Terry Francona 'excited' to join the Indians

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Terry Francona 'excited' to join the Indians

From Comcast SportsNetCLEVELAND (AP) -- Terry Francona is getting back with one of his baseball families.Francona, who guided the Boston Red Sox to two World Series titles, has been hired as manager of the Cleveland Indians, a team that collapsed in the second half this season after a promising first four months. The sides continued working Saturday night on the length of Francona's contract.The 53-year-old will be formally introduced as Cleveland's 42nd manager during a Monday news conference at Progressive Field."I'm really excited," Francona said on the air as an ESPN analyst, his job for the past season. "People who don't know me may have thought I was looking for something different."The Indians chose Francona over Sandy Alomar Jr., who served as the club's interim manager for the final six games after Manny Acta was fired on Sept. 27. Francona and Alomar, who spent the past three seasons as a coach in Cleveland, were the only candidates to interview for the Indians' opening.Alomar has been offered a spot on Francona's staff, most likely as bench coach.The Indians have always held a special place for Francona. After he was fired as Philadelphia's manager, he worked in Cleveland's front office as an adviser in 2001. He also spent a portion of the 1988 season on Cleveland's major league roster and his father, Tito, played with the Indians from 1959-64.Francona has stayed close with Indians president Mark Shapiro and general manager Chris Antonetti over the past decade. He said the chance to work with them again is what intrigued him most about the Cleveland job, which will have its challenges because of a much smaller payroll than he enjoyed in Boston."It's a good story, almost a family feeling," Francona said after his interview on Friday. "I don't think you can take a job because of that, but it still means a lot to me. Because of Chris and Mark and my relationship, I am excited to try to tackle, or attempt to tackle, every challenge that comes our way and do it together."There are some major challenges in Cleveland, where fans have been waiting for a World Series winner since 1948.The Indians were a major disappointment this season, going 68-94. They were within 3 1-2 games of first place on July 27, but went 5-24 in August -- the worst month in the franchise's 112-year history -- and finished 20 games out in the AL Central. Acta didn't get to finish his third season with the club."We have better talent than our record shows," Antonetti said earlier this week.With shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, second baseman Jason Kipnis, center fielder Michael Brantley and catcher Carlos Santana, the Indians have a solid core of young position players to build around. Cleveland's bullpen was the strength of the team this season, but All-Star closer Chris Perez caused distractions with his comments and actions.The Indians lacked a proven power hitter -- DH Travis Hafner was injured much of the season -- and it remains to be seen if Cleveland owner Paul Dolan will spend in free agency to add talent.Francona interviewed with the Indians one day after Alomar, a six-time All-Star catcher for Cleveland and fan favorite. Alomar managed the Indians to a 3-3 record after Acta was dismissed. Alomar will likely be courted by other teams seeking a manager. He interviewed with Boston last year before the Red Sox hired Bobby Valentine.Francona spent eight seasons with the Red Sox but was not brought back after the club fell apart down the stretch in 2011. This season, Francona worked as a TV broadcaster and said it was while preparing for telecasts that he realized how much he missed managing and being around players."We appreciate Terry's great contributions to our baseball coverage and we wish him the best,"? ESPN said in a statement, adding Francona will appear as a guest analyst during the network's World Series coverage.Francona has managed for 12 seasons in the majors, compiling a 1,029-915 record."I played for Tito (Francona) and everybody knows his track record is a good one," said Indians pitcher Justin Masterson, who was with Francona in Boston for 2008-9.Antonetti said part of Francona's appeal was how he developed young players like Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester as they came up through Boston's system."In addition to that, he's a great communicator and an accomplished leader," Antonetti said.

Azubuike: Paul George 'definitely put in a call to Klay Thompson'

Azubuike: Paul George 'definitely put in a call to Klay Thompson'

Paul George can become a free agent in 2018.

Klay Thompson is scheduled to hit free agency a year later.

Might they be future teammates with the Lakers?

