Weekly Newsletter - June 24, 2018
 
Good morning,

Though there was not a single current NBA player traded on draft night, the event by no means lacked for excitement. The craziness kicked off early with Dallas trading a future protected first-round pick to Atlanta to move up two spots and take Luke Doncic at #3 overall. The highly-decorated European star, who many folks (myself included) consider the best player in the draft, represents a true passing of the torch for the Mavericks from the Dirk era.

The other huge swap involved the Sixers and Suns. Philadelphia took the hometown boy Mikal Bridges at #10 overall. Bridges grew up on the Main Line, went to Villanova, and his mom works in HR for the Sixers. It was a really sweet story for about 20 minutes. Then, Phoenix called and offered the 16th overall pick and Miami's unprotected 2021 first-round pick for Bridges. With the team's '1B' option, Zhaire Smith, still available, Sixers head coach and interim GM pulled the trigger. 

So after giving a press conference about how wonderful it would be to play for his hometown club, Bridges was informed he was being sent to Phoenix. You'll love it, Mikal, there are no winters there! Remember stuff like this when people try to say players need to show loyalty and re-sign with their current teams in free agency.

Of course, just because the draft is now over, doesn't mean things will quiet down in league circles. The start of free agency is a week away, and we're already busy discussing where Kawhi Leonard will end up after demanding a trade. Boston, Philadelphia, and the Lakers are currently considered the most likely destinations, a situation I broke down for Liberty Ballers. With Kawhi, LeBron, and Paul George all likely to be in new threads next season, the speculation and rumors should be expected to ramp up to a fever pitch.

Charitable Contributions To-Date:
American Red Cross: $18
TriLeo Foundation: $18
Wildlife Conservation Network: $14
Cure Alzheimer's Fund: $10
Grand Total: $60

-- NBA --

The most accomplished 19-year-old basketball player ever, Luka Doncic may have landed in the perfect situation in Dallas.

His new teammate Dirk has been in the NBA longer than Doncic has been alive. And I feel old when somebody at work talks about Snapchat.

Trae Young only had 19 uncontested shots last season at Oklahoma. The Hawks will hope receiving less attention helps Young flourish at the NBA level.

I'd like to contest the use of suit shorts at the draft.

By trading for (and later buying out) Dwight Howard to get off Timofey Mozgov's contract, Brooklyn has set itself up as a sleeping giant in next summer's free agency.

Where Brooklyn at? Patiently waiting for 2019.

Having mastered handling opponents on the court, LeBron James has moved on to mastering the press off it.

Next up: mastering finding a team to offer him some help against the Warriors.

Kawhi Leonard and Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich met earlier this week in Los Angeles to try to hash out their differences. It seems like Leonard will try to force his way elsewhere for next season though.

The question on everyone's mind: if Kawhi leaves, will he stop being a white walker on Game of Zones?

-- NFL --

In the span of 3 months, Australian rugby leaguer Jordan Mailata went from not knowing how to put on or take off a football helmet, to being selected in the 7th round of the NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.

His story allows anybody 6'8", 346 pounds to imagine that their NFL dream may one day come true.

Taking Saquon Barkley over a top quarterback prospect signaled the Giants are prepared to ride out the twilight of Eli Manning's career.

Eli made the opposite of the Eli Manning face when learning the team wasn't taking a quarterback 2nd overall.

Falcons star wideout Julio Jones is training with Terrell Owens, who is 44 years old, but can still run a 4.44 40-yard dash.

Just don't ask TO advice for dealing with CT.

-- NCAA Basketball --

Jontay Porter withdrew his name from the NBA draft, and will return to Missouri to play a season fully out of his brother's shadow.

Tigers fans knew a Porter would turn the program around; it just may be the younger one.

In less than 5 years, Icelandic sheep herder Tryggvi Hlinason went from playing on a basketball team for the first time to working out for NBA teams.

Hlinason went undrafted, meaning he still has a ways to go to surpass Gunnar Stahl and Wolf "the Dentist" Stansson as the most widely recognized Icelandic athlete in America.

Lonnie Walker is the rare inquisitive mind as likely to be watching Planet Earth as watching game film. 

I think Walker will be a huge hit with the Spurs at their weekly cultural dinners.

A few months back, Dick Vitale taking a picture with a top basketball prospect caused Ohio State football to lose out on a five-star running back.

Example no. 509,843 of how the NCAA is an entirely asinine organization.

Thanks for subscribing. Have a great week.

- Sean