Fireworks in the USA were last Wednesday night. In the NBA, they came a little earlier as LeBron James ended all the speculation of where he was taking his talents.
The landing spot was Los Angeles. I was not shocked one bit, as I thought that was a good fit for the Lakers, and James. The L.A. Lakers have had many stars over the last three decades, including Magic Johnson, Kareem, Shaq Daddy and Kobe all wearing the Lakers jersey. The list now features LeBron James.
One point I do want to make, though, is that making it back to the NBA Finals will be harder for the “King” with the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets in the mix. What LeBron’s departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers does is open up the Eastern Conference for the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Pistons, you may have noticed, I did not include in that opening in the East. The Detroit Pistons did sign Zaza Pachulia to a one-year deal at $2.4 million a season. I don’t see him making a huge splash on the Pistons scene next season? Enough NBA talk; let’s move on!
World cup drama continues
World Cup soccer is down to the semifinals and the first match was Tuesday afternoon. The match was France against Belgium and the Fat Guy, as I file this column, likes the boys of Belgium to advance. Yesterday afternoon featured Croatia and England. If you remember I picked England two weeks ago to win the World Cup. I am sticking to my selection and let the soccer ball bounce my way. I will not be visibly upset if this prediction does not come through, to be honest. I realize there are a ton of you soccer fans out there and I hope you have enjoyed the World Cup! I have watched total of 10 minutes, but I will watch some of these next few games. Can you say Gooaaalll? Love those soccer announcers.
All-Star break on the horizon
Baseball season is approaching the All-Star game here next week and some of the division races will not be decided until late September, at least the way I see it.
The American League East will be a battle all the way to the end between the Red Sox and Yankees. How exciting would it be if the Red Sox and Yankees decide the division on the last weekend of the season at Fenway Park? Wow! I can actually see it happening too because these two teams are even and I don’t see one team pulling away from the other.
The American League West is interesting because the Houston Astros cannot shake the Seattle Mariners in the standings. The fact the Seattle team is without Robinson Cano because of a suspension is a minor miracle. August 14 is important because that marks the day Cano will be eligible to return. I think Seattle is a great story, but the Astros will win the division and actually pull away in September.
Who are the leaders in the National League East? The Phillies and Braves. Yes, it’s true! The Washington Nationals were heavy favorites to win this division. I can see Philadelphia or Atlanta winning the division with the trade deadline moves huge by both teams.
The National League Central finds the Milwaukee Brewers in front of the Chicago Cubs. It’s still the Cubs’ division to win, in my opinion, with one exception. The rumors are flying that the Brewers are interested in Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom. The Brewers pull that one off and they will win the division, trust me!
The National League West was the Dodgers to win when the season started. The division is now a threeway battle between the Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks. I would watch out for the Giants, who are playing good baseball and have key injuries to players who will eventually be back. The boys of summer never disappoint, as it’s the longest of seasons and lots of twists and turns.
I always find myself rooting for the small-market teams and the underdog come September. I like the fact that money does not always buy a team the World Series ring!
Hear the roar?
The football season is sneaking up us and I cannot wait! How many of you are ready for some football? firstname.lastname@example.org