The road not taken: How Carlos Correa and other agreements voided or reversed have altered destinies

The road not taken: How Carlos Correa and other agreements voided or reversed have altered destinies

Don’t count your chickens (or star players) before they hatch (or are signed)

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Days after agreeing to a 13-year, $350 million deal to serve as San Fran’s shortstop of the foreseeable future, former Astros SS, Carlos Correa regurgitated his Giants agreement and opted to occupy third base for the Mets for the next 12 years instead at a marked down $315 million rate. Correa’s about-face on the San Francisco Giants was a shock to the Major League Baseball community.

Moonwalking out of a deal engraved in the public’s consciousness for the last few days will leave an indelible mark on the future of the two franchises that intersect in this garden of forking paths. For San Francisco, they’ll always be forced to wonder what could have been with Arson...er, Aaron Judge and Correa this summer. There have been rumors of back issues swirling around Correa and after his physical something scared them away from the 28-year-old All-Star or tempted them to tinker with their offer. Their introductory press conference was canceled, but nobody actually expected Correa to dump the Giants so quickly.

It may be years before we realize the long-lasting ramifications of Correa’s change of heart. Voided deals and trades have swung the history and moods of entire fanbases before. Here are a few that have created reverberations that were felt for a generation and some that can be felt today.

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Heyman reports Aaron Judge to the Giants

Heyman reports Aaron Judge to the Giants

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The messed up part of Correa spurning San Francisco like this is that he was their rebound after spending all offseason wooing Aaron Judge, then getting duped by a second Heyman tweet. The first one was only a week ago. but Jon Heyman’s tweet breaking Judge’s move to San Francisco still got an entire fanbase ginned up. Our own Jon Hoefling damaged friendships by gloating, proving that those studies about how men suck at maintaining friendships are onto something.

Ironically, Heyman redeemed himself as a scoopmaster days later by breaking the Correa-Mets deal. It’s safe to say he’s not too popular in the Bay Area right now.

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DeAndre Jordan’s hostage crisis

DeAndre Jordan’s hostage crisis

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Clippers center DeAndre Jordan signing with the Dallas Mavericks at the onset of free agency caused one of the greatest nights in recorded Twitter history. In most instances of a player backing out of an agreement with a team, such as with Correa and the Mets, reporters break the news once the deed is complete. In the case of Jordan and the Mavericks, we discovered in real-time that his Clippers teammates were basically pulling their best impression of Kathy Bates in Misery strapping James Caan to a bed until Jordan changed his mind.

Dallas Maverick forward Chandler Parsons fired off an emoji to relay that he was on his way to Jordan’s home. Blake Griffin’s staged photo of chairs barricading doors into Jordan’s home, combined with dubious reports Mark Cuban was frantically trying to get in touch with Jordan’s family set the scene for one of most riveting nights in Sports Twitter’s annals

Those unsubstantiated rumors that Cuban was driving around downtown Houston calling Jordan’s friends and family in search of Jordan’s home address turned out to be an exaggeration, but it’s the most harmless misinformation to ever flow through social media so we let it slide. He never got there and it wouldn’t have mattered. Once Jordan negotiated an extension with the Clippers, Jordan eventually dropped his agent Dan Fegan whom he felt steered him toward the Mavericks because of his friendship with Cuban and because he represented Parsons.

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Randy Gregory Ditches Cowboy Nation for Bronco Country

Randy Gregory Ditches Cowboy Nation for Bronco Country

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For the first five years of his career, Gregory was the pristine action figure in an unopened box. He missed 54 games between 2016 and 2020 due to violating the league’s archaic substance abuse policy.

In 2022, the Cowboys and Gregory agreed to a contract worth $70 million until reaching an impasse over contractual language which would reduce his guaranteed money or bonuses if he was fined or suspended again. Gregory quickly changed course and agreed to a similar deal with Denver that didn’t include those restrictions

A second pass rusher aside from Micah Parsons would have improved the pass rush, which is almost entirely reliant on one player. However, Gregory has been injured much of this season, so it’s too soon to tell how much bang the Broncos are getting for their buck. If anything, they’re probably lamenting deciding not to check out of Green Bay last spring.

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Bol Bol to Detroit and then back to Denver

Bol Bol to Detroit and then back to Denver

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What is it with the Pistons and their penchant for voided trades? Six years ago, they were involved in a three-team trade that landed them Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton. The swap was then nixed on Detroit’s side because of concerns about Motiejunas’ back that arose during his failed physical. Motiejunas’ ailing back became a concern for the rest of his career.

In January, the Pistons acquired fragile Denver Nuggets reserve Bol Bol for the low price of Rodney McGruder and a second-round pick. However, that trade was scuttled when Bol Bol failed his physical.

Motiejunas suggested the NBPA investigate the Pistons’ medical review process in light of Bol Bol’s failed physical. A few days later, Detroit was vindicated after Bol underwent season-ending foot surgery.

Fast Forward nearly a year and Bol Bol is finally putting his ridiculous length to good use. Per 36 minutes, Bol is erasing 2.3 shots a game, reeling in 10 boards, tallying 16.7 points on splits of 59.3 percent from the field and 40 percent from distance. The Pistons are vying for Victor Wembanyama in the draft, which would make Bol Bol obsolete anyways.

