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Good morning! There is consensus on Aaron Rodgers.
Suns Land Durant in Stun
Late last night, the Brooklyn Nets agreed to trade superstar Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns in a shock trade that shakes the balance of power in both conferences. The details:
- Phoenix sends four first-round picks, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Cam Johnson and additional draft compensation to Brooklyn for Durant and TJ Warren. The Suns are all-in under new owner Mat Ishbia, who took over the franchise this week and immediately approved a complete roster overhaul. Bold.
- The Nets went from title contender to rebuilder in a week. Durant is gone, as is Kyrie Irving and now Brooklyn has a boatload of draft picks to retool. It makes a lot of sense, but it’s still mind-blowing.
The Suns are immediately in title or bust mode with Durant, Chris Paul and Devin Booker. The only concern: health for all three. Zach Harper gives the Suns an A- and the Nets a B-.
Also: The Lakers, Jazz and Timberwolves agreed to a massive trade yesterday that should boost LA’s playoff hopes. Scoop:
These trades are complex and we often cannot assess them for years. Some immediate impacts here:
- The Lakers got the shooting help they needed in Russell, who is hitting 39% of his threes this year. His defense is suspect, which will be the center of attention. Zach gives the Lakers a B for this deal and argues that adding Beasley and Vanderbilt to the rotation might be the best part of the trade anyway.
- Utah adds more interim capital, likely to buy Westbrook, who could land with the Clippers or the Bulls once the dust settles. Meanwhile, Danny Ainge has enough draft picks to start an expansion team.
The trading deadline is today at 3 p.m. ET. Follow every deal today on our live blog and be sure to sign up for The Bounce to get all essential NBA news and analysis delivered to your inbox daily.
The Chiefs’ not-so-secret weapon
A gigantic question loomed over Kansas City as they entered 2022: How would the Chiefs replace Tyreek Hill, one of the league’s most terrifying weapons? Turns out it wasn’t that hard. It just didn’t go the way we all expected.
Nate Taylor has a great story today about how the Chiefs’ new additions helped facilitate an on-the-fly rebuild that got them back into the Super Bowl without a dip. Wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling is a huge reason for that — and he could be up for a big game on Sunday.
Let’s look at the bow:
One day after Chiefs trade Hill to Miami, they signed Valdes-Scantling to a three-year, $30 million deal. Valdes-Scantling is lightning fast – maybe not Hill quick, but still – and proved to be a worthy replacement for the late superstar.
Valdes-Scantling hasn’t had a year that will jump off a page of stats. His impact was more tangential: all the times we’ve seen Travis Kelce catch a ball in open space, many were due to Valdes-Scantling calling attention to the field. Grab a corner and a safety, and Kelce will feast.
Valdes-Scantling continued to run his routes and learn Andy Reid’s plan. This paid off in huge moments: a huge leaping 29-yard reception early in the AFC title game and then the 19-yard touchdown catch that kept the Chiefs afloat. He finished the game with six catches for 116 yards.
Valdes-Scantling isn’t the only new chef making a big impact. The full story on Kansas City’s masterful retooling is worth your time today.
Wait, no more trades
The mega-deals weren’t the only trades of the night: Among other trades, Portland traded Josh Hart to the Knicks for Cam Reddish, Svi Mykhailiuk, Ryan Arcidiacono and a protected 2023 first-round pick. New York officially ends to the ruddy experience and gets Hart a savvy and helpful guard in return. The deal also reunites Hart and Jalen Brunson, who won a national title together at Villanova in 2016.
Purdy opts for surgery
49ers quarterback Brock Purdy will have surgery Feb. 22 on his torn MCL and should be healthy in time for training camp, a team source told The Athletic. Purdy’s health plays a crucial role in the franchise’s plans for the quarterback next year, a move that will be among the most important of the NFL’s offseason.
Marquette beat No. 4 UConn last night, giving the Huskies women’s basketball team its second straight loss, the first time it had happened since 1993. It was a surprise; UConn’s previous loss came this weekend to undefeated No. 1 South Carolina. Marquette had never beaten UConn before last night.
You are very attached to A-Rod
We saw record engagement on yesterday’s Pulse Poll on Aaron Rodgers and his latest antics. The results:
- 92.1% of you think he lacks attention. It’s almost a consensus.
- 7.9% of you think I’m a hater. I can live with that.
Can we fake Rodgers’ decision now? The people have spoken.
Thanks again for voting. I guess if he retires, I still have to do that retirement in the dark. Sip.
A fascinating sequel to LeBron James’ scoring record: other scoring stat leaders in all sports and the likelihood of each record being broken.
Chris Vannini has a great column on why Iowa’s odd contract clause for offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz is smart — and therefore embarrassing.
The WNBA is investigating defending champion Aces after Dearica Hamby alleged discrimination during her pregnancy.
The transfer portal had an intriguing domino effect: Junior College, once a hotbed of prospects for Division I programs, saw its recruiting pool.
Jesse Marsch at the USMNT? Not so fast, writes Sam Stejskal.
Don’t let the Super Bowl distract you from the draft. Nick Baumgardner has 22 potential sleeper picks.
Hair dryer, tuning forks and TSA control. It’s part of everyday life for MLB scouts, writes Zach Buchanan.
The NHL99 run ended yesterday with a fantastic tribute to – you guessed it – Wayne Gretzky at No. 1. Also, see how each writer ranked the 100 winners.
(Photo: Brad Penner/USA Today)