Monthly Archives: July 2022

Monday Morning Coffee

July 25, 2022

Russell Westbrook is still a Laker. Kyrie Irving is not. As it stands today, this Laker team probably isn’t going to be all that much better than last year. It’s not about Kyrie though, it’s about not having reliable role players that can shoot and defend. They can only get those by trading Russ. However, you people that want to criticize the Lakers for not wanting to part with multiple first round picks in a Russ trade must be the worst negotiators ever. I’m beginning to think you even go to Whole Foods and ask the cashier if you can pay even more for that rotisserie chicken than it’s listed for. Some of you also seem to think that Buddy Heild and Myles Turner are Larry Bird and Bill Russell. They aren’t, but I get it. You don’t like Russ and he’s not a good fit, but being a good NBA executive requires patience to get the right deal, which most of you don’t seem to understand. Give the Lakers time. If they look this way come October, then we can criticize.

Meanwhile, interesting back and forth between former NBA player JJ Redick and Clippers Executive Jerry West. Redick tried to be funny but was somewhat serious when he said that Bob Cousy played against “plumbers and fireman.” Jerry West fired back by saying that Redick was basically a nobody who averaged 12 points per game. What’s funny about this is that Redick is actually the plumber and fireman of his era. In general though, I hate comparing eras because the game and the resources are just different. Who is to say that if I put Bob Cousy in todays era, he wouldn’t be able to adapt himself to todays rules and be just as great? That’s why these conversations are so pointless.

The Dodgers at rolling. They just swept the Giants, and they’ve won 8 in a row. Mookie Betts is pretty good at this baseball thing. Freddie Freeman has also ended the drama and caught fire at the plate. The fact the Dodgers have opened up an 11.5 game lead in the West, and are just 1/2 behind the Yankees for the best record in baseball tells you how great their depth is, even with all the injuries. Still, you can never have enough pitching come October, which is why Luis Castillo and another reliever make the most sense to trade for by the trade deadline. Also, Trayce Thompson on the Dodgers is apparently like having Ted Williams on the team. He has definitely earned more playing time.

Andrew Friedman watches team drills.

Meanwhile, the Angels disaster is still ongoing after getting beaten up by the Braves for most of the weekend. The Halos win so infrequently, everyone was astonished they found the win column. Mike Trout looks like he’s going to be out longer than he initially thought. Also bizarre is the contract extension they agreed to with David Fletcher. Only the Angels could make a deal like this that was bad for both sides. Why would you want to extend a guy who is hitting .211? And if you’re Fletcher, why would you want to lock yourself into a low salary like that for 5 years? This basically re-affirms my believe that no matter what direction the Angels go in, they are likely to screw it up.

Finally, I’ve mentioned before how I can’t resent all PGA Tour members that are taking all that money with the LIV Tour. However, now it’s getting really serious: they might get Charles Barkley to do their broadcasting. Barkley admitted this is only about the money, which I admire, and can’t hate on him if he takes it. However, I’m going to be devastated if he leaves Inside The NBA on TNT for this. That show has always been phenomenal. Putting Barkley on TV to talk golf is completely nonsensical, but if someone Is dumb enough to triple is salary, he can’t say no.

Finally, I’m always fired up about Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. The epic coverage kicked off last night, which included an unbelievable shark encounter a diver had while in a plexiglass cage. Frankly, the diver is lucky to be alive after a Great White went full speed breaching through his cage. This may not have been the most responsible set up by the the Shark Week producers, but thankfully, nobody was hurt. Nevertheless, it did make for incredible footage.

Monday Morning Coffee

July 18, 2022

NBA Summer League is over, but over the weekend, Lebron made an appearance in an exhibition game at the Drew League. Look, it was fun and glad Lebron looks healthy, but let’s not get too excited about LBJ and DeMar Derozan flexing on a bunch of Door Dash drivers. Nothing could be more hilarious though than thinking that Kyrie Irving was going to play in that game, then no-showed. Now everyone knows how the Nets have felt for the last three years. Then there’s Russell Westbrook, who split with his agent over the weekend. Never in my life have I seen an agent make a statement like Thad Foucher did over the weekend, just publicly airing the dispute between him and his client. Foucher said he thinks Russ should stay with the Lakers to not diminish his value further, while it sounds like Russ wants to be traded. I’m not so sure either one of them have much say in the matter at this point, and neither do the Lakers. It’s really up to the Nets if they want to part ways with him, and until KD gets traded, that might not happen. The only thing that could really make all this happen is if Russ, Kyrie, and KD make things really awkward for the Lakers and Nets, and force their hand into taking action.

