The USMNT found its missing piece plus an NBA trade blockbuster

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Good morning! I hope you have a no trade clause.


Everything is looking right for the USMNT

When the US men’s national team lost in last year’s World Cup, there was plenty of hope. If this young team could land a striker and develop well over four years, they would have a real shot at a great finish as World Cup hosts in 2026.

A summer later, things couldn’t look better for the USMNT:

  • Last night, the Americans beat Canada, 2-0 win their second straight CONCACAF Nations League title. They did it with an interim coach and no Sergiño Dest, Tyler Adams or Weston McKennie. Nevertheless, they were dominant.
  • Folarin Balogun looks to be the much needed striker. The new recruit scored a smart goal, his first for the team in just his second appearance.
  • And what about Gio Reyna? The star midfielder was fantastic this tournament, despite the news that Gregg Berhalter – who Reyna’s parents tried to fire after the World Cup – is returning as head coach. He had two assists last night and looks like a natural at corners.

This team still has Christian Pulisic – only 24 years old – and a number of other young talents. If they stay healthy, expectations will be stratospheric as we get closer to 2026.


What do wizards do?

Thank you, Bradley Beal, for your contributions as one of our most consistent trade rumors. The Wizards, less than a year after giving him a supermax contract, agreed yesterday to send him and his giant contract to the Suns.

We’ll have a lot to unpack from this deal in the coming days. Initial reads:

  • Credit new Phoenix owner Mat Ishbia – the Suns are going for it. In exchange for Beal, Phoenix sent Chris Paul, Landry Shamet and “at least four” second-round picks back to Washington. The Suns now have three superstars on the roster: Beal, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. It will be fascinating to see how three elite scorers coexist.
  • The return is almost embarrassing. The Wizards will likely waive both Paul and Shamet, and second-round picks are basically worthless (unless you hit Nikola Jokić). They save a ton of cap space, but for what? Are we attracting a big-money star to this thin roster? This is Bradley Beal we’re talking about, the most prized asset on the trade market outside of the other walking rumor, Damian Lillard. Zach Harper gave the ‘Zards a D- for the trade.
  • However, Beal had all the power thanks to a no-trade clause in his contract. Other teams, including Milwaukee and Miami, made offers, but the destination was ultimately up to him.
  • Money was clearly a factor as well. Beal is due $46.7 million next season. Three years later, when he’s 33, that number will be up to $57.1 million. That’s the kind of money that could have limited trade packages.

The sun has $163 million committed to Beal, Durant, Booker and Deandre Ayton next year. No pressure, new coach Frank Vogel. The Wizards, meanwhile, erase almost everything from their books and start over, as John Hollinger writes, under new management.

Other things to consider: What is Chris Paul’s future after the Wizards inevitably trade or waive him? The Lakers need a point guard. So do the Clippers. What is his market value anyway?

David Aldridge writes that Washington paid the piper by making this terrible but necessary trade. Also check out Dave DuFour and Mo Dakhil’s analysis at Daily Ding.

Today’s issue


Lance Lynn has not been great this year. The White Sox starter has a 6.75 ERA, second-worst in the majors. Yesterday, however, he was incredible, striking out 16 Mariners, tying the franchise record. Jack Harshman struck out 16 against the Red Sox in 1954.

However, Chicago went full Tungsten Arm O’Doyle and lost the game, 5-1.


Wyndham Clark is here

You’re forgiven if you didn’t know who Wyndham Clark was until yesterday. The man whose name sounds like a hotel chain was not known to many sports fans outside of hardcore golf enthusiasts. That should change now.

Clark won the US Open yesterday, outlasting big names like Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Scottie Scheffler. He is now a major champion and, despite his former anonymity, a rising star:

  • Read this story from Brody Miller, published just before the final round, which details Wyndham’s very relatable backstory. He almost quit the sport several times, convinced that he was not destined to be a winner. He lost his mother, his biggest cheerleader, a decade ago. He plays with emotion, never more evident than when he burst into tears after the last putt fell. You can’t root against this guy.
  • Before his win yesterday, Clark was the 12th ranked golfer in the world according to Data Golf. He won the Wells Fargo in early May – his first professional win – and, outside of the PGA Championship a month ago, hasn’t missed a cut since October. He will probably be on the Ryder Cup team now. He’s not going away anytime soon.

It was a heartbreaking day for McIlroy, who eerily repeated his performance from last year’s Open Championship at St. Andrews. He hit the fairways and greens but couldn’t make a birdie beyond the first hole. As Justin Ray noted in his analysis, McIlroy set US Open records for total score (271) and greens in regulation (59) by a non-winning player. Ouch.

Pulse selection

Happy Juneteenth! Jason Jones chatted with Chuck D, who has thoughts on MLB’s progress in celebrating the holiday — and says there’s still work to be done.

Lizard Skins, man. Cody Stavenhagen has the story of how a small cycling equipment company took the baseball world by storm.

Does Dabo Swinney deserve a QB mulligan? Grace Raynor thinks so in her breakdown of Clemson’s unique approach to the position.

Sabreena Merchant has updated the WNBA power rankings. The Aces still rule.

Luke Smith and Madeline Coleman have seven takeaways from F1’s Canadian GP.

(Photo: Robin Alam/Getty Images)

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