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Maybe it’s not fair that the Cleveland Cavaliers won the lottery just eight years after winning the right to draft LeBron James (just ask any T-Wolves fan), but it seemed appropriate after all that happened last summer. With two picks in the top four, the Cavs were able to grab a couple of good prospects to help in the rebuilding process. Duke guard Kyrie Irving has what it takes to be a star, or at least a solid starter, while Texas forward Tristan Thompson (whom the Cavs picked at #4) apparently won the franchise over after playing Derrick Williams to a standstill in a recent workout.

The Draft had quite the international feel, with four foreign players – Enes Kanter (Turkey), Jonas Valanciunas (Lithuania), Jan Vesely (Czech Republic) and Bismack Biyombo (Congo) – going in the top seven. The Jazz passed on Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight to take Kanter at #3, which means that Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap may eventually be on the move.

Derrick Williams of the University of Arizona speaks to reporters at a media availability session ahead of the 2011 NBA Draft in New York, June 22, 2011. The 2011 NBA Draft will be held June 23 in Newark, New Jersey. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Kemba Walker landed in Charlotte and will be joined by Biyombo after the Bobcats traded away Stephen Jackson in a three-way deal with the Bucks and Kings that netted them the #7 pick. It appears that Charlotte has fully embraced the idea that the roster is in rebuilding mode. The Bucks acquired Jackson in the deal and he should bring some much-needed scoring while not giving much up on the defensive end.

There were a few other trades on the evening, but no big names were involved. Ray Felton (to Portland), Andre Miller (to Denver) and Rudy Fernandez (to Dallas) were part of a three-way deal between the Blazers, Nuggets and Mavericks.  The Spurs raised a few eyebrows by trading George Hill (not Tony Parker, who was rumored to be on the block) to the Pacers for San Diego State swingman Kawhi Leonard.

All in all, it was a fairly low-key draft given all the unfamiliar names in the lottery. This stemmed from the current NBA labor situation, which convinced many of the bigger names in the college ranks to stay in school for another year.


It's only June but the St. Louis Cardinals have to be wondering what else could go wrong this season.

After losing starter Adam Wainwright to Tommy John Surgery and Matt Holliday for a few weeks because of a quad injury, the Cards were recently dealt their biggest blow of the season when slugger Albert Pujols was the victim of a freak collision in a game against the Royals. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured left forearm and will miss anywhere from four to six weeks due to the injury.

St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols rolls on the ground in pain as head trainer Greg Hauck comes to his aid in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on June 19, 2011. Pujols left the game with an apparent wrist injury. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

It's never a good time for any team to lose their best player, but what makes this situation even worse for the Cardinals is that they're currently battling for first place in the NL Central. In fact, as of this writing, the Brewers, Cardinals, Reds and Pirates are all within three games of each other in the division. The injury certainly opens up the door for Milwaukee or Cincinnati to potentially build a lead heading into the All-Star Break.

Of course, the Brewers have a rough schedule leading up to the ASB. They'll take on the red-hot Twins for three games before traveling to the Bronx to play the Yankees for a three-game set. Then they play the Twins again (this time in Minnesota) before hosting the Diamondbacks for three games and the Reds for four games to close out their first-half schedule. So to assume that Milwaukee will open up a sizeable lead in the NL Central now that Pujols is out would be a mistake. (The Reds don't have it any easier, as 13 of their last 16 games before the All-Star Break will be on the road.)

The saving grace for the Cardinals is that they can move hot-hitting Lance Berkman to first base and give younger players like John Jay and Andrew Brown more opportunities to play in the outfield. Don't get it twisted: Losing Pujols is a massive blow. Not having his presence in the lineup is bound to affect every hitter in St. Louis' offense. But thanks to Berkman and their depth in the outfield, the Cards are in better shape than most.


It would appear as though the owners and players are coming close to agreeing on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), as the framework of the deal is now in place. reports that the players will receive 48% of all revenue under the new CBA, without the extra $1-billion-plus off the top that previously had been requested by the owners. The players' share will never dip below 46.5 percent under the new formula that is currently being negotiated and teams will be required to spend a minimum of 90-93 percent of the salary cap.

A rookie wage scale will also be part of the deal but apparently is still being “tweaked.” An 18-game regular season is still a possibility as well but only as a negotiable item. It will not be required in the new CBA, which is big for the players because they have been adamant against the idea. The players will also rejoice in the fact that retirees will benefit from improved health care and pension benefits are projected to double to $18 million by 2016.

For the owners, not only will they get a bigger piece of the revenue pie, but they will also receive expense credits that will allow funding for new stadiums. With most cities unable or unwilling to chip in for new stadiums, these expense credits will be a big coup for the owners.

Granted, there is still a lot to iron out before the lockout is lifted and fans are guaranteed professional football next fall. But with the framework in place, it's only a matter of time before the two sides finalize the new CBA and the NFL can get back to business as usual.


The U.S. scored the first two goals of the night, but Mexico was not deterred, and rallied to win the Gold Cup, 4-2. The game was played in front of 93,420 fans at the Rose Bowl, but it was not a home game for the Americans, which only underlines the lack of support for soccer in the United States. In fact, the ceremony after the game was held in Spanish, which irked U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Mexico's team celebrates their victory over the U.S. in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final soccer match at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California June 25, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Mexico was able to tie the game with goals in the 29th and 36th minute. The first was by Pablo Barrera, who also scored the go-ahead goal in the 50th minute. Giovani Dos Santos put Mexico up 4-2 with the game’s final goal in the 76th minute.

When it does not fall during the Confederations Cup, the Gold Cup is held every two years and decides the regional champion of North America, Central America and the Caribbean. With the win, Mexico advances to play in the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil.

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