The first thing Robert Williams should buy with his new NBA contract is a nice, loud alarm clock.

The new Celtics big man, who was drafted with the 27th overall pick Thursday, missed his introductory conference call with media Friday at 11 a.m. ET because he was enjoying a good night’s sleep after watching the draft from a Buffalo Wild Wings in Shreveport, La.

Right after the draft, I actually ran to my aunt’s house and went to sleep because I was so tired from everything, Williams said on his rescheduled call (via masslive.com). When I woke, my sister was like, ‘You had a conference call.’

Culver was the unsung piece of Texas Tech’s roster this season, taking a backseat to college star Keenan Evans and 2018 draft pick Zhaire Smith. The baseline reasons to be excited about Culver’s potential center around his 38.2 3-point percentage and 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per 40 minutes.

The sustainability of that 3-point number given his poor shooting from the foul line will likely be the swing factor for his 2019 draft stock.

It was that kind of night for Knox, and we apologize if this gives you a month of nightmares. The good news is that Knox is an athletic combo forward who impressed in workouts and will be joined by Mitchell Robinson, a big man who did not play last year after he bolted Western Kentucky before the season.

The Thunder most likely followed the saga of Michael Porter Jr. to the Nuggets and gave the whole thing a shrug. After all, in the second round, they took a guy — Kevin Hervey with the 57th pick — who had surgery on his right ACL in high school and his left ACL last year. Now that is throwing MRIs to the wind. He still managed 20.5 points for UT-Arlington last season.

OKC also got Virginia’s Devon Hall, and have a trade-in-waiting for Kentucky super-athlete Hamidou Diallo.

As if to prove that the team is focused on bringing in length, the Magic picked center Mo Bamba (7-10 wingspan), forward Melvin Frazier (7-1.75 wingspan), Justin Jackson (7-3 wingspan) and a rare wandering albatross from the coast of New Zealand with a wingspan of 11 feet.

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The 28-year-old forward is set to enter free agency this summer after spending last season with the Thunder. Los Angeles is planning to recruit George after multiple reports have indicated that he is interested in potentially signing with the team.

Sports Illustrated obtained a script for a voiceover video the Lakers are planning to show George.

James Harden said it doesn’t stop here after finally being named NBA MVP and revealed that he did not prepare a speech for fear he might miss out again.

Honestly, because I didn’t know. You know, I felt like last year I should have won as well, so I didn’t see a difference between last year and this year. he said.

If I won it, then I was going to go off the top and try to, you know, show my appreciation to everybody helping me along the way. Give respect and pay my dues.

Obviously, I knew the importance and the opportunity that the Rockets have given me for these last six or seven years. Obviously family was extremely important. And like I said, to everybody that’s helped me, you know, and we’ll figure it out.

Kwatinetz added that the 3-on-3 league has been discussing the decision for at least six months and decided to move forward when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances for 2018.

This is a no-brainer decision, Kwatinetz said. This is a medical decision. It is a medical and a humane decision. To not allow athletes to use CBD and instead to force them to use opioids is irresponsible and perhaps even disgusting. It reflects an attitude of not caring about player health.

All the players we talked to have been either supportive or use it. Not everyone uses it or wants to use it, but they are supportive of the right to use it. It’s a safe medicine that addresses pain.

The BIG3 kicked off its 10-week season last week in Houston.

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Godley’s five walks were the second most he’s issued in a start this season.

I couldn’t locate certain pitches and they took advantage of that, Godley said. They’re swinging the bat really well right now, one through nine.

Arizona rallied with two runs in the seventh on Paul Goldschmidt’s 18th home run of the season, and Jarrod Dyson became the eighth player in team history to record at least two hits, two RBI and two stolen bases in a game.

Shields (3-9), likewise, is beginning to see a ray of sunshine in what previously was a gloomy season. He’s coming off his best start of the year, pitching seven shutout innings and giving up four hits Wednesday in a 6-1 win over the Minnesota Twins. It was his 12th quality start of the season, or five more than he had all of last season.

