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What’s next for Serena Williams? Plus, Oakland is closer than ever to losing the A’s

Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope your week is going well.

Let’s get right to it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…


USATSI

TERRY MCLAURIN AND THE WASHINGTON COMMANDERS

Another one of the star wide receivers from the 2019 draft class has signed a big contract extension: Commanders star Terry McLaurin agreed to a three-year, $71-million extension yesterday.

  • His $28-million signing bonus is the largest ever for a wide receiver.
  • More than 75% of the contract is fully guaranteed.
  • McLaurin is the second wide receiver from his class to get a big extension: A.J. Brown received a four-year, $100-million extension earlier this offseason, but that was only after he was traded from the Titans to the Eagles.

The wide receiver market has exploded this offseason, with McLaurin and Brown joining a list of big-money extensions that includes Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, Mike Williams and Chris Godwin. That’s good news for the players next in line to receive extensions. The 2019 draft class has several standout wide receivers waiting to get paid, including…

  • Deebo Samuel (49ers)
  • D.K. Metcalf (Seahawks)
  • Diontae Johnson (Steelers)
  • Marquise Brown (Cardinals)

As for McLaurin, this was a vital step in Washington’s plans. His 222 receptions are most in franchise history through a player’s first three seasons, and they’ve come despite Washington’s revolving door at quarterback (he’s caught passes from eight different players). McLaurin did not attend mandatory minicamp, and with new quarterback Carson Wentz in the fold, the Commanders needed to get its top pass catcher on the field sooner rather than later.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for…

SERENA WILLIAMS

This is not the way Serena Williams wanted her return to professional tennis to go. The 23-time major champion, playing for the first time since the opening round at the All England Club last year, lost to Harmony Tan in an opening-round match at Wimbledon, 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (10-7).

  • It’s just the third time Williams has lost in the first round of a major. It happened last year at Wimbledon when she had to retire due to a torn hamstring against Aliaksandra Sasnovich and at the 2012 French Open against Virginie Razzano.
  • While the final result is obviously a disappointment for Williams, she and Tan gave us some truly spectacular tennis during a match that lasted three hours and 11 minutes.
  • Williams actually won more points (124 to 119) but committed far too many unforced errors (54 compared to 28 for Tan).
  • For Tan, ranked 115th in the world, it’s a massive win in her Wimbledon debut. She’ll face Sara Sorribes Tormo next.

Williams, who turns 41 in September, wore her emotions on her sleeve after every key point won but took the loss in stride and told media members post-match she’s unsure of what her future holds. For now, she’ll remain one Grand Slam behind tying Margaret Court‘s record and leave Wimbledon — where she’s won seven times — with much to think about.

Not so honorable mentions

Jazz to hire Celtics assistant Will Hardy as new head coach 🏀


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After a lengthy search, the Utah Jazz are finalizing making Celtics assistant Will Hardy their next head coach.

  • At 34, Hardy will be the youngest coach in the NBA.
  • Hardy served as an assistant with the Spurs under Gregg Popovich for five seasons before following Ime Udoka to Boston last year.
  • Hardy takes over for Quin Snyder, who stepped down earlier this month after eight seasons in Utah.

To say this is an important offseason for Utah is an understatement. Aside from the coaching change, the franchise must figure out if it wants to move forward with stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert or with just one of them. The Jazz have made the playoffs six consecutive seasons but have not advanced past the second round in any of those trips, with Mitchell’s defensive struggles and Gobert’s offensive struggles being exposed far too often.

Still, Mitchell is a three-time All-Star just entering his prime, and Gobert is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year who just turned 30. It’s a big ask for any coach, but remember, Hardy was just assistant-coaching a Celtics team that went to the Finals after years of questions regarding whether Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown could play together.

NBA free agency: Knicks make another move ahead of potential Brunson arrival 🏀


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NBA free agency officially opens tomorrow night at 6 p.m., but rumors are already flying all over the league, and the New York Knicks are a big part of them. According to reports, Jalen Brunson will be headed to the Big Apple very soon, notes NBA expert Jack Maloney.

  • Maloney: “He’s set to earn a big payday this summer, especially with the Mavericks and Knicks getting into a bidding war for his services. Shortly after the Mavericks were eliminated, all signs pointed to Brunson returning to Dallas. Now, however, the winds have changed. … There is ‘growing resignation’ in the Mavericks organization that Brunson will sign with the Knicks.”

The Knicks laid the groundwork for signing Brunson by adding his father, Rick, to their coaching staff earlier this month. Then they made three — yes, three — trades on draft night, all in an effort to shed salary and have enough room to sign Brunson to a four-year, $100-million-plus deal.

And the Knicks weren’t done: Last night, they pulled off another deal with the Pistons:

Pistons receive:

  • Nerlens Noel
  • Alec Burks
  • 2023 second-round pick
  • 2024 second-round pick via Heat (top-55 protected)
  • $6 million

Knicks receive:

The Pistons entered the trade with the highest projected salary cap in the league and are in the early stages of a rebuild, so they weren’t going to use that money signing veterans to long-term deals. Instead, they’ll get Noel and Burks — both of whom they can move on from after this season — and assets. The Knicks, meanwhile, accomplish their goal of getting enough space for Brunson.

As things heat up, be sure to check out Sam Quinn’s NBA salary cap glossary, which explains all the terminology you’ll hear and read about in the coming days and weeks.

MLB won’t charge Athletics a relocation fee to leave Oakland for Las Vegas ⚾


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Ahead of a crucial week for the Athletics, MLB just made it easier for them to leave Oakland. According to reports, MLB will waive the relocation fee if the team moves to Las Vegas. It’s no surprise that report is emerging now, writes our MLB expert R.J. Anderson.

  • Anderson: “That rumor has surfaced just days before the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission is scheduled to vote on Thursday on removing a port priority use designation on the Howard Terminal site, the location the Athletics have been eyeing for a waterfront stadium, among other mixed-use developments.”

As R.J. also notes, MLB doing this for the A’s would be an extremely uncommon sports practice. For example:

  • The NFL charged the Rams and Chargers more than $600 million to move to Los Angeles and the Raiders nearly $400 million to move to Las Vegas.
  • Going back further for the NBA, the league charged the Supersonics $30 million to move to Oklahoma City (and become the Thunder) in 2008. Same with the Grizzlies moving from Vancouver to Memphis.

And in the realm of baseball, teams moving is rare. In the last 50 years only the Montreal Expos have moved state, becoming the Washington Nationals. If 18 of the 27 commissioners don’t vote in favor of removing the port use designation, the A’s waterfront plans could fail, and Oakland could soon be without a team.

What we’re watching Wednesday 📺

🎾 Wimbledon, How to watch
🏀 Sun at Sky, Noon on NBA TV
🏀 Fever at Sun, 10 p.m. on NBA TV




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