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USATSI

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Hope your week is coming along nicely.

Before we get too far into today's newsletter, I encourage you to go check out "The Only," a documentary on former USWNT goalie Briana Scurry streaming on Paramount+. Scurry's story -- from being the USWNT's only Black starter and only openly gay player to winning several titles to dealing with depression stemming from a career-ending concussion -- is remarkable. You can get a free one-month trial of Paramount+ by using GLORY as your offer code.

Ok, now that you've signed up and watched it, let's get to the sports news.

Good morning to everyone but especially to...

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Getty Images

JOHNNY GAUDREAU

NHL free agency opens in a few hours, and Johnny Gaudreau is going to get some big-time money very, very soon. The 28-year-old left winger -- coming off career-highs in goals (40) and assists (75) -- is undoubtedly the best player set to hit the open market, writes our NHL scribe Austin Nivison.

  • Nivison: "Following his dominant 115-point season, Gaudreau will have some very large numbers placed in front of him on Wednesday... Whichever team lands Gaudreau will get an elite difference-maker."

While Gaudreau is the top player available, there are plenty of other big names who could find new homes quickly, including:

  • Three key pieces of the Stanley Cup-winning Avalanche: center Nazem Kadri, goalie Darcy Kuemper and left winger Andre Burakovsky
  • Two-time Cup-winning left winger Ondrej Palat
  • Former All-Star and longtime Flyers standout Claude Giroux

You can check out Austin's entire list of top names here and the list of teams that need to improve here.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...

UTAH JAZZ FANS

If Jazz fans thought the Rudy Gobert trade was a commitment to Donovan Mitchell... think again. The team is reportedly listening to trade offers for Mitchell after weeks of saying he wouldn't be moved.

  • Mitchell has been an All-Star each of the last three seasons, but Utah is in a transition period after longtime head coach Quin Snyder stepped down and Gobert was traded.
  • The Gobert trade included some role players but mostly future assets: four first-round picks.
  • The Jazz have made the playoffs each of the last six seasons but never advanced past the second round in any of those appearances.

I've said this before with other teams that are rebuilding: It may be the right decision, but that doesn't mean it's an easy pill to swallow. Only the Celtics have a longer active streak of postseason appearances. The Jazz drafted phenomenally, finding franchise cornerstones in Gobert (27th pick in 2013) and Mitchell (13th in 2017).

For a small-market team that's not a top free-agency destination, Utah's work has been admirable. But losing two homegrown stars -- and their former coach -- in one offseason would not be easy.

So where could Mitchell end up? Our NBA guru Sam Quinn says one stands out in particular.

  • Quinn: "Knicks -- You've surely heard of the connections by now. Mitchell is represented by CAA. Knicks president Leon Rose once ran CAA's basketball operations. Mitchell grew up in nearby Connecticut. His father worked for the New York Mets. The interest here is almost certainly mutual. The question is price. The Knicks can send the Jazz as much draft capital as anyone. They have eight tradable first-round picks, including four of their own."

Not so honorable mentions

Open Championship picks, surprises and Tiger Woods expectations ⛳

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By the time you read tomorrow's version of this newsletter, most of the players will have already teed off at St. Andrews for the first round of the 150th Open Championship, which means it's time to deliver our expert picks, bold predictions, expectations for Tiger Woods and more.

Let's start with the pick to win from our golf insider Kyle Porter, who is providing coverage from St. Andrews all week.

  • Porter: "Jordan Spieth -- He's not playing at the same clip as last year when he finished runner-up to Collin Morikawa. However, the golf being played at St. Andrews is not the same as the golf he's been playing most of the year, and Spieth has crushed at Opens over the course of his career. His game and mind were made for this tournament."

Meanwhile, golf expert Patrick McDonald has ranked his top 22 players in the field, and No. 1 is no surprise.

  • McDonald: "Rory McIlroy -- Unable to defend his 2014 title at St. Andrews due to a ruptured ligament in his left ankle from a "kickabout" with friends, the Northern Irishman's relationship with the Home of Golf is an odd one to say the least. Finishing in a tie for third in 2010, McIlroy put together rounds of 63-80-69-68... One of two players to finish inside the top 10 of each major championship thus far in 2022, McIlroy is the favorite at the Old Course."

As for the rest of the important stuff...

NFL's top 30 players over 30: Quarterbacks lead the way 🏈

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Earlier this month, our NFL expert Cody Benjamin revealed his top 25 players 25 and younger. This week, he's back with his top 30 players 30 and older. It's no surprise that a pair of quarterbacks top the list.

  • Benjamin: "1. Tom Brady -- Father Time lies battered in his wake. Brady has seemingly gained arm strength since relocating from New England to Tampa Bay, and his preparation and unfazed vision remain elite. Everything about him -- his clutch touch, his very aura -- inspire title hopes... 2. Aaron Rodgers -- No, his talent hasn't always translated to recent postseason excellence. But Rodgers still throws the ball with more precision and confidence than everyone except maybe the elder counterpart who tops this list."

Rounding out the top five is...

  • 3. Rams DT Aaron Donald
  • 4. Broncos QB Russell Wilson
  • 5. 49ers OT Trent Williams

Other quarterbacks making the top 30 were Matthew Stafford (8th), Derek Carr (19th) and Kirk Cousins (20th). In my humble opinion, watch out for Cousins, who could have a strong year under new head coach Kevin O'Connell

WNBA Power Rankings: Can Sky hold onto top spot? 🏀

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The WNBA is back from the All-Star break, and that means it's time for some new Power Rankings.

The Sky -- who started their post-All Star slate with a win over the Dream last night -- occupy the top spot in the standings by a game over the Aces and own the top spot in WNBA expert Jack Maloney's rankings as well.

Here's the rest of the top five.

  • 2. Aces
  • 3. Sun
  • 4. Storm
  • 5. Mystics

What we're watching Wednesday 📺

🏀 Sun at Fever, Noon ET on NBA TV
Dodgers at Cardinals, 7:45 p.m. on MLB.TV