LOOK: Knicks center Mitchell Robinson wears New York or Nowhere shirt ahead of free agency

New York or nowhere.

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson let his intentions known through his wardrobe choice six weeks before becoming an unrestricted free agent.

The 24-year-old Robinson wore a black shirt with New York or Nowhere emblazoned on his chest during his recent visit to his high school in Louisiana earlier this week. Robinson gave his signed Knicks jersey to Chalmette High School principal Wayne Warner.

The Knicks have until June 30 to sign Robinson to a contract extension worth up to $58 million over four years. In a pre-taped interview before the Knicks’ final regular-season game, team president Leon Rose indicated their interest in bringing back Robinson.

“With Mitchell (Robinson), there have been ongoing discussions throughout the year with his agent,” Rose said. “And those discussions will continue for the remainder of the time until free agency.”

It only confirmed the earlier SNY report that both camps are not close to a potential extension.

The Detroit Pistons have been long viewed as the Knicks’ strongest rival for Robinson’s services. They will be in the market for a starting center to pair with Cade Cunningham. They have around $25.5 million in cap space to spend in the free agency.

If the Knicks are heavily associated with Creative Artists Agency, where Rose previously headed their basketball division, the Pistons are known to have close ties with the Wasserman Group.

Arn Tellem was the vice-chairman of the Wasserman Group before he joined the Pistons in the same capacity. George David, a close friend of Knicks GM Scott Perry, has also rejoined the Pistons this season as assistant general manager after spending six years as senior vice president of the Wasserman Group’s basketball division.

The Knicks’ advantage over the Pistons is they have Robinson’s Bird rights, meaning they can go over the cap to sign him after he becomes an unrestricted free agent. If Robinson becomes too rich for their blood, they can do a sign-and-trade in a possible swap with Dallas Mavericks’ point guard Jalen Brunson.

Robinson may be looking to cash in his best season yet, where he played 72 of the 82 games. After a slow start to the season following two serious injuries last year, Robinson had a strong finish averaging a career-best 8.5 points on 76.1 percent field goal shooting and 8.6 rebounds.

Perhaps Robinson’s camp is eyeing a contract in the vicinity of Robert Williams’ $52 million, four-year extension with the Boston Celtics.

Before he burst into the NBA as a second-round steal in the 2019 NBA Draft, Robinson starred for Chalmette and led the Owls to their first state playoff win during his junior year. As a senior, Robinson led them to their first district championship in their regular-season tournament in 20 years, first district title in 21 years in the toughest basketball district in the state, and to the state semifinals for the first time in 32 years.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Elite run-stuffing linebacker prospect that the Giants could target in 2nd round

chad muma, giants

The 2022 NFL Draft is right around the corner and the New York Giants are preparing to complete their roster overhaul. New York needs to upgrade many parts of their roster on both sides of the ball. New defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s scheme is reliant on good linebackers that excel in run defense. In the 2022 NFL Draft, there are prospects that would fit seamlessly into this scheme, like Wyoming’s Chad Muma.

Chad Muma is an elite run-stuffing linebacker prospect that the Giants could target in the second round of this year’s draft. The Giants need depth behind Blake Martinez, the team’s starting inside linebacker who is coming off of an ACL tear suffered in the 2021 season. Chad Muma could fit the bill and transition seamlessly into Wink Martindale’s defensive scheme.

What could Chad Muma bring to the Giants?

Chad Muma is a projected second-round pick in this year’s draft. The Wyoming linebacker prospect has been praised for his run-defending and legit size and athleticism at his position. Muma posted an elite relative athletic score (RAS) of 9.77. He has elite explosion combined with good speed, agility, and size.

The Giants would be getting a true three-down inside linebacker in Chad Muma. He excels as a run defender but also has the ability to make an impact in the passing game. The Draft Network describes Chad Muma as “excellent” in the passing game because he is “athletic enough in coverage to cover running backs on routes.” This is a trait that the Giants’ linebackers are currently lacking.

