Monthly Archives: May 2024

Monday Morning Coffee

May 27, 2024

Happy Memorial Day Everyone! I’m sure everyone is going to overreact to Rich Paul’s comments about Lebron being a free agent on Friday. Of course he’s a free agent people! Whether or not he opts out or not, for all intents and purposes, he has options. The outcome is rather predictable, as it always has been with Lebron’s free agency in the past, but Rich Paul didn’t really let anything slip on that podcast, so there’s no need to overreact. However, Rich Paul’s claim that Lebron is not involved in the coaching search is about as believable as Jennifer Lopez claiming she’s never had any work done. Actually, it would be almost stupid to not get his buy in to some extent, which he can admit. Unfortunately for the Lakers, it sounds like there is no chance of Donovan Mitchell becoming a Laker. Sam Amico reported earlier this week that Dan Gilbert would never trade Mitchell to the Lakers. That sounds like the kind of stupidity we’ve known from Gilbet for years. However, when you listen to the latest episode of the JJ Redick and Lebron James podcast, it sounds like both of them are bought into the idea of the Lakers having a roster of quality role players around Lebron and AD. That’s not a bad strategy, but whether or not Rob Pelinka can make that happen this summer remains to be seen.

As for the Clippers, the noise around both Paul George and Ty Lue, and their contract negotiations is getting louder and louder. Neither one are going very well. We now know the Clippers aren’t willing to give George a 4 year deal, but the Sixers and probably others are as well. The question is this: Is George is really willing to give up an extra guaranteed $60 million to stay in his home town where he is comfortable? And are the Clippers willing to let George walk if push comes to shove, rather than pay him the full max? I still think one side will blink first. However, if neither side does blink, it does make me wonder if Ty Lue will even want to sign an extension. I’m sure the Lakers and Lebron would be chomping at the bit to see how this whole thing plays out, but I still can’t see the timing working out in their favor, and the Clips allowing him to go across the hall to the Lakers. Also, who are the idiots that voted Kawhi over Lebron for 2nd team all-nba? This is simply voter hate, which we’ve seen numerous instances of.


I really don’t understand why Caitlin Clark is getting so much hate. She is a phenomenal basketball player that is must see tv. People actually watched women’s college ball, and are now watching the WNBA because of her. I don’t care if she’s white, black, straight, or whatever. None of that matters. You should enjoy watching her play for what she can do. I don’t need the political noise behind it. It’s basketball and sports people. It’s supposed to unify us, so don’t let it divide us. As for her play, sure she has struggled a little in the early going, but she will figure it out and be the start we expect her to be. The talent is there which she put on display last week against the Sparks.

To baseball where the Dodgers are struggling at the plate. They’ve lost 5 in a row, their longest losing streak since 2019, and during their last 16 games, they are hitting .189 with runners in scoring position. During that stretch they are also scoring just 3.5 runs per game, a decline from their 5.5 runs per game before that. I know many of you are going to say they need to send Chris Taylor to another planet, put Andy Pages back in the minors, or make a trade for someone more consistent than Gavin Lux. However, the reality is that this is a much larger issue that has reared it’s ugly head in October very frequently with this organization. It’s about their overall philosophy at the plate. You can’t sit back and wait for the 3-run home run, even when you have Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman in your lineup. In the postseason, you will face elite pitching. You have to find a way to manufacture runs when you are struggling, or else you will go home quickly in the postseason. Just put the ball in play, bunt when necessary, move the runners over, be smart but aggressive on the base paths. That’s how you manufacture runs when you are struggling. Sure the Dodgers will fix this in the regular season, and they may even find some people in their farm system that can come up for a few weeks and give them some offense. However, if the don’t focus on manufacturing runs in October, they will continue to be vulnerable to those early exits.

I’m not saying it’s going badly for the Angels, but they are threatening to have worst home record in baseball in the last 85 years. They’ve lost 19 times in 25 home games, which is the worst winning percentage in that time. The only team with a worse percentage over a full season, according to StatMuse: the St. Louis Browns, whose home winning percentage was .234 (18-59) in 1939. To make matters worse, the Yankees are coming to town this week. At this point the Angels are just selling hope from their younger players like Zach Neto, Logan O’Hoppe, Nolan Schanuel, and Reid Detmers, but none of them are giving you a whole lot to be excited about. The most promising thing his franchise has to offer is the $12 ice cream cone with fruit on them they are selling at the Big A, which is a bargain by concession stand standards.

