Monthly Archives: January 2024

Monday Morning Coffee

January 29, 2024

Forget Championship Sunday for a moment, we have to start with the Chargers!  The Bolts made a huge move by bringing on Jim Harbaugh as their head coach last week.  I don’t know if Dean Spanos had his family held hostage by the fan base until he made this move, because he hates spending this kind of money, but he finally opened the bank for somebody.  This move instantly gives the Chargers the credibility they need in the LA Sports market, where they haven’t even been the best NFL team in LA since they moved from San Diego.  There’s a lot of work to be done, and salary cap issues, but you can expect a few things to change immediately.  The Bolts will be better defensively, they will be more physical, and they should be able to finish games better in the 4th quarter.   The Chargers may be in the same division as the best QB of this generation, but that won’t intimidate Harbaugh from competing. 

As for Championship Sunday, Lamar Jackson did his best Dak Prescott impression, as the Chiefs took care of the Ravens on the road.  Get ready for two weeks of Taylor Swift coverage! I’m no Swiftie but I don’t hate it and I’ve got tons of respect for her that she’s traveling to all these miserable cities to support Travis Kelce.  Then there’s the Lions, who disappeared in the 2nd half like Ron DeSantis.  Dan Campbell clearly doesn’t understand how analytics work because when you’re down by 3, you should probably kick a field goal to tie it when you are in range.  The Lions receivers didn’t do Jared Goff any favors either.  Maybe now we can close the book on COVID since the 49ers and Chiefs are coming full circle from their 2020 Super Bowl matchup.

Meanwhile, I’m sure the Rams fans were lighting a candle to the football Gods that the 49ers didn’t win yesterday, but they’ll have to light even more come the Super Bowl.  Odell Beckham Jr said this Ravens team is the best team he’s been on.  I’m concerned this man has CTE since he forgot he won a Super Bowl in 2021 with the Rams.  The Rams also lost their defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, but I think it’s fair to say that given the track records of Sean McVay and Les Snead, whatever decision they make will likely be a good one.

After Saturday night, how much more proof do you need that the Lakers don’t need a trade but to just play the right people.  Jared Vanderbilt was a +30 in 41 mins against the Warriors, and Taurean Prince was a -22 in 24 mins.  Of course he was! Vanderbilt was part of the starting lineup that took them to the Western Conference Finals last year.  D-Lo has been spectacular as well since his name started being thrown around in trade rumors, and if you want to suddenly give up on Austin Reaves you’ve lost it.  Dejante Murray isn’t the answer.  The answer is playing more Vanderbilt and Rui, and less Prince.    It’s like the Lakers had to beat Darvin Ham and the Warriors on Saturday.  Makes me think Prince must have some kind of dirt on Ham.  Wait until Ham gets his hands out of his pockets, then the league is really gonna be in trouble!

I’m pretty sure nobody noticed, but the Clippers actually went on the road on Saturday night and dismantled the Boston Celtics.  Celtic fans probably haven’t been that upset since slavery was abolished.  The Clippers have very quietly won 5 in a row, and are just one game out of 1st place in the Western Conference.  Tyron Lue basically told his players that they need to take the regular season a lot more seriously, because if you aren’t a top 4 seed, you’re chances of winning a title are statistically greatly diminished.  They are certainly listening to him, and finally building the chemistry needed to be a legit NBA Championship contender.

To baseball, where the Dodgers signed pitcher James Paxton last week.  Some of you may be thinking that signing indicates the end of Clayton Kerahaw’s run as a Dodger, but not necessarily.  Kershaw can’t pitch until the middle of the summer anyway, so the Dodgers needed another lefty starter for a good chunk of the season.   Paxton is somewhat of a reclaimation project, but the Dodgers have had a lot of success with those.  As a back of the rotation option he’s fine.  The Dodgers still need late inning bullpen help though, and sounds like they are on the hunt for it.  Kike Hernandez also sounds like he’s pleading for the Dodgers to re-sign him.  I love Kike, but the Dodgers have so many position players like him, I don’t see the fit, and I doubt Andrew Friedman’s computer does either. By the way, former Dodger 3rd baseman, Adrian Beltre was named a 1st ballot Hall of Famer last week. He played for 21 years, hitting 477 homers, batting .286, and over 1700 RBI, and more than 3,000 hits. He played 7 years for the Boys in Blue, including a season where he hit 48 homers. Everyone will point the finger at Frank McCourt as the culprit for not re-signing him. But for 7 years, the fans were highly critical of Beltre’s performance, which was always solid. However, it’s LA and the fans are maniacs, and this was before the social media era! It just goes to show you, sometimes you need a little perspective on a player before wanting to ship him out of town.

