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Nado Natterings Short Takes

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Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2019 4:51 pm

Just when you thought NBA Free Agency was over, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Russell Westbrook to Houston Rockets for Chris Paul and draft picks, thereby consummating a rare trade in the world of sports that could be equally bad for both teams. Paul is 34 years old, has played in the NBA for 14 seasons, is injury prone, still chasing his first NBA title and is owed $124 million over the next three years. Oklahoma Thunder General Manager Sam Presti, who appears to be committed to rebuilding the Thunder through the draft, is already trying to move Paul off his roster. Westbrook, an 11-year NBA veteran, and another ball-dominant guard who will have to co-exist with new teammate and fellow ball-dominant guard James Harden next season. Westbrook has four years left on a five-year $205 million deal, which includes payouts of $38.2 million in 2019-20; $41 million in 2020-2021; $43.8 million in 2021-22; and $46.7 million in 2022-2023. Like Paul, Westbrook’s offensive production in in decline, most notably his shooting percentages which included 42.8 percent from the floor, 29 percent for three-pointers and 65.6 percent from the free throw line. On the plus side of the ledger last year, Westbrook averaged 10.7 assists per game and 11.1 rebounds per game. Overall Paul is a better shooter, but marginally so, except at the free throw line where Paul shot 21 percentage points higher last year. Paul however only played 58 regular season games last year, out a possible 82, due to injuries. Westbrook missed nine games and was banged up much of the year. The likelihood of any of this ending well for either team is very slim… Something NBA teams aren’t likely to waste their time doing over the summer, is creating detailed five-year plans for their rosters… One of the seminal moments in my sports fandom was reading Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” when it was published in 1970. My favorite player of all time is Ernie Banks of the Cubs, but the player I admired most was the Yankee’s Mickey Mantle, in part because Mantle and his team was on the Saturday CBS “Game of the Week” frequently. Bouton was frank and honest about Mantle’s off-field life, whose social orbit included teammates Billy Martin, Whitey Ford, and Hank Bauer. Bouton died at the age of 80 last week and was a pioneer in sports writing… Charger running back Melvin Gordon must have people, meaning his agent, telling him that he is indispensable. Unfortunately he isn’t in the NBA where the top echelon players rule the roost, but in the NFL, where running backs are expendable, and owners still call the financial shots… The Lakers have mortgaged their future by trading for Anthony Davis, who has one year left on his contract and has stated he will declare for free agency next year. This could get really interesting at the end of next season… Sports Media Watch and sportswriter Paulsen, a writer apparently famous enough to go by only one name, have accumulated the 50 Most Watched Sports Telecasts of 2019 thus far. To no one’s surprise, the Super Bowl was No. 1 with 98.19 million viewers. The rest of the Top 10 are all NFL Playoff Games, which speaks volumes as to why NFL broadcast rights fees are so lucrative for the league. College Football’s National Championship game between Clemson and Alabama was No. 11 with 25.28 million viewers; No. 12 was another NFL Playoff Game; No. 13 was the NCAA Men’s Basketball Finals with 19.63 million people viewing the Virginia vs. Texas Tech game; Nos. 14 and 15 were NBA Finals Games between Golden State and Toronto; No. 16 was the Women’s World Cup Soccer Final between the U.S. and the Netherlands at 16.87 million; No. 17 was the Rose Bowl game between Ohio State and Washington at 16.78 million; No. 18 was the Kentucky Derby at 16.3 million; and NCAA Men’s Basketball Playoff games were Nos. 19 and 20. Interestingly the NHL debuted at No. 38 with Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues at 8.72 million; and Major League Baseball’s first game on the list was at No. 43 with the All-Star Game with 8.14 million viewers. In fairness their highest numbers would come in the fall during the World Series.

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