Although it’s the offseason for most major American sports, there’s still plenty of action in the sports world. Michigan sports has seen some important moves in both professional and collegiate athletics.
Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Stateside to explain all the recent moves.
The Detroit Red Wings made a high-profile move by trading the contract of Pavel Datsyuk, who left the NHL to return to Russia, to the Arizona Coyotes. Although Datsyuk will no longer pay for the team, the Red Wings are still responsible for paying his salary under the salary cap. What did the Red Wings get from the trade?
“The main thing the Wings’ got was unloading a 7.5 million dollar burden under the salary cap,” Bacon said. “So, now they’ve got 7.5 million to play with to get somebody big like Stamkos from the Tampa Bay Lightning.”
There have been more big moves in other major sports. A number of players who played college basketball in Michigan were drafted in the 2016 NBA Draft. Former Michigan State University basketball star Denzel Valentine was drafted 14th overall by the Chicago Bulls. Caris Levert, who played for four years at the University of Michigan, was drafted 20th overall by the Indiana Pacers and then traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Deyonta Davis, who played a year at MSU, was drafted 31st overall by the Boston Celtics, and Kay Felder, who played at Oakland University, was drafted 54th overall by the Atlanta Hawks and traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the reigning NBA champions.
This summer also marks the 40th anniversary of Detroit Tigers pitching legend Mark "The Bird" Fidrych's first appearance. Fidrych was beloved for his on-field antics and pitching skill, but his career was cut short by injury. Fidrych died in 2009 in a car accident.
John U. Bacon is Michigan Radio’s sports commentator.