Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis did not publicly commit his long-term future to the NBA franchise after teaming up with LeBron James.

Davis swapped the New Orleans Pelicans for the Lakers via a trade earlier this month as he tries to lead Los Angeles to the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13.

The six-time All-Star is entering the final year of his contract and while he is tipped to re-sign with the Lakers, Davis gave nothing away during his introductory news conference.

"Honestly, I'm focused on this season," Davis told reporters in Los Angeles on Saturday.

"When I got traded here, my goal is to bring a championship here with the team that we have. And when that time comes around next year, then you can ask me that question and we'll revisit it.

"Right now, my focus is on this year, and trying to figure out how I can help this team, and help the organisation become a championship team."

The Lakers failed to acquire Davis from the Pelicans prior to last season's trade deadline but general manager Rob Pelinka eventually got his man in July.

Los Angeles traded away Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks for Davis, who was selected first by the Pelicans in 2012.

"Obviously it was tough for me to leave a city that I've been playing for for seven years, but I think it was best for me, and it was my time," the 26-year-old Davis said.

"But when I found out I was getting traded to the Lakers, I realised it was an unbelievable opportunity for me to be here with a wonderful organisation, and then to play alongside LeBron and obviously now the players that we have now ... to get the opportunity to do that and come here and play for an organisation that's all about winning - forget winning, winning championships, and that's the only goal - I think that was the biggest thing for me.

"Just the relief there, of not knowing the unknown anymore, and knowing where I was going to be next season."

Anthony Davis is thrilled at the prospect of linking up with "great leader" LeBron James at the Los Angeles Lakers.

The six-time All-Star was traded to LA by the New Orleans Pelicans earlier this month and will join three-time NBA champion James in attempting to return the Lakers to the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13.

James and Davis have previously teamed up at the 2012 Olympics, as well as at All-Star Games, but the latter is relishing the opportunity to work with his fellow superstar on a more regular basis.

"The things he does on the floor are pretty amazing," Davis told a news conference on Saturday.

"You see it on TV and when you're a fan you watch it a lot but I've never really had a chance to experience playing alongside him. The 2012 Olympics I didn't play much, I was the towel guy, and we had a bit of time during All-Star Games.

"To get a full season and see the things he's able to do – pass, shoot, he talks well defensively, he's a great leader, I'm excited to get a lot of that this season and go from there."

And Davis believes the Lakers, who finished 10th in the Western Conference last season with a 37-45 record, have put together a roster to challenge in 2019-20.

"It's gonna be fun for sure," he said. "I'm excited about it. The league has grown, it's better, all the players teaming up and spreading that talent throughout the league, it's gonna be a fun season.

"I like our roster, I like every player we have, I'm excited and I'll put our roster against anybody, it feels like in a seven-game series we'll come out victorious."

Davis also discussed waiving his $4million trade kicker, a decision he made in a bid to give his new franchise greater financial power to bring in more talent.

Kawhi Leonard, an NBA champion and Finals MVP with the Toronto Raptors last season, was a target for the Lakers before he completed a switch to city rivals the Clippers.

"Any time you can acquire a player like Kawhi, you have to do almost anything to get a guy like that," Davis said.

"It didn't work out for us but I still wanted to make sure I did whatever to help the team. That $4m was to add more money to a player's contract, or get another guy, then by all means I was gonna do that and we did a great job using that throughout the entire team."

After making drastic changes to the Los Angeles Lakers' roster this offseason, general manager Rob Pelinka stressed expectations will be high entering 2019-20.

The most notable change comes with the addition of Anthony Davis, who the Lakers acquired in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram.

When free agency started, the Lakers were in the running to land Kawhi Leonard. 

But when the NBA Finals MVP opted to sign with cross-town rivals the Clippers, the Lakers filled out their roster by adding DeMarcus Cousins, Danny Green, Jared Dudley, Quinn Cook and Avery Bradley. They also re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso and JaVale McGee.

With the upgraded roster, Pelinka said on Friday the Lakers need to win a 2020 NBA title in order to consider the season successful. 

"For us anything short of a championship is not success," he said on a conference call, via the Los Angeles Times.

Pelinka also revealed he relied on input from James and Davis to help make decisions on filling out the Lakers' roster.

"We view our relationships here with our star players as partnerships," Pelinka told reporters.

"I know both Anthony and LeBron are excited about the 14 guys and how we're going to come together. Both of their input has been incredibly valuable to me."

