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Sports

Barnwell: Ranking the NFL’s best and worst potential coach openings

7:50 AM ET We all have an idea of what makes an NFL job tantalizing, right? The ideal head-coaching opportunity would come with a franchise quarterback, a bunch of extra draft picks, a hands-off owner with a history of patience, a familiar face at general manager, and a talented roster. Jobs like that don’t come open often for a reason: coaches with those advantages don’t often lose their jobs. When I ranked the available jobs last year, the best spot that eventually did become available was the Los Angeles Chargers. Given their current winning streak, Anthony Lynn has to be happy with his choice, and indeed, a vacancy with Philip Rivers and a bevy of superstars (when healthy) on either side of the roster wasn’t hard to forecast as desirable. • Rating every head coachR...

Why Aaron Judge should hit leadoff for the Yankees

3:08 PM ET New Yankees manager Aaron Boone has acknowledged that in the aftermath of the trade for Giancarlo Stanton, he’s had fun thinking about the different lineup variations he might consider. The Yankees haven’t completely filled in their infield, but no matter who is installed at second base and who plays third, Boone’s lineup will be loaded with power, and hitters who get on base consistently. The Yankees should have some speed, if not necessarily high stolen-base capability. Boone could hit Aaron Judge back-to-back with Stanton, third and fourth, or second and third. He could split them up. Inevitably, as the Yankees go through hot streaks and slumps, the batting order will change, sometimes dramatically. But Boone should think about doing something that will seem incredibly unconv...

OKC’s George: Pacers’ success brings ‘closure’

2:11 PM ET INDIANAPOLIS — As he prepares to make his first return to Indianapolis to play in the arena he called home for his first seven seasons, Paul George said Wednesday he has some regrets about how things ended with the Pacers, but also has closure. “I think both sides, myself and the front office, would definitely like to have handled things better,” George said. “I for sure will take ownership on that. But I have no regrets on the outcome.” George declined to say specifically what those regrets. “I know what I would’ve changed,” he said, “but I’ll keep that to myself.” Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony have preached patience through the Thunder’s tumultuous start. But as OKC’s new stars p...

Grizzlies suddenly have no identity, and hard questions ahead

11:00 AM ET As grit-and-grind crumbled and controversy swirled about his possible role in David Fizdale’s shocking dismissal, Marc Gasol was happy to see a text from an old friend. Zach Randolph had some advice. “‘Just get out of it,'” Gasol says, paraphrasing Randolph. “‘Figure out a way to win, like always.’ When you have been through so much with somebody, it’s like Zach is still here. In a way, he’s always going to be part of the team.” Is there even a point in trying anymore? Memphis has lost 15 of 16, which looks like a typo. They have no identity; grit-and-grind is dead. Attempts to build a younger supporting cast that could sustain as Gasol and Mike Conley age have failed. Memphis is 8-19, ahead of only Dallas in the West,...

Fanchest raises $4M in seed funding to become the best gift for sports fans

Here’s a great present for a sports fan this holiday season: Fanchest is a Brooklyn-based startup that curates and sends team-themed gift boxes as gift. The boxes start at $59 and include about $80 worth of apparel and gear from whatever pro or college team you choose. Today the startup has announced $4M in seed funding with a diverse group of investors like New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, Founder and CEO of the Drone Racing League Nick Horbaczeswki and more traditional VC funds like GoAhead Ventures and Connected VC. This brings them to $5.4M in total funding since starting the company in 2015. While you won’t know what exactly is in each chest before you buy it, boxes typically include a few pieces of apparel and other themed items like Te...

Source: Marlins trade OF Ozuna to Cardinals

2:10 PM ET The disbandment of the Miami Marlins roster continues, as the team has traded All-Star left fielder Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals, a source confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday. The deal, first reported by SiriusXM, is pending a physical. It is unclear what the Marlins are getting in return. With one of his two Miami Marlins clients traded Wednesday and the other on the block, agent Scott Boras says of the team: “We’ve seen one of our major league jewelry stores become a pawn shop.” The Cardinals, Red Sox and Giants are among the clubs that need to be all-in next season. What big moves can win-now teams make to paint themselves into the playoff picture? The MLB winter meetings are going strong in Orlando, and rumors are swirling across baseball. Here is wh...

