Paul George farewelled the Oklahoma City Thunder after moving to the Los Angeles Clippers to team up with NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

In-demand free agent Leonard left NBA champions the Toronto Raptors for the Clippers in a blockbuster deal after the Los Angeles franchise agreed a trade with the Thunder.

The Clippers sent five draft picks, plus Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in exchange for six-time All-Star and 2018-19 MVP finalist George.

Ahead of his move to Western Conference rivals the Clippers, George – who left the Indiana Pacers for Oklahoma City in 2017 – thanked the Thunder.

"Thank you Oklahoma for two great years, you took me in as one of your own from the day I touched down," George wrote via Instagram on Saturday.

"Thank you to the fans who make representing those 3 letters mean something. Thank you to Sam and Clay for being the best management a franchise and player could ask for.

"Thank you to the friends within the organisation that took care of my family and I whenever we needed help. The picture shown is a bond that can't be broken I truly loved and enjoyed the race from start to finish. Thank you OKLAHOMA! You already know what it is @russwest44! Love brodie!"

Leonard was heavily recruiting George to join him at the Clippers, even though the latter had signed a four-year deal with the Thunder last offseason. 

The Thunder could have denied George's request and tried to make it work, but they reportedly were concerned it could turn into a situation similar to Anthony Davis' departure from the New Orleans Pelicans – who eventually sent the disgruntled big man to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Oklahoma City finished the regular season in sixth position in the Western Conference with a 49-33 record. The Thunder suffered a disappointing early exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers.

George averaged 28 points on 43.8 per cent shooting in 2018-19. He also averaged 8.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 77 games last season.

The balance of power continues to shift in the NBA, as Kawhi Leonard's decision to join the Los Angeles Clippers makes the league a lot more interesting.

At the beginning of 2018-19, many seemed to believe the road to the NBA Finals ran through the Boston Celtics. Then the Milwaukee Bucks posted the best record in the league just a year removed from finishing seventh in the Eastern Conference. 

But it was the Toronto Raptors who dethroned the
Golden State Warriors in the end, and now they will have a new look without their superstar. Plenty of other teams are hungry for glory and now is the perfect time to strike.

Here are three teams that could now take over the Eastern Conference:

 

Milwaukee Bucks

The Eastern Conference is now wide open, but the Bucks are ahead of the pack. After all, they retained two All-Stars — one being reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Milwaukee underwent a serious transformation under Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer last season. Antetokounmpo has put up historically strong numbers in the paint, but the Bucks were also among the league leaders in three-point attempts.

Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez will likely be constants, but it remains to be seen how the chemistry will be after losing Malcolm Brogdon.

Milwaukee simply have the centrepiece every other team wish they had in Antetokounmpo, so there is no reason to count them out just yet.

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers may have lost an All-Star-calibre player in Jimmy Butler this offseason, but they will be just fine.

Philadelphia were one circus buzzer-beater away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals last season and are bringing back plenty of talent in 2019-20. The 76ers flipped Butler to the Miami Heat in exchange for Josh Richardson and lured Al Horford away from the Celtics, giving them what might be the best defensive line-up in basketball.

Small Ball? Philadelphia have never heard of it, as the shortest wingspan on their current roster is 6-10. 

The 76ers' starting group will likely feature Richardson, Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, Al Horford and Joel Embiid. And then there is second-year guard Zhaire Smith, who was voted the most athletic player in the 2018 NBA Draft by his peers but missed most of last season due to an unfortunate allergic reaction.

Philadelphia have size, playmaking, strong defense and four players that could get legitimate All-Star consideration in the coming season. Embiid's questionable health could be a facto but getting a versatile big like Horford that can fill in if he goes down will definitely keep the 76ers in contender conversations.

Brooklyn Nets

Even if Kevin Durant cannot play until 2020, the Nets should be better this season. They lost D'Angelo Russell to the Warriors, but Kyrie Irving can be a considerable upgrade if the pieces come together just right.

Both Russell and Irving are high-usage guards, but Irving is more efficient and poses the kind of threat that makes every player on the opposing team watch him when the ball is in his hands. 

