Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Orioles make big-time trade for Corbin Burnes; NBA names All-Star reserves

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⚾ Good morning to everyone but especially …


There were several reasons the Orioles were an exciting buy for incoming owners David Rubenstein and Mike Arougheti.

It took them one day to show why their ownership should be exciting for the Orioles, too. Baltimore acquired 2021 Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes from the Brewers, a statement move for a franchise that had been reluctant to spend under its former owners, the Angelos family.

Burnes is a bonafide top-of-the-rotation starter, and the price — prospects shortstop Joey Ortiz and left-handed pitcher D.L. Hall and the 34th overall draft pick — is more than reasonable. As such, Baltimore earned an “A” in R.J. Anderson’s trade grades.

  • Anderson: “Burnes, 29, has been one of the best starters in baseball dating back to 2020. His 146 ERA+ over that time ranks fourth out of the 67 pitchers with at least 75 starts … Where things get interesting now is what the Orioles intend to do about Burnes’ impending free agency. … There’s no legitimate financial reason for the Orioles to shy away from retaining Burnes on a long-term basis. Will the Orioles actually make it so? Perhaps this proves overzealous, but we feel more optimistic about their chances than we would have a week ago.”

👍 Honorable mentions

😬 And not such a good morning for …


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Joel Embiid‘s MVP campaign is all but over. Now his and the 76ers‘ focus must be on getting him healthy — and hoping he can stay that way. The superstar center injured his meniscus and will be out through the weekend as the team figures out a path forward.

  • We talked about it yesterday, but it’s worth reiterating: Embiid has missed 13 games. Once he misses 18, he’ll be ineligible for MVP (and other individual honors). It’s essentially a forgone conclusion, and Embiid shouldn’t try to fight it, Brad Boktin writes.
  • The 65-game minimum has gotten a lot of heat, but don’t expect it to go anywhere, writes Bill Reiter.
  • Embiid had been dealing with another knee injury — one that cost the 76ers $75,000 for not reporting it — before the latest injury against the Warriors.
  • Currently, Embiid is on pace to join Wilt Chamberlain (in 1963-64) as the only players to average 35 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
  • The 76ers are 26-8 with Embiid this season and 4-9 without him.

The individual accolades are one thing — albeit certainly a disappointing one as Embiid went for his second straight MVP — but Embiid has to get healthy. Period. His injury history keeps getting longer and longer.

  • 2014-16: Right foot
  • 2016-17: Torn meniscus
  • 2017-18: Orbital fracture
  • 2018-19: Sore left knee
  • 2019-20: Torn left hand ligament
  • 2020-21: Left knee bruise
  • 2021-22: Hand injury
  • 2024: Left meniscus injury

For Philadelphia to succeed this postseason, it needs that list to end there.

👎 Not so honorable mentions

🏈 Commanders hire Dan Quinn, close head-coaching carousel


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The final head-coaching opening has been filled: The Commanders are taking from their biggest rival, hiring Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

  • Quinn was in Dallas for the past three seasons. Over that span, Dallas finished second in defensive expected points added. For more basic numbers, Dallas was seventh in total defense, first in turnovers forced, first in interception rate and second in sack rate.
  • Quinn went 43-42 and made a Super Bowl as the Falcons‘ head coach from 2015-20. He was fired after starting 0-5 in 2020.
  • Washington has the No. 2 overall pick and five top-100 picks overall.

In his head-coaching hiring grades, Cody Benjamin isn’t a fan.

  • Benjamin: “Washington was right to part ways with Ron Rivera after four tough but ultimately middling seasons, but to go from one aging defensively minded retread to another is curious considering how forward-thinking the organization appeared to be, welcoming both new ownership and front-office leadership. … Perhaps his experience will help ground a rebuilding team, but this hardly registers as an inspiring, innovative move. Grade: D+

I get it. The optics aren’t great. Washington was heavily connected to young, exciting candidates Ben Johnson (who stayed in Detroit) and Mike Macdonald (hired by Seattle). Quinn is 53 and has already been a head coach. He’s never going to generate a ton of excitement.

