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.

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