Brooklyn added veterans in DeAndre Jordan and Garrett Temple that should pair nicely with returning pieces like Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris, who was one of the most prolific three-point shooters in 2018-19 — converting 47.4 per cent from beyond the arc.

But the wild card is Caris LeVert, who arguably was the Nets' best player before a leg injury sidelined him last November. The 24-year-old guard was establishing himself as Brooklyn's go-to guy and now he has had a whole offseason to recover after showing flashes of his potential in the 2018-19 playoffs.

Adding Durant to a group like this could prove to be lethal and would certainly make the Nets a force to be reckoned with.

The Toronto Raptors sent "nothing but good wishes" to Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green after they agreed moves away from the NBA champions in free agency.

Both stars played key roles in the Raptors' 2018-19 success, with Leonard the NBA Finals MVP, but the two will move on ahead of next season.

Leonard is set to sign a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, while Green is going to the same city with the Lakers.

The Raptors acknowledged the two big departures in a series of Twitter posts on Saturday, including a statement from president Masai Ujiri.

"We are very thankful for the year Kawhi and Danny played with us here in Toronto," he wrote. "And I know the city and the entire country of Canada are grateful for everything they did to help us win our first NBA Championship.

"On behalf of the Raptors, I say a very heartfelt thank you to Kawhi and to Danny, and we send them and their families nothing but good wishes.

"As an organisation, the Raptors will focus on the future and continue our pursuit of a second championship."

Leonard is yet to discuss his move, but Green posted a video message on social media.

"I had a fun time in the city of Toronto, love the organisation," he said. "Thank you, guys. Thank you to my team-mates. Thank you to the fans. Always have a great place in my heart. Never forget obviously the historic run we had."

The Los Angeles Clippers are set to re-sign center Ivica Zubac to their roster, having agreed deals for Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

After winning the race to land 2019 NBA Finals MVP Leonard in free agency on Friday and trading for George from the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Clippers brought back a young prospect.

Croatia international Zubac – who was a restricted free agent - will again form part of their team after negotiating a new four-year, $28million deal, according to widespread reports, including one from ESPN.

The Clippers acquired Zubac, 22, from cross-town rivals the Los Angeles Lakers in February. He said he was happy to be playing "good basketball" with his new team in April and he will get the opportunity to continue.

Zubac averaged 9.4 points and 7.7 rebounds in just over 20 minutes a game after joining the Clippers.

 

DeMarcus Cousins has agreed a deal to join the Los Angeles Lakers, while Rajon Rondo is set to re-sign with the team.

After missing out on Kawhi Leonard, who signed for cross-town rivals the Clippers, the Lakers are poised to bring in six free agents, three of whom played for them last season.

Earlier on Saturday, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee and Quinn Cook all agreed deals.

Now Cousins, 28, has been added to the mix after his agent Jeff Schwartz told ESPN that a one-year, $3.5million contract had been agreed.

The Miami Heat had been keen to sign Cousins, who spent last season with the Golden State Warriors, but Anthony Davis was reportedly among the Lakers stars who persuaded him to come to the Staples Center.

The four-time All-Star made a shock move to the Warriors last year as he recovered from a torn Achilles. He played 30 games before sustaining a quadriceps injury in the playoffs but did return to play a part in the NBA Finals.

Rondo, meanwhile, reportedly returns to the Lakers for just $2.6m. The deal contains a second year with a player option.

The 33-year-old averaged 9.2 points, 8.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 46 games last season, where his leadership was cited as a positive influence despite a disappointing season for the franchise that saw them miss the postseason despite landing LeBron James.

Star New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson will miss the rest of NBA Summer League as a precaution.

The number one overall draft pick sustained a knee-to-knee hit with an opponent during Friday's opening game against the New York Knicks and did not return after the first half.

The Pelicans have subsequently announced Williamson will sit out of their remaining fixtures in Las Vegas.

"Zion will move forward from this incident without issue," executive vice president David Griffin said in a statement.

