NBA Rumors: Joakim Noah, Grizzlies in ‘Extensive’ Contract Talks

New York Knicks center Joakim Noah (13) reacts during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Washington. The Wizards won 104-100. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Memphis Grizzlies are reportedly considering signing free-agent center Joakim Noah. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, there have been “extensive discussions” between the two sides recently.

Noah hasn’t played yet in 2018-19 after being waived by the New York Knicks in October. He had two seasons remaining on his four-year, $72 million contract, but the team used the stretch provision to reduce the cap hit.

Noah was once one of the more versatile players in the NBA, earning two All-Star selections while being named the 2013-14 Defensive Player of the Year. Unfortunately, he has gone on a downward trend since then and has only appeared in 82 total games since the start of the 2015-16 season.

The 33-year-old has only played seven games in the past two seasons, averaging 1.7 points per game in that time.

This won’t do much to help improve an offense that ranks 28th in the NBA with 103.3 points per game.

Still, he could provide depth and experience for a Grizzlies team that has gotten off to a strong start at 10-5. Adding Noah provides the coaching staff with another proven player at center behind starter Marc Gasol while also allowing rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. to move to power forward if needed.

With 60 playoff starts also on his resume, Noah could be a valuable asset in the locker room.

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This chart is proof ‘buy the dip’ is dead

One of Wall Street’s most famous proverbs of this bull market is backfiring.

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“Buy the dip,” or picking up a stock or the whole market when they sell off, isn’t working for the first time in 16 years, according to analysis from Morgan Stanley. The investment bank looked at the average return for the S&P 500 if the previous week was negative and found that this year, there was no rebound.

“Buying the dip has not worked in 2018 for the first time since 2002,” Morgan Stanley equity strategist Michael Wilson said in a note to clients Monday. “Such market behavior is rare and in the past has coincided with official bear markets (20 percent declines), recessions, or both.”

The strategy worked even during 2008 and 2009, the height of the Financial Crisis, Morgan Stanley said. But a key factor makes this cycle different, according to Wilson: Quantitative easing is turning to quantitative tightening. The Fed is now reducing its balance sheet while the European Central Banks and Bank of Japan taper their own quantitative easing programs.

“While there may be other factors, we think this is the primary one that has left investors wondering why even companies that report good news are seeing their stocks sell off,” Wilson said. “In our view, when stocks sell off on good news, that’s a bear market.”

The S&P 500, Nasdaq and Russell 2000 have definitively broken their 200-day moving averages, which Wilson said is a sign that the technical damage is “irrefutable” and very different than the brief correction in February.

“Historically, when the 200-day moving average turns down it typically takes months, if not longer, to turn up again,” Wilson said. “This argues for patience rather than haste from investors and to consider selling rallies rather than buying dips.”

The risk going forward will be concentrated in higher multiple stocks that “do not deserve a valuation premium but have simply benefited from a crowding effect,” Wilson said.

He pointed to Nvidia’s price action last week as an example of that remaining risk. The stock got hammered Friday after missing Wall Street’s expectations for revenue and guidance in its third-quarter 2019 earnings report.

More than 40 percent of the stocks in the S&P 500 are down at least 20 percent, Wilson pointed out. Stocks were under pressure on Monday with major technology stocks like Apple and Amazon leading the decline.

Despite some hopes of it last week, Wilson is not expecting the Fed to “bail out equity market participants.” He pointed to a trade deal between the U.S. and China at the upcoming G-20 meeting that remains “highly uncertain.”

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NASA’s 2020 rover will land in Jezero Crater, a dried ancient lakebed

NASA’s next car-sized rover will plummet through the thin Martian atmosphere and softly land on the floor of a dried-up lakebed, the space agency announced Monday.

When the robot arrives on Mars about 8 months after its launch in 2020, NASA will endeavor to land the six-wheeled rover in the Jezero Crater, a 30 mile-wide bowl about 1,640 feet deep. It’s believed to have once held an 800-foot deep lake some 3.5 billion years ago. 

The space agency hopes to accomplish a number of things during the at least two-year mission. But the first science directive is to “determine whether life ever arose on Mars.” Indeed, today Mars is extremely unlikely to harbor any life — on the surface, at least. It’s a heavily irradiated, dry, frigid desert, with no liquid water.

“But it wasn’t always that way,” Ken Farley, the Mars 2020 project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a press call. 

Ancient water canals leading out of the Jezero Crater.

Ancient water canals leading out of the Jezero Crater.

Image: NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

NASA scientists suspect Mars was once a blue world, like Earth. And as bodies of water on Earth are teeming with life, NASA wants to scour the Jezero lakebed for signs that past microbial life could have survived there, or perhaps clear signs of long-dead life itself. 

