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Jhalil Okafor Considering Staying at Duke for Another Year

Jhalil Okafor Considering Staying at Duke for Another Year

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- While many have Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor penciled in as the top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, Okafor says jumping to the NBA after this season is no sure thing.

By all accounts, Okafor has been one of the most dominant players in college basketball this season. In his first collegiate season, Okafor is averaging 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

Okafor has been so impressive, he's considered by many as the top collegiate prospect.

“I know I’ll be in position to live my dream in the NBA or live my dream and stay here at Duke with people who truly love me,” Okafor said via Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I totally feel comfortable with staying here in college, and my family wouldn’t care one bit as long as I’m happy. They know how much I love being here.

“I love everything about Duke. I wish I could just stop time and be able to enjoy this as much as I can.”

Around this time last season, former Duke freshman sensation Jabari Parker said he was also considering staying for his sophomore season, but wound up declaring and was the second pick in the draft.

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Predators Acquire Defenseman Cody Franson from the Maple Leafs

Predators Acquire Defenseman Cody Franson from the Maple Leafs

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The top team in the NHL has added even more reinforcements as they've acquired defenseman Cody Franson and center Mike Santorelli from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In exchange, the Predators will send the Maple Leafs forward Olli Jokinen, prospect Brendan Leipsic, and a 2015 first-round pick.

"In preparation for the 2015 playoff run, our goal was to add a veteran defenseman who could play in all situations and a proven forward who could move up and down lineup based on the situation," Predators general manager David Poile said in a statement. "We were fortunate to do this in the same transaction with players who are in the prime of their careers more than two weeks before the trade deadline in order to give them more time to contribute and gel with their teammates."

Both Franson and Santorelli began their careers with the Predators, and are also both set to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

In 55 games this season, Franson has 32 points, while Santorelli has 29 points in 57 games.

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Knicks Agree To Buyout of Stoudemire’s Contract

Knicks Agree To Buyout of Stoudemire’s Contract

NBA via New York Knicks(NEW YORK) -- The New York Knicks and Amar'e Stoudemire have agreed to a contractual buyout.

Stoudemire was in the final year of a five-year, $99.7 million contact and after clearing waivers will be free to sign with any team. He was scheduled to make $23.4 million this season.

ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Dallas Mavericks appear to be the front-runner to sign the 6'10," 32-year-old power forward.  Other suitors include the Golden State Warriors -- Stoudemire has a relationship with head coach Steve Kerr -- and the Phoenix Suns.

Stoudemire earned his sixth All-Star appearance during the 2010-2011 season with the Knicks, but since that season a change in offensive philosophy and injuries have limited his effectiveness.

In 36 games this season, Stoudemire is averaging 12 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

 

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Russell Westbrook Named All-Star Game MVP

Russell Westbrook Named All-Star Game MVP

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook was named NBA All-Star Game MVP.

The electric Westbrook posted 41 points for the West in a 163-158 victory in Madison Square Garden.

More than 17,000 people witnessed a display of incredible offense as the 6'3" point guard put up 27 points in the first half, an NBA record, and fell one point short of breaking Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star Game record of 42, set in 1962.

"Moments like this [are] what you dream about as a kid growing up," Westbrook said. "Especially in the Garden, in the Mecca of basketball."

For the East, LeBron James led a valiant effort with a 30-point performance, but Westbrook's night would prove to be too much.

"He's an unbelievable talent in our league," James said. "His motor, his athleticism, his demeanor about how he approaches the game - it's all great. He showcased that on a big stage."

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Earnhardt, Hamlin Fail Post-Daytona Qualifying Inspections

Earnhardt, Hamlin Fail Post-Daytona Qualifying Inspections

BananaStock(DAYTONA, Fl.) -- After qualifying time trials at Daytona International Speedway Sunday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin will have to start at the back of the pack.

Both racers failed post-run inspections and will have to begin their qualifying races in the rear of the field this Thursday.

Earnhardt, Jr. tweeted after he was informed of the results: "Failed post tech after qualifying. 1/8 low left front. That's a shame. The boys will figure out why. Makes the duels a lot more interesting."

Last year’s Daytona 500 winner had qualified 10th, before height rulings negated his finish.

