Blue Flower

That will inevitably be the big debate with the Flyers' acquisition of defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. Fletcher dealt the Flyers' 2021 first-round pick to the Sabres in a package for Ristolainen about six hours before the draft kicked off Friday night. In the deal, the Flyers also sent Robert Hagg and a 2023 second-round selection to Buffalo.Boston Bruins

Analysis: This team has strong offensive potential and a good mix on defense. Giordano, a recent Norris Trophy winner, could end up as the Kraken's first captain. Driedger would be the No. 1 goalie in this mix, but Kahkonen has shown he can carry the load in case of an injury.

The 213-pounder had 16 points in 26 games as a freshman after playing two seasons in the United States Hockey League. He played for Canada in the world championships and won a gold medal.

Check: We work in concert with the NHL and have certain access guidelines. Wiring players, wiring coaches. The Islanders adhered to that. We got what we needed from the Islanders.

How he fits: After selecting goalie Yaroslav Askarov last season with the 11th overall pick, GM David Poile goes back to Russia to select Svechkov. The center posted some flashy offensive numbers in international play for Russia, including 10 points in seven games at the World Juniors. He can start his offensive plays in the defensive end, too. The Predators will wait for this one, if Svechkov can't make the leap to the NHL right away. -- WyshynskiCarolina Hurricanes

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Teams didn't need to protect unrestricted free agents, so players such as Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton were left exposed in the draft. The Kraken can select those players, but there's little upside in doing so, since they can sign with whichever club they choose starting July 28.Columbus Blue Jackets

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• Carey Price is another name available to Seattle, and it’s coming out that he is dealing with multiple injuries that could cause him to miss a good chunk of the 201-22 NHL season. [Sportsnet]Anaheim Ducks

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Antetokounmpo now owns two NBA MVP trophies, and NBA Finals MVP award and a championship at age 26 -- in addition to the respect of the game's biggest stars. (Warning: One of the tweets contains NSFW language.)Toronto Raptors

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"In a normal year, if those guys stay somewhat healthy, they definitely figure to be the best team," Bogdanovich said of the Nets.

The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie projected the Pelicans to land wing Josh Giddey out of Australia in his post-Finals mock draft:

Moreover, his 3-point shooting efficiency improved in each of his four seasons. And then, at the combine, surprised observers with a 37.5-inch max vertical leap and a 2.99 shuttle run that was bested by only one player. Though marksmen tend to be targeted on defense, Kispert uses IQ and anticipation to do a solid job on that end.Philadelphia 76ers

"This is for my mom," he said, fighting off tears. "She works extremely hard every day for me to be in this position, and she never pressured me to do other things. This is for my dad. He's watching from above, and he can see it. This is for my significant other. Every day, she helps me be a better person. She lets me do what I'm supposed to do. She takes care of my son. And for my brothers.Utah Jazz

TOKYO — A seemingly very American sport debuted at the Olympics here on Saturday without a team of American men. 3x3 basketball looks like it was designed in a Chicago playground lab, with the express purpose of adding to Team USA’s medal haul. And it probably will, on the women’s side.

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That partly explains why the Pelicans hired Green in the first place. The Warriors and Suns praised Green for how related to players with both a personable touch while also providing X’s and O’s expertise. Although Van Gundy and Griffin had the same vision with using Williamson as a play-making forward, the two eventually had philosophical differences. Van Gundy’s old-school approaches with demanding practices and feedback did not yield enough positive results. The Pelicans finished in 11th place in the Western Conference with a 31-41 record.Washington Wizards

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It will take the Team USA from the second half of this game against Spain to beat France — but now there is real cause for optimism that the USA team will show up.San Antonio Spurs

Oregon guard Chris Duarte has received an invite to the 2021 NBA Draft green room, per The Athletic.

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Jacob Rude: The Hornets have a need at center but may be better off addressing that need in free agency. In Johnson, they find a scoring wing option they lacked last season, particularly when Gordon Hayward went down to injury.

He’s a very good player, one who’s exceeded 20 points per game in six consecutive seasons, but is he poised to make mid-career strides as a defender and passer like Tobias Harris this past season? If one is searching for positive signs, McCollum’s 0.80 assist-to-usage ratio in the 2020-21 campaign was a career high, per Cleaning the Glass. His excellent 6.4 turnover percentage was also a career best.Toronto Raptors

Throughout the Mike Krzyzewski-era run of Olympic gold medals, USA Basketball has used an athletic and physical defense as its foundation, overwhelming teams and allowing the American athletes to get out and run. This team, getting thrown together late and then losing Bradley Beal to the coronavirus (and being without Jerami Grant for days), could not play that way. At least not until the final 20 minutes of their Olympic tune-up exhibition games.Oklahoma City Thunder

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Davis Bertans' big contract extension already looks like an overpay, while Thomas Bryant, Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija are all intriguing talents with no guarantee of becoming viable starters for a contending team. It will be Unseld's job to make that mix of young and older talent work, but he may only get so much time if the team's front office decides trading Beal is its best chance at contending in the future.

