Blue Flower

The first domino in the impending Cubs fire sale has fallen, and it likely won’t be the last.

“For me, I’m a power hitter and I think I’m the best power hitter on the planet,” Alonso said afterward.Chicago White Sox

She also acknowledged a certain surprise among those in the league when they found out the team’s top manager was a woman.Atlanta Braves

Philadelphia Phillies hurler Vince Velasquez was furious with a fan who called him pathetic outside of Fenway Park. Colorado Rockies

@stephenasmith care to explain your comments further??? This is disgusting – there is NO excuse for this type of slander!Detroit Tigers

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One thing that helped was the nursing moms lounge for fans and employees that the BlueCrabs instituted the first year of their existence back in 2008, another idea that caught on first at the minor league level and has expanded to some major league teams such as the Washington Nationals.

Alonso, the defending Derby champion from back in 2019, has received 11.2% of the bets and 12.3% of the money. He has 17 homers so far this season. Olson (5.3% of bets, 4.5% of money), Mancini (5.1% of bets, 3.6% of money) and Perez (2.1% of bets, 1.5% of money) have been much less popular plays for bettors. 

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Players offered different opinions on the playoff schedule that gives them two days off with no travel between Game 3 and Game 4.

"I would look at the criteria of greatest block of all time based off of difficulty of the block and then time and score," Connaughton said. "Obviously, LeBron's time and score probably has the edge in that situation because of when it was and helped them literally win a championship that game. But I think the difference between the time and score difference and then the difficulty of the block difference, gives the edge to Giannis just because a chase-down block, you have a little bit more of an ability to read, and obviously it's a great block and we're talking about two of the greatest blocks of all time and I don't want to discredit that block.Utah Jazz

"If we take care of the ball and cut out five of those turnovers, he probably ends up with 50 tonight," Williams said. "I foresee him playing like that the rest of the series."

“I’ve only watched four players really hard: Penny Hardaway, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Ben Simmons,” he said. “Those are the guys I watch religiously. Big guards handling the ball.”San Antonio Spurs

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"The last couple of days for me have been challenging. But I wanted to be the first to tell you guys that you will not see me at Game 5, Game 6 or a potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals because I have tested positive for COVID. I have received both my shots. I am fully vaccinated. But this is our new normal."Washington Wizards

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Giannis is the 3rd player in NBA Finals history with a 40-point double-double in back-to-back games, joining LeBron James in 2016 and Shaquille O'Neal in 2000. pic.twitter.com/wik7NoI0dmToronto Raptors

Booker said he didn't believe his time on the bench took him out of his rhythm. The Suns instead focused after the game on the 17 turnovers they committed and the 17 offensive rebounds they allowed.

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Freddie Freeman talks with @Ken_Rosenthal on how devastating it is losing Ronald Acuña Jr. for the season. pic.twitter.com/CUNmgt5VSOSan Diego Padres

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Steven Duggar popped up, Thairo Estrada struck out, and Mike Tauchman grounded out as the Giants fell to 58-33. Here are three things to know from one of the more lifeless losses of the season: 

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Arizona gave Alzolay plenty of chances to practice that. The Diamondbacks put six left-handed batters (including switch-hitting Eduardo Escobar) into the lineup against Alzolay on Saturday. He gave up two runs in five innings.

You can't blame deGrom for how he feels after everything he's gone through this season. He's had to deal with injuries involving his lat and shoulder to go along with the forearm now.Atlanta Braves

After Houston's sign-stealing scandal was uncovered, some speculated that Altuve didn't want his jersey pulled off because he was concealing a buzzer that helped in the plot. The allegation was never proven, and Altuve said he did it because he was shy and that he got in trouble with his wife when his jersey was ripped off before.

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Posey passed Posada in career Wins Above Replacement earlier this season and has widened the gap with Yadier Molina, the other top catcher of this generation. With another season and a half like this one, Posey will become the 13th catcher to hit 48 career WAR. Of the current 12, Joe Mauer -- who moved off the position -- is the only one not in the Hall of Fame, and he's not eligible yet.Chicago White Sox

Nogowski isn’t a household name by any means, but this could make him a fan favorite for a Pirates team that hasn’t given Pittsburgh much to cheer for this season. The Bucs are last in the NL Central by a wide margin, sitting at 35-56 even after Friday night’s win, 18 games back of the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers.Minnesota Twins
Buster Posey's comeback led to him being selected for the All-Star team for the seventh time and it's a big reason why the Giants are surging toward the playoffs for the first time in five years (he won't play on Tuesday because of a thumb injury). It has been one of the best stories of the 2021 season, and it might have a long-term effect on the way Posey is viewed by Hall of Fame voters. 

