Wakeup Call: Victory and controversy in San Francisco

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Wakeup Call: Victory and controversy in San Francisco

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, November 20:

BASEBALL
So the Blue Jays conduct a six-week managerial search and, at its conclusion, decide to resurrect John Gibbons? Really? (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Ichiro joins a growing list of Japanese players who are saying thanks but no thanks to next year's World Baseball Classic. (AP)

The Padres like Bud Black! They really like him! (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The ACC has spent the better part of a decade gobbling up schools from other conferences, but yesterday it lost one of its charter members: Maryland, which is bolting for the Big Ten. (CSN Baltimore)

Here are five things the Terrapins will miss when they leave. (CSN Baltimore)

Georgetown spoils Shabazz Muhammad's UCLA debut. (AP)

Thirty years later, Chaminade pulls off another upset . . . this one against Texas. (AP)

There's only one tournament Connecticut's Huskies could have won this year: The Paradise Jam. But they didn't. (AP)

Stanford snapped Baylor's 42-game winning streak and was rewarded with the top spot in the AP women's basketball poll. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is happy the BCS championship will be decided where it should be: On the field. Unless the Irish lose to Southern Cal, that is, at which point . . . well, let's not go there. (CSN Chicago)

Miami, attempting to stay one step ahead of the sheriff, bans itself from postseason play for a second straight year. (AP)

The NFL's Cowboys already play every Thanksgiving at home, and the University of Texas wants to make it a Lone Star State tradition. (NBC's College Football Talk)

High praise indeed for West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin from Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads. (College Football Talk)

HOCKEY
The fact that Bill Daly says he was "frustrated" by yesterday's two-hour negotiating session indicates it's situation normal at the NHL labor "talks". (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

The owners are insisting on a new offer from the players, and Donald Fehr says, well, we'll think about it. (Pro Hockey Talk)

When this whole thing is over, Kris Versteeg thinks the reigns of Bettman and Daly should be over, as well. (Pro Hockey Talk)

If the NHL ever returns, Jaroslav Spacek won't. (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Looks like the NBA is blaming Zack Randolph for the Randolph-Kendrick Perkins confrontation last week. (AP)

The winless Wizards are halfway to a dubious record. (CSN Washington)

The Grizzlies' winning streak is over . . . (AP)

. . . but not the Clippers'. (AP)

The Cavaliers will be without Kryrie Irving for a month. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
The 49ers make a statement against fellow division leader Chicago. (AP)

And now we have a full-blown quarterback controversy in San Francisco. (CSN Bay Area)

A controversy that Jim Harbaugh did nothing to quell after the game. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Talk about a wakeup call, eh, Bears? (CSN Chicago)

Looks like the Steelers have lost another quarterback. (AP)

Which may wind up being Brian Hoyer's ticket back into the NFL. (Pro Football Talk)

Ed Reed certainly doesn't have a reputation as a dirty player, but reputations mean nothing to the NFL: The Ravens star was suspended for a game after being penalized Sunday night for his third hit to the head-and-neck area since 2010. (CSN Baltimore)

Titus Young's sitting out the next game, too, but this penalty is being imposed by his team and it's basically for being a jackass. (AP)

Old friend Brandon Meriweather is out for the year. (CSN Washington)

And old foe Willis McGahee is out for six to eight weeks. (AP)

As you might expect, the Eagles' 3-7 season isn't going down too well in the City of Brotherly Love. (CSN Philly)

Still, Andy Reid won't walk away. Doesn't mean he won't be departing; just means he won't quit. (CSN Philly)

Oh, that conversation between Jerry Jones and Mike Holmgren on Sunday? Just two old friends chatting, insists Jones. (Pro Football Talk)

Remember when the Giants and Dolphins each contributed 500,000 to the Superstorm Sandy relief effort? Drew Brees is going them one better with a 1 million donation. (AP)

SOCCER
The MLS Cup title game on Dec. 1 between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo will be David Beckham's swan song. (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)

Texas Hold'em: Noel would interest Celts, but Mavs probably won't let him go

Texas Hold'em: Noel would interest Celts, but Mavs probably won't let him go

The Celtics' two main targets in free agency are expected to be Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin. But what if neither signs here . . . or what if the C's have other plans? This week, we'll look at some of  'The Other Guys' who might interest the Celtics: TODAY: Dallas' Nerlens Noel.

