MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Washington 6 Kansas City 0

Cleveland 7 Cincinnati 2

Chicago Cubs 6 Chicago White Sox 3

Minnesota 7 Texas 4

Baltimore 8 Toronto 1

Boston 10 Detroit 6

Tampa Bay 4 NY Yankees 3

Houston 4 LA Angels 0

Seattle 6 Oakland 3

Pittsburgh 12 Milwaukee 2

Miami 5 Atlanta 4

NY Mets 6 Philadelphia 5

San Francisco 8 St. Louis 4

San Diego 3 LA Dodgers 1

Arizona 4 Colorado 2

BOX SCORES SATURDAY: https://www.rotowire.com/baseball/scoreboard.php?date=2019-07-06

 

MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Toledo 9 Indianapolis 6

South Bend 1 Dayton 0

Fort Wayne 4 Great Lakes 1

 

WNBA

Minnesota 74 Connecticut 71

 

NBA SUMMER LEAGUE

Utah 78 Oklahoma City 66

Detroit 93 Portland 73

Milwaukee 89 Atlanta 83

LA Clippers 93 LA Lakers 87

Memphis 101 Indiana 75

Boston 96 Philadelphia 82

Dallas 113 Houston 81

Washington 84 New Orleans 79

Sacramento 94 China 77

BOX SCORES SATURDAY: https://www.nba.com/summerleague/2019/scores#/

 

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

Seattle 2 Columbus 1

Minnesota 3 Montréal 2

FC Cincinnati 3 Houston 2

Sporting KC 1 Chicago 0

San Jose 1 Real Salt Lake 0

Los Angeles FC 6 Vancouver 1

 

CFL

BC 18 Toronto 17

Calgary 37 Saskatchewan 10

 

ARENA FOOTBALL

Philadelphia 50 Atlantic City 45

 

 TOP HEADLINES

DeMarcus Cousins to join Lakers

A person with knowledge of the situation says DeMarcus Cousins has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, a move that will reunite him with his former New Orleans teammate Anthony Davis.

ESPN first reported the agreement.

Cousins agreed to the deal Saturday, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the Lakers had not yet announced the signing. The Lakers are expected to close a deal Saturday that will bring them Davis in exchange for players and draft picks.

Cousins averaged 16.3 points in 30 games with Golden State last season, one where he was dealing with recovery from a torn Achilles. He was also slowed in the playoffs by a quadriceps injury.

Paul George asked Thunder for trade after meeting with Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard choosing to sign with the LA Clippers in free agency was not a huge surprise, but the massive shocker was Paul George being acquired by the team in a trade. The team’s ability to land George is what made signing Leonard possible.

So just how did that come together? According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Leonard met with George in Los Angeles to recruit him to join him on the Clippers. George complied and approached the Thunder to request a trade. Woj says Oklahoma City did not want to enter a season with a discontent star, so they made the deal.

here are a few takeaways here.

One is that for all the jokes about him being anti-social, Leonard turned out to be a great recruiter. He reportedly tried to get Kevin Durant to join him on the Clippers. When that didn’t work out, he recruited Paul George and made that happen.

Two is that the Thunder are completely retooling and now will have several future draft picks and a few quality players in Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to join Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, and the rest of the Thunder.

 

Magic Johnson leaks reportedly hurt Lakers’ chances of signing Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard did not sound too interested in joining an existing superteam with the Los Angeles Lakers, especially after he took down the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. Why would he need LeBron James and Anthony Davis when he won it all with Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam? But what also didn’t help the Lakers’ case to sign him was the leaks from Magic Johnson.

Cris Carter, who has been on top of the Leonard free agency story, reported that Leonard wasn’t in favor of forming a superteam after taking one out. He also said Magic’s leaks didn’t help either.

All the information about Kawhi Leonard’s free agency process was as quiet as could be. Information was hard to come by, with most of the random rumors coming from unreliable sources. None of the typical credible reporters were providing information.

But there was one piece of information that came out, and it was the details of Magic Johnson’s conversation with Leonard and his manager, Uncle Dennis. Brad Turner reported several details on Spectrum SportsNet of Magic’s conversation with Leonard. Where else did that information come from if not through Magic? It’s obvious Johnson yapped.

Kawhi’s camp did not like that, just as was reported during the week.

Meanwhile, there was not one leak from the Clippers all along. Not one. They proved they were trustworthy, and they ended up with the biggest prize of all.

Leonard probably was unlikely to choose the Lakers. The fact that the only leak about his free agency came from them probably cemented things in his mind.

 

Why the Bulls are in their best position since the Michael Jordan days

The Chicago Bulls are coming off a 60-loss season. They have one of the most embattled front offices in all of professional sports. It’s really been a dark basketball time around the Windy City since Derrick Rose earned MVP honors what seems to be eons ago.

Things could, however, be on the verge of changing for the better. Chicago has put in some tremendous work over the past two offseasons, rebuilding its roster from scratch and adding a ton of talent to the mix.

It lends credence to the idea that these Bulls are in their best position since Michael Jordan was bringing titles to Chicago. Here’s why.

Star power: The Jimmy Butler trade helped big time.

Acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves for Butler before the 2017-18 season, Zach LaVine has morphed into a true star in Chicago.

Last season saw LaVine, 24, average 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while shooting 47% from the field. That improved outside shot has turned the former lottery pick into a great two-way player.

Chicago had reportedly been open to the idea of trading LaVine. That never really made any sense. Now that he’s here to stay, things are only looking up on that front.

Veteran leadership: The Bulls aced free agency in this regard.

While Chicago did not go after top-end free agents on the open market, it did add a number of tremendous secondary pieces behind the core group.

Thaddeus Young has been among the most underrated players in the game over the past decade. That span has seen the forward average 11-plus points and five-plus rebounds each season.

Young is joined by former Washington Wizards guard Tomas Satoransky as a free-agent steal for Chicago.

All he’s done over the past two seasons is shoot a combined 40% from distance. Satoransky averaged a career-best 8.9 points and 5.0 assists last season. He could start at the point.

The Bulls have made sure to hang on to Markkanen ever since they received the right to acquire him in the draft-day deal involving Jimmy Butler back in 2017.

It has paid off big time. Markkanen averaged 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 36% from distance as a sophomore last season.

Everything is pointing upward for the young power forward, who is just 22 years old.

Selected No. 7 overall in last year’s NBA Draft, Carter did not make waves like other rookies such as Luka Doncic and Trae Young did.

In no way does this mean Carter is anywhere near becoming a bust. The big man averaged 10.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in 44 games.

The hope here is that Carter takes that next step as a sophomore. If he does, the sky is the limit.

Chicago’s decision to select North Carolina’s Coby White No. 7 overall in last month’s draft was interesting. He can play the point but is seen as more of a shoot-first type of guy. That is the same role LaVine plays.

Even then, the Bulls are seeking an upgrade from Kris Dunn in the backcourt. Whether it’s White or Satoransky starting, that is an upgrade.

A starting five consisting of White/Satoransky, LaVine, Carter, Markkanen and Young looks really darn nice.

It won’t be enough to crack the upper echelon of Eastern Conference teams. But we would not be surprised if Chicago were to make it as a seventh or eighth seed.

Considering the young talent this squad boasts, the future seems as bright as at any point since Jordan won his sixth title with the Bulls.

 

NBA TRANSACTIONS SATURDAY

Miami has waived Ryan Anderson and Orlando has waived Timofey Mozgov, both of those moves financially motivated.

Anderson had to be waived by the Heat in a move to get the team in position to swing the trade that will land Jimmy Butler as part of a four-team deal later Saturday. And shedding Mozgov’s contract may keep the Magic under the luxury-tax threshold for next season.

Mozgov did not play for Orlando last year because of knee issues.

Anderson scored seven points in 10 appearances with Miami last season. He was acquired from Phoenix in February in the trade that sent Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington to the Suns.

The Detroit Pistons have a Morris twin again.

The Pistons signed Markieff Morris and Tim Frazier to free-agent deals Saturday. Markieff Morris comes to the Pistons after his twin Marcus Morris spent the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons with Detroit.

Markieff Morris was with Washington and Oklahoma City last season and is joining his fourth NBA club. The well-traveled Frazier is joining his sixth team in six seasons, after playing for New Orleans, Washington, Portland, Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

Al-Farouq Aminu has signed a three-year contract with the Orlando Magic, one that could be worth nearly $30 million.

The third year of the deal is at Aminu’s option. He spent the last four seasons with Portland, and averaged 9.4 points last season. He shot 43 percent last season, his best effort from the floor since he shot 47 percent for New Orleans in 2013-14.

Terrence Ross has signed his four-year, $54 million deal to stay with the Orlando Magic.

The Magic announced the signing Saturday, not long after the league’s moratorium on player movement and signings was lifted. Ross averaged a career-best 15.1 points per game last season in 81 appearances for Orlando, all off the bench.

Orlando is also expected to complete the signing of All-Star forward Nikola Vucevic to a $100 million, four-year deal.

 

According to multiple reports, San Antonio landed free agents Marcus Morris and DeMarre Carroll over the weekend. The Athletic broke the news of ex-Celtic Morris, noting he’ll join the Spurs on a two-year, $20 million deal. Carroll’s move had already been set, but ESPN reported a change in the initial agreement of a two-year deal worth $13 million. The report noted the team and Carroll’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, “reworked” the deal to make it three years at $21 million. In order to get this done, San Antonio had to move forward Davis Bertans to Washington – which cleared up space for Carroll’s new contract. Carroll, who has averaged 9.1 points per game in his career, spent the past two seasons with the Nets. This will be the forward’s seventh team since being selected 27th overall by the Grizzlies in the 2009 draft.

He met with the team early in the week and admitted he was amazed by their staff.

As for Morris, the Spurs were just one of the teams interested in the 6-9 forward. According to a previous report from The Athletic, the Lakers, Knicks, Bulls, Clippers and Kings were all looking to pursue Morris in free agency. He was even “open minded” about returning to Boston, the report noted.

Morris averaged 13.9 points and 6.1 rebounds while shooting 37.5 percent from 3-point range last season for Boston. He was traded from the Pistons to the Celtics in July 2017.

He has also played for the Suns and Rockets in his eight-year career.

 

LATEST FREE AGENT TRACKER

– Kawhi Leonard agrees to a four-year, $142 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Oklahoma City Thunder are also trading Paul George to the Clippers in exchange for a record number of draft picks.

– Kevin Durant agrees to four-year, $164 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets.

– Kyrie Irving agrees to a four-year, $142 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets.

– Kemba Walker agrees to a four-year, $141 million contract with the Boston Celtics.

– Jimmy Butler agrees to a four-year, $142 million contract as part of a sign-and-trade with the Miami Heat. The Philadelphia 76ers will receive Josh Richardson from the Heat. The Mavericks will receive Kelly Olynyk and Derrick Jones Jr. as part of the now three-team deal for Butler.

– D’Angelo Russell agrees to a four-year, $117 million contract with the Golden State Warriors as part of a sign-and-trade with the Nets. Treveon Graham and Shabazz Napier are going to Golden State from Brooklyn. Golden State is sending Napier, Graham and cash to Minnesota. The Warriors are sending Andre Iguodala and a future first-round pick to Memphis.

– DeMarcus Cousins agrees to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

– Al Horford agrees to a four-year, $109 million contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.

– Klay Thompson agrees to a five-year, $190 million contract with the Golden State Warriors.

– Khris Middleton agrees to a five-year, $178 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.

– Danny Green agrees to a two-year, $30 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

– Kristaps Porzingis agrees to a five-year, $158 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks.

– Nikola Vucevic agrees to a four-year, $100 million contract with the Orlando Magic.

– Jamal Murray agrees to a five-year, $170 million contract extension with the Denver Nuggets.

