Cade Otton brings valuable durability at TE for Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a reliable presence at tight end with Cade Otton heading into his third season

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a quiet, unsung hero at tight end in Cade Otton, who has become a reliable presence at the top of the depth chart over his two seasons in the NFL.

A fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft out of Washington, Otton has steadily improved over the past two years, and could be on the verge of a breakout performance in this third campaign at the pro level.

“His durability has been outstanding,” Bucs head coach Todd Bowles recently said of Otton. “We’ve called on him a lot as a rookie. It’s hard to believe he’s only a third-year guy coming up. His durability has been outstanding and he’s had different coordinators each year, so his ability to adapt and learn… He’s had different coaches, it’s not like he’s had the same position coach or had the same offensive coordinator. So, to learn different things and tweak his game to fit what we needed him to do is outstanding.”

Otton’s production hasn’t been the kind of stuff that fantasy football managers will rave about, but he’s made some key plays in clutch moments for the Bucs over his two seasons. That figures to continue in 2024, even as Tampa Bay breaks in a new offensive coordinator in Liam Coen.

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Will Lonzo Ball really be back for the start of Bulls 2024-25 season?

Will the Chicago Bulls actually see Lonzo Ball back on the court next season?

The Chicago Bulls have been without Lonzo Ball for over two calendar years now. When he was healthy, the Bulls were competitive, and since he’s been out, they haven’t been. There’s more that goes into those two realities, but Ball’s absence has certainly been felt on the court in Chicago.

However, he recently revealed that he had his meniscus replaced, as well as some cartilage. Now, it’s looking like he’s trying harder than ever to get back on the court. Ball even said on a recent edition of his podcast, “What An Experience,” that he plans on being back for the start of the 2024-25 Bulls season.

The Chicago Bulls Central YouTube channel recently discussed Ball’s sentiments and whether or not he’ll actually be back in time for next year.

Will Ball really be back on the court for next season? Only time will tell. But that would be a complete game-changer for Chicago.

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Byron Scott says 1987-88 Lakers were the NBA’s greatest team ever

Former Lakers guard Byron Scott believes his 1987-88 squad was the best that has ever taken the floor in the NBA.

The “Showtime” era of the 1980s was the one that once and forever defined the image and mystique of the Los Angeles Lakers. During that time, they won five NBA championships and helped turn the league from somewhat of a fringe operation into must-see television.

As the era went along, they evolved from a great team that was able to start the decade with a couple of rings into a dynastic one that is still considered one of the greatest in basketball history.

Shooting guard Byron Scott was one of their lynchpins in the mid-to-late 1980s, and he told former NFL star wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson that his 1987-88 Lakers were the greatest team in NBA history (h/t The Cold Wire).

That team was led by Magic Johnson and James Worthy, both of whom were in their primes. Although Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar turned 41 years of age that year in his next-to-last season, he still gave Los Angeles production inside when it needed it.

The 1987-88 season was Scott’s best as a pro. He averaged a career-high 21.7 points a game, which led the team, and it would need every bit of his production in the playoffs.

In 1988, the Lakers had to endure three straight seven-game series against the Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons in order to win their fifth world title of the decade. Against Detroit in the NBA Finals, they trailed the series 3-2 and won Game 6 by the skin of their teeth, 103-102, before withstanding a desperate rally in Game 7 to achieve a 108-105 victory.

That victory made the Lakers the first NBA team to win back-to-back titles in 19 years while firmly establishing them as the team of the 1980s.

Should the San Antonio Spurs try to trade for Darius Garland?

Could the San Antonio Spurs potentially make a trade for Darius Garland this offseason?

The San Antonio Spurs have a chance to completely reshape their future this summer. Victor Wembanyama already looks like one of the best players in the NBA. He was the unanimous Rookie of the Year this season and also finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting. But now, it’s up to the Spurs to put a great team around him.

The trade market will provide them with an essential opportunity to improve the roster, and targeting playmaking should be a top priority. One guy who they could potentially take a look at is Cleveland Cavaliers star Darius Garland. Ever since the Cavs’ playoff exit at the hands of the Boston Celtics, there has been a ton of smoke around Cleveland and the moves they could make this summer.

The SSPN YouTube channel recently spoke about the idea of the Spurs trading for Garland.

Adding Garland’s offensive talent would help take the Spurs to the next level.

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Bengals rank poorly in RAS scores for rookie class vs. rest of NFL

The Bengals draft class doesn’t fare well in this metric.

