New York Giants: Kelvin Benjamin goes at Joe Judge, Giants players defend coach

New York Giants, Joe Judge

Kelvin Benjamin had a chance to revitalize his career as a free agent signing with the New York Giants this offseason, but that’s far from how things actually turned out. The 30 year old wide receiver ended up released, and not only missed out on a chance to play this season but also caused quite a bit of drama on the way out.

It all stems from Benjamin showing up for practice on Wednesday and apparently getting into a dispute with head coach Joe Judge over his weight. The Giants required Benjamin to cut his weight down to 251 pounds, but his weight instead increased slightly since the end of minicamp. But Benjamin claims that others in the team building had previously told him that his weight was fine, and that the weight cut was an impossible request.

“I’m like: ‘I’m trying everything I can to be here. You won’t even let me on the field to show what I can do. I played receiver at 268 [pounds] and I almost had 1,000 yards [in 2016]. So why do you want me to come back at 251 at tight end?’” Benjamin told NJ Advance Media on Wednesday.

He claims that Judge just personally doesn’t like him, and that it led to the confrontation at practice and his release.

“The day before practice, he didn’t bring all of this up. I just felt like the dude didn’t like me. Mr. Gettleman knew exactly what went down. It’s crazy how they twisting the narrative about everything like it’s a joke. They make it seem like we don’t even matter,” Benjamin said about Judge. He’d also say other things, claiming that Judge’s style won’t win a Super Bowl.

It’s not the first time Judge has been criticized for his style, but some players disagree.

New York Giants defend Joe Judge

Since the incident, several New York Giants players have been active in defending their head coach.

“He’s very intense, but I feel like he prepares us each and every day for the game. That’s his motto. That’s his mindset and it helps and it works. So for us, it gets us excited for practice,” said defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence.

His sentiment was echoed by cornerback James Bradberry, who has looked like one of the best corners in the league under Judge’s leadership. He spoke with the New York Daily News, and gave his take on the situation.

“It ain’t for everybody. You feel me? He’s entitled to his opinion. I definitely think Coach Judge is tough. But football is tough. There’s a lot of pressure being in our shoes, so I don’t expect him to give us our way all the time,” Bradberry stated. “A tough coach, that’s how you build structure. That’s how you build discipline.”

“It ain’t for everybody, man, ya know? It ain’t for everybody,” Bradberry would add.

It’s a sentiment that seems to follow in the footsteps of two very successful head coaches that Judge has worked under – Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. Both of them have had problems with players over the years due to their strict nature, but have found tremendous success despite their style being deemed ‘not for everyone’ by many former players.

The current Giants roster, at least, seems to be all for Judge’s current style. As do the free agents who joined this offseason, many of whom specifically cited Judge as part of their reason for picking the Giants.

His style may not be for Kelvin Benjamin, but at the very least, it’s working with the group of players the Giants have now.

Knicks snag young point guard Miles McBride with the 36th overall pick, is he the future?

miles mcbride, knicks

The Knicks have made a flurry of trades, but they finally found a young point guard to develop around in West Virginia standout Mile McBride. With a desperate need for a young player to develop behind a veteran, McBride fits the bill perfectly.

Marc Berman of The Post stated recently that West Virginia point guard Mile McBride was a target for Thibodeau, who saw tons of upside:

According to one league source, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau was pushing for West Virginia sophomore point guard Miles McBride, who has been projected in some mocks as an early second-round or late first-round pick. It’s unclear at which slot Thibodeau would prefer to select McBride — No. 19 or 21 in the first round, or No. 32 early in the second round — but the 20-year-old impressed him in his Knicks workout.

McBride stands out in a few categories, averaging 15.9 points, 4.8 assists, and shooting 43% from the field last year. From range, he connected on 41% over 3.8 attempts. His abilities on defense are also intriguing, averaging 1.9 steals per game, indicating solid vision and the ability to cut through passing lanes. He represents a low-key PG prospect who could develop nicely given the right opportunity.

Having traded back several times, the Knicks were lucky to snag him at 36, and with the biggest hands in the entire Draft class among guards, he is savvy with his handles and poking the ball away from offensive players. He’s a perfect fit for Thibodeau and his style — his upside as a defender and solid offensive production could represent a long-term solution at point guard for the Knicks.

Knicks land G Rokas Jokubaitis after trading 32nd overall pick to Oklahoma City

Rokas Jokubaitis, knicks

The Knicks have enjoyed an eventful draft up to this point, trading the 19th pick to the Charlotte Hornets for a future first round, the 21st pick to the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 25 pick and future second-round, and selected Houston guard Quentin Grimes to bolster their shooting.

