Jul. 11, 2017
"The Stack" 7-6-17
The Stack is back after multiple days off (Ugh, he’s back) and as I mentioned our posts in the summer now that it really is just baseball going on are going to be fewer. Still, we should have mentioned something about NBA free agency. I have plenty of reaction to that plus other headlines in the world of sports (no LaVar Ball and his show mentioned in this post other than this brief mention, crap why did I bring him up?) so let’s get right to it and see what’s in “the stack” for today, Thursday, July 6th:
NBA free agency in full swing
By now you know all of the big moves that have taken place. Chris Paul got traded to the Houston Rockets for a ton of players. There was the thought that Blake Griffin would leave, but he did not signing a mega deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. Paul George was traded by the Indiana Pacers to the Oklahoma City Thunder for essentially nothing. Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson have joined the Minnesota Timberwolves. Gordon Hayward is reuniting with his former college head coach Brad Stevens in Boston. Paul Milsap was part of a three team trade that sent him from Atlanta to Denver and Danilo Gallinari from Denver to the Clippers. The Clippers sent Jamal Crawford, another player and a first round draft pick to Atlanta who is going buy out Crawford’s contract by all accounts. We haven’t even gotten to the defending NBA champions. Kevin Durant gave the Warriors a discount signing a two-year $53 million deal. Steph Curry signed a mega deal. Five years, $201 million. That’s a large chunk of change. They also signed Nick Young from the Los Angeles Lakers. There have been a number of other deals, but these appear to be the biggest.
How does this change the landscape of the NBA? Well first off, the eastern conference has gotten worse while the western conference just got increasingly more difficult. All of the power is switching to the western conference. The Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks appear to be in full fledge tanking mode. It’s really between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics and no one else. The Denver Nuggets I think became a playoff team by getting Milsap, but losing Gallinari may hurt them. Who knows what is going to happen with the Clippers. Can Griffin stay healthy? Who in the treasure trove of players they got from the Houston Rockets can step up for them? The Rockets one-two punch of Chris Paul and James Harden is going to be awfully intriguing. The Rockets are the second best team in the western conference. Can they land Carmelo Anthony? It’s certainly a possibility. I think Utah is in for a down year. Memphis could be too. Zach Randolph left for the Sacramento Kings. I think the Kings could be a fringe playoff team this year. The Thunder now have a great one-two punch with Russell Westbrook and Paul George, but can they keep George after this year or is he destined to leave for L.A. and the Lakers? They certainly seem like they will make some noise. The Timberwolves can make the playoffs and end their thirteen year playoff drought hopefully. Things are going to be very interesting in the NBA next year and it’s still going to lead us to a Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals showdown. The offseason is more intriguing than the regular season that is for sure.
Connor McDavid strikes big deal
The NBA isn’t the only sport going through free agency. Free agency has also started free agency and while there have been some trades like Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella going from Minnesota to Buffalo for a couple of players (draft picks were also exchanged), Kevin Shattenkirk signed with the New York Rangers, but the biggest deal that has made headlines is Connor McDavid signing a new deal with the Edmonton Oilers. It’s eight-years, $100 million with the deal starting in the 2018-19 season. That makes McDavid the highest paid player in the NHL based on average salary per year. That is crazy for a guy who has been in the league only a couple of years, but McDavid is well worth the money. We saw what the Oilers did this year in the regular season and playoffs. Expect bigger results next year and for years to come. The Oilers are building something special.
Other headlines in the world of sports
A lot of people are upset with how the judges scored the boxing bout between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn. It was a pretty controversial finish. I don’t even want to pretend like I know the techniques and everything that goes on in boxing, but if enough people are upset with the result, then I will take them at their word and say that Pacquiao was screwed. There is a chance that the result of the match will be challenged. Pacquiao has already said he would welcome that even though he was gracious in defeat. It was quite the result down under that made a lot of headlines over the weekend.
Wimbledon has begun at the All-England Club in London. We’ve already seen a guy who doesn’t care about winning (Bernard Tomic), a Russian go absolutely berserk (Daniil Medvedev) and some decent tennis and upsets. Rafael Nadal continues to impress. I will take Novak Djokovic though, but I shouldn’t discount Roger Federer either. On the women’s side, I’ll turn back the clock a little bit and pick an upset and go with Venus Williams even though her mind may not be fully on tennis after being charged in a car accident in Florida that killed a person. Would be awfully interesting if she won. Find all the tennis on ESPN.
Joey Chestnut did it again at the Nathan’s Famous Hotdog Eating Contest July 4th on Long Island. He set a world record with 72 hotdogs. The over/under as I learned on Scott Van Pelt’s SportsCenter (or Scott Van Pelt’s News Hour according to Kenny Mayne) was 71.5. Well done Joey Chestnut. No one is even close to him on this national stage especially since Kobayashi is nowhere in site.
Check out the Body Issue of ESPN Magazine (Man I am promoting them a lot here, sorry). Lots of content on espn.com.
Coming up Friday: MLB HR Derby field thoughts plus other top stories in sports