Good Morning 👋
This week is bananas. The Bucks landed Damian Lillard. Ronald Acuña Jr. isn’t human. The Ryder Cup is teeing off while you're sleeping. And Taylor Swift has her ticket to watch Chiefs-Jets on Sunday night.
I’m not sure which topic I’m most excited about. I guess time (👉⌚️) will tell. Sorry, Swifties.
Dame Time in Wisconsin 👉⌚️
Photo: Alika Jenner / Getty Images
Bucks Acquire Damian Lillard From Blazers in 3-Team Blockbuster That Includes Jrue Holiday & Deandre Ayton
I have to admit, I'm at a loss for words... If you were going about your business on Wednesday, thinking this was going to be a "by-the-book" sort of week, think again. The Bucks shocked the sports world yesterday when they acquired perennial all-star Damian Lillard in a three-team blockbuster that might go down as the trade of the decade. Lillard, who had been disgruntled in Portland after sticking with the Blazers through years of tumult, finally got his wish. Or, partly, at least. We’ll discuss. The deal required a third team to get involved, and it was the Phoenix Suns. Three star players are on the move, along with multiple picks, and the Milwaukee Bucks hold all the cards for the next two seasons.
- Bucks Get: Damian Lillard
Suns Get: Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little & Keon Johnson
- Blazers Get: Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, 2029 1st-Round Pick & Pick Swaps (2028 & 2030)
How the Lillard Era Ended in Portland
Lillard was drafted by the Blazers in 2012. He missed the playoffs in his rookie season before taking Portland to the postseason in eight consecutive seasons (2014-2021) before failing to make the playoffs each of the last two years. In those eight trips to the playoffs, the Blazers only reached the conference finals one time — a four-game sweep at the hands of the Warriors. His 11-year tenure in the Pacific Northwest should be celebrated after he gave more to the franchise, and stuck by them through tough times, unlike any star player on a losing team, maybe ever. It all came to a head after this year’s NBA Draft when Portland failed to utilize their draft picks to land high-level free agents. Lillard asked for a trade, specifically to the Miami Heat. When that deal couldn’t be reached, Milwaukee stepped in.
Dame Time By The Numbers
Few players in the modern NBA have been better scorers than Lillard. The deadly sharpshooter is arguably the most deadly sniper in league history not named Stephen Curry. Lillard has averaged 32.2 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds during an 11-year career complete with seven all-star nods. He’s logged 15 games with 50-plus points, five games of 60-plus, and he’s one of just eight players to score 70-plus in a game.
What It Means for Milwaukee
Giannis Antetokounmpo is entering Year 3 of his 5-year, $228 million deal. He’s 28 years old and eligible to opt-out after Year 4 (end of next season). Antetokounmpo had been vocal over the past few weeks about taking matters into his own hands if the Bucks continued to squander roster-improving opportunities. It looks like Giannis’ warning shot worked. What does it mean for Milwaukee? Championship expectations, immediately.
The Bucks' Window of Opportunity
Both Lillard and Giannis are under contract through the 2024-25 season. That means Milwaukee has two seasons to capitalize, or they could both walk in 2025. Giannis would be 30 years old. Lillard would be 34 going on 35. And while the Bucks had to give up Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, and draft picks, they retained Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, Pat Connaughton and Bobby Portis. That's a deep six atop the roster. They'll need depth, but the sky is the limit. Lillard and Giannis... Hard to imagine.
Milwaukee immediately jumped from +750 to +375 odds as the favorites to win the 2024 NBA Finals: Bucks (+375), Nuggets (+425), Celtics (+500), Suns (+550), and Warriors (+1000).
Milwaukee… It’s Dame Time! 👉⌚️
The Ringer: The Damian Lillard Trade Changes Everything for the Bucks
CBS Sports: Damian Lillard 3-Team Trade is a Win-Win-Win for Bucks, Blazers & Suns
ESPN: Lillard Traded to Bucks: Biggest Questions After the Most Shocking Deal of the NBA Offseason
40, 70, MVP? — The Year of Acuña Jr.
Photo: Matthew Grimes / Getty Images
Ronald Acuña Jr. Notches More History With 40/70 Club, Shines in Thriller as Braves Gut-Punch Cubs (6-5, 10 Innings)
How do you do it, Mr. Acuña Jr.?! The speed. The bat. The big moments. Just special. The incoming National League MVP just did something no other baseball player has done before on a night where he shined in every facet of the game. Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. stole two bases in Wednesday’s stunning comeback against the Cubs to log his 69th and 70th swiped bag of the season. After clobbering his 40th home run just two days ago, he’s now the charter member of MLB’s 40/70 club. In fact, Acuña Jr. was the MLB’s first 30/60 member just a few weeks back. The numbers are staggering for a guy who is only 25 years old and currently on deck for his first MVP award. Here’s a look at just how ridiculous these stats are:
Members of the 40-40 Club
1. Ronald Acuña Jr., 2023 (41 HRs, 70 SBs)
2. Alex Rodriguez, 1998 (42 HRs, 46 SBs)
3. Alfonso Soriano, 2006 (46 HRs, 41 SBs)
4. Barry Bonds, 1996 (40 HRs, 40 SBs)
5. Jose Conseco, 1988 (42 HRs, 40 SBs)
Madness. Five members of the 40/40 club, and this guy swipes 70 bags. Get out of here!
