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This Week in Sports Talk (TWIST) is our weekly report on the big sports news headlines and major events, plus a preview of what’s up next. For July 4, 2023, here are the weekly top 10 sports news headlines to know – the big stories and major events in sports news this week in the NFL, NBA, MLB and more.

weekly top 10 big sports news headlines and major events: July 4, 2023

It’s a short week, so we’re sharing this week’s sports news headlines off-cycle. We hope you’re having a terrific Independence Day. Here’s what you need to know from the world of sports when the fireworks are done and the last beer is gone.

1. NBA Free Agency Moves

The NBA’s free agency negotiation period officially kicked off last Friday evening, and apparently lots of people wanted to clear the decks for the July 4th holiday. A flurry of early moves have made headlines, as almost every significant free agent was snapped up within 48 hours. Just in time to start the Independence Day festivities.

Ben Golliver at The Washington Post breaks down the highlights and lowlights as team reshape themselves for the upcoming season:

some stars are staying, including Green and Irving

Draymond Green re-signed with the Golden State Warriors. Despite a poor performance late last season, Kyrie Irving landed a new $126 million deal with the Dallas Mavericks.  The experts say this is the team throwing good money after a bad trade to ensure Luka Doncic has a star partner.

Fred VanVleet has a monster deal to stay with the Houston Rockets. And the LA Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks managed to keep their cores together.

lillard and harden request surprise trades

Damian Lillard and James Harden — who aren’t even free agents — shocked the league this week by requesting trades from the Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers, respectively.

Lillard’s hopes for a championship win for the Blazers took a hit when the organization selected a 19-year-old point guard on draft night rather than making a trade for another star player. So after 11 seasons in Portland, the rumor is that the seven-time all-star is hoping to land in Miami, where he’s got a better shot at winning his first national championship.

national champion nuggets lose two key backup players

Fresh off a thrilling playoff run, the Denver Nuggets lost Bruce Brown to the Indiana Pacers and Jeff Green to the Houston Rockets. While Nikola Jokic and the rest of the starting five remain in place, Denver’s second unit will have to be rebuilt.

2. As All-Star break approaches, Atlanta Braves (57-27) surpass Tampa Bay Rays (57-30) for the top spot in MLB

AL Standings

The New York Yankees are 9 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays – and hanging by a thread to a record over .500. Our Sports Desk notes that the AL East isn’t looking remotely competitive at the moment. The second-place Orioles are 6 back. Our Red Sox remain at the bottom of the heap – but they’re still above .500! This season, that’s about all there is to say.

The AL Central is shaping up to be a competition between the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Guardians. As of this posting, the Twins are one game up on Cleveland.

In the AL West, it’s Texas v Texas as the Rangers and the Astros jockey for first place. The Astros are currently 3 games back. Despite the phenomenal performance of Shohei Ohtani, the Angels are stuck in third place, 6 behind the Rangers.

NL Standings

The Atlanta Braves are the best team in baseball right now, and the competition in the NL East feels as if its already over. The New York Mets have dropped like a stone, and are now under .500 and 19 games back in fourth place in their division. Billionaire owner Stevie Cohen is getting more involved in the day-to-day as his hopes for a big return on investment seem to be lost for this season.

There’s a real race in the NL Central, as the Reds and the Brewers are currently tied for first place. The number three Pirates are 6 games back.

The Diamondbacks currently lead the NL West, with the LA Dodgers trailing by 2.5 games.

3. Ohtani is on fire

The Angels’ pitcher-slugger Shohei Ohtani is setting MLB records of all kinds this season. He’s the first player to hit 30 home runs, and currently leads the league in homers this season. AND he’s currently in second place in the AL as a pitcher, with 127 strikeouts.

Ohtani is the favorite right now for MVP, with a season-to-date .674 slugging percentage, a 1.070 OPS, five triples, 67 RBIs and 213 total bases.  As our Sports Desk notes, with Aaron Judge still on the injured list, the MVP race is not much of a race at the moment.