As for Hamlin, he is already guaranteed a spot in the Daytona 500.  Six drivers are given an automatic berth into the Daytona 500 based on last season's owners point standings; Hamlin finished third.

 

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Brandt Snedeker Wins Again At Pebble Beach

Brandt Snedeker Wins Again At Pebble Beach

Harry How/Getty Images(PEBBLE BEACH Calif.) -- Brandt Snedeker picked up his seventh victory of his TOUR career at the AT&T National Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday and clinched a Masters berth.

Snedeker finished five under in the final round for a total of 22 under for the weekend to hold off Nick Watney, who finished three shots back.

"I knew where my game was coming into here," Snedeker said.  "I don't think anybody else believed me or understood how good I thought I was playing."

Snedeker made 23 birdies and just one bogey this week and did the best he could on the course.

"Greens were very hard to read," Snedeker said.  "I did a great job of staying patient.  It was not by any means a picture perfect ground.  I made a lot of mistakes."

"I did a good job at putting the ball where you're supposed to," he continued.

Snedeker won last year at Pebble Beach as well and the victory moved him to No. 31 in the world, which should put him in all the World Golf Championship events.

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Kevin Durant Defends Scott Brooks, Not a Fan of the Media

Kevin Durant Defends Scott Brooks, Not a Fan of the Media

Oklahoma City Thunder/NBA(NEW YORK) -- Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant is tired of people asking about his head coach Scott Brooks job security.

Durant told reporters in New York on Saturday that they don't know what they're talking about in regards to that situation and even told them what questions they should ask instead.

"You guys really don't know s---," Durant told reporters when asked about Scott.

Brooks is in his seventh year coaching in Oklahoma City and has a 321-195 record, but the Thunder only have one NBA Finals appearance to show for it.

"To be honest, man, I'm only here talking to y'all because I have to," Durant continued. "So I really don't care. Y'all not my friends. You're going to write what you want to write. You're going to love us one day and hate us the next. That's a part of it. So I just learn how to deal with y'all."

Durant was voted the MVP last year and beat out LeBron James, but said on Friday that the media has too much power when it comes to voting.

"Yeah, I think media and guys get too much power to vote on stuff that quite frankly I don't think you really know a lot about [or] as much as we know about it," Durant said. "So, yeah, we play against these guys every single night. We battle against these guys. We know what they say on the court. We know how they handle their teammates. We know how they approach the game and our vote should count. Our opinions should count. Like I said, I don't think you guys know as much as we do, and I don't see why you have more power than we do."

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Commissioner Adam Silver Open to Tweaking the NBA Schedule

Commissioner Adam Silver Open to Tweaking the NBA Schedule

Christopher Trottman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants to make changes in the NBA schedule which will allow players to have more rest, reduce preseason games, and readdress the lottery system.

Silver also stated that he is interested in changing the playoff format so that the best teams in the entire NBA are eligible to play in May and June.

"We'll come as close as we can to eliminating the four-in-five formula. We think we can make a dramatic reduction," Silver said. "We hear everyone loud and clearly. It's a function of number of days in the schedule."

Silver hinted at a reduction in preseason games, an extension of the NBA regular season, and he stated that the league is in contact with ESPN and TNT to allow more games on Thursdays and Sundays for national television purposes.

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DeMarcus Cousins: ‘I Don’t Respect’ Charles Barkley

DeMarcus Cousins: ‘I Don’t Respect’ Charles Barkley

Sacramento Kings/NBA(NEW YORK) -- Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is not a fan of hall of famer Charles Barkley's recent comments.

Cousins, who was voted onto the All-Star team, fired back at Barkley this weekend for questioning Cousins' being consulted for the hiring of head coach George Karl this week.

"It ain't personal," Cousins said when asked about Barkley, who is also an analyst on TNT. "I mean, I don't really respect the guy, but at the same time, I don't really care what he thinks either.  I don't respect him, and I don't care what he thinks."

Barkley wasn't happy when discussing this topic earlier this week.

"Why are they discussing it with him?" Barkley said during a TNT telecast. "Yeah, I am totally disgusted with that. ... He hasn't done enough to deserve that type of power. [The Kings] stink. Why would you give a guy that young that type of power?

