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CBS HQ AM template: For February 23

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 2/23/2021 Pete Blackburn

Tuesday, hello! And hello to you too, pal. Thanks for waking up with me here this morning and, as always, I promise to reward you with some sports.

Here's a fun little stat for you to start your day: On the list of most team 3-pointers in a single game in NBA history, four of the top five performances have come this season. TheUtah Jazz made 28 3-pointers last night (28-of-55), tying them for the second-most threes made in a single game. The Bucks (who set the record with 29), Rockets (28) and Nets (27) all entered into that top five this season too. The NBA has certainly become a deep-ball league. 

Oh, side note: My email inbox (pete.blackburn@cbsinteractive.com) is officially open once again as we've got a mailbag to deliver tomorrow. I'd love it if you took a few seconds to shoot me a question or two -- it can be about whatever you'd like as long as whatever you like is interesting and fun.

Alright, let's party.

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📰 What you need to know

1. Mariners president Kevin Mather resigns after inappropriate comments ⚾

Seattle Mariners president Kevin Mather resigned from the club yesterday after a leaked video showed him making some unsavory comments about the way the team handles its business. Mather had been with the team since 1996 and served as president since 2014, but his comments during a recent Zoom meeting with a Seattle-area rotary club ultimately led to the scandal that forced him to apologize on Sunday & resign on Monday.

  • Mather admitted that the team intentionally manipulates and suppresses players' service time
  • He also said the team did not want to pay the salary of a Japanese player's interpreter and criticized the English of one of the Mariners' Dominican-born prospects  
  • Mariners chairman and managing partner John Stanton will serve as acting president and CEO until a successor is chosen
  • Stanton:"There is no excuse for what was said, and I won't try to make one. I offer my sincere apology on behalf of the club and my partners to our players and fans. We must be, and do, better. We have a lot of work to do to make amends, and that work is already underway."

Unfortunately, it's not really a major shock that MLB teams engage in shady business practices like service time manipulation, but hearing Mather straight-up cop to it while making other distasteful remarks certainly seems like cause for termination. (And let's be real here, he was essentially fired.) It's hard to imagine that players are going to want to play for a guy who they know is completely cool with trying to screw them over. 

This also isn't the first time that Mather has found himself in a team scandal. A 2018 report revealed he was accused of harassment by two former female employees who later left the team.

2. Which NBA coach could be fired next? 🏀

The NBA saw its first in-season coaching change this week -- the Timberwolves fired Ryan Saunders and immediately hired Chris Finch from Toronto to replace him -- but there could be additional dominos falling in the near future. They say coaches are hired to be fired, and our Jasmyn Wimbish has put together a list of some other NBA coaches that are on the hot seat and could be on the way out soon.

  • Luke Walton, Kings: Walton had a fairly quick rise to prominence on NBA sidelines but he hasn't exactly found much success in his last few gigs. He's gone 43-59 in one-and-a-half seasons with the Kings and he's clashed with his own players (including Buddy Hield, who has had several verbal altercations with Walton). Throw in the fact that Sacramento just hired a new GM late last year, it seems like Walton's job could be in jeopardy
  • Scott Brooks, WizardsBrooks has gone 159-186 in five seasons with Washington and the wins have been hard to come by in each of the past few years. They're on a hot streak right now but many believe the team needs an overhaul and it seems like a change of direction on the sidelines may be part of that overhaul, especially since Brooks is on the final year of his current contract
  • Lloyd Pierce, HawksIn Pierce's three seasons with Atlanta, he's gone 62-117 with no playoff appearances and has failed to guide them out of a rebuild. On top of that, he's had issues with some of his players -- including star guard Trae Young. With Pierce's contract having a team option for a fourth and final season, he may lose his job if the team doesn't make the playoffs this season

Of course, there's still a whole lot of basketball left to be played this season so any coach that's currently feeling the burn could still save their own behind by course-correcting in the second half. Conversely, there's still plenty of time for any seemingly comfortable coaches to let the wheels fall off and find themselves packing up their office at season's end. 

But whether you're Coach from "New Girl" or a disappointing NBA coach, we already know that losing your job in the middle of a season doesn't mean you can't come back later and try again. 

3. What it would take for the Seahawks to trade Russell Wilson 🏈

When Russell Wilson's name came up as a possible trade option earlier in this young offseason, you knew there were going to be a whole lot of teams inquiring about the availability of the Seahawks quarterback. There's no shortage of QBs available to be had this offseason but few, if any, are as talented and can provide as much immediate value as Wilson.

But just how many inquiries did Seattle get? And what exactly would it take for them to actually pull the trigger on a trade shipping their franchise quarterback out of town? We're starting to get some of those details this week.

  • Seattle isn't outright shopping Wilson but GM John Schneider is listening to "anything and everything," according to Michael Silver of the NFL Network
  • Roughly one-third of the league has reportedly called the Seahawks about Wilson's availability and what it may take to land him
  • Silver believes "the conversation starts with three first-round draft picks" in a Wilson trade package

Three first-rounders is a steep price to pay for a 32-year-old Wilson but, again, he could be seen as the final piece to put a contending team over the top. You win a Super Bowl and nobody is going to miss those draft picks. Risk vs. reward. 

Personally, I'd be surprised to see Wilson get dealt, even if he's growing frustrated in Seattle and the Seahawks' brass isn't too thrilled about him taking him complaints public. Seattle doesn't strike me as a team that's ready to blow it up, especially when Wilson was playing at an MVP-caliber level through the first half of last season. It seems like they might be better off just trying to give him a little help and keep him upright.

Then again, three first-rounders could be mighty appealing...

4. Artemi Panarin takes leave of absence, Rangers deny abuse allegations 🏒

A pretty wild story hit the NHL yesterday when it was announced that New York Rangers star winger Artemi Panarin was taking a leave of absence from the team after an article published in his home country of Russia accused him of beating up an 18-year-old girl in 2011.

The NHL says it's looking into the allegations but Panarin and the Rangers seem to believe that the article is a "hit piece" that has been published as an act of politically-motivated revenge.

  • In the article, Panarin's former KHL coach Andrei Nazarov says that the then-19-year-old Panarin struck the woman with "several powerful blows" while at a hotel bar in Russia.  
  • Nazarov claims the police came to the scene and detained Panarin but were bribed to close the case
  • The allegations against Panarin come after he spoke out against Russian president Vladimir Putin and backed opposition leader Alexei Navalny
  • Panarin "vehemently and unequivocally denies any and all allegations" and calls the story "fabricated"
  • Rangers statement: "This is clearly an intimidation tactic being used against him for being outspoken on recent political events. Artemi is obviously shaken and concerned and will take some time away from the team. The Rangers fully support Artemi and will work with him to identify the source of these unfounded allegations."

This is obviously a complicated scenario that needs to be taken seriously from all angles until an investigation is completed, but it's an extremely ugly and unfortunate situation no matter which way you slice things. 

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📝 Odds & Ends

📺 What to watch tonight

🏒 Penguins vs. Capitals, 7 p.m. | WSH -120 | TV: NBCSN  

🏀 Celtics vs. Mavericks, 7:30 p.m. | DAL +1 | TV: TNT

🏀 No. 17 Kansas vs. No. 14 Texas, 9 p.m. | TEX -2.5 |  TV: ESPN

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🥇 The best thing I saw yesterday

The Wizards mounted a huge comeback to beat the Lakers (and earn their fifth straight victory) in a thriller last night. This circus layup from Bradley Beal in overtime was pretty wild.

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