Damian Lillard “Not a Team Up Type of Person”

According to Toronto Sports Network, Damian Lillard is “not a team up type of person.”

Lillard says that he wants a challenge. However, the Warriors made it pretty clear that teaming up can still bring all kinds of challenges in itself. In order to win NBA Championships nowadays, you need a minimum or three all stars or for the other teams all stars to all get devastatingly injured at the same time. Basically, teaming up is the only way to control your own destiny unless you’re Zaza Pachulia.

Damian Lillard has made it very clear that he is not leaving Portland. Loyalty is important to him which is refreshing in today’s NBA. If he is going to be on a championship team, players will have to come to him. Since he isn’t a “team up” guy, this means no monster trades or free agent signings. So, the only other way to get championship caliber players to the Blazers is by the NBA Draft. And if Portland’s history tells us anything, well, good luck with that.

Drafting Lillard and McCollum out of Weber State and Lehigh, Portland can find a diamond in the rough better than most teams. But when faced with top lottery picks, they have accounted for both of the two worst draft blunders of all time.

In 1984, they took Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan. If you don’t know who Sam Bowie is, that’s my point. Then, later on in 2007, Portland took Greg Oden instead of Kevin Durant and we all know how that turned out.

In order for Lillard to bring a championship to Portland now is to pray and hope that the Blazers find a couple more diamonds in the rough like a Nikola Jokic or Kawhi Leonard. Guys who are incredible but don’t get the recognition they deserve because they don’t have the name Duke or Kentucky associated with them. Until then, it looks like the Blazers will continue to fall victim to the ever growing Western Conference.

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Tyler Herro Already at the Forefront of NBA Trade Rumors

Tyler Herro has been absolutely scorching the NBA Summer League after being taken 13th overall by the Miami Heat. He is averaging 19.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.3 APG and 27.8 minutes leading the Heat to a 5-0 Summer League start.

Herro’s tireless scoring and defensive motor has made him a hot commodity. And now being one of the last lottery picks having yet to sign a contract has made him the target of potential trades. According to 247Sports’ The Cats Pause, Oklahoma City is expected to make a play for him. After Paul George left for the Clippers to team up with Kawhi, Russell Westbrook has once again been left alone in OKC. Russ may even be on his way out with the Heat as one of the leaders to land him via sign and trade deal.

WARNING: WOJ BOMB.

“A team like Miami who doesn’t have salary cap space, if they’re going to improve themselves, they’re going to have to do what they did at the beginning of free agency, a sign and trade. Miami’s a team that continues to try and add talent. They really wanted DeMarcus Cousins but I think the Heat are a team to watch,” Wojnarowski said. “Russell Westbrook at 30-years-old is still a high-level player but it is a lot of money and he’s going to take up a great part of your salary cap so it’ll be interesting to see how that market develops and where the pockets of interest are for him.”

Having wanted Tyler Herro since before the Draft, he will be included in any deal that sends Westbrook to Miami. Also, since he hasn’t signed a contract yet, he will not be subject to the 30 day waiting period.

If Herro does end up in Oklahoma City, this would give them 5 former Wildcats. They really are becoming the new Phoenix in terms of collecting Calipari’s finest.

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Danny Ainge Loves Himself a Foreign Big Man

With the departures of Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Marcus Morris and he who shall not be named, Danny Ainge needed to reload the Boston Celtics Roster and he needed to do it quick. Mainly at the power forward/center position. We wish Mook and Al nothing but the best and, of course, just want Baynes to be happy. Some of us took losing him a little better than others:

So, now the Celtics need to fill the big man vacancy. But how? Well, what does Danny Ainge love more than anything else in the world? The young core. Okay, but what comes right after the young core? Terry Rozier. Well, we thought, but the correct answer is actually big men from foreign countries. Bonus points if they are covered in tattoos.

If the trio of Baynes, Theis and Yabusele from last season wasn’t enough evidence, the Celtics just stocked up on as many as they could like there was a drought coming soon. As if foreign 7 footers were going out of style. First things first, Boston re-signed Daniel Theis and still had Yabusele on contract. But, still being without talents like Horford, Morris and Baynes meant that the Celtics effectively had no viable options at the 4 or 5 spot assuming Tatum would be playing the 3. So, what is Ainge to do?