At this point, there is no doubt in my mind that Arte Moreno is trying to bamboozle everyone.  The last couple of off seasons what does he do? Tell his GM to sign a couple of solid relievers, which they did in Robert Stephenson and Matt Moore.  He also tells his GM to sign a useful bench guy, which they are trying to do in Kike Hernandez.  Rinse and repeat! Why? Because he doesn’t want to spend the kind of money necessary to win right now.  The Halos could really use Blake Snell and Cody Bellinger.  They are $70 million below the tax, and I’m sure $70 million or even less, could get them those two players.   Would they assure themselves of winning the AL West with them? Maybe not, but they sure would have a way better chance, especially if they can keep Mike Trout healthy.   Instead, feels like we are again getting some pyramid scheme but nice optics off-season, and the team will go nowhere again.

Finally, the LA Kings should really celebrate Lent early by giving up on coach Todd McClellan.   The Kings have just 2 wins in their last 16 games.  This was a team we were told were going to be serious cup contenders.  Instead The 23-24 LA Kings now look like frauds.  They have stolen your time, money, hope and mental sanity.  You cannot lose this much for a team with expectations and not change things up.  It’s so bad, veteran players you expect to produce, like Pierre Luc-Dubois and Kevin Fiala, look terrible.  The Kings are so desperate they are plugging rookie after rookie into their lineup for a spark, yet Todd McClellan isn’t even utilizing them.  This is the kind of play that not only gets coaches fired, but GM’s and other hockey executives in an organization.  It will be very interesting to see if anything changes with a long 9-day break coming for the Kings. 

Monday Morning Coffee

January 22, 2024

Now that the dust has settled after the Rams were eliminated from the postseason last week, we can look at it as a successful season, and look ahead to how they can improve. Since the team has a 1st round pick and over $40 million in cap space, they can do a lot to improve. Despite the 10 win-season they need help, on defense especially. They need an edge rusher, two cornerbacks, as well as more help on the offensive line. They will probably also be in the market for a backup QB, and should probably start thinking about Matt Stafford’s successor. I just hope when they are on the clock for their 1st round pick, they don’t try to burn a timeout.

As for the Chargers, they’ve interviewed some interesting candidates and are on to the second round of interviews. In addition to Jim Harbaugh, I like how they interviewed Mike Vrabel, but would hope they would interview Peter Carol and Bill Belichik. It should be nothing other than those 4 under consideration. However, I still think they should move quickly on Harbaugh, who could lose patience and just go back to Michigan if he doesn’t get what he wants. Carol would be interesting though and give them LA area credibility, but I’m still not convinced he can fix them the way Harbaugh could. It’s a huge moment for the Chargers franchise.

Elsewhere around the NFL Playoffs Divisional round, the Ravens dismantled the Texans and look like the team to beat in the NFL. Jordan Love looked like an elite QB for 3.5 quarters and the 49ers were shaking in the boots, but then he remembered he’s only Jordan Love in the 4th quarter. The Niners are headed to the NFC Championship Game next week against the Lions. The Lions got by Tampa, and their fans were so excited because it’s been so long, they don’t even know how to celebrate. Baker Mayfield was so jealous of Jordan Love throwing an interception late in the game, he wanted to throw one himself late against the Lions. Also, I’m sure everyone is ecstatic that the Chiefs beat the Bills because they’ll get at least one more week of Taylor Swift coverage during the NFL Playoffs. I have to say I’m super impressed that she’s been attending games in some of the coldest cities in America right now. Yesterday was definitely a tough day for both the Bills and terrorism, since Sean McDermott is apparently an Al Quaeda sympathizer. Of course running a fake punt with DeMar Hamlin could also be considered an act of terrorism. Not sure if this team will ever get over the hump.