Having a Lakers superteam of Chris Paul, LeBron James and Anthony Davis would make the squad favorites to win an NBA title, but the finances and logistics prevent this scenario from truly happening. It would be too much for both sides, as the pay cut is huge for Paul, and acquiring him is too difficult to navigate, especially if he has no interest in leaving in the first place.Phoenix Suns

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"That's an extraordinary sum of money," said Kaval, who has been leading the A's stadium efforts since joining the team in November 2016. "And not having specificity is a key concern. There's also concern about additional taxes that they're putting on the project -- condo transfer tax, a transportation tax that obviously push up the cost, as well. Those are all items that are problematic. And we've been clear that the project can only do so much. We can't solve all of Oakland's problems, but we can do a lot to make this a better community and keep the A's here for many generations to come. And that's why we're looking for an affirmative vote on our plan."Tampa Bay Rays

Snap verdict on the Nelson Cruz trade: The Rays get the single best bat on the market and someone with an A+ clubhouse reputation. But the Twins did very well, too, in getting Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman, two hard-throwing right-handers who are close to big-league-ready.

Per FanSided MLB insider Robert Murray, the Phillies are among the best possible suitors for Marte:Boston Red Sox

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With Crawford's injury, second baseman Donovan Solano is the only Giants regular infielder who is not on the IL. First baseman Brandon Belt has been out since June 24 due to right knee inflammation, and is likely to be sidelined for the next two weeks. Third baseman Evan Longoria is on the 60-day injured list and isn't eligible to come off until Aug. 5.

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The Dodgers were still glaring and yelling at the umps in the bottom of the ninth, but they couldn't come back against Jake McGee, who clinched a second series victory at Dodger Stadium this season.Chicago Cubs

A chaotic scene quickly developed. As the Padres cleared the field, some fans rushed to leave the stadium while others ducked and tried to hide, looking for cover.Chicago White Sox

Local media had recently deemed Guardians a "trendy" pick for the name. The other favorites included Spiders and Rockers.

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This year, though, Nationals star Juan Soto chose to participate in the event for the exact opposite reason: hoping the derby would fix his swing.Atlanta Braves

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It was just as encouraging for the team when Chapman locked down the game in the ninth, apparently agitated enough by allowing a solo home run to dig for his 103 mph fastball and alpha mound presence.

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Whether it was mere coincidence that this rare-of-late Bryant sighting came less than three hours after the Rays spent two well-regarded Triple-A pitching prospects on acquiring All-Star hitter Nelson Cruz from the Twins, Bryant was whisked back to his dugout bubble wrap immediately after drawing a walk.

Wilmer Flores hit a two-run homer off Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, leading the Giants to a thrilling 4-2 win that pushed them back to two games up in the NL West and guaranteed they'll fly home Thursday night still in first place. The Giants had been three outs away from falling into a tie for the first time since May 31, but Flores stunned a sellout crowd of 52,026 by crushing a cutter into the left field bleachers to turn a one-run deficit into a one-run lead. Cleveland Indians

Unfortunately for Oakland, it was Bassitt's mistake in the top of the seventh that proved to be the deciding factor. Tampa Bay Rays

Laid to waste by Jansen’s blown save was a superb start by Walker Buehler, who gave up one run and five hits, struck out nine and walked one in 71/3 innings.Oakland Athletics

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5. On the other side, Eduardo Rodriguez made light work of a Yankees lineup that batted struggling CF Brett Gardner sixth. In 5 2/3 scoreless innings pitched, the left-handed Rodriguez (7-5, 5.19 ERA) threw a two-hitter, striking out eight while walking two on 97 pitches (57 strikes).
Committed to play at Michigan next season, Hughes is maybe the youngest player of note in this draft class, born only a few days before the Class of 2021 cutoff. He is a tremendous skater, and has very exciting puck skills. Edvinsson has some of that as well, but is not as consistent in applying his skills to the ice. As for Clarke, there is a reasonably similar type of player in Ty Smith, who made his debut this past season. Luke Hughes gives them a different look, and has the most potential of anyone on the board to develop into a top of the lineup player in his prime.Chicago Blackhawks