Sign Enes Kanter, sign Vincent Poirier, and sign Tacko Fall. That makes one very tall and very foreign frontcourt. Just the way Danny likes it. Now, all that is left is to watch Kemba thrive in the Brad Stevens system and return to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Enes Kanter- Turkey
Vincent Poirier- France
Tacko Fall- Senegal
Guerschon Yabusele- France
Daniel Theis- Germany

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The Reds Hidden Treasure Playing for Their AAA Louisville Bats

The Cincinnati Reds have been truly blessed with solid prospects rising through their farm system. Nick Senzel, after having a 15+ game hitting streak in the minors, was called up and made an immediate impact. He’s solidified his place in the outfield and batting order and doesn’t look to be making a move back to Louisville any time soon. Joseph VanMeter, after hitting about one home run every game, has been called to Cincinnati now for the second time after showing his versatility on offense and defense.

But there is one other prospect that the Reds are well aware of, but won’t call up because, to put it simply, they can’t. And that prospect is Brian O’Grady of the Louisville Bats.

Take a look at the batting leaders for the Cincinnati Reds in the 2019 season:

Now look at Brian O’Grady’s batting stats as of 7/7/19:
Batting avg: .291
Home runs: 22
RBI: 55
OBP: .361
Hits: 86
All while playing 10 less games than the Reds.

Yes, he is playing against lesser competition, but shouldn’t having better stats than the guys in the majors at least warrant a chance to prove his worth? Apparently not, and here is a couple reasons why.

Brian O’Grady plays first base. That has been and always will be Joey Votto’s position until the day he leaves Great American Ballpark for good. After all, he is the pride and joy of Cincinnati with a normal hair color. Nobody, and I mean nobody, dare mess with what he has built.

But why can’t they just stick him in the outfield? Bad idea. The Reds have two good things going for them right now: their uniforms and their defense. The sleeveless uni’s from the I-words game were incredible, and the Reds have allowed the least amount of runs in the the National League and second least in the entire MLB. The outfield of Senzel, Puig, Winker, and Dietrich have been a huge part of that. It would not be smart to mess with that when the Reds have pulled to 4.5 games back in the NL Central.

How about playing O’Grady at the DH? Again, no. The only time the Reds can use a DH is when they are playing on the road against a team from the American League. I am sure you all already knew that, but it is worth pointing out since that only happens one other time for the rest of the season against Seattle. Yes, 75 games remaining and there is no room for an AL opponent. I guess fitting in a little interleague play is difficult when you have to play the teams in your own division roughly 700 times a season.

Unless something drastic happens, do not expect Brian O’Grady to be called up to Cincinnati this season. If it was going to happen, it would have happened by now. So until then, sit back and enjoy the hidden gem of the Louisville Bats and the fact that Louisville Slugger Field actually has some sluggers again.

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A Day to Remember for American Soccer

As a diehard sports fan, few things are better than waking up to American Soccer. There is something about patriotism in the AM that makes getting out of bed and cracking open something domestic that much easier. First of two US National Team games on the docket was the Women’s World Cup Final against the Netherlands.

The WWC Final started out pretty slow. And by slow, especially by USWNT standards, I mean they didn’t score in the first 12′ like every other game in the competition. As poised as ever, the Americans never faltered. They picked their chances on offense and never got frustrated. They were so concise on defense. I have never seen a back line play so consistently and converge as a unit on every ball played in the box.

In the second half the floodgates opened. A high boot to the shoulder of Alex Morgan gave the US a penalty kick and a Megan Rapinoe goal in the 61′. Moments later, Rose Lavelle ran past a Dutch defense that looked like it had no interest in defending her as she netted a bottom corner beauty. Don’t let the 2-0 score fool you though. After wearing down the Dutch, the US squandered about a dozen more chances. Should have been 6-0 US easily. Either way, our women proved once again that they are the best in the world. And deservedly celebrated as such.