Pelinka's comments come just a couple months after the Lakers finished 10th in the Western Conference with a 37-45 record, missing the playoffs for the sixth season in a row.

Russell Westbrook paid tribute to the Oklahoma City Thunder after being traded to the Houston Rockets.

After being drafted as the fourth overall pick in 2008 by the then-Seattle SuperSonics, Westbrook spent his entire career in Oklahoma City after the team moved before his first official year.

Westbrook won the MVP in 2017, averaged a triple-double each of his past two seasons and made eight All-Star teams.

He was traded by the Thunder to the Rockets on Thursday in a package for Chris Paul.

But, Westbrook has good memories with the Thunder and he penned a heartfelt goodbye on Instagram on Friday.

"I can't even begin to put into words all of the emotions I have right now," he wrote.

"It's been one heck of a journey Oklahoma! When I came here, I was 18 years old, bright eyed, and completely unaware of all the amazing things that would soon take place.

"I grew up in Oklahoma with an amazing bunch of people. The people here are what makes this place so special. From the fans, my coaches, my team-mates, the entire Thunder organisation, Mr. Bennett, Sam Presti, my friends, and everyone in the entire community. You are all what makes Oklahoma such a beautiful place, and the reason I've loved playing here all of this time.

"You have supported me through all of the ups and the downs, and stood by me through the good times, and tough times. For that I am eternally grateful to you. I've met so many amazing people who have helped shape me into the man that I am today.

"I hope I have impacted the Oklahoma community as much as Oklahoma has made an impact on me and my family. I'm leaving Oklahoma with so many friends and so much gratitude. I could never thank you all enough for sticking with me. It's been a dream and a whirlwind. #WHYNOT."

Westbrook rejoins former team-mate James Harden in Houston after the two played the 2009 to 2012 seasons together in Oklahoma City.

Rockets star James Harden expects to have "a lot of fun" alongside Russell Westbrook in Houston.

The Rockets acquired the 2017 NBA MVP from the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday in exchange for Chris Paul, protected first-round draft picks in 2024 and 2026, and the rights to swap picks in two other drafts.

Harden, who played his first three NBA seasons in Oklahoma City with Westbrook, is pleased to be reunited with his old team-mate.

"When I left OKC I was sad," Harden said on Friday, via The Athletic.

"Then Houston made a home for me. Rockets is my home. And now an opportunity came available where Russ wasn't happy. Now we're back. It's going to be a lot of fun this year, I guarantee you that."

According to the Houston Chronicle, Harden and Westbrook "strongly favoured the move and a chance to play in a backcourt together".

Now, it is up to head coach Mike D'Antoni to build the offense around the two NBA MVPs, an award Harden won in 2018.

Stephen Curry explained he is "extremely proud" of three "special years" playing alongside Kevin Durant, as he discussed his former team-mate's free agency departure for the first time.

Durant opted out of his player option with the Golden State Warriors to join the Brooklyn Nets, having helped the team reach three straight NBA Finals, winning two.

Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and DeMarcus Cousins have also left the Warriors, while Klay Thompson will miss most of next season with a torn ACL.

Curry's team are consequently not the favourites to win the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the first time in the last half-decade, but he made it clear the demands the squad place on themselves will not change.

"The three years we had were special," Curry told reporters at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament about Durant, who reportedly opted to join the Nets while Curry was travelling from China to meet him.

"We had three straight Finals appearances and won two of them. We accomplished a lot as a group. 

"Everyone talks about all the talent we had on that team, but that doesn't mean you can put it all together. I like to look at what we accomplished and focus on that and be extremely proud of that run. Now we try to recreate that.

"There are a lot of changes, but the expectations of how we play, that championship-level basketball, won't change. I'm excited about it."

The Warriors managed to land D'Angelo Russell from the Nets as part of a sign-and-trade agreement involving Durant, and Curry is optimistic about the new arrival, even if he may not stay with the Warriors long term once Thompson is fully fit.

"I haven't had much personal interaction with him," added Curry. "Back when he got drafted, there were some comparisons of our games. He can handle the ball, shoot, pass. 

"Having versatile guys like that can only help our team. The chemistry will develop quickly. It's about encouraging each other and having confidence we'll get the most out of each other."

Curry, 31, added: "I'm the oldest on the team now, so I've got to step my game up. 