"If you're a Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon or somebody like that, yeah, you deserved that type of power after you have earned it," Barkley continued.  "Let me just say this either way, that's just total bulls---. That's ridiculous."

The Kings are 18-34 and sit in 13th in the Western Conference.

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Jeff Gordon Wins Daytona 500 Pole

Jeff Gordon Wins Daytona 500 Pole

Todd Warshaw/Getty Images(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) -- In his last season as a full-time driver, Jeff Gordon will start up front at the Daytona 500 next Sunday.

The fourt-time Sprint Cup champion had the fastest qualifying time with a speed of 201.293 miles an hour on Sunday.

Gordon announced last month that this will be his final full-time season, and Sunday's season-opening Daytona 500 will most likely be the final one of his career.

In Sunday's qualifying session, Gordon and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson locked down the front row, and it's the first time that's been done in the knockout round in 57 years. 

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Stars Place Seguin on IR

Stars Place Seguin on IR

Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images(DENVER) -- Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin was placed on injured reserve Saturday with a lower-body injury.

Star's general manager Jim Nill announced Seguin will miss three to six weeks.The 23-year-old Seguin was injured during the team's win over the Florida Panthers Friday night after getting hit low by Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov. Kulikov was ejected from the game, and Seguin had to be helped off the ice."It's a play that I don't like," Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said Saturday. "It's a dirty, low play that I don't like. The league doesn't like it, and I want to see the league deal with it."Seguin began Saturday third in the NHL in points (58).The Stars also lost forwards Ales Hemsky and Patrick Eaves to injury Friday night. Like Seguin, Eaves was also placed on the injured reserve.Dallas recalled forwards Brett Ritchie and Travis Morin from the AHL.

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Aldridge Will Start in Place of Davis in Sunday’s All-Star Game

Aldridge Will Start in Place of Davis in Sunday’s All-Star Game

Steve Dykes/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a surprise move, the head coach of the Western Conference All-Stars, Steve Kerr, named Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge a starter for Sunday's All-Star Game instead of the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant.Kerr originally said Durant would start in place of the injured Anthony Davis but changed his mind on Saturday.Durant wasn't going to play much anyways because of nagging injuries. The reigning MVP has missed 27 games this season due to injury. In the 26 games he has played, Durant is averaging 25.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and four assists per game.Earlier this season, Aldridge tore a ligament in his thumb and was supposed to have surgery, but instead he missed only two games before deciding to put off the operation and play out the rest of the season.Aldridge has played in 47 games this season, averaging 23.6 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. The All-Star Game will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

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2015 Basketball HOF Nominees Announced

2015 Basketball HOF Nominees Announced

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Basketball Hall of Fame announced a group of 12 finalists for its 2015 class Saturday at Madison Square Garden.The class is headed by Kentucky coach John Calipari, five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway and four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dikembe Mutombo."I'm at a loss for words," said Calipari who has reached the Final Four five times. "I want to thank the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame committee for even considering me. The process is by no means over -- I'm just a finalist at this point -- but to even be mentioned as a finalist among these worthy candidates is an unbelievable honor. I am absolutely humbled by this."NBA referee Dick Bavetta, three-time NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, four-time NBA All-Star Spencer Haywood, seven-time NBA All-Star Jo Jo White, three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie, former NBA coach Bill Fitch, and highschool coaches Robert Hughes and Leta Andrews are also finalists.The Hall of Fame will announce its Class of 2015 on April 6.

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Brogdon Helps No. 2 Virginia Steal Victory from Wake Forest

Brogdon Helps No. 2 Virginia Steal Victory from Wake Forest

G Fiume/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- Wake Forest's Codi Miller-McIntyre had a chance to give his team an upset win over No. 2 Virginia, but Malcolm Brogdon had other thoughts.With the Demon Deacons down by one with seconds to play, Miller-McIntyre tried driving to the hoop, but Brogdon stole the ball to secure the Cavaliers a 61-60 victory."I knew he wanted to get by me," Brogdon said. "He's not a shooter. He's a slasher. I knew he was going to try to get into my body and I just tried to square him up and stay in front of him, and he coughed up the ball."Virginia led by seven with 4:07 to go after Anthony Gill slammed home two of his game-high 19 points, but Konstantinos Mitoglou proceeded to make two clutch 3-pointers, the second putting Wake Forest down by one with 40 seconds to play.Miller-McIntyre had a chance to tie the game at the free throw line with 17 seconds remaining but missed the second attempt, resulting in the Demon Deacons needing one final bucket.Mitoglou led Wake Forest (12-14, 4-9 ACC) with 18 points.Brogdon had 11 points, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and a block in the win.Virginia (23-1, 11-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) remains two games ahead of Notre Dame in the loss column for first place in the ACC.