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The announcement came after it was revealed that Mailloux was criminally convicted in Sweden last year for sharing an explicit photo of a woman performing a sex act without her consent. While playing for SK Lejon, a professional hockey team in Sweden, Mailloux took the photo and circulated it among several teammates. In December, he was issued a summary fine for offensive photography constituting an invasion of privacy and defamation. Mailloux, who is currently 18, was a minor at the time. The Daily Faceoff first reported the news of the incident.New Jersey Devils

Earlier in the day, the Philadelphia Flyers traded the 14th pick and a 2023 second-rounder to the Buffalo Sabres for big defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.Dallas Stars

Team: Djurgarden (Sweden) Ranking: 2 | Nationality: SWE Age: 18 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 176 | Shot: L Stats: 40 GP, 11 G, 12 A

The 25-year-old Hill has appeared in 49 games over parts of four seasons with the Coyotes, recording a 19-21-4 record to go with a .909 save percentage. He has shown a lot of promise over the past two seasons, however, owning a .914 save percentage in his 32 appearances since the start of the 2019-20 season.Carolina Hurricanes

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Seattle did the Caps no favors and selected goalie Vitek Vanecek, clearing a ground total of $716,667 off the books for next season.

"Obviously you guys have Jones there who I think is a great goalie and I've looked up to him for years, he used to play for the Calgary Hitmen when I grew up in Calgary," Hill said when asked about competing for the starting goalie job. "So yeah, no it's cool and I'm ready to embrace the opportunity if it's given to me to be a starter and push for that job."

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The Milwaukee Bucks have done it. Fifty years since their last title, they are officially this year's NBA Finals champions. Mike Budenholzer's men overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat Devin Booker, Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns 105-98 in Game 6 Tuesday night.

Thybulle and the Boomers recently picked up a win over Team USA where he had an impressive block on star Kevin Durant. He can use this Olympic experience to continue to grow his game and become a more complete player out on the floor before returning to the Sixers for training camp before the 2021-22 season.

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What does a team with superstars at every position really need? The answer might be rotational depth for when the stars take turns sitting for months at a time. This late in the draft, you try to find a prospect that can do one or two specific things, regardless of position.

These images of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s game-sealing dunk in Game 5 of the NBA Finals are sensational.Portland Trail Blazers

Oubre struggled to start his Warriors tenure but righted the ship and played consistently well before injuring his wrist late in the year. In 55 games for the Warriors, Oubre averaged 15.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from 3-point range.Oklahoma City Thunder

Antetokounmpo signed a long-term deal to continue his marriage with Milwaukee and is eager to take the court on Tuesday night with a chance to seal the series. He's also reminding himself that if the script doesn't follow his own plan, the Bucks have another chance in their back pocket.Toronto Raptors

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So, after the Suns absorbed two straight losses to the Milwaukee Bucks to level the NBA Finals at two wins apiece, perhaps it's no surprise that Devin Booker quoted his coach ahead of Saturday's Game 5 in Phoenix.Sacramento Kings

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How he fits: It's not often that a team gets the first overall pick in the draft in two out of four seasons. It's also not often that a team uses those two No. 1 picks to then select defensemen, but that's how the draft classes have worked out for the Sabres. Rasmus Dahlin, No. 1 overall in 2018, hasn't quite leveled up to franchise defenseman status yet, but he's only 21 years old. Now Power joins him as another left-side defenseman who Buffalo can build around in the next decade -- perhaps using the pieces it gets for an eventual Jack Eichel trade, for example. -- Wyshynski

How he fits: The final pick of the first round had the Blackhawks acquiring their second most-notable defenseman of the day. While Allan doesn't really project to be Seth Jones, especially as he's a raw talent in the offensive zone, he skates well enough to play in the NHL right now and can take care of business in his own end. Allan is a nice addition to the Chicago prospect pool. -- WyshynskiCalgary Flames

Mason Appleton has found a new home by way of the NHL’s expansion draft. After spending two seasons with Michigan State hockey and a few seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, Mason Appleton will be heading to Seattle to join the Kraken.Columbus Blue Jackets

Mailloux was playing on loan for SK Lejon, a third-tier team in Sweden, when he was fined by police for showing a photo to his teammates via Snapchat that depicted him and a woman engaged in a sexual act, a photo that was taken without her consent. The woman went to local police. Mailloux was not arrested but was charged with invasion of privacy and defamation. According to Daily Faceoff, which first reported the story, the fine amounted to $1,650.

Ovechkin's unprotected status is only a formality. Most people in the league believe there's a handshake deal or at least a framework of a new deal in place between the Caps and their captain, which should be announced after the expansion draft.Vegas Golden Knights

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McCann was recently acquired by the Leafs from the Penguins in a deal ahead of last weekend's roster freeze.St. Louis Blues

GM David Poile wanted to get younger. Myers and Glass makes him younger; and in Myers' case bigger, as they add a 6-foot-5 defenseman to their back end.