Last week an agreement between the NCAA and all 5 of the Power Conferences was announced, which settled an anti-trust lawsuit. This paves the way for athletes to be paid for their contributions rather than just for scholarship. What it really means for the time being is that schools can now pay athletes directly outside of NIL Money. NIL will still exist for athletes, above and beyond their now institutionalized salary. There’s still a lot to figure out, including how you pay one star athlete in say football, vs another? Also, what does this mean for all the non-revenue sports? While this does seem fair for the highest performing athletes, it could be a bit problematic for smaller schools. This really sets the stage for the larger power schools to widen the gap between smaller schools, since they will be able to pay star athletes more. It’s getting more complex by the day, and there is still a lot to unfold.

Finally, the LA Kings made another uninspiring choice. They removed the interim tag from head coach Jim Hiller, made him the full-time head coach, and signed him a 3 year extension. So let me get this straight…..the Kings don’t fire Rob Blake and Luc Robitaille, they won’t buyout Pierre Luc-Dubois, and now they extend Hiller. This franchise is so completely unimaginative, and then Rob Blake sits there at a press conference and tells you they just have to get a little more uncomfortable but this group has it. Give me a break Rob. You and your entire staff needs to pull their heads out and play the young players you have and develop them. Instead, you keep putting these useless veterans in your lineup, which lack size, grit, and toughness. If the Kings want to retain their tough gritty, and defensive identity that’s fine. However, they need the goaltending, size, talent and defense to match it. Until Rob Blake and his staff get that, this will be rinse and repeat.

Monday Morning Coffee

May 20, 2024

The last week at the NBA combine has been ridiculous. I’ve never seen press conferences held for kids that are not projected to be drafted. Bronny James was the first. To his credit, he seems like a great kid and handled it very well. However, why is Lebron in such a rush for his kid to get to the pros? Everyone is telling you that he isn’t ready yet. So why not let him go back to school and develop more? Yes Lebron, we get it, you want to play with your kid in the league. However, why not give him the best chance to succeed in the Association by letting him develop more in college? If the kid gets drafted, we really aren’t that far away from Lebron and Klutch demanding that he actually gets an NBA roster spot, and even gets some playing time. Imagine that… will have the sports helicopter parent and their kid on the Lakers! It could happen. This is exactly why the Lakers coaching job is viewed by others as a circus. You’re viewed as nothing but a figurehead that does whatever Lebron wants you to do.

One thing I’ve gotta say about the Clippers: they don’t lack self-awareness. President of Basketball Ops Lawrence Frank said they are trying to bring back their core of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook. He does acknowledge there is skepticism about the group given their advancing age. “I understand the skepticism of, ‘Hey, this is another year where you haven’t had the group [whole],’” he said.“But I would guard against the cynicism. Just because it’s happened [four straight seasons] doesn’t mean it’s always going to happen next year.” What’s the saying? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I’m always a believer in giving a group time together to develop chemistry and continuity. However, if a group like the Clippers is aging and getting less durable year after year, then building that continuity is nearly impossible. That’s exactly what happened here. Kawhi was fine for 68 games, and then given his knee issues, he was done. Why would we be led to believe things will be any different for him moving forward? Unfortunately for the Clippers, this is a business decision and not a basketball one given that they are moving to a new arena.

Speaking of the NBA, their television deal is up for renewal, and there are tons of rumors circulating about who will get the National Broadcast rights. Industry sources are saying that there is a handshake agreement with ESPN to continue with some of the games, as well as a new agreement with Amazon Prime in place. That leaves NBC and Turner fighting over the last share of games, and NBC is reportedly in the lead. That’s extremely bitter sweet for most long-time NBA fans. If Turner doesn’t have the NBA, we no longer get Inside The NBA with Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kenny Smith. The show is honestly better than most of the games. That’s the bitter part. The sweet part? You get the super sweet John Tesh NBA on NBC music. I know what you’re thinking….would the entire cast move to another network? Well it seems as though Ernie Johnson has already told Turner he plans to stay there to continue his coverage of the NCAA and MLB simply out of loyalty. I guess Ernie has never seen Game of Thrones, because loyalty can get you killed. I think if we all got what we want, it would be NBC, TNT, Amazon, and get rid of ESPN and ABC with their left wing crap. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s either Turner or NBC who will be out, which means the death of something we all love.

