Saturday Sports: U-Hauls For The Big And Tall As NBA, MLB See Major Trades
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
And now it's time for sports.
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SIMON: A flurry of trades in the NBA, a blockbuster in baseball, more to come and calls to memorialize Kobe Bryant and the highly visible way. We're joined by ESPN's Howard Bryant. Good morning, Howard.
HOWARD BRYANT, BYLINE: Good morning, Scott. How are you?
SIMON: I'm fine, thanks. These are some aggressive deals in the NBA trade - at the trade deadline. Who do you rack up as the winners and losers?
BRYANT: Well, I'm not sure about the winners and losers of the trade deadline but certainly the winners and losers right now of the first half of the season. You've got to look at the Lakers in the west and the Milwaukee Bucks. I think their head and shoulders above everybody else. I thought...
SIMON: Could you hold on for a moment, Howard? Fear the deer.
SIMON: Go ahead, yeah.
BRYANT: I knew that was coming. You almost got me for a second there, Scott. Yeah. Milwaukee is terrific. And they're great. They're holding on. They crushed Philadelphia the other night. I thought coming into the season that it was going to be Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Los Angeles - the Lakers and the Clippers. But I'm not too sure about the other two yet. But we've got a long way to go. I think trade deadline wise, I think Miami Heat got much, much better. They got Andre Iguodala. They made a very good deal with Memphis. I think that Philadelphia tried to shore up making a deal with with the Warriors. And D'Angelo Russell going to Minnesota - who knows what that's going to do. Maybe there's a late run there. But the bottom line is coming forward right now. I still think that you've got two teams in this league. Disappointed the Boston Celtics didn't do anything, but I think it's the Bucks and the Lakers right now.
SIMON: An official memorial for Kobe Bryant's been set for February 24. There've been calls to make his image a permanent part of the game. You even ran a poll on that, didn't you?
BRYANT: I did. I ran a little Twitter poll this morning, which was soundly rejected to replace Kobe Bryant - to replace Jerry West, who is the logo of the NBA with Kobe Bryant.
SIMON: A silhouette of Jerry West.
BRYANT: The silhouette of Jerry West, yes. Absolutely. And it would have been fitting in some ways because Jerry West was the man behind making sure Kobe Bryant ended up with the Lakers, making that draft-day trade with the Charlotte Hornets. And I understand at - on one level the need or the want to memorialize Kobe. I also understand that the NBA's been around since 1947. And maybe it's time to create a new logo. Jerry West has been there 50 years, since 1969. However, I do think that if you're going to think about a new logo or a modern logo, it's probably got to be Michael Jordan - right? - or - but I do also...
SIMON: He'll charge an arm and a leg.
SIMON: But yeah.
BRYANT: But I also understand the desire right now for people to feel that something should be done for Kobe Bryant after all that happened.
SIMON: Boston Red Sox, LA Dodgers, Minnesota Twins - switching sports - agreed to a three-team trade Tuesday that's been perhaps delayed - has been delayed because of some medical records. Mookie Betts is what they call a generational player - MVP, Golden Glove, traded to the Dodgers. Are the Red Sox making the worst roster decision since they sold Babe Ruth's contract?
BRYANT: Well, Red Sox fans aren't very happy about it, especially because it's a generational player. Mookie Betts is a beloved player. Two years ago, he wins the MVP, and they win the World Series. You're looking at a guy that fans just adore. And it's a very cynical move in some ways. But it also may very well be a huge business deal for them because number one, we know that superstar players now at this level - after Manny Machado deal, after the Bryce Harper, you're - and now the Gerrit Cole deal - you're looking at $350, $400 million to sign a player. And if Mookie Betts didn't want to play with the Red Sox, we'll find out over the next several weeks and months. If that was the case, then, of course, they had to move him. But on the other hand, if that's not the case, the Red Sox are a superpower. They can sign whoever they want. They've got money. It's looking like a cynical deal. We will see.
SIMON: I'm going to...
BRYANT: And by the way, Scott, as you know, your Cubs aren't far behind because you've got a guy like Kris Bryant, who's another cornerstone player. And what does that mean for the Cubs? Keep these players. The fans love them.
SIMON: Yeah. Thank you very much. ESPN's Howard Bryant, thanks so much.
BRYANT: Yeah, my pleasure.
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