Grimes is the perfect 3-and-D fit for the Knicks, who have the majority of their veteran shooters hitting the market, including Reggie Bullock and Alec Burks. With one of the best defenses in the league last season, Tom Thibodeau is clearly trying to retain that status. However, the team still desperately needed a young point guard to add to the roster, but they went in a different direction with Lithuanian native, Rokas Jokubaitis.

With the No. 32 pick, the Knicks moved back with the Oklahoma City Thunder, acquiring the 34th and 36th picks in exchange, per Woj of ESPN.

What does Rokas Jokubaitis bring to the Knicks?

Jokubaitis is certainly an interesting selection for the Knicks, who are gaining a player who averaged just 7.0 points, 2.5 assists, and shot 45% from the field last season with Zalgiris in the Euro League.

His measurables:

  • Height: 6’5″
  • Weight: 194 pounds
  • Wingspan: 6’9″
  • Position: Guard
  • Birthdate/Age:  November 19, 2000, 20 years
  • International: Zalgiris, three seasons
  • Stat line:  7.0 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.5 steals
  • Home Town: Mazeikiai, Lithuania

Solid showings on the international stage have jolted his stock, as Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer believed he could sneak into the first round. As a combo guard with upside, the Knicks took a flier here, but one that could pay off if he develops correctly.

 

 

Rangers add toughness, sign Ryan Reaves in trade with Vegas Golden Knights

New York Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury announced today that the team has acquired forward Ryan Reaves from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.

The New York Rangers solved their lack of toughness and grit when they traded for Ryan Reaves from the Vegas  Golden Knights on Thursday night. The Blueshirts sent a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft for the 34-year old forward.

Reaves skated in 37 games with Vegas this past season, registering one goal and four assists for five points, along with 27 penalty minutes. He led the NHL (min. 20 games played) in hits per 60 minutes of ice time in 2020-21 (23.02), and he also led the Golden Knights in hits (141) this past season. Reaves skated in 12 games during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs while helping the Golden Knights advance to the Semifinals.

The 6-2, 225-pounder has skated in 686 career NHL games over parts of 11 seasons (2010-11 – 2020-21) with St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Vegas, registering 49 goals and 52 assists for 101 points, along with 937 penalty minutes. Since the start of his first NHL season in 2010-11, Reaves ranks third in the NHL in hits (2,322), ranks seventh in the NHL in major penalties (75), and ranks eighth in the league in penalty minutes. He has averaged at least 20 hits per 60 minutes of ice time in each of his 11 NHL seasons, and he led the NHL in hits in back-to-back seasons in 2018-19 (305) and 2019-20 (316). Reaves has helped his team advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the last 10 seasons, and he has skated in 84 postseason games in his NHL career. He helped Vegas advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017-18, and he also helped the Golden Knights advance to at least the third round of the playoffs in three of his four seasons with the team. Reaves was coached by current Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant for parts of three seasons with Vegas (2017-18 – 2019-20). (per NYR PR Department).

The Winnipeg, Manitoba native was originally selected by St. Louis in the fifth round, 156th overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Reaves has one year remaining on his contract with an AAV of $1.75 million. He will be a UFA at the conclusion of the next season.

Knicks finally execute, selecting Quentin Grimes with the 25th overall pick, what does he bring?

quentin grimes, knicks

After trading away the 19th and 21st overall picks, the New York Knicks finally landed a player with the 25th overall selection. Passing on several point guards, including Miles McBride and Sharife Cooper, the front office decided on Houston sharpshooter Quentin Grimes.

The Knicks worked Grimes out several days ago, as the 6’4″ shooting guard impressed. Having transferred from Kansas to Houston in 2019, he has been on their radar for quite some time. As of a month ago, he was expected to be a late first-round or early second-round selection, so landing him at 25 could be a bit premature.

Nonetheless, Grimes is a high-end shooter, averaging 17.8 points last season with Houston. He connected on 40% of his 8.3 times from three, providing essential shooting with five veterans expected to hit free agency this off-season. Averaging 32.8 minutes per game, he’s clearly ready to make the transition to the NBA.

The Knicks were reportedly interested in Chris Duarte out of Oregon earlier in the draft, but he was taken well before their selection. Grimes offers a solid 3-and-D wing, who contributed 1.4 steals last season, a career-high.

Quentin Grimes this past season:

-84th percentile in overall offense

-92nd percentile in transition

-86th percentile P&R ball handler

-70th percentile isolation

-72nd percentile off screens

-81st percentile on handoffs

The Knicks have the 32nd and 58th overall picks, so they can address the point guard position shortly.

BREAKING: Knicks trade 21st pick to Clippers, completing first round sweep

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

After trading away the 19th overall selection, the New York Knicks elected to take a similar path with the 21st overall pick, trading it away to Los Angeles Clippers.