According to Pro Football Focus, Chad Muma was the second highest-graded (91.1) 2021 FBS linebacker in run defense for this year’s rookie class. In 2021, Muma generated 68 total defensive stops, three picks and 21 pressures for Wyoming (PFF). He was a tackle machine, racking up an insane 142 total tackles in the 2021 season. Chad Muma also added 8 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 3 interceptions this year.

The New York Giants will be in the market for a linebacker in this year’s draft. Many analysts have mocked Chad Muma and other linebacker prospects to the Giants in the second and third rounds. Linebacker has become a position of need for the Giants. As new general manager Joe Schoen rebuilds this roster, he will need to improve this position for Wink Martindale. Chad Muma has a rare, versatile skillset. Wink Martindale emphasizes versatility. The Giants could secure Chad Muma in round two and develop him into a stud in the middle of their defense.

Report: Giants looking to trade 2021 1st round WR Kadarius Toney

kadarius toney, giants

Amid significant tension between the New York Giants and former 2021 first round receiver Kadarius Toney, a report has emerged that the team is looking to trade the second year pass catcher.

According to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, the Giants are taking calls regarding the availability of Toney, potentially looking to move him after the budding receiver skipped out on voluntary camp.

General manager Joe Schoen made it apparent that missing out on voluntary camp wasn’t a big deal during a press conference this week, but behind the scenes, they could be disappointed about his work ethic considering the change in coaching staff.

Last year, Toney represented one of the only bright spots on the Giants roster, tallying 420 yards and a 189-yard performance against the Dallas Cowboys in Weel 5.

Toney has had his fair share of red flags emerge, ranging from a fight at the end of the game against Dallas to significant injury problems. There are a few reasons the Giants might look to move on, but he showed flashes of star talent with Jason Garrett calling offensive plays, which should justify keeping them around for at least another season.

If the Giants are, in fact, looking to move on from Toney, it is most definitely because of his character at this point in time. However, this is a developing story and should be taken with a grain of salt.

Bellator 279 Preview: Will Juan Archuleta or Raufeon Stots become interim bantamweight champion?

Juan Archuleta

Tomorrow night on the main card of Bellator 279, the Bantamweight Grand Prix will officially kick off. In the co-main event the interim bantamweight championship is on the line as former bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta (25-3) as he takes on Raufeon Stots (17-1).

Now, originally Stots was supposed to face off against teammate and reigning Bellator champion Sergio Pettis. However, Pettis tore his ACL which forced him to withdrawal from the fight and the Grand Prix. Thus, we have this interim title fight.

Now, Stots takes on the man who Pettis beat for the title. Stots has been sensational since joining Bellator back in 2019. He’s been perfect at 5-0 and overall he’s won nine fights in a row leading up to tomorrow night.

However, he’s facing his toughest test to date in Juan Archuleta. Like Stots, Juan Archuleta has been sensational since joining Bellator. After signing back in 2018, he’s gone 7-2 which included capturing the bantamweight title.

His two losses have come against Sergio Pettis and at featherweight against Patricio Pitbull. He’s one of the best in the promotion for a reason and he’s ready to get back to the Bellator title tomorrow night.

Bellator 279 Prediction

I love this matchup and I think the two bantamweight fights are the true headliners for tomorrow night’s Bellator card. Raufeon Stots might be the best bantamweight in the promotion.

His wrestling and overall skillset is something to watch. He’s truly sensational with the pace that he can put on guys and his combination of speed and technique is fun to watch. His lone loss was due to a spinning backfist where he got caught. Outside of getting caught that one time, he’s been dominant his whole career.

However, claiming the interim Bellator title is not going to be an easy task. Juan Archuleta has tremendous skills and he’s very good on the feet. He trains with one of the best in the world in TJ Dillashaw and he’s going to be prepared for tomorrow night.

