Free Agency Fireworks

July 6, 2022

By: Carlos Alvarez

Welcome Back,

The holiday weekend was full of fireworks, from NBA free agency to Wimbledon and much more. July brings the British Open, MLB and WNBA all-star festivities before NFL training camps kick off. Seasons are changing, but we\’re not going anywhere.

Letter Rip!



Free Agency Fireworks


Tracking All the NBA Free Agency Moves From the First 5 Days


The NBA free agent market opened last Thursday before our holiday break. The first five days have seen a lot of players re-sign max deals with their current teams, leaving little excitement in the form of new stars in new uniforms. That could change soon, though. A few top-tier targets are still available, and the trade rumors out of Brooklyn are spicing up the markets for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Meanwhile, reigning MVP Nikola Jokic solidified his future with the Nuggets by inking the richest contract in NBA history. We’re far from done with the free-agent whirlwind. Here’s the latest:


Top Players Who Re-Signed / Signed Extensions

C Nikola Jokic (Nuggets): 5 Years, $270 Million

G Bradley Beal (Wizards): 5 Years, $251 Million

G Devin Booker (Suns): 4 Years, $224 Million

C Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves): 4 Years, $224 Million

G Zach LaVine (Bulls): 5 Years, $215 Million

G Ja Morant (Grizzlies): 5 Years, $193 Million

F Zion Williamson (Pelicans): 5 Years, $193 Million

G Luguentz Dort (Thunder): 5 Years, $87.5 Million

F Bobby Portis (Bucks): 4 Years, $49 Million


Top Players Who Signed With New Teams

G Jalen Brunson (Knicks): 4 Years, $104 Million

C JaVale McGee (Mavericks): 3 Years, $20 Million

F P.J. Tucker (76ers): 3 Years, $33 Million

G John Wall (Clippers): 2 Years, $13 Million

G Malik Monk (Kings): 2 Years, $19 Million


Top Remaining Free Agents

James Harden (76ers)

Deandre Ayton (Suns)

Collin Sexton (Cavaliers)

Montrezl Harrell (Hornets)


Additional Storylines

NBA: Every Reported Free-Agent Deal for All 30 Teams

USA Today: NBA Free Agency Winners & Losers

B/R: Kevin Durant Trade Market ‘Still Taking Shape’ as Nets Trying to Find Deal



The Wimbledon Catch-Up


Wimbledon Reaches Quarter-Finals With A Few Surprise Contenders After #1 Swiatek Ousted


The action rolls on at the All England Club as the Wimbledon quarterfinals continue today. We’ve already seen a number of upsets, including the takedown of #1 Iga Swiatek via straight-set stunner to Alize Cornet (6-4, 6-2). Meanwhile, #1 Novak Djokovic and #2 Rafael Nadal could be set for another epic clash in the men’s draw after Djokovic survived a two-set comeback on Tuesday. Here’s a look a the most recent matches as the semifinals begin to take shape.


Quarterfinals Highlights

W: #3 O. Jabeur def. M. Bouzkova (3-6, 6-1, 6-1)

W: T. Maria def. J. Niemeier (4-6, 6-2, 7-5)

M: #1 N. Djokovic def. #10 J. Sinner (5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2)

M: #9 C. Norrie def. D. Goffin (3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5)


Quarterfinals Schedule (Today)

W: #16 S. Halep vs. #20 A. Anisimova (8:30 am ET)

W: #17 E. Rybakina vs. A. Tomljanovic (8:00 am ET)

M: #2 R. Nadal vs. #11 T. Fritz (9:45 am ET)

M: N. Kyrgios vs. C. Garin (9:45 am ET)


Additional Storylines

CBS Sports: Djokovic Rallies From 2-Set Deficit to Outlast Jannik Sinner in QF Thriller

NBC Sports: Iga Swiatek’s Win Streak Snapped at 37 Straight Wins by Alize Cornet



The College Sports Realignment


USC & UCLA to Move From Pac-12 to Big Ten in 2024


Last Thursday’s bombshell announcement sent shockwaves through the college sports landscape. On the eve of our holiday weekend, the Big Ten notified both USC and UCLA that their applications to join the conference were accepted, leaving the Pac-12 without two of their flagship schools. They’ll join the conference in 2024.


