NBA, NHL, MLB, Wimbledon, Hot Dog Eating + Free Plays for Thursday, July 5, 2012

Steve Nash to Lakers is sign-and-trade

In a deal that has seemingly out of nowhere, the Lakers have acquired Steve Nash for the Phoenix Suns for a package of future draft picks. The Suns will receive the Lakers’ first round picks in both 2013 and 2015 while also receiving second-round picks in 2013 and 2014 plus $3 million dollars cash. Nash will receive a 3-year contract worth more than $25 million sliding into the $8.9 million trade exception created when L.A. traded forward Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks. Nash was also being courted by the Knicks and Toronto Raptors.

Just hours after dealing Steve Nash, the Suns agreed to sign free agent Goran Dragic to a 4-year contract worth $34 million. Dragic backed up Nash in Phoenix for two years before being dealt to Houston in the Aaron Brooks deal at the 2011 trade deadline. Dragic had a breakout year with the Rockets this year posting career-highs of 11.7 points and 5.3 assists in 26.5 minutes. The Suns also agreed to terms with Michael Beasely and are reportedly in the hunt for guard Raymond Felton.

Like all the “deals” you’ve been reading about the past couple of days, contract offers cannot be made official until July 11, once the NBA’s 10-day free agency moratorium is complete.

Joey Chestnut wins sixth straight Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

It was business as usual for world champion Joey Chestnut who demolished an elite field of competitive eaters in capturing his sixth straight Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island. Chestnut tied his own world record snarfing down 68 hot dogs with buns in ten minutes. Tim Janus and Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti were a distant second and third respectively. Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas won the women’s competition by downing 45 dogs.

Joe Chestnut cruises to his sixth straight Nathan’s title

Parise and Suter go Wild

The Minnesota Wild had said all along that they were coming hard for the two crown jewels of free agency, forward Zach Parise of the Devils, and defenseman Ryan Suter of the Nashville Predators. Wednesday, the Wild got their men signing both players to identical 13-year $98 million dollar contracts. Each player will count as a cap hit of $7.5 million dollars per year. The signings won’t make Minnesota instant contenders but it will help to improve an offense that was last in the league in goals and shots on goal.

Federer meets Djokovic in semifinal showdown

In what figures to be the de-facto Wimbledon Men’s Final, Roger Federer will meet Novak Djokovic in one of Friday’s semifinals. Defending champion Djokovic is the -270 favorite in the match, six-time champion Federer is +220 on the takeback. In the other semi, native son Andy Murray is a -230 favorite over fifth-seeded (+175) Joe Willie Tsonga. The winners will meet in Sunday’s final.

MLB Diamond Dust

In Wednesday action in the MLB, David Ortiz became the 49th player in MLB history to hit 400 home runs in the Red Sox 3-2 loss to the A’s in Oakland. Big Papi’s historic blast was a solo shot off A.J. Griffin in the fourth. The Yankees snapped a nine-game road losing streak at Tampa Bay with a 4-3 win at the Trop. Robinson Cano’s two-out, two-run single in the eighth was the big blow. The Dodgers retook the lead in the NL West by beating the Reds 4-1 in Chavez Ravine. The Bums won B2B for the first time since June 10-11. Cliff Lee picked up his first win of the year in the Phillies 9-2 win over the Mets. The $20+ million dollar man improved to 1-5 but in reality has not pitched badly often times being victimized by lack of run support and bullpen issues. The struggling Houston Astros have shipped Carlos Lee to the Marlins for two prospects. Lee, 36, was hitting .286/.336/.412 with five homers, 29 RBI, 23 runs and 15 doubles in 65 games this season for Houston.

Some baseball nuggets for today’s action. San Francisco’s Matt Cain is 5-1 with a 2.74 ERA and a perfect game in his L7 starts. The Mets R.A. Dickey is 7-0 with a 1.01 ERA and two one-hitters in his L8 stars. The Rangers Matt Harrison is 8-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his L8 starts. Houston’s Buck Norris is 0-4 with a 9.44 ERA in his L5 starts. Colorado’s Chris Friedrich is 0-4 with a 7.77 ERA in his L5 starts. Toronto is 0-7 at home when Henderson Alvarez starts and gets less than seven runs of support. The Pirates are 7-1 in their L8 games. The Braves are 4-11 in their L15 home games. Houston has lost nine straight road games giving up 58 runs. The over is 9-1 in the Brewers L10 home games. The under is 12-2-1 in the Reds L15 games.

Free Plays

(MLB) Miami (Buehrle)/Milwaukee (Fiers) Under 9.5 -120, 2:05 PM EST

(MLB) Pittsburg (Karstens) -128 over Houston (Norris)

(MLB) Mets (Dickey) -128 over Philadelphia (Hamels)

DSI: It’s only a game until you bet it

(MLB) San Diego (Volquez) +128 over Cincinnati (Latos)