Meanwhile, James won both the Assist and Clutch Shot of the Year. He was also awarded the Play of the Year by the fans for his game-winning 3-pointer against the Timberwolves before the All-Star break.

Lost among the chatter about swaps of picks in the top 10 is the fact that Minnesota has shopped this pick, though unsuccessfully. We all know how Tom Thibodeau feels about young players, so the good news is that Bates-Diop is already 22.

DiVincenzo was solid in his workouts for the team, but the Jazz could also use help at the forward spots. Kevin Huerter, Dzanan Musa or Chandler Hutchinson fit here, too.

So maybe it was the Pacers who gave Hutchinson this alleged promise. They need depth at small forward badly, and Hutchinson is enough of a polished scorer to get on the floor quickly.

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Facing two misdemeanor charges, Chris McCain vehemently denies committing battery. In fact, the Colts defensive end told Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star that he has never heard of the woman identified as the alleged victim.

She is lying, McCain told Holder.

McCain said he has no knowledge of the incident and was unaware the case existed until hearing news reports Tuesday.

Whiteside vs. Embiid, if/when he plays. If Whiteside wants to make a statement, he may get his chance in Round 1. It’s tough to predict given Embiid’s injury issues, but this big-man battle would greatly impact this series in the paint, and likely Twitter after the game.

One word: Giannis. The Greek Freak is one of the most exciting players in basketball and watching him perform on a playoff stage will be fun. On top of that, Jabari Parker is out to prove he can still be a dominant player in the biggest games of the year. He will be a restricted free agent this summer, and the Bucks have to decide whether they want to lock him up as part of their future. How he performs in the postseason will likely have some impact on negotiations later this summer.

Washington already has one of the best pass-catching running backs in the NFL in Chris Thompson, who had 39 catches for 510 yards and four receiving touchdowns in 10 games last season.

If Guice proves himself as a receiver as well, that’s going to be great news for new quarterback Alex Smith.

Don’t let the Wizards put a spell on you. Only Golden State has generated more shots off cuts to the basket than Washington this season.

This will be Washington’s fourth playoff appearance in five seasons, and even though the Wizards have advanced out of the first round in each trip, that’ll be a daunting task this time. A first-round exit would leave a very bitter taste and force the team to ponder its direction, an uncomfortable position given that its core is locked up long-term. Success is a first-round upset and being competitive in Round 2, though that would ultimately be a replay of recent postseason runs.

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Who wouldn’t? Gronkowski said when asked about wanting a new deal.

Gronkowski, 29, is scheduled to make $8 million in base salary this season. He has outplayed the eight-year, $54 million extension he signed with the Patriots in 2012.

Last May, New England added $5.5 million in incentives to Gronkowski’s contract for the 2017 season. The All-Pro ended up making $10.19 million.

Price had surgery after suffering an incomplete tear of his chest muscle while doing the bench press at the combine. He’ll need four months to recover, but should be ready for training camp. A 55-game starter for the Buckeyes, he plays with power and explosiveness.

The Broncos did not pick up the $9.23 million option on Ray’s contract for 2019. He is scheduled to become a free agent in March without an extension.

He played all over the formation for the Crimson Tide. Ridley is more advanced in his route running than others in this draft and should show a broader skill set in the NFL. His 1,000-yard season at Alabama came as a freshman.

He improved his 40 time to 4.42 on his pro day. Jackson moved from cornerback to wide receiver and back early in his career with the Hawkeyes. He had eight interceptions and was credited with 26 passes defensed in 2017. He forced six turnovers — five interceptions and a forced fumble — in a two-game span.

Even with his production — 3,613 career rushing yards — Michel might be one of the more underappreciated players on the board. He runs with power and is elusive. Michel can close the deal in the open field and is more proficient in pass protection than other backs in this draft.

