Struggling Blue Bloods
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Struggling Blue Bloods

Eric Joiner
Eric Joiner
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Good morning. To our new readers, welcome. To our semi-veteran Sprinters, thanks for spending some of your Thursday morning with us. At least, we think it’s Thursday. Let’s check in on the sports world.

In today’s Sprint:

🏀 James Harden trade

⚽ New league leaders

🏒 Heartwarming hockey


Basketball

Blockbuster

And not the company Netflix killed. In the NBA's first major trade of the year, the Houston Rockets dealt James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.

The Trade

Brooklyn Nets Receive: James Harden, 2nd round pick

Houston Rockets Receive: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, four 1st round picks (3 from the Nets), four 1st round pick swaps with the Nets

Cleveland Cavs Receive: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince

Indiana Pacers Receive: Caris LeVert, 2nd round pick

How We Got Here

Discontent: Rumors have swirled around a potential James Harden trade since the Rockets’ early playoff exit last season. While the front office dealt for stars like Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul, Harden felt he never received enough help in Houston to compete for titles.

Playoff Failure: In Harden’s eight seasons in Houston, four were cut short by losses to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs, including the debacle of a game where the Rockets missed 27 consecutive 3-pointers.

With LeBron staking his claim in the West, the sun has set on the Rockets’ title window.

Implications

  • A new big three forms in Brooklyn, but with some major questions. Head coach Steve Nash will attempt to pull together a formerly disgruntled Harden, an absent Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant. Brooklyn better win now because the team has a lot fewer first-round picks than it did two days ago.
  • Where did those picks go? To the Rockets, who received what may be the largest draft haul ever.
  • Silent winners: The Pacers. Moving on from oft-injured Victor Oladipo for one of the league’s most underrated players in Caris LeVert is a huge win.

NBA Scoreboard

(6-4) Dallas Mavericks 103 vs. (6-6) Charlotte Hornets 86

  • Kristaps Porzingis (16 pts, 4 rebs) played well in his season debut, returning from an October knee surgery.

(7-6) Brooklyn Nets 116 vs. (5-7) New York Knicks 109

  • The Nets pick up a win after announcing the Harden trade earlier in the day. Kevin Durant (26 pts, 3 reb, 6 ast) led the way.

(10-3) Los Angeles Lakers 128 vs. (5-6) Oklahoma City Thunder 99

  • Somehow, even at 36 years old, Lebron James (26 pts, 6 reb, 7 ast) refuses to age.

WATER COOLER TALK

🏀 #15 Texas Tech beat #4 Texas 79-77 as Mac McClung (22 pts, 5 reb) hit the game-winner to bring the Red Raiders back from a 10-point halftime deficit.

🏀 #8 Kansas and #19 Duke both lost on Tuesday, bringing the combined records of the College Basketball blue bloods (KU, UNC, Duke, Kentucky, and UCLA) to a mediocre 36-17.

🏈 Bill O’Brien is reportedly finalizing a deal to become Alabama’s next offensive coordinator. At least he won’t be able to trade anybody.

Manchester United claimed the top spot in the Premier League rankings for the first time since 2013. The Man U women are also top of the table, marking the first time in history the club has led both league’s simultaneously.

⚽ The Washington Spirit selected Trinity Rodman second overall in the NWSL draft. Name sound familiar? The U.S. U20 forward is the daughter of NBA legend Dennis Rodman.


NHL

Philly Flys High

The Philadelphia Flyers opened the NHL season in style, cruising past the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3. Philly was led by 20-year-old, left winger Joel Farabee’s 4-point night (1 goal, 3 ast).

The feel-good story of the night was watching Nolan Patrick score his first goal in 652 days. Nolan missed all of last season due to a debilitating migraine condition. Good to see the former #2 draft pick back on the ice.

Lightning Honors Frontline Workers

The Tampa Bay Lightning returned to their home ice for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup. Instead of the usual celebration, the team dedicated the opening night to frontline workers. Tampa Bay healthcare workers introduced the starting lineups for the game.

In another thoughtful gesture, the Lightning refrained from raising the championship banner until they can pack the stadium with cheering fans.


TRIVIA

Who is the oldest player to win the NBA MVP award?

A. Micheal Jordan

B. Karl Malone

C. Wilt Chamberlain

D. Bob Cousy


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Answer: B. Karl Malone - Malone won the MVP award in the 1998 - 99 NBA season, his age 35 season. The Mailman put up a line of 23.8 pts, 9.4 reb, and 4.1 ast per game.