"It's a tough business. You knew at some point there would be some hard changes. You talk about Andre and Shaun, they're two guys who do things the right way. They have the ultimate level of professionalism, a respect for what they say and do. 

"They're both three-time champs, and I think they have a lot left in the tank. It'll be fun and weird to watch them on different teams."

The Oklahoma City Thunder will be making a lot of first-round picks over the coming years after trading away Paul George and Russell Westbrook.

OKC completed their third major recent trade when they sent Westbrook to the Houston Rockets on Thursday in exchange for two future first-round selections, two pick swaps and Chris Paul, according to a report from ESPN.

Westbrook was the second top-level player the Thunder sent away this offseason. They moved George, who finished third in the MVP voting in 2018-19, to the Los Angeles Clippers and received five first-round selections, two pick swaps, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari in return.

The Thunder then sent forward Jerami Grant to the Denver Nuggets for another first-round pick.

In total, Oklahoma City have added eight first-round picks this offseason and hold 15 over the next seven drafts.
 

Here's a complete list of the Thunder's first-round picks from 2020 to 2026.

2020: Own (1-20), Nuggets (1-10)

2021: Own, Miami Heat (swap rights with the Houston Rockets)

2022: Own (1-14), Clippers

2023: Own (swap rights with the Clippers), Heat (1-14)

2024: Own, Clippers, Rockets (1-4)

2025: Own (swap rights with the Clippers, Rockets)

2026: Own, Clippers, Rockets (1-4)

Trading Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook makes the Houston Rockets a better team, says franchise owner Tilman Fertitta.

According to ESPN, the Rockets have sent Chris Paul and two protected first-rounders in 2024 and 2026 to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 2017 NBA MVP. They have also agreed to swap draft picks in 2021 and 2025.

Eight-time All-Star Westbrook, who has averaged a triple-double in each of the past three seasons, sought an exit from the Thunder after they traded Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Westbrook and Harden helped Oklahoma City reach the 2012 NBA Finals and Fertitta is relishing watching their reunion unfold.

"We're excited to have Russell Westbrook," Fertitta told Fox 26 in Houston.

"I would watch him play for Oklahoma City, and he's so athletic. At the same time this franchise just had the two years with the most wins it's ever had in consecutive years, and we wouldn't have accomplished that without Chris Paul.

"I said at the end of the year we're never gonna stand pat. We're always gonna try to get better. I think this makes us a better team. I hate to lose Chris Paul, but we felt like we did what we had to do to become a better team.

"I think it'll be very interesting and fun. James and Russell wanted to play together. It ought to be fun this year."

It has been suggested the Thunder could immediately look to move Paul on, with the Miami Heat, who were believed to be in the running to get Westbrook, touted as a potential destination.

Trading Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook makes the Houston Rockets a better team, says franchise owner Tilman Fertitta.

According to ESPN, the Rockets have sent Chris Paul and two protected first-rounders in 2024 and 2026 to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 2017 NBA MVP. They have also agreed to swap draft picks in 2021 and 2025.

Eight-time All-Star Westbrook, who has averaged a triple-double in each of the past three seasons, sought an exit from the Thunder after they traded Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Westbrook and Harden helped Oklahoma City reach the 2012 NBA Finals and Fertitta is relishing watching their reunion unfold.

"We're excited to have Russell Westbrook," Fertitta told Fox 26 in Houston.

"I would watch him play for Oklahoma City, and he's so athletic. At the same time this franchise just had the two years with the most wins it's ever had in consecutive years, and we wouldn't have accomplished that without Chris Paul.

"I said at the end of the year we're never gonna stand pat. We're always gonna try to get better. I think this makes us a better team. I hate to lose Chris Paul, but we felt like we did what we had to do to become a better team.

"I think it'll be very interesting and fun. James and Russell wanted to play together. It ought to be fun this year."

It has been suggested the Thunder could immediately look to move Paul on, with the Miami Heat, who were believed to be in the running to get Westbrook, touted as a potential destination.

Chris Paul is reportedly a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. But, there is a chance he is with another organisation at some point in the near future.

Oklahoma City acquired the 34-year-old guard, along with two first-round selections and two pick swaps, from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Russell Westbrook, according to a report from ESPN on Thursday.

Paul is a nine-time NBA All-Star and one of the best point guards to ever play. All that is missing from his resume is a championship, which he undoubtedly wants to be chasing in the twilight of his career. The Thunder may not be the team for him, as they appear set to enter a rebuild after moving not only Westbrook, but Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers) and Jerami Grant (Denver Nuggets).

