Welcome to the roundup of must-see sports headlines from Sunday, highlighted by the Brooklyn Nets stealing the show in a big way on the first day of the NBA free agency period by landing superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
We also round-up the breaking news of free agent movement from Day 1 including new homes for Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker and Al Horford, and we take a look back on the incredible comeback story of PGA Tour pro Nate Lashley who overcame unspeakable adversity to get himself into a position to win his first PGA Tour event on Sunday.
All this and more as we get you up to speed with the sports world on this first day of July!
Brooklyn Nets Make Momentous Moves on Day 1 of NBA Free Agency; Land Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving & DeAndre Jordan
From being in shambles just a few seasons ago to launching themselves to the forefront of one of the most active free agent periods in NBA history, the Brooklyn Nets stole the show on Sunday night. The NBA free agency period officially kicked off on Sunday at 6pm ET and it was the Nets who came out of the gate swinging by landing two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, and NBA All-Stars Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan.
Durant, who is expected to miss all of next season due to his ruptured Achilles, plans to sign a four-year deal that will be worth up to $164 million, per ESPN’s report. Irving will be signing a contract for four years, $141 million, leagues sources said, and Jordan will be signing a four year, $40 million deal, Excel Sports agent Jeff Schwartz told ESPN.
Check out Heavy.com for the Nets’ projected roster for next season.
The Nets got the best of their cross-city rivalry with the New York Knicks on Sunday, landing two of the biggest free agents. Reports arose that the Knicks and their owner Jim Dolan “were not prepared to offer Durant a full max contract because of concerns over his recovery from the Achilles tendon injury.”
Lifelong Knicks fan and ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith expressed his frustrations on Sunday night with an epic rant on Twitter:
The Knicks did land two free agents on Sunday night, just not the names their fans had hoped for. Big man Julius Randle, who played for the New Orleans Pelicans last season, will be signing with the Knicks for three years, $63 million, and Taj Gibson will come on board for two years and $20 million.
The Nets will be parting ways with their All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell, as the Warriors are trying to finalize a sign-and-trade with them that would land Russell for four years, $117 million, league sources told ESPN.
Players can officially sign their contracts beginning on Saturday, July 6th.
For a comprehensive rundown of updated NBA Free Agency News and Reports, follow Heavy.com’s sports coverage.
NBA Free Agency Period Day 1 Roundup: Heat Finalizing Sign-And-Trade for Jimmy Butler, Sixers Add Al Horford
The Brooklyn Nets weren’t the only team hard at work during the first night of the NBA free agency period on Sunday.
The Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers will have very different looking rosters coming into the 2019-2020 season. The Heat are finalizing a sign-and-trade deal with the 76ers to land superstar guard Jimmy Butler, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. As a part of the deal, the Heat will send Josh Richardson to Philadelphia.
Check out Heavy.com for the Heat’s projected roster and starting lineup for next season.
The 76ers lost one All-Star but gained another as Al Horford will be leaving the Boston Celtics to come to Philadelphia for a four-year, $109 million deal, his agent Jason Glushon told ESPN. Horford now pairs with Joel Embid to make quite the defensive duo in Philadelphia.
More good news for the 76ers – forward Tobias Harris will be back, agreeing to a five-year, $180 million deal to stay in Philadelphia, his agent and father, Torrel Harris of Unique Sports Management, told ESPN.
Check out Heavy.com for the 76ers’ projected roster and starting lineup for next season.
Rounding out Sunday’s superstar free agent activity, Kemba Walker agreed to a four-year, $141 million contract with the Boston Celtics and Klay Thompson reached an agreement to return with the Golden State Warriors for five years, $190 million.
From Tragedy to Triumph, Nate Lashley Overcomes It All To Win First PGA Tour Event
PGA Tour pro Nate Lashley has dealt with more adversity than anyone should in life, but somehow he managed to summon the internal strength to keep grinding and working towards his dream of someday making it on the PGA Tour. That someday was Sunday, as Lashley won his first PGA Tour tournament – the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
When Lashley was a junior in college in 2004, his parents, Rob and Char, and his then-girlfriend, Leslie Hofmeister, were killed in a plane crash on their way back home from watching him compete in the NCAA Tournament.
In the years that followed, Lashley struggled once he turned pro, made countless stints on the minitours, made a decision to quit golf and start selling real estate and then made a comeback to the game which led to him finally earning his PGA Tour card in 2018.
The 36-year-old Lashley, now a second-year PGA Tour member, initially failed to make this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit as a Monday qualifier and was listed as a third alternate. He would eventually find out on Wednesday that he was entered into the tournament as the 156th and final player in the field due to a few withdrawals.
In a true Cinderella story, Lashley, the 353rd ranked player in the world, dominated from start to finish and ran past some of the world’s best players including Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, on his way to winning his first PGA Tour event. Lashley led from wire-to-wire and shot an out of this world 25-under par to win by six strokes over a Monday qualifier Doc Redman, who finished second at 19-under par.
Lashley, who was cheered on by his sister and girlfriend, gave an emotional interview to CBS after he completed the victory, that you can see below.
The Nebraska native won $1.3 million for his win this week and earns a two-year PGA Tour exemption and a spot in the 2020 Masters.
Sports have a tendency to author some incredible comeback stories, and this one will go down as one of the best.
DON’T MISS THESE STORIES: Rounding Up the Top Sports Headlines
- MLB All-Star pitchers and reserves announced; See the full rosters here.
- New York Yankees sweep Red Sox in London Series with another wild offensive showcase.
- U.S. Men’s Soccer Team gets by Curacao 1-0 to advance to Gold Cup semifinals.
- Alex Bowman wins first NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race at Chicagoland.
WHAT’S ON TAP IN THE SPORTS WORLD
Wimbledon Gets Underway
Wimbledon 2019 kicks off on Monday morning and will wrap up on the weekend of July 13-14 with the women’s and men’s finals. Novak Djokovic and Angelique Kerber are the defending champions.
Date: Monday, 7/1 through Sunday, 7/14
TV: ESPN (Coverage begins at 6am ET on Monday)
FIFA Women’s World Cup (Semifinals): U.S. vs. England
Fresh off their huge win over host nation France, the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team will now face England in the World Cup semifinals on Tuesday. On the other side of the bracket, the Netherlands and Sweden will matchup in the second semifinal on Wednesday.
Date: Tuesday, 7/2
Time: 3pm ET