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NBA Draft, Zach LaVine(?), U.S. vs. Germany for All the Marbles

A huge day today folks. The U.S. plays Germany for a spot in the final 16 of the World Cup, then the NBA Draft is upon us tonight. Big. Day.


First up: The U.S. plays Germany at 11 am CDT on ESPN.  After their last second gut punch of a draw against Portugal, the U.S. might need a result to move through to the knockout stages of the tournament.

A win and they go through as group winners. A draw and they go through in second place. A loss and they still go through if Ghana and Portugal draw OR if they maintain their goal difference advantage over whichever team wins that game.

It isn't going to be easy. Germany are very, very good, have had an extra day to rest, and didn't have to play in Manaus. Teams in this World Cup are 0-4 the game after playing in Manaus, and it clearly takes a lot out of the players.

Nevertheless, they have a good chance. Better than I expected at the start of the tournament. If they somehow win (unlikely), they will win the group and likely avoid Belgium in the next round. However, Belgium play later than the U.S., and it isn't impossible that they would try to rig things to get the U.S. (Instead of Germany) should the U.S. somehow manage to win the group.  They would have to intentionally lose their game to South Korea, and hope Algeria beat Russia, which would send Algeria through as group winners.

None of that is important, though. Getting through the group any way they can is what's important, and would be a fantastic achievement.  Given that a draw suits Germany just fine, I'm unsure how much attacking the Germans will actually do in this game, and whether, if they play conservatively, the U.S. will follow suit in order to avoid the big mistake that could cost them.

It should be fascinating.

The NBA draft starts at 6:30 pm CDT on ESPN.

There will be an open draft thread up at 6, which will serve until the Wolves make their pick at 13 (or do something else). Yesterday, we got the rumor that the Wolves may have promised Zach LaVine at 13. That would be unfortunate, but on the bright side, perhaps someone will sneak in earlier and take him. The problem with that is it could then get even worse.

Ah well. The life of a Wolves fan.

Elsewhere, there were further rumors today that Kevin Love (and his representatives) nixed a possible deal to Cleveland for the #1 pick, apparently telling the Cavs that he would not re-sign with them under any circumstances. How true any of that is I don't know. If that is the approach, however, the Wolves might be better served by making him play out the year. If he is going to suppress offers in this manner, the Wolves have limited hope of getting a palatable return.

The Knicks and Mavericks have made a trade that sends Tyson Chandler back to Dallas with Ray Felton in exchange for Jose Calderon, Sam Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, and two 2nd round picks. Chandler only has a year left on his contract, while Calderon has 3 years left on his, which appears to be the incentive for Dallas. For the Knicks, I suspect they see Calderon as a good point guard for the triangle, as he's a terrific 3 point shooter.

The Rockets and Pelicans have agreed to a trade that will send Omer Asik to New Orleans for a future first round pick. This trade will be completed in the new cap year, and is a step for the Rockets to create cap space to try to lure a third star to Houston to join James Harden and Dwight Howard.

Of course if anything Wolves-related happens during the course of the day, we'll get something up about it. Meanwhile, discuss any juicy (or not-so-juicy) rumors in comments, and enjoy the game if you are able to watch.

Today in history

1284: The Pied Piper of Hamelin lures 130 children away (supposedly)
1483: Duke of Gloucester names himself King Richard III
1870: Christmas declared Federal Holiday in U.S. 
1896: First movie theater in U.S. opens
1909: Victoria & Albert Museum opens in London
1917: 1st U.S. expeditionary force arrives in France during WWI
1919: NY Daily News starts publishing; Peter Vescey prints inaccurate rumors for first time
1945: UN Charter signed by 50 nations in San Francisco
1960: Somalia gains independence from Britain
1974: First UPC code used to scan item for purchase
2003: Supreme Court strikes down gender based sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas

Today's musical birthday is Patty Smyth, born in 1957