June 26, 2023
The Lakers had an interesting but uneventful draft night last week. I think Jessie and Joey Buss have earned the right to be given the benefit of the doubt on their picks because they have been so good for years. I never want to hear the names Myles Turner and Buddy Hield again. If the Pacers haven’t traded them to LA yet they aren’t going to. I think the Lakers should strongly consider picking up the option for Malik Beasley. They need his shooting, and he’s an expiring contract that could still have value later. The Lakers should have a good chance at retaining most of their team from last season once free agency starts, but any upgrades from last season aren’t likely to come in free agency. Brook Lopez would be a great fit next to AD, but he will probably be out of their price range, especially when you consider what Naz Reid got.
As for the Clippers, I was somewhat shocked to hear that they were shopping Paul George around the league to gauge his value. Not because Steve Ballmer hasn’t been bold before, but because of the timing. The Clippers are going into a new arena after next season, and selling seats is what matters. They can’t risk putting anything on the floor that suggests they aren’t trying to compete for titles. This tells you though that the Clippers front office is getting tired of the “we’re a championship team if Kawhi and Paul stay healthy” narrative. It also explains the rumors of Ty Lue being uninterested in an extension. Unfortunately for them, as they probably learned last week, Paul George isn’t going to get them Pascal Siakam, Damian Lillard, or even the #3 pick in this years draft. What will be more interesting through is how the Clippers handle potential extension talks later this summer with Kawhi and PG because they may play hard ball and include incentive clauses based on number of games played. For the time being though, my expectation is they will keep the Kawhi and PG duo together, because it seems like their best alternative.
If there’s one dude I feel bad for it’s Chris Paul. He’s gets traded to Washington in a salary dump, then instead of getting bought out to choose his own team, he gets traded to the Warriors in another salary dump. The good news for him is that he’s closer to his family and he’s going to be guaranteed nearly $30 million this season. The bad news is his fit with the Warriors is like a square peg in a round hole. They play fast and he plays slow. They need size, depth, and youth. He’s small, eats up their depth with his contract and old. This also goes to show you how crazy the new CBA is. Paying more than two stars is going to be very difficult. If you’re one of those two, you better be producing at an elite level. If not, you will always be trade bait. Just ask Marcus Smart who is one of the best defenders in the NBA, and he got traded to Memphis, with Kristaps Porzingas going to Boston. I thought the Wizards committed basketball malpractice when they traded Bradley Beal, but now it’s even worse after this trade. They’ve traded their two best players and not a single first round pick to show for it.
It was a very big week for UCLA basketball players, so congratulations to all of them, and to the Bruins program for having three players drafted and two more signed as free agents. Jaime Jaquez was drafted in the 1st round, #18 overall by the Houston Rockets. Amari Bailey was drafted at #41 by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2nd round. Jaylen Clark was drafted at #53 by the Timberwolves, not just in the 2nd round, but during a commercial about shaving your pubes. Then Tyger Campbell was signed by the Magic as an undrafted free agent summer league deal, and David Singleton was signed by the Atlanta Hawks. That’s some massive turnover for the Bruins basketball team, but something tells me Mick Cronin will find a way to re-tool in another year.
In baseball, I know everybody wants to talk about Shohei Ohtani and the Dodgers after they played the Angels last week, but I’m more focused on how the team is playing now. The Dodgers have slid down the standings quite a bit the last few weeks, but in the past 7 days they’ve found the win column more frequently. They took 2 of 3 from the Astros over the weekend. I hope they beat the Astros on a controversial call every time they play each other for the rest of time, which would at least be some justice. They are also creeping back up the NL West standings and getting healthier. Julio Urias and Max Muncy should be back from the IL this week. In about 5 weeks from now, I expect this team to look closer to one of the best in the NL like they did a few weeks ago. I don’t expect their bullpen issues to be fixed by then, so that is what I’m expecting Andrew Friedman to fix at the deadline, including having a real closer by then too.
Then there’s the conundrum that is the Angels. Is the glass half empty or half full? They got swept by the Dodgers, then lost 2 of 3 to the Rockies. There’s nothing like scoring 25 runs on one night, then the next day, not being able to hit a pitcher with an era of 7. Good thing they played Luis Rengifo over red hot newly acquired Mike Moustakas. Rengifo couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat right now. Other than Saturday, the offense was abysmal all week. Is this a playoff team? Well they are certainly in the hunt, but it’s weeks like last week that make you think you are really just watching the same poorly run Angels baseball team.
Finally, Memo to Kings GM Rob Blake. There is still time to pull out of this stupid trade you are about to make! You do not need to another forward that can score. You need goaltending, grit, and defense. If the Kings end up acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois, it’s going to cost you two very good young forwards, one of whom is younger, arguably better, and probably cheaper for the next 3 years than Dubois. This is about to be one massive mistake that is going to take years to overcome, and will cost you the resources you need to get the improvements you really need. When this happens, and Wikipedia already jumped the gun and said it has, it will be like buying a Ferrari when you need to fix the leak in your kitchen sink and the roof over your head.