Oh my a lot has happened since The Stack was with you last Wednesday. Former Butler men's head basketball coach Brad Stevens is now head coach of the Boston Celtics. What?! Didn't see that coming. Dwight Howard has a new home which we'll get to plus some other big stories from the weekend so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Monday, July 8:
Andy Murray wins Wimbledon
Andy Murray has been one of the best players in men's tennis for quite some time so naturally he would feel the pressure on playing in the finals at Wimbledon beings that he is from Great Britain. Scotland to be specific. Murray's nerves seemed calm though on Sunday as he won in straight sets over #1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 to win his first career Wimbledon title. The win also ended a 77-year old drought for Great Britain who last had a Wimbledon winner in 1936. That man was Fred Perry. Yeah, hadn't heard of him either. The tournament really set itself up for Murray to win Wimbledon. Rafael Nadal went down in the first round. Roger Federer bowed out in the second round. Djokovic hasn't been as dominant as usual. So it really was all there for the taking for Murray who played great all tournament long. Yes the weight of a country was on his shoulders in the championship, but he played it cool. The championship match was very good with Djokovic doing his best to stave off elimination including on the match point. A match close in all sets as this one was deserves to be recognized. And when history is made as it was yesterday with Murray's win, we will remember. Congrats to Murry on his historic win.
On the women's side, the championship match certainly lacked some of the sizzle that some fans would have liked with the likes of Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka failing to make it to the final. In the end, Marion Bartoli of France beat Sabine Lisicki of Germany in straight sets 6-1, 6-4. The championship match certainly wasn't classic as the match was filled with plenty of errors. In the end, Bartoli won her first grand slam tournament though it took her a while to win that elusive first grand slam. It was her 47th tournament, the most ever by a woman before winning her first championship. Congrats to Bartoli on winning Wimbledon.
Houston lands Howard
The Dwight Howard sweepstakes ended Saturday with the Houston Rockets winning the jackpot. Howard, who spoke with the Warriors, Lakers, Mavericks, Rockets and Hawks picked Houston as his next destination in his quest to win an NBA championship, signing a 4-year $88 million deal. Criticism is mounting in wake of Dwight's decision from the likes of people like Shaq who says Howard couldn't handle the L.A. spotlight and that he's going to play in a little big town in Houston. Fans are upset and others in the media don't like his decision, but when you take a look at the broader picture, Howard made the right decision.
The Lakers are a mess. They don't really look like they have a clear sense of direction with where the franchise is going. Kobe Bryant is recovering from a torn Achilles. What is going to happen with Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace? The Lakers are in a state of dysfunction rather. The only thing they could offer Howard that no other team could was more money. They aren't even the best team in the Staples Center right now. That would be the Los Angeles Clippers. It's not even close.
The Houston Rockets are much closer to winning an NBA championship. They have James Harden, a legit superstar. Jeremy Lin is a decent point guard. They have plenty of young talent as well. Houston may not have vaulted to best in the west with this move, but they are close. Their center Omer Asik has requested a trade which the team says will not happen. It's smart. Keep your assets. Asik is an asset and can help alleviate some of the burden on Howard when needed. He's getting better and grew last year. It would be wise of the Rockets to keep him.
NHL free agency news
The big trade over the 4th of July holiday weekend that rocked the NHL world was between the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars. Boston sent young center Tyler Seguin and another center Rich Peverley to Dallas for left wing Loui Erikkson and a slew of prospects. New Stars GM Jim Nill is certainly putting his imprint on the Stars early in his tenure. The Stars have added some high quality players and look like they will be making a return to the playoffs after a five year drought next year. Next year will be interesting to see how each of these two teams do with the parts they've added in this trade. Boston most likely will not take a step back, but this trade is far more agressive on the Stars side in hopes of making the playoffs. If they make the playoffs, then the move was good, but if they fail to make the playoffs for yet another year, there will be questions raised as to whether or not it was smart to pull of this trade.
Before we go, pass the box of Kleenex to Ohio State football head coach Urban Meyer, who is crying that he is receiving unwarranted criticism for the Aaron Hernandez situation in 2007 in which Hernandez got into an altercation outside a bar and nothing was ever reported. There were 31 players arrested under Urban when he was coach at the University of Florida. It's not like Hernandez was the only one, but in light of the murder allegations surrounding him, naturally, there is going to be more scrutiny on the Florida program when Meyer was head coach there. Maybe you should have gotten more of a hold on your players Meyer. Sorry, not buying what you're selling.
Coming up later this week: Reaction to top stories/headlines in sports