One Does Not Simply Tell Gregg Popovich What To Do

This has been a unique week….

How often do two top-five players, in different sports, get traded in the same week?!

Kawhi Leonard Gets Shipped North Of The Border

Ask, and you shall receive. The only thing is, you don’t always get exactly what you ask for. Despite being lauded as the NBA’s gold standard over the past two decades, the San Antonio Spurs and Kawhi Leonard grew out of love. In June, Leonard publicly requested a trade. Leonard’s destination wish-list was short: The Los Angeles Lakers.

As hard as it is to imagine Gregg Popovich laughing, he probably doubled over when he heard Leonard’s request.

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Oh, you want to play in sunny California, for one of the most storied franchises in NBA history, in Popovich’s conference?!?! That’s cute. Instead, Leonard was banished to the Toronto Raptors for the final year of his contract. In return, the Spurs received DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2022 1st-round top-20 protected pick.

The Spurs won this trade — by a lot.

Yes, Leonard is better than DeRozan, so (assuming Leonard is a good soldier this year) the Raptors have a chance in the Eastern Conference. However, knowing Leonard wasn’t going to resign with the Spurs, and CLEARLY isn’t going to resign with the Raptors, the haul the Spurs got for their disgruntled (rental) superstar is astonishing. DeRozan is an all-star who’s under contract for three more years. And don’t sleep on the 22-year old, seven-footer (Poeltl). He’s the type of player Popovich turns into a 10 point, 8 rebound machine, providing depth in the frontcourt.

I’m Moving To Los Angeles!!

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It’s good to be Manny Machado.

It’s not every day you start your day on the worst team in MLB (Baltimore Orioles), and end your day on a World Series contender (Los Angeles Dodgers). Also, the weather is slightly better in L.A. than Baltimore — last time I checked.

Like I said….it’s GOOD to be Manny Machado.

Just like Kawhi Leonard, Manny Machado is a top-five player in his respective sport. Just like Leonard, Machado is an expiring contract, and wasn’t expected to resign with his former team. And just like Leonard, Machado helped bring his former team quite the haul.

The Orioles received five prospects for Machado: outfielder Yusniel Diaz, right-handed pitchers Dean Kremer and Zach Pop, and infielders Rylan Bannon and Breyvic Valera.

Diaz is the prize here, as he was ranked #73 in Baseball Prospectus’ rankings prior to this season.

This deal makes sense for both sides. The Orioles read the tea leaves and did what they had to do, while the Dodgers immediately launched themselves into World Series contention.

And Machado seems to have adjusted nicely to his new home. He’s hitting a smooth .385 through his first three games. Yeah, he’s pretty good.

With just eight days remaining until the MLB trade deadline, stay up to date with every move on DaveTalksSports.com.

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Cheaters Never Prosper….

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You are a cheater!! I hope I didn’t send half of my audience running to a mirror in tears. No, I’m referring to the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox, wanting to be like big brother (New England Patriots), were caught stealing signs from the dugout. Reportedly, they used electronic communication from the dugout to steal opponents’ signs and relay them to players (Apple Watch style). This claim was brought to light when, who else but the New York Yankees, filed a formal complaint against their arch rival on July 18th. Major League Baseball’s investigation is under way and should be concluded before the end of the regular season.

Rob Manfred, MLB’s commissioner, summed it up in a way only MLB could. He said, “We actually do not have a rule against sign-stealing. It has been a part of the game for a very, very long time. To the extent that there was a violation of the rule here, it was a violation by one team that involved the use of electronic equipment. It’s the electronic equipment that creates the violation.”

So in layman’s terms, we’re okay with the cheating, we’re just not okay with how you cheated. SAY WHAT?!?! That’s like saying, I don’t mind that you robbed my store, I just wish you would have left the gun at home. If you had done it with a knife, I would have been a lot happier.

Am I missing something here????    

While this nonsense was being reported, we had actual baseball games going on. The Yankees were looking to cut into the Red Sox’ 2.5 game lead in the AL East. Up until about 10:00 P.M. EST, a 1.5 game lead with 24 to play seemed like a certainty. And then Robert Osuna happened. And then — Dellin Betances happened.

The Boston Red Sox played host to the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday night. After 7 scoreless innings thrown by Marco Estrada, the Blue Jays’ bullpen carried a 2-0 lead to the bottom of the 9th inning. Blue Jays’ closer, Robert Osuna, came in to shut the door on the game. Not so much. Instead, he got the ball rolling on a devastating, 19 inning loss for the Blue Jays. Because nothing says blown save like a walk, a double, and 2 ground outs that both score runs. Yankees fans everywhere give you the finger….

From 1 blown save to the next. After Osuna coughed up the lead in Boston, Dellin Betances thought it would be a good idea to give up a walk-off home run to Manny Machado (his 2nd of the game). If you haven’t seen the meatball served up by Betances, click here. There are hanging curveballs, and then there’s that.

