hasn't even really started yet, and already Ray Ratto's sick of it. (CSN Bay Area)

It's come to this for David Akers: Jim Harbaugh's raving about the way he kicked in pregame. He kinda has to, since there's nothing to rave about during the game. (CSN Bay Area)

Looks like Jim Caldwell passed the on-the-job test. (AP)

The Raiders have spent 11 years, and counting, whining about their loss in the Snow Bowl. Now they've started up on something new. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Turns out there were 32 12 million reasons why Chip Kelly left Oregon for Philadelphia. (Pro Football Talk)

Kelly better hope Pat Shurmur makes a better assistant than he did a head coach. (AP)

The sprained shoulder he suffered at the end of the NFC Championship Game will keep Matty Ice out of the Pro Bowl. (AP)

Tom Brady never really gives much an excuse to duck out of the Pro Bowl -- this time around it's an "undisclosed injury" -- but his departure means Andrew Luck's getting a free trip to Hawaii in his place. (AP)

SOCCER
Talk about much Adu over nothing . . . (CSN Philly)

TENNIS
Maria Sharapova needed only 5 hours and 15 minutes to win five matches and make her way into the Australian Open semifinals. (AP)

Roger Federer has made it to the quarterfinals in 35 straight Grand Slam tournaments. (AP)

Those soul-piercing grunts that Victoria Azarenka emits each time she hits a shot are being put to music. (AP)

Elisabeth Shue, one of the co-stars of CBS's 'CSI', is a big tennis fan . . . which is why you'll be seeing Chris Evert, Lindsay Davenport and Justin Gimelstob in Wednesday's episode. (AP)

Blakely: Tatum's character separates him from many of the other rookies

Blakely: Tatum's character separates him from many of the other rookies

BOSTON – With his new head coach Brad Stevens and Boston Celtics ownership and front office officials surrounding him, Jayson Tatum’s mind seemed to be somewhere else briefly.

He looked ahead, way, way ahead to the other end of the Celtics’ practice court where there were banners, lots of banners, raised high above all else in the gym.

This wasn’t just a passing glance, either.

TATUM SPEAKS

It was clear that the newest Celtic was in deep thought as he stared at the 17 banners and the one left blank, a steady reminder of what this franchise is about, past and present.

Yes, it’s a lot to soak in for anyone let alone a 19-year-old kid whose career with the Celtics can be timed on a stopwatch.

But the soft-spoken 6-foot-9 forward has been here long enough to understand that success around here is about more than playing well; it’s playing to win a championship.

And that in many ways separates Tatum from his teenage brethren who made up the majority of Thursday night’s NBA draft which included an NBA-record 17 players taken in the first round who like Tatum, were just one year removed from high school.

All come into the NBA with lots to learn, as well as goals and aspirations for this upcoming NBA season.

During an interview with CSN on Friday, I asked Tatum about what in his mind would make for a successful season.

And his answer initially was to ask me a question, “Individual or team?”

So I replied, either one.

“To get back to where they were last year and get over that hump,” he said. “Championships, chasing that number 18, that would be the ultimate success for me.”

That served as a reminder as to why despite having a handful of players under consideration at No. 3, the Celtics did the right thing in selecting Tatum.

His words may seem like the politically correct response, but take a look at the kid’s basketball resume and you’ll quickly see he is indeed about winning and doing so in whatever way possible.

After missing his first eight games at Duke with a foot injury, Tatum gradually improved as the season progressed and wound up on the all-rookie team as well as being named to the All-ACC third team.

Once the Blue Devils got to the ACC Tournament, Tatum became a different, better, more dominant player.

Indeed, Tatum led the Blue Devils to their first ACC championship since 2011 and did so in historic fashion as the Blue Devils became the first ACC school to win the conference tournament with four wins in four days.

Late in the title game against Notre Dame, Tatum put together a sequence of plays that speaks to why the Celtics were seriously considering taking him with the number one overall pick had they not been able to trade it for the No. 3 and a future first-round pick.

With the scored tied at 65, Tatum made a free throw that put Duke ahead.

