The long-rumored trade between the Nets and the Rockets that brought sharpshooting guard James Harden to our area was finally completed last Thursday. As is the case with many NBA deals, two other teams, the Pacers and the Cavaliers, were needed for both roster and salary cap reasons.

In order to obtain Harden, the Nets had to part with four future first-round draft picks as well as four players, with the two best being a pair of recent first-round picks, center Jarrett Allen and forward Caris LeVert.

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Her boxing career is over but now a Forest Hills woman is attempting to climb the Seven Summits, the tallest mountains on each continent. She’s almost halfway there.

“I truly believe that everything that has happened so far has had a really good purpose and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if not for some of the events throughout my life,” Patricia Alcivar said.

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January is just about halfway over, but Mayor de Blasio is not even a fifth of the way near accomplishing his goal of vaccinating 1 million New Yorkers in the first month of 2021.

Between when he announced his inoculation goal on Dec. 31 and Jan. 13, only 161,713 people received their shots, according to the city Department of Health. Roughly 269,900 people have been vaccinated since the drug was approved in mid-December, 11 percent of them receiving both doses.

Last Thursday the Mets and Indians woke up the somnambulant baseball world with a six-player deal that sent All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco to Queens and dispatching shortstops Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez along with a pair of minor league prospects, pitcher Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene, to Cleveland.

The mood among Mets fans on social media was ebullient and the media covering the team appeared to approve of the deal as well. This isn’t surprising since Lindor has had a spectacular playing career and Carrasco has been a dependable starter. All trades, particularly those involving young talent, need time for fans to determine the winners and losers, and it’s wise to be cautious. Giddy fans should remember the short-lived euphoria over past infielders Carlos Baerga, Roberto Alomar and the late Tony Fernandez, who came to the team via trades. All three proved to be major disappointments.

A plethora of postponements has plagued the college basketball season and St. John’s had to call off its game against DePaul last Saturday less than an hour before tip-off.

A Covid-related issue was given as the reason and speculation began that the Red Storm would have to pause activities for two weeks.

Gov. Cuomo will back mobile sports betting in the state after years of holding out, the Daily News reported Wednesday. In December he said he would be open to fully legalizing online sports betting for the first time.

“New York has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States, and by legalizing online sports betting we aim to keep millions of dollars in tax revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild from the Covid-19 crisis,” he said in a statement.

The second half of 2020 saw western Queens continue to fight social justice issues and advocate for quality-of-life issues while maintaining social distancing and other coronavirus guidelines. Here are the big news stories from July through December of 2020, with Part I of our Year in Review available at qchron.com.

July

Mets owner Steven Cohen has scored points with fans for being active on Twitter. Anticipating the blowback he’d get from the Flushing faithful for not trading prospects to acquire American League Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Blake Snell from the Rays the way the Padres did, Cohen tweeted “News flash: The Mets farm system needs to be replenished.”

Cohen was rightfully taking a shot at the general manager he fired when he bought the team, Brodie Van Wagenen, who was fond of trading top prospects for meager returns.

Much to the chagrin of most of their fans, the New York Jets picked the worst possible time to become the National Football League’s hottest team. Last Sunday’s 23-16 win over the Cleveland Browns (who were missing most of their receivers because of Covid-19 protocols), coming a week after Gang Green upset the Los Angeles Rams 23-20, means the Jets will not have the first pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. That dubious honor will go to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who, much to the consternation of Jets fans, have refused not to lose this season.

In most years there are a number of college players who could be the top choice in the NFL Draft but that won’t be the case for 2021, when Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is being spoken about with the same “can’t miss” tag that both Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck had when they were finishing their college careers.

Mike Anderson-coached teams are often defensive-minded, and he was obviously displeased when he watched his Johnnies give up 90 points in consecutive losses.

“We are still trying to get the ‘blue collar’ out of our basketball team,” he said following a 94-76 loss to Creighton last Thursday. “Our guys last year, they took pride in their defense. Truth be told, we have got some of the same guys and we just need to get them all connected. But we also have a few new guys and all it takes is one weak link, and in our case tonight it was more than one.”