– Harrison Barnes agrees to a four-year, $85 million contract with the Sacramento Kings.

– Marc Gasol exercises his $25.6 million player option with the Toronto Raptors.

– Paul Millsap has his $30 million team option exercised by the Denver Nuggets.

– Brook Lopez agrees to a four-year, $52 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.

– JJ Redick agrees to a two-year, $26.5 million contract with the New Orleans Pelicans.

– Patrick Beverley agrees to a three-year, $40 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.

– Marcus Morris agrees to a two-year, $20 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs.

– DeAndre Jordan agrees to a four-year, $40 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets.

– Nikola Mirotic agrees to a deal with Barcelona in the Euroleague.

– Derrick Rose agrees to a two-year, $15 million contract with the Detroit Pistons.

– Jonas Valanciunas agrees to a three-year, $45 million contract with the Memphis Grizzlies.

– Gerald Green agrees to a one-year deal to return to the Houston Rockets.

– Terrence Ross agrees to a four-year, $54 million contract to return to the Orlando Magic.

– Al-Farouq Aminu agrees to a three-year, $29 million contract with the Orlando Magic.

– Ricky Rubio agrees to a three-year, $51 million contract with the Phoenix Suns.

– Trevor Ariza agrees to a two-year, $25 million contract with the Sacramento Kings.

– Malcolm Brogdon agrees to a four-year, $85 million contract with the Indiana Pacers. Indiana will send a first-round pick and two future second-round picks to Milwaukee as part of the sign-and-trade for Brogdon.

– Bojan Bogdanovic agrees to a four-year, $73 million contract with the Utah Jazz.

– Thaddeus Young agrees to three-year, $41 million contract with the Chicago Bulls.

– Rodney Hood agrees to two-year, $16 million contract to return to the Portland Trail Blazers.

– Thomas Bryant agrees to three-year, $35 million contract with the Washington Wizards.

– Tobias Harris agrees to five-year, $180 million contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers.

– Mike Scott agrees to two-year, $9.8 million contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers.

– Jeremy Lamb agrees to three-year, $31.5 million contract with the Indiana Pacers.

– DeMarre Carroll agrees to a three-year, $21 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs.

– Nerlens Noel agrees to a deal to return to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

– Julius Randle agrees to a three-year, $63 million contract with the New York Knicks.

– George Hill agrees to three-year, $29 million contract to return to the Milwaukee Bucks.

– Taj Gibson agrees to a two-year, $20 million contract with the New York Knicks.

– Ed Davis agrees to a two-year, $10 million contract with the Utah Jazz.

– Mike Muscala agrees to deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

– Mario Hezonjia agrees to a one-year, league-minimum deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.

– Robin Lopez agrees to a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.

– Bobby Portis agrees to a two-year, $31 million contract with the New York Knicks.

– Reggie Bullock agrees to a two-year, $21 million contract with the New York Knicks.

– Cory Joseph agrees to a three-year, $37 million contract with the Sacramento Kings.

– Ish Smith agrees to a two-year, $12 million contract with the Washington Wizards.

– Tomas Satoransky agrees to a three-year, $30 million contract with the Chicago Bulls as part of a sign-and-trade with the Washington Wizards.

– Wayne Ellington agrees to a two-year, $16 million contract with the New York Knicks.

– Michael Carter-Williams agrees to a one-year deal with the Orlando Magic.

– Seth Curry agrees to a four-year, $32 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks.

– Austin Rivers agrees to a two-year deal with the Houston Rockets.

– Troy Daniels agrees to a one-year, $2.1 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

– Elfrid Payton agrees to a two-year, $16 million contract with the New York Knicks.

– Maxi Kleber agrees to a four-year, $35 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks.

– Enes Kanter agrees to a two-year, $10 million contract with the Boston Celtics.

– JJ Barea agrees to a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal with the Dallas Mavericks.

– Richaun Holmes agrees to a two-year, $10 million contract with the Sacramento Kings.

– Edmond Sumner agrees to a three-year deal with the Indiana Pacers.

– Wesley Mathews agrees to a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.

– Frank Kaminsky agrees to a two-year, $10 million contract with the Phoenix Suns.

– Matt Thomas agrees to a three-year, $4.2 million contract with the Toronto Raptors. He comes over from the Euroleague.

– Kevon Looney agrees to a three-year, $15 million contract to return to the Golden State Warriors.

– Isaiah Thomas agrees to a one-year deal with the Washington Wizards.

– Anthony Tolliver agrees to a one-year, $2.6 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers.

– Dorian Finney-Smith agrees to a three-year, $12 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks.

– Daniel Theis agrees to a two-year, $10 million contract with the Boston Celtics.

– James Ennis agrees to a two-year, $4.1 million contract with the Phildelphia 76ers.

– Willie Cauley-Stein agrees to a deal with the Golden State Warriors.

– Brad Wanamaker agrees to a one-year deal with the Boston Celtics.

– Ryan Arcidiacono agrees to a three-year, $9 million contract with the Chicago Bulls.

– Glenn Robinson agrees to a two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors.

– Noah Vonleh agrees to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

– Jeff Green agrees to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Utah Jazz.

– Jared Dudley agrees to a one-year, $2.6 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

– Luke Kornet agrees to a two-year deal with the Chicago Bulls.

– Emmanuel Mudiay agrees to a one-year deal with the Utah Jazz.

– Wilson Chandler agrees to a one-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets.

– Rodney McGruder agrees to a three-year, $15 million contrat with the Los Angeles Clippers.

– Darius Miller agrees to a two-year, $14.25 million contract to return to the New Orleans Pelicans.

– Boban Marjanovic agrees to a two-year, $7 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks.

– Markieff Morris agrees to a deal with the Detroit Pistons.

– TJ McConnell agrees to a two-year, $7 million contract with the Indiana Pacers.

– Jake Layman agrees to a three-year, $11.5 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of a sign-and-trade with the Portland Trail Blazers.

– Raul Neto agrees to a one-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

– Kentavious Caldwell-Pope agrees to a two-year, $16 million contract to return to the Los Angeles Lakers.

– JaVale McGee agrees to a two-year, $8.2 million contract to return to the Los Angeles Lakers.

– Quinn Cook agrees to a two-year, $6 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

– Ivac Zubac agrees to a four-year, $28 million contract to return to the Los Angeles Clippers.

– Rajon Rondo agrees to a two-year deal to return to the Los Angeles Lakers.

– Alex Caruso agrees to a two-year, $5.5 million contract to return to the Los Angeles Lakers.

 

How Kawhi has warped the league and the NBA title chase

Pat Riley taught us, or maybe Kevin Garnett did first: If you are wooing a superstar — a true superstar, not a lower-level All-Star who happens to head some weak free-agency class — you’d better have another in house already. Maybe two.

The guys who swing championships don’t care about picks you’ve gathered, that 20-year-old point guard who looks like a future All-Star, the pristine cap sheet, how artfully you’ve manipulated Rodney McGruder’s cap hold. The Clippers had all of that to sell Kawhi Leonard as they stalked him across the NBA for a year. It didn’t matter. Leonard wanted Paul George.

Leonard wanted a star. Didn’t the Clippers still have one after trading Chris Paul to Houston? They re-signed Griffin amid much fanfare. Had they stood pat, they could have entered this summer with Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Jerome Robinson, Griffin, and about $40 million in cap space — enough to fit Leonard. In that scenario, there is no need for the Clippers to trade the Oklahoma City Thunder their unprotected first-round picks in 2022, 2024, and 2026 — and give Oklahoma City the right to swap first-rounders in the intervening years.

In that scenario, the Clippers never acquire the rest of the motherlode (and it is a freaking motherlode) they sent the Thunder: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and two Miami Heat picks — the first acquired from Philadelphia in exchange for Tobias Harris (who was acquired in exchange for Griffin), the second as incentive for absorbing Maurice Harkless this week.

The Clippers wagered Griffin, with a worrisome injury history, would not have that sort of appeal. Despite the cost they paid for George — which was really the cost for a George/Leonard package anyway — they wagered correctly. Leonard understands the importance of star two-way wings, both in winning titles and in enabling his team to manage his playing time. I don’t think Griffin draws him to the Clippers.

The Clippers didn’t lose all the direct and indirect proceeds of the Griffin trade here, either. Landry Shamet remains. They turned one of Philadelphia’s picks (via Harris) into Mfiondu Kabengele with a draft-day trade. The extra financial wiggle room allowed them to snare Harkless and McGruder — rangy wings who fit alongside Leonard and give the Clippers even more leeway managing the ol’ load.

And now they have the best wing combination in the league. Leonard, George, and Beverley are going to terrorize people on defense. My god. Beware dribbling anywhere in their vicinity unless you are an expert point guard. George and Beverley can split duty defending the best opposing scorers so Leonard doesn’t have to overtax himself before it counts.

George works best as a second option on offense — he fit well with Russell Westbrook, which is not all that easy to do — and he can play that role in different ways, out of different actions, around Leonard’s jab-stepping and shoulder-checking and pitter-pat dribbles.

They are an ideal match. They have been tied together from the start of Leonard’s NBA career in the 2011 draft. On that night, Indiana and the San Antonio Spurs had agreed on a deal sending George Hill to the Pacers for the 15th pick — provided a certain player the Spurs wanted was still on the board. San Antonio would not tell the Pacers who it was. When Indiana discovered it was Leonard, they contemplated backing out of the deal; they had Leonard around No. 5 on their own draft board.

“When Kawhi ended up being there, we had to think about taking him,” David Morway, a key member of the Pacers’ front office at the time told me in 2013. “But we already had Danny Granger and Paul George. That’s what made it a little easier for us.”

We already had Paul George. Eight years later, the Clippers have both square in their primes. (Side note: Boston had a shot to get both too, but that is a complicated story.) They likely enter next season as favorites in the West — and perhaps title favorites.

Their age gives the Clippers a little more insurance against injury, and the doomsday Brooklyn Nets-style downside of coughing up multiple high picks to the Thunder. But that downside still exists. We cannot highlight the risk the Lakers took on in forking over a half-decade’s worth of draft equity to the Pelicans in the Anthony Davis deal without acknowledging that the Clippers did the same here.

The Clippers’ star duo is younger on average than Anthony Davis and LeBron James. The Clippers’ recent history of relative front-office competence gives you faith they would be more nimble handling unfavorable twists. And those twists will happen. Nothing goes according to plan in the NBA anymore. The move in 2011 to reduce the length of player contracts has revolutionized the league. Stars are always close enough to free agency to flex their power. The extra year incumbent teams can offer means less and less. No one is immune to injury. Projecting five years ahead is folly.

This was the cost of nabbing Leonard and George, and it was worth it if the alternative was nabbing neither — as it appeared to be. The Clippers had built a nice safety net for such a blow. They could run back a plucky, likable playoff-level team and seek other ways to use cap space and extra picks. But this summer has hammered home the lesson (again) that cap space and extra picks don’t mean all that much until you turn some of them into Star No. 1. Who were the Clippers’ next reasonable candidates for that designation? You won’t find them in the 2020 free-agency class.

Meanwhile, the draft of my free-agency winners and losers column (coming soon) contains this line about the Thunder: I am weirdly worried about Oklahoma City, considering they won 48 games with the league’s ninth-best point differential. It felt like they were trapped into a roster that had peaked. Any uptick in shooting from Westbrook would probably balance out a slight downturn from George’s MVP-level performance. They were in salary-cap prison, a notch below the best teams in the West — a more crowded group today than it was a month ago.

It seems obvious now, but the Thunder had to know their only way out was to trade George. Steven Adams has limited trade value on his near-max contract. Westbrook’s supermax, which will pay him $47 million in 2022-23, is a straight-up albatross. They may mind-trick some dumb team into taking it at some point, but the Thunder have to assume Westbrook carries negative trade value.