A separate NBA side story taking shape is that Donovan Mitchell is now available in trade talks. The Jazz are clearly selling off parts like a going out of business sale, and the Knicks are at the top of the list of teams chasing him. I love Donovan Mitchell, and he’s certainly a star player, but it would be very on brand for the Knicks to unload every future draft pick they own for a guard they have no idea how to build around.

To baseball, where the Dodgers have hit the All-Star break with the best record in the National League. The Boys in Blue swept the Angels over the weekend, outscoring them 22-3 in four games this season. However, the story around the Dodgers is the Juan Soto trade rumors. Soto turned down $440 million over 15 years. He’s a great player, but there is no MLB player worth that kind dollar figure, especially when you have to gut your farm system for him. Everyone wants to compare this to when Miguel Cabrera was traded from the Tigers in 2007. Cabrera had a nice run with the Tigers, but let’s not pretend it created some incredible power shift in baseball. The Tigers made it to the World Series once with him, and were eliminated four times in the playoffs with him. Soto is nice, but the Dodgers don’t need him. They need bullpen help, especially at the closer spot, and they need their ace back, Walker Buehler. Let’s be practical people, this isn’t fantasy baseball. Plus the reason the Dodgers opened a 9.5 game lead on the Padres is because the middle of their order started hitting. That’s not an unreasonable expectation moving forward.


Then there’s the Angels, who simply look like they have booked vacations to Cancun for quite some time. They enter the All-Star break with only 7 teams in baseball with worse records than them. They are much closer to tanking for the #1 pick than they are to a playoff spot. We should also stop talking about the idea of trading Shohei Ohtani or Mike Trout. Arte Moreno would never do that, since he cares more about selling tickets for people to see his star players. I’m also amazed that people are now turning on Mike Trout, like it’s his fault the team sucks. He’s still having a solid season, and despite some of the nagging injuries, he’s played in 85% of the teams games. Phil Nevin probably hates his job at this point, but Phil if it makes you feel better, so do most Americans!

With the All-Star game scheduled for Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, everyone is excited, but reminded of a big reality: Dodger Stadium is a terrible venue to get in and out of. The experience of watching a game there is fantastic, but it’s like the Hollywood Bowl, miserable to get there. I feel fortunate to get to go to Tuesday’s game, but if I leave now, I should make it there just in time for fist pitch. The problem is, there isn’t much of a solution for this one other than building a new stadium at a different site. It’s virtually one way in and one way out to get to the Ravine. Parking is awful, and there’s nothing that can be done to change that fundamental aspect of it. All this talk about the concession workers striking. I think they just didn’t want to have to deal with parking there during the All-Star game!

Monday Morning Coffee


July 11, 2022

This is the part of the NBA off-season where news is slow, so people try to manufacture stories in their minds. My favorite is Jeanie Buss’s tweet, saying she misses Kobe, and what it really means. “She’s taking a shot at Lebron!” Or “She must be frustrated about not making a trade!” Probably none of the above guys. She is fully capable of missing Kobe and it has nothing to do with what’s going on with the team now, or anybody on the team. That’s all this is in my opinion. Then there’s the manufacturing of there being some kind of a rift between Russell Westbrook and Lebron James at Summer League. “Oooooh they sat on the other side of the arena from each other, they must hate each others guts!” I like how nobody assumes that they even said hi to each other or spoke to each other but nobody saw. There is just no real Laker news to report. You people that keep saying “The Kyrie trade is done” are hilarious. Do you really think they would agree to the trade and Woj and Shams don’t know about it? Sounds like it’s going to take a while for the KD trade to get done, and that apparently needs to happen first. The Nets latest demands include Anthony Davis, Lebron James, 25 first round picks, the Laker girls, a Playboy magazine with Jeanie Buss, and arena.