Not only is the USWNT winning on the pitch, they are winning off of it too. They bring home just about every trophy every season, but also are starting a discussion. Equal pay, LGBTQ rights and overall equality for all. They are an amazing positive in the United States and gives young girls the hero they never knew they needed. Pure class as always.

Several hours later, American Soccer headed back stateside. More specifically, Soldier Field and the Gold Cup Final with another installment of the US v. Mexico rivalry. Everything was going the Americans way to start the game. Opportunity after opportunity all culminating in a disappointing 0-0 tie at the end of the first half.

The second half went almost entire Mexico’s way. There just wasn’t the same spark as in the first half. Less runs to the box were made, possession was spotty, touches were less clever and Christian Pulisic had far less of an impact. For the US to have success, Pulisic needs to be involved in the build up of every chance and that did not happen until after the game’s only goal by Mexico in the 73′. Yet another Gold Cup silver medal.

If the USMNT played the second half the same way they played the first, this game could have been an easy victory for the Americans. It is hard to consider a second place finish a success even though it did show promise. The Americans that went abroad to continue their professional careers had a great tournament. McKinnie, Pulisic and Miazga in particular had impressive showings. Hopefully this encourages other players like Morris and Cannon to take the leap and play in better leagues. Also, the Americans refused to be pushed around by Mexico. The Mexicans have reigned supreme in CONCACAF for too long and we finally showed that we aren’t going to take it anymore. The chippiness in the first half of the final better stick around for more than just rivalry games.

Congratulations to the USWNT on their fourth World Cup Championship. The most important day of American Soccer in a very long time did not disappoint.

Sleeveless Baseball Jerseys Are Best Baseball Jerseys

SUNS. OUT. GUNS. OUT.

The Cincinnati Reds have been on fire as of late. Not only have they swept the Astros and taken a series from the Cubs and Brewers all in the last month, they have been pulling out all the stops when it comes to uniforms. How can they top the green St. Patty’s day or the all navy throwbacks? Funny you should ask, because they pulled out the magnificent sleeveless uni’s to pay tribute to the 1950’s-60’s Cincinnati Reds of yesteryear.

They may have lost by double digits to the I-words, but they looked damn good doing it. Especially Yasiel Puig:

And guess what no one is talking about..? the 11-1 loss. Everyone is laser focused on how awesome these jerseys are. And just the thought of the Reds rocking these bad boyz into the frigid November nights makes me so excited for Playoff Baseball. And better yet, that possibility is becoming more and more likely now that the Reds are just 4.5 games back in the NL Central with one of the best defenses in baseball.

Just exercising their right to bare arms.

Big Red Machine coming through. Follow us on Twitter @soft7sports.

Lakers Will Be Hard to Hate with Three Kentucky Favorites in the Lineup

The Lakers have always been one of the more hatable teams in the NBA. Add LeBron James to it and now you have a squad that people not only despise, but actively root against. As a lifelong Celtics fan, the Lakers are my least favorite team by default, but as a lifelong Kentucky fan, it is going to be hard to hate them this season and here’s why:

The team most likely to win the title in the NBA has three of the most beloved Kentucky players of all time on it. Of course, the team that we all wanted to fail has made it very hard to root against them. Rajon Rondo was the best Kentucky player in years at the time he arrived, Demarcus Cousins was an irreplaceable piece in Cal’s first team at UK and Anthony Davis brought the NCAA title back to its rightful home for the first time in 14 years. Truly unforgettable players.

See if you can still hate the Lakers after watching their highlights as Wildcats.

Couldn’t find any Rondo Kentucky highlights without a Creed song in the background so hopefully his Louisville games suffice.

I wrote yesterday about how other NBA teams are jumping on the BBNBA backwagon and I can’t tell if it is because Kentucky players are taking prominent positions in NBA rosters or if there are just so many of them that it is unavoidable having 3-5 Wildcats on a team. Either way, we really should have seen AD and Boogie teaming up with LeBron coming.

Image result for calipari and lebron

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