Good morning. Let’s basketball.
WE HAVE A TRADE! The Bulls traded Tony Snell to Milwaukee for Michael Carter-Williams. What a fall from grace for both the former Rookie of the Year and the former braid-wearing friend of Kawhi. Don’t cut your hair, kids.
THIS IS WHERE WE’RE AT: But seriously, MCW getting traded for Snell shows you how poorly the trade for MCW went for Milwaukee just a year and change ago. The Bucks moved Brandon Knight in that deal. Knight hasn’t lived up to his reputation or contract in Phoenix, but Phoenix sent a top-3 protected Lakers pick to Philadelphia in that deal. (That pick is still outstanding.) Milwaukee could have traded Knight for the pick, in theory, and be sitting pretty. Instead, Snell. Reports suggest the Kings — THE KINGS! — were demanding a pick with MCW to send Ben McLemore to Milwaukee. What a world.
AND 1: Much was made of MCW's physical similarities to Kidd, who of course is the coach of the Bucks and is seen as the puppet master (for better or worse, whether fair or not). Kidd just gave up on the next Kidd, in other words. Maybe. Milwaukee is weird.
SMITTY BACK: The long national crisis over J.R. Smith’s next contract has ended. Smitty signed a four-year, $57 million deal with the Cavaliers, with some unguaranteed money on the back end. The contract will more than double Smith’s career NBA earnings. He’s 31 years old. His contract history is pretty amazing — he’s never been overpaid (until, arguably, now) and never made much more than the old middle-level exception. Thanks, LeBron! Also, apparently, thanks to Bryan Colangelo and the Sixers are in order. Colangelo was making a hard push to sign Smith. Imagine that!
TO THE BRINK: Candace Parker was dope on Friday to put the Sparks up 2-1 in the WNBA Finals. Maya Moore turned the tables on Sunday to even the series for the Lynx. (There was a controversial no-call as well.) Now we’re headed to a winner-take-all Game 5. 8 p.m. ET on Thursday on ESPN2.
SPEAKING OF WHICH ... Really good Ramona Shelburne profile of Parker, who has been snubbed in some ways by the women’s basketball power structure despite being fricking amazing.
THAT’S A WRAP: Paul Flannery and I wrapped up our team previews on Friday. We don’t know how good or bad the Magic will be after their offseason moves, but they’ll be something to watch. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis is always worth the price of admission no matter which other Pelicans show up. Plus, Limited Upside on the future of the Clippers.
HMM: The NBA and players’ union are meeting Wednesday, somewhat conspicuously. Do we have a deal a week before the season begins?!
COLLEGE PREVIEWS: Best Gonzaga team ever? Maybe!
FUN! Paul Pierce and Draymond Green are still debating Kevin Durant’s decision. How very interesting.
OH BOY: Ty Lawson, who has an unguaranteed contract with the Kings, was late for a shootaround and missed the team plane to Kentucky last week. It turns out that when your back-up plan at the point is Ty Lawson, you need a back-up plan to your back-up plan. The Kings, who have designs on making the playoffs for the first time in a decade, are probably going to end up starting Jordan Farmar or Garrett Temple at point guard for the first eight games of the season ... unless they forgive and forget with Lawson.
REVENGE OF WELPVILLE: Vivek Ranadive apologized for lying about Geoff Petrie.
AND FINALLY: A Jack-o-Lantern depicting Kyrie Irving’s dagger three over Stephen Curry in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Via r/nba.
Happy Monday. See you next time.