Free Agent Fireworks 

June 30, 2023

By: Carlos Alvarez

Happy Friday

And happy sports moratorium week. As vacations commence (ours included), there will be no shortage of sports news when NBA free agency tips off tonight. There\’s plenty to watch over the July 4th week, and we\’re highlighting all of it. Fireworks coming… 

Holiday Schedule: The Sportsletter team will be off next week (Monday, July 3 — Wednesday, July 5) to observe Independence Day.

Letter Rip!


Free Agency Fireworks

Photo: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

James Harden Trade & Top Free Agent Predictions When the Market Opens Tonight (6:00 pm ET)

The rush of NBA free agents is coming quickly. As we step away for a short holiday break, you’ll likely see 55 free agents find new teams or new contracts that will shift the outlook of the 2023-24 NBA season in the next few days. Many of them will re-sign or ink new deals right out of the gate, and many more will have to wait. There are roughly 25-30 free agents who fit the role of impact starter or fringe contributor, and they will have no problem finding work. We’ve got all 30 listed below. But as we know with the free-agent window, things change fast.

Free Agency Opens: Tonight (6:00 pm ET)

Latest Updates: James Harden, arguably the top potential free agent, has opted into his $35.6 million player option with the 76ers under the agreement that both sides will work to facilitate a trade. That means Harden is on the move. The Kings and Harrison Barnes also agreed to a 3-year, $54 million extension that keeps him from walking in free agency. Our big board didn\’t last 24 hours…

Top-10 Free Agents

1. James Harden (PHI) | Opt-In Trade*

2. Kyrie Irving (DAL) | Unrestricted FA

3. Khris Middleton (MIL) | Unrestricted FA

4. Fred VanVleet (TOR) | Unrestricted FA

5. Draymond Green (GSW) | Unrestricted FA

6. Cameron Johnson (BKN) | Restricted FA

7. Austin Reaves (LAL) | Restricted FA

8. Jerami Grant (POR) | Unrestricted FA

9. Brook Lopez (MIL) | Unrestricted FA

10. D’Angelo Russell (LAL) | Unrestricted FA

Other Notable FAs: Kyle Kuzma (WAS), Russell Westbrook (LAC), Jakob Poeltl (TOR), Christian Wood (DAL), Harrison Barnes (SAC), Jordan Clarkson (UTA), Bruce Brown (DEN), Grant Williams (BOS), Josh Hart (NYK), Rui Hachimura (LAL), Caris LeVert (CLE), P.J. Washington (CHA), Dillon Brooks (MEM), Joe Ingles (MIL), Tre Jones (SAS), Max Strus (MIA), Gabe Vincent (MIA), Donte DiVincenzo (GSW), Kelly Oubre Jr. (CHA), Dennis Schroeder (LAL)

Predictions & Expectations

We expect many of the top players to re-sign with their former teams. The aging veterans who haven’t moved in a while may be reluctant to shift, and they’re simply testing the waters. We think Khris Middleton (MIL) and Russell Westbrook (LAC) will stay put. Kyrie Irving (DAL) and Draymond Green (GSW) are wild cards. Look for Green to potentially land in Portland with Damian Lillard, but the Warriors will still try to keep him. And Fred VanVleet could become a solid building block for a young team like the Spurs or Rockets.

Read More

USA Today: Top NBA Free Agents Ranked as Market Opens Friday

The Ringer: This is the Sumer of Flawed Free Agent Point Guards

Yahoo! Sports: Blazers’ Quest to Improve Around Damian Lillard Starts With Free Agency



MLB All-Star Starters Announced

Image via

MLB Reveals Starters for 2023 All-Star Game in Seattle (July 11)

That’s a wrap on the voting. The MLB All-Star rosters are set after polls closed yesterday and the league revealed the starters last night. The reserves and pitchers will be announced on Sunday (July 2) at 5:30 pm ET. For now, we know the nine bats repping each league in two weeks. It’s the Rangers (4) , Dodgers (3) and Braves (3) with the most starter nods. Here are the lineups:

American League

C: Jonah Heim, Rangers (1st)

1B: Yandy Diaz, Rays (1st)

2B: Marcus Semien, Rangers (2nd)

3B: Josh Jung, Rangers (1st)

SS: Corey Seager, Rangers (1st)

DH: Shohei Ohtani, Angels (3rd)

OF: Mike Trout, Angels (10th)

OF: Aaron Judge, Yankees (5th)

OF: Randy Arozarena, Rays (1st)

National League

C: Sean Murphy, Braves (1st)

1B: Freddie Freeman, Dodgers (4th)

2B: Luis Arraez, Marlins (1st)

3B: Nolan Arenado, Cardinals (5th)

SS: Orlando Arcia, Braves (1st)

DH: J.D. Martinez, Dodgers (2nd)

OF: Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves (3rd)

OF: Mookie Betts, Dodgers (4th)

OF: Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks (1st)

Read More

MLB: Who Cracked the ASG Starting Lineup? Check Out the Starters

CBS Sports: Mookie Betts Joins Julio Rodriguez & Vlad Guerrero Jr. in Home Run Derby


MLB Mid-Season Awards

The awards won’t be decided until November, but we’ll make our mid-season predictions before the All-Star break. Agree or disagree, the second half could certainly change things. For right now, here are our picks for MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year, along with two runner-ups for each.