And today, the Yankees wake up 3.5 games back in the AL East with 0 games left against the Red Sox. Nice scheduling MLB!! The scary part is they are only 3 games ahead of the Twins in the AL Wild Card. In fact, the Angels, Twins, Royals, Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, and Rays are all within 5.5 games of the Yankees. Yikes!!

Who said baseball was boring??

How do you feel about the Red Sox stealing signs?? Are they cheaters?? What should their punishment be?? Tell me in the comment section below.

 

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So Many Sports, So Little Time

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Wednesday was a busy day in the sports world. Too much for one person to handle some might say. But I’m here, so I may as well give it a shot….

NBA

Wednesday night showcased two NBA playoff matchups. Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers steamrolled the Toronto Raptors (125-103), taking a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Lebron did what he does, scoring 39 points while adding 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. Just another day at the office huh?? Lebron’s 39 points were special because he passed Kareem-Abdul Jabbar for 2nd all-time on the playoff scoring list. Bad became worse for the Raptors as Kyle Lowry went down in the 3rd quarter with a left ankle injury. Lowry would return to the game, but with a noticeable limp, so I’d call Lowry questionable at best for Game 3.

The late game Wednesday night was Game 2 of the Houston Rockets vs. the San Antonio Spurs. The storyline here was simple: after a lopsided Game 1 win by the Rockets, how would the Spurs respond? And they responded exactly as I expected, with a 121-96 victory. Kawhi Leonard showed the world why he is an MVP candidate. Leonard dominated the offensive side of things with 34 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block. Tony Parker also had a good game, however, he had to be carried off the court during the 4th quarter when his left knee buckled. The real story of Game 2 was Leonard’s defense, as he showed why he is the 2-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year. He locked up James Harden for the majority of the game, holding Harden to 13 points on 3 of 17 shooting. I guess Leonard doesn’t fear the beard.

NHL

The NHL also put forth two playoff games on Wednesday night. The Anaheim Ducks won an overtime thriller over the Edmonton Oilers (5-4). After an awful giveaway in his own zone by Adam Larsson of the Oilers, Ryan Getzlaf fed a wide-open Jakob Silfverberg right in front of the net.  Silfverberg drove home the one-time winner just 45 seconds into overtime, and this series is now tied at two games a piece.

Earlier in the evening, the Sydney Crosbyless Pittsburgh Penguins took on the Washington Capitals in Game 4. Crosby is still out after leaving Game 3 with a concussion. I guess the Capitals felt bad for the Penguins, so they decided to score for them. Oh yeah, you heard that right. In the 2nd period, Pittsburghs’ Jake Guentzel sent the puck in front of Washington’s net and defenseman Dmitry Orlov thought it would be a good idea to kick that puck into his own net. Nice work! The Penguins went on to win 3-2, and now hold a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.

MLB

There was a full slate of MLB games on Wednesday night, but there was one game that dominated the headlines. The Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles have an on going feud that began on April 11th. It all started with a hard slide from Manny Machado into 2nd base that took out Dustin Pedroia’s legs. Since then, the Red Sox threw at Machado’s head, the Orioles plunked Mookie Betts, and Machado was thrown at again (this time going behind him). These actions resulted in a conference call between the Red Sox and Orioles organizations, the MLB Commisioner, and the MLB Players Association calling for the feud to be put to rest. Well you guessed it, the feud was not put to rest. Wednesday night, Kevin Gausman hit Xander Bogaerts, albeit with a curveball, as some form of sneaky retribution. Gausman was immediately ejected. I view Gausman and the Orioles as the immature person who must get the last word in no matter how wrong they know they are. But at the same time, can we not throw baseballs at people’s heads at 100 miles per hour? Okay cool, thanks. Good Talk.

In New York baseball news, the New York Mets continued their roller coaster season, beating the Atlanta Braves 16-5. As for the Yankees, they continued their winning ways, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 8-6. Aaron Judge smashed his MLB leading 13th home run of the season, and I’m quite certain he grew a foot taller last night as well.

BOXING

I’m assuming you haven’t watched a boxing match since Evander Holyfield was in the ring, but let’s talk about it anyway. This Saturday, May 6th, Canelo Alzarez (48-1-1, 34 KO’s) will take on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KO’s) in an All-Mexican Showdown in Las Vegas. Coincidentally, this match will take place just one day after Cinco de Mayo. Canelo, the Junior Middleweight Title Holder, will move up a weight class to fight Chavez Jr. at a catch weight of 164.5 pounds. Canelo’s only loss to date remains a unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather in 2013. Canelo is the odds on favorite to win this match and for good reason. I see Canelo winning fairly easily in a unanimous decision.

SOCCER

Juventus is very good.

 

What did you watch on Wednesday night? Let me know all about it in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!