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We are vigilant about practicing within the Collective Bargaining rules, Newsome said. I am. John and his assistants are. I attend every practice and then watch the practices again on video. I see how the coaching staff teaches, corrects and addresses issues immediately on the field. In meetings, I have watched John’s presensations to his players and assistants regarding how to properly practice and the pace of these sessions.

We have players competing, including rookies and those fighting to make the team. Sometimes breaking old practice habits of these players, especially rookies, takes more repetitions. We’ll continue to be vigilant about this.

I’ll just say that working with Peter has exceeded the expectations I had when I joined SI and The MMQB two years ago—and my expectations were high to begin with. And now, let’s get going … Story Continues MIAMI ON THE REBOUND It’s mandatory minicamp season in the NFL, and four teams kick off this week, with the other 28 set to go next week. Two of the four, the Bears and Lions, have new coaches. Another, New England, has the most tenured coach in football.

That plea gives resolution to all of the legal charges that Foster faced this offseason. He was arrested for marijuana possession in Alabama before the February arrest, but that charge was dropped after Foster completed a diversion program.

Foster, who rejoined the 49ers after the domestic violence charges were dropped, could still face league discipline for violating the Personal Conduct Policy.

Contreras flashed a rare combination of plate discipline and power for a catcher last season. If he had enough at-bats to qualify, the 25-year-old would have been the only catcher in baseball to hit 20 home runs with a.350 OBP. — Kraemer, ESPN Stats & Information

Last season, Paxton posted a 2.63 ERA and held opponents to a.580 OPS after the All-Star break — both the best marks by a southpaw with more than 50 innings pitched in that span. The Big Maple was especially hot in July, becoming the third lefty pitcher in the past 30 years to go 6-0 with a sub-2.00 ERA and 40 K’s in a calendar month, joining Clayton Kershaw and Randy Johnson (twice). — Foreman, ESPN Stats & Information

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Jason Pierre-Paul was a major offseason acquisition in Tampa Bay, but he’s not with the team during Organized Team Activities.

Pierre-Paul has not attended a single day of OTAs, according to ESPN.

A few unsurprising transactions across the league, as teams have started picking up fifth-year options on players from the 2015 draft. The Dolphins picked up DeVante Parker, the Panthers will use Shaq Thompson ‘s fifth-year, and the Rams did their thing with both Todd Gurley and Marcus Peters. 5. Along with divulging his draft prep, Hurney showed plenty of self-awareness on his draft hits and misses over the years in Carolina.

Among other things, Luck explains that 30 cities are in the running to host XFL franchises when the league returns after a 19-year hiatus. The league currently is working through the potential destinations in advance of an inaugural season, in 2020.

Given the looming proliferation of gambling, it’s possible that, after decades of non-NFL American pro leagues failing, not one but both the XFL and the AAF will thrive.

The drought is over! Game No. 82 sent Minnesota to the postseason for the first time in 14 years in a de facto playoff game of its own, as Butler poured in 31 points and Towns added 26 in an overtime thriller against the Nuggets.

As much as Minnesota missed Butler’s All-Star production, it could have also used his grit and determination. Case in point: Butler’s average miles per hour getting back on defense in transition ranks first on the team and first among every 2018 All-Star.

Of course, even those numbers would be prohibitive if Shields were still performing below replacement level, as he did last season (minus-1.8 bWAR). However, a reinvented Shields has become a bedrock source of above-replacement innings for Chicago this season. Through Thursday’s rough outing in Minnesota, Shields is on pace to throw 215 innings.

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The unfolding Washington cheerleader scandal has apparently cost at least one executive his job.

According to Craig Hoffman of 106.7 The Fan, team executive Dennis Greene has resigned.

It is doubtful Miller will actually be able to recover enough to play in the NFL again, but the Bears made the class move by offering a contract that will pay him $458,000 regardless of whether he plays this season, according to ProFootballTalk. If he makes a miraculous return to the field, he would be paid $790,000.

