Although it was perfectly legal, major questions regarding competitive balance arose when Kevin Durant decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors last summer.
After all, Durant, recognized as a top-three NBA talent, joined a team that lost in the NBA Finals last season after setting a league record with 73 regular-season wins.
Now, at the end of his first season with the Warriors, they have a 1-0 lead in the NBA Finals and his decision seems like it paid off for not only his individual career, but for Golden State as well.
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A Kevin Durant-like situation might be on the way in the MLB.
While Bryce Harper, a former MVP just like Durant, has one more year under contract with the Washington Nationals (after signing a $21.6 million one-year deal to avoid arbitration), he may already have one foot out the door with a destination in mind.
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And the destination would absolutely set the baseball world on fire.
Legendary baseball writer Peter Gammons told 670 The Score on Friday that Harper wants to sign with the Chicago Cubs when he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season.
"I have people tell me that Bryce Harper, really, would prefer to play for the Cubs," Gammons said.
However, Gammons was quick to add that he doesn’t expect to see Harper in a Cubs uniform for a very simple reason: money.
"Somehow I don't think it's going to be affordable to have Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant on the same team," Gammons said. "It's a great idea, I'd love to see it. I respect them both so much, personally and professionally. But I don't think it's going to ever happen."
Bryant is under control of the Cubs through the 2021 season and would also command a mega-deal similar to the one Harper will receive.
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan recently wrote the following about Chicago’s position heading into the free agent frenzy that will ensue in the offseason before the 2019 campaign:
“When it comes to free agents in 2019, though, they aren’t in the right place to go after more than one big name and another mid-tier. While only $71.8M is guaranteed for 2019 (Jon Lester, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward), the arbitration raises of Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Hendricks, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber, among others, will suck up tens of millions of dollars and limit what the Cubs are capable of doing that season.”
Therefore, since Harper will desire a record contract of $400 million (maybe even $500) or more, the Cubs do not seem able to accommodate that kind of money if they want to keep their core in tact.
It’s worth noting that Harper has not publicly mentioned the Cubs and this is the first that anyone has heard of his desire to land there. But, given the level of sources that Gammons has around the league from his extensive career within the sport, it’s hard not to recognize his reporting as credible.
Therefore, echoing Gammons’ sentiment, it’d certainly be incredible to see Harper featured in the middle of the Cubs’ lineup, but don’t count on it happening.
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