"He's (George) definitely put in a call to Klay Thompson, and obviously he feels like Klay Thompson is a guy that he would love to play with in the Lakers," NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors analyst Kelenna Azubuike said on 95.7 The Game on Tuesday morning. "Now, for all we know, Klay could have said, 'Buzz off, I'm staying with the Warriors.' It doesn't really mean much that he put in a call. They probably had a nice conversation.

"Maybe they even talked about something other than basketball, and didn't talk about basketball at all. Who knows. It doesn't really mean much, but he's definitely put in calls to Klay Thompson; he's talked to LeBron James and he's trying to see if he can figure out who can come with him to the Lakers."

George reportedly told the Pacers he isn't going to stay with the franchise long-term and Indiana is currently looking to trade him before he has the opportunity to walk.

George -- who grew up in Los Angeles -- wants to suit up for the Lakers.

Klay is entering Year 3 of a 4-year, $69 million deal.

If he continues to play at his current level, he will absolutely be in line for a max deal when his contract is up.

A lot can change between now and then, but one thing is clear at this point: Klay doesn't want to go anywhere.

“At the end of the day, I’ve tasted winning,” Klay told Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group at the championship parade. “No stats can ever overcome that. I’d rather win these championships and score no points than have 60-point games and 37-point quarters. These championships are everything to me...

"It’s so much more to being part of a team and being part of something special. You can build a legacy ... the thing with basketball these days, there’s a lot of individuality with stats, numbers, Who’s the greatest, he’s a better player than him, he put up this many points.

"But Steve (Kerr) helped me a lot with that. He said nobody is going to remember how many points you put up. They are going to remember how many championships you win."

Klay was born in Los Angeles, grew up rooting for Kobe Bryant and went to high school in Southern California.

His father, Mychal, won two titles with the Lakers.

"But I doubt, I highly doubt that Klay Thompson will end up leaving the Warriors," Azubuike added.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Dorell Wright knew Steph and Klay would be this good because...

Dorell Wright knew Steph and Klay would be this good because...

Dorell Wright played for the Warriors in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

He spent a lot of time with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. 

Did he think they would end up being this good?

"Yeah. I seen it because they put the time in, they put the work in," Wright told Alex Kennedy on the HoopsHype Podcast. "Sometimes we'd have to go talk to Steph like, 'Yo, you know we got a game tonight? You're going pretty hard.'

"He's a little different, man. He takes coaching and advice from everybody. If you're telling him something that's gonna better him and help him, he's gonna sit there and listen to you. He's not gonna be one of those guys that thinks he knows everything.

"I'm happy for his success ... I'm just happy he's back and being healthy."

And what about Klay?

"A guy that I had to shoot with every day in different 3-point drills that Mark Jackson used to have us doing," Wright explained. "And I'm always going first because I'm the starter, and then it would be Klay and B-Rush. I'm making 20 shots in a drill and Klay would come right behind and hit like 26, and it's like, 'Dang, this dude really is a dead-eye knockdown shooter.'

"So that was a great experience being around another good shooter and a guy that puts the time in to get better each and every day."

During the 2010-11 season, Wright set the Warriors' single-season franchise record with 194 3-pointers (Curry made 151).

The following year, he made 105 in 61 games.

Wright, who will turn 32 in December, has not played in a regular-season NBA game since April 1, 2015.

He spent the 2015-16 season in China, before returning to the Heat for the playoffs.

He was in training camp with the Clippers last October, but was waived during the preseason.

Wright enjoys watching the Warriors play and wants to make an NBA comeback.

Perhaps with his former squad...

"They play well with each other, they move the ball and they take good shots ... that's pretty hard to guard," Wright said. "I didn't get a chance this year to play them so I can't really, really tell you how hard it is (laughing), but they make it look real easy out there.

"Hopefully I can get back out there next year so I can be either on their side or on the side of trying to dethrone them."

Wright also made sure to give some love to Warriors fans.

"Some of the most loyal fans that you will ever encounter -- rowdy, loud and just love their Bay Area teams ... I'm still a resident of the Bay Area and they still show me love like I'm a current Warriors player everywhere I go...

"The fan love is crazy."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller