Monday Morning Coffee

July 22, 2024

The MLB Trade Deadline is rapidly approaching and the Dodgers have a lot of decisions to make. They have a ton of players on the DL who may or may not come back, and the biggest questions among those are in the starting rotation. I’m all for Andrew Friedman upgrading his software, which hopefully isn’t Microsoft based at this point, and having it tell him what elite player to go after. In all seriousness though, players who are free-agents-to-be this off-season make little sense to pay for. If the Dodgers are going to make an impact move they need to think about ones beyond this year. That’s why Tarik Skubal makes a ton of sense. He’s an elite level pitcher, who can help this this year, and the next couple. The Dodgers also have the farm system to get it done. He also makes sense because he and Glasnow can be high % strikeout guys come October, which plays well in the postseason. It also makes sense to acquire a player like Luis Rengifo, who can help the Dodgers at 2nd or 3rd base, and even move Mookie Betts back to the outfield when he returns from injury. The only problem is Arte Moreno would probably rather gargle with razor blades than make a trade with the Dodgers. Enough of the Garret Crochet and Luis Robert Jr talk. Crochet is a converted reliever, and has a very small body of work. You can’t blow up your farm system for that, and Robert is just a marginal upgrade. Also, Dodger fans need to stop pretending like Rays outfielder Randy Arrozarena is some sort of savior because he hits in October. Dude is hitting .200 right now.

Then there’s the Angels. Warriors owner Joe Lacob claimed last week that he was close to actually purchasing the Angels a year ago. That has to be maddening to all Angel fans, because Lacob figures to not only be a wealthier owner than Arte, but a much more forward thinking one who will build out a more modern and stable organization. There’s a lot of bad owners in the MLB other than Arte, so it’s no guarantee a new owner would be better, but you would have liked your odds with Lacob. As for the trade deadline, it would be stupid for the Angels to hang on to someone like Luis Rengifo and Tyler Anderson, who can fetch real value. What has happened to Reid Detmers though? 3 months ago, this kid was looking like the real deal. Now he’s been demoted, but the Halos haven’t even communicated with him. Hello? Is this guy still in your plans? Or are you going to botch his development like everyone else’s? It’s this kind of operation that makes you think the young players they do have like Zach Neto and Logan O’Hoppe will have their development botched too. Now that Joe Biden has essentially retired, isn’t it your turn Anthony Rendon?

To the NBA, where Rob Pelinka reminded everyone last week that the Lakers need to be patient. He’s not wrong. The Lakers shouldn’t give up their draft picks for some marginal upgrade, and that’s all that’s out there right now. One more wrong move, and they only have one big swing left in this era, and the AD and Lebron era is over. So why screw that up? The Lakers are already better with Dalton Knecht on the team, and with some more competent coaching. There’s also stupid moves that have been made by the Denver Nuggets, and serious regression from the Clippers as well after losing Paul George. So things are looking up despite the fact people think otherwise. Now that Bronny James finished summer league with a couple of nice games, can everybody shut the hell up about him now? He’s the 55th pick! He looked like most 55th picks do, and will get the chance to further develop in the G League. Relax.

Meanwhile, the Clippers traded Russell Westbrook to the Jazz, who released him, and now he’s going to sign with the Nuggets. I’m going to say what I’ve said for a while with Russ. Great guy, but doesn’t fit on a lot of modern NBA teams at this point. He can’t shoot, he can’t finish at the rim like he used to, and some people seem to think he can defend. He can’t anymore. He is a poorly aging NBA player, that in reality, can hurt more teams than help them if you don’t manage his role effectively. The Clippers actually saw that, but it’s the Clippers, so you didn’t hear the noise around it like you did with the Lakers.

You’ve gotta give credit to the WNBA and their All-Star game. Those women are actually getting after it and competing. You may recall, the men used to be like this in a different era, now it’s soft and nobody wants to get hurt. Of course, I also loved to see the WNBA beat the Team USA squad. Those women are just catty toward Caitlin Clark, and once again, they need to realize the only reason people are actually paying attention to them is because of her. Everyone wants her to “pay her dues”, but she’s the only one that’s actually paid them. Sorry Angel Reese, you’re a really great player, but if it weren’t for Clark, nobody would know much about you. With just one week to go before the Olympics, it’s a bummer that we won’t see Clark aa s replacement. In any case, with how well she is continuing to play, all the haters look like complete idiots now.

ESPN came out with a list of the top 50 athletes since 2000. Their top 10 was Michel Phelps, Serena Williams, Lionel Messi, Lebron James, Tom Brady, Roger Federer, Simon Biles, Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt, and Kobe Bryant. Also notable were Shaquille O’Neal at #17, Aaron Donald at #20, Mike Trout #30, and Clayton Kershaw #31. It’s a fun little list, but it’s always amusing to see how triggered people get by it. It doesn’t mean much, but it is interesting that Aaron Rodgers isn’t in the top 50 considering he’s a 4-time MVP. There’s a lot of international and Olympians on the list, so ultimately, how we’re defining best athlete here is the big question. Most dominant? Most impactful? Feels more like most dominant but there’s even some questions there.

Speaking of Olympians, I’m very excited about the Summer Olympics that will begin on Friday night in Paris. I have the privilege of actually attending the games, and really looking forward to seeing some of the greatest athletes in the world: Simon Biles, Katy Ledecky, and Noah Lyles among others. More than anything though, this group of athletes is far more likeable than some of the teams we’ve seen in recent memory, and easy to get behind. Looking forward to a spectacular two weeks!

Finally, what an unprecedented week in American history. Former President and Republican candidate dodgers an assassination event through dumb luck, and then the sitting President steps down 4 months before the election. It’s safe to say that the Democratic Party just waived Joe Biden. What a day to drop out though: on National Ice Cream Day! We know Joe loves his ice cream too. Look in all seriousness, I said after the Trump incident last weekend, this would take a few more turns before it was over. I said a few, but sounds like many more before we find out who the next President of The United States will be.

Monday Morning Coffee

July 15, 2024

It was a very rough finish to the first half of the season for the Dodgers. They got swept by the Phillies followed by losing 2 of 3 to the lowly Tigers. They have lost 8 of 10 games, yet they remain in 1st place in the NL West, and 2nd overall in the NL. That doesn’t sound too bad, but when you realize the Dodgers have some major injury problems, their postseason outlook isn’t looking so great. Not to mention, the bottom of their lineup stinks even when they are healthy. We are approaching the point where you have to ask yourself: can the trade deadline really fix this team? Between the injuries to the starting rotation, Max Muncy’s injury, and the other lack of productivity, adding a rental player doesn’t sound smart. If Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow don’t come back healthy, the Dodgers are probably screwed anyway. There’s no ace out there that they can acquire before the deadline to make up for that. Ultimately, if there is an infielder or outfielder that is good defensively, and makes good contact at the plate under team control beyond this year, that could be reasonable. However, that sounds like a lot of boxes to check, and a player that probably isn’t available come July 31st.

Meanwhile the Angels swept the Mariners over the weekend. However, they are 10 games out in the AL West, 12.5 back in the Wild Card, and have the 5th worst record in baseball at the all-star break. This will only add fuel to Arte Moreno’s narrative that he doesn’t want to trade players under team control beyond this year, because he foolishly thinks his team is closer to contention than the rest of us do. The Halos engaged with the Pirates recently on trade talks for Taylor Ward, but stubbornly refused to trade him because they seem to think he’ll help them get back in contention. The Athletic actually reported that Arte Moreno has been averse to embarking on any kind of rebuilding effort. Is this guy stupid? He’s been rebuilding for 10 years without actually rebuilding!

To the NBA, where the Lakers still haven’t been able to do much in free agency or trades since they have no roster spots and no salary cap space. However, all these idiots want to talk about Bronny James and how awful he is playing, and even morons are creating spoof highlight reels of his terrible play. Layoff guys, he’s the 55th pick in the draft, and he’s going to be playing in the G-League. Instead, what you should all be talking about is the fact Dalton Knect is balling. This kid looks like he’s going to be an immediate impact player, and give the Lakers some desperately needed shooting. That should help Lebron and AD a great deal. Speaking of Lebron and AD, the people have voted. By the people I mean all of the Team USA players, who voted Lebron as far and away the best player on the team. That speaks volumes, when you have a team with Jason Tatum, Joel Embiid, Steph Curry, and Anthony Edwards on the squad, who the media seem to consider better players than Lebron at this point. I think the point is that on any given day, Lebron can in fact still be the best player in the world. Sorry Anthony Edward’s, but it’s not your time yet!

As for the Clippers, Paul George had to go and make his negotiations with the team public, which I’m sure they love. PG explained that the Clippers originally offered him 2 years and $60 million, which was much less than the max. After several offers that were only slightly higher than that, George declined and said he would have accepted what Kawhi got, 3 years and $153 million. It wasn’t until he played 70+ games this year that the Clippers offered him that, but at that point, he was angry, and wanted a no-trade clause. That’s completely unrealistic, and he knew that. Good for Paul George for getting the money he wanted, but the Clippers would have been better off just offering him the 3 years and $153 million early on and then figure out how to stay under the apron later. As for Kawhi, I’m not surprised to see him pull out of the Olympics, and was shocked to see him playing to begin with. That fact he still isn’t healthy is cause for continued concern, but even if he was, it would be stupid for him to exert any additional strain on his fragile knees. The fact Jaylen Brown wasn’t selected over Derrick White is bizarre though, as Brown, could easily be a top 10 player in the world. Sounds like Nike is behind this, after Brown was critical of Nike for dropping Kyrie Irving. There is no world where you can convince me White is a better player or fit than Jaylen Brown, who plays the same position as Kawhi Leonard.

I finally got to see the TV Series “Clipped” on Hulu. In case you aren’t familiar with this, it’s a 6 episode series on the fall of Donald Sterling as owner of the Clippers, back in 2014. It was an interesting watch, but the storylines revolved much more around the lives of Shelly Sterling, Donald, and Vie Stiviano, Donald’s girlfriend. I wish they had developed the storylines more around the likes of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan especially. I did come away feeling bad for Doc Rivers and having to deal with that entire situation, as well as the likelihood that his players could just completely walk out on him. More than anything though, Shelly Sterling and Vie Stiviano came across as very self-serving, and only interested in maintaining their lifestyles, rather than having any real emphathy for the players. Perhaps if this weren’t the case, the show would need to be much more than 6 episodes.

We’re not too far from College Football season starting, and that means that the Trojans aren’t far away from their opening game showdown with LSU. However, according to Paul Finebaum, Lincoln Riley could flame out quickly at USC, after their move to the Big 10. Finebaum said that Riley is losing recruits at an alarming rate, to Oregon especially. This can’t make Trojan fans feel too good about themselves. I do think that Finebaum is a bit over-dramatic with this take, but there’s a few things that need to be acknowledged. The first is that in College Football’s current recruiting and NIL landscape, coaches now have the responsibility of recruiting players year round. Players that are outside the program, and the players they’ve already recruited that are in the program to keep them from leaving. That may burn out a lot of coaches. In addition to that, when USC begins play in the Big 10, the first couple of seasons may not be that great, especially until they can find themselves their next truly elite quarterback.

UCLA will also have their share of troubles in the Big 10 when play begins on 8/31. If there’s one thing to feel good about for the Bruins, it’s that they have somebody coaching the program who cares: DeShaun Foster. That should be enough to get some folks in the program energized, and even some of the fan base. At some point though, he has to win football games. It won’t be easy to win a lot of them in year 1 in a new conference, but I think more of them will come as opposed to when Chip Kelly was leading the program.

I am both saddened and disappointed that we witnessed political violence over the weekend during Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania. Say what you will about Trump and his supporters, there is simply no place for violence in this country. Thankfully Trump wasn’t hurt, but sadly, one innocent by standard was killed, and two others were also injured. I cannot say that I am surprised that this occurred. For years, the media has basically been creating a dramatic divide in this country, which sometimes has me wondering when we are going to have another civil war. Also, was Trump provided the 2nd string of Secret Service during this rally? The whole place wasn’t that big, and yet they can’t find one kid on a roof with a rifle? From an election standpoint, most will say Trump is looking very good to be the next President of The United States. However, something tells me that before that happens this thing will take a few more twists and turns.

Congratulations to Argentina for winning the Copa America after their dramatic victory over Columbia last night in Miami. Feel bad for Messi getting injured, but this is still something he can add to his legacy. The outcome aside, how about the fact that the game was delayed by 75 minutes because fans had breached security in several parts of the stadium? Fans were even seen on social media climbing through vents like John McClane in Die Hards, just to get in to see their team play. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. If they can sneak across the border, then why couldn’t they figure out a way to sneak into the stadium? Still, it’s not a very good look for the US, which plans to host the World Cup in 2026. It’s also a reminder of how insane soccer fans are, and that sometimes you just can’t stop the Third World!

Monday Morning Coffee

July 8, 2024

You people need to stop freaking out about the Lakers. Let’s be clear. The Lakers can’t sign any free agents because they don’t currently have money available under the new CBA, and they don’t have roster spots. The only thing they can do is make a trade. However, there’s nobody out there available that significantly improves this team. What’s hilarious though is every time a player like Klay Thompson, DeMar Derozan, or some other useless player signs with a team, you guys freak out. Even if the Lakers had the money, there was never going to be a player available this summer that made the them significantly better in this offseason. For all the crap Rob Pelinka is getting from you people, sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make. Trading D-Lo, Rui, or Vando had better net you a starter or two that is all-star level. That’s not gonna happen. Even if it’s Jerami Grant or Lauri Markkanen, the cost of what the Lakers would give up wouldn’t make them better. That’s not to say the Lakers won’t be better next season. Simply by having a healthy Vando and Gabe Vincent, and playing Max Christie and Rui more minutes, along with halfway competent coaching, and the Lakers could easily be a 50+ win team in the West. You saw it last year just by getting Rui back in the lineup regularly. It can only get better with Vando, Max, and Gabe. This team didn’t just forget how to play basketball after making it to the West Finals. Not doing much is the best move they could have made, so stop calling it the worst summer you’ve seen, because there has been much worse.

Meanwhile, it’s clear that the Clippers have been working to replace Paul George in the aggregate. Kris Dunn, Derrick Jones Jr, Nic Batum, and Mo Bamba were all signed by the Clips, which is a decent recovery. None of them by any means are all-stars, but they do all bring some athleticism, and keep the Clips competitive in the West. I did think that by now Russell Westbrook would be traded to another team like the Nuggets. However, somebody in their front office probably slapped General Manager Calvin Booth in the head, and showed him tape of Russ from the last few years. Ultimately though, it really is about the health of Kawhi Leonard. Will he be available when it actually matters? If I’m the Clippers, I don’t love that the guy is playing in the Olympics. The guy can never be available in the playoffs, wasn’t available when we last saw the Clippers play, and now he’s suddenly ok for the Olympic team? That can’t sit very well with them. Even if he’s healthy, his knees clearly can only endure so much, so why would they want any of that to be used up on the Olympic team?

The Dodgers had a rough time earlier in the week against the Diamondbacks, but recovered over the weekend against the Brewers to take 2 of 3. Once again, you Dodgers fans need to chill though about this roster. They are a good team, and better than last year. However, it’s baseball and nothing is guaranteed come postseason time, as we’ve seen in many years past. Nothing the Dodgers can do will change that. With that being said, there are things they can do at the deadline, but the idea that they’ll have 2 new outfielders, a new shortstop, a starting pitcher, and stud addition to the bullpen is just madness. Maybe you guys don’t realize the Dodgers are the 2nd best team in the NL despite their problems. They will get a lot of reinforcements back from injury: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and maybe even Dustin May. That should be enough pitching and at least 2 of those 4 should be trustworthy enough come October, along with Tyler Glasnow, Gavin Stone, and James Paxton. They’ll also get Mookie Betts and Max Muncy back. Of course the Dodgers have been playing about .500 ball for weeks. It’s because they’ve been slammed with injuries, and their pitchers are facing arm fatigue we often see in the dog days of summer. They’ll be fine in a few weeks. If they can get a solid defensive infielder who can hold his own at the plate and an effective addition to the bullpen before August 1st then great. However, if not, they still have reinforcements coming. Also, congrats to Shohei, Mookie, Freddie, Teo, Will, and Tyler for making the All-Star team!

Meanwhile, the Angels came crashing back to earth this past week, losing 6 of their past 7 games. They are back to the 5th worst record in the majors, and 10.5 games out of 1st in the AL West, and 12 games out of the AL Wild card. On the bright side, Tyler Anderson made the all-star team for the AL. It certainly was well deserved. If the Halos are smart though, they will trade him to the highest bidder by the end of the month. Who are we kidding though, the Angels aren’t smart!

Imagine giving your wife $300 to go to the grocery store. Instead of coming home with a bunch groceries, all she brings back are two bottles of Stoli Vodka. That’s it! That’s exactly what Kings GM Rob Blake did last week in free agency. Blake went into free agency with $20 million. He needed one top 6 forward, one bottom 6 forward, and a defenseman. Instead he came out with two bottom six forwards and a defenseman that are limited in talent, questionable health, and overpaid. He could have even spent the money on an upgrade with a goalie, but no. He even had the money to add an elite talent like Steve Stamkos, a two-time Stanley Cup Champion that would have fit perfectly next to Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe on the top line. Funny how the Nashville Predators went into free agency with the same amount of money as the Kings, and came out with 3 elite players, while the Kings were left holding the bag.

The COPA America Tournament has been going on, but unfortunately, the USMNT was eliminated last week by Uruguay. I know I know, this is where many of you want to throw out your outdated takes like “If our best athletes like Tyreek Hill or Lebron James played soccer, we’d have an elite team.” That’s really no longer the case. There’s a lot of young and very talented players in the US player pool. Perhaps more than ever before. There’s 4.5 million kids that play soccer in this country, which is more than many other countries that are considered better than us. So why can’t we break through? The issue now is player development and coaching. Ball skills, or technical skills that our players just don’t have relative to other countries. We’ve made a lot of strides, being ranked 12th in the world, but there’s still a long way to go, and a lot of work to do before the World Cup in 2026.


Finally, House of The Dragon on HBO is getting good! It’s a little hard to wrap my head around the idea that everyone on both sides now has a dragon compared to Game of Thrones. I really wasn’t mentally prepared for anybody of real significance to die in this episode, but it happened with a final dragon duel, which cost Princess Rhaenys her life. Someone really needs to take Aemond Targaryen’s other eye because that kid does nothing but cause trouble on those dragons. This time it wasn’t an accident. I have no idea how you can complain about what you’ve seen so far in 4 episodes. In 3 of the 4 episodes this season, the show has ended with the surprising death of a character, and the other had an incredibly tense moment between Alicent and Rhaenyra. We’re halfway through season 2 already!

Monday Morning Coffee

July 1, 2024

NBA free agency is underway, and all eyes are on the Lakers once again. Let’s start with the most under reported story. The Lakers drafted Dalton Knecht with their 17th pick, who should have been a top 5 pick, if NBA GM’s weren’t so stupid and didn’t like older players ready to contribute. That is huge, and not talked about enough. That kid might actually start for the Lakers next year, and should certainly be a rotation piece with his shooting ability. Instead, most of these idiots want to talk about the fact they took Bronny James with the 55th pick, and that is shows how much nepotism is involved in organization. Oh really? If you think nepotism doesn’t exist in the NBA, and in tons of other organizations in this world, you are as naïve as they come. It’s not Bronny’s fault he’s Lebron’s kid, and nothing wrong with him getting the opportunity he is getting. It’s up to him though to put the work in to take advantage of it. Also, it’s pretty cool for both Lebron and him that they get to play together in the same organization. As for free agency, I know there is a lot of talk about Klay Thompson, and it’s a nice story, but he’s really not that effective anymore. However, the best way the Lakers can improve is through trade. Brook Lopez and Robert Williams are probably the best front court fits next to Anthony Davis, and just letting Max Christie and Dalton Knecht play will be far more effective than most people envision It’s a nice gesture for Lebron to be willing to take a paycut, but not sure that type of player is out there to put the Lakers over the top compared to what they already have.

Then there’s the Clippers and the Paul George drama. After PG-13 opted out, he’s going to be signing with the Sixers. I understand why the Clips were forced to do this, but still hard for me to imagine them swallowing this decision since they are moving into a new building without him. They also gave up a boat load of assets for him, so they are essentially giving up on the era by not re-signing him. I think in a perfect world, PG would have rather stayed in SoCal, where he’s from, and have less pressure on him than in Philadelphia. Now that the Clips are giving shots to Josh Primo, Kai Jones, and Kevin Porter Jr., I find that very interesting. They are betting on young talent that has yet to prove it in this league, in hopes some of them coming through. Now they are also looking to trade Russell Westbrook after he opted in to his minimum contract. Where are all the stories about how bad the Clips are treating Russ for not keeping him like the Lakers faced when they traded him? Also, giving James Harden $35 million a year is quite generous for a guy with absolutely no market. Did the Clips think the year was 2018? They probably felt they had no choice with PG’s departure to retain some talent, even if it is way past it’s prime. DeMar Derozan could be a reasonable plan B for them.

The NBA free agency period always got off to such a bang when these teams were tampering more than they are now. Instead we’re just being fed with not very exciting re-signings from role players. The Nuggets are now apparently interested in Russell Westbrook. Please let this happen, and nobody tell them! You gotta hand it to KCP. He just cashed in on another $66 million from the Magic for the next 3 years. When that’s done he’ll have made $170 million over 3 years, and be 34 years old with two titles. Zach Lavine’s stock has fallen so much, he can’t even be traded without the Bulls attaching a couple of 1st round picks to him. You know the new CBA rules are very real when Steve Ballmer, the richest owner in the NBA, can’t even stomach going to the 2nd tax apron. What’s taking PG so long to officially announce he’s going to the Sixers? It’s like he’s just waiting for someone to take him to Nobu first.

In the NHL, the Kings are in the thick of the off-season. I’m not really a fan of Rob Blake as is well documented here on JTLA, but I appreciate him recognizing his mistake and trading Pierre Luc-Dubois before his no-trade clause kicked in. PLD was talented, but lazy. The Kings have cap space, but what they truly need is a goaltender, and to play their young players. I’m keeping an eye on the Arthur Kaliyev situation, which needs to be studied. The Kings obviously know he’s talented, which is why they won’t just let him go, and they want something for him in a trade. However, teams know the Kings don’t want him because of his off-ice issues. The smart thing to do is to bring him to camp, let him play, be disciplined with him, and let him rectify his game. He is the type of young player the Kings need to develop in their lineup. Unfortunately, there is not an elite goaltender out there for them to acquire.

To baseball where the Dodgers dropped 2 of 3 to the Giants over the weekend. It’s not a disaster, given where the Dodgers are in the standings but there’s a few things that need to be addressed. James Paxton and Tyler Glasnow look worn out. Cavan Biggio is a total disaster in the lineup. He’s made 3 errors in 10 games, and he’s hitting .208 on the season. If anything, he is the biggest nepotism story in LA, given that his dad is Hall-of-Famer Craig Biggio! I think now is as good of a time as ever to go back to trying Miguel Vargas in the infield. There is some bright side though. Shohei Ohtani is chasing the NL Triple Crown, and at this point looks as dangerous at the plate as prime Barry Bonds. Then there’s Chris Taylor who has suddenly remembered how to play baseball. He’s now 9/20 with 2 homers, a triple and a double, since June 14th. He also only has 2 strikeouts in that stretch. Miguel Rojas has shown he’s not only a capable defensive infielder, but he can be productive at the plate too. I think it’s fair to say Taylor should be playing 3rd base until Max Muncy gets back. Between Muncy, Mookie Betts, Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the Dodgers have at least a month before they might be healthy. More than anything though before the trade deadline, they still need a solid defensive infielder that can hold their own at the plate, which will allow Mookie to go back to the outfield. That should solve multiple problems at once.

As for the Angels, perhaps the worst thing has happened to them this season. They had won 6 in a row heading into yesterday, and they are inching closer to the 3rd place Texas Rangers in the AL West. Knowing Arte Moreno, he could actually convince himself that the Halos might be decent when Mike Trout comes back in a month from his injury, and that they should be buyers at the trade deadline. However, the sad reality is the Halos are the 5th worst team in baseball, with the 4th worst ERA in the entire league. If they decided not to be sellers at the deadline, it would be complete baseball malpractice. Then again, not trading Shohei Ohtani at the deadline last year was also complete malpractice as well, so nothing should surprise us with Arte Moreno. Also, don’t look now, but Anthony Rendon could be back before the all-star break as well. Don’t you just miss all the stupid things he has to say?

I absolutely love the Olympics, and especially the Summer Olympics. In fact, I have the privilege of going to Paris next month for the 2024 games. These athletes prepare like crazy for a shot to go to the games, they may only get once in life, since the games happen only every 4 years. The Olympic trials have already been fun to watch, from Simone Biles dominating the women’s gymnastics, to Katy Ledecky dominating in all her swimming events. However, what I really love is how much more likable the Team USA Track and Field team is this year. Noah Lyles and Kenny Bednarek are two talented sprinters I can get behind, that don’t seem overly showy and unlikeable like other arrogant sprinters we’ve had in the past decade. I can say the same for Sha’Carri Richardson, Gabby Thomas, and Sydney McLaughlin, who broke the world record in the 400 hurdles last night. It definitely feels like a new wave of talent, and I’m here for it!

I’m sure many of you watched the Debate on Thursday night between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. I’m not sure why it wasn’t aired on Comedy Central, because it was nothing but pure laughs for all of us. I’m sure it was also pure laughs for the rest of the world, who surely thinks our country is, and will be run by one of these two buffoons for the next four years. At this point, Biden’s lack of cognitive abilities is well documented, but Trump’s approach is a complete embarrassment as well. It’s amazing that when you go back to 2012 and you watch a debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, you get a completely civilized a polished debate, with highly sophisticated answers, where both candidates respected each other. Now you get two guys that are acting like 8 year olds, and also felt the need to talk about their golf games.

I’m very excited that House of The Dragon is finally back on HBO, the prequel to Game of Thrones. The show is good, but I’m not expecting Game of Thrones level quality here. That took a while to unfold but we’ll see where this goes. With Game of Thrones, for much of the show you understand that loyalty gets you killed, and in general, those who utilize under-handed tactics often come out on top. However, with House of the Dragon that part isn’t clear yet. We have two powerful queens that deep down have questioned the existing line of succession, but are also trying to avoid war. Well, after last night, it seems that one is trying to avoid it, and we’re not sure about Alicent. The final scene in last night’s episode made Rhaenyra sound like the whole thing is just one giant misunderstanding, based off of what Viserys said while dying. After that scene, it seems like Alicent is all-in on the carnage no matter what. Who knows why Alicent didn’t have her guards seize Rhaenyra at the end and have her killed, but this show is already full of stupid decisions from the characters, so one bad one deserves another!

Monday Morning Coffee

June 24, 2024

For all the jokes about the Lakers hiring JJ Redick, I don’t really have a problem with it. They’ll be introducing him this afternoon at a press conference at 1:30 pm. From the start of the process, you knew he was a strong candidate. Sure the Danny Hurley thing came up to, but the process wasn’t nearly as disorganized as many of you are making it out to be. You can criticize the Lakers for not valuing coaches, or being too Lebron centric, but that doesn’t make this a bad hire. The reality of it is, Redick can’t be worse at this job than the coaching we saw last year from Darvin Ham. There were some absolutely awful decisions game after game. I don’t expect Redick to make those, and I expect a modern looking offense with continued accountability on defense from everyone. The real question is whether or not he will be well received in the locker room, and not just looked at as a coach for Lebron. If that happens, then I think this has the potential to be successful. As for the roster, my expectation is there will be a bit of a shakeup this week. Why? Because if D’Angelo Russell opts in, the Lakers keep their #17 max, while resigning Max Christie, they would have already reached the 2nd apron. That tells me moves are coming.

As for the Clippers, this Paul George situation has to leave you wondering how it ends. Suddenly, the Sixers don’t seem interested anymore. Probably because as we’ve seen before, PG-13 said something stupid. He said on a podcast that he just wants to play basketball the right way at this point in his career. Oh really? You just want to be aesthetically pleasing? Sure you do. It’s become obvious since he left OKC that he wants to be paid like a superstar player, but have no part of the accountability that comes with it. For a 34 year old who has had a history of injuries of late, after those comments, it’s no wonder teams aren’t lining up to pay him max money. For those reasons, I actually think he ends up back with the Clippers. They want him back at a price that works for them, and at this point, that price may now be more than everybody is willing to pay.

To baseball where the Dodgers are still winning, but dealing with more injuries. The latest to go on the DL is Walker Buehler. It’s really unfortunate to see him struggling since he came back from his 2nd Tommy John Surgery, but it’s really not that surprising. Pitchers that come back from a 2nd Tommy John’s surgery usually don’t have an easy time. Putting him on the DL to figure things out is definitely the right thing to do. However, the question is if there is still time for him to figure things out while he is a Dodger. Buehler is in the last year of his contract. There certainly is time, but he’ll need to figure those things out in the month of July before we see if he can be a playoff pitcher. I will never say anything bad about Walker Buehler though. He manned up and pitched in the NLCS a couple of years ago when his arm was cooked, while Max Scherzer showed he was soft as Charmin tissue paper because he claimed he had a little “arm fatigue”.

As if we didn’t have enough negative things to say about the Angels already, they got dealt another tough blow when Patrick Sandoval was placed on the DL with a forearm issue. This could easily be an elbow issue, and one that results in a major injury. The worst part about it is that believe it or not, teams were calling the Halos about Sandoval. He’s actually a player the Halos could have gotten some value for. He’s also under team control for two more years. Just to put it in perspective for you, A 27 year old pitcher who is 2-8 with a 5.08 era in the Angels organization is valued. That’s because even the rest of the league knows with some halfway decent player development, Sandoval has the talent to be something he’s not able to be with the Angels.

I have no idea what Kelly Stafford was thinking. Last week on a podcast, she revealed that in college she dated the Georgia backup quarterback, and even slept with him, just to make her now husband, Matt Stafford, jealous. You have 4 kids with the guy? Why bring that up publicly? I get that there is some entertainment value to it for her, but some of the things this woman says on these podcasts makes you wonder if Matt goes home and scolds her for saying things she’s not supposed to.

Tonight may very well be the most viewed hockey game in history. The Edmonton Oilers will try to make history tonight and come back from 0-3 deficit to win the Stanley Cup against the Florida Panthers, in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Panthers look absolutely shell shocked, and I’m concerned about their confidence that they can still win this series. I hope they remember that they are playing game 7 at home, where home teams usually win game 7. However, the Oilers have the best player in the world, Connor McDavid, and they’ve looked dominant for most of the last 3 games. With that being said, I would love to see the Panthers find a way to win. Connor McDavid is great, but let’s just stop it with all these ridiculous comparisons to Wayne Gretzky, who is the GOAT. Plus, I don’t want the Kings feeling good about themselves losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, otherwise it just gives them more reason to rinse and repeat. Also, if the Oilers win, it will really put a damper on all those jokes we make about Canadian Teams not winning the Stanley Cup in ages.

Monday Morning Coffee

June 17, 2024

What a sad day it was last week when we learned about the passing of Lakers great Jerry West. I don’t know if West was a better executive or player, but he was certainly elite in both. His impact on the NBA was so great, and at the same time he was classy, humble, and modest. If there’s one thing that saddens me however, it’s that he could not finish his career within the Laker organization. He left the Lakers to go to Memphis, Golden State, and then with the Clippers. He wanted to come back to the Lakers, but unfortunately, he became estranged from the organization, and they just didn’t see eye-to-eye on any form of a reunion. It almost feels wrong that the end of his life came as a part of the Clippers organization. Even former long-time Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said that what happened makes it hard to root for the Lakers. The Lakers statement on his passing was rather brief too, which certainly won’t help the negative perception about their relationship with West. Nevertheless, we should be celebrating him and his impact on basketball, rather than focusing on the negative. You have to love Jerry West though because the man said he would rather die than witness the Boston Celtics win another title.


Speaking of the Lakers, the negative narratives that emerge about the Lakers organization never ceases to amaze me, especially after they were unable to lure Danny Hurley to coach the team. Apparently offering 6 years and $70 million to Hurley, which would have made him one of the top 5 paid coaches in basketball, suggests that the Lakers are poor and don’t have the financial resources to compete against wealthy new owners. Some of you people who cover the NBA need to take a rudimentary economics course, because the Lakers have the richest local TV deal in the NBA. They have no problem going over the luxury tax year after year. You can accuse them of not placing the proper value on coaches, or even having a very lean staff, but just because they do things differently than the poverty franchises you cover, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Going after Hurley was an interesting out of the box idea you have to give them credit for, but offering him more than they did would have been a mistake for a guy that has never coached in the NBA. There is also very little historic success for big time college coaches transitioning to the NBA. Hurley got more press by turning down the Lakers offer, than he did by winning back-to-back titles at UCONN. However, he had no intention of taking the Lakers offer, unless they blew him away, and for the Lakers, they didn’t really need to. You can criticize the Lakers for a lot of things, but this isn’t one of them. Bring on JJ Redick.

As for the NBA Finals, there’s been more coverage around the Lakers, Caitlin Clark, and Charles Barkley than the Celtics and the Mavericks. It’s a cute little story when the Lakers aren’t in the finals, until you look at the dumpster fire of ratings compared to what they could have gotten with a better matchup. I don’t think anybody would mistake Luka Doncic for being a great defender, but it’s funny how after all the criticism he took in game 3, he turned into prime Dennis Rodman for a couple of quarters in game 4. Nothing would give Laker fans more joy than the Celtics being the first team in NBA history to give up a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven and lose this series. But let’s be honest, you know it’s not going to happen and the Celtics will probably close out the series tonight in Boston.

I was really disappointed to hear Charles Barkley announce his retirement from TV over the weekend, which would take place after next season. You cannot have Inside The NBA without Charles Barkley, or Ernie Johnson, who are reportedly not leaving TNT. With that being said, there is a small part of me that thinks Barkley may have said this publicly to put pressure on both the NBA and TNT to come to a deal to keep the NBA on Turner. It’s a smart move because one can argue that “Inside The NBA” is actually a bigger brand than the NBA on TNT is. If the NBA does in fact move away from Turner (which I expect it to), then I think somebody will offer Charles enough money to make him change his mind. We’ll see how well this leverage play worked right after the NBA Finals, when we expect the league to announce their new TV deal with all their partners.

The Stanley Cup Finals are actually looking very similar to the NBA Finals, with Florida Panthers jumping out to a 3-0 series lead, while the Oilers came back to salvage game 4 of the series. I full expect the Panthers to close out the series tonight. This should be a reminder for the LA Kings. The Panthers roster is constructed exactly like the 2012 and 2014 teams were. No headline grabbing superstars. Just 20 dressed and fully committed guys who didn’t take a second of a shift off. It’s an entire team of warriors who were accountable, and a head coach who was tough as nails and expected a lot. I’m not sure that higher level of accountability exists within the Kings organization currently. However, the worst thing the Kings can do is feel good about themselves losing to the Oilers, just because Edmonton went to the final.

To baseball where the Dodgers got some troubling news over the weekend. Yoshinobu Yamamoto left Saturday’s game with tightness in his triceps and is headed to the 15-Day DL with a strained rotator cuff. Then Mookie Betts went down with a fractured hand after being hit by a pitch. This is not something the Dodgers can mess around with. They need to shut Yamamoto down until he is 100% healthy. More importantly, when he returns, they should go to a 6-man rotation. It makes too much sense. Yamamoto is pitching way more than he did in Japan. Tyler Glasnow has a history of injury. Gavin Stone is pitching more than he ever has. Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Bobby Miller are all coming off injuries too. Now Mookie going down is going to hurt and offense even more that is just too feast or famine. In their first 10 games, they scored 5+ runs in each of them. Since then they’ve just just 5+ runs 10 times in 29 games. Acquiring .195 hitting Cavan Biggio isn’t the answer. This isn’t about adding a couple of slightly more productive bats before the deadline. Sure that will help, but they need to change their all or nothing approach at the plate. I’m still waiting for Andrew Friedman’s computer to figure that out.

