This Week in US Sports: Football season is upon us; Lakers give Howard a second chance
It's football time in the US.
The NFL preseason wraps up this week and the college season really gets going on Thursday as the No. 1 team in the country Clemson opens up against Georgia Tech.
With that several storylines that have rumbled on throughout the offseason come into an even greater focus.
Here we look at some of the biggest news from this week in US Sports.
1. Contracts still up in the air as holdouts stand their ground
With the NFL season less than two weeks away, teams are starting to finalise their rosters. But what can make a franchise's job even harder is trying to come to decisions at key positions when players are not in camp, and in Texas, two huge players remain in a self-imposed exile.
Ezekiel Elliott continues to hold out in search of a new contract with the Dallas Cowboys and in Houston, Jadeveon Clowney still has not signed his franchise tender with the Texans and appears willing to wait into the season to make any kind of decision if he is not traded.
The argument could be made these two players are the best on the rosters of the Cowboys and Texans and it is very likely neither will be active in Week 1.
2. College football kick-off
It may be alien to most outside of the US but possibly the biggest football weekend of the year is upon us and it has nothing to do with the NFL. The college football season kicked off last week with two games, but the real kick-off takes place on Thursday as Clemson start their title defence.
The reigning national champions have the quarterback most believe to be the best in the nation in Trevor Lawrence. The Tigers are a big deal, and they will be expected to make light work of Georgia Tech.
The real game of the week comes on Saturday when Oregon take on Auburn. These are two very big programs nationally and will feature a huge audience watching across the country. There's nothing quite like college football and it properly gets going this week.
3. Dwight Howard signs with Lakers
It's been a typically eventful offseason for the Los Angeles Lakers. Between the acquistion of Anthony Davis and the injury suffered by DeMarcus Cousins, they have dominated NBA headlines and made another intriuging move this week when the Lakers signed Dwight Howard after he was bought out by the Memphis Grizzlies.
Howard was all but run out of town in Los Angeles earlier in his career as he never got along with Kobe Bryant and was not the player he was with the Orlando Magic. Now he's back, but the Lakers are not exactly going out on a limb for him.
Howard's contract has no guarantees on it and he can be cut well into the season without much of a cost to Los Angeles. It's a low-risk, high-reward move for a Lakers team in desperate need of a center following Cousins' injury.
4. Key injuries hurt NFL contenders
The biggest thing in the preseason is getting through healthy, but the Texans and New England Patriots were unable to do that. New England likely lost starting center David Andrews for the season with blood clots and Houston has definitely lost running back Lamar Miller with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Fortunately for the Texans they had already acquired a quality back in Duke Johnson during the offseason. He is a better passing-game back than Miller and should be able to fill the void. As for the Patriots, they made two moves to pick up offensive linemen Jermaine Eluemunor and Korey Cunningham on Wednesday to make up somewhat for the loss of Andrews.