Mets President Sandy Alderson finally got around to hiring a general manager last week when he chose Arizona Diamondbacks assistant general manager Jared Porter to fill the vacancy created by the dismissal of Brodie Van Wagenen. The 41-year-old Porter also served stints in the Red Sox and Cubs organizations. Based on his resume he certainly has earned the right to be an MLB general manager. That was clearly not the case with Van Wagenen.

At the November press conference which formally introduced Steve Cohen as the Mets owner, Alderson stated his desire to hire both a president of baseball operations and a general manager. A couple of weeks later Alderson said he would be tabling his search for a baseball operations czar until 2021. Alderson is not a fan of needless bureaucracy so my guess is Porter will have that role as well albeit without the fancy title. It will be interesting to see whether Alderson allows Porter to take the lead when it comes to negotiating with top-tier free agents as centerfielder George Springer and Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Trevor Bauer.

“I told our guys that I will take the blame for that one there,” Red Storm head coach Mike Anderson said after last Sunday’s 97-94 overtime loss at Georgetown. “I didn’t get the job done. The guys played their hearts out, the tempo of the game was the way we wanted it to go, and we had a lot of miscues going down the stretch.”

It was a tough loss for St. John’s, who led by seven with 2:32 remaining only to squander the lead, tie the game at the buzzer to send it to overtime and then let a lead slip away again.

The Mets signed their first marquee free agent under the aegis of new owner Steve Cohen when catcher James McCann agreed to a four-year deal in the $40 million range. McCann, who is one of the premier backstops in baseball, would have gotten a far more lucrative contract (not that anyone has to start a Go Fund Me page for him) had it not been for the pandemic.

Landing McCann had to have been especially satisfying for Cohen since his previous team was the White Sox, whose owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, voted against the sale of the Mets from the Wilpons and was quite vociferous about it.

The Red Storm must have been thankful that they can’t be heckled by cardboard cutouts as Rider, picked to finish last in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, took a double-digit lead at Carnesecca Arena Tuesday.

“I keep saying it every time I get here; it is the year 2020, expect the unexpected,” Red Storm head coach Mike Anderson said after his Johnnies battled back for an 82-79 victory.

The future sure seemed quite bright for Steven Matz when he finally graduated from the Mets minor league system in the summer of 2015 to pitch for the varsity team at Citi Field. He won all four of his decisions and pitched well in the Mets’ postseason run. Many thought he would be a star Mets left-handed starter in the mold of Al Leiter and Jerry Koosman.

As a further bonus Matz was almost as good a hitter as he was on the mound. The fact that he grew up in Suffolk County as a Mets fan, and that his last name sounds so close to their beloved team, understandably endeared him to the Flushing faithful.

The Red Storm was beating Creighton at halftime of their Big East quarterfinal matchup in March when the rest of the season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Now college basketball has returned, even if the fans have not.

Mets President Sandy Alderson held a Zoom press conference last Monday to announce Luis Rojas will be getting a second year as manager. He also revealed the Mets will not hire a president of baseball operations in 2021. Alderson indicated they would in a previous press confab.

He also stated the Mets had interviewed six candidates to be the team’s general manager. Normally it’s the general manager’s job to hire a field manager, and as New York sports fans have discovered all too frequently, when a general manager inherits a field manager or head coach the results are generally ugly.

It’s no secret the Mets former owners, the Wilpons, made their share of financial and personnel blunders running the team. Among their biggest doozies was offering outfielder Bobby Bonilla a 25-year annuity, which pays him $1.19 million each July 1 instead of paying him the lump sum of $5.9 million he was owed for the 2000 season. The payments began in 2011 and are scheduled to end in 2035.

Mets fans refer to July 1 as Bobby Bonilla Day as a way of ridiculing the Wilpons. New Mets owner Steve Cohen is well aware of it and on Twitter he announced he’d like to have some fun by inviting Bonilla to Citi Field that day and handing him an oversized check and letting him address the fans. Cohen added he’d like to make it a yearly tradition.

