Stars Shooting Off: are Ronaldo, LeBron, Harper on the Move?

The Stanley Cup was awarded earlier week, and the NBA Finals also wrapped up. Of the four major sports, we are now left with just baseball. But that doesn’t mean nothing is happening. This is actually the busiest time of year when it comes to transactions and roster flux: the NHL expansion and entry draft goes next week, and free agency in both the NHL and NBA opens July 1st. Not to mention we are getting close to the midway point of the MLB season, and that means the trade deadline is just around the corner. In European soccer, the transfer window is now open, and a few big names could be on the move.

As we know, absent a no-trade clause, no star is so big that they’re immune from being moved. Just ask Wayne Gretzky, who was shockingly traded to Los Angeles just a few months after he helped lead the Oilers to their fourth Stanley Cup.

Not all big-name deals catch us off-guard like that. Sometimes the superstars want out, and the organization has no choice but to cede to their demands, while the various salary caps can leave teams with no ability to retain their franchise cornerstones.

On that note, let’s take a look at the best players in a handful of major sports who could be traded or sign with a new team in the near future. Below, I’ve set the odds that each one will be wearing a new uniform within the next year.


NBA

LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers): 9/1

Odds on 2017-18 team

  • Cleveland: 1/8
  • LA Lakers: 19/1
  • LA Clippers: 19/1

Ever since LeBron missed out on winning his fourth NBA championship, the rumor mill has been churning. Will King James stay in Cleveland, or will he leave? Apparently he’s been considering leaving Cleveland for some time now, and it sounds like he’s eyeing La La Land. But he’s not a free agent until next summer.

Both the Clippers and the Lakers are in need of super superstar. Adding James would put either one in a position to challenge Golden State, especially if the Clippers retain Chris Paul.

Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors): 19/1

Odds on 2017-18 team

Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/]

  • Golden State: 1/19
  • FIELD: 19/1

Sounds like Golden State is really the only option for KD. Shortly after the Warriors championship win Monday, Durant made it clear Golden State is where he wants to be. He has an option to opt out of his contract for 2017-18, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be doing so. Durant has said he knows the Warriors are a special team, and he wants to help keep it together. The Warriors have ten free agents to deal with (including Steph Curry), and Durant is willing to take less than his fair-market value to keep the core together.


La Liga

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid): 1/11

Odds on 2017-18 team

  • Paris Saint-Germain F.C: 3/2
  • Manchester United: 17/8
  • a Chinese team: 9/1
  • Orlando City SC: 25/1

Word is Ronaldo isn’t happy with how’s he’s been treated by Spanish authorities after being accused of tax evasion. Now he wants out, not just from the team, but the country as well. Where could he land?

Any team in the world would bend over backwards to snag soccer’s biggest star, but the question is, who can afford him? There’s a shot he could head back to Manchester United, where he spent six seasons. But even he might be too rich for United. PSG has been after Ronaldo for quite some time after trying to get him during the 2015-16 transfer window. China, although low on the list, is a real possibility too. The Chinese league has the money, but Ronaldo might not be ready for that big of a change.

Finally, if the price is right, fans in North America could be seeing more of him. There have been talks Ronaldo could join Beckham’s new MLS team in Miami, but since the stadium isn’t even built yet, Orlando City could be the next best option. That said, SC is already paying Kaka over six million dollars.


NHL

Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins): 99/1

Odds on 2017-18 team

  • Pittsburgh: 1/99
  • Los Angeles: 150/1
  • Florida: 300/1

Trade rumors regarding Crosby started swirling years ago, but have slowly died down with back to back Stanley Cups. If the Pens were crazy enough to trade Crosby, where would he go? Management would want a lot back. And they’d probably send him to a team they only see twice a year. You’d also have to think commissioner Gary Bettman would have his fingers in this; he’d want to see Crosby where hockey needs a boost (Florida), or on a struggling team in a massive market (L.A.).

Connor Mah (flickr) {https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-sa/2.0/]

Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers): 1000/1

Odds on 2017-18 team

  • Edmonton: 1/99
  • NY Rangers: 175/1

Connor McDavid isn’t going anywhere, notwithstanding the Oilers’ history of trading the best player on the planet. These are different times. The Oilers haven’t won a cup since 1990 and need McDavid if they want a chance at getting another.

Just for fun, let’s pretend he’s available in a trade. Where could Connor go? New York would be at the top of the list. Why? Two words: Glen Sather. Slats has a soft spot for the Oilers after being apart of the organization for 24 years. He’s now president of the Rangers and has been known to encourage management to make a deals with his former club. Plus there’s that whole best-player-in-the-biggest-market dynamic that every league loves to have.


NFL

Tom Brady (New England Patriots): 10,000/1

Odds on 2017-18 team

  • New England: 10,000/1
  • San Francisco: 1/20,000

There is no chance Tom Brady will play for another NFL team. He has created a dynasty in New England, and he will definitely retire before considering being traded. He’s helped the team win five Super Bowls, so who’s going to say to no him?

Saying that, it’s always fun to guess where he could go, if he was traded. He turns 40 this year, so he’s no spring chicken, but clearly has a another year or two of good football left in him. San Francisco is a storied franchise in need of a quarterback, and Brady grew up near the Bay Area. Can you picture him sporting the red and gold? Me neither.


MLB

Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals): 7/1

By Johnmaxmena2 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0]
Odds on 2018 team

  • Washington: 1/7
  • NY Yankees: 14/1
  • LA Dodgers: 20/1

Show me the money. That’s the storyline that comes along with Bryce Harper and his agent. The 24-year-old was recently inked to a new one-year deal by the Nats, which locks him up through the 2018 season. But the last thing Washington can afford is to have him walk away for nothing in free agency, and that could mean moving him before his deal is up.

The downside with Harper is his cockiness and bad attitude; his upside is everything he does on the diamond.

Sure, he’s yet to lead the Nationals to a World Series title, but that could easily change this year with the Nationals leading the NL and Harper batting .314 with 17 HR and 50 RBIs in the 59 games. A new shiny ring would give management more leeway with fans to make the unpopular move of moving the former Rookie of the Year and MVP.

No team will want to pay Harper’s steep trade price unless they’re confident they can re-sign him. There are talks Harper could become the first athlete in America to be paid $500 million dollars when he signs his next contract. Yup, you read that right. Who could pay him that much?

The Yankees, clearly.

The Dodgers also have the cash, although they’ll still be tied up a bit with existing big-money contracts.

What are the chances Harper stays in Washington, long-term? Not great. He’s in his prime, and looking to score big. He’ll be following the money trail one way or another.

Solly Lawrenson

Solly is a no-nonsense sports betting savant. In her eyes, the choice is obvious and she’ll help you’ll think that way as well. She gives you the facts you need, and cuts the bull. The only time she might be wrong is when she only has good things to say about the Edmonton Oilers. Maybe don’t listen to her then.