👋 Happy Monday! We're officially underway at Wimbledon. Here's a preview of what to expect from this year's fairly wide open field.
Today's word count: 1,450 (~6 mins)
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Photo illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
The Brooklyn Nets signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (and DeAndre Jordan) on Day 1 of NBA free agency, accomplishing in roughly five years what the crosstown Knicks have been trying to pull off for decades: a successful rebuild.
Why it matters: These signings prove that the NBA has never been more about timing. With players constantly on the move and routinely joining forces with friends, if a team puts itself in the right position at the right time, previously unimaginable things can transpire.
The backdrop: In 2013, a disastrous trade with the Boston Celtics set the Nets back years and forced them to embrace the methodical rebuild. At best, they were irrelevant; at worst, they were the laughingstock of the league.
What they're saying:
Over $3 billion in new money was handed out to NBA players yesterday. $3,000,000,000!!! The biggest deals in each conference so far (new contracts and extensions):
Atlantic City. Photo: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
Sports bettors wagered more money in New Jersey than any other state during the month of May, making the Garden State the new sports betting capital of America, AP reports.
By the numbers: New Jersey saw $318.9 million worth of bets, edging out incumbent Nevada ($317.4 million) for the first time since the Supreme Court's monumental decision 13 months ago.
Why it matters: New Jersey's rise to the top is a direct result of the state embracing mobile betting. While other states require that bets be made in person, roughly 80% of bets placed in New Jersey have been made via mobile.
Gold Cup: The USMNT underwhelmed against 79th-ranked Curacao, but still managed to pick up the 1-0 victory thanks to Weston McKennie's first-half goal. The Americans have now appeared in 10 straight Gold Cup semifinals.
Women's World Cup: The USWNT's pragmatic approach paid off against France, the Netherlands huffed and puffed until they blew Italy's defense down and Sweden snapped a 24-year losing streak with a 2-1 win over Germany.
Copa America: Argentina beat Venezuela 2-0, while the three other quarterfinal matches ended 0-0 and were decided by penalties (Brazil over Paraguay, Chile over Colombia, Peru over Uruguay).
Red Sox star Mookie Betts meets distant relative Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex. Photo: Peter Nicholls/WPA Pool/Getty Images
If Londoners are fans of offense, they certainly got their money's worth, as the Yankees and Red Sox combined for 50 runs this weekend. New York won both games: 17-13 and 12-8.
Game 1 was absurd, with both teams scoring six runs in the first inning alone. It was also absurdly long, taking 4 hours and 42 minutes. The Yankees and Red Sox have now played the three longest nine-inning games in MLB history:
On Saturday afternoon, Australia finished off New Zealand 243-157 in the Cricket World Cup. This happened just eight miles away from where the Yankees-Red Sox game took place, so ESPN's Sam Borden took in both sports back-to-back. His biggest takeaway:
"Of all the similarities between cricket and baseball — the throwing, the hitting, the running, the odd devotion to long pants, the shall-we-say languid pace of play — the most striking one is this: They are the only major sports in the world in which the defense has the ball."
Glen Rice, Allan Houston, Dominique Wilkins, Alonzo Mourning and Patrick Ewing (l to r). Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images
21 years ago today, the NBA announced a league-wide lockout — the result of a labor dispute between the owners (seeking a firmer salary cap) and the players (seeking higher minimum salary).
Go deeper: An oral history of the 1998-99 NBA lockout (The Ringer)
Kevin Durant has averaged at least 25 PPG in each of his last 11 seasons. The Nets, meanwhile, have had just one player average 25 PPG for a season in team history.
Answer at the bottom.
The Premier Lacrosse League is just five weeks into its inaugural season and has already made a splash thanks in large part to innovation, both in terms of structure (tour-based model) and presentation (mid-action interviews with players).
Take a look below.
1. Championship bracket: The top two seeds face off in Game 1. The winner automatically advances to the championship and earns a bye, while the loser still advances to play the winner of Game 2 (Seed 3 vs. Seed 4).
2. 1st draft pick bracket: The league's worst two teams face off in Game 3. The winner earns a bye, while the loser still advances to play the loser of Game 2 (Seed 3 vs. Seed 4).
See you tomorrow,
Kendall "Pray for Stephen A. Smith" Baker
Trivia answer: Vince Carter in 2004–05 (27.5) and 2006–07 (25.2).