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Heart still thumping from Giannis’ Game 6 performance? Ours too.

Superteam Not Necessary

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Giannis Antetokounmpo stayed loyal to the team that drafted him, and now the Bucks are NBA champions.

“It’s easy to go somewhere and win a championship with somebody else,” Antetokounmpo told reporters after clinching. “I could go to a superteam, do my part, and win a championship … but I did it the hard way.”

The hard way was a legendary, 50-point masterpiece in which he dominated the entire game:

  • Seventh 50-point game in NBA Finals history
  • First player with 50 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks in a playoff game since blocks were first tracked in 1974
  • Joined Michael Jordan as the only players with multiple MVPs, a Defensive Player of the Year, and a Finals MVP
  • Joined Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win MVP, DPOY, and Finals MVP

In 2014, a year after being selected No. 15, Giannis vowed to stay in Milwaukee until it was a “championship-level team.” 

The Bucks were never the prototypical superteam, but the front office built a league champ anchored by Giannis’ five-year, $228 million supermax and the right supporting pieces.

The Larry O’Brien Trophies may keep coming: Milwaukee’s Big Three will be together until at least 2023, and Giannis is staying until at least 2026.

Add in key role players Brook Lopez, Bobby Portis, and Pat Connaughton — all Bucks next season — and it’s not hard to imagine a back-to-back champ.

Can Kraken Crush Expansion Draft?

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The initial roster for the Seattle Kraken — NHL’s 32nd team — will be revealed on Wednesday night.

Seattle has $81.2 million in salary-cap space to build its team through the expansion draft, as well as free agency and trades.

The Kraken selected 30 players Wednesday — one from each team, minus the exempt Golden Knights — comprising 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goaltenders.

The last NHL expansion draft was Vegas in 2017, and the Kraken will hope to match their immediate success. They made the Stanley Cup Final in their first season and have been contenders ever since.

Seattle had plenty of big-name — and high-priced — talent to choose from, including:

  • Canadiens G Carey Price, $10.5M cap hit
  • Devils D P.K. Subban, $9M
  • Flyers W Jakub Voracek, $8.25M
  • Predators C Matt Duchene, $8M
  • Blues W Vladimir Tarasenko, $7.5M
  • Flames D Mark Giordano, $6.75M

Reports surfaced Wednesday afternoon that Seattle passed on Price but chose Giordano, who is likely to serve as the first captain in franchise history. Vegas went the veteran route for its leader when it selected goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

The full list — as well as the Kraken’s uniforms — will be unveiled at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Return of Boston’s Ace


Chris Sale, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since Aug. 13, 2019, is nearing a return — and it could be massive for a first-place Boston team locked in an AL East dogfight.

The seven-time All-Star went 3.2 innings in a rehab start for Double-A Portland on Tuesday: He didn’t allow a hit, struck out six, and walked one.

He finished within the Top 6 in AL Cy Young voting each year from 2012-18 and helped them win the 2018 title.

The Red Sox have been patient with the lefthander, and for very good reason: They are in it for the (very) long haul with Sale.

  • In 2019, he signed a five-year, $145 million contract extension with a base salary of $30 million in 2021. 
  • Sale will receive $50 million in deferred payments — $10 million per year — from 2035 through 2039, when he’s 50.

The addition of MLB’s all-time leader in strikeouts per nine innings (11.1) could put the Red Sox over the top in their quest for a championship.

While they rank second in hits, fourth in runs, and fifth in average, they’re just 13th in ERA and 25th in opponent average.

The Red Sox lead the Rays by one game and have the third-best record in the AL. They currently have the sixth-best odds (+1,000*) to win the World Series.

Making Headlines

Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Network

Olympics: The U.S. women’s soccer team fell to Sweden 3-0 to open Group G play, snapping the Americans’ 44-match unbeaten streak. The U.S. will face New Zealand on Saturday. Also: The U.S. softball team blanked Italy 2-0 in Group Stage play; and Brisbane was selected to host the 2032 Games.

NFL: Linebacker Fred Warner agreed to a five-year, $95 million extension with the 49ers, according to ESPN.

MLB: The Cubs rallied for six runs in the ninth inning to stun the Cardinals 7-6. It marked the first time since April 29, 1979 that Chicago erased a five-run deficit in the ninth.

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*All times are EST unless otherwise noted.
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