But Quinn is also very respected and well-connected and a strong leader. His experience will be valuable with a second-year owner (Josh Harris) and first-year GM (Adam Peters). In Atlanta, Quinn found a terrific offensive coordinator — Kyle Shanahan — and flourished. The biggest factor in his success in Washington is finding another strong offensive coordinator. I’m not as down on this hire as some others seem to be.

And with that, all eight head-coaching openings are filled.

🏀 NBA All-Star reserves announced; De’Aaron Fox tops list of snubs



The NBA All-Star rosters are full after reserves were announced Thursday.

In the West …

  • Stephen Curry
  • Anthony Davis
  • Kawhi Leonard
  • Devin Booker
  • Anthony Edwards
  • Paul George
  • Karl-Anthony Towns

And in the East …

As with every year, though, there are plenty of snubs, as Brad details.

Here are the participants for the other events.

🏀 Previewing huge college basketball weekend



College basketball is more than making up for the lack of NFL this weekend. We have four top-10 men’s matchups … 

  • No. 4 Houston at No. 8 Kansas
  • No. 7 Duke at No. 3 North Carolina
  • No. 5 Tennessee at No. 10 Kentucky
  • No. 2 Purdue at No. 6 Wisconsin

… and our college basketball team is here to preview those four and more. Duke-UNC is always going to lead the way, even when they’re not great, much less when they’re both in the top 10. Gary Parrish has the preview:

  • Parrish: As Matt Norlander detailed in Tuesday’s Court Report, Saturday will represent the 49th time Duke and UNC will meet as top-10 teams. That’s 35 times more than any other two schools have met as top-10 teams … This meeting will be highlighted by the presence of two possible First Team All-Americans — Kyle Filipowski at Duke and RJ Davis at North Carolina. The advantage obviously goes to the home team; the Tar Heels will be favored. But I’ve been covering this series long enough to have seen North Carolina upset Duke at Duke, Duke upset North Carolina at North Carolina and everything in between. So ruling anything out or making big guarantees is often a fool’s errand. That’s why it’s usually best to just sit back and enjoy it, the latest highly anticipated meeting between two of the biggest brands in college athletics.”

📺 What we’re watching this weekend


🏒 NHL All-Star skills competition, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Warriors at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. on NBA TV
🏀 Butler at No. 13 Creighton (M), 9 p.m. on FS1


🏀 No. 1 UConn at St. John’s (M), noon on Fox
🏈 Senior Bowl, 1 p.m. on NFL Network
🏀 Texas at No. 25 TCU (M), 2 p.m. on ESPN2
🏒 NHL All-Star Game, 3 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 17 Utah State at San Diego State (M), 3:30 p.m. on Fox
🏀 No. 4 Houston at No. 8 Kansas (M), 4 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 7 Duke at No. 3 North Carolina (M), 6 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 12 Iowa State at No. 18 Baylor (M), 8 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 No. 3 Iowa at Maryland (W), 8 p.m. on Fox
🏀 No. 5 Tennessee at No. 10 Kentucky (M), 8:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Lakers at Knicks, 8:30 p.m. on ABC


🏀 No. 10 Indiana at No. 8 Ohio State (W), noon on FS1
🏀 No. 17 Virginia Tech at No. 24 North Carolina (W), noon on ESPN2
🏀 No. 2 Purdue at No. 6 Wisconsin (M), 1 p.m. on CBS
🏀 No. 2 Kansas State at No. 12 Texas (W), 2 p.m. on FS1
🏀 Suns at Wizards, 3:30 p.m. on NBA TV
🏀 No. 7 UCLA at No. 4 Stanford, 4 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Clippers at Heat, 6 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Trail Blazers at Nuggets, 8:30 p.m. on NBA TV

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