This is the digital version of The Bounce.
If you want it sooner, start each day with The Bounce delivered to your inbox. Sign up here.
If you had to bet on the first player to get a flopping fine, who would you pick?
Giannis and LeBron gone?
NBA stars intrigued by Mbappé’s offer
Saudi money comes to sport as we know it!
First there was LIV Golf, which aims to merge with the PGA Tour in a way that initially seemed impossible. Then Cristiano Ronaldo, at the end of his career, decided to leave the EPL for €200 million with Al Nassar. Lionel Messi reportedly turned down $1.6 billion over three years to play in Saudi Arabia. Now the club Al Hilal is after Kylian Mbappé, the 24-year-old French megastar who currently plays for PSG in the French league.
The reported offer is 776 million dollars over a year for Mbappé, and the transfer fee would make the deal clear 1 billion. Those numbers don’t even make sense, but that’s the gist of it. If you’re not much of a soccer fan, it was explained to me like this: Imagine LeBron James was offered a $1 billion contract to play in the Saudi Premier League … when he was about to sign with the Heat in 2010.
Obviously, these staggering numbers caught everyone’s eye. Giannis Antetokounmpo joked to Twitter and Al Hilal that he looks like Mbappé.
LeBron James joked (?) using a Forest Gump gif he’ll be gone if Saudi Arabia calls Rich Paul and Maverick Carter on the one-year deal.
We also saw current Blazer and aspiring Heatman Damian Lillard throw a “wtf lol” at the number reported for Mbappé…. His former and brief teammate Gary Payton II wondered if Al Hilal needed a defender on the pitch.
I don’t think we should worry about NBA stars going to Saudi Arabia to play pro football, but I do wondering if/when SPL will enter the mix at some point. Admittedly, soccer’s status as the world’s most influential sport makes it easy to overlook the glitz and glamor of going after stars past and present.
Basketball also has its own global presence, but the top talent is all in one league, unlike football, so apparently it’s harder to attract big names to a league like the SPL. But it might not be if the money is so significant.
For his NBA career, Giannis has earned about $147 million with at least another $150 million guaranteed. Lillard is around $193 million with at least $216 million more guaranteed. LeBron will soon push $500 million in NBA career earnings and is an actual billionaire right now. And those guys are blown away by these illogical but real figures from Saudi Arabia.
We’ve seen Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Donte Greene, God Shammgod and Priest Lauderdale all spend some time in the SPL at some point. I doubt NBA stars would really give up their premierships and incredible salaries to play in a hypothetical situation in Saudi Arabia. Players at the end of their careers? It absolutely could happen if they decide to make the basketball league a much more global presence.
If you don’t buy it, then football and golf (and F1) can prove otherwise.
Who will get the first such technical?
Every once in a while, NBA journalists/media types like myself receive an email from a betting company chasing headlines with their latest odds. And sometimes it works! Or at least the approach makes a good impression on social media.
The latest example is examining which player will be assessed the first technical foul for flopping next season as the NBA implements its new rule — at least until the NBA and its refs get sick of enforcing things like they do with new rules and focal points.
These were the top five flop odds from BetOnline:
These odds actually don’t appeal to me. It could be any combination of LeBron, CP3, and Draymond, but that depends in part on how the first night of basketball plays out.
Remember, we start with two primetime games on a Tuesday. You can assume Nikola Jokić (25:1 odds) and the Nuggets will open the season with their ring ceremony. I would assume they face the Lakers or Warriors that night. And we’ll probably get an Eastern Conference matchup between maybe teams like the Celtics and the Bucks. Maybe Miami or Philadelphia get the nod, but expect some combination of the four.
The Celtics and Sixers started last season. Joel Embiid has 14:1 first-flop odds with Antetokounmpo at 28:1. We don’t have any Heat or Celtics players listed, but Celtics fans can cheer that the recently traded Smart still wins the bet.
A Teague of his own
The ultimate podcaster
Do you remember Jeff Teague? The Wake Forest point guard who played 12 NBA seasons, primarily for the Atlanta Hawks? He was the starting point guard for the 60-win Hawks team in 2015 and made an All-Star game. The guy even had over 10,000 points and more than 4,500 assists.
He had a solid career and earned nearly $100 million, but it turns out he’s also the greatest basketball podcaster in the history of the Internet — better than anyone else. Teague is a funny storyteller and willing to tell almost any story you want from him. His honesty and personality have shone through to bring some great viral moments so far.
Here are some of the best highlights of his podcast”Club 520 podcast” until now:
(WARNING: language selection!)
- He had beef with Tracy McGrady in Atlanta: Teague described how his heart sank when T-Mac trash-talked him in practice.
Note: T-Mac has since denied that he has beef with Teaguevia Oddball Hoops.
Shoutout to NBA editor James Jackson for contributing this section.
Teague isn’t the only good NBA podcaster. Law Murray writes about Paul George and his hilarious podcast efforts.
Remember SlamBall? It’s back and has the potential to rule social media.
Michael Jordan is no longer the primary owner of the Hornets. I miss him already.
Kemba Walker has signed with AS Monaco on a loaded roster in the French league.
Gilbert Arenas absolutely takes out Bol Bol and wants people to stop a narrative (WARNING: Lots of bad language).
Last Friday, we reviewed Whoopi Goldberg’s ultimate Knicks fandom movie “Eddie” from 1996. This week we stay in the mid-’90s with the legendary 1994 hoops movie “Above the Rim.” It’s one of my favorite movies from childhood, but we’ll honestly have to judge if it holds up.
You can watch it on Amazon Prime if you want to do some homework ahead of Friday’s review, right here on The Bounce. We answer the age-old question:
Why was there a basketball hoop so close to the ledge of a high-rise roof?
(Top photo of LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)