"However, in an abundance of caution, we have made the determination that he will not appear in game action for the remainder of the NBA Summer League.

"He will continue to take part in training and conditioning with our performance team."

Williamson showcased his ability to make the same highlight-reel plays he made at Duke against the Knicks during his limited playing time, but nobody else in the contest made it to the final buzzer either.

The matchup between New York and New Orleans was postponed with just under eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter after a nearby earthquake caused a disturbance.

The Pelicans were leading 80-74 at the time and were ultimately declared the winners.

 

Kawhi Leonard shook up the NBA with his decision to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency just a few weeks after leading the Toronto Raptors to their first title.

While the Raptors remained confident Leonard would re-sign with them and continue to build a legacy, the star ultimately chose to return to his hometown of Los Angeles and pair up with Paul George. 

Leonard's decision made a huge impact on the league as a whole, but how will it affect the Raptors, the city of Toronto and the East?

 

No outrage for Toronto, just disappointment 

After waiting until late on Friday night - or the early hours of Saturday for the East Coast - Leonard finally made his free agency decision. Much to Toronto's disappointment, he decided to move on after just one season with the Raptors. 

Some may question whether this taints his legacy in a city where he made such a significant impact in such a short time, becoming an icon throughout Canada, but the overall consensus and initial reaction in Toronto is that it will not.

Yes, the Raptors would have loved to have Leonard back. But no, there will not be outrage. 

It will be a hard goodbye, but there should not be hard feelings.

 

Raptors likely will stay the course and develop

The Raptors had a couple options entering free agency: stay the course with their young talent or to make drastic changes in preparation of losing Leonard. So what are they going to do without the NBA Finals MVP?

It is likely they go for the first option and keep building around their young core. Toronto might try to add two or three mid-level players to fill the void because there are no clear stars left.

The Raptors have done a good job drafting in recent years so it makes sense to keep investing in the talent they already have. A player like Pascal Siakam could have to step up and be a consistent playmaker, and let us not forget about OG Anunoby, who was sidelined for much of the playoffs. 

There is no way to replace a player like Leonard, but the Raptors will stay in the mix if Siakam and Anunoby step up.

 

The East is wide open again

The story in 2018 was about how wide open the East would be without LeBron James, who left the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency. It is the same story this year. 

The Raptors surprised everyone by beating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals and they would likely have been among the favourites to win the championship again with Leonard still on board.

Now, it is anyone's title to win as the West continues to build. 

After Kawhi Leonard reportedly signed with the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency, cross-town rivals the Los Angeles Lakers have wasted no time filling out their roster with the addition of four players. 

Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee and Quinn Cook are all poised to sign with the Lakers.

Green, who was Leonard's team-mate with NBA champions the Toronto Raptors and included in last year's trade with the San Antonio Spurs, indicated he was waiting for the Finals MVP to make his decision before agreeing to a new deal. 

But after reports came out that Leonard intends to sign with the Clippers, Green agreed to a two-year, $30million deal with the Lakers, and announced his decision on social media.

He said: "I would just like to announce, I'm proudly letting everyone know I'm excited for the next two years that I will be teaming up with my new team-mates in LA, the Los Angeles Lakers. 

"Looking forward to playing with those guys. Should be great.

"I had a fun time in the city of Toronto, love the organisation. Thank you guys. Thank you to my team-mates. Thank you to the fans. Always have a great place in my heart. 

"Never forget obviously the historic run we had. LA, here I come. I'm excited. Let's get this show on the road."

According to ESPN, Caldwell-Pope is now set to re-sign with the Lakers on a two-year deal worth $16m. He averaged 11.4 points, his lowest since his rookie season, while shooting 43 per cent from the field in 82 games last season, when he was on a one-year contract paying $12m. 

McGee also will re-sign with the Lakers for two years on a deal worth $8.2m that has a player option, while point guard Cook is set to arrive on a two-year, $6m pact after spending two years with the Golden State Warriors.

Caldwell-Pope, McGee, Cook and Green join a rebuilding Lakers team that has seen a lot of change since the season ended. 

