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Aaron Rodgers’ future timeline: Key dates to know on Packers’ offseason calendar

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Aaron Rodgers' future timeline: Key dates to know on Packers' offseason calendar

The clock is ticking for quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers with the NFL calendar going into June. With the financial implications of a potential trade now being more manageable for Green Bay and the start of 2021 regular season three months away, a final decision on whether he will stay or go this offseason needs to be made.

Before June, trading Rodgers would have forced the Packers to take a dead money hit of $38.356 million and also counted another $1.154 million against their salary cap.

Now should Rodgers get dealt, that dead money would be spread between 2021 and 2022, with a hit of $21.152 million this year and another hit of $17.204 million next year. The big difference in a post June 1 trade comes in saving $16.05 million toward this year’s salary cap.

Although that’s still not an ideal money scenario for Green Bay, it can afford to move him if there’s zero chance he wants to play for the Packers again.

MORE: Six scenarios that could unfold for Aaron Rodgers

What’s next key date to watch for Aaron Rodgers?

So far, Rodgers has missed only voluntary team workouts. Although he’s never done that with any kind of OTAs in his Packers career, he still hasn’t lost any money in extending the impasse like that this year.

It would seem to follow that Rodgers, however, also will miss the Packers’ three-day minicamp that starts on Tuesday, June 8. Missing that entire practice session will cost Rodgers less than $100,000, which isn’t a big deal given the size of his contract and supplemental income from endorsements. But the money gets a little more significant as that decision would also cost Rodgers his $500,000 annual workout bonus.

What happens if Aaron Rodgers misses training camp?

Say Rodgers is fine losing that half-million plus to maintain his early summer vacation. Then there’s isn’t much that can change as teams go dark ahead of training camp later this month.

The Packers officially begin camp July 27. Every day Rodgers misses camp, it will cost him $50,000, so only 10 days would match the earlier potential lost workout bonus. 

If that still seems like relative chump change in relation to how unhappy Rodgers is with the top of the Packers’ organization, watch out more for Rodgers sitting out preseason games, too. The Packers don’t play their first exhibition contest until hosting the Texans on Aug. 14. Should Rodgers miss that game and the two others (Aug. 21 vs. Jets, Aug. 28 at Bills), he would lose another $2.58 million, or $860,000 per missed game.

Rodgers should already have the Packers’ attention about his seriousness of wanting a better situation. June might feel like a holding pattern for the standoff, but should this creep into late July and feel like it won’t end in early August, Green Bay would need to accelerate moving him.

Is there a “deadline” for an Aaron Rodgers trade to go down in 2021?

There isn’t an official deadline in the future timeline, but the start of camp makes a lot of sense should it be apparent Rodgers will remain a no-show. That’s for two reasons, one for Green Bay and another for the team trying to acquire Rodgers.

For the Packers, they would need most of training camp and all of the preseason to prep second-year first-rounder Jordan Love to jump his mind-set to full-time starter vs. a promising young developmental option behind Rodgers. For the team in pursuit of Rodgers, they would need about the same amount of time, even as smart as he is, to incorporate him into a new offense.

What about the Packers trading Aaron Rodgers in 2022?

As detailed here when looking at Rodgers’ contract in depth, when the next new league year starts in March 2022, the Packers can move Rodgers without any real cap issues before June. 

An early-year trade would give the Packers $22.648 million in cap relief with only $17.204 in dead money. If they designated the trade for June, the Packers would save $25.5 million toward the cap with dead money hits of $14.352 million for 2022 and $2.852 million for 2023.

That would also mark the time when the Packers need to make a future contract decision on Love, ahead of his rookie contract’s final year in 2023 and subsequent club option year in 2024.

Rodgers needs only one way out of the Packers. The Packers want to be patient with the situation trying to appease the reigning league MVP QB but they can wait only so long until Rodgers presses them into action.

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Chris Paul, NBA Twitter react to Deandre Ayton’s game-winning dunk in Suns vs. Clippers

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Chris Paul, NBA Twitter react to Deandre Ayton's game-winning dunk in Suns vs. Clippers

Deandre Ayton was the hero for the Suns in their Game 2 win over the Clippers.

With less than a second left on the clock, the Suns were down one point and had just 0.9 seconds to get a shot off. Jae Crowder inbounded the ball on the baseline under the Suns’ basket and found Ayton cutting to the hoop.

Ayton threw it down. The play took just 0.2 seconds off the clock and sealed the 104-103 win for the Suns.

Here’s a look at the amazing finish.

Ayton and Crowder deserve a bulk of the credit, but Devin Booker had an impact on the finish as well. His physical screen on Ivica Zubac — who is seven inches taller and 35 pounds heavier than Booker — gave Ayton just enough space to get open off the cut and throw down the dunk.

And Booker put his body on the line despite playing with a bloodied nose that required stitches after an inadvertent hit from Patrick Beverley earlier in the game.