“All things point to the idea that we should be looking to ancient Mars for a surface-habitable environment, said Farley. “Lakes on Earth are both habitable and inevitably inhabited.”

The Jezero landing site also allows NASA scientists to rove over a dried-up river delta where water once flowed out of the lake. 

This environment likely held nutrient-rich clay minerals that could have been an ideal place for Martian microbes to flourish, as they do in moist clays on Earth. 

The 2020 rover comes equipped with of slew of scientific instruments, making it a bonafide mobile laboratory. 

It carries a ground-penetrating radar, an experimental machine that produces oxygen from atmospheric carbon dioxide, and tools to store five tubes filled with Martian rocks and soil — to be carried back to Earth by another future mission one day.

“Getting samples from this lake-delta system will revolutionize how we think about Mars and its ability to harbor life,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said during the call. 

An artist's conception of the 2020 rover.

An artist’s conception of the 2020 rover.

One of the most significant tools for sleuthing out past evidence of Martian life — if not the most critical — is the SuperCam, a high-tech camera perched atop the 2020 rover. 

Once the rover lands, NASA scientists know there will be countless places of interest to visit, so the SuperCam will fire lasers to detect the make-up of rocks and chemicals from 25 feet away. Then, the rover will slowly rumble over to most promising places — places that could have once sustained hardy, microscopic life. 

Such ancient evidence will be difficult to find — should it exist at all. 

“It [Mars] may not yield its secrets easily,” Roger Wiens, a planetary scientist who heads the team that built the SuperCam, said this summer. 

While exploring the Martian surface with the new rover — should it successfully land — NASA also hopes to collect information that will support human visitation to Mars — a longer-term goal for the 2030s. 

While NASA wants to return astronauts to the moon in the coming decade, the next logical step is Mars.

“Mars is really the obvious place after the moon,” said Zurbuchen.

And the 2020 rover is expected to pave the way there.

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A mommy blogger’s post about her son is going viral for all the wrong reasons

This episode of Black Mirror sucks.

In the ultimate backhanded compliment against her own son, mommy blogger Katie Bower took to Instagram to wish her child a happy sixth birthday, and to lament the fact that “his photos never got as many likes.”

“From a statistical point of view, he wasn’t as popular with everyone out there,” she complained in the caption, before musing over whether people liked her younger children better because they were babies. “I saw all that because I want to believe that it wasn’t him … that it was on me. My insufficiency caused this statistical deficit because obviously my Munch should get ALL the love and squinty eyes are totally adorable.” 

Yikes. Here’s the rest of the post, where Bower admits she’s worried that her son will “see the numbers” one day and “have to learn that his value is not in online approval.” 

Both Instagram and Twitter users responded, horrified that she would put so much value on her kid’s internet popularity.

Instagram users were not here for Bower's favoritism.

Image: instagram/bowerpowerblog

Imagine being this self-involved!

Image: instagram/bowerpowerblog

Yikes all around.

Image: instagram/bowerpowerblog

Some were supportive, but still gently criticized her for her caption.

“All my love, Katie …” one follower said. “But maybe some things are better left off Instagram.”

Some Instagram users were supportive.

Image: instagram/bowerpowerblog

Some of her followers still criticized her, though.

Image: instagram/bowerpowerblog

Bower also faced backlash in September, when she admitted that she “had literally no idea what the deal was with 9/11” and that she “didn’t realize that people were actually in the buildings.”

“It didn’t hit me until a year later that so many people died,” she captioned a photo of her sons patriotically sitting on a bale of hay.

“Unfortunately there is always backlash when things are twisted and taken out of context,” Bower said in an Instagram DM, but said that the messages of support she’s received “makes being vulnerable worth it.”

Bower says that Weston doesn’t know what Instagram is, but knows that “Mommy has a job on the computer that means we have friends all over the world that we have never met in person.” 

At least he doesn’t care about clout!

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Jimmy Butler: Playing with 76ers ‘Night and Day’ to Tenure in Minnesota

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 17:  Jimmy Butler #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during the game against the Charlotte Hornets on November 17, 2018 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice:  Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kent Smith/Getty Images

It’s been less than a week since Jimmy Butler was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, but thus far he’s happy with the change. 

“Night and day,” Butler said about his new situation compared to his old one with the Minnesota Timberwolves, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Charania also wrote: “Butler holds no ill will toward his former young Timberwolves running mates, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. It was a combination of his contract and an indifference toward the overall roster that made his trade request and his subsequent steps to force a move out of Minnesota so necessary.”

As for his new teammates, Butler is excited.

“Ben [Simmons] sees the game steps ahead, and Joel [Embiid] is a monster inside,” he said. “So I’m envisioning what we can be.”