Most HRs by Player With 70+ SBs
1. Ronald Acuña Jr., 2023 (41 HRs)
2. Rickey Henderson, 1986 (28 HRs)
3. Eric Davis, 1986 (27 HRs)
4. Rickey Henderson, 1985 (24 HRs)
5. Lou Brock, 1966 (15 HRs)
Few players have ever had the speed to steal like this and still crack the bat.
In the Game: The Cubs blew multiple one-run leads before Atlanta forced extras. When all was said and done, it was Acuna Jr. who notched the game-tying RBI and scored the winning run on Ozzie Albies’ walk-off single in a debilitating loss for Chicago (6-5, 10 Innings). The loss means the Cubs and Marlins are dead-even for the third NL Wild Card. The D-backs hold a two-game lead on both. For the Braves, they clinched home field throughout the NL playoffs. One more win secures home field throughout the entire postseason. Have night (or a season), Mr. Acuña Jr.!
Watch: Ronald Acuña Jr. Makes 40/70 History in Braves’ Win (6-5, 10 Innings)
Rise-n-Shine for the Ryder Cup ⛳️
Photo: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images
Golf Fans, Set Your Alarms for the Early (And I Mean Early) Mornings of the 2023 Ryder Cup
Golfers, rejoice! The 2023 Ryder Cup is about to begin from the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy. The imagery looks incredible, but it’ll take a dedicated golf fan to catch all the action. The time difference means Round 1 will tee off at 1:30 am ET tonight and run through tomorrow morning. Here’s what you need to know about golf’s one-of-a-kind showdown.
About the Ryder Cup
The Ryder Cup is golf’s unique international competition that only occurs every two years between the best players from USA and Europe. Teams of 12 (24 total) compete in head-to-head match play competitions, foursomes, four-ball, and more. The 44th edition of the Ryder Cup gives Europe a chance to defend their home turf yet again. Team USA hasn’t won on European soil in 30 years, but it’s the Americans who hold the overall lead in the history of the event (27-14).
Ryder Cup Rosters
🇺🇸 Team USA: Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Max Homa, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Brian Harman, Sam Burns, Patrick Cantlay, Wyndham Clark, Rickie Fowler (Captain: Zach Johnson)
🇪🇺 Team Europe: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick, Sepp Straka, Shane Lowry, Roberty MacIntyre, Ludvig Aberg, Nicolai Hojgaard (Captain: Luke Donald)
Ryder Cup Schedule
- Today: Opening Ceremony (10:00 am — 1:00 pm ET)
- Friday: Foursomes & Four-ball (1:30 am — Noon ET)
- Saturday: Foursomes & Four-ball (1:30 am — Noon ET)
Sunday: Singles Head-to-Head (5:30 am — 1:00 pm ET)
Let's play some golf in the graveyard shift!
Ryder Cup 101: Everything You Need to Know About the 44th Ryder Cup
CBS Sports: Ryder Cup Odds, Picks, Surprises & Best Bets From Golf Experts
The Athletic: Ryder Cup Big Board: Ranking All 24 Players 1-24 at the Ryder Cup
Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images
An Honest Review of the ‘Swamp Kings’ Documentary on Netflix (By Marissa Kasch)
If you haven’t watched the Swamp Kings documentary on Netflix, go watch it ASAP. Being a current Gator, I may be a little biased in my opinion. But yes, I think it was really that good. In case you haven’t seen it, the documentary highlighted Florida’s reign under Urban Meyer in the early 2000s. It showed packed stadiums, passionate fans, an electric form of Gainesville and the stories of players from championship-winning teams. It was almost all-encompassing. Conveniently, the documentary spared viewers the gory details of Urban’s departure from Florida. In fact, it painted Urban as a saint. Well, this 'Swamp Queen' isn’t here for that.
Read the Full Review (TheSportsletter.com)
Tonight's Must-Watch List
🏈 NFL Week 4 (Thursday Night Football)
Lions at Packers (8:15 pm ET)
⛳️ Ryder Cup
Opening Ceremony (Thurs. 10:00 am-1:00 pm ET)
1st Round (Fri. 1:30 am-12:00 pm ET)
Diamondbacks at White Sox (2:10 pm ET)
Yankees at Blue Jays (7:07 pm ET)
Marlins at Mets (7:10 pm ET)
Cubs at Braves (7:20 pm ET)
Rangers at Mariners (9:40 pm ET)
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