To baseball where the Dodgers have won 7 straight games after sweeping the Rockies and Cubs. For all that bitching and complaining, the Boys in Blue have the best record in the NL. They probably should have had 7 All-Stars because Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, and Julio Urias were snubbed. However, Clayton Kershaw and Tony Gonsolin are very much deserving of All-Star spots. Same goes for Trea Turner and Mookie Betts. I’m also delighted to hear that Kershaw will be starting for the NL against Shohei Ohtani at the Ravine. Kershaw may have been hurt for part of the season, but he’s still been one of the best pitchers in the NL this season. Like I said before, this man doesn’t not get enough credit for still being a great pitcher to this day. The one concern I do have is the closer situation, and unfortunately, Andrew Friedman doesn’t want to address it via trade. Instead it might need to be from an internal replacement for Craig Kimbrel, if he still looks like garbage. My vote would be Dustin May, who I have always believed has the stuff to be an elite closer. Only time will tell if he’s the next guy, or if Kimbrel will get his act together.

The Angels on the other hand do not have their act together, and are skidding again, losing another 4 straight games. It’s really astonishing that this team is now `18.5 games out of 1st place, and 7 games out of the AL Wild Card. If firing Joe Maddon did nothing, and having Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout does nothing, it speaks volumes about how terrible of a team you have assembled. I’d say the Halos should be sellers at the trade deadline, but what’s the point? They are going to pretend like they are in “win now” mode and not sell much, and the parts they are going to get back wouldn’t be developed properly enough to help their organization. Have you ever looked at the Angels staff directory?

Congrats to LA Kings forward, Adrian Kempe on securing a 4 years $22 million extension. Kempe scored 35 goals last season, and $5.5 million is a pretty reasonable cap hit for the Kings. Now it would be a little more reasonable if he scored some goals for them in the playoffs.

Finally, all that talk about Baker Mayfield and the Browns making up, and it turns out they traded him to Carolina. The Panthers really just assembled a QB room for the season with Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. Something tells me that by Week 15, neither one of them will be starting.

Monday Morning Coffee

July 4, 2022

Happy 4th of July! I know I know. You’re all feverishly refreshing your Twitter feeds to see if Woj or Shams is going to announce a Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant trade. I’ll get to these two later. But first, let’s talk about the Lakers free agent additions: Lonnie Walker, Troy Brown, Juan Toscano Anderson, and Damian Jones. This isn’t who I would have spent my limited free agent dollars on if I were Rob Pelinka, however, there is some reasonable logic to it after last seasons disaster. The team is definitely much younger and more athletic, instead of the old geezers they signed last season. While all these players have some untapped potential, overall the team is still missing perimeter shooting and defense. They probably weren’t going to get that anyway with their limited resources, although I probably would have rolled the dice with someone like Otto Porter Jr or Bruce Brown, that fulfilled more of these needs. Interestingly enough, all the Laker free agents haven’t been signed by anybody, other than Malik Monk. That shows you just how cooked those old guys were. On the other hand though, there are some interesting players showing out on the Lakers summer league roster so far. Most notably, Cole Swider looks like he can shoot it, and Scottie Pippen Jr looks good as well. Then again, since nobody on the Lakers can shoot, if a guy like Swider makes a couple of threes in Vegas, he’s freaking Ray Allen as far as they are concerned. Hard to imagine those two at least not getting a shot to make the Lakers roster out of training camp.

As for the Clippers, they re-signed Nic Batum, but didn’t really need to do anything else. They just have too many guys under contract already, and are so deep, their challenge is finding minutes for everyone. They actually lost Isaiah Hartenstein in free agency, who turned into a very productive player, but probably would not have gotten the playing time or the money with the Clippers. Lawrence Frank is probably one of the few executives around the league who can spend his 4th of July Weekend on a beach or by the pool, while every other executive around the league is calling Sean Marks more times than Adele.

