July 7th, 2014
Is Kobe Bryant actually fat now? Look at the picture and decide for yourself. The man on the left looks like Kobe. The man on the right looks closer to a black Marlon Brando who ate Kobe Bryant. Ok, so I’m really not sure about the authenticity of this gut, but the fact people are even talking about it makes you wonder what kind of shape Kobe is going to be in come training camp. The Mamba will have basically been out of a competitive NBA game for 1.5 years come this fall. Kobe’s achilles and knee injuries may have healed, but his body may no longer be able to take the rigorous workouts he used to put himself through, which means he may very well look like Dwyane Wade did this year. For someone who the Lakers are counting on for the next two years, at a price of $48 million, that can’t make any current free agents feel good about joining the Lakers.
Speaking of free agents, let’s be real: Lebron is going to re-sign with Miami, and Carmelo is going back to the Knicks to get paid. So let’s talk about what the Lakers need to do to avoid being more embarrassing than Joan Rivers next season (more on that later). They should sign Sacramento point guard Isaiah Thomas for around $8 million, sign Lance Stephenson for $10 million, re-sign Pau Gasol for $10 million, and then waive Steve Nash to save $6 million. At least that way, the Lakers would have some young talent with some upside to work with, which might even be a dark horse come playoff time. The longer the Lakers chase Melo and Lebron, the more likely they will be left with nothing but D-League players on their roster come the fall.
As for the Clippers, the addition of Spencer Hawes was a solid move. Hawes gives the Clipps some badly needed front court depth behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, which the team severely lacked last season. He also comes at a reasonable 4 year and $23 million price tag, which is actually much cheaper than many role players are getting these days. Also good signing of Jordan Farmar to replace Darren Collison. I still think Doc Rivers needs to get over his determination to sign Paul Pierce though. Pierce’s production dropped off big time last year, and he went through stretches where he shot the ball very poorly. Matt Barnes and JJ Reddick are way better options in the rotation at this point than Pierce. Rivers trying to sign Pierce is like trying to get back together with your high school girlfriend 10 years later when she’s put on a ton of weight. Stay away Doc. This was amusing though….
— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin32) July 6, 2014
To baseball, where the Dodgers had a very nice weekend in Colorado, taking three out of four from the Rockies, and maintaining a slight edge over the Giants for 1st place in the NL West. The pitching continues to be unbelievable, especially from Clayton Kershaw, who might never give up a run again. Kershaw is a once in a generation player, and every time he takes the mound, I feel like I need to stop what I am doing to watch him. I’m not sure if he’ll break Don Drysdale or Orel Hershiser’s mark for shut out innings, but it sure is fun watching him try. Speaking of pitching, interesting idea floated by Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal, who says the Dodgers may trade for David Price just to put pressure on DirecTV to strike a deal with Time Warner. I don’t think so Ken. David Price isn’t a bigger star than Clayton Kershaw or Yasiel Puig right now, and the Dodgers have recently thrown two no-hitters, yet DirecTV isn’t budging.
Congratulations to Kershaw, Puig, Zach Greinke, and Dee Gordon on making the NL all-star team. Well deserved by all of them. I would have really liked to see reliever JP Howell make it as well, however, middle-relievers are easily over-looked in the all-star selection process. I’m also a little bummed that Josh Beckett was not selected on the ballot for the final roster spot in the NL. Beckett’s record may not show it, but he’s really been outstanding this year, including his recent no-hitter and another great outing yesterday. When the Dodgers made that trade with the Red Sox, it was really to get Adrian Gonzales, but Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett’s salary came with him. LA was just hoping they could give Beckett a few beers and a bucket of fried chicken, and he would sit quietly in his corner of the clubhouse without blowing things up. Instead, he’s re-invented himself and become a major contributor.
Down the freeway, the Angels very quietly have the 2nd best record in the AL after completing a four game sweep of the Astros this weekend at the Big A. It’s amazing how much better the Angels are just by taking care of business this year against scrub teams like the Astros. The Halos are 3.5 games back of the A’s in the AL West, and holding a firm grip on a wild card spot. To me, the Angels have one of the biggest all-star snubs of all in pitcher Garrett Richards, who is 10-2 with a 2.71 ERA. You can still vote Richards in for the final roster spot, but his inclusion should have been a no-brainer. Erik Aybar has also had an all-star caliber season, and I’m surprised he didn’t make it as well.
The bad news for the Angels is that A’s made a huge move this week to make them the favorites to win the American League pennant. Oakland acquired, not one, but two starting pitchers, in Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, from the Cubs for some prospects. This has to put a little heat on Jerry Dipoto to do something to upgrade the Halos pitching staff, whether it’s another starter, or more help in the bullpen. The Oakland trade also means we’ve come to that really awkward moment where Jeff Samardzija is the best wide receiver in Oakland.
I did enjoy the US Men’s Soccer team’s run in the World Cup, but I’m not sure it’s going to change much for me or anybody else in the next four years. Does the casual fan have any greater desire to follow the MLS now, or watch the Premier League? I know I don’t. We simply dump too much money in other sports, and are far more interested in the NFL, the NBA, and even the NHL, than soccer in this country. There’s some argument to be made that baseball’s interest is slowly deteriorating and may not last another 10 years, but the TV money spent on baseball will be difficult for soccer to duplicate. Still, Team USA had a run through the “Group of Death” and against Belgium that we can all be proud of, and we should expect to go much further in the tournament in 2018.
I spent my 4th of July in Manhattan Beach, and was terrified when I discovered that a swimmer had been attacked by a Great White Shark. Fortunately, the swimmer was ok, but I’d like to take this opportunity to point out the idiots that were responsible for this incident. This was no accident, it was a case of a stupid fisherman agitating a shark for 45 minutes by hooking it (which is illegal), and then let it go amongst a bunch of swimmers. Even more idiotic was the reaction of the fisherman and his friends who filmed the attack, and were laughing about it while it took place. It’s amazing that these idiots live among us. Take a look for yourself….
Finally, did anyone catch the Joan Rivers interview on CNN? Rivers stormed out of an interview with Fredericka Whitfield a few days ago, while trying to promote her new book. Rivers believed that Whitfield was being too negative and was making personal attacks on her during the interview with her line of questioning, which caused her to storm out of the room. Even though Whitfield was somewhat condescending in her line of questioning, Rivers has made a career out of making fun of people. Frankly, I find her ridiculous looks after all her plastic surgery far funnier than any of her jokes, but Rivers should be much more thick skinned given that she’s a comedian. Clearly she can dish it out, but can’t take it.