4. a perfect game from an imperfect player

The New York Yankees’ Domingo Germán threw MLB’s first perfect game since 2012 this week. Our Sports Desk notes that it’s only the 24th in MLB history. The Yanks now have 4 perfect games in their history, breaking the tie with the Chicago White Sox.

Unfortunately, Germán is an imperfect vessel for a new MLB record-setter. He’s been suspended in the past for domestic assault, and also for having “sticky stuff” on his hands. Still, a win’s a win. And the pinstripes could do with some good news, so let’s let them have their moment.

5. MLB All-Star Game roster announced

The 2023 MLB All-Star Game will take place at T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners, on Tuesday, July 11. Now that the rosters have been announced, here are some highlights of note:

  • With 8 players, the Atlanta Braves are the team with the most players in this year’s MLB All-Start game. That’s the most from one team since the 2012 Rangers.
  • The Rangers and Dodgers will see five of their players on the roster, while the Orioles and Blue Jays are sending four players apiece.
  • Shohei Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Juan Soto headline the pitchers’ roster.
  • Clayton Kershaw landed his 10th All-Star Game selection. He is now second only to Mike Trout, who has 11 All-Star Game appearances.
  • Fernando Tatís Jr. and Wander Franco are among the biggest snubs this year

6. MLB Draft starts July 9

Major League Baseball’s 2023 amateur draft will kick off on Sunday, July 9, with the onset of the All-Star Break. The Pittsburgh Pirates will make the No. 1 selection for the sixth time in franchise history.

7. It’s Showtime for the Jets

The New York Jets and  their new quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be featured on Hard Knocks this season. The Emmy-winning HBO series follows an NFL team through training camp.

8. Wimbledon is underway

On the men’s side, Novak Djokovic will continue his quest for a Grand Slam this season. Nick Kyrgios withdrew with a wrist injury. Earlier today, Wimbledon paid tribute to Roger Federer, an eight-time champion. The 41-year-old Swiss player joined Kate Middleton in the Royal Box.

On the women’s side, top-ranked Iga Swiatek is the favorite to win it all. Meanwhile, in a disappointing turn of events, fan favorites Coco Gauff and Venus Williams were knocked out in the opening round.

9. Fowler wins Rocket Mortgage PGA tournament

Rickie Fowler won the 2023 Rocket Mortgage Classic in a three-way playoff, beating Collin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin on the first extra hole. This was Fowler’s first PGA Tour win since 2019. He took home a $1.58 million purse.

10. Tour de France rolls

The 110th edition of the cycling race started in Bilbao, Spain on July 1. It ends on July 23 on the Champs Elysee in Paris. Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) leads after Stage 4. Fun fact: his twin brother Simon is also in the race, and close on his heels in the standings.

Our Sports Desk predicts that this will ultimately be a contest again this year between Adam Yates’ teammate Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard, who beat him last year.

Bonus round: Hot dog eating, an essential and timeless holiday sport

The 2023 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest was held today. In a crushing blow, the event was canceled for the men’s division due to nearby thunder and lightning. Ugh!! Why couldn’t they just move it inside???

We were all keen to see if Joey Chestnut, hot dog-eating world champion, would be able to defend his title. The competitive eater set a new world record, consuming 76 hot dogs and buns in 2021. In 2022, Chestnut won his 15th Mustard Yellow Belt after eating 63 hot dogs and buns.

Thankfully, the women’s competition was successfully completed, and Miki Sudo defended her title as women’s “chompion.” You go, girl!

Weekly Top sports news headlines and major events to know: July 4, 2023

That’s our take on the big sports news headlines and major events, and a preview of the week ahead, including what to know about basketball, baseball and more to join the talk with the avid fans in your life this week. Have a great week, dear reader. See you next Sunday.

Pamela Thomas-Graham

Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. She serves on the boards of several tech companies, and was previously a senior executive in finance, media and fashion, and a partner at McKinsey & Co.