Gallo’s fly ball rate currently sits at 47.2 and he pulls the ball 42 percent of the time which is a match made in heaven for the short porch in right field.

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According to ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan, Bauer’s administrative leave has been extended until July 27 upon agreement by the MLB and MLB Player’s Association, as the league and Pasadena Police Department continue to investigate the allegations.San Diego Padres

“I’m frustrated. I don’t know what else to say," deGrom told reporters after Luis Rojas announced he would be hitting the 10-day IL, retroactive July 15. "It's always good news when structurally everything looks good, but you go out there and try to throw a baseball and my forearm just doesn’t feel good. So the level of frustration right now is very high.”Colorado Rockies

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"Of course you hear about (Jacob) deGrom, (Marcus) Stroman and (Noah) Syndergaard from a pitching perspective, but [there are] a lot of good bats in the lineup," Rocker said. "It's a good place."

Hamel graduated from Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona, known in baseball circles as the alma mater of Cody Bellinger, who went straight from the Huskies to the Dodgers in 2013.Atlanta Braves

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Before putting on a show at the Home Run Derby, Alonso was heating up, with four homers in his last nine games before the break.Kansas City Royals
"Just to tell you about the last day," Merzlikins said. "There were 60, 70, 80 people. I never looked for him. I was talking to so many people. Always, he came to me, he looked for me. We had our last beer, our last shot, last cigar. He was always smiling. I think he made me stronger as a man."

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The Florida Panthers announced Thursday they bought out the remaining two years of Yandle's contract. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 28.Boston Bruins

The Rangers would be a tremendous fit for the Blues forward who reportedly wants out of St. Louis. Paired with Artemi Panarin, that could be the next piece the Rangers really need to make a leap. It’s a $7.5 cap hit, but then there’s the Jack Eichel possibility too. They wouldn’t be able to get both.Columbus Blue Jackets

Wyshynski: The 30 teams in the expansion draft can protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie; or they can protect eight skaters and one goaltender. All first-year and second-year NHL players, and all unsigned draft picks, are exempt from the expansion draft, and won't count toward a team's protection total.

Skinner is a four-time 30-goal-scorer, who spent his first eight NHL seasons in Carolina before being traded to the Sabres in August 2018.

• It seems as if trade rumors have followed Evgeni Malkin throughout his Penguins career. [The Hockey Writers]Carolina Hurricanes

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"Excuse me? Hey, excuse me? HEY, YOU, WITH THE WEARABLE INFLATABLE PINK FLAMINGO OUTFIT! DOWN IN FRONT!" -- Overheard at T-Mobile Arena, we assume.Minnesota Wild
Hey, at least the late-starting NBA Finals gives us something on this post-MLB All-Star Game Wednesday, which is usually the slowest sports day of the year. There are four Champions League first-round qualifying matches and two Gold Cup matches on Wednesday, and not much else. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo explains leaving game early: ‘I went to take... Devin Booker somehow avoids fouling out despite clobbering Jrue Holiday Giannis Antetokounmpo on block: ‘I thought I was going to get dunked...Phoenix Suns

Let’s focus on these five teams. How they can (A) acquire Simmons, and (B) satisfy the Philadelphia 76ers‘ needs?Portland Trail Blazers

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Not long after, Mann became a star at Florida himself and now he's ready to enter the NBA as a likely first round draft pick later this month. Mann worked out for the Wizards on Monday, as they continue to weigh their options for the 15th overall pick.Utah Jazz

Miami can also create enough cap space to sign Lowry outright. Lowry has a close relationship with Heat star Jimmy Butler.

Giannis growing into the iconic player he’s become put pressure on Milwaukee to make sure they don’t become another small market franchise to let its superstar leave to win somewhere else.Washington Wizards

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“To see him do this for a while now, and now it's on the biggest stage and now everybody is getting a chance to see what he goes through,” Middleton said of Antetokounmpo. “How he's hurt and he still finds a way to go out there and compete and be productive and be dominant.”
He has for years said he wanted to remain a Trail Blazer for life, he wants to win a title in Portland. Lillard has for years been the low-maintenance superstar and the face of the franchise, and he relishes that role. But, now at age 30 and entering the back end of his prime, he realizes the roster around him in Portland is not good enough to reach that title goal. Lillard wants to win. So, he wants to put pressure on the organization to upgrade the roster, but the only way to do that is to make the threat of leaving — and have the intention of following through if needed.Philadelphia 76ers