To baseball, where the Dodgers took 3 out of 4 from the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. Surprisingly, Shohei Ohtani had his first walk off winning hit in 4 years. Then again, you remember, how often could that have possibly have happened with a a terrible Angels team? Ohtani may actually be playing better than we’ve ever seen him, and the Boys in Blue have a very comfortable 7.5 game lead in the NL West. They are also solving some of their issues one at a time. Walker Buehler looked much better over the weekend in his 3rd start since returning to the mound. The Dodger pitching staff already has the best ERA in the National League, and the effective return of Buehler, and eventually Bobby Miller, Clayton Kershaw, and Dustin May has everyone salivating over their October potential. Their bullpen is also looking a bit better too with Blake Treinen back in the mix, and another lefty option Anthony Banda added to the mix. You’ve still gotta worry about the defense and situational hitting, but those problems may not get solved until closer to the trade deadline.

Meanwhile, the Angels actually won 2 out of 3 against the Rangers over the weekend, but they are still stuck in last place in the AL West. The worst part about the Halos though is that they are getting a worse and worse reputation by the day. Sam Blum, who covers the Angels for The Athletic, wrote an article last week about how the Angels have basically become a landing spot for Major Leaguers who wouldn’t be given a chance otherwise. The latest of those is outfielder Kevin Pillar, who was dumped by the AL worst Chicago White Sox. These comeback stories are nice, but the entire success of the season is dependent on the success of these players, which speaks very poorly about the ability of the organization to develop a robust minor league system. The noise about this is becoming louder and louder, and the Angels reputation is becoming worse and worse around baseball, and among their fan base.

Congratulations to Xander Schauffele on winning the PGA Championship over the weekend. I was really hoping that Scottie Scheffler would win it though, after he went through hell on Friday morning, getting arrested by a police officer after a huge misunderstanding. I can understand that police officers would be on edge after a pedestrian fatality, but they really need to make sure these officers know who the players actually are in these situations, otherwise they look foolish. Finally, a golf story that overshadowed Tiger Woods after all these years!

Finally, the NFL released their schedule last week, and the Rams have an interesting slate. They have the 12th hardest schedule in the league, so middle of the road really. They do play 6 playoff teams from last year, but 4 of those games are at home. The start of the schedule is tough because they’ll get the Lions and 49ers in 2 of their first 3. The finish isn’t exactly a piece of cake either against an improving Arizona team, and an always tough Seattle team. Their bye week is also a little on the early side in week 6, which isn’t necessarily ideal for an older Quarterback with Matt Stafford, but this should be a good football team, with a pathway to success this coming season.

Monday Morning Coffee

May 13, 2024

The Lakers coaching search is expected to ramp up this week. The hot rumor is that JJ Redick is the front runner for the job, and that the Lakers are intrigued with the idea of making him their next coach. I normally would not have a problem with this type of out-the-box thinking when hiring a coach who doesn’t have experience. The problem is the Lakers are intrigued for all the wrong reasons. Those reasons include the fact that Redick is cheap, and Lebron James likes him. That’s about it. The coaches with real experience like Mike Budenholzer, Ty Lue, and Jason Kidd are all locked up now, or are about to be locked up by their respective teams. The Lakers don’t really value that experience anyway, and probably don’t mind the fact they are off the market since coaching means little to this front office. Then there’s the issue of what the Lakers will do with the 17th pick in the draft. I know the Lakers want to package that pick in a trade for a star player, but that pick is worth a stick of gum and a pair of used Converse sneakers.

