April 15, 2024

Texans win Stefon Diggs trade, but Bills have options; UConn’s Final Four travel woes


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🏈 Good morning to everyone but especially …

THE HOUSTON TEXANS

The Texans have spent all offseason loading up. The Bills have spent all offseason unloading. On Wednesday, they became trade partners: Buffalo sent Stefon Diggs and a pair of late-round picks to Houston for a 2025 second-round selection.

Diggs, 30, had grown increasingly disgruntled, with cryptic tweets and quotes this offseason after a quiet close to the 2023 campaign. He had 834 yards receiving and seven touchdowns through the first nine games last season, but just 349 yards and one score in eight regular-season games thereafter. He had 73 yards combined in two postseason games, including just 21 in the season-ending loss to the Chiefs.

But Diggs also has 1,000+ yards receiving in six straight seasons and 100+ receptions in four straight. He’s a legitimate No. 1 receiver, and Houston’s receiving corps might just be one of the league’s best. It’s a unit that includes Diggs, 2023 breakout Nico Collins and 2023 rookie Tank Dell, who had 709 yards in just 11 games.

Moreover, the Diggs addition continues an outstanding offseason for the Texans. Here are their other major moves:

  • Signed Danielle Hunter and Denico Autry on the defensive line
  • Signed linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair
  • Re-signed Dalton Schultz

I love it. The Texans have a superstar (and I don’t use that word lightly) quarterback on a rookie deal in C.J. Stroud and are doing exactly what they should be with the money they’re saving: getting star talent around him. Tyler Sullivan gave Houston an “A” in his trade grades.

The Bills didn’t grade out quite as kindly, but GM Brandon Beane says they’ll “trot out a damn good team come September.” Diggs isn’t the first big loss this offseason, either. But Jeff Kerr agrees with Beane’s assessment: The Bills’ contending window is always open as long as Josh Allen is around.

Still, Allen needs someone to throw to on the outside. The good news? There are tons of options in this year’s draft, and Jordan Dajani explored five, including …

  • Dajani: Adonai Mitchell, Texas | CBS Sports overall prospect rank: 24 | CBS Sports positional rank: 5 — Mitchell has good size for an outside receiver at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, and the Georgia transfer was named the 2023 Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year after leading his new conference in receiving touchdowns with 11. Mitchell also recorded career highs in receptions (55) and receiving yards (845) with the Longhorns in 2023. Out of all the players on this list, Mitchell may be the most realistic target for Buffalo.”

Trading up could be on the board, too, Jordan says.

Finally, remember when Jerry Jones promised an “all-in” offseason for the Cowboys? Well, the other team in the state is actually delivering, Garrett Podell writes.

😁 Honorable mentions

😮 And not such a good morning for …


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THE UCONN HUSKIES

No team in the NCAA Tournament has been able to slow down UConn. Maybe an airplane — or the lack of an airplane, rather — can. The Huskies dealt with a travel day from hell Wednesday, eventually taking off for the Final Four in Phoenix after midnight this morning. CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander got the details straight from Huskies coach Dan Hurley.

  • The NCAA oversees and handles all travel for all teams in both the men’s and women’s tournaments. The plane UConn was supposed to be on was coming in from Kansas City but ran into multiple technical troubles that prevented it from leaving on time.
  • The crew assigned to the flight would max out its allowable work hours, per FAA guidelines. The team did not leave Windsor Locks, Conn., until 1:33 a.m. Thursday morning.
  • The plane finally landed in Phoenix at 3:14 a.m. PT.
  • Per a statement from the NCAA — “In conjunction with the school and charter airlines, the NCAA worked to develop several options for travel alternatives to Phoenix. We are very disappointed that UConn will arrive later than anticipated and it’s unfortunate the team’s travel experience has been impacted.”

UConn’s opponent — Alabama — arrived Tuesday, as did Purdue. NC State arrived Wednesday. The Huskies obviously have plenty of time before their Saturday night contest against the Crimson Tide, but this certainly isn’t the ideal start to the Final Four.

😑 Not so honorable mentions

🏀 Malachi Flynn becomes third bench player with 50-point game


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Jamal Crawford. Nick Anderson. Malachi Flynn.

That’s the list of players to have a 50-point game off the bench, a list Flynn joined Wednesday night in the Pistons121-113 loss to the Hawks.

College basketball fans may remember him as the San Diego State star who was robbed of an NCAA Tournament due to the pandemic, but I’ll excuse you if you didn’t know who Flynn was because he had the lowest career scoring average (5.2 points) prior to a 50-point game in NBA history.

It’s been a winding road for Flynn. He started his career with the Raptors but was traded to the Knicks in the OG AnunobyRJ Barrett/Immanuel Quickley deal earlier this season and then flipped shortly thereafter to Detroit in the Bojan Bogdanovic/Alec Burks trade.

Jack Maloney breaks down the highlights — and the improbability — of a special night.

  • Maloney: “Flynn was doing a little bit of everything against the Hawks. He snaked his way into the paint, both for finishes and trips to the line, made them pay for playing drop coverage by hitting mid-range pull-ups and knocked down five 3s. All told, it was a brilliant display of shot-making. … After playing sparingly in his first few weeks with the Pistons, he’s been getting more regular playing time lately, and has had a few double-digit performances, though nothing even approaching a 50-point night. In fact, in his first 17 games with the team he had 98 total points.”

It’s another reminder that even the fringiest of fringe NBA players are insanely good … and that even supposedly “meaningless” late-season games for teams well outside the playoff race can produce amazing things.

🔥 Ranking Caitlin Clark’s best NCAA Tournament games


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We’re one day away from the women’s Final Four, and that means we’re one day away from Caitlin Clark … and Paige Bueckers and Aaliyah Edwards and Aziaha James and all of South Carolina‘s stars, but I digress.

Clark is the main attraction. She’s the Division I all-time leading scorer. She just dropped 41 points to beat reigning-champion LSU and get revenge for Iowa’s title game loss a year ago. Yet that performance is just second in Jack’s ranking of Clark’s five best NCAA Tournament games. In at No. 1 is …

  • Maloney:Final Four, 2023: (2) Iowa 77, (1) South Carolina 73 | 41 points, six rebounds, eight assists, 15-of-31 from the field –The reigning champion Gamecocks, who were on a 42-game winning streak and led by future WNBA No. 1 overall pick Aliyah Boston, were 11.5-point favorites and marching toward another title. Clark brought that procession to a halt. As she’s done so many times in her collegiate career, she put the Hawkeyes on her back and refused to let them lose. Every single action ran through Clark, as she played 39 minutes and either scored or assisted on 58 of the Hawkeyes’ 77 points. That included all 18 of their fourth-quarter points, as she came up with clutch plays time and again to hold off the Gamecocks.”

Could we get Iowa vs. South Carolina this year for the title? Perhaps, but first, the Hawkeyes will need to get past UConn and the Gamecocks must beat NC State. Here’s Jack’s look at both matchups.

📺 What we’re watching Thursday

🏀 NIT Championship: Seton Hall at Indiana State, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Kings at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 Nuggets at Clippers, 10 p.m. on TNT





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