One thing we know about Juan Archuleta is that he’s battle tested and can go five rounds. We haven’t had to see that from Stots in his Bellator career. That might play a factor tomorrow night just like it did when Archuleta fought Patchy Mix.

However, I think this fight goes down differently. I think that Stots bags the first three rounds before the final two get very competitive. In the end, this goes to the scorecards and Stots has his crowning moment becoming Bellator’s interim bantamweight champion.

Prediction: Raufeon Stots by Unanimous Decision

UFC Vegas 52 Co-Main Event Preview: Clay Guida – Claudio Puelles

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 52, we will see an entertaining scrap in the lightweight division. Hall of Famer and fan favorite Clay Guida (37-21) is back as he takes on rising contender Claudio Puelles (11-2).

Puelles will enter UFC Vegas 52 on a four-fight winning streak. After losing his UFC debut by TKO to Martin Bravo, Puelles has been on an impressive run since. The grappling expert has rattled off four consecutive victory with his most recent coming in December.

Two of those four wins are by kneebar and you can bet he’ll be looking for a submission at UFC Vegas 52. Out of his eleven professional wins, six of them have come via submission.

However, he’s going to have his hands full tomorrow night with the active Clay Guida. UFC HOFer Clay Guida will be looking to pick up his second straight win. The last time we saw him was in December when he took on Leonardo Santos.

Things didn’t start well as Guida was almost finished in the first. However, he weathered the storm and stormed back in the second round to pick up the 17th win in his long UFC career.

UFC Vegas 52 Prediction

I’m very curious to see what the game plan is for Clay Guida tomorrow night. Typically, we see Guida use his active striking to setup his takedowns. He always looks to utilize his wrestling, however, I think he might want to keep things standing at UFC Vegas 52.

Puelles is very good on the ground, but he’s not incredibly polished on the feet. Not only that, he’s also not incredibly active on the feet. If this fight stays standing, I can see Guida easily winning a decision just simply based on his activity.

That being said, if it touches the mat, Puelles can win by submission. I keep going back and forth with my pick for the UFC Vegas 52 co-main. I’ll say this, if it goes to the scorecards, Guida is winning the fight. If the fight is stopped, Puelles is winning by submission. A coin flip pick for me, but I’m going with the Hall of Famer.

Prediction: Clay Guida by Decision

Bellator 279 Preview: Kyoji Horiguchi – Patchy Mix

Kyoji Horiguchi

Tomorrow night on the main card of Bellator 279, the Bantamweight Grand Prix will kick off. One of the featured bouts pairs former bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi (29-4) against former title challenger Patchy Mix (15-1).

Out of all the opening matchups of the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix, this is the one I’m the most excited for. In one corner, you have the former bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi.

Horiguchi won the Bellator title back in 2019 and then vacated the belt. He returned to Bellator in December to try and win it back against Sergio Pettis. Horiguchi was dominating Pettis through three rounds. However, he was caught with spinning back fist in the fourth round and lost by KO.

Now, he’s looking to get back on track. Standing in his way is the grappling phenom Patchy Mix. Last time we saw Mix was back at Bellator 270 when he submitted James Gallagher in the third round of their fight.

Mix has won back-to-back fights since losing in his title fight against Juan Archuleta. This is a really tough fight for Mix, but if he can win, he will prove that he’s going to be a very tough out in the Bellator Grand Prix.

Bellator 279 Prediction

To me, this is going to be one of those fights that’s decided based on where it takes place. Let me be clear, Kyoji Horiguchi is one of the best fighters in the world, not just in Bellator.

He was walking through Sergio Pettis prior to getting clipped in December. Outside of that loss, he only has two other defeats since 2012. One was to Kai Asakura, a loss he’s already avenged, and the other was to arguably the greatest of all time in Demetrious Johnson.

Patchy Mix is insanely dangerous on the ground. If this Bellator 279 contest hits the mat, Mix can win by submission. However, I think we are going to see a lot of striking and it’s hard for me to see Mix outstriking Horiguchi.

