Who gets Mirotic?
Local sports news and notes for Wednesday, Jan. 10, while wishing Alabama could play Central Florida, just to give departing UCF coach Scott Frost and the Knights their long shot … but mostly to see Tua Tagovailoa again.
One team that is competing with the Trail Blazers for playoff position in the NBA Western Conference reportedly is battling with Portland for a player who could start for either club at power forward.
The Utah Jazz is among the teams after 6-10 Nikola Mirotic. The 26-year-old native of Montenegro is averaging 17.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game this season. He's hitting 47 percent from beyond the 3-point line. Seems like the type who would work well on the receiving end of Damian Lillard passes, and allow Jusuf Nurkic to focus even more on being productive around the basket.
The Detroit Pistons also are interested in Mirotic, who is set to make about $12.5 million this season and next (at his team's option), according to various sources.
Portland's interest is unclear but makes sense, given the team needs one more component to become an NBA elite and at the very least the Blazers could help drive up the price someone else might have to pay for Mirotic.
Chicago is said to want a first-round draft pick and more in a deal for him. Mirotic and teammate Bobby Portis got in an altercation earlier this season that left Portis with multiple facial fractures.
The NBA trade deadline is noon PT Thursday, Feb. 8, 10 days before the All-Star Game.
Lillard was upset when Houston's Chris Paul took a late, uncontested layup with the outcome decided Wednesday night. Of course, Lillard and the Blazers were double-teaming Paul on the backcourt inbound pass until the very end, as well. If they're going to play full-court pressure defense, well … that's a little different from just dropping back and waiting for the Rockets to dribble into the frontcourt. And taking a pass from out of bounds? That's what Paul does, that's who Houston always looks for on an inbound play. If he'd stopped and shot a 3, that would be entirely different.
But kudos to Lillard for caring, even about the final margin difference of two points.
If that's what it takes to stay motivated and to carry that fuel into the next meeting -- which he will -- or into a playoff series, and that works for him, that's the important thing for the Blazers — not whether they lost by seven or nine points on the road in January.
NO. 2 AGAIN
Oregon State's baseball team has been ranked second for the second time in a preseason baseball poll.
Perfect Game pegs the Beavers behind only Florida, the same 1-2 as produced by Collegiate Baseball.
Perfect Game ranks TCU third, Texas Tech fourth and Florida State fifth.
Other Pac-12 teams in the Perfect Game top 25: Stanford, 10th, and UCLA, 16th.
FORMER WINTERHAWK AN NHL ALL-STAR
For the second year in a row, former Portland Winterhawk Seth Jones has been selected for the NHL All-Star Game.
The Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman is on the Metropolitan Division team. The All-Star game will be played on Jan. 28 in Tampa, Florida. For the second year in a row, the All-Star event will feature a three-on-three hockey tournament with mini-games among the four divisions.
Still only 23, Jones is in his sixth NHL season and is considered one of the top defensemen in the league. He has seven goals and 21 assists through 44 games this season.
In his only season with the Winterhawks (2012-13), Jones helped Portland to the Western Hockey League championship.
BIG CHANGE FOR SEAHAWKS
Seattle has fired offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and veteran offensive line coach Tom Cable, the price paid for missing the playoffs and having a one-dimensional (Russell Wilson) offense. Couldn't have been easy for head coach Pete Carroll to see those two walk the plank, though.
NORV TURNER BACK IN THE NFL?
Looks like Norv Turner is returning to the NFL.
The former Oregon Ducks quarterback will be the next offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers, according to multiple reports.
Turner, 65, was the head coach for the Washington Redskins 1994-2000, for the Oakland Raiders in 2004-2005 and for the San Diego Chargers from 2007-1012.
Most recently, Turner was the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings for two-plus seasons. He resigned that post in November 2016.
Turner followed Dan Fouts as the Ducks' starting QB, playing at Oregon in 1973 and 1974.
He was the offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys teams that won Super Bowls in the 1992 and 1993 seasons.
Reports also indicate that Turner's son, Scott, will become the Panthers' quarterbacks coach.
Johhny Manziel to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as the team's new quarterback for coach and Portland native June Jones?
Still could happen, but for how long and with hard feelings?
His agent said this week that Manziel deserves to be the highest-paid player in the CFL, without having taken a snap in training camp and consider his problems on and off the field with his former team, the NFL Cleveland Browns.
Agent Eric Burkhardt has given the Ticats till July 31 to come up with a "fair deal" for the former Texas A&M star.
Burkhardt's posturing has rubbed many the wrong way in Canada, where speculation also is rampant that Manziel merely wants to use the CFL as a stepping-stone to another shot at an NFL job.
The Ticats just traded QB Zach Collaros, who was making a whopping (by CFL standards) $500,000. He was expendable because former University of Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli came on last season, played well and has plenty of CFL experience. And Masoli has just signed a new, two-year deal with Hamilton.
Another option for Manziel could be for Hamilton to trade his rights to the Montreal Alouettes, who need a quarterback.
And, how about this for a smooth move by Coach Jones and the Ticats -- they were able to get the CFL negotiation rights to Alabama's Tagovailoa by adding them to their negotiation list. You never know if that might pay off for Hamilton down the road.
• It's a big night in local college basketball, starting with Portland State's first Big Sky men's home game (at Lewis & Clark). The Vikings, buoyed by their last-second win at Idaho last week, welcome Montana State for an 8 p.m. tip.
The local Pac-12 schools are on the road. Oregon State meets No. 17 Arizona at 6 p.m.; Oregon faces No. 11 Arizona State at 7 p.m.
The Portland Pilots are at No. 15 Gonzaga at 6 p.m.
In women's basketball, Gonzaga is at UP at 7 p.m., while PSU plays at Montana State at 6 p.m.