Good morning! Spring training starts in 12 days, and Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain unsigned. Nothing to see here! Totally normal! Baseball is fine, you guys.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Now that Anthony Davis has requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans, the race to acquire one of the NBA's brightest stars is officially underway. Let's meet the major players:
Anthony Davis: "The Brow" is averaging 29.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.6 blocks per game in 41 games this season. He's unguardable. Put him alongside LeBron on the Lakers (where it sounds like he wants to go) and the ceiling is the roof.
The Pelicans: One of the reasons Davis wants out of New Orleans could be the way the team's front office prioritizes football over basketball, The Athletic's Sam Amick reports (subscription).
The Celtics: Boston can offer arguably the best trade package for Davis, but there's a giant roadblock in the way: due to the so-called "Rose Rule," the Celtics can't add him to their roster until July (unless they trade Kyrie Irving, which they won't).
The Lakers: With the Celtics handcuffed, the Lakers have a temporary advantage that they'll lose the instant the trade deadline passes because they can't compete with Boston's best offer. Thus, it's hard to argue against them going all in right now.
The other guys: The Knicks, Bucks and Raptors are expected to make offers before the deadline, and more teams will likely join the rumor mill this week.
Almirón after Atlanta United won the MLS Cup in December. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Atlanta United's star midfielder Miguel Almirón, who finished second in MVP voting last season, has reportedly been sold to Premier League side Newcastle United for an MLS-record $27 million.
Why it matters: This is further proof that Major League Soccer is becoming a viable destination for players who want to develop their talents and increase their international exposure.
The big picture: With more Latin American players like Almirón — who is from Paraguay — joining MLS, the overall quality of play has improved in recent years.
The bottom line: MLS has quietly become a respectable "pit stop" on the global soccer circuit (and, of course, a frequent "last stop" for aging former stars). This has done wonders for the league's relevancy worldwide, as its become part of the overall system as opposed to "that league over there in America."
P.S. Speaking of Newcastle, they stunned Manchester City 2-1 yesterday, picking up 3 huge points and putting a serious dent in City's title hopes.
Patriots WR Matthew Slater during an interview session yesterday. Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
Best thing I read: The Mysterious Career of Matthew Slater, Special Teams Superstar (Rodger Sherman, The Ringer):
Best video: I stumbled upon this incredibly detailed explanation of how Mercedes-Benz Stadium works, and it honestly blew my mind. I need this guy to explain more things to me.
Best food review: SB Nation's James Dator ate and ranked every food item that will be at available during the game. The "Closed on Sunday" sounds unreal: "Take everything you love about a Chick-Fil-A sandwich and make every element perfect. The chicken is juicier, the pickle is crispier, the bun is a higher quality."
Best gift: Brandin Cooks surprised the Rams' custodian with a pair of Super Bowl tickets. Doesn't get better.
Jase Febres of the Texas Longhorns reacts after hitting a 3-pointer. Photo: Chris Covatta/Getty Images
Texas 73, (11) Kansas 63: The Jayhawks have lost 3 of their last 4 and are now 1-5 on the road this season. After winning at least a share of the Big 12 title for 14 consecutive seasons, could this finally be the year Kansas doesn't finish on top? Go deeper.
(3) UVA def. (23) NC State, 66-65 (OT): Virginia turned the ball over a season-high 16 times and blew a double-digit lead in the second half, but the Cavaliers survived thanks to NC State's paltry shooting (34%). Full recap.
With his parents in attendance, Boston Bruins youngster Trent Frederic made his NHL debut — and ended up winning a pretty intense fight that had the crowd at TD Garden going wild.
Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images
71 years ago today, the 1948 Winter Olympics — the first Olympics to be celebrated after World War II — kicked off in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The exclusion of Japan and Germany created an intensely political atmosphere.
Pictured above (original caption): "Barbara Ann Scott pictured gliding on the ice before the judges during the women's compulsory figure skating contest. The sparkling ballerina of ice won the women's figure skating championship and dazzled admirers in her win."
P.S. Found some footage.
Answer at the bottom.
The Austin Elite and Houston Sabercats. Photo: Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
Major League Rugby kicked off its second season this past weekend, with 8 of the league's 9 teams in action.
Kendall "Hump dayyyyyy" Baker
Trivia Answer: The (Green Bay) Packers and (Indiana) Pacers