To our neighbors to the north, Happy Canada Day.
Unusually busy day for a summer Thursday…….
13) USC/UCLA are jumping from the Pac-12 to the Big 14 (Big 16 now?), crippling the Pac-12 Conference. College sports are off the rails with greed; looks like the Big 16/SEC are going to be two super conferences, with other schools scrambling to climb aboard, or find the next best thing.
This catches me completely by surprise; had no idea it was in the works. Changes the landscape of college sports, in a big way.
12) Where does the Pac-10 go from here? Add San Diego State/UNLV to replace the LA schools? Or Fresno State? Gonzaga (doesn’t have football)? Boise State?
Or does the rest of the Pac-10 jump ship and hook up with the Big X? Crazy stuff.
11) NBA free agency started Thursday night; ridiculous sums of money are being tossed around.
Kyrie Irving opted in for his $36.9M deal for next year. Three days later, Kevin Durant asks for a trade; go figure. Ben Simmons is supposed to make $33M, but he never plays. Nets must’ve been a fun group to hang out with this past season.
Durant makes $44.1M this year, $47.7M next year, $51.2M in 2024-25. Going to take quite a haul of players to trade Durant and keep the payrolls balanced within the salary cap.
By the way, in an 82-game season, $51.2M works out to $624,390.24 per game; Durant will be 36 when that season starts.
10) Zion Williamson is supposed to make $13,534,817 this season; so far in his three-year NBA career, he’s missed 63.4% of the Pelicans’ games with injuries.
9) Portland Trailblazers signed Anfernee Simons to a 4-year extension worth $100M; last year was the first time in his 4-year career he scored more than 8.3 ppg. He scored 17.3 ppg in 57 games (30 starts), shooting 40.5% on the arc.
8) Bradley Beal re-upped with Washington for five years, $251M. Lot of cabbage for a team that, over the last four years, is 126-182.
7) Phoenix Suns are going to sign Devin Booker to a 4-year, $214M contract, which works out to $53.5M a year, $652,439 a game.
Denver Nuggets signed Nikola Jokic to a 5-year, $264M supermax extension, the biggest contract in NBA history
Pretty sure I’m going to cancel my NBA package on DirecTV; they obviously don’t need my $300 anymore. Guys making $652,439 a game is a bit much; what would Kareem or Wilt be making if they played today? What would Jordan be making?
6) There was a weird play in the Pirates-Nationals game the other day; because Washington didn’t know a rule, they cost themselves a run, in a game they wound up losing 8-7.
Top of the 5th, Pirates had guys on 2nd and 3rd, one out. Batter hits a soft line drive that the first baseman catches; both runners took off on contact, the 1B throws to third, where they tag the runner coming down from second. Inning over.
Problem is, because Washington never appealed that the runner on third left early, his run counted. Had they appealed his leaving early, the “4th out” would’ve prevented the run from scoring.
5) Giancarlo Stanton went 2-4 with two singles Thursday; they were his first singles since June 12 (72 AB’s ago). In his last 17 games, Stanton is 8-51 with six home runs. He also hit a line shot right at the shortstop for an out- it went 116 mph— he looked way better last night.
4) Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is the only baseball commissioner who played Little League baseball; he grew up in Rome, NY, wound up playing tennis in high school.
3) Miami Marlins fired VP of player development Gary Dembo Thursday; Dembo was the first person Derek Jeter hired when he was running the Miami franchise. Now with Jeter gone, Dembo was also told to take a hike.
2) Auburn-Memphis are playing a non-conference basketball game in Atlanta December 10.
By the time that game is played, who knows what league Memphis will be in.
1) USFL championship game, at Canton, OH:
Philadelphia Stars (7-4)
— Stars won six of last eight games.
— Last eight weeks, they’re +11 in turnovers.
— Gave up 23+ points in nine of 11 games (over 6-2 last eight).
— Were outgained in every game but their three games vs New Jersey.
— 2-3 ATS as an underdog.
— 6-1 if they score more than 17 points.
Birmingham Stallions (10-1)
— Led 21-14 at half last week, most first half points they scored this year.
— Trailed at halftime in five of their 11 games
— Outscored opponents 143-79 in second half.
— 1-4 vs spread the last five weeks (6-0 first six weeks)
— Four of their last six games went over the total.
— Stallions are favored for 11th time in 12 games (6-4 ATS as a favorite)
— Stallions (-6) beat Philly 30-17 in Week 5.
— Stars led 17-14 at the half; Birmingham outscored them 16-0 in second half.
— Birmingham outgained Philly 377-253; both teams had two turnovers.