The Thunder tried to find a third team to move Paul to in the deal, according to ESPN, and his future remains unclear.

The Thunder are likely to consult with Paul to find out "what he wants", according to a separate report from ESPN. Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti has already spoken to Paul's agent Leon Rose, that report says.

Oklahoma City completed the deal with the hopes of Paul being part of the team, according to The Athletic.

But, Paul, his agent and Presti will speak again about next steps. The Thunder would have interest in completing a deal with the Miami Heat, if that is what Paul prefers. Paul would be teamed up with Jimmy Butler in Miami, who were also reportedly pursuing Westbrook.  

Paul struggled with injuries and had a down season in 2018-19, but he is still a valuable floor leader and scorer, despite his massive contract (three years, $124.1million).

He has a chance to help mentor the Thunder's new, young core — including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — or he could become a contributor elsewhere, on a team with more of a chance to win a title.

The Oklahoma City Thunder roster underwent a complete overhaul in less than a week.

Oklahoma City completed their third major trade when they sent Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in exchange for two future first-round selections, two pick swaps and Chris Paul, according to the ESPN on Thursday.

Westbrook was the second top-level player the Thunder dealt away this offseason. They moved Paul George — who finished third in the MVP voting in 2018-19 — to the Los Angeles Clippers and received five first-round selections, two pick swaps, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari in return.

The Thunder then sent forward Jerami Grant to the Denver Nuggets for another first-round pick.

In the blink of an eye, the Thunder went from a team that seemed to have championship aspirations to a franchise entering a rebuild. Oklahoma City finished with a 49-33 record last season, had two stars on their roster long term and some solid surrounding talent around them, including Grant, Steven Adams and Dennis Schroder.

George, however, forced the Thunder's hand after he reportedly asked to be dealt in hopes of teaming up with Kawhi Leonard and the pair ended up together in Los Angeles.

After that trade, the Thunder needed to move in a different direction and they did quite well for themselves.

Oklahoma City acquired eight first-round picks over the last week and they should have the opportunity to draft plenty of young, controllable players to replenish their rotation. The team could also elect to package some of those picks in a deal for a different star, should one become available.

But, that is not all the Thunder added. Gilgeous-Alexander is a promising guard with plenty of upside. He could develop into a more than adequate replacement for Westbrook, with a much better contract.

Gallinari is a reliable three-and-D player on an expiring deal. If the Thunder elect to hold onto him, he will be a consistent contributor. If not, there is a good chance they can flip him for another pick or young player.

Paul, meanwhile, is a nine-time All-Star who still provides value as a scorer and distributor, despite the massive amount of money remaining on his contract (three years, $124.1million). He could still receive interest on the trade market and Oklahoma City could acquire additional assets if they decide to move him again.

Despite losing some of the league's biggest names, Thunder general manager Sam Presti has set his team up to be competitive in the future.

The NBA world was shocked again on Thursday as the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder reportedly completed a blockbuster trade involving Russell Westbrook.

According to ESPN, the Rockets sent Chris Paul and draft picks to the Thunder in exchange for 2017 NBA MVP Westbrook.

This is a huge deal for the Western Conference as Houston boasts a similar team to what they had last season but became younger and more athletic in the process.

Rockets fans can dream about the potential of this tandem, however it is not an idea that is foreign. In fact, we have seen this combination before as Harden and Westbrook were drafted by the Thunder and played together from 2009-12 and made an NBA Finals alongside Kevin Durant in their last season together.

So, what did those teams look like in Oklahoma City? They looked great, we will tell you that.

With Westbrook, the Thunder had a high-energy point guard who was unstoppable going to the rim and a terror on defense. With Durant, Oklahoma City had the player who could get any shot he wanted and presented a mismatch every time he was on the court. Harden was the sixth man for that team as he provided a solid scoring option and a better defender than people may remember (he was given the job of guarding LeBron James in the 2012 NBA Finals for long stretches).

On March 23, 2012 – the three combined to score 110 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Harden and Westbrook totalled 70.

As good as they were as a team, though, a lot of people did not take them seriously. That was until they dominated the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. After losing the first two games, they came back to win the last four by an average of nearly 10 points (9.75).