Butler may hold no “ill will” toward Towns or Wiggins, but there have been plenty of indications that he doesn’t think highly of the pair. 

“Everybody wants to win. When somebody messes up, you talk to them, they don’t take it personal, and they do their job,” Butler said after the Sixers’ win over the Utah Jazz on Friday night, which felt like as much of a jab at his former teammates as it was a compliment to his new ones. “I think everybody is such a good basketball player and we all want to do right that sometimes we mess up.”

Then there was his infamous practice with the Timberwolves in October after he returned to the team amid his request to be traded. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports recounted that incident:

“Throughout the practice, Butler verbally bashed Towns, Wiggins, president of basketball operations/coach Tom Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden, league sources said.

“Screaming from the top of his lungs, Butler uttered taunts at his teammates, including ‘They ain’t [expletive]!’ and ‘They soft!’ league sources said. Most of the players knew the invectives were directed at Towns and Wiggins, sources said.”

According to Haynes, Butler also “found himself guarding Towns in the post. After Towns received the entry pass, Butler yelled, ‘He can’t do [expletive] against me!’ Towns ended up passing the ball out, sources said.”

Embiid and Simmons may have their weaknesses, but early in their careers, there has been little indication that either player is soft or has a questionable desire to win. Embiid famously likes to talk trash to opponents and takes his matchups with the other star centers in the NBA personally, while very little appears to rattle Simmons. 

The pair are also incredibly intelligent players on the court and two-way stars. Embiid is one of the NBA’s most impactful defenders in the NBA, orchestrating the team’s defense from his center position, while Simmons is an elite passer who facilitates for his teammates, often at the expense of his own scoring. 

The duo led the Sixers to the Eastern Conference Semifinals a year ago. With Butler in tow, the expectations have increased, and the team’s star trio appears up for the challenge.

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This kid took some angry school pictures after his Pop-Tart was eaten

Some kids really know how to hold a grudge.

Allow us to introduce you to one such child. His father has the nerve to eat his Pop-Tart, so this hardcore kid carried his beef all the way to school picture day — and the results are stunning.

“Y’all pray for my son, nothing wrong with him but I ate his pop tart before his class picture and he said he never smiling again,” EL Prive said on Facebook, sharing photos of his son.

In each photo, this little guy sports a scowl previously only seen on middle-aged men irritated by abnormally high gas prices or thermostats that have been tampered with. Naturally, these works of art have caught a lot of people’s attention.

People just can’t get over this little kid’s intensity and his love of Pop-Tarts. 

“I feel him though I would be mad if someone ate my last one too,” wrote one commenter. 

“Why does he look like a disapproving father though?” asked another.

Hopefully, one day this little guy will overcome this great deception and be able to smile again. At the very least, someone should give him some more Pop-Tarts. db98 9ccc%2fthumb%2f00001

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Instagram cracks down on apps that give fake follows and likes

Instagram will crack down on shady third-party apps.
Instagram will crack down on shady third-party apps.

Image: LightRocket via Getty Images

Instagram is finally doing something to crack down on fake likes and followers. 

The app will begin to remove follows, likes, and comments that are the result of shady third-party apps. Instagram will also prompt password resets in an effort to prevent continued use of the apps. And, if Instagrammers keep using these services, the app will punish users by limiting their use of certain features.

The apps in question are third-party services that use your Instagram credentials to help boost your account by rewarding you with likes, comments, and followers. If you’re active on Instagram, you’ve probably encountered activity from some of these services, even if you don’t directly use them yourself. (Telltale signs include when random accounts like several of your old photos all at once, often with generic comments like “nice.”)

The problem with these apps, according to Instagram, is not just that they game the system to create fake engagement, but that they’re often shady and exploit the log-in information provided by users. 

“Every day people come to Instagram to have real experiences, including genuine interactions,” Instagram writes in a blog post. “This type of behavior is bad for the community, and third-party apps that generate inauthentic likes, follows, and comments violate our Community Guidelines and Terms of Use.”

Instagram will prompt password resets for people who have used apps to get followers and likes.

Instagram will prompt password resets for people who have used apps to get followers and likes.

In order to root these apps out of Instagram, the company will begin to prompt password resets for people who have used these services in the past. And it will start to remove followers, likes, and comments that were generated as the result of these services. (Importantly, Instagram says the change will kick in beginning Monday, so previous likes and follows will not be impacted, even if they were the result of one of the apps in question.) 

What’s more, if people continue to use these services, they may see more serious account repercussions. According to a spokesperson, Instagram “may limit access to certain features,” if they identify repeat offenders. The spokesperson didn’t elaborate on what specific features could be  impacted.

But given how serious a problem Instagram hackings have been in the past, the ramp-up in enforcement should be welcome news to those concerned about account security.

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