As for the Clippers, the Paul George extension talks have reportedly not been going well. The Clips have reportedly made George multiple offers at less than the max, but PG-13 has declined them. It makes perfect sense why the Clips would do this. They want to stay below the extremely punitive 2nd luxury tax apron. They were able to get Kawhi to extend for less than the max, so why shouldn’t George? Well that’s probably because George feels like he has been more reliable than Leonard from a health standpoint. If he decides to go to free agency, the Clips risk losing him for nothing to the Sixers or Magic. I still think when push comes to shove George doesn’t want to leave SoCal, he wants to make a lot of money, and he doesn’t want to deal with enormous pressure and accountability. He gets most of those things with the Clips, even if he takes a little bit less.

Elsewhere around the NBA Playoffs, Obi Toppin and TJ McConnell really turn into Shaq and Kobe against the Knicks. The Pacers went on a 34-9 run, and even Darvin Ham thought it was ridiculous the Knicks didn’t call a timeout. Karl Anthony Towns knows how to disappear like Hodini in every single playoff series he’s every played in, and it could cost the T-Wolves against the Nuggets. The Celtics have got to be the deepest and most talented team in the league and will probably take out the Cavs, but they may also be the dumbest team in the league given that they live and die by the 3. The Mavs and Thunder was looking like a really good series, but suddenly the Thunder look like SGA and a bunch of college kids from the West Coast Conference.

To baseball, where the Dodgers lost 2 out of 3 to the Padres over the weekend. The Boys in Blue gave up 6 runs in the entire series, yet they lost 2 out of 3. That’s insane, but it also goes to show you just how fired up the Padres have been getting when they play the Dodgers this year. I’m sure they will turn back into the Bad News Bears in their next game. It’s nice to see Walker Buehler back but you have to wonder what you’re watching with him so far. Is he just rusty? Or is he no longer as effective? It’s probably too early too tell, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that pitchers that have multiple Tommy John surgeries just aren’t as successful as pre-surgery. Smart move by Dave Roberts though to keep Shohei Ohtani from further injuring his back and pulling him out of the lineup. Speaking of Ohtani, when I watch how dominant of a hitter he is, I immediately think that I have no interest in seeing him as a pitcher. Especially if it prolongs his career and since the Dodgers are historically a pitching rich organization. I also think $700 million might not have been enough for him.

Then there’s the Angels, who lost 3 of 4 to the Royals. They are now in last place in the AL West, and have the 4th worst record in the Major Leagues. The most discouraging aspect of all this isn’t their record or the injury to Mike Trout. It’s the lack of player development. Reid Detmers was so promising the first month of the season. After looking like Randy Johnson, in his last 4 starts, his ERA ballooned to 8.74, with 9 walks, 27 hits, and 7 home runs. Griffin Canning and Patrick Sandoval have continued to be mediocre pitchers, and the young position players are no better. Nolan Schanuel is only hitting .221, Mickey Moniak can’t crack the Mendoza Line, and Zach Neto is only hitting .236 with a terrible OBP. If the Halos don’t move Brandon Drury, Carlos Estevez, Matt Moore, and anybody else at the trade deadline they can get value for, they simply aren’t serious about building a legitimate baseball team. I’m not sure I would think they are with Arte owning the team anyway, but without that it would certainly solidify that theory.

Monday Morning Coffee

May 6, 2024

The Lakers were eliminated by the Denver Nuggets last week, which shouldn’t surprise anybody, and neither should the firing of Darvin Ham just a few days later. The Laker front office saw what the rest of us did for months. Ham burned half the season screwing with the lineups, and it cost the team playoff positioning. Now what? Unfortunately, if the Lakers truly valued coaches, they would pick up the phone and at least try to get Greg Popovich or Steve Kerr to coach this team, and pony up the $20 million or so to get them. Instead, they will hire some coach that Lebron signs off on, will not cost them a lot, and who will be running to Dick’s Sporting Goods to figure out what equipment he needs for the job. Let’s be real, Ty Lue isn’t leaving the Clippers, especially since they know the Lakers are interested. As for Lebron, he’s not going anywhere, and nor should he. However, do we really need to sign up for a 3-year deal? Can’t we just call it one year with an option? The challenge now for this team is that the West has stars and teams that are ascending, like the Wolves and Thunder. Sure the Lakers can be a playoff team and hope things bounce their way, but unless they get a transcendent 3rd star, it’s unlikely they’ll win another championship in the Lebron era. A third star like that just isn’t out there, despite the names people are suggesting.