(Sam Presti, Oklahoma City’s GM, “pursued a package” of Westbrook and George to the Raptors late Friday as he attempted to leverage Toronto and the Clippers against each other — and, in the case of the Clippers, against the threat of a superteam in the same building — knowing that Leonard wanted George and George wanted out, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It is unclear how interested the Raptors were in taking on Westbrook if it were to cost them Pascal Siakam. Toronto “couldn’t keep up” with the Clippers’ outlay of picks anyway, Wojnarowski reported.)

They don’t escape from cap jail with this trade, though they get some relief from the luxury tax — and a good player on a movable contract in Danilo Gallinari. They do get a road map for a post-Westbrook future.

Gilgeous-Alexander is a stud. I’d bet on him making multiple All-Star teams. The Thunder now almost draft on behalf of three teams — themselves, the Heat, and the Clippers. Miami has more downside than the revamped Clips, though they insulated themselves some by acquiring their own Star No. 1 in Jimmy Butler. They are set up to chase Stars No. 2 and 3 in the summer of 2021 — as is much of the league. A Miami team with one star and massive cap space is scary.

Regardless: This is a haul for Oklahoma City. In five or six years, the Thunder may come out of this as the biggest winners. Think about it like this: In a roundabout way, they turned Serge Ibaka (starting with the 2017 deal sending Ibaka to Orlando for Victor Oladipo and the pick that became Domantas Sabonis) into everything they got in this deal. Even if Presti got roped into the proceedings late, he did a remarkable job making the best of it.

The Thunder may try to flip Westbrook and Adams, and enter a full-on rebuild. Even if they can’t, they have already snared a lot of the proceeds of a full-on rebuild. They could even go the other way. They have enough ammo to make a real offer for Bradley Beal — Billy Donovan coached Beal in college — and still have extra assets leftover. Their tolerance for luxury-tax pain looms large in pursuing any such deals. [Update: Wojnarowski reports that both Westbrook and the Thunder “understand that the time has likely come to explore trade possibilities for Westbrook.”]

As is, they might still contend for one of the last two playoff spots in the West, though at first blush I would probably pick them to (barely) miss the postseason. Gallinari was a borderline All-Star last season and can work as the stretch power forward the Thunder haven’t had since Ibaka kinda, sorta became one. Oklahoma City can play Gallinari and Jerami Grant together at power forward and center, or even steal some minutes with Gallinari as a wing. Andre Roberson is presumably coming back. But their present-day ceiling is obviously lower.

Losing out on Leonard stings for the Lakers, even if they recovered well to dot the roster around Davis and LeBron with capable players. They still have two of the league’s five best players. They will contend in the West next season. It was worth waiting on Leonard. He is that good. A LeBron-Davis-Leonard trio would have wrought devastation given good health and a semi-reasonable supporting cast.

It will be harder for the Lakers to add that third star now in either the summer of 2020 or 2021. Just the salary owed Davis, James, and Luol Deng via the stretch provision — the latter hilariously lingering on the Lakers’ books through 2022 — leaves them short of projected max cap space in both offseasons. And that does not include a dime for Kyle Kuzma, their first-round picks, or any of the deals they signed in the wake of Leonard’s late-night aftershock.

Leonard would have been the perimeter star to take the ball-handling torch from LeBron. They must find that player eventually.

The Raptors, meanwhile, understood what they were getting into when they traded for Leonard. They knew he had wanted Los Angeles, and that he might leave in free agency regardless of how the season played out. They knew Leonard bolting would leave them without a franchise tentpole, and with almost all of their key veterans — Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, eventually Marc Gasol — in the final year of their contracts. The only alternative might be rebuilding around Siakam, OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, and the collective draft acumen of an elite front office.

They were fine with all of that. A trade — even one as big as Toronto’s swing for Leonard — is not a gamble if the team executing it sees no downside. The DeMar DeRozan version of the Raptors had run its course. LeBron — Toronto’s Voldemort — leaving the conference did not change that.

Losing DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a low first-round pick meant little to the Raptors beyond nostalgia. Every other Leonard suitor had something real to lose, something that would at least make you think — Jaylen Brown, Brandon Ingram, whatever. Toronto was tethered to nothing.

They had been ready to rebuild for years anyway. They would take one shot at glory in the meantime. It worked. They won a title. That is the entire point of this enterprise. Winning even one is hard. They got one. They win the Kawhi Leonard trade forever. And now they move on.

They will surely investigate trades for Lowry, Ibaka, and Gasol. It’s unclear whether those guys on expiring deals will net meaningful assets. Ujiri will try. He does not like losing players for nothing. He doesn’t have to rush. The Raptors excelled when Leonard rested last season. They still have a good, tough, savvy team — a strong playoff team. There is nothing wrong with taking a feel-good one-season victory lap.

But they are not a contender. The East may be down to just two of those — Milwaukee and Philadelphia — until Kevin Durant returns.

The West now has two contenders in one city. The Clippers have work to do rounding out their roster. They could use another dash of point guard ball-handling atop Beverley and Williams, and some more big bodies. But they are going to be awesome.

Leonard’s discontent with San Antonio warped the league perhaps more than any other event over the last decade-plus aside from LeBron’s free-agency decisions. San Antonio’s draft-day swap for Leonard would have otherwise gone down as one of the greatest trades in NBA history.

For a league-average starting point guard in Hill, the Spurs had found an annual future MVP candidate. Leonard was 22 when he won the 2014 Finals MVP. Three years later, he was a credible candidate for league MVP. With Leonard, San Antonio was positioned to be a 50-plus-win contender through, what, 2025? He could have carried the Spurs beyond 30 years of consistent excellence. That is unheard of in the NBA.

Perhaps nothing is meant to last so long anymore. The relationship between player and team deteriorated, and the league has never been the same. The Clippers now get their chance at sustained excellence. Let’s see what they do with it.

 

Zion Williamson out for summer league with bruised knee

Zion Williamson’s summer league is over.

The New Orleans Pelicans announced Saturday that the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA draft will not play any more at the Summer League in Las Vegas because of a bruised left knee. The team stressed the move is precautionary.

“Zion will move forward from this incident without issue,” Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin said. “However, in an abundance of caution, we have made the determination that he will not appear in game action for the remainder of the NBA Summer League.”

Williamson’s presence helped the Summer League sell out its opening day Friday and reach another sellout Saturday – when Williamson was scheduled to play in his second game of the summer against Washington.

There appeared to be a quick impact on the resale markets: Tickets that were going for more than $300 apiece on Friday for the session that included the Pelicans’ game against No. 3 pick RJ Barrett and the New York Knicks were available for under $100 on Saturday.

Williamson scored 11 points in nine minutes of his debut game against New York. But he took a knee-to-knee hit in the first half and was ruled out at halftime of a game that was eventually shortened after the tremors of an earthquake were felt in Las Vegas.

Williamson is expected to remain with the team in Las Vegas for the duration of the tournament.

“He will continue to take part in training and conditioning with our performance team,” Griffin said.

 

Game Recap: Grizzlies 101, Pacers 75

LAS VEGAS — Bruno Caboclo recorded 19 points and five rebounds to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 101-75 win over the Indiana Pacers in the Las Vegas Summer League on Saturday at Cox Pavilion.

Indiana never led in this one, and Memphis went up by as many as 33 in the win. The Grizzlies’ excellent team field goal percentage (52.9) was crucial, as the Pacers shot just 35.5 percent collectively from the field.

Caboclo paced Memphis (1-0) in points, and Keenan Evans totaled 16 points and three assists. Yuta Watanabe had 15 points and four rebounds, and Ben Lawson recorded seven points and 12 rebounds.

Aaron Holiday led all scorers with 24 points and added five assists. DeVaugh Akoon-Purcell finished with 15 points and four rebounds, and Alize Johnson added 12 points and six rebounds for Indiana (0-1).

 

Serena Williams 2 for 2 at Wimbledon; wins in singles, mixed

Serena Williams walked into her news conference at Wimbledon holding her phone, a cold bottle of water and a statistics sheet that reinforced what was clear from watching her third-round singles victory Saturday:

She is as close to being back to her best as she’s been in a while.

Williams, hampered for much of this season by injuries or illness, took a step forward against 18th-seeded Julia Goerges, a powerful hitter in her own right who lost to the American in last year’s semifinals at the All England Club. Sure enough, Williams hit serves at up to 120 mph, put in a tournament-best 71 percent of her first serves, never faced so much as one break point and won 6-3, 6-4.

“It’s been an arduous year for me,” said Williams, who had competed only 12 times in 2019 until this week, mostly because of a bothersome left knee that finally is pain-free. “So every match, I’m hoping to improve tons.”

Maybe it was a good thing she played twice Saturday, then.

About 4+ hours after getting past Goerges at No. 1 Court, Williams headed out to Centre Court for her much-ballyhooed debut as Andy Murray’s teammate in mixed doubles. Other than one slip near the net when she lost her footing in the first set – she was fine and laughed it off – Williams looked good during the 6-4, 6-1 win against Andreas Mies and Alexa Guarachi, including smacking one serve at 122 mph, equaling the fastest hit in singles by any woman (her, naturally) during the tournament.

“Andy and I both love the competition. I know we both want to do well,” Williams said. “We’re not here just for show.”

She rarely is.

But if Williams is going to win an eighth singles championship at Wimbledon, and a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title overall, she will want more performances like the one she gave against Goerges.

Forceful, yes, but nothing was forced.

“I play pretty good when I’m calm, but also super-intense, just finding the balance in between there,” the 37-year-old Williams said. “So it’s a hard balance to find, because sometimes when I’m too calm, I don’t have enough energy. Still trying to find that balance.”

Two more key stats on the paper she brought to her media session: She produced more winners than unforced errors, 19-15, while Goerges finished with 32 forced errors, a reflection of just how difficult Williams can make it for opponents to handle shots she sends their way.

Goerges credited Williams with causing havoc with her returns, as well.

After averaging 10 aces in the first two rounds, Goerges was limited to half that many.

 

Federer into Wimbledon 4th round for 17th time

Roger Federer broke yet another Wimbledon record by reaching the fourth round for the 17th time.

The eight-time Wimbledon champion beat Lucas Pouille 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (4) on Centre Court to eclipse Jimmy Connors’ mark of 16 fourth-round appearances at the All England Club.

Federer also became the first player – man or woman – to reach 350 match wins in Grand Slam tournaments.

Federer saved a break point at both 3-3 and 5-5 in the first set, then won six straight games to take a 4-0 lead in the second. Pouille managed to hold serve throughout the third set, saving a match point at 6-5. But in the tiebreaker, he netted a backhand on Federer’s third match point.

Federer will next face 17th-seeded Matteo Berrettini, who defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

 

Sweden beats England 2-1 to take third at Women’s World Cup

Kosovare Asllani set Sweden on its way to a 2-1 victory over England for third place in the Women’s World Cup on Saturday night but the midfielder almost didn’t play in the bronze medal match.

Asllani was taken off the field on a stretcher during Wednesday’s semifinal loss to the Netherlands following a head injury and was taken to hospital. And the 29-year-old revealed that as late as Friday she was told that she wouldn’t be able to play in the match in Nice.

“Yesterday, I got a `no’ about playing from our medical staff. But we did the test again today and it was positive,” an emotional Asllani said. “I felt it was going to take a lot for me to miss this game but I really gave it my all and I feel in every percent of my body that I’ve given it all.”

It was a third bronze medal for Sweden, which also finished as the runner-up in 2003.

Asllani gave the Swedes the lead in the 11th minute as they took advantage of early struggles by England.

Alex Greenwood had plenty of time to clear Fridolina Rolfo’s cross but sent it straight into the path of Asllani, who drilled it into the bottom right corner. England goalkeeper Carly Telford got a hand on it but couldn’t keep it out of the net.