The Suns’ finish thrilled Phoenix fans as well as the team’s star point guard Chris Paul, who missed his second straight game in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. He took time to celebrate the victory on Twitter and praised coach Monty Williams for his “big-time play call.”

Indeed, it was a nice play call, and Williams made sure Ayton was prepared to dunk immediately after catching the ball.

“DA — if he throws it, you gotta try to dunk it,” Williams said. “Okay?”

Ayton was ready and obliged. As a result of his make, NBA Twitter erupted and celebrated the exciting end to yet another tightly-contested playoff battle. 

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How Suns perfectly executed game-winning play — and why goaltending didn’t apply on Deandre Ayton’s dunk

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How Suns perfectly executed game-winning play — and why goaltending didn't apply on Deandre Ayton's dunk

Back in December 2017, the Suns and Grizzlies found themselves in a down-to-the-wire contest. Phoenix had the ball with just 0.6 seconds on the clock and the game tied at 97.

So what did then-Suns coach Jay Triano do? He unveiled a play that he had kept in his back pocket for years.

MORE: Chris Paul reacts to Deandre Ayton’s game-winning dunk

While standing on the sideline near the Grizzlies’ bench, Dragan Bender threw a pass toward Tyson Chandler that floated directly above the rim, giving Chandler the opportunity to slam it through the bottom of the net. Wait, you can do that?

“You cannot goaltend a ball that isn’t going to count,” Triano told reporters after the game.

More than three years later, Triano’s words were once again ringing throughout Phoenix Suns Arena. Coach Monty Williams drew up a similar play on Tuesday night, and his players executed it perfectly to give the Suns a stunning 104-103 win over the Clippers and a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference finals.

Look at this beauty:

OK, let’s break down what NBA TV’s Matt Winer called “The Valley Oop.” (Great work, Matt).

First, notice the positioning of DeMarcus Cousins. Clippers coach Tyronn Lue made a smart move by putting Cousins on Jae Crowder in order to make an inbound pass more difficult, but Cousins is squared up to Crowder, opening up the passing lane Crowder needs.

As for the action in the paint, Devin Booker sets a terrific screen on Ivica Zubac, allowing Deandre Ayton to break free. Could Nicolas Batum have bumped Ayton and recovered? Possibly, but he is understandably concerned with leaving Booker.

(NBA)

Once Ayton gets a step on Zubac running toward the basket, it’s on Crowder to put the ball in a spot in which Ayton can score. As you can see from the angle below, Crowder just narrowly avoids the backboard. The placement here is simply incredible.

“That’s definitely Jae’s game-winner,” Ayton said after the game.

deandre ayton suns play
(NBA)

Now, you may still be asking, “But why isn’t that a goaltending violation?”

As the NBA explained in its Last Two Minute Report from that December 2017 game, “Goaltending rules do not apply because (Chandler) makes contact with the ball off of a throw-in and not a live ball that has already legally been touched on the playing court.” Scott Foster, who served as the crew chief on Tuesday, offered the same explanation when asked about Ayton’s dunk.

Sometimes less than a second can be all the time in the world. Just ask any Suns fan.

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Clippers’ Paul George misses crucial free throws in stunning Game 2 loss to Suns

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Clippers' Paul George misses crucial free throws in stunning Game 2 loss to Suns

The box score from Tuesday’s Suns-Clippers game — a pivotal Game 2 win for Phoenix in the Western Conference finals — will show Paul George had a decent game.

Twenty-six points, on 10-of-23 shooting; six assists; six rebounds; and 5-of-10 shooting from the free throw line. He also scored his team’s last six points, all within the last minute, to help the Clippers to a 103-102 lead with just 8.2 seconds remaining.

The only stats that ultimately mattered in the Clippers’ 104-103 loss, however, were the final two free throws George — a career 84.7-percent free throw shooter — missed. They ultimately allowed Phoenix a chance at an unbelievable comeback victory, which may prove costly even as the series heads back to LA.

NBA MOCK DRAFT 2021: Who will Pistons, Rockets take with top picks?

Had George sunk both of those shots, the Suns would have needed a 3-pointer just to send the game to overtime. Had he sunk even one shot, they would have needed a 2-pointer. But he missed both, allowing the Suns to win on an inbound dunk with less than a second remaining:

Credit to Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder and the Suns. That play will go down as one of the top plays in NBA playoffs history. But every heartbreaking loss needs a goat, and no one fits the bill better than “Playoff P,” who could have secured a win for his team with the simplest of basketball scoring plays.

Here’s the bright side for the Clippers, if there is one: They have already overcome 2-0 deficits in each of their first two series against the Mavericks and Jazz, respectively. That’s likely a cold comfort as George and Co. head back to LA, however. The scathing Twitter comments aimed at George likely won’t do anything to help, either:

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