They will play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the team works to improve from a 37-45 record from last season. There is also a new head coach in place, Frank Vogel.

Nikola Mirotic has left the NBA to sign with Euroleague club Barcelona, the team confirmed on Saturday.

Mirotic, formerly a Real Madrid player, had been expected to be one of the top NBA free agents on the market this week after leaving the Milwaukee Bucks, with the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks linked.

It was reported he would have received offers of more than $45million had he stayed in the league, but it was also speculated he wanted a bigger role than would be on the table.

Former Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Pelicans forward Mirotic has instead signed a deal to keep him at Barca until 2022, with the option of a fourth season.

The NBA is going to look quite different in 2019-20.

After leading the Toronto Raptors to their first title, Kawhi Leonard will reportedly team up with Paul George at the Los Angeles Clippers next season.

It is a move that will reignite the rivalry with a much-changed Los Angeles Lakers, while the Golden State Warriors have seen Kevin Durant jump ship and move to the Eastern Conference.

We look at the teams with a 'big two' following a series of movements in an incredible offseason.

 

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

It was a big surprise when the Clippers took defending champions the Warriors to Game 6 in the playoffs, but they will undoubtedly be a better team next season.

The additions of Leonard and six-time All-Star George – although the latter came at a high price that included sending Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and five first-round draft picks, four of which are unprotected, and two pick swaps to the Oklahoma City Thunder – have created a new force in the Western Conference that will be looking to contend straight away.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

Despite finally pulling off the acquisition of Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, the Lakers freed up enough cap space for a run at Leonard.

However, they were unable to seal a deal with the NBA Finals MVP and will instead look to improve on LeBron James' disappointing first season by forming a truly formidable duo with Davis.

BROOKLYN NETS

Durant ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, but it did not lead to a reduction in interest in the Warriors star.

The 2014 MVP decided to end his time at Golden State and team up with Kyrie Irving at the Brooklyn Nets, who consequently captured two of the three biggest free agents on the market to step up their rebuild several notches.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

It looked as though the Warriors would dominate again when they signed DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year deal in the last offseason, despite the center being sidelined by an Achilles injury.

Cousins has not returned and with Durant out the door, Golden State will be relying on the backcourt tandem of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson – reportedly on a five-year max contract – though trading for D'Angelo Russell could lighten the load.

HOUSTON ROCKETS

Having lost out to the Miami Heat in their reported pursuit of Jimmy Butler, the Rockets will go again with James Harden and Chris Paul leading the charge.

General manager Daryl Morey rejected reports of a rift between Harden and Paul, though he will be keen for the team to start winning as early as possible following a sluggish start in 2018-19.

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

The Blazers made a stunning run to the Western Conference Finals before being swept by the Warriors.

They will hope to go one better after tying Damian Lillard down to a four-year contract extension in the offseason, ensuring his partnership with fellow sharpshooter CJ McCollum will continue.

Los Angeles is set for a blockbuster NBA rivalry next season after Kawhi Leonard reportedly agree to sign on for the Clippers.

With Paul George also said to be joining from the Oklahoma City Thunder, an exciting Clippers team is set to go head-to-head against a Los Angeles Lakers franchise fronted by NBA icon LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Leonard, who spearheaded the Toronto Raptors to a maiden championship last season, is a signing who can make the Clippers – who finished eighth in the Western Conference in 2018-19 – a real force to be reckoned with.

In July 2018, it was the Lakers making waves when they drafted in superstar James from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There is now some real star power across both Los Angeles teams, and inspired by this, we have taken a look at times when cross-city rivalries sent the sporting world into a frenzy.

 

Manchester City v Manchester United

For a long time, Manchester City lived in Manchester United's shadow, suffering multiple relegations while their rivals won a treble and dominated the domestic game under Alex Ferguson's tutelage. Things changed in 2008, however, when City were bought by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, owner of the Abu Dhabi United Group, and they have since gone on to become much more than the "noisy neighbours" that Ferguson dubbed them in 2009.