The Lakers found the win column last night, but they are still floundering, in 9th place in the West. Is there time to turn it around? Ok sure, but not that much. The idea of a big trade that’s going to turn the season around just isn’t there. I know everybody is in love with Bruce Brown or Dejonte Murray, but there aren’t the type of players that are going to completely change the trajectory of the Lakers this year, given what it will take to acquire them. There is not a player like that out there this year. I know many of you dislike D-Lo, but you’re also forgetting something: spacing. The Lakers need shooting, and despite his flaws, D-Lo gives them much more of that than anybody that is currently available. To me, this team’s best chance is to play the lineups that got them to the West Finals last year, and let that chemistry continue to improve. That simply requires Darvin Ham to come to his senses and play more of Rui Hachimura and Jared Vanderbilt. It would also really help if they could come up wtih a defensive, yet playmaking guard to complement D-Lo. Like say…..Dennis Schroder? That of course is because Gabe Vincent is totally useless. Since the Raptors are in fire sale mode, perhaps Schroeder can be had after a buyout. If not, maybe they can call the Blazers about Malcomb Brogden. This may very well be Lebron’s last season with the Lakers, since he could want to play with Bronny next year. No need to mortgage the future, if there’s no move that really moves the needle from what they have anyway.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 21: D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Los Angeles

The Clippers are still rolling, maintaining their 4th spot in the Western Conference. Yesterday was a reminder that they will go as Kawhi Leonard goes. Kawhi went off for 14 points in about 5 minutes of the 4th quarter, as the Clippers rallied to beat the Nets. If there’s one thing that can bother this team, it’s physicality. However, not many teams can play that physical in the NBA today. The Nets did for a little, but they do not have the roster to sustain that level of play for 4 quarters of a basketball game. Nevertheless, as long as this team is healthy, the potential for playoff success if there.

After the big fish have signed with the Dodgers, the entire baseball offseason has slowed down. Ironically, it hasn’t picked up, and that’s because Scott Boras has been trying to get boat loads of cash for the likes of Blake Snell and Cody Bellinger. I’m ok with the Dodgers letting Josh Hader go to the Astros. Not because he’s a lunatic redneck, but because a 5 year investment for nearly $100 million in a reliever isn’t a great idea. I still think the Dodgers need to find a way to reunite with two guys that are still effective at their age: Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen. Both fill needs in the starting rotation and the bullpen, are still All-Star caliber players, and can be had at reasonable prices.

Then there’s the Angels, who signed reliever Robert Stephenson to a 3-year $30 million deal. He’s a decent pitcher, but the team has so many more needs, and so much more money they should be spending. Instead, they have spent their money on Anthony Rendon, who made more dumb ass comments on a podcast last week, saying that the season is way too long. Even his former teammate Jonathan Papelbon, confirmed he hates baseball with a tweet. What’s actually hilarious about this is it not only shows how much he hates baseball, but how lazy he is. The guy is only playing about 50 games a season, so why does he want the season shortened? So he can only play 20 games? Why don’t you just retire and give back your salary if you hate it so much? Unbelievable.

For a hot second, it looked like UCLA Basketball had turned the corner and may be improving. Then Arizona came storming back from a 19-point deficit on Saturday, handing the Bruins another loss. There’s really not much to be excited about here. The team is very inexperienced, and it showed once again in trying to close out a game against a quality opponent. We also saw numerous examples of this in non-conference play. As far as I’m concerned, in this era of one-and-done plus the transfer portal, I don’t see any of these guys coming back next year, nor should Cronin want them. He’ll probably ask for all these European players to be deported, let alone off the UCLA team.