Moments later, he blocked a shot and finished off the play with a lay-up that gave Duke a three-point lead.

After a Notre Dame basket, Tatum connected with a teammate for a 3-pointer that pushed Duke’s lead to four points with around a minute to play.

And then there was the 3-point play Tatum converted after getting fouled on a dunk which secured a 76-69 Duke win over the Fighting Irish.

Free throws. Blocks. Getting out in transition. Passing.

When his team needed him most, he gave whatever was required at that moment which is one of the intangibles that makes Boston feel good about his future.

“He does whatever he has to do to help you win,” said an NBA scout who said he has seen Tatum play “at least a dozen times.”

He added, “Like all of these kids coming into the league now, he has some things he has to get better at, get more consistent with. But he makes winning plays, whether it’s for himself or others. He’s a lot more unselfish a player than he’s given credit for being.”

And he’s 19 years old, which is both a blessing and a burden when you’re an NBA team executive charged with committing at least two years and millions of dollars into a young man.

Part of the process when making a draft choice, especially when it’s one of the top picks, is character evaluation.

Of the players at or near the top of the draft board, multiple league executives contacted by CSNNE.com in the past couple of weeks said this was an area where Tatum stood out in comparison to all of the top prospects.

“He’s the kind of young man you’d love whether he was a basketball player or not,” one Western Conference executive told CSNNE.com. “If you’re ranking guys on character alone in this draft, he’s your number one pick.”

Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, acknowledged the challenge of differentiating between miscues made by a teenager as being problems of concern going forward, or whether that’s a teenager making the kind of bad/questionable decisions most teens make.

“It’s dangerous to play too much into a 19-year-old kid’s behavior,” Ainge told CSN’s A. Sherrod Blakely and Kyle Draper on Friday. “But I think that, with all the things we do, from physical, emotional, mental, character, work ethic and their skills … it’s just really hard at 19. You hate to just be labeled what you are at 18.”

But in regards to Tatum specifically, Ainge added, “Jayson is a high character guy. We know he will get better because of his character and his work ethic.”

Said Tatum: “It’s a great feeling. Being part of a great organization like the Celtics; think of all the great players of the past and you can follow in their footsteps.”

And in doing so, blaze a trail of his own in the pursuit of Banner 18.

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

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David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

BOSTON — David Price and Rick Porcello showed improvement on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday, important signs for the Red Sox after a difficult month for both pitchers prior to this homestand.

Price on Saturday night went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. He fanned five and his velocity has been consistently better this year than last year.

But the most important number was his walk total: one. He walked three batters in his previous start, and four in both of his starts prior.

“Two outings ago, the first start here in Fenway,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was better timing in his delivery and overall better separation over the rubber. And he carried that through I thought, even though there's a higher pitch count in Houston, and has been able to maintain it here. I can't say there was one specific thing. It's been more the timing over the rubber. And you're seeing him pitch out of the stretch exclusively. Just less moving parts in a better position to repeat it.”

After Price’s final inning, the telecast captured Price calling pitching coach Carl Willis into the tunnel. Neither Farrell nor Price detailed the conversation. 

“Yeah, everything was fine,” Farrell said of the conversation. “Everything is OK there.”

Price made it sound like he’s dealing with some sort of physical ailment, but was vague.

“There's a lot of stuff going on right now,” the pitcher said when asked about the desire to stay out there. “You don't want it to linger into the next start, or two or three weeks from now, and that's why we did what we did.”

Asked to elaborate, Price reinforced that the decision was to save his body for another day.

“You never want to come out of a game. But you have to look forward at the time,” Price said. “You don’t want today to cost you your next start or you know, the start after that. So that’s what happened.

“It has nothing to do with my elbow or anything like that. This is — you get past one thing and there’s another So that’s what it is.”

Price in New York in early June felt a blister develop on his ring finger. He missed an in-between start bullpen because of it.

Asked about the blister Saturday, Price said, “That one’s gone.”

Farrell indicated the blister was diminished, if not entirely gone.

“He's been dealing with that,” Farrell said. “I think while it's still present and maybe not as severe as it was when it first happened, I'm sure he's going to check on it occasionally."