After the 2024 NFL draft ended, we took a look at the Cincinnati Bengals draft picks by their Relative Athletic Score (RAS).

The metric, created by Kent Lee Platte, measures each prospect’s testing and size before sorting against historical position data, with ten being the highest possible score.

Cincinnati had some big scorers — such as first-rounder Amarius Mims at a 9.59. Fan-favorite wideout and third-round pick Jermaine Burton scored over a 9.0, too.

But the Bengals had a handful of guys whose numbers fell into the red zones, too, making for a so-so overall-looking RAS draft class.

And now that the numbers have been compiled and each team ranked, it actually looks a tad worse, with the Bengals finishing 30th:

Even so, with this being the standard spot for the Bengals over the last few years, perhaps it’s not such a bad thing.

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Lonzo Ball talks about potential return to Bulls for 2024-25 season

Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball recently spoke about his potential return on the latest edition of his new podast.

The Chicago Bulls have been a middle-of-the-pack team for the past few seasons. They ended their rebuild in 2021, choosing to push forward and compete for the postseason. Since then, they’ve only made the playoffs in one of three seasons, and that year, they only won a single playoff game.

A big part of their struggles has been the absence of Lonzo Ball. He injured his knee in 2022 and has yet to appear on the court for the Bulls since. Ball recently revealed that he had to get his meniscus replaced, as well as some cartilage. Despite that, he plans on being back next season.

Ball recently started his own podcast, “What An Experience,” and he spoke about potentially returning for the Bulls next year.

Ball still has a ton of work to do before stepping back onto the court for the Bulls, but he seems confident in his ability to get back out there.

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Would it make sense for the Nets to trade for Julius Randle?

Would it make sense for the Brooklyn Nets to trade for New York Knicks forward Julius Randle? Nets Wire breaks down this speculation.

The Brooklyn Nets have been one of the teams that could be dabbling in the trade market if they decide to speed up their rebuilding process. One of the players that has been a key part of Brooklyn’s trade speculation is Mikal Bridges and who he’s traded for could be from a rival team.

There have been some people within the NBA space that have suggested that the Nets should trade for New York Knicks forward Julius Randle in exchange for Bridges. This speculation is less evident at the time of this writing than it was just less than 24 hours ago with Fred Katz of The Athletic reporting that the Knicks are “not trying to” trade Randle.

While the Knicks would love to acquire Bridges, as one every other team in the NBA, the important part to remember about this trade speculation is what each other would be able to offer. Presumably, the Knicks would be offering Randle along with some draft picks to bring Bridges to New York and the Knicks have a solid amount of draft capital to offer as well.

In a recent mock trade by Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, the Knicks would be getting Bridges and the Nets would be getting Randle, 2024 first-round pick (via Dallas Mavericks), 2025 first-round pick (unprotected), 2025 second-round pick (via Brooklyn Nets), 2027 second-round pick.

With the news of the Knicks not looking to trade Randle, this trade speculation could be all for nothing unless New York has a change of heart in Randle being the second-best player for a Knicks franchise looking to make it past the second round of the playoffs next season.

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MSU basketball offers 4-star Indiana SG Braylon Mullins

Michigan State basketball has extended a scholarship offer to a shooting guard prospect from Indiana

Michigan State basketball has extended a scholarship offer to a shooting guard prospect from Indiana.

Four-star shooting guard Braylon Mullins announced on Friday that he’s received a scholarship offer from the Spartans. Mullins hails from Greenfield, Ind. and has picked up a ton of interest on the recruiting trail recently.

Mullins ranks as the No. 13 shooting guard and No. 108 overall prospect in 247Sports’ composite rankings for the 2025 class. He’s also listed as the No. 7 player from Indiana in the class.

Mullins holds offers from more than 20 schools, according to 247Sports. In just the past week, he’s picked up offers from Michigan State, Kansas, Purdue, Creighton and Stanford.

Contact/Follow us @The SpartansWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Michigan state news, notes, and opinion. You can also follow Robert Bondy on Twitter @RobertBondy5.

Top ten 2025 guard Jasper Johnson talks about Kentucky basketball

Guard Jasper Johnson discussed his relationship with Kentucky coach Mark Pope.

Guard Jasper Johnson is a player that Kentucky basketball has been after since before the coaching change. He is from the state, and both John Calipari and Mark Pope thought he’d make a great Wildcat.

Johnson is a five-star guard, and ranked as the number ten overall recruit in 2025 by 247sports. He’s 6’4, 170 lbs and can score in bunches, and in a variety of ways.