Meanwhile, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are dominating the off-season headlines. To be honest, these two deserve to be traded to another country for a player to be named later. For KD, he just signed a four year extension, and now he’s asking to be traded. You created this mess bro and got everything you wanted. Now things get a little rough and you want out? Of course the teams you want to go to are the top teams in the East and West: Miami and Phoenix. This is the definition of a front-runner. I’ve talked ad nauseum about Kyrie, and his foolish behavior for the last three years. However, the fact the Lakers are the only team interested in him tells you how desperate they are. Has anybody checked on Dame? The Blazers cleared $60 million in cap space and burned it all on a roster that would be lucky to make it into the play in tournament. Miles Bridges is going to get a max deal from the state penitentiary. The Wolves acquired Rudy Gobert and the Covid-19 Alpha strain. The Celtics acquired Malcolm Brogdon for a 2022 Finals ticket stub. Then there’s Pat Bev, who told Steph Curry “the next five years are mine” then got traded five times.

To the college ranks, where USC and UCLA made big headlines last week by announcing they are leaving the Pac-12 and going to the Big 10. Well there’s more evidence of people leaving California for Red States. In all seriousness though, this speaks to just how poorly the Pac-12 (now Pac-10) conference has been run the last few years. Larry Scott couldn’t run a hot dog stand at this point, and his TV deal was a complete disaster, with nobody being able to watch the games. They also really needed USC to be good, and ironically, now that they will be, they are leaving the conference. In the short-run, the travel is going to be really hard for USC and UCLA athletics. However, ultimately we are going to get to two really big power conferences, so it will get better. This is all about money. Both these programs have been hurting quite a bit through the pandemic, and their new television deals with the Big 10 will help alleviate that with the $100 million in annual revenue they will be receiving. The structure of collegiate athletics is going to look very different in the next few years though, so get used to it and embrace it.

In baseball, there has been a lot of complaining about the Dodgers the last few weeks. For all the complaining though, they have the best record in the National League halfway through the season. Oh and in case you forgot, they lost their ace, their 2nd best pitcher for a long stretch, one of the best players in baseball, one of their best relievers, and 1/3rd of their lineup has been hitting like little leaguers. Imagine how good this team could be if they could just solve a few of those problems. The Dodgers took 3 of 4 over the weekends from the Padres, and when San Diego finally won one game, they literally threw a parade in downtown San Diego. If it weren’t for Craig Kimbrel pitching like completely garbage again, it would have been a sweep. Clayton Kershaw was brilliant yesterday. I would love to see him pitch in LA for the all-star game, but if there’s one guy who actually deserves to start its Tony Gonsolin, who has looked like Nolan Ryan at this point. Hopefully we don’t have to hear any more about Freddie Freeman though and him crying over leaving the Braves. This is the big leagues buddy. At the end of the day, you are accountable for your own decisions, and nobody made a decision for you. Get over it and stop acting like you are playing baseball in Oakland or some crummy market.

On the other hand is the Angels. Boy were we all wrong about this team. At the halfway point of the season, it’s over. They are 15.5 games out of 1st place, and 7 games out of the Wild Card with 5 teams to jump over. Sunday, they struck out more times than I did during junior high dances. At least Shohei Ohtani is a phenomenon and a pleasure to watch. It’s like somebody spiked his sake over the past few weeks. However, this team has major holes in their pitching, at shortstop, and catcher, as well as overall depth issues. Funny, these are the exact same holes the team had when the off-season started last year. This is what happens when you have a poor farm system to begin with, that feeds into a system that has poor player development. Even the two best players in baseball cannot overcome this. It’s a tremendous organizational failure that I don’t see how they solve with Arte Moreno owning the team. Even if they trade Trout and Ohtani, they would never get back the return they are worth, and they would only be feeding those players into a crummy system that sets them up for failure.

Finally, the LA Kings are making a big splash. The acquired scoring left winger Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild last week, and then signed him to a long term contract. The Kings badly needed more offense, and a left winger, and Fiala addresses that. They may also not be done either, as there are rumors of them trading for a defenseman who can help their power play as well. The Kings are very methodically building another Stanley Cup contender, however, the Stanley Cup is probably going to look like a crushed can of Coors Light after an Alabama tailgate, with the way it’s being treated by the Avalanche players.