Monday Morning Coffee

May 29, 2023

As a Laker fan, you wouldn’t normally say this after a season without a championship. However, it’s true: this season was actually a success. They completely re-invented their team with 20 games left in the season, and made the conference finals. Yes, the Nuggets were simply a better team, the Joker is the best player in the world, and Jamal Murray was video game good. There’s nothing to be ashamed about though. I don’t actually believe Lebron will retire, and I don’t actually believe that when he alluded to retiring that it was some kind of a passive aggressive ploy to make the team better. I think he was just emotionally exhausted from a long year and felt like he and AD gave it their best but ran into a red hot Nuggets team, which will probably win the NBA Championship. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but even though it was four close games, ultimately, I think Lebron and AD have to be better in the biggest moments. There’s no need to overthink the off-season though. The Lakers should do their best to run it back and try to re-sign as many guys as possible. Forget any stupid ideas of signing Kyrie Irving, trading for Trae Young, Damian Lillard, or some other expensive start that will gut the team. The Lakers should re-sign their young core, and they can still make the team better with some other attractive assets like Malik Beasley, Mo Bamba, Max Christie, and their 1st round pick. That’s a pretty good situation to be in heading into what I think will probably be Lebron’s final year with the Lakers.

Elsewhere around the NBA Playoffs, if the Celtics actually beat the Heat tonight and become the first NBA team to come back from an 0-3 deficit, I won’t be speaking to anyone for at least 3-5 business days. The Celtics will probably win tonight because they are playing game 7 at home. However, given all their inconsistencies at home, it would be the most Celtics thing to do to lose that game.

In the madness of all the Laker talk, nobody is talking about USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn stepping down. Bohn allegedly made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female colleagues, which made staff members feel uncomfortable. Reports also surfaced the Bohn was under investigation while he was with Cincinnati as well. It is now apparent that after all the scandals that USC had been dealing with, which Carol Folt was brought in to clean up, absolutely nothing has changed. So Folt had no idea that Bohn had a history of this in his previous job? She’s either an idiot, or integrity means nothing to her. One or the other, and nothing in between. Clearly at some point USC had a hunch this was going on, because they hired an investigator to look into what Bohn was doing. Ultimately, nobody should be surprised. If you make money for USC, they will look the other way until they are forced to do something about it. That’s what happened here when the Times started inquiring about the situation, so Bohn was forced to resign, or he would have been fired. Now Folt is probably going to pretend like she’s really woke to combat the public perception against her. USC Football may be back, but their integrity as a program remains in shambles.

USC athletic director Mike Bohn stands inside the Coliseum

To baseball, where the Dodgers are doing it. Despite most people thinking they would take some massive step back this year, they are in 1st place in the NL West, and have the 2nd best record in the NL. More importantly, they are doing a great job of trying to win now, while letting their young players develop in the big leagues. Miguel Vargas and James Outman have had their moments, but we need to be patient. It was one month of red hot baseball for them, and one down month for them. However, the Dodgers lead the NL in runs scored, are 2nd in homers and slugging percentage. The team is hitting. Ironically, it’s the pitching that’s been the issue, and that’s largely because of injuries to the starters. Dustin May and Julio Urias are down, Clayton Kershaw has had to deal with bereavement and body fatigue, and Tony Gonsolin has been injured and not the same as last year. I know everyone is waiting for the Dodgers to win the bidding war for Shohei Ohtani this winter, but there’s still a lot of other ways for this team to improve and win a World Series. If the Dodgers want to win now without mortgaging the future, they should call the White Sox about pitcher Lucas Giolito, shortstop Tim Anderson, or the Royals about closer Aroldis Chapman.

As for the Angels, it was a rough weekend after getting swept by the Marlins. They slipped to 4th in the division, and 6 games out of 1st place. Still, they are only 3.5 games out of the Wild Card spot. If the Halos are so determined to keep Shohei Ohtani and not trade him under any circumstances, they should really be doing everything possible to make the playoffs. That means they should be feverishly calling teams to try and make a trade to improve their club. They are in the top 5 of the AL in most offensive categories, but the pitching is in the bottom 3rd of the league. They should be scouring the league for starting pitching and bullpen help. Their farm system isn’t amazing, but they’ve had some young players featured in the lineup lately, that might help them improve their team in a trade.

To the NFL, where the Cardinals released DeAndre Hopkins. I bring this up because there is relevancy for the Rams. First of all, it means one less team that is competing in the NFC West. This looks like the Cardinals are giving up on both Kyler Murray, and competing in the division next year. It also gives the Rams an outside chance at signing the talent receiver and adding him to their talented and underrated offense. However, I think the priority for them would be adding a veteran running back.

Then there’s the Chargers who finally worked something out with Austin Ekeler. Ekeler is one of the best running backs in the league, yet is somehow only making $8 million next year. By NFL running back standards, Ekeler might as well be on food stamps. It also goes to show you how much the running back position has been de-valued in the league. Ekeler tried hard to try and find someone to pay him but he couldn’t. That’s good news for the Chargers, because they need all the help they can get to overtake the Chiefs.

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