What It Means

A number of things… The unanimous vote by the Big Ten expands the conference to 16 members, and it now stretches from New York to Los Angeles. The addition of the two L.A.-based schools is the second massive upheaval in college sports after Texas and Oklahoma spurned the Big 12 in favor of the SEC. With the Pac-12 and Big 12 dwindling — and likely forming some alliance in the near future — the ACC is the remaining Power-5 conference in limbo.


Bottom Line

The realignment of college athletics is just beginning. With NIL (name, image, likeness) and TV deals that stretch coast to coast, we’re about to witness a complete shift in college sports.


Additional Storylines

ESPN+: College Realignment’s Next Steps: ACC, Big 12 & Pac-12 Scramble Amid Chaos

SI: Big Ten & Big 12 Draw Interest From Remaining Pac-12 Schools After USC, UCLA Move

Yahoo! Sports: In the Wake of USC & UCLA Moving to Big Ten, Here’s What Every League in College Football Should Do



Astros in Attack Mode


Astros on 8-Game Winning Streak as MLB Heads Toward All-Star Break


The MLB season has reached the halfway point, and one team is making waves as we pull within reach of All-Star Weekend. The Astros — now winners of eight straight — beat the Yankees, Angels and Royals over the holiday break. They scored 39 runs over six games in the process. Houston surpassed the Mets as the No. 2 team in baseball behind only the Yankees, but the gap is closing between the Pinstripes and ‘Stros. Here’s a look at the updated standings after the holiday weekend.


MLB Divisional Leaders


American League

AL East: Yankees (58-23)

AL West: Astros (53-27)

AL Central: Twins (46-37)

AL (Others): Red Sox (45-36), Rays (44-37), Blue Jays (44-37), Mariners (41-42), Guardians (40-39), White Sox (38-40), Rangers (37-42), Orioles (38-44), (Angels (37-45)


National League

NL East: Mets (50-31)

NL West: Dodgers (50-29)

NL Central: Brewers (47-36)

NL (Others): Braves (48-34), Padres (47-36), Cardinals (44-39), Phillies (43-38), Giants (40-38), Marlins (39-40)


Full MLB Standings


Additional Storylines

MLB: Max Scherzer Tosses 11 Ks, Shutout in Return From IL

CBS Sports: MLB Power Rankings: Yankees & Astros Running Away With Things



\"🏀\" WNBA: Sky’s the Limit

The Chicago Sky extended their win streak to five straight over the weekend with a 91-75 win over the Phoenix Mercury behind Candace Parker’s 14-8-7 performance. After winning five straight and eight of their last ten, Chicago sits atop the WNBA at 15-5.


\"⛳️\" PGA: The Post-Man Delivers on Sunday

J.T. Poston carded a scorching 21-under to take the John Deere Classic on Sunday at TPC Deere Run in wire-to-wire fashion. His 62-65-67-69 weekend brought his second PGA Tour win and his first victory since 2019.


\"⚽️\" SOC: Morgan, USWNT Blanks Haiti

The U.S. Women’s National Team opened the CONCACAF W Group Stage with a 3-0 shutout against Haiti on Monday to celebrate July 4th with a red, white and blue victory. Alex Morgan scored a first-half brace. Now 1-0-0, they’ll face Jamaica (Thursday) and Mexico (Monday) to round out group play.



\"⛳️\" Sportswashing Comes to America

“Sportswashing” as a term is a relatively recent invention, but as a concept — the use of sports or other gaudy extravaganzas as a way to obscure a nation’s legal, moral, ethical or humanitarian flaws… And it’s here in America with LIV Golf. (Yahoo! Sports)


\"🏈\" The NFL’s Most Improved Teams

If there\’s one constant in the NFL, it\’s the never-ending roster turnover that undoubtedly leads to sleepless nights for each of the league\’s 32 general managers. These teams are looking to shake up the NFL’s pecking order. (CBS Sports)


\"⚾️\" The Most-Deserving MLB All-Stars

The All-Star Game is a little later than usual this year, which puts our annual exercise of picking the most deserving players for the July 19 Midsummer Classic slightly ahead of the curve. (USA Today)