123rd U.S. Open Championship - Previews
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This is an article version of the CBS Sports HQ AM Newsletter, the ultimate guide to every day in sports. You can sign up to get it in your inbox every weekday morning here.

Good morning to everyone but especially to...


Prepare to watch an absolute battle. The U.S. Open is here, and Los Angeles Country Club is going to present one heck of a test for 156 of the world's best.

It's a massive field, but if you need help figuring out who to pay attention to, our Kyle Porter narrowed the field down to nine players who could actually win. While it's full of the names you'd probably expect, I was surprised to see...

  • Porter: "Jordan Spieth -- One person I was speaking with Tuesday evening noted that LACC is a strange mixture of Merion and Chambers Bay. Spieth has not played the former, but he did all right at the latter. [EDITOR'S NOTE: He won.] The wrist is seemingly no longer a concern, and he's coming off a T5 at the Memorial where he hit it great. Am I concerned that the course might make him think a little too much? Indeed. But in a matchup where creativity and thoughtfulness should be decisive factors, I am all the way in on Spieth winning his fourth."

There's a big difference between being one of nine and one of one, though. Our experts made their picks, and I think I'm rolling with Kyle's.

  • Porter: "Scottie Scheffler (6-1): I can't help myself. His ball-striking is historically good right now, and he'll be patient until the very end. If he putts at all -- I mean, at all -- we're going to be talking about two-time major champion Scottie Scheffler possibly running the table on one of the great modern seasons in PGA Tour history this coming Sunday night."

For what it's worth, Patrick McDonald and Dean Straka both have Scheffler as a top-10 lock, and given the historic form he's been in, that's a good choice.

Our golf team has done a terrific job previewing what should be a terrific tournament, and you can see all their work here. Finally, make sure you know how to watch it all.

Honorable mentions

  • Stefon Diggs returned to minicamp, and the situation is "resolved" per Sean McDermott.
  • The Mets walked off against the Yankees.
  • Opponents and locations for the 2024 SEC schedule are here!
  • The Athletics took another step toward moving to Las Vegas.
  • Dearica Hamby led the Sparks over the Wings.

Not so honorable mentions

NBA rumors: Zion Williamson, others potentially on the move? 🏀

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We're barely 48 hours past crowning the Nuggets NBA champions, and yet again, the NBA is proving there truly is no offseason. 

The rumor mill is already spinning, with a 22-year-old franchise cornerstone at the center. That's right: according to reports, executives are monitoring Zion Williamson's potential availability.

  • Williamson has played just 114 games in four seasons -- including zero in 2021-22 -- due to a variety of injuries. He appeared in just 29 games this season and took longer than expected returning from a hamstring issue.
  • Per another report, the Pelicans would rather trade Williamson than Brandon Ingram. New Orleans is reportedly looking to trade up for Scoot Henderson.
  • It's easy to forget, but when healthy, Williamson is absolutely dominant. He's the only player in NBA history to average 25 points on 60% shooting across his first four seasons.

That last bullet point helps make one thing crystal clear to our Sam Quinn: If Williamson is even somewhat available, almost every team should be interested.

  • Quinn: "The reality of team-building in most NBA markets is that risk-tolerance is a precursor for success. ... Either he's going to reach his considerable potential and help you compete for championships, or he's going to flame out and drag you down with him. The chance at the former more than outweighs the risk of the latter when the alternative of doing nothing is the worst option of the three."

Williamson isn't the only All Star who could be available. The Wizards will work with Bradley Beal to find a trade partner if Washington decides to rebuild (which, as a Wizards fan, I think they need to do). With a new front office in place and never-ending mediocrity hanging over the team like a dark cloud, trading Beal, 29, might be best for both parties. Plus, Beal's no-trade clause ensures he'll get dealt to a place he likes. With that in mind, Sam has the six likeliest landing spots for the talented shooting guard.

Two more rumors...

Golden Knights prove NHL's expansion plan is working 🏒

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Seven years ago, the Golden Knights were a figment of everyone's imagination. Las Vegas hadn't even been approved as an expansion city and, in fact, had zero major professional sports franchises.

Fast-forward to today, and in just their sixth year of existence, the Golden Knights are Stanley Cup champions and proof that the NHL's new expansion model is working as intended, opines our Austin Nivison.

  • Nivison: "In the 2017 and 2021 expansion drafts, existing teams could only protect one goaltender, three defensemen, and seven forwards OR one goaltender and eight total skaters, regardless of position. ... As it turns out, letting new franchises have access to NHL-caliber players is a good idea. Is that fair to the expansion teams that came before Vegas and Seattle? No, but that doesn't make it wrong. The league recognized that it was too harsh on those teams in the past and made the proper corrections. Now, the NHL is firmly entrenched in two new markets, and those teams have the foundation to keep their success rolling for the foreseeable future."

As for how Vegas in particular took advantage of the more generous rules, I really enjoyed Chris Bengel's breakdown of Vegas building a champion out of, quite literally, nothing.

USMNT vs. Mexico preview: Meet Folarin Balogun ⚽

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No matter the setting, whenever the United States and Mexico meet, it's a big one. This one feels even bigger: It might include Folarin Balogun's USMNT debut.

The Stars and Stripes face El Tri in Las Vegas tonight -- a match you can stream on Paramount+ -- in the Concacaf Nations League semifinal. The USA is currently riding a five-match unbeaten streak against Mexico, and Balogun could be a crucial part of running that to six straight.

So, just who is the USA's new striker?

For right now, though, he's playing for the USMNT, and our Chuck Booth has details on his fit with his new national team.

  • Booth: "The United States hasn't had a proper striker to lead the line since Jozy Altidore, and make no mistake, the hopes for Balogun is that he far exceeds Altidore, and right now he can bring some of the imposing presence that has been missing in the box as of late. A poacher who can find the back of the net, Balogun can let Christian Pulisic's playmaking ability shine. Also, because of Balogun's presence in the box, one of the biggest winners of this move is Gio Reyna. ... With a proper nine leading the line, that not only creates more space for Reyna to shoot but also provides him with an outlet for his impressive playmaking ability."

Balogun isn't the only player making his USMNT debut: B.J. Callaghan took over as interim manager just weeks ago, and it's a big spot for him as well.

Here's a full scouting report on Balogun, and here's a full preview of the match.

What we're watching Thursday 📺

U.S. Open Round 1, details here
🏀 Fever at Sky, 8 p.m. on NBA TV
Angels at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. on FS1
USMNT vs. Mexico, 10 p.m. on Paramount+