There was plenty of speculation and puzzle pieces being put together heading in to NBA Free Agency as to who would team up with whom and where would they go. Plenty of big names had the opportunity to go elsewhere, but it took less than a half an hour in to July 1st for three of the biggest names on the market to announce that they are staying put. First, as seen on a three-part Sportscenter series, Paul George re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder on a four-year, $137 million max contract. George made the announcement while attending a party thrown by his teammate, Russell Westbrook, on Saturday. His attendance to this gave some people a good vibe that he was staying in OKC. The deal includes a player option in the fourth year, but many thought George would be heading to the Los Angeles Lakers, as has been rumored for years now. Instead, he took to Instagram to post a picture of him and Westbrook at the party with the caption "unfinished business." Elsehwere, Chris Paul got a max deal to stay with the Houston Rockets for four years, worth $160 million. The 33-year old was reportedly never considering leaving Houston in free agency, despite rumors of him teaming up with other free agent stars elsewhere. Instead, he returns to Houston with hopes of finally taking down the mighty Golden State Warriors. Paul and James Harden came together last season to lead the Rockets to an NBA-best 65-17 record, and just one game away from the NBA Finals. But, they were held down by the Warriors, who also brought back a star, to the surprise of no one. Kevin Durant re-signed for another year with Golden State, which includes a player option for the second year. The contract is worth $30 million next season and then $31.5 million the following year, if he stays. Durant returns to play with Steph Curry and the rest of the crew, who have won three NBA titles in the past four years. It doesn't seem that LeBron James will be teaming with any of these big-time names, so what will that mean for "The King's" decision?
Sale Dominates Yankees in Red Sox Rout
Coming off a tough series-opening loss on Friday night, the Boston Red Sox had the perfect hurler on the mound for Game 2 of the series on Saturday night. Chris Sale struck out 11 over seven shutout innings, as the Red Sox took Game 2 from the New York Yankees with an 11-0 blowout. Sale only allowed a hit and walked one, while throwing 101 pitches on the night, 72 of which were strikes. Rafael Devers provided the support with a 5-for-5 day, including a first-inning grand slam, while J.D. Martinez drove in three runs. Giancarlo Stanton's single was the only hit against Sale, who has a 1.73 career ERA against the Yankees, which is the best among pitchers with at least 10 starts against them since 1920. His ERA at Yankee Stadium is now 1.86, which is second only to Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners. The win for the Red Sox puts them back ahead of the Yankees for the best record in the majors at 56-28. Sonny Gray struggled for New York, lasting just 2.1 innings and allowing six runs. Gray is now 0-4 with a 9.35 ERA against the Red Sox since being acquired from the Oakland Athletics last season. Sandy Leon contributed a two-run home run for Boston, who compiled 17 hits in the big win.
Cubs Bats Stay Hot in Wild Win Over Twins
The heat took over Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon, and it was the Chicago Cubs' bats that heated up for a wild victory. The Cubs pounded out 20 hits in a 14-9 interleague win over the Minnesota Twins. The Cubs used five-run innings in the fifth and seventh to stay on top, with Jason Heyward recording the official go-ahead hit with an RBI single. Although, the heat took over the headlines on this day at 96 degrees, with a heat index of 107 the entire day. Cubs manager Joe Maddon called it the worst conditions he's been a part of in a major league game, while the Twins had three players exit due to heat exhaustion. That included Bobby Wilson, Eddie Rosario, and Max Kepler, with all three players getting pulled between the fifth and sixth innings. Heyward finished with four hits on the day, while Ben Zobrist drove in three, as the Cubs' bats continued to pound the ball around the ballpark. They have scored 10 runs in three straight games for the first time since April of 2003. Albert Almora Jr. also left due to cramps, most likely due to the heat, after recording three hits and two RBI for the Cubs. Chicago has now won three in a row, as they continue to chase the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. The Twins fell nine games under .500 on the season, despite Joe Mauer putting up two hits and three RBI. These two teams will play one more time on Sunday afternoon.