Monday Morning Coffee

June 29, 2020

Lots to unpack in this edition of MMC, starting with the Lakers. Avery Bradley is opting out of Orlando. Can’t blame the guy for putting his family first, but this is a tough blow for the Lakers. However, it’s not a crippling blow to their title hopes. This means more minutes for Alex Caruso, which is a great thing. JR Smith will also be a welcomed addition, who should be signed by the time you’re done reading this article and drinking your Starbucks coffee. Most NBA fans can only think of the bonehead play he made during the NBA Finals, but the guy can actually make big shots and play defense. I think the bigger question is if he can be trusted in the bubble for 3 months. However, if he can keep it together in Cleveland for a couple of years, he can keep it together in the bubble. Have you been to Cleveland? The bubble is like the Ritz Carlton compared to Cleveland. As for the schedule, the fact the Lakers have a tough one for the first 8 games isn’t a big deal. They only need to win a couple of games to clinch the top seed, and that will help them get ready for the postseason.

Vince Carter is calling it quits. This dude played so long, he’s actually the last active player to appear in a Nintendo 64 game. Carter was far more polished as a player when he was with the Nets, but many of his incredible highlights came with the Raptors. The man has a bright future on TV if he so desires. He also had perhaps the best dunk in a game that we’ve ever seen.

Baseball is back! The owners and players finally came to an agreement on getting back on the field. Baseball literally hates their own fans though. I genuinely don’t understand why there wasn’t a grown up in the room to point out that they were all collectively giving fans the middle finger, despite the fact that fans are their ultimate source of revenue. It’s stupid and infuriating. These guys make Congress look like best friends. However, I’m more concerned about the lack of health and safety regulations in place. Baseball players as it is have filthy habits, and are just a step away from dropping their pants and peeing in the dugout. We also know that baseball is historically full of cheaters and frauds. That means it’s no surprise that even baseball analyst Jeff Passan is a fraud. See below for yourself.

As for the Dodgers and the shorter season, I’m definitely nervous. In 4 of the last 7 years the Dodgers have won the NL West, they’ve been within 4 games of .500 at the 60 game mark. If they are that close to .500, they might not actually make the playoffs this year folks. You think the Dodger overuse their bullpen normally? They are going to use the hell out of the bullpen now. Except the new 3-batter minimum rule is really going to be trouble for Andrew Friedman’s computer. He better start that software upgrade now to be in time for his squad to make the playoffs.

I was kind of excited that the Angels are basically tied for 1st with 60 games to play when you think about it. Except then you realize that their pitching still sucks, and they have 40 games to play against their own division. Shohei Ohtani needs to be healthy and great, because the rest of the staff is very average, and held together by chicken wire and duct tape. Weird things can happen in a short season, but the Angels better plan on scoring a lot of runs if they want to make the postseason.

We’re still on Chip Kelly watch at UCLA, and the latest turmoil around the Bruins is that Under Armour is pulling out of their contract. The first thing I thought of was that they were doing this to because they were reevaluating having a strong relationship with a school who’s football coach had questionable feelings toward African Americans. You know that Jock Talk LA was going to jump all over this if that was the case. However, the reality of it is that Under Armour said it’s terminating the deal due to “marketing benefits” they did not receive. That could mean a lot of things for a struggling company like Under Armour. However, it also suggests that “marketing benefits” mean having a winning football program. That’s something that Chip Kelly isn’t bringing. Considering that Under Armour is essentially paying Kelly’s salary, this is a massive problem. This also doesn’t help the massive deficit that has already piled up for UCLA Athletics, which was nearly $20 million last year. Dan Guerrero was basically the CEO of Enron for this athletic department. Good luck to Martin Jarmond, because he has a tough job to do. That should start with replacing the coach of the team that is supposed to be the biggest revenue driver of the athletic program.

Oh so you thought the Dak Prescott saga was over did you? You thought that you would never have to hear about this drama again between the Cowboys and their star quarterback? It’s only just beginning folks. Wait until the middle of next month when he doesn’t actually agree to a deal, and we get another year of this conversation. I’m sure you’re so pumped to to be hearing about exciting things like franchise tenders, transition tags, and salary cap nonsense. You’d probably rather be watching CNN or Fox News. That’s how bad it is.

Finally, the hockey gods helped the Kings out in a big way on Friday night, awarding them the #2 pick in this year’s NHL Draft. That means the Kings are going to get another really good prospect to go along with what many consider to be the best prospect group in the NHL. This is great for the Kings, but it’s a little bit bittersweet that they didn’t get the #1 overall pick, since it’s going to a “placeholder team” that is still playing and currently has a chance to go to the playoffs. Had the Kings had the #1 pick they would have drafted Alexis Lafreniere, who would have been an instant star and franchise player. Frankly, after the Kings dropped from 2nd to 5th in last year’s lottery, it felt like the NHL owed them the #1 pick. Then again, I forgot that this isn’t the NBA, and they don’t rig the draft lottery. However, having a placeholder team winning the lottery is like having a seat filler win an Oscar.

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