Speaking of UCLA, the most glorious rumor we have been hearing over the weekend is that NFL Teams are interested in Chip Kelly as an offensive coordinator. This would be the UCLA Program and UCLA fans dream come true. However, I highly doubt that any NFL team will pay Kelly what an offensive coordinator job would pay. It’s a nonsensical rumor, but one that for now, Bruins fans can just dream about.

Monday Morning Coffee

January 15, 2024

Happy MLK Day everyone! Jared Goff got his revenge on Sean McVay and the Rams, as the Lions defeated LA 24-23 in the NFC Wild Card round. Look, this was a great season for the Rams to accomplish what they did. However, it doesn’t make the loss any less disappointing. I can’t understand why the Rams didn’t put more pressure on Goff from the start. When he has time, he can pick the defenses apart. This is well known. Instead they sat back, and said “let’s see if you can beat us” and he picked them apart early on. There’s no question that Puca Nakua got destroyed on that play and it should have been PI. It might have even won the game for them with a field goal. However, the game was lost on the missed opportunities in the red zone, and settling for field goals instead of Touchdowns. The game was there for the taking, but as we’ve seen before this season against elite teams, they Rams just seem to be a play or two short. The good news is, they have plenty of cap space and a nice 1st round pick to work with this off-season, so expect a big step up next year.

As for the Chargers, the coaching rumors are heating up and Jim Harbaugh is now scheduled to meet with them this week according to sources. At this point, if the Bolts don’t come away with Harbaugh, Pete Carroll, Bill Belichik, or Mike Vrabel as their next head coach, they should just move the franchise to Antarctica. Again, Harbaugh should be the guy though, and the only thing that would make me nervous is the Cowboys suddenly jumping into the sweepstakes. Stay tuned because it’s going to be a big week for the Chargers franchise!

Elsewhere around the NFL Wild Card Weekend, I think all the scouts that though Bryce Young was better than CJ Stroud should be drug tested immediately. Stroud lit the Browns on fire on Saturday, and led the Texans into the Divisional Round. I feel terrible for Cowboys fans after getting dismantled by the Packers. Not only did they suffer another devastating playoff loss, but Stephen A Smith is for sure going to cook them on First Take this morning. Meanwhile, the Chiefs destroyed the Dolphins in freezing cold temperatures. I realize that Travis Kelce is trying to be tough and show off for Taylor Swift without sleeves on. However, dudes arms were basically turning purple, and he couldn’t even catch the football. I’m impressed T-Swift showed up for the game, even if she was in a heated suite.

To the NBA where the Lakers are a complete train wreck. Sometimes it feels like every season with Lebron is either a total dumpster fire where the coach gets fired, or they end up in the NBA Finals. The Lakers are suddenly getting no production from what once appeared to be very productive role players, and even Austin Reaves isn’t doing the little things he did that made him look like a potential all-star last year. The worst part about this is that I don’t see a savior out there for the Lakers on the trade market. Zach Lavine isn’t worth gutting your roster for, and Dejonte Murray isn’t worth giving up Austin Reaves for, and simply doesn’t move the needle enough. If this team is going to turn it around, they need to do some serious soul searching, and Darvin Ham needs to play the lineups he did last year.

Meanwhile, the Clippers lost to the Wolves last night, but they are still on the up and ups in the West. They’ve won 8 of their last 10, but the bigger news is that they’ve signed Kawhi Leonard to an extension. It’s a three year, $152 million extension. This for sure paves the way for Paul George and James Harden to sign as well, which was important for Steve Ballmer going into a new arena next year. The good news for the Clips is that they didn’t have to crank it up to a a full 5 years on the extension, but it is still pricey. Nevertheless, the team is still very good when those guys are healthy, so clearly their best chance is keeping the group together and hoping for the best. Even if the sample size of big success is very small.

