The Big Bucks 💰

December 16, 2020

Good Morning,

The 2-time MVP chose loyalty over ring-chasing. That $228 million doesn’t hurt either.

Letter Rip!

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NBA

Super Freak: Giannis Gets the Big Bucks

Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat / Getty Images

Antetokounmpo Signs $228 Million Super-Max Extension to Stay in Milwaukee Through 2025

Loyalty, defined. You can call it a win for small market teams everywhere, but the Milwaukee Bucks just made history with the rare retention of a Hall of Fame talent. After back-to-back MVP seasons, Giannis Antetokounmpo put pen to paper on his five-year, $228 million super-max contract extension on Tuesday. That means the Greek Freak will stay in Milwaukee through 2025. His contract includes a player option after Year 4, but the Bucks just won the offseason in the NBA.

The Buck Stops Here
Milwaukee’s pitch to keeping Giannis relied on getting him additional help to get over the hump in the postseason. The Bucks fell short of the NBA Finals in each of the last two seasons, but the team added all-star guard Jrue Holiday this offseason. Keeping Giannis — opposed to seeing him go to Miami or Los Angeles — means the Bucks should be relevant for the foreseeable future. The next step is winning a title.

“This is my home, this is my city… I’m blessed to be able to be a part of the Milwaukee Bucks for the next 5 years. Let’s make these years count. The show goes on, let’s get it.” — Giannis Antetokounmpo (Social Media)

Antetokounmpo became the third player in NBA history to win the MVP Award and Defensive Player of the Year Award in the same season in 2020.

Additional Storylines
SI: In Staying Put, Giannis Sets a New Precedent for Superstars
CBS Sports: Bucks Teammates Gifted Giannis Pens for His Birthday to Encourage Him to Sign Extension

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MLB

Baseball Is Back At It

Photo: Pouya Dianat / Getty Images

Owners & Players Headed for Negotiations on Start Date of 2021 Season

Here we go again. After a quiet and, quite frankly, boring offseason in Major League Baseball, Tuesday’s headline feels like the same old story. The league and its players union are gearing up for more discussions regarding the logistics of beginning the 2021 season on schedule due to COVID-19 concerns. In short, owners want to delay the start of the season so that all players can get vaccines before spring training begins. The season was scheduled to begin April 1, 2020, but that appears unlikely.

So What Happens Next?
After last spring’s battle between players and owners over the shortened 60-game season, including pro-rated salaries, it appears 2021 could be similar. Multiple reports suggest the season won’t start until May or June and could feature more paycuts in another shortened calendar (roughly 120-140 games).

A number of players, managers and individuals have stated they expect to begin spring training on time.

Additional Storylines
USA Today: MLB & Players Union at Odds on Delaying Start of 2021 Season
CBS Sports: NL Owner Says There’s Not ‘A Snowball’s Chance in Hell’ Spring Training Begins on Time

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NCAAW

VanDerveer Reaches the Summit

Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Stanford Women’s Head Coach Tara VanDerveer Collects Historic Win No. 1,099

It was a night of history for the No. 1 team in women’s college hoops on Tuesday. Top-ranked Stanford handled Pacific (104-61) to earn head coach Tara VanDerveer’s 1,099th career victory. She passes former Tennessee legend Pat Summit as the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history. Only Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (1,160 wins) has more in men’s or women’s hoops.

All-Time Winningest Coaches (NCAAW)
T. VanDerveer (Stanford): 1,099 Wins
P. Summit (Tennessee): 1,098 Wins
G. Auriemma (UConn): 1,093 Wins

“I really hope Pat Summit is looking down and saying, ‘Good job, Tara. Keep it going.” — Tara VanDerveer (ESPN Interview)

Additional Storylines
NY Times: Tara VanDerveer’s Current Math: 1,099 Wins & Counting
ESPN: VanDerveer Surpasses Summit for Most Victories in Division I Women’s Basketball

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CFB PLAYOFF

The Selection is Coming

Image via @CFBPlayoff

Top-4 Remain the Same, But Championship Week Could Bring the Drama

The latest College Football Playoff Rankings were revealed on Tuesday, and there were no surprises among the top four. Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State remain in the driver’s seat, but a new challenger has emerged. Iowa State climbed into the No. 7 spot after Florida’s loss to LSU. The Cyclones could have a path to the playoff with a win over No. 10 Oklahoma and a loss by Clemson or Ohio State. Texas A&M is also still a one-loss option for next-team-up.

CFB Playoff Rankings (Top-10)
1. Alabama (10) | —
2. Notre Dame (10-0) | —
3. Clemson (9-1) | —
4. Ohio State (5-0) | —
5. Texas A&M (7-1) | —
6. Iowa State (8-2) | ↑1
7. Florida (8-2) | ↓1
8. Georgia (7-2) | ↑1
9. Cincinnati (8-0) | ↓1
10. Oklahoma (7-2) | ↑1

The final CFB Playoff selection will take place on Sunday (Dec. 20) following this weekend’s conference championship games.

Additional Storylines
CBS Sports: Overrated & Underrated Teams in the Latest CFB Playoff Rankings
SI: Selection Committee Proves There’s Never Room for a Non-Power 5 Team in the Playoff

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THE STORYLINES

🏈 Lamar Jackson & The Locker Room
The reigning NFL MVP hurried off the field late in Monday’s game before returning to save the day. Was it a case of the cramps? Or did Jackson do something else before wiping away the Browns? (The Ringer)

🏒 NHL Power Rankings
The NHL offseason has hit a lull with not many free agent signings or trades being made over the last few weeks. Therefore, it’s a good time to reassess where all 31 teams stand after the initial flurry of roster transactions in October and early November. (NBC Sports)

🏀 Kelly Loeffler Is Embarrassing
It’s not often the owner of a professional sports team takes a photo with a man who is a neo-Nazi and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, but that’s exactly what Kelly Loeffler did. The owner of the Atlanta Dream has humiliated the WNBA over and over. Will the league ever fight back? (USA Today)

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📰 THE HEADLINES 

Texas H.S. Football Player Who Attacked Ref Gets 1-Year Probation
(USA Today)

NFL Still Uncertain About Fans, Capacity at Super Bowl LV
(Yahoo! Sports)

Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones to Undergo Surgery on Broken Finger
(Bleacher Report)

Luka Doncic Leads Giannis Antetokounmpo as Betting Favorite to Win NBA MVP
(ESPN)

College Football’s Early National Signing Day Opens for Top Prospects
(CBS Sports)

NFL Informs Teams It Will Not Require Localized Postseason Bubbles
(Sports Illustrated)

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READER POLL

Question of the Day?

Who do you think should win the 2020 NFL MVP Award?

Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
Derrick Henry (Titans)
Josh Allen (Bills)
Other

Yesterday’s Results: 40% of readers think James Harden will still play for the Houston Rockets at the end of the season. (76ers: 25%, Heat: 16%, Nets: 6%, Other: 13%)

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