Sweden was up 2-1 when Asllani was substituted out at halftime.

“When I got another hit on my head in the first half I felt like, `Nah, it’s time for someone else to get in,'” Asllani said. “I’m proud of the team and proud of myself and just everything right now. I got another knock but everything is worth it right now.”

Sofia Jakobsson had doubled Sweden’s lead before England got into the game with Fran Kirby halving the deficit in the 31st minute when she cut in from the right, beat her defender and curled in off the base of the left post.

Ellen White thought she had tied the score two minutes later but her goal was ruled out after the video review determined there had been a handball. The forward had also had what would have been an equalizing goal ruled out in the semifinal loss to the United States.

“I haven’t really seen it back. I’ve got contact but she shoved me, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do,” White said. “I didn’t feel like it touched my arm really. I’ve done everything to try and score the goal.

The referee “didn’t really explain it to me either, which I was frustrated with, but she’s there to make the decision and the decision was that it was handball so I’ve got to take it on the chin. I’m disappointed with a few decisions that has happened but that’s VAR and that’s football so you just got to get on with it,” White said.

Had the goal stood, White would have moved to the top of the goal standings in the race for the Golden Boot before Sunday’s final between the United States and the Netherlands.

White has scored six goals, the same as Alex Morgan – who has her beaten on assists – and one more than Megan Rapinoe.

All but one of Morgan’s goals came in a 13-0 victory over Thailand.

 

All-Stars Lindor, Beiber lead Indians over Reds 7-2

Francisco Lindor homered twice, Roberto Perez connected on a tiebreaking shot in the eighth inning, and the Cleveland Indians pulled away to their fifth straight victory at Great American Ball Park on Saturday, 7-2 over the Cincinnati Reds.

The Indians have won nine of their last 11 games in Cincinnati and lead the intrastate series 62-50. They’ve taken two of three this season.

Cleveland has won five in a row overall, matching its longest winning streak of the season.

Shane Bieber (8-3) gave one of his best performances a day after he learned he’d made the All-Star Game in Cleveland next week, replacing Texas’ Mike Minor. He allowed four hits in eight innings – three by Yasiel Puig , who had a two-run homer.

Lindor and Bieber are among a contingent of four Indians who will participate in the game Tuesday on their home field.

Before the game began, Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco said in a video that he’s being treated for leukemia but hopes to return by late July. Manager Terry Francona said there’s no estimate about when he might be able to pitch again.

Lindor hit his fourth leadoff homer of the season off Anthony DeSclafani’s fourth pitch, ending the Reds’ streak of 23 scoreless innings. They were coming off back-to-back shutouts of Milwaukee at Great American.

Lindor hit another solo shot in the fifth, a drive that deflected off the screen attached to the right field foul pole. His third multihomer game of the season tied it 2-2.

Perez had three singles and a two-run homer in the eighth off Michael Lorenzen (0-2) that broke a 2-2 tie. Jake Bauers singled with the bases loaded in the ninth as the Indians pulled away.

 

Lester pitches into 7th, Cubs beat Giolito, White Sox 6-3

The Chicago Cubs have a chance to sweep their neighbors and head into the All-Star break feeling at least a little better. The way they’ve been struggling, they’ll take that.

Jon Lester pitched into the seventh inning, and the Cubs beat All-Star Lucas Giolito and the crosstown White Sox 6-3 at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday night.

The two-game series figured to be a charged one with the Cubs in a funk for weeks and the White Sox looking like a team that’s breaking through after years of losing. But with Lester in command and Giolito struggling, the opener went to the North Siders with a sellout crowd watching.

“Team victory,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Could have been a little bit cleaner. That’s one thing we really have to work on in the second half, is to be cleaner.”

Lester (8-6) went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs – one earned – and six hits. The left-hander improved to 5-2 in his past seven starts, while Giolito got knocked out in a five-run fifth.

Craig Kimbrel hit a batter and walked one in the ninth, but struck out Jose Abreu for his second save in three chances. The Cubs won their second in a row after dropping four straight, following up an 11-3 win at Pittsburgh with another victory. And they did it despite committing three errors.

 

Scherzer stays hot, Nationals blank Royals 6-0

Max Scherzer sustained a dominant stretch with seven strong innings, Kurt Suzuki homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Kansas City Royals 6-0 on Saturday.

The NL pitcher of the month for June, Scherzer (9-5) allowed four hits and struck out 11 with one walk in his final start before heading to Tuesday’s All-Star Game. He struck out the side in the seventh.

Scherzer has won seven straight starts and has an 0.84 ERA over his last nine appearances. He returned from the paternity list following the birth of his daughter Thursday to help Washington win for the ninth time in 11 games.

Both teams wore throwback uniforms in celebration of their franchise’s 50 years since joining Major League Baseball in 1969, with the Nationals wearing the powder blue uniforms of the Montreal Expos.

Kansas City starter Glenn Sparkman (2-5) gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings.

Alex Gordon had two hits and a walk for the Royals, who have lost eight of 10.

With Washington leading 1-0, Matt Adams walked leading off the second and Suzuki followed with his 11th homer of the season.

Juan Soto had two RBI singles.

 

Nido, angry Mets edge Phillies 6-5 in testy game

Todd Frazier got hit near the left elbow by an 85 mph changeup and was clearly annoyed.

After the game, Jake Arrieta went straight to his hard stuff.

“If Frazier’s not happy about it, he can come see me and I’ll put a dent in his skull,” the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher said.

In the latest testy game between these NL East rivals, Tomas Nido hit a three-run double to put the angry New York Mets ahead in a 6-5 victory over Philadelphia that included four hits batters Saturday night.

Arrieta plunked three of them – and then challenged Frazier. The veteran third baseman had left the clubhouse and was unavailable for comment, the Mets said.

Jeff McNeil had four hits for the fourth time this season, boosting his major league-best batting average to .356, and the Mets snapped a six-game losing streak to Philadelphia that marked their longest in more than a decade. New York won for only the third time in 12 games overall.

Frazier and manager Mickey Callaway were ejected in a heated fifth inning, just moments before Nido’s big hit.

“It’s a rivalry. I think it’s just kind of how it is,” McNeil said. “Some guys have gotten hit on both sides. But you know, a rivalry’s always good. I mean, we’re not throwing at anybody or anything like that. But yeah, it’s fun to play against them. … It’s a good atmosphere.”

Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer against his former team, and Maikel Franco also went deep for the Phillies.

Noah Syndergaard (6-4) allowed four runs over five innings in his second start since coming off the injured list. He also threw away two pickoff attempts.

 

Cole, Gurriel help Astros blank Angels 4-0

Last season Yuli Gurriel finished with 13 home runs.

After a recent power surge, the 35-year-old has matched that total with one game to go until the All-Star break.

Gurriel homered for the fourth straight game and Gerrit Cole pitched seven scoreless innings before two relievers completed the four-hitter, leading the Houston Astros to a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.

Gurriel’s solo shot extended Houston’s lead to 3-0 in the sixth and gave him a 10-game hitting streak and the longest stretch of consecutive games with home runs in his career.

“He’s stayed completely under control, his body mechanics are good and he’s probably the one guy in there who doesn’t want the All-Star Game to come,” manager AJ Hinch said. “He’ll want it from a fatigue level but not from a production level. He’s been as good as anybody.”

Cole (9-5) scattered three hits over seven innings while striking out nine to win his fifth straight decision.

“I was just executing a handful of pitches and had some spots in my back pocket that I thought were good and I just stuck with them,” he said.

Cole, who leads the American League with 170 strikeouts, started July off strong after going 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in June to win AL pitcher of the month honors.

Ryan Pressly allowed one hit in the eighth and Collin McHugh struck out the side in the ninth to help Houston to its sixth win in seven games.

 

Indians pitcher Carrasco being treated for leukemia

Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco is being treated for leukemia, and he says it’s going to make him stronger than he was before.

Carrasco hasn’t played for Cleveland since May 30. The 32-year-old right-hander says he got a blood test after a spring-training physical prompted some concern, and he was diagnosed with leukemia in May.

“I never thought that I would have something like this, because I play baseball, I’m like super healthy or something like that,” Carrasco says in a video posted on the Indians’ Twitter account. “But you never know what’s going on inside your body.

“When I found out, it made me even stronger, then I push myself to work through this. Then I have a lot of people behind me, helping me, especially my teammates and family.”

Manager Terry Francona said the club knew the details of Carrasco’s condition before the video was released. Carrasco plans to talk to the media in Cleveland next Thursday. Francona declined to talk about the pitcher’s condition beyond what he said in the video.

“There’s nothing that came out that we didn’t know,” Francona said before Saturday’s interleague game in Cincinnati. “Carlos is going to talk to you guys Thursday night at our workout. He’s still throwing and doing all that.”

Carrasco also told a TV station in the Dominican Republic about his condition while visiting a hospital, where he was seeing patients. He said he feels positive about his prognosis and he’ll be back with the team “at the end of July.”

Asked if Carrasco’s optimism about a quick return is realistic, Francona said: “We’re not putting any timetables. I don’t think that’s fair to anybody.”

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. There are numerous forms of the disease, many of which are highly treatable.

 

Tanaka, Vázquez, Woodruff added to All-Star rosters

New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, Pittsburgh closer Felipe Vazquez and Milwaukee right-hander Brandon Woodruff have been added to the rosters for Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

They replace Toronto’s Marcus Stroman, who has a strained pectoral muscle; Arizona pitcher Zack Greinke, who will be attending to a personal matter; and Brewers closer Josh Hader, who has back stiffness.

Tanaka was selected for the 2014 AL team but didn’t pitch because of a right elbow injury.

“It will be a great thing if I can actually pitch in the game,” Tanaka said through a translator. “When you look at your baseball career, it would be something that I can be proud of.”

A smiling Tanaka said he was surprised by the announcement.

“Everything happened so fast,” Tanaka said. “Obviously I’m very happy. This time around I get to actually go there and be part of the celebration.”

Tanaka is 5-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 18 starts.

Stroman, mentioned in trade speculation, was scratched from his scheduled start Thursday due to a strained left pectoral muscle.

Vazquez, who entered Saturday with 19 saves, becomes an All-Star for the second straight season.

Woodruff, a first-time All-Star, is 10-3 with a 3.91 ERA.

New York Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres, Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts, Cleveland right-hander Shane Bieber, Oakland right-hander Liam Hendriks, Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Max Muncy and Minnesota right-hander Jose Berrios were added previously.

They replace Tampa Bay right-hander Charlie Morton and second baseman Brandon Lowe, Texas left-hander Mike Minor, Los Angeles Angels second baseman Tommy La Stella, Texas outfielder Hunter Pence, Minnesota right-hander Jake Odorizzi and Washington third baseman Anthony Rendon.

Lowe was a replacement for La Stella.

 

John Henry says Red Sox aren’t looking to add more payroll this season

“If we play up to our capabilities we will easily make the playoffs. That’s how I see it,” Red Sox principal owner John Henry told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford in London this weekend before Boston’s two-game series with the Yankees. The Sox dropped both of those games to fall 11 games behind New York in the AL East standings, and two games out of an AL Wild Card slot.

At just 44-40 on the season, the Sox are far behind the pace set by their 2018 World Series team, which won 108 games in the regular season and then went 11-3 in the playoffs to capture the franchise’s fourth Commissioner’s Trophy since 2004. The Red Sox haven’t won back-to-back titles, however, and Henry noted that following up a championship run has been a challenge.

While this year’s Red Sox seem decidedly better than the 2014 team that finished in the AL East basement, Henry noted that in both 2014 and 2019, the club didn’t make many roster alternations over the winter.