Everyone knew new Mets owner Steve Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson would make changes, but hardly anyone expected they would come as fast as they did.

The Mets sent out a press release last Friday afternoon confirming Cohen had officially purchased the ballclub from the Wilpon family. That was widely expected. What was unexpected, however, was the press release issued two hours later announcing the departure of general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and nearly all of his staff as well as senior advisor Omar Minaya.

In the days leading up to the Major League Baseball team owners’ meeting to approve Steve Cohen’s purchase of the Mets from the Wilpon family, a new wrinkle seemed to arise. Fans were not worried so much about whether Cohen would get the blessing from the fraternity he wanted to join as much as they were about Mayor de Blasio putting a kibosh on things.

Citi Field sits on land owned by the New York City Parks Department and therefore the Mayor’s Office said it had a say in the Mets ownership change. De Blasio was both cagey and cryptic about whether he’d sign off on the deal.

Former Mets third baseman David Wright will be the first to admit that when one thinks of “The Captain” in New York baseball circles, it is Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter who comes to mind. Nonetheless, Wright was a great player and served as the Mets’ team captain from 2013 through the end of his career in 2018. That is why he shouldn’t feel guilty titling his autobiography “The Captain” (Dutton).

Last week I spoke with Anthony DiComo, who served as Wright’s co-author and is well-known to Mets fans as the team’s MLB.com beat reporter. DiComo admitted Wright was surprised to get the go-ahead from Penguin Random House, which owns Dutton Books, because there is no dirt to be dished here.

The Jets decided to cut ties with their talented yet disgruntled running back Le’Veon Bell last Thursday. Bell was vocal about how he was being utilized by Jets head coach Adam Gase. With the season beyond repair the Jets’ corporate triumvirate of Gase, general manager Joe Douglas and owner Christopher Johnson agreed to release Bell from his contract.

Bell’s story is a case study of how corporate shakeups can adversely impact an athlete’s career. Bell was unhappy with the contract his old team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, had offered him for 2018 so he decided to sit out that season in the hopes of landing a big free agent deal from a different team the following year.

Yankees fans were understandably upset at seeing another season go by the boards without an addition to their team’s 27 World Series championships after a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays last Friday. The Bronx Bombers’ last World Series title came in 2009 and they haven’t been part of the Fall Classic since.

While the knee-jerk reaction of the sports media was to criticize the Yankees, especially manager Aaron Boone, the reality is the Rays are an excellent baseball team and this was more a case of them winning a hard-fought playoff series than more the Yankees losing it.

First in batting average in the Big East. First in doubles and stolen bases. Second in hits and runs scored. Third in home runs. Breakout starts from three freshman All-Americans. A drubbing of 19th-ranked Georgia Tech on the road. Two convincing home wins. 

The St. John’s baseball team was ready to show the Big East, and everyone else, its 2020 brand of Red Storm ball.

And then, it hit.

The virus took no prisoners.

The New York Rangers’ decision to buy out the remainder of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s contract did not get the attention it deserved. Most observers felt the Rangers were determined to go in a younger direction and continuing to employ the 38-year-old Lundqvist (affectionately known to Blueshirts fans as “King Henrik”) did not fit that goal.

The NHL just completed its season, which like everything else, was affected by the pandemic. The Yankees’ being in the playoffs, along with the awful state of the New York Jets and Giants, have taken up most sports attention locally. So it wasn’t surprising the Lundqvist era came to an end with a whimper instead of a bang, maybe the goal of Rangers’ management.

The Mets probable new majority owner, Steve Cohen, made news last Thursday when he announced that Sandy Alderson, who was the Mets general manager for seven years, would be the club’s new president. Alderson took a leave of absence in July 2018 to battle a recurrence of cancer. As is often the case, the Mets were badly struggling, and he opted not to return.