I guess the Dodgers aren’t really ruining baseball are they? It turns out the Yankees, Mets, and Padres all have larger CBT payrolls than the Dodgers. The Dodgers still need another left handed starter, and I think Clayton Kershaw is the guy, so hopefully he comes back. They could also use a high leverage bullpen arm. I think Kenley Jansen would be a reasonable option, as opposed to a larger financial commitment for Josh Hader. It would be nice to see Kike Hernandez make a return, but in this case, it doesn’t sound like there is much room left on the roster. I don’t really like the fact they traded Michael Busch, who is one of their best prospects, for a bunch of teenage pitchers. However, I will give Andrew Friedman the benefit of the doubt that he has something else up his sleeve.

I love hearing all the stories that “The Angels are interested in player x”. Of course they are, but that’s like me saying I’m interested in dating Jennifer Aniston. Reports are the Angels are waiting to see how their TV deal shakes out with Bally’s before they can figure out if they can afford a big free agent. That’s ridiculous though because it could take months to figure out, and even as slow as the free agent market develops, they still won’t figure it out in time. This idea that they could sign Blake Snell or Cody Bellinger is insane. They just don’t have the money, even though their payroll is currently around $70 million less than last year. Arte is looking for spare change in his couch right now.

I realize that UCLA Basketball won last night, however, they took an unbelievable beating from Utah on Thursday night, losing by 46 points. There is no world where UCLA Basketball should lose a game by that much, and certainly not to Utah. The good news is that most of these games are on the PAC-12 network, so most people can’t see the games.

Finally, the LA Kings have lost 8 in a row, and it’s looking really bad. In fact, at this rate, by the time they get home from their current road trip, they may be out of the playoffs. The noise around coach Todd McClellan is getting louder that he might even be fired. Double digit losing streaks for teams that are supposed to be Cup contenders are exactly the kind of thing that gets coaches fired. Nevertheless, the Kings need to get some scoring from their bottom 6 forwards, and figure out how to hold leads. They’ve been giving them away like they are a 501C3 charity of late. If they can clean those things up, they can get back to being the elite team we saw about a month ago.

Monday Morning Coffee

January 8, 2024

The Rams finished up the regular season yesterday with a win against the 49ers, and are headed for a 1st round playoff matchup against the Lions. Congrats to Carson Wentz on getting a win when given the opportunity, since the Rams rested most of their starters. The major significance of the game though was that Puca Nacua broke the rookie record for receiving yards and receptions, which is phenomenal for the 5th round pick. The Rams will face the Lions, which I know is the storyline everybody wanted to see. However, I feel like they may have been better off facing the Cowboys, who let’s just just say, may be allergic to winning big games. You know Jared Goff is going to throw for 500 yards and 5 touchdowns for a big revenge game, just because the Football Gods would probably want that. This has been a solid season for the Rams, and a great accomplishment getting this far, but I think next weekend is unfortunately where it ends. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong.

As for the Chargers, they finished up their disastrous season yesterday with a last minute loss to the Chiefs. For now though, there’s actually a lot to be excited about. The Bolts will get the #5 pick in the draft, but they suddenly have the opportunity to completely change their level of credibility in the NFL and in Los Angeles with a new head coach. That head coach should be Jim Harbaugh, who is rumored to have met with the Chargers multiple times already, and is also rumored to be highly interested. What’s not to like? He would be in LA and would have an excellent quarterback to work with, as well as other talent. The Bolts will need to solve some salary cap issues, as they probably need to shed about $67 million in total. You can always find a way to manipulate the cap in the NFL, and I expect they will find a GM who can do that, but there should still be enough talent on this team, as long as they get the right coach. If they don’t get Harbaugh, they should find a way to get Bill Belichik, who would be fantastic as well. Either is a transcendent coach that completely changes the course of the franchise. It’s a pivotal moment for the Chargers to determine if they will ever be relevant in the LA sports market. Not to be dramatic or anything.