“My take is that maybe it isn’t the best thing in the world to bring back the same team in its entirety every time,” Henry said. “You don’t want to break a team down. But maybe a few changes wouldn’t hurt. But the feeling is always different after you win, apparently.”

On paper, there wasn’t really too much for the Sox to address over their quiet offseason, though their lack of bullpen depth was seen as a problem in March and has blossomed into a full-blown concern as we enter July. While Boston’s bullpen and starting pitchers still rank in the top half of the league in most statistical categories (Sox relievers lead the league in K/9), both have been prone to breakdowns at inopportune times. The rotation has been largely carried by David Price and Chris Sale, the latter of whom has looked like his traditionally dominant self after a subpar April. But Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez haven’t pitched well, while the fifth starter’s spot has been a revolving door of shaky performances since Nathan Eovaldi has spent much of the year on the injured list.

A possible answer to these problems, of course, is a big addition or two at the trade deadline, though the Red Sox won’t have much room to maneuver if they are to stay under the $246M threshold for the maximum luxury tax penalty. The Sox passed this threshold last season, costing the team a little under $12M in tax payments and a 10-spot drop for their first selection in the 2019 draft.

Between Porcello, Rodriguez, Eovaldi, the injured Dustin Pedroia, underperforming veterans Steve Pearce and Eduardo Nunez, and the $30M+ in dead money still on the books for Rusney Castillo and Pablo Sandoval, the Sox have roughly $100M committed to players who have combined for only +0.6 fWAR in 2019.

It should be noted that as per the calculations from Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez, the Sox are again in position to surpass the $246M threshold, with an estimated luxury tax number of roughly $251.4M. If the team is indeed over the line with little hope of getting under the $246M, one could argue that the Red Sox might as well go ahead and spend more in an all-out push for another World Series. MLBTR’s Steve Adams outlined Boston’s financial restraints back in February, and while the Red Sox would face an even stiffer penalty for passing the $246M limit in consecutive years, a big-market team like Boston is more suited to handling such extra expenses.

This doesn’t appear likely, however, as Henry doesn’t see spending (or a perceived lack of spending) as the problem.

“It’s not a luxury tax issue, it’s a question of how much money do we want to lose,” Henry said. “We’re already over budget and we were substantially over our budget last year and this year. We’re not going to be looking to add a lot of payroll. And it’s hard to imagine fielding a better team. If we play up to our capabilities we’ll be fine. That’s the question: Will we? We’re halfway through and we haven’t….It’s a worthy team because we invested. Two years in a row we have the highest payroll. It’s not a matter of investment, it’s a matter of playing well.“

 

Nationals GM doesn’t shut the door on potential Max Scherzer trade

The Washington Nationals will have to do some soul searching during the All-Star break and heading into trade season.

At 45-41, Washington remains mired in mediocrity. Still, the Nats are just 6.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East and would be a wild-card team if the season ended today.

How the next couple weeks play out could determine Washington’s future. That includes a potential fire sale.

In talking about this possibility, primarily ace starter Max Scherzer, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo didn’t completely close the door.

Reading between the lines, trading someone of Scherzer’s ilk would indeed be franchise-altering. In turn, the Nats would be looking at adding multiple high-end prospects.

Scherzer, 34, remains one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. He’s put up an 8-5 record with a 2.43 ERA and 0.99 WHIP thus far this season. The three-time Cy Young winner also leads the NL in innings pitched (122.1) and strikeouts (170).

The ace starter is signed through the 2021 season. This means any team looking to acquire Scherzer wouldn’t be taking on a rental, furthering the return Washington receives.

Is a trade likely? No, but stranger things have happened.

 

Josh Rosen ‘clear underdog’ in Dolphins’ QB competition?

The Dolphins are one of only a couple of teams that will be having open quarterback competitions in training camp. They signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year, $11M deal this offseason but then traded a second-round pick for Josh Rosen in April.

Many have accused the Dolphins of tanking, and they’re definitely playing for the future, so it’s been assumed the team will want to get a look at Rosen sooner or later. Not so fast. Fitzpatrick has apparently been impressing during OTAs and minicamp, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Additionally, Jackson writes that Rosen is a “clear underdog to begin the season as the starter.”

One Dolphins player told Jackson that Fitzpatrick has “impressed everyone as a leader and that he was clearly the best quarterback in the offseason program.” Rosen started 13 games for the Cardinals as a rookie last year, and he struggled mightily. He completed only 55 percent of his passes and had more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (11). That being said, the circumstances were far from ideal, as he was playing for an offensive coordinator who was fired just a handful of weeks into the season, along with one of the league’s worst offensive lines.

Fitzpatrick started the first few games of the 2018 season for the Buccaneers due to Jameis Winston‘s suspension, and he played so well that he initially kept the job when Winston returned. He was subsequently benched, reinserted and benched again before the end of the year. Fitzpatrick has always been more than capable of playing lights out in flashes but has struggled for consistency.

New Dolphins coach Brian Flores has insisted that the team isn’t going to tank, so maybe he will go with Fitzpatrick each week if he thinks it gives him the best chance to win. The Dolphins only gave up a late second-rounder for Rosen, so it’s not as if they’re too heavily invested in the UCLA product.

That being said, with Fitzpatrick’s relatively modest contract, they aren’t too invested in him either. Miami will likely be picking early in next year’s draft and it will need to get a look at Rosen to see whether or not it needs to draft a quarterback. Fitzpatrick will likely falter at some point and relinquish his grip on the starting job, but it doesn’t sound like it’ll be right away.

 

Why Packers’ Aaron Rodgers has so much to prove in 2019

Aaron Rodgers has plenty to prove in 2019. Ridiculous statement, right? Just another hot-take artist on the Internet trying to get clicks.

There isn’t some sort of crisis enveloping the Packers’ quarterback. He’s not coming off a terrible year. He hasn’t had anything but excellent ones since he took over as starter in 2008. But prove-it seasons come in all shapes and sizes, and Rodgers is staring one down now. He must prove that Mike McCarthy was the problem in Green Bay, and that shedding him is the solution that turns great statistics and regular seasons into championships.

Rodgers has nothing to prove when it comes to individual stats and accolades. Here’s a refresher:

Two MVP Awards.

A 103.1 career passer rating, the best of all-time among qualified passers.

A 99.4 playoff passer rating, fifth all time and just a tick behind Drew Brees and Matt Ryan for the best active mark.

338 TD passes and only 80 interceptions, an astonishing ratio.

A Super Bowl MVP.

But other than the Super Bowl XLV win over the Steelers, Rodgers has had little success in the playoffs despite often-spectacular regular seasons.

Despite those post-season failings, Rodgers is the favorite quarterback of a guy with six Super Bowl rings. No less an authority than Tom Brady said Rodgers would throw for 7,000 yards annually if he played for Bill Belichick in New England. He also admitted that Rodgers’ talents are considerably greater than his own. Rodgers can reduce the best quarterback in football history to a gushing fan, but he can’t stay within two scores of Eli Manning in a home playoff game. Go figure.

If the implication in Brady’s statement is that coaching and environment are big factors in his success, and that Rodgers would terrorize the league were he in his situation, then it stands to reason that firing McCarthy could kick-start a mid-30s renaissance for Rodgers.

Enter Matt LaFleur. It’s his job to turn around Green Bay, but there have already been some bumps in the road between the Packers’ rookie  head coach and Rodgers. LaFleur called plays for the first time in his career last year as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator. The Titans finished 27th in points per game and 25th in yards. Despite those underwhelming numbers, he wants to have control of the offense and to tamp down Rodgers’ improvisation. Rodgers wants the autonomy to do things his way. He did, after all, throw for 25 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 2018, a season in which he played on a bum leg.

So who cedes ground first? Or, at least, who should? The best answer is both must give a little.

LaFleur must check his ego at the door and realize that he’s designing an offense around a man whose capabilities are virtually limitless. Rodgers must understand that playing within a system doesn’t mean sacrificing his freedom. By most accounts, LaFleur is better than McCarthy at creating favorable match-ups for an offense. Rodgers must see that as an opportunity.

“You don’t want it to get to the point like you had with Ben Roethlisberger, where all of a sudden, (offensive coordinator) Todd Haley wouldn’t let him call an audible to a running play at the 1-yard line,” NFL Insider John Clayton told me in a radio interview last week.

Rodgers is too good to have played in only one Super Bowl. And he’s too good to have ugly, inexplicable playoff losses dotting his resume. So, yes, 2019 is a prove-it year for Aaron Rodgers. If he and Matt LaFleur prove they can co-exist, the quarterback with all the individual accolades might start to pile up what really matters.

Championships.

 

Eight NFL teams set to exceed expectations in 2019

On an annual basis, NFL teams that are expected to tank end up making a playoff push, while hyped teams fall by the wayside.

It’s this first group we’re focusing on here.

Not all the teams we’re about to discuss are necessarily expected to compete for the top draft pick next April. But all of them are seen as teams that could either be among the worst the league has to offer or take a big step back to contention.

These eight teams have a great chance to exceed those dire expectations.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are not expected to win many games this season with a rookie head coach and rookie quarterback.

Kliff Kingsbury isn’t the first innovative offensive mind to take the big leap from college to the pros, and many before have failed miserably. A big reason to believe Kingsbury could buck the trend is that he has a quarterback in Kyler Murray who fits his modified “Air Raid” offense to perfection.

Murray, in fact, has been receiving high praise from everyone within the Arizona organization for his firm grasp of the offense, along with possessing an arm that’s being compared to that of Patrick Mahomes.

If the Arizona defense can withstand the early suspension of Patrick Peterson and if Murray can stay healthy, the Cardinals have a shot at winning half their games in 2019.

Miami Dolphins

Former Bill Belichick assistants don’t have a strong track record of replicating his success when they get their own gigs. Brian Flores is hoping to flip the script in Miami, but it’s clear he has a big job ahead of him. The Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since the 2000 postseason and, of course, are in the same division as the Pats.

Dolphins fans have reason to hope this year, however. Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick wowed on a nearly-daily basis during offseason workouts, and so did receiver DeVante Parker — a player who’s never been able to live up to high expectations. If both of them have big seasons, then the offense should be just fine.

Rookie defensive tackle Christian Wilkins should give the Miami defense a huge boost. The secondary is already stacked with young talent — Minkah Fitzpatrick and Xavien Howard leading the charge.

There is talent to be found on this roster. It’s just a matter of getting these players pointed in the right direction. If Flores is able to do that, then the Dolphins have a shot to surprise a lot of people in 2019.

Detroit Lions

Second-year head coach Matt Patricia has been an easy target for criticism, and his first year at the helm in Detroit was certainly rough. The Lions aren’t seen as legitimate contenders in 2019, either — especially given how tough the NFC North is.

That narrative can quickly be put to rest, however, if Detroit’s defense shapes up the way the front office envisions.

Adding former Patriots star Trey Flowers should pay immediate dividends. Rookies Austin Bryant and Will Harris could contribute at a high level. As long as Darius Slay and Damon Harrison don’t hold out into the season, this unit could be downright dominant.

The offense will either thrive or struggle based on how well the offensive line performs. It was a bad unit last year , despite significant investments both through the draft and free agency. The emergence of Kerryon Johnson as a lead back is promising, however. Matthew Stafford remains one of the most-dynamic pure passers in the league, and the addition of rookie tight end T.J .Hockenson should ignite the passing game.

Baltimore Ravens

Many in the NFL community expect the Ravens to struggle this coming season due to high turnover on defense, because Lamar Jackson is still so raw and because the AFC North is very tough.

Jackson is in a fantastic place to thrive, however. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman has previously had success working with Colin Kaepernick and Tyrod Taylor. He’s crafting a brand new offense “ from the ground up” in Baltimore that should suit Jackson’s game to a T. The Ravens also have a phenomenal trio of running backs, some incredible speed at the receiver position and two excellent tight ends.