Alderson got to know Cohen well as he was a Mets minority owner during his tenure as general manager. Cohen is well aware he needs 75 percent of Major League Baseball owners to approve his purchase. He also knows that a number of owners are fearful of his background as a hedge fund entrepreneur who faced scrutiny from the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Although it was expected Steve Cohen would ultimately be the buyer of the New York Mets, it was still surprising to get the press release from the team last Monday that the Wilpon family had agreed in principle to sell the team to him. The sales price was not stated in the press release but a number of analysts estimated it to be $2.4 billion, which makes it the largest sales price for a professional sports franchise.

The deal will become official when 22 of the 29 Major League Baseball teams give their blessing. It’s doubtful if things would have gotten this far if that isn’t a fait accompli.

The Liber-T Community Tennis Association will be collecting donations of new or used tennis racquets for use in youth programs from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20 at Detective Keith L. Williams Park, also known as Liberty Park, in Jamaica.

The park is located at Liberty Avenue and 173rd Street.

Last Wednesday, the Brooklyn Nets named the greatest Canadian basketball player of all-time, Steve Nash, to be their new head coach. Nash logged 20 years as one of the best point guards in NBA history. The question, of course, is “Does that translate to success in being an NBA coach in the nation’s largest market?”

The selection of Nash to succeed Kenny Atkinson, who was dismissed by the Nets in March, was a complete surprise because his name never came up as a potential head coach in the NBA the way, say Mark Jackson, Tyronn Lue and Tom Thibodeau always seemed to.

The owners of the New York Mets have reached an agreement to sell the club to hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen.

“The Sterling Partners have signed an agreement with Steven Cohen pursuant to which Mr. Cohen would purchase the New York Mets,” the club said on its Twitter account Monday afternoon.

When news of his death came last week, Tom Seaver’s family announced that the baseball legend, 75, succumbed to complications of COVID-19 and Lewy body dementia.

While COVID-19 has become all too well-known, many have not heard of Lewy body dementia, and many who have know little more than actor and comedian Robin Williams was suffering from the disease when he committed suicide in 2014.

The 2020 US Open starts Monday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center but like nearly every other sporting event going on these days it’s being played without any fans.

Not surprisingly, a number of top tennis players are skipping this year’s Open, though Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams did commit to taking part. This may open the door for little-known players to make deep runs and perhaps even win the shiny hardware.

In my 2020 Mets preview I wrote how Mets starter Steven Matz has been inconsistent through his five seasons in Flushing. He could dominate hitters one game and get hit like a pinata by them in the very next.

So far in this pandemic-shortened season, Matz has been consistent — consistently awful, that is. Last Saturday he failed to make it through the fifth inning against the Phillies. That left Matz with an 0-4 record and an even more humiliating 9.00 earned run average.

The Public Schools Athletic League announced last Friday that the fall season is postponed because of the pandemic.

“While we are anxious to reconvene PSAL activities, safeguarding the health and safety of our athletes is our top priority and sports programming will not return until it is safe to do so,” the league said in a statement posted on its website, adding that the Department of Education will monitor city, state and health officials’ updates to determine an appropriate return date.

Jose Reyes, whom most would consider to be the best shortstop in Mets history, announced his retirement last week. Many missed this news because it was overshadowed by the Yoenis Cespedes AWOL drama in Atlanta.

Granted, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion since Reyes did not play in the major leagues in 2019 following a disappointing 2018 season when he batted .189 for the Mets.

The Jets traded All-Pro safety Jamal Adams to the Seattle Seahawks last Saturday, for a treasure trove of high draft picks over the next two years along with safety Bradley McDougald.

Adams has long been vociferous about the lack of Jets leadership in terms of player personnel, coaches and executives. What really irked Adams, however, was that for all the talk by Jets general manager Joe Douglas about making him a Jet for life, it appeared Gang Green was in no hurry to match their verbiage with a long-term lucrative contract that would accomplish that.