To the NBA, where the Lakers managed to get back in the win column last night with a narrow victory against the red hot Clippers. I haven’t mentioned Darvin Ham and his coaching performance for a while on Jock Talk LA, but I think it’s high time I do. Before last night, it appeared this team had completely quit on him, and that he had lost the locker room. You cannot blame them though, because he refuses to play the lineups that got them to the conference finals last season for some bizarre reason. That’s exactly why they re-signed everyone, so he’s completely defeating the purpose. I’m also offended that Ham has criticized Laker fans recently by saying we all “live and die” with every game. Sorry Darvin, but where do you think you’re coaching bro? This isn’t Sacramento or Orlando. Even if you believe the Lakers are not a championship contender, they should be much better than this. They have two of the top 10 players in the league, who by the way, have played in most of the games and been outstanding. This team doesn’t need a trade. They need to have their key players utilized the right way, and they need to do it while there is time. I’m skeptical they can sustain this level of effort, engagement, and attention to detail on a consistent basis. In any case, the Lakers better do something fast, because we’re already in January. Also, speaking of the Lakers stars, Lebron says that Bronny could easily play for the team right now. Lebron is now a top 5 liar of all-time.


Meanwhile, the perception of the Clippers has completely changed. Everyone went from thinking they are a good punchline with James Harden on their team, to looking at them as the biggest threats to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference. The truth is usually somewhere in between. They’ve always been a threat if they are healthy, but now Kawhi and Paul George are healthy. In the last 16 games, they are 14-2, and the two they lost were without Kawhi. More importantly, the Clips have something going for them that a lot of other teams do not: continuity (are you listening Darvin Ham?). Their starting lineup of Terrance Mann, James Harden, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and Ivica Zubac has played 295 minutes together. That’s the most of any Clipper lineup since 2019. It’s no coincidence they are winning like they are because that is something they’ve desperately needed for years.

To baseball, where the Dodgers are reportedly out of the running for Japanese Pitcher Shota Imanaga. After taking a closer look though, signing him to a deal of $100 million might not be such a great idea though. He gave up 18 home runs last year in NPB, which is a league that values contact over power. That makes him the equivalent of a Japanese Lance Lynn. However, the Dodgers pivoted and signed outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, a right-handed hitter who can crush left-handed pitching. He’s a great fit, although I do wish they would find some guys that aren’t so focused on power, and more on contact. Hard to complain though. So what’s next? If they can’t get another starter (in addition to hopefully Clayton Kershaw) then they should pursue another high leverage bullpen option. Josh Hader is nice, but 5 years and $100 million for a reliever doesn’t sound like a wise investment long term. I’d much prefer a reunion with Kenley Jansen, who has one year left on his deal, and is still a very effective closer. He probably wouldn’t cost much to acquire either from the Sox, who seem to be having some payroll issues.

Speaking of payroll, Perry Minasian needs to stop blowing smoke at the Angel fans. They are too smart for these ridiculous statements that there’s a lot of good players still out there and the Halos are pursuing them. You’re $70 million below the luxury tax, and showing no signs of spending any of that money. If the Halos aren’t going to spend, they need to be smart and trade away these expensive veterans. That includes Mike Trout, Tyler Anderson, and Brandon Drury. If you’re not going to be competitive, just stop pretending like you are, and rebuild. They need a lot more in terms of scouting and development, but at least getting younger players to develop would be a start. This is way too sensible though for this organization so this suggestion is probably ridiculous.

UCLA Basketball has hit rock bottom, and is now in last place in the PAC-12. They lost to Cal over the weekend, falling to 1-3 in conference play, and just about ending all remaining hope this season. That’s right folks, they lost to the band geeks. Mick Cronin didn’t even want to address the media after the game. At this point, it’s looking like Cronin has basically given up on the squad. He’s probably sitting in the huddle in timeouts drawing up a list of schools where each of these guys should consider in the transfer portal, as opposed to drawing up plays. Adem Bona is probably the only guy he’d like to keep, and he knows he’s going to the NBA Draft after this year. The experiment with the Euros sounded great in theory, but none of them are ready for prime time. Cronin should just embrace the development process for these players the rest of the season, and then re-tool in the off-season with what he can from the transfer portal.

