KRWG

NBA's Free Agency Period, MLB's Yankees And Red Sox

Jul 1, 2017
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Basketball season is over. But is it ever, really? Free agency has just begun - teams trading millionaires back and forth, back and forth. Each team wondering, how do we beat the Golden State Warriors? We're joined now by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. Good morning, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott. How are you? Do you have the formula for beating the Warriors?

SIMON: No. I - no...

BRYANT: It's a recipe.

SIMON: Yeah. LeBron James is how I began my formula. But the Cavs have to add someone. Look, my friend, just in, like - what? - the past 24 hours, Steph Curry resigned with the Warriors, Blake Griffin with the Clippers. But Indiana traded Paul George to Oklahoma City, where he's going to join Russell Westbrook. Chris Paul went to Houston, where he's going to join James Harden. Jimmy Butler already traded from Chicago - but in any event, what's going on here? Who's...

BRYANT: And your Bulls dumped Rajon Rondo, as well. So there's a rebuild going on there. I think there are a couple of things at work. Number one, I know people are going to get upset about this. And I know that people have said, as they've said all season, for the last two years, really, when the Golden State Warriors won 173 games, even though they didn't win the championship, and this year when they steamrolled and lost all of one game in the postseason and did win the championship with Kevin Durant, I think this is the best thing that could ever happen to the NBA. And the reason why I say that is because now we're seeing what a super team can do.

We really haven't seen this since maybe the days of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant and then also the Bulls. This is forcing other teams to compete. This is what it's really all about, right? And we're talking about how smart all these organizations are. Get out there and get the best players and try to compete with the Warriors.

Now, obviously, it's a very difficult challenge when the Golden State has two of the three best players in the league with Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. But at the same time, if you want to be the best, then go out and beat the best. And obviously, when we're talking about the best players - LeBron James - he needs a little bit more help, as well. But I like what's happening in the NBA because at the very least, I don't really want to see owners just sit in and sit on their money.

I want to see teams compete. And I want to see which team is going to emerge. If these front office guys are so smart, then go out and put some teams together and let's see what happens.

SIMON: Let's switch to baseball. The AL East, Yankees started strong. But they've been struggling over the past couple of weeks. And the Bo Sox are back. What's happening?

BRYANT: And now the Red Sox are back, exactly. And I think this is also - this is also good. It's one game between the two. The Yankees were playing very well. They were going in and riding on the coattails of 6-foot-7, 282-pound giant Aaron judge. And then they lost 11 out of 15 games. And their pitching was - we are always wondering if their pitching was going to hold up - if they were going to be around over the course of a long 162-game season.

But once again, as we've talked about with basketball - and now we're talking about it again with baseball - the beauty of the game is when you have these rivalries, when you have something to circle and to watch when the game starts. And obviously, it doesn't get that much better than Red Sox and Yankees.

And you've got two teams that are trying - you know, the Yankees are a very young team. The Red Sox are a veteran team for the most part. And I'm looking forward to seeing what happens this summer. It's a weird thing, Scott, to have the Yankees sort of be underdogs. But that's kind of what they are this year because we're not quite sure if they're ready to return to their former greatness.

SIMON: And Aaron Judge can't pitch, right? Or have they tried him? I don't know.

BRYANT: Exactly.

SIMON: He's a big guy. Howard Bryant of ESPN and ESPN The Magazine. Thanks so much for being with us my friend. Talk to you soon.

BRYANT: Oh, my pleasure.

(SOUNDBITE OF MY DAD VS. YOURS SONG, "TANZ MIT UNS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.