Every day there are three things, here are those three things.
I'm starting with the NBA.
1) A trade unlike any other. I spent a few minutes trying to come up with an NBA trade equal to the one pulled off by the Cavaliers and Celtics last night.
I don't think there's been one. Not like this, which features not only two contenders, but the only two contenders in the Eastern Conference swapping stars, and more.
I love it.
I love it mostly from Cleveland's standpoint. The Cavs are still the lead dog in the east, and while Boston - which has turned over its roster perhaps more than any top-seed since the '98-'99 Bulls - has gotten better, the LeBron-led Cavs are still a good bet to get back to the Finals.
Where they could have a slightly better chance of competing with Golden State than they did two and a half months ago,
The Cavs swap out a star, and get another in return - albeit one coming off a significant injury - potentially helping to improve the organization's relationship with the sport's best player. (No one, despite what they may tell you, knows for sure that LeBron James will do at the end of this season) Isaiah Thomas was arguably the best fourth quarter player in the NBA this past season, and while no sane team (there are a lot of insane ones) would give Thomas a max deal as he approaches 30, he's an All-Star-caliber player capable of insane production when needed, and one that doesn't need to shoulder nearly as much of the burden as he did the past two seasons in Boston.
They add much-needed depth in acquiring Jae Crowder - an underrated 3-and-D wing who's a versatile, reliable catch-and-shoot player than that can easy LeBron's burden on offense by allowing him to play power forward (which is where he'll have to settle in as he moves into his career's next phase). The Cavaliers team that's constructed right now is better than the one that lost one playoff game before being thrashed by Golden State.
Plus, the Cavs add a 6'11" project that was taken higher in his draft class than any of the other players Cleveland got in return, and regardless of what happens with LeBron and what lies ahead for Thomas, they get an unprotected pick that belongs to a possible-wretched Brooklyn team, giving them the distinct possibility of picking in the top three of what many think will be a very top-heavy draft class.
The Cavs are better positioned for both the short and long term than they were yesterday morning.
I like it for Boston. They're still clearly the only Eastern Conference team capable of beating Cleveland four times in a series, and their swap of stars saw them get back the younger, healthier player, with whom they get two years to negotiate with exclusively. If LeBron bolts from the Cavs, they're positioned to be the clear-cut favorite in the East, and even though they could be wretched defensively on the wing and have troubling rebounding issues, they're probably better-positioned for a run to the Finals than the Celtics team that was bounced quickly by the Cavs in June.
I love it as an NBA fan. Trades like this - contender-to-contender, star-for-star - don't happen. And the league goes into the upcoming season already loaded with compelling storylines that will make the likely conclusion - another Golden State title - more bearable. Cavs/Celtics on Opening Night, with lingering LeBron/Kyrie bad blood and Isaiah Thomas being sold off by a team he loved playing for, will be must-watch.
And, while I'm at it, I like it as a Knicks fan. Yes, the Knicks are probably going to be lousy, again. And yes, no Knicks fan likes seeing the Celtics do anything that helps them. But, for all of the Kyrie-to-New York talk, I was worried that the team would go too far out of their way to make a trade for him, perhaps sending Kristaps Porzingis and multiple picks to Cleveland. The Knicks have their franchise player. They finally have a future where they own their own draft picks. It made sense to keep both the player and the picks. And the talk of Kyrie wanting to be a Knick? (Which I'm guessing will never happen) He can join them as a free agent in two years if that's what he really wants.
Which I'm guessing won't be what he really wants.
Still....great trade. From every angle.
2) Often-injured pitcher suffers injury. Reds insist you need not worry. Among the many, many developments that occurred during last night's debacle at GABP, was Homer Bailey being removed from the game with shoulder pain.
(Photo: Getty Images)
But, both Homer and Bryan Price, will assure us, there's no need to worry.
Maybe not. Hopefully not.
But, and this might be unfair, can you think of more than one occasion where a Reds pitcher - most of whom do not have Bailey's injury history - came down with something that we were told was, you know, no big deal, ultimately to have it be a real big deal?
Maybe Homer is on the hill this weekend against the Pirates. Maybe he makes the rest of his 2017 starts. Maybe Homer will take the ball 32 times next season, and be the anchor of a young, improving staff.
Maybe this is no big deal.
Until I see that it isn't, I'll worry that it is.
3) It's going to be a brutal four years, and no, this isn't about politics. I mentioned Eric Winston's comments about a potential lockout on yesterday's blog.
I'm writing this as I listen to Mike and Mike discuss said comments on ESPN Radio.
Mind you, the potential work stoppage is still four years away.
We're going to hear a lot about this.
It will be insufferable.
And I'll have the same position when the lockout does occur that I do now.
If they players want concessions from owners, and if they want the dynamic of their relationship with the league to change, they have to do something about it that matters.
That didn't happen during the 1987 strike, when dozens of players crossed picket lines to play in replacement games. Nor did it happen during 2011's lockout when the players got more free time in the offseason, and little else.
Changes happen by acting, not talking. The players talk a lot about change. With some exceptions in the early 90s, the NFLPA has been really good about talking about what they don't like about their deal with the owners, but they've been very unwilling to really do anything about it.
Not that I can blame players, because in a league where the average career lasts 3.3 years, I wouldn't give a riff about union issues either.
But given the union's history, I'll guess we have football uninterrupted in 2021.
Radio Show: It returns on Friday on ESPN1530, from Smoke Justis in Covington. Lance will be there for an hour. Richard Skinner too. And Tony Pike. Plus, I have a bunch of tickets to Saturday's Reds game to giveaway. Join us. And remember, the show returns on a daily basis on September 21st. I'm not supposed to pretend that this is a big deal to me, but it is.
Recommended Link Of The Day: That time Tommy Lasorda got the Expos mascot tossed out of a 22-inning, 1-0 game
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