Finally, the LA Kings are suddenly struggling. They can’t win at home, they’ve lost 5 straight, and they are playing more like a wild card team rather than a top 3 Pacific Division team. They’ve surprisingly received great goaltending and have had some excellent defense but there are some disturbing trends. They have some great players who’ve offense has cooled off like Anze Kopitar, Quintin Byfield, Philip Danault, and Trevor Moore, and that has suddenly exposed Pierre Luc-Dubois, the $8.5 million man that hasn’t been scoring, and doesn’t look very interested in playing hockey. The Kings aren’t a surprise anymore, and teams have adjusted to them. It’s up to the Kings and their coaching staff to counter adjust, especially on the power play, which is very mediocre right now. It’s also a problem that the Kings seem to beat up only on bad teams, but struggle against good teams. 4 of their 5 straight losses, have come by one goal, so it’s these little things they need to clean up. There’s still plenty of time to do so, but the trends are disturbing nonetheless.

Monday Morning Coffee

January 1st, 2024

Happy New Year Everyone! Congratulations to the Rams, who clinched a playoff berth in the NFC with a win yesterday afternoon. I know some of you might be asking about Matt Stafford’s performance yesterday, or the lack of punt coverage, but who cares. They are in the dance, and there’s a lot of NFC teams that are looking vulnerable. When the season started, most people expected the Rams do be the Washington Generals of the NFL in 2023, yet somehow they managed to make the postseason. That’s an amazing job by Sean McVay and Matt Stafford. McVay is as successful of an NFL coach as you could have ever asked for. He’s had one losing season, and that was only because all his stars were hurt. As for who they play, as long as they don’t have to play the 49ers in the first couple of rounds, they should be even happier. Obviously anybody in the NFC South, or the Lions and Eagles wouldn’t be a bad matchup for the Rams. However, at this point, just getting this far is impressive in itself, and gives hope of re-loading going into next year.

As for the Chargers, nobody really cares about their meaningless loss against the Broncos, because the story is the coaching. It makes way too much sense for Jim Harbaugh to coach the Chargers. Harbaugh has accomplished just about all that he needs to at Michigan, especially if he ends up winning a National Championship next week. He’s also been deflecting questions from the media about departing for the NFL, like Bill Clinton deflecting questions about Monica Lewinsky. If Dean Spanos is really true to his word and money is not an issue, he will get this done. Harbaugh has been very successful in every coaching job he’s held, and would give the Chargers instant credibility in LA. He’s also likely to give them instant success too, which is something that has escaped them for a long time. Otherwise, this franchise will continue to be irrelevant in the 2nd biggest media marketing in the country.

To the NBA, where the Lakers are continuing to scuffle around .500, and have their issues since the ending of the In-Season Tournament. What a pathetic display yesterday against the Pelicans. How about some more effort? Hello? Is this thing on? Don’t let these jerks ruin your New Years Day. I know everybody wants to talk about Lebron and the team getting screwed after his 3-pointer was ruled a 2-pointer against the T-Wolves, but that is missing the larger point. This purpose of bringing this team back together and re-signing everybody was for continuity. Has anybody told that to Darvin Ham? Because D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Lebron James, Anthony Davis, and Jared Vanderbilt have barely played together this season. I really don’t know why we are getting cute with all these lineup changes. That starting 5, with Rui Hachimura being the first guy off the bench, put them in the Western Conference finals. Ham needs to stop screwing around with the lineups and use the ones that made him successful last year. Then you can use the likes of Cam Reddish, Max Christie, and Christian Wood off the bench. This is a good team that is wasting away excellent performances from both Lebron and Anthony Davis. Gabe Vincent on the other hand is another former Miami Heat player, who looks like a free agent bust for the Lakers. Apparently part of “Heat Culture” includes being a free agent bust when signing with the Lakers. Since the Raptors are having a fire sale, it sure would be nice to get Dennis Schroeder back, who is way more reliable.

