Jeff Harvey

As I write this, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are playing a two-game series in England. The first game had a football score, 17-13 in favor of the Yankees, in part because they are playing in a modified soccer stadium with a 385-foot center field fence, a great boon to the offenses.

Speaking of the Red Sox, there was more to the David Ortiz shooting incident. The alleged mastermind behind the shooting has been arrested and the incident was apparently a result of the hitmen mistaking Ortiz for someone else. It would be funny if it hadn’t been so tragic, but Ortiz is apparently recovering in good fashion.

On Sunday, the NBA’s free agent period began. Since I am writing this on Sunday, all I can do is speculate, which ESPN and other media outlets have been doing constantly since before the season even ended.

The first two major players who are free agents are Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant. Leonard comes off a championship in which he was the MVP of the finals, while Durant had a great season marred by two injuries in the post-season, the last one a ruptured Achilles tendon which will cost him the 2019-20 season.

Leonard, who is known for being taciturn, is apparently considering the Lakers, Clippers and Raptors as destinations. The Clippers could be the best fit since he’d be the biggest star (barring a signing of Durant), while he’d have to share the stage with LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the Lakers. The Raptors, his current team, would be the favorite in the NBA should he re-sign.

It’s hard to say whether Leonard really wants to be a superstar and deal with the publicity which comes with it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great player especially in the post-season but he’s not a publicity seeker.

Durant is even more of an enigma than Leonard, because he’s more mercurial in his dealing with the press and public. Still, his ability pre-injury is a powerful attraction to teams such as the Clippers and Knicks. I don’t see a combination of Leonard and Durant working, because they essentially play the same role on a team. Durant would be better served pairing with Kyrie Irving.

Speaking of Irving, teams don’t really seem to rush towards him. His season in Boston was good statistically but he seemed to have conflicts with younger players and he was more mercurial than even Durant. He also aspires to be the top player on a team, which was the primary source of his conflicts with LeBron in Cleveland, but limits him to teams like the Knicks and the Nets, unless he really wants to pair with Durant or reunite with LeBron.

Speaking of the Lakers, I can’t see the logic in Vegas odds makers making them the favorites to win. The front office is uncertain, there are only three players set to play for them next year and free agents don’t seem to list them as a top destination. Instead of trying for a Leonard, go with an Al Horford who would fit this team’s concept better or take a flyer on DeMarcus Cousins.

The rumors also seem to link Jimmy Butler with the Rockets. He’s a talented two-way player, but it’s hard to see him as a member of a team that is apparently volatile already with rumors of discord between James Harden and Chris Paul. Butler could join the Lakers or stay with the 76ers.

Unlike Durant, Klay Thompson really wants to stay with the Warriors and it’s likely that he’ll re-sign with them.

The Celtics face the loss of Horford and Irving, but seem to be willing to part with the latter in favor of Kemba Walker. It doesn’t say much for Michael Jordan’s ownership skills that he’s willing to let his best player walk for fear of the luxury tax.

Contact Jeff Harvey at delimartman@yahoo.com