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Steph Curry Wins NBA Three Point Contest

Steph Curry Wins NBA Three Point Contest

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- With a flurry of treys, the hottest shooter in the NBA destroyed the three point contest in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry won Saturday's Three Point Crown with a score of 27.

Fellow Warrior Klay Thompson gave a valiant effort in the final round but fell well short with only 14 conversions from beyond the arc. 

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving was the third finals contestant and managed second place with 17 threes. 

Curry is tied with the Atlanta Hawks' Kyle Korver and Portland Trailblazers Wesley Matthews for the NBA lead in three point conversions with 161.

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(1) Kentucky Dominates South Carolina, 77-43

(1) Kentucky Dominates South Carolina, 77-43G. Fiume/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Kentucky Wildcats showed again why they're the top ranked team in the nation after taking care of South Carolina 77-43 on Saturday. With the win, Kentucky improved to 25-0, matching the program's record from 1953-...

Jets Decline Option On Chris Johnson

Jets Decline Option On Chris Johnson

Leon Halip/Getty Images(FLORHAM PARK, N.J.) -- The New York Jets will part ways with running back Chris Johnson after one underwhelming season.

The team declined a second year option worth $500,000. A decision was required on Monday.

Last season Johnson was signed by former general manager John Idzik to a two-year, $8 million deal in the expectation that he would create an aggressive running attack. The running back formerly known as "CJ2K" ran for a career low 663 yards on 155 carries. 

Johnson had hoped to revive his career with New York after being released by the Titans after the 2013 season.  Initially he was to provide a speed compliment to Chris Ivory, but by the end of season he saw his carries eclipsed by the Ivory and Bilal Powell.

Johnson, 30 was one of seven running backs in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season. In 2009 he ran for 2,006 yards.  

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Jim Harbaugh: 49ers Left Me

Jim Harbaugh: 49ers Left Me

Ralph Freso/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh told "The TK Show," a San Jose Mercury News podcast on Friday that he wanted to return as the 49ers head coach, but it was their choice to move on.

Harbaugh led the 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl appearance during his time in San Francisco.

"I was told I wouldn't be the coach anymore," Harbaugh said. "And then ... you can call it 'mutual,' I mean, I wasn't going to put the 49ers in the position to have a coach that they didn't want anymore."

"But that's the truth of it," Harbaugh continued.  "I didn't leave the 49ers. I felt like the 49er hierarchy left me."

Harbaugh was 49-22-1 in four seasons and he admitted in the podcast that others inside the organization began treating him differently.

"I wasn't reading anything that was on the Internet, I was really focused on doing my job, but definitely walk down the halls and people look away or they look at you and you know something's going on," Harbaugh said.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 2/13/15

Scoreboard Roundup – 2/13/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets 4 (24-26-3, 51pts) - Philadelphia Flyers 3 (23-22-10, 5 pts) - Overtime

Chicago Blackhawks 3 (34-18-4, 72pts) - New Jersey Devils 1 (21-25-9, 51pts)

Dallas Stars 3 (26-21-8, 60pts) - Florida Panthers 0 (24-19-11, 59pts)

San Jose Sharks 4 (29-20-8, 66pts) - Arizona Coyotes 2 (20-29-7, 47pts)

College Basketball Top-25: (7) Arizona 86 (21-3) - Washington 62 (14-10)

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Report: LeBron James Elected VP of NBA Players Association

Report: LeBron James Elected VP of NBA Players AssociationChristian Petersen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- According to Adrian Wojnarowski, LeBron James has been named the first Vice President of the NBA Players Association.   Chris Paul was elected the President of the NBPA back in August, overtaking now Kn...

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