The Clippers have moved up to 4th in the West after righting the ship with some victories against the Hornets and Grizzlies. However, the concern for the Clips is the health of Kawhi Leonard. This sounds a little too familiar, but Kawhi has now missed 4 straight games, and oddly enough, hasn’t been cleared to return. The concerning part of any Kawhi injury is the guy could be fine, then the next minute you find out he’s out for the season. Considering the Clippers history of downplaying his injury, as well as the fact he was working with the coaches at the most recent shoot around in flat shoes, you can’t be too confident. Paul George also indicated he doesn’t expect Kawhi back anytime soon. Maybe it’s nothing. However, maybe it’s also everything. What the case is, the Clippers have to be feeling a little bit uneasy.

Christmas must have been really nice for the Dodgers, after they got the biggest names on their free agent shopping list from Santa. However, now, everybody wants to know what their next move is. That’s right, they are still shopping. The two names that seem to be popping up are closer Josh Hader, and Japanese left handed pitcher Shota Imanaga. Hader would be interesting, because the Dodgers would then have two great late-inning bullpen options with him and Evan Philips. However, he would likely command $100 million and 5 years, and those types of deals aren’t usually good for relievers historically. Imanaga on the other hand would give the Dodgers a reliable 6-man rotation. That would be huge because Walker Buehler will be on an innings limit after surgery, Bobby Miller is still very young, Tyler Glasnow has durability questions, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto has always been a part of a six-man rotation in Japan. In both cases, the Dodgers would be protecting their investment in the starting rotation while beefing up their pitching. Only doing so by adding a starter seems more sensible.

Meanwhile, the Angels still haven’t done anything. Unless you count them signing pitcher Zach Plesac. This guy’s 2023 might have been worse than Arte Moreno’s. He had an ERA over 7 in 21 innings and 5 games. He did nearly as bad when he was demoted to the minor leagues. How he is on a major league roster at this point is somewhat baffling, especially knowing that he once broke his hand after punching a wall. This guy sounds like he would make great friends with Anthony Rendon. Honestly, the Angels should just suck it up and go sign Trevor Bauer. They need the pitching, he’ll come cheap, and he’s past his legal issues. It’s not like things can get any worse roster wise, so why not take a chance on a guy who needs to prove it to rehab his value? This is way too sensible for Arte Moreno though, so who are we kidding?

UCLA Men’s B-ball started conference play over the weekend.  For about one game they had hope.  They beat Oregon State.  Then they played Oregon, and failed to execute down the stretch, reminding you that this team ain’t it.  The only way this team is going to participate in the NCAA Tournament is by getting a streaming subscription to CBS.  Either that or winning The PAC 12 Tournament, which would be near impossible with how they are playing.  Even Mick Cronin sounds like he’s giving up on the season when you hear him speak at post game press conferences.  Sebastian Mack is easily this teams best player, yet Mick Cronin put everything into perspective, saying he would never play on a team with more experience.  Thanks for reminding us that that team is trash this year Mick!

The Trojans got to feel good about themselves after taking down Louisville last week in the Holiday Bowl.  Sure it was a nice experience for USC fans to go down to San Diego and have a nice couple of days there and see a game at Petco Park.  It was also a feel good game for Miller Moss, who looked capable against a decent team.  However, let’s be honest, this is a glorified consolation game, which now, many of the top prospects are opting out of, like Caleb Williams.  Hopefully the 12 team playoff will fix some of this next year, and make more of the top players want to use the playoff as a platform for the NFL Draft.  In any case though, I have a feeling Moss won’t be USC’s starting QB next year, and they’ll be looking to someone in the transfer portal.

Finally, an update on the LA Kings.  It doesn’t matter how many games in hand you have on your opponents if you don’t actually win them.  The Kings lost close games to Vegas and Edmonton last week, which is a reminder that while they are good, they still have a lot to clean up internally before they are ready to take down their division rivals in a playoff series.  It sure would also be nice if Pierre Luc-Dubois started to play better, I mean he is making only $8.5 million this year.  On the bright side though, he’s killing it in the advanced stat category with attending 5 Laker games, 2 Galaxy Matches, and a Rams game.  Also for those of you who keep saying the Kings should have never gotten rid of Jonathan Quick, if he had just played halfway decently during last season, he would have never been traded.  Glad he’s playing well with the Rangers, but I wish he had played better so we didn’t have to trade him.