Last Week in Sports | 2/5 – 2/11
If you aren’t still crying after Mirai Nagasu’s triple axel on Sunday, then you don’t have a soul.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s Big Payday
Jimmy G just got paid like one. Only one season after being traded for a couple draft picks, Jimmy Garoppolo is the highest paid player in the NFL, set to make $137.5 million over five years. The 49ers could not be happier with their franchise QB, who started for a 1-10 San Francisco team and carried them for five straight wins while posting a league-high quarterback rating. Garoppolo’s ability to read defenses is astounding at his young age and looks to only improve behind head coach – and perhaps top offensive mind in football – Kyle Shanahan.
It was love at first sight for Shanahan who tried to trade for Jimmy G once before. He was told by Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick that it wasn’t a possibility, but the 49ers did not give up there. A few weeks into the season, San Francisco GM John Lynch also called Belichick to attempt a trade and was shut down once more. It wasn’t until New England called the 49ers after week 9 with interest in trading Garoppolo that they were able to put the trade together. The Patriots’ decision to part ways with Garoppolo is thought to symbolize their trust in 40-year-old Tom Brady but may come back to haunt them if Brady can’t remain elite at this age.
The Cavs Are Good Again and All is Right in the World
We thought the Cavs would make a move before the trade deadline on Thursday, but few of us realized it would be the largest trade deadline remodeling in the last 30 years. The Cavs sent six of their twelve-man rotation away, including recent acquisitions Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade, as well as Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder, and Derrick Rose. In return they received young players from LA, guard Jordan Clarkson and big man Larry Nance Jr., and two other incredible pieces in George Hill and Rodney Hood. Without trading away their Brooklyn Nets pick, the Cavs retooled their roster with youth, shooting, and defense.
How it would play out on the court was uncertain until Sunday, when the Cavs faced the Celtics in Boston and absolutely dominated the floor. The Celtics had no answer for the Cavs’ ability to stretch the floor and drive to the bucket. In what became a statement-win for a team that was in the midst of serious turmoil and league-wide gossip, LeBron nearly notched a triple-double. Aside from James, who likely gets another shot at a championship thanks to this revamp, the big winner of the trade deadline was Cavs’ GM Koby Altman. In one fell swoop, Altman solved problems on and off the floor, made his team the eastern conference favorite over the course of a couple hours, and may be single-handedly responsible for keeping LeBron in Cleveland should James now choose to stay.
The loser of the trade deadline was Isaiah Thomas, who was traded away for pennies on the dollar after the Cavs gave up superstar Kyrie Irving to acquire him. Thomas will likely be coming off the bench for the Lakers, a huge demotion considering he was an MVP candidate only a year ago.
Another big trade deadline winner was the city of Miami, which welcomed the Heat franchise’s all-time favorite player, Dwyane Wade, back on the lineup. His first game in American Airlines Arena was on Friday where Wade received a standing ovation as soon as he stepped on the floor.
UNC Tops Duke
The Tar Heels and the Blue Devils don’t know how to play a boring game. Year after year, the rivalry is emboldened by another nail-biting hustle frenzy that further confirms the most exciting college basketball matchup in the country. North Carolina’s defending champions took home the W with veteran ball movement that led to open threes and uncontested shots. While Duke tried to capitalize on their youth and athleticism by attacking the paint, their roster is filled with true freshman that ran themselves out of breath by the 4th quarter. Duke still remains a serious threat to win the title, but UNC exposed their weakness of stamina on Thursday.
Mirai Nagasu’s Magical Triple Axel
American figure skater Mirai Nagasu, along with her friend and teammate Adam Rippon, fell short of competing in the Winter Olympics four years ago and that grudge never went away. On Sunday, Nagasu did something that only three women have ever accomplished at the Olympics and that no American woman had ever done: a triple axel. Even more surprising was that Nagasu landed the triple axel right out of the gate, only 21 seconds into her free skate routine. Thanks to her performance, the USA was able to defend their bronze medal behind Canada and Russia. Grab some tissue and watch her incredible feat here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pyV0G7HeEc
In the men’s competition, Rippon, her friend and teammate, landed two triple axels himself.
Slopestyle Gold for the U.S.
The wind was unforgiving in Pyeongchang on Sunday, but the judges weren’t. 17 year old Red Gerard fell on his first two runs down the slope, but his third and final attempts were so impressive that the young Clevelander took home the gold medal in snowboard slopestyle. He notched the highest score of the day with a backside triple cork 1440 at the very end of his final run. With this win, Red became the third-youngest Winter Olympics gold medalist ever and the first Winter Games gold medalist born in the 2000s.
Meanwhile, in the women’s snowboard slopestyle contest, USA also took home the gold, as defending champ Jamie Anderson navigated dangerous winds to stunt the competition with a cab 540.