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Yet, the challenge comes in the finances. Because the Clippers are above the league’s salary cap, they have to send out nearly as much money in trades as they take in. With Wall making well over $40 million annually, Los Angeles would have to send Houston something in that ballpark for a trade to work within the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

Career earnings: $83,721,338 Career stats: 9.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.7 apg and 42.9 3PT% in 17 seasons Players drafted right ahead of him: Mo Williams, James Lang, James Jones and Paccelis Morlende His career stats may not stand out as much as other players on this list, but Kyle Korver will go down as one of the greatest outside shooters in league history, and did so despite nearly going undrafted. Korver currently ranks fourth all-time in three-pointers made with 2,450, despite playing in an era nowhere near as three-point friendly as today's NBA. What's more, Korver even has one All-Star nod under his belt even without ever having averaged more than 14.4 points in a season. Korver wound up being a massive steal in the 2003 draft class, which is considered by many to be one of the two or three greatest of all time. He may not have had an amazing peak but he was a quality shooter for contenders for a very long time. Compared to other picks before and after him, you see how much value Korver produced out of that spot. Just for comparison, the 2002 No. 51 pick, Federico Kammerichs, never played a second in the NBA. And the 51st pick of the 2004 draft, Christian Drejer, likewise never saw a minute of NBA action. Korver wasn't the only steal in 2003, however, as we would be remiss not to mention Mo Williams (No. 47 pick) as a steal from that year.

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NBA comps: Donovan Mitchell (The Ringer), CJ McCollum (The Ringer), Derrick White (Bleacher Report), Jordan Clarkson (CBS Sports).Washington Wizards

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For long stretches, it appeared the Suns were on the verge of a commanding 3-1 lead. But Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the cornerstones of a championship contender, made game-changing, series-saving plays in the final two minutes to even the series.

The Milwaukee Bucks have taken the last two games to even things up, with Game 5 set for Saturday night.Utah Jazz

Most important, Porzingis and the Mavericks lost the series after opening with a 2-0 lead. The team has yet to advance out of the first round of the playoffs since the 2010-11 season, when they won the NBA Finals.Portland Trail Blazers
But Shawn has coached his son long enough to know how self-observant he is. Coming into Game 5 of these NBA Finals, Holiday had hit just 33% of his shots (23-of-69), including an especially ugly 4-for-20 in Game 4.Portland Trail Blazers

Giannis Antetokounmpo destroyed the Suns with a dominant Game 3 performance on Sunday, and NBA Twitter ate it up. Utah Jazz

Milwaukee’s momentum had been building for several quarters, but the breakthrough came midway through Game 3, when Deandre Ayton picked up his fourth foul with 10:25 to play in the third quarter. It forced the Suns to play small, with Jae Crowder and Cam Johnson as the primary centers, and at times pack their defense into a 2-3 zone. The Bucks then countered not by keeping Brook Lopez on the floor and trying to mash Phoenix on the interior, but by also downsizing and playing four perimeter players around Giannis Antetokounmpo at center. That allowed Milwaukee to stretch an already thinning defense with speed and shooting while Antetokounmpo controlled the paint, all while continuing to dominate at the rim and on the glass on either end of the floor.

The Knicks are the "most aggressive trade suitor" for Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

"The 76ers have opened up trade conversations surrounding Simmons and have engaged with teams, sources told The Athletic," Charania wrote. "Those sources also say that teams that have engaged with the 76ers about Simmons have been met with a high price threshold for the three-time All-Star.

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"My dad thinks I'm the best player in the world," Holiday said with a smile after scoring 27 points, dishing out 13 assists and creating the play of the night with a steal off Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker with 16.7 seconds remaining in Saturday's Game 5. A perfect alley-oop to teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo followed to seal the Milwaukee Bucks' 123-119 win for a 3-2 lead in the Finals.Washington Wizards

And while the team used some of it to bring in veteran shooting guard Evan Fournier at the 2021 trade deadline, a substantial chunk remains available to be used if taken advantage of before it expires. It’s also far from the only salary cap exception Boston might use this offseason and in their 2021-22 campaign to elevate the prospects of their coming season.Toronto Raptors

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On one sequence, Achiuwa impressed his head coach in camp with his energy and effort on a defensive possession. The display by Achiuwa immediately warranted a strong reaction from Brown, which reminded him of Draymond Green.