The pendulum did not swing fully in City's favour until the last day of the 2011-12, when they clinched their first Premier League title in the most dramatic of circumstances. Sergio Aguero's last-gasp goal in a 3-2 win against QPR is the thing of folklore, the Argentina striker scoring after Edin Dzeko had already levelled the scores in stoppage time. It denied Ferguson's United, who thought they had the job done having won at Sunderland until news of City's sensational finale filtered through.

United got their revenge the following season, but since Ferguson left, the Red Devils have hardly come close to keeping pace with City.

Rabbitohs v Roosters

The oldest and fiercest rivalry in the NRL is between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters.

Their rivalry escalated in the 1990s when the increased financial standing of the Roosters came in stark contrast to the lack of funds available to the Rabbitohs, who broke a 10-year, 13-game losing streak against their nemesis in 2005.

In the last regular-season rounds of 2013 and 2014, the Roosters came out on top against their rivals to claim the Minor Premiership, though the Rabbitohs won in the preliminary final in the latter campaign to reach their first grand final in 43 years. Four years later, the Roosters defeated Souths 12-4 in the preliminary final at Allianz Stadium, in front of a record crowd.

Mets v Yankees 

In 2000, the New York Mets and New York Yankees met in the Major League Baseball World Series - the first time two teams from the Big Apple had met in the showpiece since 1956.

Referred to as the "Subway Series", it was the Yankees who came out on top with a dominant 4-1 series win, despite having lost 15 of their last 18 regular season games.

It was a third successive World Series triumph for the Yankees, who also made it to the same stage in 2001, but lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The rivals have not met in a World Series since, and it took the Mets another 15 years to make it back to the big stage.

UCLA v USC

One of the biggest college football rivalries comes in the form of the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans.

The most famous encounter between the two universities came in 1967, in a match known as "the game of the century." It matched USC - with OJ Simpson - against a UCLA side including Gary Beban, with the Conference Championship on the line, while Simpson and Beban were competing for the Heisman Trophy.

It was USC who ran out victorious in a 21-20 victory and they went on to defeat Indiana in the Rose Bowl and win the National Championship. Beban claimed the Heisman Trophy, despite Simpson's notable performance in the encounter and 1,543 rushing yards over the season.

Boca Juniors v River Plate

One of the most famous and fierce local rivalries in football, or indeed any sport, the Superclasico is an incredible Buenos Aires derby between Argentina's two biggest clubs - Boca Juniors and River Plate.

In 2018, both sides progressed to the final of the Copa Libertadores, making it the first Superclasico final of an international competition. It was a two-legged encounter with one match to be played at each ground.

Tensions were high, and after a 2-2 draw in the first leg at Boca's home Estadio Alberto J. Armando, they boiled over in dramatic and violent fashion prior to the second leg at El Monumental, with the match eventually called off after the Boca coach was attacked en route to the stadium.

After much controversy, the second leg finally took place at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, with River winning 3-1 to secure a 5-2 aggregate victory and their fourth Copa Libertadores title.

Kawhi Leonard will reportedly spend next season with the Los Angeles Clippers.

The star has agreed to terms with the Clippers, according to ESPN, which cites unidentified league sources.

Leonard, 28, is fresh off a season in which he led the Toronto Raptors to the franchise's first NBA title and claimed Finals MVP honours. It appears as if he felt playing for the Clippers was his best option moving forward.

Incredibly, ESPN also report Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George is joining Leonard at the Clippers, creating a blockbuster rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, who have LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Leonard missed 22 games in 2018-19, as the Raptors chose to use load management as a way to monitor a quad injury he suffered in 2016-17 as a member of the Spurs, an injury that paved the way for his exit from San Antonio.

He still averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in 60 appearances in the 2018-19 regular season – helping Toronto finish second in the Eastern Conference with a 58-24 record.

His numbers got even better in the postseason, as he averaged 30.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game and led all players in minutes. Though he led the Raptors to their first title, his signature moment came in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals with his buzzer-beater to eliminate the Philadelphia 76ers.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year and three-time All-Star now has two Finals MVP awards under his belt after Toronto topped the Golden State Warriors in six games.

Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett were pitted against each other in the NBA Summer League on Friday.

Former team-mates and the number one and three overall draft picks respectively, Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans faced Barrett and the New York Knicks.

However, Williamson's debut was cut short. The rookie did not play in the second half of the game – which was eventually suspended due to an earthquake – after taking knee-to-knee contact, according to the team.

Before Williamson left, he and Barrett showed off a number of highlight-reel worthy plays that followed them from college into the league.  

While expectations should not be too high – it is Summer League after all – soon after tip-off, Williamson impressed.

It did not take long for Barrett to show off his skills, either. He hit a long three-pointer for his first points.

But it continued to be Williamson's show. He dropped 10 points in the first quarter.

However, it was not all pretty. Williamson did show some growing pains and struggled from three-point range. Mitchell Robinson was giving him the most trouble, blocking several of Williamson's shots. 

Williamson finished with 11 points on four-for-nine shooting from the field and 0 for two from long distance before his early exit.

An earthquake interrupted play as the NBA Summer League began in Las Vegas on Friday.

During the highly anticipated New Orleans Pelicans-New York Knicks matchup, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake occurred in Ridgecrest, California – about 140 miles from Las Vegas.

A 6.4 magnitude quake struck California on July 4.

The impact was felt during the game.

The Pelicans were leading 80-74 when play was stopped.

Sports did not matter in the United States this week.

While there are always things more important than games going on where we watch to see grown men throw a ball or catch it, this week that truly hit home.

The NFL and MLB were hit with serious news off the field that made their games take a back seat.

 

1. NFL, MLB struck by tragedy

The first week of July in 2019 will always be remembered in football and baseball circles. That is because both leagues were hit by harsh tragedy and lives taken far too early.

Former New York Giants quarterback Jared Lorenzen and Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died this week and games became secondary.

Lorenzen was admitted to hospital last week and looked to be getting better as time went along, but his family announced his sudden passing on Wednesday at the young age of 38.

Skaggs' death was far more shocking as he had just pitched last week and was found dead in his hotel room on Monday. He was 27.

Tributes poured for each man and Los Angeles cancelled their game against the Texas Rangers on Monday. This was simply a week which will always be known for lives taken too soon.

2. Free agent frenzy

While the untimely deaths of two professional athletes reverberated across USA, games were still played and free agents still signed in both the NHL and NBA.

The balance of power has shifted in both leagues as two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky signed with the Florida Panthers and one of the best wingers in the game in Artemi Panarin signed with the New York Rangers.

Those moves changed things in the NHL, but the NBA might have seen even more of a shift as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both signed with the Brooklyn Nets, Jimmy Butler was reportedly traded to the Miami Heat and D'Angelo Russell moved to the Warriors. Golden State also signed Willie Cauley-Stein days after losing Durant.

Things are going to be different next year and the biggest domino in free agency has not even fallen yet. Kawhi Leonard remains unsigned.

3. Phil Kessel traded to Coyotes

While the Rangers getting Panarin is an absolutely huge move of a dynamic player, the move of Phil Kessel might be just as big.

The former Penguins winger was rumoured to be on the move all offseason and finally was sent off officially on Saturday as Pittsburgh traded him to the Arizona Coyotes.

Now, two teams that did not make the playoffs last year all of a sudden have an injection of talent which at least makes their divisions much more difficult.

It also makes the NHL even more interesting.

4. Ezekiel Elliott avoids suspension

It seems like every offseason, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is being discussed as getting a possible suspension, but he has at least avoided one this year as it was announced he would not be disciplined for an incident in Las Vegas in which he allegedly shoved a security guard and was handcuffed.

He met with the NFL to talk about the incident and came away without a suspension.

Elliott had shared a statement on Twitter, confirming the meeting and promising to work hard to ensure he stays out of trouble in the future.

"I need to work harder on myself to ensure I do not put myself in compromised situations in the future," Elliott wrote, in part. "I am rededicating myself to use all of the resources that the league has made available. But in the end, it is up to me and I am determined not to be in this position again."

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