Mix will hold his own, but I expect Horiguchi to get the win here. Too much skill and I think he shows tomorrow night why he should be the favorite to win this Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix.

Prediction: Kyoji Horiguchi by Unanimous Decision

UFC Vegas 52 Preview: Will Jessica Andrade be successful in strawweight return?

Tomorrow night in the headliner of UFC Vegas 52, the former strawweight champion is returning to 115 pounds. Former champion Jessica Andrade (22-9) is back after a brief run at flyweight to take on surging Brazilian contender Amanda Lemos (11-1-1).

Back in 2019 at UFC 237, Jessica Andrade became strawweight champion when she knocked out Rose Namajunas with slam. It was the crowning moment of her career. However, two straight losses after that forced a change in scenery.

She went up to 125 pounds and stopped top contender Katlyn Chookagian in the first round. That led to a title shot against Valentina Shevchenko and Andrade was dominated. She fought once more at 125 dominating Cynthia Calvillo and is now returning to the weight class where she was a UFC champion.

Standing her way is fellow Brazilian Amanda Lemos. Lemos entered the UFC unbeaten and lost her first fight by TKO to Leslie Smith. However, since then, she’s won five fights in a row including a controversial decision against Angela Hill which has led to this main event.

UFC Vegas 52 Prediction

I am actually a really big fan of the skillset of Amanda Lemos and I think she’s a very dangerous contender in the UFC’s strawweight division. She’s long with very technical and powerful strikes. However, there are also some drawbacks.

We’ve seen her cardio fade in three-round fights and we saw her struggle on the mat with Angela Hill. These are two things that can really come back to haunt her against Jessica Andrade. Andrade is one of the more powerful fighters in the UFC’s strawweight division.

With the amount of heat she can throw at Lemos, I’m not sure Lemos will be as technically sound tomorrow night. I think that is going to play a huge factor and it’s one of the reasons why I really like Andrade in this fight.

Andrade is going to mix it up with her strikes and grappling. When she’s striking, she’s also going to attack all three levels. Her well-roundedness, her power, and her cardio are going to lead to her getting a TKO win in her strawweight return at UFC Vegas 52.

Prediction: Jessica Andrade by TKO – Round 3

Bellator 279 Preview: Is there any chance Cyborg loses her title?

Tomorrow night in the main event of Bellator 279, one of the greatest female fighters of all time returns to defend her title. Reigning featherweight champion Cris Cyborg (25-2) is back as she takes on Arlene Blencowe (15-8).

This fight is a rematch from 2020 when these two headlined Bellator 249. That night, Cyborg rolled through Blencowe on her way to picking up the second round submission. It was actually the first submission win in the career of Cyborg.

Since losing in her first title fight against Cyborg, Blencowe has looked solid. She’s fought twice most recently at Bellator 271 in November when she picked up a decision win over Pam Sorenson.

Cyborg has also fought twice since the first time her and Blencowe fought. She also last fought at Bellator 271 when she knocked out Ireland’s Sinead Kavanagh in the first round with a vicious right hook to defend her title.

Bellator 279 Prediction

The odds on this main event are extremely lopsided and they should be. Since they first fought at Bellator 249, I haven’t really seen enough from Blencowe that would lead me to believe that she’s the one to defeat Cyborg.

Cyborg has ran through every opponent that she’s fought in Bellator. Her contract is coming up and I really don’t see her losing this fight as she prepares to re-enter the free agent market.

Wherever Cyborg wants this fight to be, she’s going to take it there. Blencowe has very solid standup, but she’s at a huge power and speed disadvantage. Those advantages for Cyborg are so overwhelming that I just don’t see how Blencowe gets through them.

Cyborg is going to finish this fight quickly and retain her Bellator title. The storyline after this fight will not be the performance, it will be what comes next after her dominant victory.