The Mets are scheduled to begin their truncated 2020 season tomorrow but more exciting action may be in the executive suite as the owners, the Wilpon family, have announced their intention to sell their equity stake. The investment banking firm Allen & Co. has been retained by them and they’ve narrowed the potential buyers to three entities. The favorite is the man who thought he had a deal to buy the team earlier in the year before negotiations broke down, hedge fund entrepreneur Steven Cohen. It’s estimated he is worth $13 billion and the conventional wisdom is if it comes down to who makes the highest bid, he will be victorious.

He has a few blemishes, however. In 2012, he was implicated in an insider trading scandal. He wasn’t charged with a felony but he did pay a hefty civil fine. Others at his firm, SAC Capital Advisors, were criminally charged and convicted. Given the Wilpons’ involvement with Bernie Madoff, selling their majority stake to Cohen, who is already a minority owner with the team, wouldn’t be good optics. State Sen. Jessica Ramos, who represents the district where Citi Field is located, wrote an op-ed in last Friday’s New York Daily News stating exactly that.

Major League Baseball is hoping to salvage something from COVID-19-plagued 2020 by starting a 60-game season next week. Teams have been using their ballparks for a second “spring training” the last two weeks.

Media coverage has changed because of the pandemic. The only access for the press has been Zoom teleconferences with players and team officials. During the season the press box will be limited to 35 people.

One of the more shocking radio stories in recent years was the 2017 arrest and conviction of WFAN morning air personality Craig Carton for being an integral part of a ticket-selling Ponzi scheme.

He was the on-air wise guy half of “Boomer & Carton,” with former NFL QB Norman “Boomer” Esiason playing his straight-man.

Gov. Cuomo broke the news last Monday that the 2020 US Open will take place as scheduled from Aug. 31 through Sept. 13. The next day, United States Tennis Association executives gathered at Arthur Ashe Stadium and conducted a Zoom press conference.

The officials put on their best collective faces as they quickly showed a video of an enthusiastic Serena Williams announcing she was excited to be returning to play at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. In addition, the USTA announced there would be the traditional field of 128 male and female players and the available prize money would be about $53 million.

NASCAR officials took dramatic action last Wednesday in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder when they announced Confederate flags would no longer be allowed to be flown at any of their sanctioned races. In addition, spectators will not be admitted if they wear apparel bearing the Confederate flag.

Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, the only African-American driver on the NASCAR circuit, has long called for the flag to be banned and was thrilled when his goal became a reality. He has become one of NASCAR’s most popular stars.

With Citi Field out of bounds for baseball fans this summer, Howard Beach resident Nick “Pin Man” Giampietro, who has garnered the status of local celebrity for his Mets flair, will lose his hobby for a season.

But that’s the least of his worries right now.

COVID-19 claimed a longstanding cable sports show when SNY, which has been ravaged by the lack of Mets games and live events, announced it would cancel “Loudmouths,” which debuted when SNY came on the air in 2006. “Loudmouths” was a local knockoff of ESPN’s popular late-afternoon debate show, “Pardon the Interruption,” with Chris Carlin and Adam Schein becoming the New York version of Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

Carlin and Schein had chemistry and their takes on sports and pop culture were entertaining and rarely came off as contrived, which is rare for a sports debate show, as anyone who has ever seen ESPN’s “First Take” or Fox Sports 1’s “Undisputed” will attest.

Gov. Cuomo last Saturday said horse racetracks and the popular auto racing track at Watkins Glen can reopen effective June 1 — without fans, for the moment.

The move likely will manifest itself sooner across the border at Nassau County’s Belmont Park that at Aqueduct in South Ozone Park.

A high school sports coach often has to be a trainer, parent, guidance counselor, motivator and therapist all rolled into one.

Joel Ascher, who led August Martin High School’s girls basketball team to 12 city championships and four state titles, was just that, and beloved by his players.

Sports have gone missing as schools have closed amidst the coronavirus crisis.

“Kids’ safety is more important but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt,” said Bayside High School baseball coach Kevin Brown.