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Chris Paul to Lakers is overruled by Commish

Chris Paul to Lakers is overruled by Commish

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Paul’s trade to the Lakers was a legacy-altering scenario that would have paired him with Kobe Bryant, but the forgotten detail is the swap sending Pau Gaol to the Houston Rockets. Reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic, and a first-round pick were sent to New Orleans.

What happened next was an unprecedented reversal of the trade by the acting owner of the Hornets–Commissioner David Stern. Days later, Stren would approve a deal sending Chris Paul to the L.A. Clippers. The imbroglio launched the final branch of Stern-related conspiracy theories before he retired and over a decade later remains one of the biggest what-ifs of Paul’s career.

CP3 would have been the most ball-dominant guard Bryant ever played with, but it would have been a welcome addition considering Kobe was 33. The Lakers got bounced in the Conference semis by the Thunder, then signed 40-year-old partially-retired Steve Nash. Nash barely played, and Dwight Howard was too much of a goof for Bryant, who tore his Achilles after leading the league in usage rate at the age of 34 in D’Antoni’s frantically paced offense. If anything, Paul would have taken some of that burden off of Bryant and developed Lob City with Howard and Kobe instead of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

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Josh McDaniels returns to New England

Josh McDaniels returns to New England

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Josh McDaniels learned from the best in Bill Belichick, but the lesson that stuck the most is Belichick’s fearless ability to renege on a contractual agreement. During the 2018 offseason, the Indianapolis Colts tapped Josh McDaniels to maximize Andrew Luck’s output. McDaniels backed out without signing a contractual agreement, but he did abandon several assistants who’d left their previous jobs to join his staff.

McDaniels returned to New England, winning his sixth Super Bowl as a member of the Patriots staff. A year later, Andrew Luck retired, sending the Indy into a spiral. McDaniels may have lucked out there. Had he accepted the Colts’ opening, he likely would have been run out of town once Luck retired during the 2019 preseason and wound up on New England’s staff for another stint. Becoming a two-time retread hire would be a tough sell and in the McDaniels to the Colts’ alternate universe, he’s still in New England as the offensive coordinator this season after being recognized as Bill’s heir apparent.

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Bill Belichick leaves the Jets at the altar, runs off with the Patriots

Bill Belichick leaves the Jets at the altar, runs off with the Patriots

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Bill Belichick changed the course of NFL history the day he walked up to the lectern at Hofstra University, where he was prepared to introduce himself as the next head coach of the New York Jets. Instead of waxing philosophically about a second chance to be a head coach for a steady organization that believed in him, Belichick pulled out a piece of paper and audaciously read a succinct resignation letter instead. Two years later, Jets linebacker Mo Lewis T-boned Pats quarterback Bledsoe and his replacement Tom Brady helmed the offense to a Super Bowl.

Belichick has tormented the Jets for 20 years. Fittingly, the Butt Fumble, the Jets’ lowest moment of this millennium occurred against a Belichick defense. The chief problem with the Jets over the past 20 years is their revolving door of bottom-feeding quarterbacks. Imagine if the Jets and Belichick drafted Brady and proceeded to go on a run, then spent two Super Bowls squaring off against their MetLife Stadium roommates in two of the greatest Super Bowls our eyeballs have ever seen.

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A-Rod to the Sox — then to the Yankees

A-Rod to the Sox — then to the Yankees

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In 2003, Rodriguez agreed to a trade from the Texas Rangers that would send him to the Red Sox. The league vetoed the deal while Boston behaved like cheapskates by working a pay cut for A-Rod into the deal. Ultimately, it worked out for the Red Sox. They became the most beloved underdog champions of all time by completing the first 0-3 series comeback in MLB history.

A-Rod would finish his career with the Yankees, but was always viewed as an interloper, who shrank under the bright postseason lights. Then, in 2013 he was handed down a 211-game suspension for his involvement in baseball’s Biogenesis scandal. During that time, Boston won a triplet of Fall Classics, so it worked out surprisingly well for them.

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MarShon and Dillion Brooks’ case of mistaken identity

MarShon and Dillion Brooks’ case of mistaken identity

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In a bid to improve their depleted roster in December 2018, the Memphis Grizzlies engaged in trade talks with the Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns. A three-team deal was agreed upon in which the Grizz would acquire Kelly Oubre from Washington. Washington sent Austin Rivers to Phoenix and Trevor Ariza was sent to Washington. Memphis conveyed Wayne Selden and MarShon Brooks to the Phoenix Suns. Just one problem.

The trade was announced, and the players discovered their fate, but a huge error was found.

Apparently, Phoenix assumed they were receiving Dillon Brooks, a promising young 3-and-D sharpshooter, not MarShon, who was seven years older. Dillon Brooks was never traded and is still a key cog of the Grizzlies while MarShon’s NBA career is currently continuing in China.

The Grizzlies lost focus after the snafu, losing 19 of their next 22 games. It also put them in a position to win the lottery and draft Ja Morant. If the trade had gone through, Memphis would have integrated Kelly Oubre into a lineup that included Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Dillon Brooks, and Jaren Jackson Jr. That’s a formidable team in the first two rounds of the Western Conference championship and while they wouldn’t have been capable of challenging Golden State’s Hamptons 5, it would have also delayed Memphis trading Marc Gasol to Toronto at the deadline where he went on to anchor the defense for the eventual champions.

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