We’re about 6 weeks away from the MLB Trade deadline, and the plan for the Angels is obvious to us, but for some reason it isn’t to Arte Moreno. It makes all the sense in the world for the Angels to trade all their players on expiring contracts. However, it makes even more sense for them to trade players with years of control remaining, and maybe even some of their young players with perceived high values. Since the Angels farm system and player development is complete garbage, it makes more sense to have players with an even higher upside than they currently have, who can overcome the lack of a development system. Of course Arte is dumb enough to believe that we think because the aging and injury prone Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon are on the roster, that the team is really a contender. They haven’t made the playoffs in 10 years, yet he thinks he can fool us into thinking they are good. For the sake of Perry Minasian, Arte should also give him the opportunity to prove he can do his job well, by giving him the green light to sell at the trade deadline. This of course is way too logical to happen though.

Monday Morning Coffee

June 11, 2024

I’m disappointed to hear that Danny Hurley is not taking the Laker job offer, but I’m incredibly impressed the Lakers tried. Their offer and vision was more than I would have ever expected from the Lakers, who typically go through coaches the way we go through underwear. For those of you Twitter heads criticizing the fact the offer was “only $70 million”, that would have made Hurley a top 5 paid coach in the league. This for a guy who has never coached a day in his life in the NBA, and the Lakers are being cheap? I can’t criticize Jeanie and Rob for that. One problem however, is that the perception of the Lakers head coaching job is that it’s not as great as it used to be. So now what? There really are not any big names available, so you’re probably looking at a JJ Redick hodge-podge type of staff put together, with hopefully some experienced assistant coaches. At this point its kind of like going back to your ex after it didn’t work out with the girl you left her for. She knows she was second choice, so it’s going to be an awkward conversation. In this case though, whoever the Lakers get as their next coach is probably going to feel like they are just a coach for the remainder of the Lebron James era in LA, and nothing beyond that.

As for the Clippers, it’s amazing to think Ty Lue got $14 million a year. It wasn’t that long ago Ty Lue was considered just a coach for Lebron. Suddenly, he goes to the Clippers, and he’s regarded as one of the best coaches in the league, and now paid like it. The truth is usually somewhere in between. Is he a good coach? Yes. If he one of the best coaches in the league? Ok probably not. However, he is certainly paid like one now. Now the Clippers next issue is figuring out how to keep Paul George, yet staying under first apron. So far, it’s not going that great, but we’ll find out a few weeks from now what the outcome is.

Bad news Laker fans. The Celtics look like they are well on their way to their 18th championship, which would give them one more than the Lakers. Boston took a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals against the Mavericks. Luke Doncic is still balling, but Kyrie Irving has disappeared like Hodini, and the Dallas role players don’t look anything like they did in the first 3 rounds of the playoffs. The Celtics aren’t even getting great performances of Jayson Tatum, but they are so deep it hasn’t mattered so far. However, I do love the fact that both Caitlin Clark and the Laker coaching search is getting talked about more than the Celtics right now. It just goes to show you how much relevancy the Lakers have in the NBA.

Speaking of Caitlin Clark, the WNBA is really blowing it, and so did the Olympic Team. The best thing they could have done for the Olympic team is put Clark on it. They would have gotten tons of people to watch their games that otherwise wouldn’t. As someone who is going to the Olympics, I can tell you I would have gone to one of their games if she was playing. Instead, I have no interest now. The players apparently got together and thought it would be a bad idea to have her on the team because her fans wouldn’t like that she wasn’t going to get a lot of minutes. Oh so now we are making decisions based on whether or not you’re going to hurt the fans feelings? These women are so jealous of Caitlin Clark it’s disgusting. She’s bring relevancy to a sport that nobody would otherwise give a crap about. The sooner these players can appreciate that the better off they are going to be, along with their sport.

The Dodgers took 2 out of 3 against the Yankees over the weekend in Bronx. That sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Well yes, but their flaws were still on display, and had they not been, it could have easily been a sweep. The situational hitting for this team remains atrocious. They may have erupted for 11 runs in Saturday’s win, and got by with some crafty execution on Friday, but they were only 2-11 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. When you’re facing elite pitching in the playoffs, you have to figure out how to manufacture runs, and not wait for the long bomb. This amazing looking lineup is feast or famine. The defense could also use a boost too, as we saw with Andy Pages not being able to make a key play in center field last night. That’s probably because the Dodgers best outfielder is playing in the infield. The good news is that both the starting pitching and bullpen look great. However, the Dodgers need to find some good contact hitting bats that are good defenders before the trade deadline.

The Angels on the other hand lost 2 of 3 to the Astros at the Big A. They remain in last place in the AL West, and have the 4th worst record in baseball. If this team doesn’t trade the likes of Tyler Anderson, Luis Rengifo, and Taylor Ward before the trade deadline, they are completely unserious about building this team into anything remotely successful. Arte Moreno has reportedly not given Perry Minasian the green light to blow up the team at the deadline, and I really can’t imagine why. This team is terrible, and they badly need to re-stock their farm system with talent, since it is one of the worst in baseball. Of course even if they do that, they have terrible player development, so making those prospects successful is a whole different problem.

Finally, the Florida Panthers have a 1-0 lead over the Oilers after Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. This series feels like a coin toss, but if there’s one thing I’m sick of hearing, it’s the idea that the LA Kings should feel better about themselves because they lost to a team that is now in the finals. Look, you lost. You lost to the same team for 3 straight years. It should tell you that what you are doing just isn’t working and you need to do something completely different. It seems obvious to me, but unfortunately, I don’t think the Kings see it this way.

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.