With serious needs at point guard and need at center behind Mitchell Robinson, the front office is taking an interesting approach that centers around patience. It’s clear they’re gearing up for the future, where they can allocate draft capital to trade for a bonafide star. In the Knicks’ place, the Clippers will select Keon Johnson out of Tennessee.

However, the Clippers sent them the 25th pick in return in addition to a future second-rounder. A solid deal for a team that feels they can grab their top target on the board while adding more draft value for the future.

BREAKING: Knicks trade 19th overall pick to Charlotte

new york knicks

Despite the Knicks‘ best efforts to move up in the 2021 NBA Draft, the front office decided to trade away the 19th overall selection to the Charlotte Hornets for a future first-rounder, according to Woj of ESPN.

With five players set to hit the free-agent market, including Reggie Bullock, Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, Nerlens Noel, and Elfrid Payton, the Knicks are in desperate need of more talent but have $50+ million in free agency funds to allocate.

The team simply doesn’t have four additional spots on the roster for rookies, so trading away this pick and adding for the future is a good move with future implications. They will have a solid group of options to target with the 21st and 32nd overall picks.

Yankees add two monster lefty bats to lineup, changing the righty narrative

anthony rizzo, yankees

The New York Yankees are diving deep into their farm system to add lefty batters to the lineup. With a batting order that is heavily right-handed, general manager Brian Cashman prioritized diversity with the trade deadline on Friday.

Yankees add two big lefty bats:

Joey Gallo:

The Yankees acquired outfielder Joey Gallo and relief pitcher Joely Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers on Thursday morning. Gallo will feature against Miami on Friday with his new team, providing a much-needed lefty power bat in the middle of the order.

The deal sent four minor-league players to Texas, including Ezekiel Duran, Trevor Hauvevr, Glen Otto, and Josh Smith. Texas will consume Gallo’s entire salary for the 2021 season, which keeps the Yankees below the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

On the year, Gallo is hitting .223 with 25 homers and 55 RBIs. He hosts a 32.2% strikeout rate and 19.1% walk rate. As one of the best offensive power bats in baseball, he fits the Yankees’ mold perfectly and can also feature as a regular outfielder. Gall is a reliable player based on his health history, which is a great sign for the Bombers.

Anthony Rizzo:

Most thought the Yankees were done after signing Gallo, but they managed to pull off a trade for Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs as well. Over 92 games this season, Rizzo is hitting .248 with 14 homers and 40 RBIs. He has hit double-digit homers his entire career and hosts a 15.7% strikeout rate, an exceptional number.

Defensively, Rizzo isn’t the most refined player but offers plenty of run production and quality at the plate. This will likely keep DJ LeMahieu at second base but could supplant Luke Voit as he deals with consistent injuries this season.

Rizzo is the definition of a rental, as he is currently on the final year of a seven-year, $41 million contract. The assumption is that Chicago will take on the rest of his contract this season but will likely gain a few talented minor leaguers in the process.

BREAKING: New York Yankees acquiring Anthony Rizzo

anthony rizzo, yankees

Last night, the New York Yankees made a serious power move when they acquired Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers. The Bombers have been historically bad by their standards from the left side of the plate and Gallo was set to provide a much needed boost.

Today, the Yankees had the opportunity to sweep the Rays. However, they were blown out and the day seemed like a down one for fans in The Bronx. However, Brian Cashman just did something that will turn that frown upside down for Yankees fans.

Jack Curry was the first to report this evening that the Yankees were closing in on a deal to acquire Anthony Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs. This deal came completely out of no where and now the Yankees are adding another power bat from the left side.

The Yankees Get Their Guys

Rumors started spreading today that the Yankees were looking to shop Luke Voit to potentially free up more salary. There were also rumors going around that the Yanks were still in talks with Colorado regarding Trevor Story. 

It was clear that the Yankees were looking to continue to add even after acquiring Joey Gallo. Anthony Rizzo has been a popular name on the block in recent weeks, but the bombers were never really tied to him.

The fit is obvious with Rizzo and he just looks like someone who should be wearing pinstripes. Earlier today, it appeared that the Red Sox had the inside track in acquiring the first baseman. However, Brian Cashman and the Yankees came out of no where to close the deal.

At this time, there’s no word on what’s going back to the Cubs in this deal. Rizzo is set to become a free agent after the season is over, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Yanks make a move to extend him. Fun times are back in Yankee land after today’s loss.

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees totally embarrassed in sweep attempt

yankees, gerrit cole

This afternoon the New York Yankees and ace Gerrit Cole went for what may be their most important game this season. A sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees have had big problems this season winning against the Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. However, in the past two nights, the Yankees have taken the first two games of the series and had a chance for the sweep today and a possible turnaround to their season. Cole faced the Tampa Bay pitcher Luis Patino. The sweep was not to be had as the Rays shut out the Yankees 14-0.