That one person was Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who logged his second straight 40-point game of the series thanks in large part to his 13-for-17 night from the foul line at Fiserv Forum.Oklahoma City Thunder

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But as the Bucks seemed to illustrate in the last two rounds, there’s been some painful growth in this oddly executed season, an ability to win games when not playing at peak efficiency on offense. Booker tore them up, but they didn’t overreact and allow Jae Crowder or Ayton to feast inside.Phoenix Suns

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Not only did Portis inject his typical energy into a must-needed Bucks’ Game 3 victory, the former Chicago Bulls’ first-round pick basically turned his postgame podium session into a Comedy Central audition.

Locked on Warriors podcast host Wes Goldberg pointed to Portland’s need to improve defensively and Golden State’s need for offense as reasoning Anthony might be a better fit for the Warriors. Both teams are in line to reshuffle their rosters around their star player this offseason.

However, their spirited finished didn’t help head coach Scott Brooks’ contract situation. His deal expired after 2020-21, and both sides agreed to part ways after they couldn’t agree on a new deal.Orlando Magic

“He (Donovan) really cares about his players,” LaVine added. “And I haven't been able to have that type of relationship with a coach — obviously, with inconsistencies and different things like that. But being able to talk to him on a daily basis, being able to call him, talk to him about game film or things I want to improve on, or the structure of the team, things like that, just day-to-day things that a player and their coach can talk about, I haven't had, and that relationship has been big for me. So I'm looking to continue to grow.”Washington Wizards
The future for every team but the Golden Knights involves losing one player to Seattle, and some will make side deals that involve giving up another or a draft pick. Kraken GM Ron Francis will have all the leverage from this weekend through the expansion draft, but until then he’s playing the waiting game while his colleagues plan ahead.

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While Lang is mentioned a bit off-handedly in El-Bashir’s story, he was pretty prolific with Washington. The also-semi-mulleted Czech scorer collected 143 points in 145 games. That marks the fourth-best total of the Jagr era, even if Lang was only a part of a portion of it.

If the Bruins want to load up and go all-out one last time for Patrice Bergeron, something resembling this trade (and trying to get the Blues to eat a couple million dollars of that cap hit) would be tempting. They’d have to trade either Jake DeBrusk or Nick Ritchie for help on defense and the absence of Frederic would leave a hole on their fourth line that could perhaps be patched by re-signing Sean Kuraly. Money would be tight, though. Dallas Stars

F: Elias Pettersson F: Brock Boeser F: Bo Horvat F: J.T. Miller F: Tanner Pearson F: Tyler Motte F: Matthew Highmore D: Olli Juolevi D: Tyler Myers D: Nate Schmidt G: Thatcher DemkoChicago Blackhawks

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"I think a lot of things these days can be self-taught," he said. "And for someone who doesn't have a college education, I find Brent to be one of the most empathetic and intelligent people mentally that I've ever interacted with."

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Ritchie is the best forward of the group, and Clifton is the best among the defensemen. Clifton has the most upside based on his age, talent, contract, position and future upside. The Kraken should take Clifton. Hopefully for the Bruins, they don't.St. Louis Blues

• Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop, whose contract runs through 2022-23 and carries a $4,916,666 cap hit. The three-time Vezina finalist did not play this season because of injuries and waived his no-movement clause so the team could protect goalie Anton Khudobin.Vegas Golden Knights
Some of the getting better means getting worse in the short term. That’s the gamble the Wild took in buying out Parise and Suter. Same for the Blackhawks in trading Keith to Edmonton for defenseman Caleb Jones and a third-round pick.New York Rangers

So, the Penguins need to choose two other forwards to protect (or three, if they expose Blueger despite signing him).Carolina Hurricanes

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A Winterhawk always was a fictional bird, you know. And so it didn’t have to look like a Chicago “Blackhawk" – just because the original owner of Portland's junior hockey franchise could get a deal on some used Chicago uniforms.

The concern though would be the fact he is going to be 35 years old this season, has not played in over a year, is coming off major surgery, and still carries a pretty significant contract.Vegas Golden Knights

Bishop, who missed all season recovering from knee surgery, went to GM Jim Nill to offer to waive his no-movement clause so the Stars could protect Khudobin. Bishop could either become for the Kraken what Marc-Andre Fleury was for the Golden Knights as an established goalie for an expansion team or return to Dallas with Khudobin and Jake Oettinger.Calgary Flames

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With more than $30 million in cap space, no first-rounder, and a new head coach, the Arizona Coyotes could conceivably surprise us. Instead of rebuilding, they could swerve and gobble up free agents — retaining their own, and signing prominent players from other teams.