As for the Clippers they were also eliminated last week, this time by the Dallas Mavericks. This is everything about Kawhi Leonard. In 5 seasons with the Clips, Kawhi has only been able able to finish a season healthy in 2020, the year they blew a 3-1 to the Nuggets. He’s great when he’s healthy, but he never is when it matters most. The Clippers tried to place a greater emphasis on the regular season this year, but this is just what happens when your franchise player has a degenerative knee condition. However, the Clips have already committed to 4 more years of this. They saw two months of a healthy Kawhi, and apparently that was enough. But since they are moving to the Intuit Dome next season, they can’t go halfway with their commitment. They have to try and re-sign Paul George and James Harden. It’s going to hurt if they are over that 2nd tax apron, but they don’t have much of a choice. The question is whether or not George is going to hold it against them for trying to trade him, and if he cares more about the money he could get in Philly or Orlando, than staying at home with the Clips. My guess is that he will want to stay here for slightly less if Kawhi did. James Harden will probably stay too because he knows the strip clubs in LA are amazing.

Continuing our theme of elimination, the Kings got bounced by the Oilers for the third straight year in the playoffs. We told you this was going to happen back in October. This team needs more talent to get back to real Stanley Cup Contention. The only way they can get it is by playing their young players, and for some reason, Rob Blake, Luc Robitaille, and the million coaches they have gone through don’t want to give them that chance. The real madness though is that Rob Blake is going to be addressing the media today, which makes it seem highly unlikely he is going to be replaced as General Manager. Also madness would be not buying out Pierre Luc Dubois and his ugly contract. If they do, while letting Viktor Arvidsson and Matt Roy go, they might actually have some real money to go get a goalie and also re-sign Quinton Byfield. Of course this plan seems way too sensible, and since Luc Robitaille has a strong relationship with Dubois’s agent, he will likely be back to torment Kings fans next year.

To baseball, where the Dodgers are rolling. They swept the Braves over the weekend, and have now won 4 straight and 8 of 10 overall. That was the first series of the season where both teams were looking across the dugout from each other skeptical that their best was going to be better than their opponents. It sure looks like the Dodgers best is better than the Braves at this point. Although, I’m not sure that matters much until October, because sometimes you’re at your best and sometimes you aren’t in that small window of games. The really exciting news though is that Walker Buehler will make his return to the mound tonight, for the first time in two years. Clayton Kershaw and Bobby Miller threw off a mound as well in their return from injury. With Kershaw, I’d like to see him come back closer to August where he just gives the Dodgers three really good months of healthy pitching. They still need to figure out the bottom of their lineup, but putting Andy Pages there helps solve some of those problems for the time being. Of course when Shohei Ohtani is killing the ball like he did over the weekend, it’s easily to live with Chris Taylor in your lineup.

Meanwhile, the Angels are circling the drain, and it’s only May. They’ve lost 8 of 10 games after losing a series to the Guardians over the weekend. They’ve got the 4th worst record in baseball, and are tied for last place in the American League West. As if that’s not bad enough, Mike Trout is going to be out indefinitely with a meniscus injury he’ll need surgery for. The Halos say his season may not be over, but if it keeps going this way, why the heck would he come back and play again? The real unfortunate part of all this is that this is the 4th straight year Trout has suffered significant injuries. If the Halos tried to trade him now, they would likely get no good prospects in return, due to his massive contract another team would have to pay for. However, if they assumed most of that contract, they might actually get some decent players back. We’re talking about the best player in franchise history people! That’s how bad things are for the Angels. Why can’t this team just admit they are rebuilding and rebuild the right way?

Finally, Rams GM Les Snead was on a podcast with Rich Eisen, and he gave quite a bit of information about Aaron Donald. Snead said he expected Donald to retire, but also suggested that they would welcome him back if he decided around playoff time that he could put the Rams over the top. That would mean the Rams going to need to be pretty good without him, in order for him to want to come back for a short run. But the fact Snead mentioned all of that makes me think there’s a possibility that it could happen. In any case, I do think the Rams are still going to be pretty good next season.