At the first, DJ LeMahieu went down on strikes. Aaron Judge singled to right-center. Odor flew out to center. A wild pitch allowed Judge to go to second. Giancarlo Stanton went down on a Patino slider to end the scoreless half.

Brandon Lowe, at the bottom of the inning, took the first pitch he saw from Cole for his 23rd home run of the season, just above the right-field foul pole. Upon review, it was called a foul ball over the foul pole. Lowe finally singled to short and beat out the throw. Ji-Man Choi, who has been a Cole killer (10-21), walked. Yandy Diaz singled, driving in Lowe for the Rays lead. Austin Meadows hit a three-run home run to center to give the Rays a four-run lead without Cole getting a single out. Randy Arozarena went down swinging. Wander Franco struck out. Kevin Kiermaier flew out sharply to Florial in center. Tampa Bay Rays 4 New York 0.

The top of the second was led off by Gleyber Torres, who singled to right. Gio Urshela lofted one to right field for the first out. Brett Gardner hit an infield single. Kyle Higashioka went down looking. Estevan Florial flew out to left to end the half. At the bottom, Mike Zunino ground out to second. Brett Phillips struck out. Lowe went down on a changeup for a 1-2-3 inning comeback for Cole. Rays 4 Yankees 0.

LeMahieu led off the third inning flew out to centerfield. Judge also flew out to center. Odor made the third out to center for a quick half for Patino. Choi led off the bottom of the inning by flying out to Gardner in left. Diaz doubled past Urshela. Meadows went down on strikes. Arozarena struck out on a Cole slider to end the inning. Rays 4 Yankees 0.

The fourth inning saw Stanton at the plate; he struck out. Torres went down on strikes. Urshela made the third strikeout. At the bottom, Franco flew out to left. Kiermaier went down on strikes, and Zunino stuck out swinging. Rays 4 Yankees 0.

The fifth inning was led off by Brett Gardner, who flew out to left. Higashioka popped out to Choi at first. Florial drew a walk, but LeMahieu flew out to right to end the half. At the bottom of the fifth, with 71 pitches and 8 strikeouts from Cole, Phillips became the ninth victim. Lowe flew out to center. Choi got Cole’s 10th strikeout. Rays 4 Yankees 0.

Aaron Judge led off the sixth inning by walking. Odor went down looking. Stanton struck out for the third time. Torres flew out to the warning track in left. Diaz led off the bottom and ground out to second. Meadows had a line-drive single to center. Arozarena got a short base hit to right, holding Meadows at second. Franco walked to load up the bases with Rays. Kiermaier doubled to allow two runs to score. Those two runs and 105 pitches thrown knocked Cole out of the game.

Albert Abreu replaced him, facing Zunino, who walked to reload the bases. Phillips had a grand slam to put the Rays up 10 runs. Lowe walked. Choi homered up the center-field seats for another two runs. Diaz singled to left. Meadows followed with another home run, finally knocking Abreu out of the game. Still, with only one out and after giving up 10 runs in the inning Sal Romano took to the mound to face Arozarena, who had a ground-rule double with a ball that bounced beyond Judge into the right-field stands. Franco went down looking for the second out of the inning. Kiermaier singled to center. Zunino flew out to Judge in right to finally end the inning, with the Rays tacking on 10 runs in the inning. Rays 14 Yankees 0.

At the top of the seventh, Louis Head was on the mound for the Rays to face Tyler Wade pinch-hitting for Urshela; he went down swinging. Brett Gardner popped out to third. Higashioka popped out to Choi at first. At the bottom, with Romano still on the mound, Phillips was called out on strikes. Lowe flew out to left, and Choi struck out looking for a 1-2-3 inning for Romano. Rays 14 Yankees 0.

The eighth inning was led off by Estevan Florial, who singled to left. LeMahieu flew out to center. Ryan LaMarre pinch-hitting for Judge as it appears the Yankees have conceded the game struck out. With Odor coming to the plate, Head was replaced by Ryan Sherriff, Odor with one on and two outs, flew out to left. At the bottom of the inning Clay Holmes, the new Yankee reliever, made his Yankee debut. He led off, grounding out Diaz. Meadows flew out to Florial in center. Arozarena was called out on strikes as Holmes had a 1-2-3 inning in his Yankee debut.

With last licks on the line for the New York Yankees Giancarlo Stanton took to the plate with the Yankees behind 14 runs, he walked. Gleyber Torres ground into a double play. Tyler Wade flew out to center to end an embarrassing loss for the Yankees.

The final score was the Tampa Bay Rays 14 and the New York Yankees 10. The winning pitcher was Luis Patino and the loser was Gerrit Cole.