Miller officially dislocated his knee and tore his popliteal artery on the play while trying to make a touchdown catch — only to have it overturned by replay, to make matters worse. But he later revealed he asked doctors to save my leg in the minutes following the injury as he was carted off the field and rushed to a Level 1 trauma center to undergo emergency surgery. The quick actions by the Bears’ medical staff may have saved him from amputation.

Lawyer Mark Geragos said on CNN Wednesday night that the NFL owners are conspiring against his clients to appease President Trump, and he suggested that more evidence will surface soon.

I would stay tuned because this case is about to take a dramatic turn, he said.

Asked what he means by that, Geragos wouldn’t offer specifics other than a suggestion that somebody has decided they were going to dime out the NFL for what they were doing.

That may mean a witness can come forward who will contradict the stated position of the NFL, which is that each team decides for itself whether a player can help that team, and that if Kaepernick and Reid aren’t on a roster, it’s because teams have individually decided they can’t help. If Geragos can produce a witness from the league office, or a team’s coaching staff or personnel department, who can testify that the football people do, in fact, think Kaepernick and Reid can contribute, but that owners and the league office have decided that Kaepernick and Reid are not to see the field, that would go a long way toward making the players’ case.

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Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr missed some time in the first week of OTAs, at a time when he’s also looking for a new contract.

He said Wednesday he was merely getting insurance, though in a manner of speaking that’s kind of the same thing.

I had to protect myself and get an injury insurance policy, Barr said, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com. It took like a week to get situated, so I got that, and now I’m good to go.

Barr’s entering the final year of his contract, and there have been talks about a new deal. He offered few details, but his presence suggests things aren’t contentious.

Prominent women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, who’s representing the cheerleaders, alleged the women were paid so little or not paid at all for much of the work they did because of their gender.

Surely (Texans owner Bob) McNair and the Houston Texans can find it in their budget of hundreds of millions of dollars to pay these women a fair wage, not minimum wage, Allred said. I say, stop penny pinching. Pay these women what they deserve and make sure you pay them for every minute that they work.

As long as Jones is in attendance for minicamp and training camp, there should be little reason for the Falcons to worry about him being ready to go in September even if the contract tweak he’s reportedly looking for doesn’t come through by Week One.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, in his state of the league talk at the NBA Finals on Thursday, was asked about the Twitter controversy raging in Philadelphia. He spoke on the matter.

And didn’t say a heckuva lot. The league is monitoring the situation and hopes for a quick resolution. In other news, famine and disease are bad.

For the league, there is always that balance of speed and doing things in a deliberate and appropriate way. So I have talked to management at the 76ers, and the notion here was let’s find out what’s going on, Silver said. The first thing we have to do here is determine what the actual facts are in this circumstance.

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The Cowboys list Tavon Austin as a running back on their roster, but he starts his day in the wide receivers room.

Jones said the Cowboys expect to get Austin between 12 and 24 touches a game, which seems overambitious. Austin averaged 7.5 touches, including returns, in his five seasons with the Rams.

That felt like my college days, Austin said of Jones’ comment. I felt like I was back at West Virginia. That’s definitely a good feeling for him to even feel like he wants to do that to me. Being in this league, you’re probably only guaranteed three or four times a game. For him to say that, I’m blessed, and I hope it does come, and I can take advantage every time they give it to me.

I think that’s good, Trump said on Fox and Friends. I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there, maybe you shouldn’t be in the country. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem and the NFL owners did the right thing if that’s what they’ve done.

Trump said he doesn’t think he deserves to be seen as the person who made the new policy happen, saying instead that he just highlighted something that a lot of Americans cared about.

I think the people pushed it forward, Trump said. This was not me. I brought it out. I think the people pushed it forward. This country’s very smart. We have very smart people. That’s something ideally could have been taken when it first started, it would have been a lot easier. But if they did that, they’re doing the right thing.

The NFL has, in the past, allowed players to choose for themselves whether to stand for the anthem. Starting this year, players must stand if they are on the field, but they can choose not to be on the field during the anthem.

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