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Lakers reportedly targeting UConn’s Dan Hurley; NBA Finals start tonight; MLB All-Star ballot time

This is an article version of the CBS Sports HQ AM Newsletter, the ultimate guide to every day in sports. You can sign up to get it in your inbox every weekday morning here.

As if today wasn’t already a huge day for the NBA, ESPN reported overnight that the Los Angeles Lakers are preparing a “massive” offer to lure UConn’s Dan Hurley, the coach who helmed back-to-back NCAA championships, to be their next coach. Expect more on this story from our college basketball and NBA teams throughout the day.

And as for that other big NBA story …

🏀 Good morning to everyone, but especially to …


Welcome to the NBA Finals, friends. It’s been a long time since we had the NBA on our screens, but the Celtics facing the Mavericks figures to be very much worth the wait.

We’ve seen a historic postseason from Luka Doncic already, and in his bold predictions, Brad Botkin says even more history is on the way.

  • Botkin:1. Luka averages 35 points per game — Only nine players have averaged at least 35 points for a single Finals: Michael Jordan (twice), Shaquille O’Neal (twice), Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jerry West, Allen Iverson and Kevin Durant. … Doncic has averaged north of 35 PPG for a single playoff series just once in his career (35.7 vs. the Clippers in 2021). It’s a huge number. But Dallas is going to have to score big in this series, and any idea that Boston is uniquely equipped to defend Luka largely went out the window with what he did to Minnesota …”

Doncic, of course, isn’t Dallas’ only star who can score big. Considering Jrue Holiday‘s hilarious (and honest) one-word answer about defending Kyrie Irving, Boston has plenty of respect for Dallas’ “other” star, too.

The Mavericks are every bit a championship-level team. But there’s a reason the Celtics are considerable favorites. They went an NBA-best 64-18 in the regular season, had the best offensive rating in NBA history and had the fifth-best average margin of victory in NBA history. They are a superteam, Sam Quinn writes, and they represent the future of superteams as well.

  • Quinn: “The Celtics don’t have three great players. They have six very good ones. Three of them, Holiday, Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford, made All-Star teams playing for someone other than the Celtics. A fourth, Derrick White, was acquired before his prime and may yet get there wearing green and white. … Jaylen Brown has already signed a supermax extension that hasn’t kicked in yet. Jayson Tatum became eligible for one by earning All-NBA honors this season. But Boston built while they were reasonably cheap and before the CBA harshly limited their maneuverability. They added players who were expensive, but not prohibitively so, and they timed the moves brilliantly.”

Here’s more:

😊 Honorable mentions

😓 Not so honorable mentions

⚾ MLB All-Star Game: Early expert ballot, under-the-radar names


MLB All-Star voting is officially open, and Matt Snyder has his early ballot with the game still over a month away.

Plenty of Matt’s picks are the ones you’d guess: Aaron Judge. Juan Soto. Shohei Ohtani. Mookie Betts. Guys atop the MVP conversation. But there are plenty of tough calls. In the AL, one of those is shortstop.

  • Snyder: Gunnar Henderson, Orioles. The veteran, established stars are Corey Seager, Carlos Correa and Bo Bichette. This is a two-man position right now, though, between up-and-coming superstars Bobby Witt Jr. and Henderson. Neither has gotten anywhere close to oversaturated in terms of public attention and neither has even been an All-Star yet. Thus, I’m going to go with one on each ballot and send apologies to Anthony Volpe.”

Matt also has under-the-radar picks for every position — man, Matt really does it all! — and let’s give some love to the NL Central leaders.

  • Snyder: “Second baseman — Brice Turang, BrewersLuis Arraez got a ton of run for his batting average last season and it’s bound to happen again. Ketel Marte is an established star and played in the World Series last year, so I’ll knock those two off. I’d entertain a vote for either if there wasn’t a viable alternative, but Turang is hitting .291 with a .356 OBP and 21 stolen bases for a first-place team. He deserves a look.”

⚽ Golazo 100: Why Christian Pulisic cracks list as we unveil 100-81

We started our Golazo 100 reveal with players No. 100-81, and topping that portion is a familiar name for USMNT fans. Christian Pulisic, fresh off his best season, comes in at No. 81. While it’s a remarkable achievement for Pulisic to be among the world’s best, it also shows the lack of top players among the USMNT ranks, Chuck Booth writes.

  • Booth: “His 12 league goals are the first time he’s broken double digits in league play over the course of his career. His eight league assists are also a career high. But just as importantly as those stats, for the first time in his career, Pulisic showed an ability to regularly get on the pitch, and stay there. He played 36 out of 38 league games for Milan, a career best, and only the second time he’s ever cracked the 30 game barrier …  When other nations that the USMNT will face have multiple top 100 players, it shows that despite America rising up the FIFA rankings, America is still playing catch-up when it comes to their talent level.”

If we had done this exercise a few years ago, Neymar would have been a top-10 player. I was shocked to see him all the way down at 89th. Jonathan Johnson explains.

  • Johnson: ” … does not even have a goal to his name with Al Hilal yet … A brilliant player on his day but not consistent nor motivated enough over the final meaningful years of his career means that this feels like things ending in ignominy unless Neymar can summon huge inner strength and belief to get back to something close to his best one final time.”

We’re unveiling 80-61 this morning on the CBS Sports Golazo Network.

⚽ Examining Emma Hayes’ strong start with USWNT

Exactly nine months ago, the USWNT finished its worst World Cup ever. Maybe the veterans were too old. Maybe the youngsters were too young. Whatever the case the U.S. needed a new voice with the world clearly catching up.

Emma Hayes is that new voice. After an incredible run with Chelsea, Hayes made her USWNT managerial debut in a 4-0 win over South Korea on Saturday, and she followed that up with a 3-0 win in the rematch Tuesday.

There was lots to be encouraged by. Crystal Dunn, normally a defender, played in attack and scored. Lily Yohannes, all of 16 years old, scored. And Hayes got valuable time with the team ahead of naming the Olympic roster.

She’s impressed so far, but she’ll also face huge expectations, Sandra Herrera writes.

  • Herrera: “With Hayes, she’s already checking off items on USWNT fans’ wishlists. Integrate new players with less experience and play them? Done and still happening. Formational changes? Done and were shifted in the game. Rotate players? Used every substitution available and only two players weren’t utilized this window. … Ready or not, Hayes is here to help push U.S. Soccer into the global game in ways it’s not used to and that’s a good thing.”

📺 What we’re watching Thursday

Cubs at Reds, 7:10 p.m. on MLB Network
🏀 NBA Finals — Game 1: Mavericks at Celtics, 8:30 p.m. on ABC

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Author: Zachary Pereles
June 6, 2024 | 9:20 am

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