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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 10:55 AM



Okay, so is this a case of "where there's smoke, there's fire" ... or not?

The trade rumors are making their way 'round the NBA here in the lead-up to Thursday's NBA Draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn - there was a semi-blockbuster deal on Tuesday where the Los Angeles Lakers traded G D'Angelo Russell and F/C Timofey Mozgov to Brooklyn for C Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick in Thursday's draft -- and among the biggest/high-profile names being bandied about are Chicago's Jimmy Butler, New York Kristaps Porzingis, Los Angeles Clippers F Blake Griffin and San Antonio's LaMarcus Aldridge.

P.S., at last check none of the above have even made it to an NBA Finals round but there's hope in a batch of cities that a trade for Butler or Porzingis or Griffin or Aldridge will be the final puzzle piece for a team in need of a personnel jolt.

Sure, we've heard the talk that Butler could be Cleveland-bound (a deal that most likely would include Kevin Love being sent to Chitown); that Porzingis could be part of a package deal to Boston where the beleaguered Knicks would acquire the #3 overall pick in this year's draft; that Griffin could be headed to Boston or Toronto; while Aldridge could be bound for Dallas for picks/players.

In any event, we do very much believe there will be some star players changing places by the end of Thursday night's activities and other names-on-the-move could include Los Angeles Clippers PG Chris Paul and Charlotte G Kemba Walker ... maybe everyone out there in NBA-land is expecting a Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers IV in terms of next season's NBA Finals but better believe some heartfelt contenders will be looking to change things up and make serious runs at the last two league champions.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be banging out loads of Side & Totals MLB winners all summer long and all you have to do is check in here online or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Clean up with MLB winners every day!

In other NBA Draft News ...

Interesting to note that as of this very moment there are actually four teams without any draft picks this year: That's Cleveland, Golden State, the LA Clippers and Memphis although you might see a couple of these franchises (we're thinking Cavs and Clips) attempt to secure a first-rounder even if its comes with a prohibitive cost.

The rumor mill says the Cavs would like to get a bit younger and desire a top 10 blue chip type to help out LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and friends next year - is University of Arizona F/C Lauri Markkanen a potential "get"?

The Clippers might well be thinking of getting younger too and there's word Gonzaga big man Zach Collins is on their radar should the Clips be able to trade into the top 10-to-12 picks in this draft.
We'll keep you posted on any/all bombshell deals, okay?



Since the beginning time, Baseball has been a game of numbers - and, in recent years, one of our favorite measuring stick stats is "run differential" but here's a couple of teams that'll really blow your mind when it comes to this particular stat category:

BALTIMORE - The Orioles' starting pitching is from hunger, we get it. Yet entering last night's home game against the surging Cleveland Indians, there were the Birds sitting with a -57 in runs differential (only Oakland's -74 was worse in the American League) and yet a mere game below the .500 mark (34-35). True, Baltimore's been blown out of several games this season to make the runs differential a tad lopsided in the opponent's favor, but do take note that Buck Showalter's crew is 9-1 in extra-innings games and a respectable 11-8 in one-run affairs. The O's entered last night only five full games back of the AL East-leading New York Yankees, but a glance at that runs differential category would suggest they should be buried much further back.

MILWAUKEE - Consider that the here-and-now Brewers entered last night's home tilt against the Pittsburgh Pirates just + 10 in the runs differential category - and yet Craig Counsell's crew was atop the pack in the somewhat mediocre NL Central. It helps that the Brewers rank second in the league in home runs (104) and there's been a few "walk-off" wins thanks to taters in the past couple of weeks but how about the fact Milwaukee is just 3-7 in extra-inning games and 8-9 in one-run games. Milwaukee's 38-34 record is better than anyone thought it would be some 45 percent through the campaign - and probably a bit better than we thought considering the most +10 runs difference on the year.

NOTE: We'll have our NBA Mock Draft in our next edition of Jim Sez with a team-by-team look at how we project Round I (and no doubt we'll toss a couple of predicted deals into the mix to liven things up even more!).

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