On the one hand, the Lakers acquiring the services and skill set of the "player" Kyrie Irving is a no-brainer. As one of the premier point guards in the NBA, the combination of Irving, LeBron James and Anthony Davis is daunting. That super-trifecta should bring the Lakers a deep playoff run, and possibly another title?
However, the "person" Kyrie Irving comes with a lot of baggage and a bad "rep." Unfortunately, if there is a "Headcase Award" he wins it every year!
The best case scenario would be if James and coach Darvin Ham can keep that "predictably unpredictable" person in check while the player "delivers the goods" … at least through the rest of the season and playoffs.
Therein lies their dilemma.
Will Jeanie Buss strip the team of its remaining first-round picks and commit tens of millions of dollars to a player who is great on the court but not reliable?
Is Kyrie Irving willing to put his money where his mouth is and back his contrition while assuring his good behavior by accepting an incentive-laden contract and conditions he must live up to for him to earn his money?
This is where the rubber meets the road. What say you, Jeanie Buss?
It is ridiculous that the Lakers were practicing load management against the Nets, and gave that game away, when every loss puts them closer to missing the playoffs. Of course, Anthony Davis was suffering with blah blah blah and LeBron James had a lingering case of yada yada yada. Just how dumb does management think we are?
Can anyone explain to me why the top two superstars of the Lakers sit out a crucial game against the Brooklyn Nets? First, it's not fair to the fans of Brooklyn who come to see them play. Second, Anthony Davis (I guess he's still considered a superstar) sits out after playing two games since coming back from, yes, another injury. Third, is LeBron pacing himself to make sure he breaks this all-time NBA scoring record at home? Thought the reason the Lakers played basketball was to make the playoffs and contend for an NBA championship. Based on the above, they certainly aren't convincing me they care about winning.
While watching the tail end of the Lakers-Celtics game last Saturday, I was sadly reminded of the main reason I stopped caring about the NBA some time ago: its incompetent and obviously biased officiating. While it may be excusable at times for a referee to miss a borderline foul on a fast break, there was absolutely nothing borderline about the blatant foul on LeBron James at the end of regulation.
Douglas F. Galanter
LeBron James' tantrum after the refs missed a foul call is the most acting James has done since the ill-fated "Space Jam" sequel. He acted like a spoiled teenager.
Looks like Tom Brady went out a loser, calling the wrong audible. Had he retired like he said he would last year, his marriage and his precious all-time records would have been preserved in glory.
Instead, his legacy will always reflect a three-game losing streak, a first-round playoff loss and a divorce in his final year. Maybe we need to rethink this GOAT thing.
Palos Verdes Estates
So Tom Brady has retired for the second time. Frankly, I'll believe it when I see it.
I have a remodeling suggestion for the Rams: Please get rid of Les Snead and Sean McVay. Anyone who would bypass three Rams assistant coaches to hire the coordinator of the league's 25th-ranked offense to salvage our lowest-ranked NFL offense is off their rocker. Let Mike LaFleur's brother hire him in Green Bay.
Old time's sake
Last week, I attended a Pepperdine-San Diego basketball game featuring respective head coaches Lorenzo Romar and Steve Lavin. In attendance was Jim Harrick, former UCLA head coach, who guided the Bruins to their only post-John Wooden era national championship. Romar and Lavin were assistant UCLA coaches during this 1990s time window.
Bill Plaschke wrote a piece three years ago questioning why Harrick hasn't been included in UCLA's Athletic Hall of Fame. Harrick was fired in the 1990s for falsifying an expense report covering a dinner. Athletic administrators come and go. Wouldn't it be appropriate for the current administration to show some warmth one of these years and elevate Harrick to that honor. By the way, Harrick, now in his 80s, looks terrific.
Pac-12 basketball officiating has to be the worst in America. For example, they will go an entire half letting them play, as they say, and call the second half extremely tight. But the topper occurred in Thursday's UCLA-Washington game when a star Washington player deliberately struck a UCLA player in the groin and, after a review, no flagrant foul was called. Then, to top it off, the league reviewed it and suspended the player for the next game against USC, with whom UCLA is competing for the league title!
Inasmuch as I have been paying state taxes since 1964, I am not very happy about UCLA being $28 million in debt (down from $62.5 million the year before) with a contract that pays the football coach $5 million each year for the next three. Is this where our taxes really should be going? And for UCLA to claim they averaged over 45,000 fans at the Rose Bowl is complete nonsense.
It's a sad commentary, how The Times favors UCLA over USC in basketball. USC had a spectacular victory against UCLA. Last Saturday and Sunday articles were written about UCLA - nothing about USC. When USC and UCLA travel, the AP covers USC, while Ben Bolch covers UCLA. Recently, some USC home games have been covered by the AP. Both teams deserve equal coverage.
With USC's win over UCLA, does this mean there is a chance Trojans basketball both home and away will now be covered by a Times staff writer and not a mundane AP wire story?
Hall of Fame*
So, Sean Gregson in his letter last week wrote that Scott Rolen should not be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. I can agree with that. I can also agree with his assertion of "Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez. Those men are baseball gods." But only as long as "god" has an asterisk next to it.
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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.