Prediction: Cris Cyborg by TKO – Round 1

Bellator 278 Preview: Who will walk away with the women’s flyweight title?

bellator

Tonight kicks off a two-night MMA event in Hawaii as Bellator 278 takes center stage. In the main event of the evening, the women’s flyweight title is on the line as the undefeated champion Julianna Velasquez (12-0) looks to defeat former two-time UFC title challenger Liz Carmouche (16-7).

For Liz Carmouche, this is going to be her third crack at a world championship. Her first came back in 2013 when she came up short against Ronda Rousey. Following that fight, she had an impressive run in the UFC that led to her title shot against Valentina Shevchenko.

During that run, she had wins over the likes of Jessica Andrade, Lauren Murphy, and Katyln Chookagian. After she lost to Shevchenko, she was released and she signed with Bellator. So far, she’s 3-0 in Bellator with two finishes.

Standing across from her tonight is the unbeaten champion Julianna Velasquez. Velasquez won the title at Bellator 254 in a battle of the unbeatens as she defeated former champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane.

In her lone title defense, she had a razor close fight with Denise Kieholtz. She won the matchup by split decision and retained her Bellator title.

Bellator 278 Prediction

There is a lot of money on Julianna Velasquez at Bellator 278, but I think that Liz Carmouche is a very live dog. In terms of competition, there’s no doubt who has been in there with the tougher competition.

Carmouche has two fights against Valentina Shevchenko and she’s fought three other former UFC champions. She’s not going to be intimidated and she’s coming to Bellator 278 to win the title.

She’s going to have the power advantage and she needs to use it. Carmouche cannot let Velasquez dictate where this fight takes place. Velasquez is very good on the ground and she also is very good in the clinch.

If she’s able to dictate range and location, she’s going to retain her title. I think this Bellator 278 main event is incredibly close and competitive. In the end, I think Velasquez is going to edge this one out by decision. However, if I was betting money on the fight, I think your better bet from a betting perspective is with the challenger.

Prediction: Julianna Velasquez by Decision

Yankees’ Aaron Boone has interesting response to benching Gleyber Torres

yankees, gleyber torres

The New York Yankees have had a myriad of inconsistent players this season, despite only being 13 games into the year. Hosting a record of 7-6, the Bombers are coming off a series win against the Detroit Tigers, losing the final game of the series by a score of 3-0. Being blanked by Detroit, their first of the season, is quite embarrassing. Failure to produce run support has been one of the team’s biggest downfalls.

Aside from Joey Gallo, who had been more of a liability than a strong suit, the Yankees have also recently limited second-baseman Gleyber Torres’s playing time. This season, Torres has earned a dismal .167 average, producing just six hits over 36 at-bats. At least he’s curated two RBIs, more than the fat zero Gallo has contributed.

However, Torres’s impact has been lessened recently, especially with DJ LeMahieu starting the year strong in the batter’s box. Torres has tallied just one hit in his last 16 at-bats, a number the Bombers simply can’t roll with, given their desperate need for more offensive production.

Despite being benched, field manager Aaron Boone stated that he “wouldn’t read too much” into the decision to keep him out of the lineup, also adding that Torres was “maybe a little off the last few games.”

Boone came to Gleyber’s defense, backing up his swing and the progress he’s made.

“I think he’s in a good place,’’ Boone said. “All spring, I liked where his swing was at and what I feel like he was getting back to driving the ball more.”

“He’ll get there,’’ Boone said. “He made the necessary adjustments this spring. The biggest thing last year was that he didn’t hit for power like in the past, but still did good things and finished strong for us. I absolutely know that’s in there for him. We’ve just got to pull it out.”

Torres smacked 38 homers back in 2019, showcasing incredible power, but has failed to replicate those numbers since. His slugging metrics haven’t changed much from his two dominant campaigns, but he’s simply not making the same contact. It’s possible the change in ball design has impacted his power, considering Brett Gardner smashed 28 homers back in 2019 as well.