Defensively, Baltimore replaced Eric Weddle with Earl Thomas, who is among the best at his position . Third-round rookie Jaylon Ferguson could be one of the biggest steals from Day 2 in the draft. The secondary is also still loaded with cornerback talent.

John Harbaugh and Co. should have this young team in great shape for another playoff run.

Buffalo Bills

Third-year head coach Ryan McDermott saw his squad take a step back last season (6-10) after making the playoffs in 2018 for the first time in nearly two decades. Thanks to a very strong offseason, however, we expect the Bills to be a surprise playoff team once more in 2019.

It all starts with second-year quarterback Josh Allen. He’s still so raw, and accuracy may never be his forte. Yet it’s impossible to deny his ability to make big plays with his rocket arm and with his legs. Late last season, he was one of the top fantasy quarterbacks in the NFL. He should be a top option again in 2019.

Buffalo bolstered its offensive line this spring, which will benefit Allen. The Bills also brought in some sure-handed receivers , veteran running back Frank Gore and landed one of the top defenders in the draft, Ed Oliver.

This team is going places, and fast.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs are in a period of serious transition. Obviously, they moved on from Dirk Koetter and hired Bruce Arians, who represents a big-time upgrade. They also released a franchise leader, Gerald McCoy, and saw two top players leave in free agency — receiver Adam Humphries and linebacker Kwon Alexander.

Jameis Winston is the biggest key to whether the Buccaneers have a winning season or end up in the tank once again. He has a bad habit of turning the ball over at the worst possible time, and perhaps no coach can cure him of that. If anyone can, though, it’s Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

Defensively, Tampa Bay has some enticing talent that starts with rookie linebacker Devin White out of LSU, who is already earning rave reviews . Adding Ndamukong Suh in free agency gives the front line some serious oomph. If the team’s rookie defensive backs prove to be quick studies, then the Bucs could have one of the most improved defenses in the NFL.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos are seen by many as the third- or fourth-best team in the AFC West. Certainly, the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers have had more recent success. Yet this team could surprise big time in 2019.

Denver’s decision to trade for Joe Flacco may not have been sexy, but the things the Broncos have done since then to give the veteran a shot at succeeding are noteworthy. The Broncos drafted dynamic tight end Noah Fant in the first round, then added offensive lineman Dalton Risner in the second round. Both will immediately contribute in meaningful ways.

Selecting Dre’Mont Jones in the third round was another strong move in the draft that should make Denver’s defense much more dynamic up front. Adding him to a unit that features Von Miller and Bradley Chubb is downright scary for opposing offenses. On the back end, veteran Kareem Jackson was one of the most underrated free agency signings of the offseason.

Pittsburgh Steelers

You’d be hard pressed to find many who expect the Steelers to fall off a cliff in 2019. Yet there is a general sentiment that the losses of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell will be keenly felt, and that Pittsburgh is due to take a big step back. We’re not so convinced that will happen.

An underrated signing that could go a long way toward negating the loss of Brown is Donte Moncrief. His ability to make plays deep should open up things for young star JuJu Smith-Schuster. Additionally, rookie Diontae Johnson is already creating buzz as a dynamic weapon for Ben Roethlisberger.

Rookie running back Benny Snell has star qualities . He joins an already talented running back corps that’s led by James Conner and is fueled by one of the NFL’s top offensive lines.

Pittsburgh’s already staunch defense added a potential star in Michigan linebacker Devin Bush Jr., and third-round cornerback Justin Layne could be an immediate contributor as well.

Long story short, don’t go handing the Cleveland Browns the AFC North crown just yet.

 

Former Clemson football player Tyshon Dye drowns in Georgia park

Tyshon Dye, who played three seasons for the Clemson Tigers and was a member of their 2016 national championship team, drowned Friday, the university has confirmed.

According to multiple reports, the 25-year-old Dye was swimming Friday afternoon with family at Richard B. Russell State Park in Georgia near the South Carolina state line.

When Dye disappeared underwater, family called 911. Search crews recovered his body around 6 p.m.

“All of our hearts are just broken,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. I can honestly say Tyshon Dye is one of the sweetest souls I’ve ever been associated with or coached. We’re just all heartbroken tonight, and we’re praying for his family and know that he’s been called home.”

Dye played three seasons at running back for the Tigers, rushing for 351 yards and five touchdowns in 17 games from 2014-2016.

 

2019 COLLEGE FOOTBALL TOP RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

Junior Jerry Jeudy, Alabama. Yes, a wide receiver from Alabama is the best in college football. An All-American who led the Tide with 68 receptions, 1,315 yards and 14 scores.

Sophomore Rondale Moore, Purdue. Led college football interceptions with 114. He could top that number in 2019.

Junior Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State. Led the Cowboys with 86 receptions and 1,491 yards.

Junior CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma. The only player in Division I with multiple 80 – yard catches. Also added 11 touchdowns.

Sophomore Justyn Ross, Clemson. Averaged over 21 yards per reception as a freshman.

Junior Laviska Shenault, Colorado. Led the Pac–12 with 86 receptions in only nine games. When healthy he’s one of the best in the country.

Junior Tee Higgins, Clemson. Averaged a touchdown every 4.9 catches.

Junior Jalen Reagor, TCU. Led the Frogs with 72 receptions 1,061 yards and nine touchdowns.

Senior Collin Johnson, Texas. Johnson is recovering from off-season knee surgery after 68 receptions in 2018.

Senior Kalija Lipscomb, Vanderbilt. 87 receptions for 916 yards – the most by a Vanderbilt wide receiver since 2013.

Junior Henry Ruggs III, Alabama. 58 career receptions and 17 touchdowns.

Senior Tyler Johnson, Minnesota. Set school records for receiving yards with 1,169 and 12 touchdowns.

Senior Bryan Edwards, South Carolina. Considered one of the top big play receivers in the SEC.

Junior Denzel Mims, Baylor. Will be Baylor’s top target again in 2019.

Senior KJ Hill, Ohio State. Will be Justin Fields’ top weapon in Columbus.

Junior Donovan Peoples – Jones, Michigan. QB Shea Patterson will love this big-time receiver in Michigan’s new offense.

Senior Michael Pittman, USC. If the Trojans get improved quarterback play Pittman will shine in 2019.

Junior JD Spielman, Nebraska. Led the Cornhuskers with eight receiving touchdowns in 2018.

Senior James Proche, SMU. 93 receptions and 12 touchdowns in 2018.

Senior Van Jefferson, Florida. Led the Gators in every receiving category in 2018.

Junior TE Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri. 17 touchdowns in just 22 career games. Missed the final four games of 2018 because of a shoulder injury.

Senior TE Jared Pinckney, Vanderbilt. The top returning tight end in receiving yardage with 774.

Junior TE Colby Parkinson, Stanford. 7 receiving touchdowns in 2018.

Junior TE Hunter Bryant, Washington. 17.2 yards per reception in his career. Missed nine games in 2018 because of a knee injury.

Junior Grant Calcaterra, Oklahoma. First team All-Big 12 with 26 receptions and six touchdowns in 2018.

OTHERS TO WATCH

Junior Demonte Coxie, Memphis

Senior TE Mitchell Wilcox, South Florida

Junior Gabriel Davis, Central Florida

Junior Marquez Stephenson, Houston

Senior Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati

Sophomore TE Brevin Jordan, Miami

Sophomore Tamorrion Terry, Florida State

Junior Damon Hazelton, Virginia Tech

Senior Tyler Davis, Georgia Tech

Junior Dez Fitzpatrick, Louisville

Junior Dazz Newsome, North Carolina

Sophomore TE James Mitchell, Virginia Tech

Senior TE Brycen Hopkins, Purdue

Senior TE Sean McKeon, Michigan

Sophomore TE Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin

Sophomore TE Charlie Kolar, Iowa State

Junior Justin Hall, Ball State

Sophomore Jayden Reed, Western Michigan

Senior TE Austin Dorris, Bowling Green

Senior Spencer Tears, Northern Illinois

Junior Jack Sorensen, Miami Ohio

Junior TE Mitchell Brinkman, Northern Illinois

Senior Cedric Byrd, Hawaii

Senior Kaleb Fossum, Nevada

Senior TE Jared Rice, Fresno State

Senior JoJo Ward, Hawaii

Senior John Hightower, Boise State

Senior TE Parker Houston, San Diego State

Sophomore Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC

Junior Dezmon Patmon, Washington State

Senior Theo Howard, UCLA

Junior Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State

Senior Jacob Breeland, Oregon

Senior Jonathan Johnson, Missouri

Senior TE Dominick Wood – Anderson, Tennessee

Senior Kirk Merritt, Arkansas State

Junior Corey Sutton, Appalachian State

Junior TE Javonis Isaac, Arkansas State

Senior Ja’Marcus Bradley, Louisiana

Junior Kawaan Baker, South Alabama

 

Jon Jones edges Santos by decision at UFC 239

Jon Jones retained his UFC light heavyweight title with a split-decision victory over Thiago Santos, who nearly pulled off a spectacular upset at UFC 239, despite apparently fighting on an injured leg.

Jones remained unbeaten since 2009, but he was stretched to the limit Saturday by his Brazilian challenger. Jones won 48-47 on two cards, and Santos won 48-47 on the third.

Santos appeared to hurt his leg during the fight, but he kept striking and counterpunching against Jones. The champ found his rhythm midway through the fight, but still competed cautiously and didn’t even attempt a late takedown of his hobbling opponent.

 

Daly’s cart request denied, will still play Open

John Daly’s request to use a golf cart at The Open has been turned down by the R&A, but the 1995 champion said he will still compete at Royal Portrush when the tournament begins July 18.

“Quite disappointed they do not see it the same way our PGA of America and PGA Tour sees it,” Daly, who says he suffers from a disability that precludes him from walking, said on social media. “Different continents different laws???

“… While I trust the R&A’s decision was made with good intentions, I could not disagree more with their conclusions.”

Daly on Saturday said a doctor confirmed he has bicompartmental degenerative arthritis in his right knee.

“Fingers crossed I can make it thru the pain,” he said in his post.

Daly, 53, was approved to use a cart at the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in May after he had applied with the PGA of America to do so through the Americans with Disabilities Act. He failed to make the cut in that event.

The two-time major champion regularly plays the PGA Tour Champions, a 50-and-older circuit that allows carts. He last played a tournament without a cart in September at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland on the European Tour.

 

Wolff, Morikawa in spot for first career PGA win at 3M Open

Matthew Wolff shot a 9-under 62 Saturday to share the lead with Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau at 15 under after three rounds of the inaugural 3M Open.

Morikawa shot a 64 at the TPC Twin Cities, while DeChambeau had a 70.

Wolff, 20, who won the NCAA individual title on Memorial Day, is playing in his third event since turning professional, and the 22-year-old Morikawa his fourth.

DeChambeau, who opened the day with a two-shot lead, is vying for his sixth career win and first since the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in November.

Seeking his first tour win in 31 starts, Wyndham Clark, 25, shot a 64 and was tied with Adam Hadwin (69) one shot back.

Sixteen players are within four shots of the lead, including Hideki Matsuyama, Charles Howell III and Troy Merritt, who graduated from nearby Spring Lake Park High School. Each shot a 66 and were two shots behind.

Playing in ideal weather conditions – temperatures in the low-80s, increasing clouds and no wind – 65 of the 85 players shot under par on the par-71 layout.

Wolff, who made his professional debut two weeks ago by finishing 80th at the Travelers Championship and missed the cut at last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, used stellar approach shots to help him record six straight birdies on Nos. 5-10. None of the putts were longer than 8 feet. Birdies at No. 13 and 15 made a round of 59 seem possible.

