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Giannis Antetokounmpo is staying with the Bucks, plus Happy National Signing Day!

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Happy Wednesday, newsletter readers. It’s Shanna here again, and I can only hope your Tuesday was as great as Giannis Antetokounmpo’s.

If it wasn’t, don’t worry. Nature is starting to heal, as we have MLB drama surrounding the start of the 2021 season. Anyone getting flashbacks to last offseason already? 

The most exciting news though — I might be biased — is that Nickelodeon and CBS are teaming up for to broadcast an NFL Wild Card Game. A broadcast with slime and cartoons is exactly what we didn’t know we needed.

Let’s dive into the rest of the sports news we have for ya.

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📰 What you need to know

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo signs historic contract with Bucks 🏀

Bucks fans are celebrating today, knowing Antetokounmpo is sticking around for the next five years. The defending NBA MVP for two years running announced on Twitter that he plans to sign a maximum contract extension with Milwaukee reportedly worth $228.2 million over five years, with an opt-out clause in 2025.

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  • It is the largest deal in NBA history and makes him the highest-paid athlete in North American team sports in terms of average annual value
  • Every penny in the deal is guaranteed
  • The deal assures Antetokounmpo won’t hit free agency after this season. As an unrestricted free agent, he could’ve signed with any team in the league.

Not bad … but the deal could have been worth even more had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic.

Antetokounmpo had until Dec. 21 to sign the supermax contract and in return had fans on the edge of their seats, wondering where his head was at with his future in Milwaukee. Bucks fans can finally exhale. On the other hand, Knicks fans who thought they had a shot at Giannis if he hit free agency … are used to this kind of disappointment and may actually be handling it well.

2. Why the NFL postseason won’t feature a bubble 🏈


Roger Goodell

Despite the success of bubbles in other sports leagues, the NFL has never operated in one. That isn’t going to change, even come playoff time, as the league sent a memo out on Tuesday detailing its plans for the immediate future and the playoffs.

Ultimately, the NFL and NFLPA’s medical experts believe that current protocols are working. In the memo, the league did outline additional new protocols set to start on Thursday:

  • An individual who has tests positive for COVID-19 and is cleared to return to interaction with the team and participate on game day will be permitted to play, but will not be permitted travel or interact with anyone until his isolation period has ended
  • Any asymptomatic individual testing positive will not be permitted to return for 10 days past the positive test and a consultation

As for the postseason rules outlined in the memo:

  • Players and staff members do not have to stay at a hotel during the postseason, with the exception of the night before a game
  • Once the playoffs begin, teams that do not qualify will stay under the league’s testing protocol for one week and afterwards will adhere to any protocols their team puts into place

The NFL still does not know how many fans will be able to attend Super Bowl LV, which is still on schedule for Feb. 7 (on CBS!)

3. Stay updated on National Signing Day 🏈

National Signing Day is here, and it is expected that six of the 17 uncommitted prospects in the 247Sports Composite Top 100 will make their decisions known. Like everything this year, college football decisions feel a bit different, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get the surprises and drama fans are used to.

Here’s a quick look at some of the top names to watch as we enter the big day, along with some of the biggest storylines to follow.

Our experts will be around all day keeping you updated on the biggest signings, so be sure to follow our National Signing Day live blog — which will feature new team rankings as players sign.

4. MLB owners reportedly want to delay start of 2021 season. The players don’t ⚾


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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: MLB owners and players aren’t on the same page, and it might push the start of the season. 

According to a report, owners want players to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before spring training begins. Due to the limited number of vaccines available, this would mean spring training would likely not occur on time. Meanwhile, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) is not in agreement and would like to play a full 162 games. If spring training was pushed back, the season start would in turn be pushed back to May and cut to 140 games rather than 162.

As most things do, this all boils down to, you guessed it, money.

Ahead of the 2020 season, players agreed to take salaries that reflected the number of games played and they would likely prefer not to take home less than their full salary for two years in a row (they only played 60 regular season games last year.)


📝 Odds & Ends


USATSI


📺 What to watch today

🏀 NCAAM: No. 7 Vilanova vs. Butler, 7 p.m. | NOVA -12.5 | TV: FS1

🏀 NCAAM: No. 21 Duke vs. Notre Dame, 9 p.m. | ND +4 | TV: ESPN

🏀 NCAAW: Southern vs. No. 7 Baylor, 3 p.m. | TV: ESPN+


📝 Top scores from last night

🏀NCAAM: Virginia Tech 66No. 24 Clemson 60

🏀NCAAM: No. 10 Tennessee 79, Appalachian State 38

🏀NCAAM: No. 12 Wisconsin 77, Loyola-Chicago 63


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