American League

AL MVP: Shohei Ohtani (Angels)

Batting: .304 | 29 HRs | 64 RBIs | 11 SBs | 1.040 OPS

Nominees: Corey Seager (Rangers), Aaron Judge (Yankees)

AL Cy Young: Shane McClanahan (Rays)

Record: 11-1 | 2.23 ERA | 100 Ks | 1.12 WHIP

Nominees: Framber Valdez (Astros), Gerrit Cole (Yankees)

AL Rookie of the Year: Josh Jung (Rangers)

Batting: .331 | 19 HRs | 51 RBIs | 36 SBs | .993 OPS

Nominees: Masataka Yoshida (Red Sox), Gunnar Henderson (Orioles)

AL Manager of the Year: Brandon Hyde (Orioles)

The Orioles are on pace for 100 wins two years after a 52-110 season.

Nominees: Kevin Cash (Rays), Bruce Bochy (Rangers)

National League

NL MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Braves)

Batting: .331 | 19 HRs | 51 RBIs | 36 SBs | .993 OPS

Nominees: Freddie Freeman (Dodgers), Luis Arraez (Marlins)

NL Cy Young: Spencer Strider (Braves)

Record: 9-2 | 3.73 ERA | 146 Ks | 1.11 WHIP

Nominees: Zac Gallen (Diamondbacks), Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)

NL Rookie of the Year: Corbin Caroll (Diamondbacks)

Batting: .293 | 17 HRs | 44 RBIs | 23 SBs | .938 OPS

Nominees: Elly De La Cruz (Reds), Eury Perez (Marlins)

NL Manager of the Year: Torey Lovullo (Diamondbacks)

Lovullo and the D-Backs lead the loaded NL West.

Nominees: Brian Snitker (Braves), Skip Schumaker (Marlins)

Read More

The Ringer: Forget MVP — Shohei Ohtani is Building a Case as the GOAT

ESPN: Midseason MLB Awards — From MVP to Most Exciting Player




Shohei Ohtani Makes Halos History With 14th HR of June (29th Total)

Marlins Break Up Red Sox No-Hitter in 8th & Sweep Series

Jose Ramirez Steals Home in Extras but Guardians Lose to Royals (4-3)


Napheesa Collier (39) & Jewel Loyd (41) Combine for 80 Points in Lynx-Storm Thriller (99-97, OT)

Aces Smash Liberty in Wilson-Stewart Clash of WNBA’s Super-Teams (98-81)

 The Match

Patrick Mahomes & Travis Kelce Make Quick Work of Steph Curry & Klay Thompson in the 8th Version of ‘The Match’


16-Year-Old Claire Weinstein Shocks Katie Ledecky in 200M Freestyle



  NFL Suspension Tracker

Four more NFL players were suspended on Thursday for betting on NFL games. Two Colts players — CB Isaiah Rodgers and DE Rashod Berry — have been released after receiving a full-year ban. Here are the ten players (and counting) serving suspensions. (CBS Sports)

 Wozniacki Returns to Tennis

Caroline Wozniacki retired from tennis in 2020 after a Grand Slam-winning 15-year career that saw her ranked as the world’s best player—twice. At 32 years old, she’s returning to tennis, and she explained why in an exclusive with Vogue. (Vogue)

 Messi’s New Miami Boss

Inter Miami lured Lionel Messi to the MLS, and now they have a new manager. The club hired Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino as the next head coach. He was Messi’s former manager with Barcelona and the Argentina National Team. (Sports Illustrated)





4th of July Must-Watch List

The Sportsletter Team will be off for the next five days (no newsletter Monday-Wednesday, July 3-5). With that in mind, we’ll do our best to remind you of every key sports event in the coming 96 hours and change. Enjoy the holidays! We’ll see you next Thursday (July 6).

NBA Free Agency

Opens Tonight (6:00 pm ET)

NBA Free-Agent Tracker


Guardians-Cubs Series

Padres-Reds Series

Red Sox-Blue Jays Series

Astros-Rangers Series

Marlins-Braves Series

Full MLB Schedule


1st & 2nd Rounds (Monday-Wednesday, July 3-5)

Tour de France

Stage 1: Bilbao-Bilbao (Sat. 6:30 am ET)

Stage 2: Vitoria-San-Sebastien (Sun. 6:00 am ET)

Stage 3: Zornotza-Bayonne (Mon. 6:50 am ET)

Stage 4: Dax-Nogaro (Tues. 7:00 am ET)

Stage 5: Pau-Laruns (Wed. 6:55 am ET

PGA Tour

Rocket Mortgage Classic (All Weekend)


Sun at Aces (Sat. 3:00 pm ET)

Mystics at Wings (Sun. 3:00 pm ET)
Liberty at Storm (Sun. 6:00 pm ET)

Concacaf Gold Cup

USMNT vs. Trinidad & Tobago (Sun. 7:00 pm ET)


LA Galaxy vs. LAFC (Mon. 10:30 pm ET)

Download The Sportsletter\’s Must-Watch Calendar



Poll Results

Yesterday, we asked: Which ringless notable NBA free agent would you like to see win a championship? Most of us agree that Dame is deserving of a ring.

Damian Lillard — 63%

Russell Westbrook — 19%

James Harden — 18%

Enjoy the holiday!