However, Wolff missed a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 16 and a tee shot into a bunker led to bogey on the par-3 17th. He scrambled for birdie on No. 18 after an errant tee shot.

Named the Pac-12 Men’s Golfer of the Year in May, Morikawa made his professional debut four weeks ago and finished tied for 14th at the RBC Canadian Open. He tied for 35th at the U.S. Open and tied for 36th at the Travelers Championship two weeks ago.

Morikawa birdied five of his first seven holes, but only three the rest of the way.

DeChambeau birdied the first and last holes, had one bogey and 15 pars.

Clark, 25, who has two top-10s in his previous 30 events since 2017, had eight birdies, including four straight to start the back nine, as part of a 7-under 64.

 

THIS DAY IN SPORTS HISTORY

JULY 7, 1912

STOCKHOLM-For the second time in the history of the Olympic Games the Stars and Stripes floated today from all three flag poles on which are hoisted the national emblems of the countries obtaining first, second and third places in final events. The previous occasion was at Athens in 1896, when American athletes won all the points in the standing broad jump. The event today in which the Americans made a clean sweep was the final of the 100-meter flat race. Barely a yard separated the first and fifth men at the finish, and a mighty shout arose from the 20,000 present when the numbers were posted, showing that Ralph Craig of Detroit was first, Meyer, the New Yorker, second, and Lippincott of Philadelphia third.
Besides these successes on the cinder path, James Thorpe of the Carlisle Indian School won the pentathlon, with J.J. Donoghue of California third. This event is designed to show the all-around ability of athletes, and consists of the running broad jump, throwing the javelin, 200 meters run, throwing the discus, and 1,500 meters run. Thorpe won first place in all except the javelin throw, in which he was third. Commenting on Thorpe’s success, Commissioner Sullivan of the United States said to The Times correspondent: “His all-around work was certainly sensational. It is a complete answer to the charge that is often made, that Americans specialize in athletics. In fact, the pentathlon was added to the games especially for the benefit of foreigners, but we have shown that we can produce all-around men, too. It also answers the allegation that most of our runners are of foreign parentage, for Thorpe is a real American, if there ever was one.”
Thorpe made six points in the pentathlon, compared with 15 points for P.R. Bie of Norway, who was second, and 26 points for Donoghue, who was third. Thorpe’s marks were: running broad jump, 7 meters 7 centimeters; javelin, 52 meters; 200 meters flat, 23 seconds; discus, 35 meters 37 centimeters; 1,500 meters flat, 4:44.
Altogether today the American athletes made sure of eleven more points in the contest for the Olympic championship. Matt Halpin of New York, a member of the Olympic Committee, told The Times correspondent tonight that he was much delighted over the day’s successes. He said: “Although we expected that Thorpe would win the pentathlon, his great performance exceeded our hopes. Donoghue will show up much better in the decathlon.”
Jim Thorpe, a 24- year-old Native American whose Carlisle Indian School football exploits were soon to become well known, won a second gold medal in the decathlon eight days later. The greatest athlete of his day, he played major-league baseball from 1913 to ’19 and pro football from 1915 to ’28. Because he had played semipro baseball before the Stockholm Games, his medals were stripped from him by the International Olympic Committee in 1913. They were returned to his descendants in 1983, 30 years after his death in poverty in Los Angeles.

 

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1900      By defeating the Cubs, 11-4, Beaneaters’ hurler Kid Nichols takes only nine seasons to get his 300th victory. The 30 year-old righty will amass 361 victories during his 15-year career and will remain the youngest player ever to accomplish the feat.

1909      In a 15-3 blow-out of the Browns, the White Sox collect 12 stolen bases. The thievery at Chicago’s South Side Park includes the theft of home plate three times.

1920      Benny Kauff, after appearing in 55 games this season, is traded by the Giants with cash to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League for Vern Spencer. In December, the New York outfielder had been implicated in a car theft ring, and although acquitted of the charges, he will still be banished from baseball for life by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

1923      Lefty O’Doul, who will become an outstanding major league hitter later in his career, gives up 13 runs in the sixth inning as the Indians rout the Red Sox, 27-3. The San Francisco native will finish his 11-year stint in the majors with a lifetime batting average of .349.

1923      The Indians become the first American League team to score a run in every inning when they rout Boston, 27-3, in the first game of a doubleheader at Cleveland’s Dunn Field. The Tribe tallies nearly half their runs in the sixth frame, crossing the plate 13 times, in a contest that takes only two hours and ten minutes to complete.

1931      The White Sox outlast and outslug the Browns, beating St. Louis in 12 innings, 10-8. During the Sportsman’s Park contest, not a single strikeout is recorded by the five pitchers who take the mound, making it the longest game in major-league history without a strike three.

1936      The Senior Circuit wins its first All-Star game, edging the American League at Braves Field in Boston, 4-3. The Junior Circuit had taken the first three contests of the Mid-Summer Classic.

1936      Joe DiMaggio becomes the first rookie to appear in an All-Star Game when he starts in right field and bats third for the Junior Circuit in the team’s 4-3 loss to the National League at Boston’s Braves Field. The 21 year-old Yankees outfielder doesn’t fare well in the fourth edition of the Midsummer Classic, committing an error and making the last out of the game with a man in scoring position to finish his day 0-for-5 at the plate.

1937      With Franklin D. Roosevelt in attendance at Griffith Stadium in Washington, Yankees’ first baseman Lou Gehrig drives in four runs with a home run and a double to lead the AL to an 8-3 victory over the National League in All-Star action. FDR, who tosses the ceremonial first pitch, is the first U.S. president to attend an All-Star Game.

1948      On his 42nd birthday, Negro League legend Satchel Paige signs a contract to pitch with for the Indians. Though viewed by many as another publicity stunt by team owner Bill Veeck, the crafty right-hander will finish the season 6-1 for the eventual world champs.

1951      Hoot Evers strokes four singles and a double in the Tigers’ 13-3 rout of the Indians. The Detroit outfielder’s 5-for-5 day is a productive one when he scores five times in the Briggs Stadium contest.

1953      The Dodgers set a major league mark for the most consecutive games with a home run by a team with a least one round-tripper in their 24 contests. Brooklyn starter Preacher Roe hits the record-breaking homer with a third-inning blast in the team’s 9-5 victory over Pittsburgh at Forbes Field.

1953      The Browns, with their 6-3 loss to the Indians at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, set a major league record, losing their 20th consecutive home game. The non-winning streak dates back to June 3.

1959      At Forbes Field, Hank Aaron’s eighth inning single ties the score, and a triple hit by Willie Mays plates Aaron with the winning run in the 5-4 All-Star victory in the first of the two Midsummer Classics to be played during the season.

1964      In the only All-Star Game ever played at Shea Stadium, the National League evens the all-time series at 18 victories for each circuit by beating the AL, 7-4, with a dramatic ninth inning rally which includes a three-run homer by Phillies slugger Johnny Callison. Home team second baseman Ron Hunt becomes the first Mets player to be selected as a starter in the Midsummer Classic.

1970      Rico Carty, the National League’s leading hitter, becomes the first player voted to play in the All-Star Game as a write-in candidate. The Braves outfielder’s name was left off the ballot that was drawn up by managers and general managers before the start of spring training.

1970      Lew Krausse tosses the first shutout in Brewers’ history, blanking the White Sox at Milwaukee’s County Stadium, 1–0. The game’s lone run scores from second base on Joe Horlen’s errant throw fielding a sacrifice bunt, plating Mike Hegan, who had doubled to lead off the seventh inning.

1971      Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and Hall of Fame president Paul Kirk announce former Negro League players will have full membership in the Cooperstown shrine. Last month, the HOF created a committee to select for annual induction players who had been at least 10-year veterans of the Negro Leagues and were ineligible for regular Hall election, but was heavily criticized when it originally planned to place the new inductees in a separate wing.

1974      The Cubs snap Buzz Capra’s nine-game winning streak when the team beats the Braves at Wrigley Field, 4-3. The 26 year-old All-Star right-hander, who established a franchise mark for consecutive victories, will finish the season with a 16-8 record, posting a major league-leading ERA of 2.28.

1975      During an 8-6 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, Giants outfielders Gary Thomasson, Bobby Murcer, and Chris Arnold each nail a runner at home trying to score. The feat hadn’t been done since 1905, when Cubs’ flycatcher Jack McCarthy accomplished the feat with his three outfield assists.

1982      Harold Baines hits three consecutive home runs, including a grand slam, to lead the White Sox over the Tigers, 7-0. The Chicago right fielder hits solo round-trippers leading off the fifth and seventh frames before going deep in the eighth with the bases full to seal the deal in the Comiskey Park contest.

1998      In a game which is remembered more for ‘Glory’, a patriotic-colored Beanie Baby souvenir given to the fans, the American League beats the senior circuit, 13-8, in the thin air at Coors Field in Denver. The 21-run total surpasses the previous record set in 1954, when the AL beat the National League in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, 11-9.

1998      Jeff Shaw becomes the first player to participate in an All-Star Game wearing a uniform for a team he hasn’t yet played for when he works an inning, allowing three hits and a run pitching for the National League squad before appearing in a regular season game for the Dodgers. The 32 year-old closer, who posted a 1.81 ERA along with 23 saves in the first half of the season for the Reds, was traded three days ago by Cincinnati to Los Angeles for Paul Konerko and Dennys Reyes.

2000      Drawing one of its largest crowds, the Butte Copper Kings newest promotion, ‘John Rocker Awareness Night’, is a huge success when the Angel farm club of the Pioneer League offers free admission to anyone belonging to a group insulted by the Atlanta reliever in his Sports Illustrated interview. The 672 fans in attendance include single moms with multiple children, people with purple hair, ‘foreigners’, as well as people with alternative life styles.

2003      Shea Hillenbrand becomes the sixth player to homer in three consecutive innings, tying a big league record. The third baseman’s fourth, fifth, and sixth inning round-trippers account for half of the runs the Diamondbacks score in their 14-6 victory over Colorado at Bank One Ballpark.

2004      Blanking the Royals, 12-0, Twins’ hurler Kyle Lohse helps to establish a club record, throwing the team’s third consecutive shutout. Johan Santana (Royals, 4-0) and Brad Radke (Royals, 9-0) started the streak of 27 scoreless innings, also a franchise record.

2004      Kazuhisa Ishii tosses a one-hitter in the Dodgers’ 11-0 defeat of Arizona. The 30 year-old Japanese southpaw retires the first 12 batters he faces before issuing a leadoff walk to Luis Gonzalez, which is followed with a single by Shea Hillenbrand, but then the left-hander proceeds to mow down 15 consecutive D-Backs to finish his masterpiece.

2006      After Mark Kotsay doubles leading off the bottom of the first inning on a 3-0 count, and the next batter, Nick Swisher, also gets to a 3 balls and no strikes count, John Lackey retires the next 27 A’s batters. The 3-0 Angel victory, which is completed in 2 hours and 1 minute, also marks the end of LA shortstop Orlando Cabrera’s streak of reaching base safely in 63 consecutive games, twenty-one shy of Ted Williams’ record of 84 straight games established in 1949.

2006      Travis Hafner hits his fifth grand slam of the season when he clears the bases in the second inning of the Indians’ 9-0 win over Baltimore at Jacobs Field. The Cleveland DH, who becomes the first player in major league history to accomplish the feat before the All-Star break, breaks the franchise record for four-run round-trippers established in 1951 by Al Rosen.

2007      Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki records the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history when he hits Chris Young’s fastball into deep right-center field at San Francisco’s AT&T Park. The fifth inning blast caroms off the park’s quirky configuration and continues to bounce away from NL center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., allowing the American League leadoff hitter, who will be named the game’s MVP, to complete his way around the bases for the historic round-tripper.

