Hope everyone had a relaxing 4th with family and friends. The Stack is back on this Thursday. Did anything big happen yesterday? You bet it did. A couple of blockbuster moves by teams in both the NHL and NBA dominate our talks today so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Thursday, July 5:
1. Zach Parise & Ryan Suter both sign with Wild
Yesterday was a great day if you're a fan of the Minnesota Wild. Perhaps only in the state of hockey can news of signing the top two free agents in the NHL top 4th of July celebrations and fireworks. The Wild appear to have changed the fortunes of their franchise by signing both Parise and Suter to 13-year $98 million deals. That's right, thirteen years! The Wild were one of the few teams, maybe the only team that had the cap space to sign both players and in a LeBron esque move, both players wanted to team up and play for the same team. The Wild were that team. The team is giddy with excitement. Owner Craig Leopold could barely contain himself when talking about the acquisitions, that's how excited he was. Fans are going nuts; finally a sports team from Minnesota lands the top free agent and instills new energy into the team and fan base. Sure injuries happen and the Wild did not make the playoffs last year. In fact, after being the top team in hockey a third of the way through the season, the Wild collapsed mightily, finishing twelth in the conference. After yesterday, there is are a ton of expectations for this team to win a Stanley Cup. In Vegas, the odds of them winning the Stanley Cup were 200 to one last week. After these two moves, those odds decreased slightly to 22 to one. Fans just shouldn't expect that next year. This team should make the playoffs though. If they don't, it would be a huge disappointment. In one day, the Wild became relevant in the NHL and shifted the balance of power in the western conference, maybe even the NHL. These moves have to pan out though, for everyone's sake with the Wild. But yesterday was a cause for celebration. The future looks to be bright in Minnesota and fans are going, well, wild.
2. Nash traded to Lakers
Perhaps the only news that could top Parise and Suter signing with the Wild yesterday happened later in the evening as the Phoenix Suns traded Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade with the rival Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns receive two first round draft picks in 2013 and 2015 and two second round picks in 2013 and 2014. Nash now has a three-year, $25 million contract. Nash had said before he could never see himself playing for the rival Lakers. However a talk and push by Kobe Bryant helped sell Nash on easing him from his stance and joining the Lakers. With the acquisition of Nash, does this make the Lakers championship contenders? Maybe. Depends on whether or not they elect to keep Pau Gasol. Adding Nash is a great move, but can this move push them to the top once again. I still think Oklahoma City is better and the team to beat in the western conference. But the Lakers may have vaulted themselves to second thanks to this move. And they were the surprise team to get Nash. We had heard out there that the Toronto Raptors had offered him a contract, worth more than what he got with the Lakers. The Knicks were rumored to be trying to pull off a sign-and-trade. Ultimately, the Lakers had more assets in the form of draft picks that the Suns wanted. They were reluctant to pull the trigger on this trade, but I think can see the value of what they are getting in the form of draft picks that will help this team. Let's face it, the Suns weren't going to win a NBA championship even if Nash was on the team the next three years.
The Suns quickly added a couple of pieces to the team after the Nash trade however. They signed former Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley to a three-year $18 million deal and came to terms with point guard Goran Dragic on a three-year $34 million deal. The Suns are trying to move on and put together a good team for next year and these signing affirm that. It will be interesting to see if this team makes theh playoffs next year. I don't think they will, but we'll see.
In other NBA news, the race for Jeremy Lin is on. You remember him right? Had his ten days of fame with the New York Knicks back in January I believe, or was it February? Anyway, everyone went nuts over him and everywhere, like ESPN, his play was entirely overblown. Well, both the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets are chasing him and trying to sign him to a deal. The Rockets reportedly have made Lin an offer. Don't be surprised if the Mavericks extend him an offer before he chooses to accept the Rockets proposal. He will land with a decent team, and assuming he can stay healthy, should have a good season.
And Deron Williams agreed to stay with the Brooklyn Nets giving the Nets a decent one-two punch with him and newly traded for Joe Johnson. The door is still open for Dwight Howard to come on board in a trade. We'll see if that happens soon. Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd said that Williams was very close to signing with the Mavericks, but had a change of heart and elected to go back to the Nets.
3. Other headlines from Wednesday
Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz became the 49th player in MLB history to belt 400 home runs in his career with his home run yesterday in the Red Sox 3-2 loss to the Oakland A's. Ortiz is having a pretty good year. Does 400 home runs put someone who has primarily been a designated hitter his entire career into the hall-of-fame? I say yes, and I think a lot of other people including the voters feel the same way, but Big Papi should hit a few more home runs just to be safe. Bigger problems though in Boston. The Red Sox were swept by the A's. Red Sox fans have every right to be disgusted, though injuries have plagued this team this season. It's just not the Red Sox year...The Miami Marlins traded a couple of prospects to Houston for the Astros' Carlos Lee. The Marlins have been very disappointing this year given all the money they spent in free agency and getting a new stadium. They do this move to try to get back into the NL east race. Perhaps too little, too late? There is still another half a season to play so they can get back in it, but need to be far more consistent...Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are set to play each other in the gentleman's semi-finals in Wimbledon on Friday. That should be a fantastic match. I like Djokovic, but Federer has been dominant on grass at Wimbledon against Djokovic. And it wouldn't be the 4th of July without the famous Nathan's Famous Hotdog Eating Challenge at Coney Island. And Joey Chestnut is top dog (sorry, bad pun) once again. He downed 68 hotdogs in ten minutes to take his sixth consecutive Nathan's title. This man is unstoppable. Kobayashi who? Chestnut is on a tear. Is he an athlete though? is Major League Eating a sport? I'll let you decide. No matter how gross you find it that Chestnut ate 68 hotdogs in ten minutes, it is pretty impressive.
Coming up Friday if there's big news: Reaction to top stories in sports
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.