The week in L.A. sports (7/29/16-8/4/16)

I would have had this earlier, but I was called in to work. So be it. I like talking sports. I love getting paid. There’s a clear difference…

Dodgers: Very little respect to the front office for finally getting a trade done before the non-waiver deadline on Monday. The primary swap was three minor leaguers for the top two players the Oakland A’s had to offer. Before we break down the trade, know that the Dodgers haven’t won a game since making the deal.

As for the trade, well … They brought in yet another injured starting pitcher (Rich Hill), because with Andrew Friedman’s way of thinking you can never have enough people under contract who are physically unable to compete. They also acquired a jolly good outfielder named Josh Reddick, in the process acknowledging that the deal is like the chemotherapy to rid themselves of their Puignoma.

Bottom line: yes, the rotation is in tatters, but it wouldn’t be in such a mess if Friedman hadn’t acquired so many injury-prone players in the first place.

Lakers: Earlier today, the team’s pursuit of guard Russell Westbrook for next offseason ended. Yeah, Westbrook figured why wait 11 months to give Jim Buss the finger when he could do so today. Westbrook re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder. A bench jockey for OKC took to Twitter to laugh at the Lakers, to which I would reply “You realize you’re no longer a title contender either, right? … Do you really want Kevin Durant to tweet what he thinks about you?”

Larry Nance Jr. apparently injured something and I don’t care much.

Clippers: The Los Angeles Times reports Paul Pierce spent $2.23 million on a residence in the area, which means he’s renting a closet in the back of a Whole Foods Market. Wakka wakka!

Galaxy: In securing a 1-1 result in Seattle on Sunday, the Galaxy pulled a remarkable little feat by not losing road games throughout Cascadia — Seattle (win and a draw), Portland (win) and Vancouver (win). For the uninitiated, it doesn’t sound like much. Portland is the defending league champs and the other two did reach the playoffs last year. Teams tend to mail their effort in when they travel in MLS. The Galaxy didn’t. Credit where it’s due.

Rams: I’m still genuinely thrilled that the Rams returned home. I honestly am. And then I recall they’re playing their first few seasons hereSigh.

Here’s an item to slide into your “no sh-t” file: ESPN wrote that in “position battles to watch for all 32 NFL teams,” it’s quarterback Case Keenum vs. No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff.

By the way, if you’re wondering why I’m in such a foul mood, I get that way every time I see some asshat with “lipstick” tattooed on his neck. Sure, playa.

Kings: They sold one of their minor-league teams to a group of trust fund babies in Boston and the sooner I finish typing that, the better.

The week in L.A. sports (6/23/16-6/29/16)

If you inhale deeply through your nose — down to the diaphragm — you’d be a little confused. Sure, there’s the purification of the Dodgers that makes you want to gag, but wait, is that optimism I smell for other teams?

It is. To wit:

Lakers: Even if you hate the team — and like the Dallas Cowboys or New York Yankees, there is no middle ground; you either love or hate them — the Lakers held an excellent draft last week.

It would be most surprising if small forward Brandon Ingram didn’t start quickly for the Lakers this year, perhaps opening night. And if you’re a fan, you already knew that makes an interesting core of point guard D’Angelo Russell and power forward Julius Randle. 

That leaves 1 1/2 holes to fill. It’s possible Jordan Clarkson is a long-term solution to shooting guard, but I doubt that. Then there’s a great void at center. The kid drafted in the second round, Ivica Zubac, might play quickly. Pundits suggested he stay in Europe. I don’t see that, but I don’t see him starting, either.

The Lakers will not land one of the Crown Jewels in free agency — such as Kevin Durant. If they sign center Al Horford or Hassan Whiteside, though, the Lakers you have an outside shot of doubling the win total from last year. You’d still miss the playoffs with that, but it would make for a fun miss.

Quick side note: I read a story about the Lakers being surprised that Durant doesn’t want to come to L.A. There’s a reason the top free agents have snubbed the Lakers recently. It’s because there’s a big difference between Jerry Buss and Jim Buss. Jerry was revered. Jim is a trust-fund baby. End of story.

Clippers: I can’t help but like their draft pick of Brice Jordan. I don’t see him starting this year, but like most North Carolina players, he will perform like a professional in the NBA. Solid contributions. No disruptions. Every team needs that.

Free agency is another matter. The Lakers have $62 million of room under the league salary cap. The Clippers have about $8 million of wiggle room.