2008      After taking a nine-run lead into the sixth inning, the Mets hold on to beat the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, 10-9. The game is eerily similar to a 1992 contest, also played in Philadelphia, that caused Hall of Fame announcer Bob Murphy to remark when the final out was made, “they win the damn thing by a score of 10 to 9!”

2008      The Brewers, in an effort to reach the postseason for the first time since 1982, trade four highly touted farm hands to the Indians to obtain CC Sabathia. The Brew Crew sends their first-round draft pick last year, Matt LaPorta, along with minor league pitching prospects Zach Jackson and Rob Bryson, as well as Taylor Green (identified as the player to be named later), who was Milwaukee’s minor league player of the year, to Cleveland for last season’s American League Cy Young Award winner

2009      Without throwing a pitch, Alan Embree is credited with the win when Colorado scores the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat the Nationals at Coors Field, 5-4. After entering the tied contest with two outs in the top of the frame, the Rockies reliever picks off Austin Kerns off first base (caught stealing/PO –> P-1B-SS-P) for the third out of the frame without facing a batter.

2010      With the score tied at seven in the bottom of the ninth at Coors Field, Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta makes Evan MacLane’s major league debut memorable when he leads off the inning with a game-ending home run off the 27 year-old rookie. The Cardinals’ southpaw is the first hurler to surrender a game-winning homer to the first major league batter he faces since San Diego’s right-hander J.J. Trujillo accomplished the dubious deed in his major league debut by allowing Baltimore’s Tony Batista to end a game with a round-tripper in 2002.

2010      Adam Dunn becomes the second Washington Nationals’ player to hit three home runs in a game, and the first major leaguer to accomplish the feat at the three year-old Nationals Park. The first baseman’s offensive output, which matches Alfonso Soriano’s performance in 2006, helps the home team edge San Diego, 7-6, on a very warm night in the nation’s capital.

2011      Trailing by four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Indians rally to beat the Blue Jays, 5-4. The keynote blast is delivered by Travis Hefner, whose walk-off grand slam off Luis Perez to deep right field delights the Progressive Field fans.

2011      In an effort to grab the ball tossed into the stands by Josh Hamilton, Ranger fan Shannon Stone dies when he tumbles over the railing and falls 20 feet to the concrete pavement below. The 39 year-old Brownwood (TX) firefighter had attended the game with his six year-old son, Cooper.

2011      The Cubs come back from an 8-0 deficit and beat the Nationals in Washington, 10-9. It is the largest blown lead in franchise history for the Nats, including their tenure in Montreal as the Expos.

2012      In the bottom of the first inning at Minute Maid Park, first base umpire Sam Holbrook tosses Zack Greinke from the game. The arbitrator takes exception to the Brewers starter, who had thrown only four pitches, spiking the ball after he called Jose Altuve safe on a close play in which the Milwaukee hurler covered the bag in the 6-4 loss to Houston.

2012      Bryce Harper becomes the youngest position player to make an All-Star team when he is named to replace Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who is unable to participate because of an injury. The 19 year-old Nationals outfielder, who is older than hurlers Dwight Gooden (Mets) and Bob Feller (Indians) when they played in their first Mid-summer Classics, surpasses backstop Butch Wynegar (Twins) as the youngest non-pitcher to be selected.

2016      Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, with his twenty-first home run, ties the National League mark shared by Dave Kingman (Giants,1972) and Albert Pujols (Cardinals, 2001) for the most home runs by a rookie before the All-Star break. Mark McGwire established the major league record, going deep 30 times before the Mid-Summer Classic while playing for the A’s in 1987.

2017      Eight seconds before a 5 p.m. ET deadline, the Reds and their No. 2 overall pick, Hunter Green, reportedly agree to a record $7.23 million bonus. The 17 year-old two-way Notre Dame High School (Sherman Oaks, CA) senior, who recently appeared on a Sports Illustrated cover, has been told by the team that he was selected primarily as a pitcher, but will also be given an opportunity to bat and play shortstop.

2017      Carlos Carrasco tosses an immaculate inning when he strikes out the side in the fifth frame on nine pitches in the Indians’ 11-2 victory over the Tigers at Progressive Field. The Venezuelan right-hander is only the second pitcher in franchise history to do it, joining Justin Masterson, who accomplished the feat in 2014.

 

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL STANDINGS

American League
East
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
NY Yankees 57 30 .655 31 – 14 26 – 16 29 – 8 12 – 11 9 – 6 8 – 2 L 1
Tampa Bay 51 39 .567 7.5 25 – 22 26 – 17 18 – 17 14 – 10 10 – 8 6 – 4 W 1
Boston 48 41 .539 10 20 – 22 28 – 19 19 – 19 15 – 7 12 – 12 6 – 4 W 3
Toronto 33 57 .367 25.5 17 – 30 16 – 27 11 – 21 11 – 15 9 – 10 4 – 6 L 3
Baltimore 27 61 .307 30.5 11 – 31 16 – 30 13 – 25 7 – 15 5 – 15 5 – 5 W 3
Central
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Minnesota 56 32 .636 28 – 14 28 – 18 17 – 9 19 – 11 17 – 8 5 – 5 W 2
Cleveland 49 38 .563 6.5 25 – 18 24 – 20 13 – 8 21 – 15 10 – 10 7 – 3 W 5
Chi White Sox 41 44 .482 13.5 24 – 20 17 – 24 13 – 17 22 – 16 4 – 6 5 – 5 L 2
Detroit 28 56 .333 26 12 – 31 16 – 25 9 – 10 13 – 22 1 – 11 2 – 8 L 2
Kansas City 30 60 .333 27 16 – 28 14 – 32 6 – 15 14 – 25 7 – 16 2 – 8 L 1
West
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Houston 56 33 .629 32 – 14 24 – 19 13 – 10 12 – 9 25 – 7 7 – 3 W 1
Oakland 49 41 .544 7.5 26 – 20 23 – 21 13 – 14 10 – 2 21 – 22 7 – 3 L 1
Texas 47 42 .528 9 29 – 17 18 – 25 7 – 6 12 – 7 20 – 22 4 – 6 L 2
LA Angels 45 45 .500 11.5 22 – 21 23 – 24 11 – 7 7 – 8 18 – 26 5 – 5 L 1
Seattle 39 54 .419 19 19 – 28 20 – 26 7 – 8 10 – 13 19 – 26 3 – 7 W 1

 

National League
East
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Atlanta 53 37 .589 27 – 19 26 – 18 21 – 14 17 – 9 11 – 12 6 – 4 L 1
Washington 46 42 .523 6 25 – 20 21 – 22 25 – 17 5 – 11 10 – 11 8 – 2 W 1
Philadelphia 46 43 .517 6.5 27 – 17 19 – 26 23 – 22 11 – 9 7 – 9 5 – 5 L 1
NY Mets 40 49 .449 12.5 23 – 18 17 – 31 21 – 22 7 – 14 7 – 9 3 – 7 W 1
Miami 33 54 .379 18.5 15 – 29 18 – 25 15 – 30 7 – 16 6 – 4 3 – 7 W 1
Central
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Chi Cubs 47 42 .528 29 – 16 18 – 26 14 – 11 15 – 16 10 – 9 4 – 6 W 2
Milwaukee 47 43 .522 0.5 27 – 18 20 – 25 14 – 8 24 – 17 6 – 11 5 – 5 L 1
St. Louis 44 43 .506 2 24 – 18 20 – 25 16 – 14 15 – 17 7 – 5 4 – 6 L 1
Pittsburgh 43 45 .489 3.5 21 – 21 22 – 24 6 – 7 17 – 18 10 – 16 6 – 4 W 1
Cincinnati 41 45 .477 4.5 24 – 20 17 – 25 9 – 7 18 – 21 8 – 9 5 – 5 L 1
West
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
LA Dodgers 60 31 .659 37 – 11 23 – 20 11 – 3 19 – 11 29 – 14 5 – 5 L 2
Arizona 45 45 .500 14.5 19 – 22 26 – 23 10 – 7 8 – 5 18 – 29 5 – 5 W 2
Colorado 44 44 .500 14.5 24 – 19 20 – 25 10 – 12 7 – 6 20 – 20 3 – 7 L 5
San Diego 44 45 .494 15 23 – 24 21 – 21 10 – 10 9 – 11 18 – 21 5 – 5 W 2
San Francisco 40 48 .455 18.5 19 – 26 21 – 22 4 – 9 7 – 8 23 – 24 6 – 4 W 1

 

WNBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
W L Pct GB Home Road Conf Last 10 Streak
Washington Mystics 9 3 .750 4-1 5-2 6-2 8-2 5 W
Connecticut Sun 9 5 .643 1.0 6-1 3-4 5-2 6-4 4 L
New York Liberty 7 7 .500 3.0 3-4 4-3 1-4 7-3 4 W
Chicago Sky 6 7 .462 3.5 4-2 2-5 3-3 5-5 4 L
Indiana Fever 6 9 .400 4.5 2-4 4-5 3-3 3-7 1 W
Atlanta Dream 3 9 .250 6.0 2-5 1-4 1-5 2-8 1 W
Western Conference
W L Pct GB Home Road Conf Last 10 Streak
Las Vegas Aces 8 5 .615 6-2 2-3 4-2 7-3 2 W
Minnesota Lynx 8 6 .571 0.5 5-3 3-3 3-4 5-5 2 W
Seattle Storm 8 8 .500 1.5 5-3 3-5 3-3 5-5 3 L
Los Angeles Sparks 6 6 .500 1.5 3-2 3-4 3-3 5-5 2 W
Phoenix Mercury 5 6 .455 2.0 3-2 2-4 3-4 5-5 1 L
Dallas Wings 4 8 .333 3.5 4-3 0-5 2-2 4-6 1 L

 

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER STANDINGS

Eastern
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Philadelphia 20 10 5 5 37 26 11 6-2-2 4-3-3 35
D.C. 20 8 7 5 25 21 4 5-4-2 3-3-3 31
Montreal 21 9 3 9 26 34 -8 5-1-3 4-2-6 30
Atlanta 18 9 2 7 24 20 4 6-2-1 3-0-6 29
New York City FC 16 7 8 1 30 19 11 4-4-0 3-4-1 29
New York 18 8 3 7 30 24 6 6-1-3 2-2-4 27
Toronto FC 19 6 5 8 30 33 -3 4-3-3 2-2-5 23
New England 19 6 5 8 22 36 -14 4-2-4 2-3-4 23
Chicago 20 5 7 8 31 29 2 5-4-1 0-3-7 22
Orlando City SC 18 6 3 9 25 25 0 3-1-5 3-2-4 21
Columbus 20 5 2 13 17 30 -13 4-2-6 1-0-7 17
FC Cincinnati 19 4 2 13 18 44 -26 3-1-4 1-1-9 14
Western
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Los Angeles FC 19 13 4 2 50 16 34 8-1-0 5-3-2 43
Los Angeles 19 11 1 7 26 22 4 7-0-3 4-1-4 34
Seattle 19 9 5 5 29 25 4 7-2-0 2-3-5 32
Minnesota 19 9 3 7 36 29 7 5-3-1 4-0-6 30
FC Dallas 20 8 5 7 29 25 4 6-4-1 2-1-6 29
San Jose 19 8 4 7 30 30 0 7-1-3 1-3-4 28
Houston 18 8 3 7 28 25 3 7-3-0 1-0-7 27
Real Salt Lake 19 8 2 9 25 29 -4 6-0-2 2-2-7 26
Sporting KC 19 5 7 7 29 34 -5 4-3-3 1-4-4 22
Portland 16 6 2 8 25 28 -3 2-0-1 4-2-7 20
Vancouver 20 4 8 8 22 31 -9 3-4-3 1-4-5 20
Colorado 19 5 4 10 29 38 -9 4-2-5 1-2-5 19