In that series, the big three dominated as Westbrook averaged 18.1 points, 7.3 assists and 5.8 rebounds, Harden put up 18.5, 5.5 and 3.6 while Durant added 29.5, 5.3 and 7.5. This was the team to beat for years to come.

They wound up losing to the Miami Heat in the Finals in five games, but they won the opener, and had it not been for a missed foul call in the waning moments of Game 2, the Thunder might have taken a 2-0 series lead and then, who knows?

This team was the Golden State Warriors before the Warriors and Harden and Westbrook were huge parts of that. It looked like it was going to be a dynasty for years to come in the west, but that was until Harden was due for an extension and more money.

Ultimately, the Thunder did not pay Harden and he was dealt to Houston along with Daequan Cook, Cole Aldrich and Lazar Hayward in exchange for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks (which became Steven Adams in 2013 and Mitch McGary in 2014), and a second-round pick (which became Alex Abrines in 2013).

Harden then went on to win an MVP with Houston in 2018, Westbrook won it with the Thunder in 2017 and Durant earned the honour in 2014. Now, two of those players are back together. Durant is the only one to have a title (he won two with the Warriors), but Westbrook and Harden can see if they can get one they so highly covet.

The Houston Rockets have acquired star guard Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to reports.

In an ESPN report, the Rockets have sent Chris Paul and first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 for the 2017 NBA MVP.

The teams have also swapped picks in 2021 and 2025 as Westbrook reunites with former Thunder team-mate and 2018 MVP James Harden.

After Paul George left the Thunder for the Los Angeles Clippers, eight-time All-Star Westbrook wanted to be sent to the Rockets.

Westbrook and Harden played together in Oklahoma City from 2009 to 2012 – the pair helping the Thunder reach the 2012 NBA Finals.

Last season, Westbrook averaged 22.9 points, 10.7 assists and 11.1 rebounds as the Thunder advanced to the playoffs before falling to the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round.

The NBA summer league is winding down, as the preliminary round of games ends on Thursday.

Only the top eight seeds will advance to a single-elimination tournament set to begin on July 13, so quite a few prospects will have to wait until the preseason begins in October to return to the court.

Some players have surpassed expectations in July while others have not. Success in the summer league does not necessarily translate to the regular season, but let's take a look at who is hot and who is not so far.

 

Hot

Tyler Herro, Miami Heat

Herro's criticism ahead of the 2019 NBA draft was based on his poor defense and lack of efficiency, despite his reputation as a sharpshooter. The summer league has allowed him to showcase that he has more to offer than shooting, though.

The 6-5 guard initiated the Heat's offense early and often and helped lead the team to a 3-1 record in the preliminary round. He showcased his playmaking ability out of pick-and-roll sets and has averaged 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.5 steals.

Herro probably is not close to becoming a primary option for the Heat, especially since Miami already have Goran Dragic, Jimmy Butler and Justise Winslow on board. But Herro's versatility is a good sign.

Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio Spurs

Walker had his rookie season derailed by a meniscus tear, but he appears like he is poised to have a great sophomore campaign.

The 6-5 guard entered Thursday tied for first in the summer league in points per game (30.0) and he has been ridiculously efficient. Walker shot 58 per cent from the field in his two appearances.

His team went 2-2, so it is not likely he will play again in the tournament.

The Spurs will have some serious battles in their 2019-20 backcourt, as Walker will compete with the likes of Dejounte Murray, Derrick White and DeMar DeRozan for time after playing in just 17 regular season games last season.

Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors

The Raptors have found yet another diamond in the rough.

Boucher, 26, has played in 29 regular season games and is routinely dominating the summer league by averaging 22.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest. Toronto have the NBA's reigning Most Improved Player in Pascal Siakam, and Boucher could be up next. 

The 6-10 big man is fresh off a season in which he was crowned MVP and Defensive Player of the Year of the G-League, playing for Toronto 905. He won his second straight NBA title with the Raptors in 2018-19, as he played for the Golden State Warriors in 2017-18.

The departure of Kawhi Leonard could clear space for him to break into Toronto's rotation.

Not

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

New York were initially favoured to win the summer league championship but went an underwhelming 1-3.

Barrett, the third overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, averaged 14.0 points and 8.8 rebounds but shot 30 per cent from the field with genuine rotation players around him.

The Knicks could be in a lot of trouble if his shooting struggles linger.

Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers

Many felt Portland got a steal when they selected Little with the 25th pick in 2019 but he definitely has some work to do.

