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Yousef Baig

Yousef Baig

After the NBA season ends, the summer is an unbearably slow time in the sports world.

It’s when SportsCenter becomes completely unwatchable — like it already wasn’t bad enough (we still miss you Stuart Scott). So-called experts and repugnant personalities like Chris Broussard occupy space on ESPN all morning, filling your head with information provided by eavesdropping interns at management meetings in between highlights of meaningless baseball.

Luckily Tuesday night was the MLB All-Star Game. Guess that means we can start caring about baseball soon in a non-fantasy team capacity.

The Southeastern Conference is holding its media days this week, which officially begins the cycle of speculative and conjecture-filled, college football foolery that occupies the mind of every guy over the age of 30 with a Twitter account and still lives with his parents.

NBA Summer League is under way if you enjoy watching the next wave of international basketball players plus newly-drafted rookies compete for SportsCenter Top 10’s in Las Vegas.

We were lucky enough to have the Women’s World Cup and CONCACAF Golf Cup fall in the same year, so in all honesty, 2015 wasn’t as bad as it’s been in the past.

Sports trolling aside, every summer — without fail — is the musical chairs of NBA free agency and contract negotiations of NFL players.

While the Dallas Cowboys and Dez Bryant steal the show on the latter subject, the former is what I’m fuming over.

It’s not the fact that we’ve seen the most inflated free agent market ever thanks to the $24 billion TV deal the NBA inked last fall, or the fact that the San Antonio Spurs just stole the Warriors’ national spotlight barely a month after they won The Finals.

It’s that Enes Kanter just got a $70 million contract over four years to stay in Oklahoma City. Yes, that’s right. ENES KANTER.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Who the hell is that?

Don’t worry, that’s the correct response.

Instead of paying the luxury tax and offering James Harden a contract in the 5-year, $65-70 million range, they traded him to Houston for five guys who no longer play on the Thunder.

But now, fearing they might lose Kevin Durant when he becomes a free agent next summer, they tried to avoid that same mistake they made three years ago and just made a guy with career averages of 10 points and six rebounds one of the highest paid big men in the league.

Before this, Kanter was making around $4 million a year. His former contract was valued at what he’s going to be making each year from here on.

I don’t care if the cap space is going to increase league-wide because of that TV money. What kind of precedent is this going to set?

Teams have become so desperate for supporting casts that they have overvalued scrubs like Kanter — one of the worst defensive post-players in the NBA — just so they can increase their odds of improvement and make their franchise more appealing to ticket buyers and transient athletes.

He’s not the only one that cashed in this offseason, but to me, he’s the most striking of the bunch because of how little his team improves with him on the roster. The only reason the Thunder will be better next season is because Durant will be healthy again. That’s it.

So keep writing the same sized checks for Kanter as you are for Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City.

You guys are looking thirstier than Southern California right now.

Follow Weekly Calistogan Sports Reporter Yousef Baig on Twitter @YousefBaig or call 256-2212.


Sports Reporter

Yousef has been a sports reporter at the Napa Valley Register since February 2015, and hosts the Napa Register Radio podcast. He is a proud UGA graduate and has written for the Sacramento Bee, The Advocate and the Athens Banner-Herald, among others.

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