Pope landed the top two players in the state of Kentucky for the 2024 season, and would love to land the top in-state recruit for 2025. He has been in contact with Johnson, and the soon-to-be Freshman had some nice things to say about the Wildcats coach to Kentucky Sports Radio.

Him coming in first year, he’s got high expectations, but they’ve built up a good roster and I’ll be interested to see what they do … He was in my shoes at one time, he played there. Knowing that he understands the game and that he believes in his players, as well — I know there’s a difference with the SEC, but they’ll have a good season this year.

Johnson will likely have offers from most of the top programs as the year progresses. He visited Kentucky once, but that was before Pope became the coach. He told KSR he plans to take more visits, but didn’t specify whether or not he’d visit Kentucky again.

Time will tell whether or not Johnson will end up a Wildcat. Fans would love to have him, but for now, Pope continues to build the trust with the recruit. As Johnson said:

We’re getting there.

Oklahoma Sooners complete comeback to beat Kansas in walk-off fashion

Oklahoma completes dramatic comeback to beat Kansas and advance to Big 12 Title game.

Friday in Arlington was a blast for those who donned the Crimson and Cream. Oklahoma, one of the nation’s best baseball teams, entered the day as the Big 12’s number one seed, looking for a win to reach its final Big 12 Tournament championship game.

They had to wait for their opponent as Kansas and TCU, teams OU defeated earlier in the week, duked it out in an elimination game. Kansas jumped out to a 9-0 lead after just the first inning before TCU roared back to tie the game at 9. The Jayhawks won 10-9, setting up one-half of the Big 12 semifinals.

Oklahoma started the game poorly, and Kansas looked like a team that had already been awake for three hours. Brendan Girton started the game for the Sooners, but he didn’t have it out there. He only completed one inning, allowing four runs in the first and two in the second before being lifted for Grant Stevens. He walked two batters as well.

With the Sooners in a 6-0 hole, Stevens came in and immediately cemented himself as one of the stars of the day. He twirled 5.1 scoreless innings with six strike outs, scattering seven hits and no walks.

The Sooners bats began to come to life in the fifth inning. Backup catcher Scott Mudler singled to start the fifth for the Sooners. With two outs in the frame, freshman shortstop Jaxon Willits, smoked a first-pitch slider from Kansas’ J’Briell Easley to right field for a two-run homer.

Easley had dominated the Sooners to that point, amassing double-digit strikeouts. Easton Carmichael singled and forced Kansas to swap Easley for Kolby Dougan. Carmichael immediately stole second before Michael Snyder and Anthony Mackenzie drew walks to load the bases.

Jackson Nicklaus, another one of the stars of the day, delivered a two-out knock to right, scoring two and closing the gap to 6-4. Lefty Gavin Brasosky was brought in to face Kendall Pettis, who then delivered another two-out hit, scoring Mackenzie. Nicklaus was thrown out trying to reach third base to end the inning. But the Sooners were down just 6-5 heading to the sixth.

Stevens shut down the Jayhawks in his last full inning of work, and Oklahoma got right back to work trying to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth.

A Jason Walk single and two wild pitches put Oklahoma in a prime spot. Centerfielder John Spikerman earned a walk before another big hit by Jaxon Willits tied the game. This time, it was a double to right center field. Oklahoma failed to scratch another run across despite runners on second and third with less than two outs.

Carson Atwood, James Hitt, Jett Lode, and Ryan Lambert continued Stevens’ work and put up zeros for the remainder of the game, leading to the ninth and final frame.

Mackenzie singled to right field for his second hit of the game, and Jackson Nicklaus wrote his name in Oklahoma baseball history. Facing a 2-2 count, Nicklaus sent Oklahoma to the Big 12 championship series with a loud blast of a home run to right field.

Nicklaus went 2-for-5 with four RBI. Willits was 2-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs. Carmichael and Walk each had two hits in the win.

After an awful first inning, Oklahoma’s bullpen kept the Jayhawks off the board for the remainder of the game.

It was a strong performance and provides the opportunity for the tournament’s No. 1 seed to win the title for the first time since 2014. Oklahoma still has a chance to lock up a top eight seed, which would give OU the right to host both regional and super regional rounds of the NCAA tournament.

The championship game will take place Saturday at 6:00 p.m. CT at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. The game can be seen on ESPNU.

Contact/Follow us @SoonersWire on X, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Oklahoma news, notes, and opinions. You can also follow Bryant on X @thatmanbryant.