This Week in US Sports: MLB trades fly off board, NFL contracts continue to be stories
The MLB trade deadline is always fun, but it was especially entertaining this year.
Meanwhile, in the NFL, players continue to play chicken with their teams and in the FIBA World Cup, athletes continue to drop out.
All that and more on this week in US Sports.
1. Trade frenzy
This was the first time ever there has been just one trade deadline in MLB. In years past, there was a second deadline in July where teams could make waiver claims and acquire guys who could still help their teams in the postseason. That is gone this year. So that made Wednesday especially exciting.
While the leadup to the 16:00 local time (20:00 GMT) deadline was a bit slow, the second the clock struck four, things started going crazy. The Chicago Cubs announced they had acquired Nicholas Castellanos, the Arizona Diamondbacks said they received Mike Leake from the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Dodgers stated they received Adam Kolarek from the Tampa Bay Rays. But the trade of the day came deep in the heart of Texas where the Houston Astros obtained six-time All-Star and 2009 American League Cy Young winner Zack Greinke.
The Astros gave up a haul to get him and will have to cover a substantial amount of the $75million of his remaining prospect, but his addition instantly gives Houston the best rotation in the American League and possibly baseball with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley already having top-15 ERAs in the sport.
The Astros made a statement Wednesday and it was one with World Series implications all over it.
2. NFL contracts resolved, complicated
The absolute biggest story of NFL training camps is contracts. First, Michael Thomas was made the highest-paid wide receiver in league this week by the New Orleans Saints, but two other players are not nearly as happy.
The Dallas Cowboys are nowhere near a contract with star running back Ezekiel Elliott who has already won two rushing titles in his career and Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon's agent reportedly asked the team to trade him this week. Contracts are an issue now and will continue to be over the next several weeks.
3. Clemson number one, Alabama second in the coaches poll
In the least surprising news of the year, Clemson have been named the top team in the college football nation by an assortment of coaches across the country. The Tigers received 59 of a possible 65 first-place votes and are once again thought by many to be destined for the College Football Playoff national championship game.
Alabama are ranked second, and also unsurprisingly, they received all six of the other votes as a first-place team by the coaches. These are the two best sides in the nation — on paper — and the coaches certainly believe that too.
4. Dropping like flies
Will there be any basketball players on the USA men's team for the FIBA World Cup? Of course there will be. Will everyone know all of those names worldwide? Absolutely not. The United States lost two more players on Thursday as Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond and Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell both dropped out of the event. They join an assortment of players already to do that and there are very few big names left with a few more likely to fall off before next week's practices in Las Vegas.
But the US are not the only team losing players. New York Knicks rookie RJ Barrett pulled out of Team Canada's roster and Ben Simmons already decided not to play for Australia too. The World Cup this year is going to be pretty thin with big-name players.