13) Russell Westbrook wants out of Houston, after only one year there; he averaged 27.2 ppg for the Rockets LY, but with GM Daryl Morey/coach Mike D’Antoni moving on, Westbrook wants to go elsewhere too. There’s a problem, though.
Westbrook turns 32 today; his salary the next three seasons:
$41 million, $43.8M, $46.6 million. Thats million, with an M.
Trading a contract like that ain’t easy, especially for a guy who’ll be 35 when the contract ends; chances are he would have to go to a bad team if he were to get traded. Would Westbrook be happy playing for a non-contender? Is he ever happy?
12) Pitchers Marcus Stroman (Mets), Kevin Gausman (Giants) accepted $18.9M qualifying offers from their teams Wednesday. Good day for those guys.
Four players rejected their offers: DJ LeMahieu, JT Realmuto, George Springer, Trevor Bauer. Those guys become free agents’ and are assuming they’ll make more than $18.9M a year.
11) My Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook came in the mail this week, an early Christmas gift. No schedules in the book obviously, since schedules are still being drawn up, but now I can get down to work and start studying rosters.
If you like college basketball, this is a great book to have; all 357 D-I teams are written up. Tons of information, whether you’re a fan or a handicapper.
10) This is very 2020:
Michigan/Florida State’s football teams are a combined 3-7.
Indiana/Northwestern’s teams are a combined 6-0.
9) Maryland’s football team won the last two weeks— they were underdogs of 18-27 points. Not often a team pulls huge upsets like that in consecutive games. Terrapins’ game with Ohio State this week was cancelled, after a COVID outbreak in the Maryland community.
8) Ball State 38, Eastern Michigan 31— Wish the LA Rams could pluck EMU’s kicker off their roster right now; kid missed a 53-yard field goal in this game, but ball hit the upright halfway up— very strong leg. He’ll be kicking on Sundays very soon.
Ball State converted a 3rd-and-19 on the game-winning drive; this was a fun game to watch; two good teams.
Eastern Michigan, by the way, has now covered 18 of last 21 times as a road underdog.
7) Louisville Cardinals already lost two starters off their basketball team.
Big guy Malik Williams, co-captain and most experienced returnee for the Cardinals, will miss at least 12 weeks due to an injury to his right foot.
Charles Minlend, a grad transfer from San Francisco, will miss six weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee.
6) Western Michigan 41, Toledo 38:
— Broncos scored 13 points in the last 0:45 for the win.
— WMU recovered an onside kick to set up the winning score.
— Toledo was 9-16 on 3rd down, WMU only 2-10.
5) I saw that clip of Jon Rahm getting a hole-in-one Tuesday at Augusta, when he skipped the ball off the water on the 16th hole, and ball wound up in the hole. These guys are insanely talented, and I’m reminded of why I quit playing a long time ago. They get hole-in-ones when they intentionally hit the ball in the water. I was life and death to break 100.
It takes a tremendous effort to become good, then stay good at golf. Putting is fun, chipping is kind of fun, watching the ball you just hit go in the woods is no fun at all. Best part of golf, by the way, is driving the cart. Driving a golf cart is tremendous.
4) College football games postponed/cancelled this weekend:
LSU-Alabama, Auburn-Miss State, Georgia-Missouri, Ohio State-Maryland.
3) Actress Jennifer Garner has an excellent agent; no idea who it is, but she is always on TV in commercials for Capital One and Neutragena. She does more commercials than Baker Mayfield.
2) Get well soon to Michigan State hoop coach Tom Izzo, Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman, both of whom tested positive for COVID recently.
1) Guy named Dan LeBatard has been on ESPN radio/TV for long time; I’ve never been a big fan of his show, but he did something pretty cool this week.
A long-time producer on LeBatard’s show was recently laid off, one of 300 people laid off by ESPN. No one saw this coming, and LeBatard was annoyed— he re-hired the guy, and is paying him out of his own pocket. That is loyalty; remains to be seen if the show will be staying on ESPN for much longer.