NBA players continue to be paid, and Giancarlo Stanton has competition in the Home Run Derby

Many will call this week a relatively slow one for sports news because we have reached the all-star break in Major League Baseball. But we still have NBA free agency, the Home Run Derby, All-Star Game, and the ESPYs to help fill the void this week and give us something to talk about. Let’s get your week off on the right foot with your Monday morning edition of The Cheat Sheet.

James Harden closer to being rich enough to buy Target

The Houston Rockets had quite a week. After acquiring Chris Paul, the Rockets locked down James Harden to a four-year deal. It just so happens to be the largest contract extension in NBA history, ringing up at an impressive $228 million for four years. So it looks as though the Rockets are going all in on trying to create their own super team of sorts. So, what is the next piece of the puzzle? The NBA rumor mill is suggesting the Rockets could be in play for acquiring Carmelo Anthony, thus rescuing Anthony from the perennial that is the New York Knicks.

The pressure is already building on Houston to strike gold with the addition of Paul and the new contract to Harden (plus whatever else is coming), as one Houston sportswriter is already suggesting a ring is a must.

In the meantime, Harden can go on quite a few shopping sprees at his nearest Target (as if he couldn’t before)…

The Home Run Derby is tonight

Hometown star Giancarlo Stanton looks to win the home run derby in back-to-back fashion, a feat only accomplished twice before.

Baseball’s all-star fun got underway yesterday with the futures game and celebrity softball game and continues tonight with the celebrity softball game and the home run derby. With the all-star game in Miami, local favorite Giancarlo Stanton feels like the favorite to take home the crown for the second straight season. There has been just one back-to-back winner since Ken Griffey Jr. took the 1998 and 1999 derby title, with Yoenis Cespedes winning in 2013 and 2014. Stanton just had a two-homer day on Sunday to get warmed up.

Of course, he’ll have some stuff competition in the bracket-style tournament.

Also, if you are like me, you may feel old when you see this…

 Quick Hits

Alex Ovechkin’s wedding seemed like it may have been a good time. Finally, Ovechkin got a ring.

– In NBA Summer League action, Stephen Jackson posterized a couple of Blazers, Lonzo Ball recorded a triple-double, and Markelle Fultz needed help getting to the locker room. And to add fuel to the fire between the Sixers and Lakers as if it’s the 1980s all over again, Joel Embiid was fined $10,000 for mouthing off about LaVar Ball on Twitter. LaVar previously took aim Embiid’s intellect.

– In other random NBA news, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told new draft pick Dennis Smith Jr. to delete his old tweets. I’m mildly surprised Cuban didn’t use the opportunity to plug Cyber Dust.

Team USA lost to Canada in the U19 semifinals over the weekend. It’s the first loss for the U19 Americans since 2011.

– The next time you are making a late-night run to McDonald’s for some loaded bacon and cheese fries, there may be a reason why you may hear some classical music playing.

– It’s football season north of the border, but you still are generally not allowed to lay hands on the officials. Former Florida Gator Will Hill III received an early exit from a game for breaking that rule…

– The Houston Astros recorded their 60th win of the season on Sunday with a 19-1 drubbing of the Toronto Blue Jays. To put that in perspective, the Astros won 70 games in the entire 2014 season, and failed to reach 60 wins the three seasons prior to that (2011-2013). I guess they trusted their process.

– Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan tore his labrum while jumping from a boat.

– Every now and then you get someone flashing the jumbotron at a ballgame, and sometimes it might just be grandma.

– Pay close attention to where this ball goes after coming off the bat…

– I was not invited to Alex Ovechkin’s wedding, but it sure looked like a grand old time.

– This hurdler had her weave fall off after crashing and burning on a hurdle in a track meet in London…

– I’m not a huge soccer guy, but yesterday marked the 11th anniversary of one of my personal favorite moments in soccer history, the Zidane headbutt in the 2006 World Cup Final…

View post on imgur.com

– And Wayne Rooney is heading to Everton after 13 years with Manchester United.

Tweets you may have missed

– This morphing image of Bartolo Colon over the years is mesmerizing (and I honestly didn’t know who it was when I first saw the image prior to morphing)…

– I’m heading to the beach next month. Because I try to plan ahead, I am making a checklist of items to bring. This photo has inspired me to add the fold-out couch to the list…

– This dog is me…

– When all you want to do is play games to escape real-life struggles, only to get mad about the real-world problems in an online environment…

– Stephen A. Smith sometimes struggles with using Twitter. Can somebody teach him how to add a video to a tweet?

One last gratuitous moment of procrastination

If you watched Spider-Man: Homecoming this weekend, then feel free to watch this to catch up on the easter eggs you may have seen or missed. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, give this video a pass and come back later.

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to NBCSports.com's College Football Talk, Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and iHeart Radio. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.