BOSTON -- When the Celtics had trade talks with Philadelphia last season, it was no secret they had their eyes set on Nerlens Noel.
 
The 23-year-old has shown tremendous potential as an elite, rim-protecting big man.

THE OTHER GUYS: POTENTIAL CELTIC FREE-AGENT TARGETS


The Dallas Mavericks saw those same qualities, which is why they engineered a trade for him last season despite knowing he would be a restricted free agent this summer.
 
And while he would certainly be the kind of player Boston would absolutely love to add to the mix, seeing the Mavericks go in a different direction seems highly unlikely.
 
But until he signs with the Mavericks or any other team, the Celtics can’t be totally discounted as a possibility if they strike out on Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin.
 
WE LIKE HIM BECAUSE . . .
 
His proven body of work and his potential. Noel has shown flashes of being a decent player offensively, but he’s going to get paid handsomely this summer because of his defense and rebounding.
 
According to Basketball-reference.com, Noel has been among the NBA’s top 10 in defensive box plus/minus two of his three NBA seasons.
 
During the 2014-15 season, his defensive plus/minus was +4.5 (fourth in the NBA) and the following season it was +3.4 (eighth in the NBA).
 
And while his upside is viewed primarily through a defensive prism, his presence on the floor seemed to provide a much-needed jolt to the Mavericks offensively.
 
In his 22 games with Dallas, he averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds with a solid offensive rating of 106.1.
 
NOT CRAZY ABOUT . . .
 
You love Noel’s length and athleticism, but you wish he would add some weight to withstand the physical rigors of playing primarily in the post. In an ideal world, Noel will add another 10-15 pounds, which would put him weight-wise similar to another standout Maverick from a few years back, Tyson Chandler. But Noel’s narrow shoulders and pogo-stick thick legs will likely result in his current 228-pound frame not changing much in the near future. He will still be a factor defensively, but there will be nights when stronger, more physical centers will give him problems. Fortunately for him and the Mavericks, big men whose strength is well, their strength, are becoming scarce in this new age of position-less basketball in the NBA.
 
IN CONCLUSION . . .
 
Noel would look really good in a Celtics uniform, but there’s little to no chance the Mavericks allow him to get away. They've made it clear that re-signing the 6-foot-11 big man is their top priority. And short of Kevin Durant or Stephen Curry saying they want to become a Maverick, it’s highly unlikely Dallas will change course.
 
PRICE TAG
 
Four-year, $106.4 million. That’s the most a team outside of Dallas can offer the soon-to-be restricted free agent. Noel knows the Mavericks won’t hesitate to offer him a max contract, which would give him more guaranteed years (five), better raises (eight percent versus five percent) and a total package of $143.55 million, which is more than $37 million beyond what other teams like the Celtics can offer.
 
Again, something would have to go unexpectedly wrong for Noel to wind up on any roster other than the Mavericks.

Bruins sign restricted free agent Acciari to two-year deal

Bruins sign restricted free agent Acciari to two-year deal

The Bruins have locked up a potential fourth-line piece for next season at a bargain basement price.

The B's signed Rhode Island native and Providence College alum Noel Acciari, a restricted free agent, to a two-year deal worth $1.45 million, a contract that breaks down to a very affordable $725,000 cap hit for each of the next two seasons. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound bowling ball of a forward finished with two goals and five points in 29 games for the Bruins last season, and has appeared in 48 games at the NHL level over the last two seasons in Boston. It was also encouraging that Acciari seemed to be tapping a bit more into his offense toward the end of the season, and was building some confidence for whatever modest offense he’ll end up bringing to the NHL table once he’s reached his potential ceiling as a player.

Clearly the two-year, one-way deal portends that Acciari, 25, will be counted on as a high energy, hard-hitting fourth-line player who does a good job of aggravating opponents while playing at full tilt. The real question is whether his body can hold up with his maximum effort style of playing, and whether he can avoid serious injuries with some of the car-crash level of violence he puts in his hitting.

Acciari has battled several different injuries over the last couple of seasons, but managed to be healthy enough to log time in the playoffs for both Boston and the P-Bruins.

Either way it’s a low-risk, affordable contract for the Bruins for a young player who, if healthy, will be a large piece on their fourth line as a diligent worker and excellent teammate. So that’s a good proactive signing for Don Sweeney as he continues to work on a more complicated contract for a higher profile player like David Pastrnak.