The ultimate College Football Playoff preview

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET | ESPN, ESPN App These two historic programs meet for the first time in college football’s best setting — the Rose Bowl. The game also features a lot of star power, with Heisman winner Baker Mayfield leading Oklahoma and Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith at the center of Georgia’s D. FPI PROJECTIONS 47 OKLAHOMA 53 GEORGIA Odds to win national championship OKLAHOMA 17.7 GEORGIA 24 SCOUTING OKLAHOMA Pull the guard, ride the running back on the play fake and sneak FB Dimitri Flowers out of the backfield. With the linebackers taking the bait and playing downhill, Flowers releases up the seam. Mayfield fires a quick-strike throw to him in the open field — catch-and-go, with room to run. — Matt Bowen H...

Boras says Marlins are now a ‘pawn shop’

1:04 PM ET LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Scott Boras took a shot at the Miami Marlins‘ new ownership dynamic Wednesday, telling reporters at the MLB winter meetings that “we’ve seen one of our major league jewelry stores become a pawn shop.” Although Boras declined to personally take issue with Derek Jeter, the Marlins’ new part owner and CEO, he said MLB needs to improve its vetting process in the sale of clubs. Jeter, who partnered with billionaire businessman Bruce Sherman to buy the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria in October, has already traded away 2017 National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton and two-time All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon to reduce payroll. Outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, a Boras client, could be next on the block. The Captain ...

Rookie Smith-Schuster won’t change after ban

12:58 PM ET PITTSBURGH — JuJu Smith-Schuster is back from his one-game suspension and ready to be the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ X factor against the New England Patriots on Sunday. Even if that means more big hits. “I’m not going to change my game,” Smith-Schuster said Wednesday. The rookie receiver acknowledged that he has to be more careful after his vicious Week 13 block resulted in a concussion to Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict and cost Smith-Schuster a game check. Smith-Schuster said he regrets taunting Burfict by standing over him after he knocked him to the ground with an upper-body shot. “That’s not me,” he said. JuJu Smith-Schuster regrets standing over Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, but says “I am still playing physical...

CFL commissioner had good talk with Manziel

10:28 AM ET Kevin SeifertNFL Nation Close ESPN.com national NFL writer ESPN.com NFC North reporter, 2008-2013 Covered Vikings for Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1999-2008 BRISTOL, Conn. — CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said Wednesday that he felt “good” about a conversation in September with quarterback Johnny Manziel but is awaiting the results of a multi-faceted expert analysis before deciding whether to approve him for play in the league. Manziel’s rights are held exclusively by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He triggered a process last summer that would require the Tiger-Cats to offer him a contract or relinquish is rights, but Ambrosie stepped in to ensure what he called a “thorough and thoughtful” decision was made about Manziel’s eligibility to play i...

Reports: Rockies add to bullpen, retain McGee

10:50 AM ET The Colorado Rockies continue to fortify their bullpen, agreeing to re-sign left-handed reliever Jake McGee, according to multiple reports Wednesday. The deal is pending a physical. Sources told ESPN’s Buster Olney that relief pitcher Bryan Shaw’s three-year deal with the Rockies is worth around $9 million per season. Shaw led the majors with 79 appearances last season with the Indians. The MLB winter meetings are going strong in Orlando, and rumors are swirling across baseball. Here is what our writers are hearing today. 1 Related The 31-year-old McGee, who was 0-2 with three saves and a 3.61 ERA in 62 relief appearances last season, will join Bryan Shaw, who agreed to a three-year deal Tuesday, in the Rockies bullpen. McGee had a team-high 15 saves in 2016, then w...

Geno Auriemma’s 10 biggest wins

10:46 AM ET Mechelle VoepelespnW.com Close ESPN.com women’s basketball/college sports writer 33 seasons covering women’s college basketball Covered 24 Final Fours Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma is closing in on his 1,000th career victory; it could come Tuesday when the Huskies face Oklahoma at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. When Auriemma took over the Huskies in 1985, the program had only one winning season — at 16-14 — in its 11-year history. Since, UConn has won 11 NCAA titles and 999 games under Auriemma. What are the 10 biggest victories of his UConn career? It’d be obvious to pick all of his national championship games, plus one — he’s 11-0 in the NCAA final, and no game is bigger. But what about the vi...