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Good morning to everyone but especially to…
At this point, it’s no secret Shohei Ohtani is MLB’s most impactful player given his outstanding work both on the mound and at the plate.
But June was the Angels star’s best month yet, and CBS Sports’ Matt Snyder . Ohtani a whopping 493 feet on Friday, a fitting illustration of just how massive his month had been. Here’s some context:
- Among players with at least 100 plate appearances, Ohtani had the seventh-highest OPS ever in June, with the only players above him being Hall of Famers Babe Ruth (1929, 192, 1930), Lou Gehrig (1930, 1936) and Rogers Hornsby (1925).
- Ohtani hit 15 home runs in June, tied with Ruth (1930), Pedro Guerrero (1985), Jim Thome (2004), Bob Johnson (1934) and Roger Maris (1961) for the third-most all-time.
- Across five starts, Ohtani — the only full-time pitcher on the lists above — went 2-2 with a 3.26 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings.
Ohtani has the Angels — who sit third in the AL West at 45-41 — on track for their first winning season since 2015 and first playoff appearance since 2014, earning a B+ in.
And not such a good morning for…
THE PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Time to reset those clocks, Blazers fans, because it’s no longer Dame Time in Portland. Damian Lillard (finally), and he’s reportedly intent on being dealt to the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat.
Lillard’s trade request sent shockwaves around the league, and it initiated a fascinating conversation into how teams should cater to their franchise players. A day before the Lillard news broke, Portland, a win-now move by all intents and purposes.
But without Lillard, winning now isn’t feasible for Portland. Newcomers Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe are so young they can’t legally drink alcohol. Our Brad Botkin explained, given Lillard’s looming departure, and he also , whether it’s his preferred destination of Miami or not.
- Botkin: “I’m firm on this, and I don’t really see the argument for the other side. If you sign a contract, you sign a contract. The Blazers are paying Lillard an insane amount of money. They are not in any way beholden to his every demand, too. That organization might never again have a player as great as Lillard, so while they do, they owe it to themselves to at least receive a return package worthy of that kind of asset.”
The Trailblazers, for now, seem to be following Botkin’s advice, as they reportedly told teams across the league they’re “open for business” and are looking for the “best deal” possible.
NBA free agency: A look at the biggest moves across the league ????
There’s no season like the offseason in the NBA, and CBS Sports has been covering every angle. The began Friday evening and continued into the weekend, with stars such as Kyrie Irving and Draymond Green landing sizable new contracts.
Here’s a quick recap at the reported deals:
- (three years, $126 million) and (four years, $100 million) re-signed with the Mavericks and Warriors, respectively.
- The Lakers were busy in adding , Taurean Prince, Jaxson Hayes and Cam Reddish, while re-signing Austin Reaves, and ; Dennis Schroeder, Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr. left for the Raptors, Nets and Timberwolves, respectively.
- left the Raptors for a three-year, $130 million deal with the Rockets, who also gave former Grizzlies forward Dillion Brooks a four-year contract worth $80 million.
- The Bucks kept their core intact by re-signing (three years, $102 million) and (two years, $48 million), though they lost reserve guard Jevon Carter to the Bulls.
While most of the top names are off the board, quality role players such as Grant Williams and P.J. Washington . and are decidedly unavailable now, as the Hornets and Kings rewarded their stars with contract extensions worth over $200 million apiece.
Rickie Fowler ends four-year winless drought with Rocket Mortgage Classic victory ⛳
After a four-year winless drought, Rickie Fowler has made his long-awaited return to the PGA Winner’s Circle. Fowler fended off Adam Hadwin and Collin Morikawa in a playoff to capture victory in the 2023 Rocket Mortgage Classic, his sixth PGA Tour win and first in 1,610 days.
Fowler, who last won the 2019 Phoenix Open, sealed his victory at the Detroit Golf Club by birdieing the first hole of bonus play. It took a birdie on the final hole for Fowler to even make the playoff — he made par on the previous 10 holes, nearly squandering his strong start to the day — but came up clutch when it mattered most, and he’ll head home $1.584 million richer as a result.
CBS Sports’ Kyle Porter gave Fowler an A+ for his performance, noting the 34-year-old American may just be getting started.
- Porter: “What’s not being discussed is how much is still at stake this season for the now six-time PGA Tour winner. The Open at Royal Liverpool in three weeks is where Fowler almost won in 2014 over Rory McIlroy, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs loom beyond that. Fowler could still accomplish plenty over the rest of 2023, but make no mistake about what the Rocket Mortgage Classic marked on this Sunday in Detroit. Rickie Fowler is now officially officially back and likely not going anywhere anytime soon.”
The PGA Tour returns with the John Deere Classic, a tournament taking place July 6-9 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. Coverage is available on the Golf Channel and the CBS Sports app.
NIL turns two, and the NCAA still hasn’t figured out how to police it ????
We’re entering Year 3 of Name, Image and Likeness, and the NCAA has yet to come close to figuring it out. Last week, the NCAA released a memo stating schools in states with conflicting NIL laws are “required” to follow NCAA rules. Almost two years to the day prior, the NCAA encouraged players to “engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located,” a wholly contradictory position.
The confusion seems to be growing by the day, and the latest developments are largely disadvantageous to the NCAA:
- California Assemblyman Chris Holden has introduced the College Athlete Protection Act, which would give players a share of the revenue along with enhanced medical care, and it could become law by early next year.
- The National Labor Relations Board has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against USC, the Pac-12 and the NCAA with the hope of classifying players as employees instead of student-athletes.
- Two major court cases, House v. NCAA and Johnson v. NCAA, aim to cut limits on athlete compensation and classify athletes as employees, respectively.
CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd broke down.
- Dodd: “[The NCAA] created this monster, ignoring numerous opportunities over the years that could have allowed athletes to be fairly compensated. The association can issue all the memos it wants. Guidelines aren’t enforcement and enforcement isn’t penalties. So far, we have seen scant evidence of any kind of deterrence from the NCAA.”