The 6-7 wing has tallied 22 minutes per contest through three games. He is averaging 4.3 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 33 per cent from the field. 

Little has shown flashes of his athleticism and is still figuring out how to fit in offensively.

Dean Wade, Cleveland Cavaliers

Wade went undrafted after four years at Kansas State, so there were not lofty expectations for him.

However, the Cavaliers have not received much from him in the 27 minutes he has averaged through three games.

The 6-10 forward is averaging 5.7 points and 5.7 rebounds but is only shooting 26 per cent from the field. That is a big drop off for a player who was the first option in college and hovered around 50 per cent shooting.

There is never a dull day in the NBA, but this past weekend may have been the craziest moment in league history.

We will get to that in a second, but we will also touch on the Home Run Derby and the Houston Texans who are looking like a train wreck once again.

All that and more on this week in US Sports.

 

1. Clippers eclipse Lakers

This was as crazy of an NBA offseason as there has ever been. An MVP candidate (Anthony Davis) was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, two stars signed with the Brooklyn Nets (Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving), the Boston Celtics reloaded with an All-NBA guard (Kemba Walker) and the New York Knicks are the Knicks.

But all of that news paled in comparison to what happened in the wee hours of Saturday morning when news broke the Los Angeles Clippers were going to get both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. While the Leonard news broke first, what we came to find out was Leonard had convinced George to accept a trade to Los Angeles from the Oklahoma City Thunder. So, while he signed seemingly on his own with the Clippers, what actually went down was the George trade was agreed to which sealed Leonard's move to Los Angeles.

Now the Clippers and Lakers have even odds to win the NBA Finals next year, but the Clippers have much of the momentum and possibly the best defensive tandem in the NBA in George, Leonard and Patrick Beverley. The Western Conference is going to be fun next year.

 

2. Home Run Derby for the ages

For years the Home Run Derby has been stale. A few years ago, the MLB was forced to change the format from 10 outs to a timed round in which players could hit as many pitches as they want rather than being selective and taking pitch after pitch. Some rounds would seem to creep into the 30-minute range and fans were losing interest.

Absolutely no interest was lost on Monday though in a Home Run Derby for the ages. This derby featured a man (Joc Pederson) who hit 39 home runs in a round and lost (Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit 40) and an event where a rookie bashed 91 balls over the fence and did not win (Guerrero).

There were 321 total homers in the event and the final between two rookies (Guerrero and Alonso) took three overtimes to decide. The Home Run Derby was not boring this year, it was what a Derby was always supposed to be.

 

3. Drama in Houston

The Houston Texans have been one of the better organisations in the NFL over the last several years as they have made the playoffs three of the last four seasons while winning their division five times since 2011. But all that success seems to be in spite of themselves and this offseason is a perfect example as to why.

Houston selected Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick in 2014. He has 29 sacks and 67 quarterback hits in his career and has been named to three Pro Bowls while missing a total of six games over the last four years. And yet, the Texans do not want to sign him to a long-term deal. In fact, they likely will not be signing him to a long-term deal at all this offseason, according to a report from the Houston Chronicle.

Even more damning may be the team's ineptitude in the front office. General manager Rick Smith left last year to take care of his sick wife, but it was reported he did so because of a rift with Bill O'Brien. Then the man hired to replace Smith was fired after one year with the team, but after the Draft. Finally, the team decided on Thursday they were not going to hire a replacement GM and will run the team as a committee next season. The Texans are lucky to be in one of the worst divisions in the NFL, otherwise they may be getting more flak for their actions.

 

4. Chad Mendes retires

A former WEC title contender has retired. Chad Mendes, who accumulated an 18-5 record and had Conor McGregor beaten and bloodied on short notice, has decided to end his long and illustrious career in the WEC and UFC.

"I just want to say THANK YOU to all my fans and everyone that tuned in to watch me battle!" Mendes wrote on Instagram. "With 29 years of competing and 11 year in the Mma game, I feel it's time for the next chapter in my life! It's been an incredible journey with so many life lesson along the way. I feel extremely blessed to be living this life I live and can't wait to see what the next chapter has in store for me!"

 

5. Astros' Marisnick suspended two games

Houston Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick has been suspended for two games after running over Los Angeles Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy in a game on Sunday, MLB announced on Thursday.

Lucroy sustained a concussion and broken nose on the play and manager Brad Ausmus called for Marisnick's suspension after the game as did St Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

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