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According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic and TSN, the Hurricanes are sending Alex Nedeljkovic to the Detroit Red Wings for Jonathan Bernier and a third-round draft selection.New Jersey Devils

"The Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers are believed to be the front-runners in the Hyman sweepstakes with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings also making inquiries with agent Todd Reynolds."Carolina Hurricanes

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Another local connection for the Kraken: Gambrell grew up in the suburbs southeast of Seattle. And he can be a third-line center, too.Chicago Blackhawks

If Krejci did leave, Charlie Coyle would be the most logical in-house replacement for the No. 2 center spot. Coyle struggled offensively last season but was not at 100 percent health. Coyle had surgery in June and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.Edmonton Oilers

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Cholowski appeared in 16 games this season, recording three points. In 13 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, he produced three goals and seven assists. Cholowski had 10 goals and 27 points in 104 career games with the Wings.

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Well, there was supposed to be intrigue. Instead, the NHL's broadcasting partners — which for the first time in a long time includes ESPN — will have to manufacture intrigue around the Seattle Kraken expansion draft.

He's a player in need of a fresh start. He'll get one, potentially with Mark Stone on his right side. He's a player in need of support from his team, and he'll get that with McCrimmon at the helm.
Holiday outplayed Phoenix's Chris Paul for a third straight game. Deandre Ayton scored 20 points but wasn't his usual rim-protecting self on defense. Jae Crowder was quiet after a few early 3-pointers and a dunk. Mikal Bridges had a few good moments but the Suns needed more.Sacramento Kings

A 31-point routing of Team Nigeria has eased some minds, but the losses are unusual for a program that’s won its last 49 games in the Olympics. (Note: Diana Taurasi did not play in any exhibition game due to a hip injury. She expects to be healed by Olympic play.)

When are the moments that Paul should draw from his extensive playoff career that has ended in heartbreak due to either injuries or late-game shortcomings? When are the moments Paul should not even think about that?Utah Jazz

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Giannis added his name to quite a few legendary lists with his Game 6 heroics, joining Michael Jordan as the only other player over the past 50 years to put up 33 points over a half of a Finals game, and he became the first player since Shaquille O’Neale to produce at least 40 points, 10 rebounds and five swats in any playoff game. He also became the first player since the NBA/ABA merger to drop a 50-spot in a Finals closeout game and he also joined the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan as the only other players in NBA history with multiple MVPs and a Finals MVP before the age of 27. He nice – basically – and I anticipate his draft stock next year to reflect that.Oklahoma City Thunder

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Since taking over the helm for the Warriors back in 2014, Kerr has been widely praised for the free-flowing, adaptable playing style he’s instilled in his team. He’s been known to write personal letters to players — something Lasso does as well — and seems to intuitively know when and how to push players buttons.

It’s healthy for the U.S. to take its opponents so seriously. The rest of the world has caught up. Arrogance is now an especially misguided approach.San Antonio Spurs

Teams will get their choice of young stars on July 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

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"I was able to make adjustments during the game, pitch by pitch," Alzolay said. "That was something that I wasn't able to do against the Dodgers."Cincinnati Reds

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The A’s led 2-1 when Manaea exited after seven strong innings after Mariners catcher Tom Murphy hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to put the team on the board. But the A's would walk away with the 4-1 win at the end of the ninth. Arizona Diamondbacks

THIS IS IT: one last stand against the stenographers and yes-men, the bean counters and numbers crunchers, the button pushers and script readers. One last stand against those who live in mortal fear of being wrong, those who trust the numbers more than their gut, those without the stones to go against the percentages and live with the consequences.Chicago White Sox

So far in 2021, Hill has a 3.87 ERA over 19 starts. That's definitely not bad for a 41-year-old who at most is a back-of-the-rotation starter, but a closer look reveals some recent troubles. Since the start of June, Hill has a 4.70 ERA over 8 starts. 

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In a full count, Jansen was able to get Ruf to check swing. The Dodgers thought he had a strikeout. The Giants thought Ruf had a walk. Upon appeal to the first base umpire, San Francisco rejoiced, and Los Angeles became incensed.

The Mets lost starting pitcher Robert Stock to a hamstring injury after just one inning on Tuesday, turning the rest of the game (an eventual 4-3 loss) into a balancing act where they made sure to not destroy their entire bullpen

Eickhoff’s trip to the plate as a batter wasn’t great either. He bunted into a double play.Baltimore Orioles