LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The NFL is America’s gold standard. Baseball is swimming in guaranteed dollars. Soccer is making its move.
Sorry, everybody. Nobody does free agency the way the NBA does free agency.
Never mind Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler. Step up and take your $73 million Bojan Bogdanovic. Here’s your $85 million Malcolm Brogdon. Smile, Khris Middleton. You get $178 million.
One question: I know people willing to drive to Indianapolis to watch Durant, Irving or Butler (OK, maybe Butler).
I don’t know anybody rushing to buy a ticket to see Bogdanovic, Brogdon or Middleton.
But thanks, NBA. No better place to begin a Monday Muse.
1. Terry Rozier Richest Card Ever
Remember that story about Rick Pitino calling one of his guys at Adidas to ask the company not to drop Terry Rozier as one of the shoe company’s clients because Rozier was spotted wearing another brand of shoes?
Well, Pitino can put down the phone. Rozier’s financial future is secure.
After earning just under $9 million in his first four seasons as a professional, Rozier earned a three-year, $58 million contract to leave the Boston Celtics for the Charlotte Hornets on Day One of NBA free agency.
Not bad for a career 40.4 percent shooters who has averaged double figures (11.3 points in 2018) once in four NBA seasons.
My dawg!!! Couldn’t be happier https://t.co/FetUW0PFLl— Jayson Tatum (@jaytatum0) June 30, 2019
By my unofficial calculation, that is the richest deal signed by a former University of Louisville basketball player. Rozier’s $19.3 million, three-season average tops the $17.3 million that Gorgui Dieng is scheduled to earn in 2020-21.
The NBA free agent windfall is astounding. According to the salary numbers at BasketballReference.com, the most Darrell Griffith made was $850,000 in 1992. Translated into today’s dollars that would be $1.55 million.
Rodney McCray helped the Houston Rockets to the 1986 NBA Finals, led the league in minutes played in 1990 and won a ring with the Bulls in 1993. McCray earned less than $7 million over 10 productive seasons.
Pervis Ellison was the overall top selection in the 1989 NBA Draft — and never made more than $2.75 million. I won’t even bring up Wes Unseld, mainly because I can’t find his salary numbers.
So the U of L record belongs to Rozier — until Donovan Mitchell gets his first crack at free agency.
2. Did Oklahoma City Never Happen?
Kevin Durant has two NBA championship rings. He has been named the Most Valuable Player of the complete season and the Most Outstanding Player of the NBA Finals. He’s a certain Hall of Famer.
Now, he’s a Brooklyn Net.
I hope Durant finds what he’s looking for but I don’t know what he’s looking for, other than cash. According to former NBA teammate Kendrick Perkins, what Durant is looking for is his own team.
Apparently the narrative that Durant piggy-backed on Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson bothered Durant. He wants to go to Brooklyn and win a title where the credit will begin and end with Kevin Durant.
… Durant had his own team in Oklahoma City. Sure he had to share top billing with Russell Westbrook and (briefly) James Harden, but no more than he will have to share it with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.
If Durant wanted to plant his feet and make a legacy, he had his chance in OKC.
3. Not Picking on Durant, But …
I’m not picking on Durant. Trust me. Never met the guy or covered him. Enjoy watching him play. But I cringe at this narrative that he doesn’t receive enough love or respect.
This story from NBC Sports in the Bay Area is a continuation of that thread, arguing that Durant wanted to get away from the Warriors because he was considered a “second fiddle” to Steph Curry.
Why did Durant expect?
Curry won an NBA title without him. He also won two NBA MVP awards. He shoots it as well as anybody who plays the game. And Curry doesn’t constantly whine about imaginary slights.
Good luck in Brooklyn — and with Page Six — Mr. Durant. Toughen up, fella.
4. Clem$on Cru$he$ It
Let’s step away from the pre-season college yearbooks that are predicting another national championship game appearance by Dabo Swinney and Clemson and get to the most impactful part of the Clemson recruiting efforts:
According to this story at College Football Talk, the Tigers have raised $360 million in donations from IPTAY, their athletic booster group which was an acronym for I Pay Ten (dollars) A Year when it was created more than three decades ago.
Like NBA free agency, IPTAY has outpaced inflation — and the Atlantic Coast Conference standings reflect that.
5. Say Goodbye to UConn Football
We’re only a week into Connecticut’s decision to bolt the American Athletic Conference to return to the Big East. It’s a spirited effort to help the Huskies salvage their lost basketball glory.
But early returns are not encouraging for Randy Edsall’s football program, which appears to be on a fast track back to FCS status (which is where UConn belongs).
According to this story by College Football Talk, UConn has only 15 games scheduled for the next five seasons that begin in 2020, including several FCS deals they recently cut with Central Connecticut and Lafayette College.
As Bryan Fischer noted, that leaves roughly 45 openings the Huskies must fill, starting with next season.
Who wants to visit East Hartford?
6. Say Goodbye to Bob Ley
For those of us old enough to remember when the ESPN programming calendar was stuffed with Kentucky Bourbons slo-pitch softball and Australian rules football, Bob Ley has always been a proud face of the network.
Not a screamer. Not a catch-phrase addict. Not auditioning for Comedy Central.
Just a guy who appeared to enjoy sports and journalism, values that rarely percolate with the four-letter network.
Ley eventually made his name during a solid and dependable transition to Outside the Lines. His run at ESPN has ended — and he’s one of the few voices there that I’m going to miss.
Job well done, Mr. Ley, who was also saluted in this tribute at the Los Angeles Times.
7. Say Hello to Lamar Jackson
Another day, another blast of hype about how well the Baltimore Ravens will transition to the Lamar Jackson Era. These encouraging words come from the guy who will serve as Jackson’s back-up at quarterback, former Baylor star Robert Griffin III.
Griffin told the team’s website that the Ravens’ new offense will “shock some people,” which is praise for the new scheme as well as praise for Lamar Jackson.
8. See French Lick (Bring Money)
Not a golfer. Have not played in at least a decade. Broke 100 once in maybe 50 career rounds. Don’t have the temperament or patience. Never will.
But the Monday Muse is a full-service operation that tries not to discriminate against any sport. I found this story from Golf.com interesting — and hope you will as well.
It’s a rundown on the 10 Most Expensive Public Courses in America, and it leads with a course that is an easy drive from Louisville — The Pete Dye Course at French Lick, Indiana.
GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) July 1, 2019
Worth the drive — and the investment of $350 for 18 holes if you don’t have Terry Rozier money?
9. Baseball Top Five
Yankees — Ask any Brit — or Red Sox fan — how well the Bombers performed over the weekend.
Dodgers — With a 12-game lead in the West, Dave Roberts can start lining up his playoff rotation. Better not blow it this season, Dave.
Astros — I still think they’ll be the best team if they get healthy
Twins — Hard to be in the top three after losing two of three to the White Sox, Mr. Matas.
Braves — If Dallas Keuchel starts rolling, beware.
10. Tweet of the Week
On Tuesday, July 30th, Youngstown will welcome home NBA star Terry Rozier to host a free basketball camp at the Central YMCA! We are looking for 75 students (age 8-14) to attend the camp for FREE!! For details on how to be selected to attend, please visit our page on Facebook. pic.twitter.com/nKQugnVsQ9— 12 Blessings (@12__Blessings) June 26, 2019
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