Rams: A few weeks ago, I was taken aback by an NFL columnist suggesting defensive lineman Aaron Donald was one of the top five players in the game. Since then, the hype has grown. J.J. Watt gets all the commercials in Houston, but Donald, some think, might be even better.

This team likely will miss the playoffs with a rookie at quarterback, but if you live in LA, you might want a Rams jersey simply due to Donald or running back Todd Gurley III.

Dodgers: The six-game winning streak turned out to be a fraud. They went on a road trip to play slumping Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. In the process, they are 2-4 with one more game later today, a full six games behind the Giants. In addition, three more players might be injured and they called up a guy who pitched in Single A earlier this year to start last night’s game.

There’s no getting around it. This team is suffering from the neglect of its front office. Injuries do play a part of the game, yes. But if you sign pitchers with a profound history of getting injured, why are you surprised when they get injured? That’s just logic.

If you let a man with one game of managerial experience lead the team, why are you surprised when the team plays poorly for long stretches of time? That’s just logic.

Make no mistake about it. This team is a whisker away from giving up and the season isn’t halfway over yet.

When injuries pile up, don’t forget it was Andrew Friedman who let this team go to seed over the last offseason, paving the way for this mess.

Galaxy: Soccer, for the uninitiated, is a funny sport. Other sports, you play in a league for a title and that’s that. The offseason starts. Where are the groupies?

In this sport, however, you not only play for a league title, but join these quirky side tournaments.

So the Galaxy last night beat the defending MLS champion Portland Timbers 1-0. Only it wasn’t an MLS game. It was an early round game in the U.S. Open Cup. I’ll leave you to determine if that makes your day better.

Kings: They didn’t even have a pick in the first round of the NHL draft. I’m not going to lie and claim I know anything about players taken after the first round.

The week in L.A. sports (6/16/16-6/22/16)

I post this every Thursday. It’s not Thursday in LA. Kinda don’t care about that. It’s Thursday here…

Dodgers: Here’s the problem with LA’s current winning streak, which stands at six games. The Giants have maintained a lead of six games as I type. Only one Dodgers team has ever rallied from more than seven games back to reach the playoffs. The team remains on life support and we still haven’t hit the halfway point of the season.

The Dodgers are so boring that while playing the Washington Nationals, broadcaster Vin Scully is talking at length about Jayson Werth being 37 years old. And that is a shame, because Werth is desperately trying to look like a hipster looking for Portland Timbers soccer tickets to scalp. Seriously, playa, the world has enough unemployed slackers disguised as garden gnomes.

Here’s a subtle indication of how idiotic the Dodgers’ “smartest front office in baseball” has been. The Dodgers traded one of their top pitching prospects, Zach Lee, to Seattle. For a shortstop. You think that scrub is going to replace Corey Seager, who hit his 16th home run of the season an hour ago? Good going, “smart guys.”

Lakers and Clippers: Reports circulated on major sports news outlets — reputable ones — that the 76ers will take Ben Simmons with the first pick of tonight’s NBA draft. Those reports were followed with the Lakers having allegedly decided on forward Brandon Ingram of Duke. Not that I’m a genius because I’ve told you that for a month or so. The internet loves a good conspiracy theory. Part of my life’s mission is to wipe that flotsam away.

As for who the Clippers will take? Who cares? Their lineup is set. The guess here is for an outside shooter to eventually replace the aging J.J. Reddick.

Kings: It’s been an awkward week, to say the least. On the plus side, Drew Doughty earned his first Norris Trophy, which goes to the best defenseman in the league. The minus side was everything else. The Venezuelan soccer team has a brighter future when it returns home.

The team has a new captain in Anze Kopitar, which is nice except that former captain Dustin Brown is still on the roster. Kopitar has played here too long to pretend he can’t understand English, while on his OK Cupid profile, Brown lists “likes to hit people for no reason” under hobbies.

Even worse, Milan Lucic, the big trade acquisition from last offseason, is likely to leave the team as an unrestricted free agent. It’ll hurt. Lucic can do a lot of things well, but the Kings only had about $7 million of salary cap space and had to sign five players for the roster.

Galaxy: The team has played twice since last week’s blog post and has yet to score. 

Come to think of it, I’m looking back over the teams I’ve written about so far tonight and if I could put a layer of frosting on this failure cake, it would spell out “All My Favorite Teams Stink.”

Rams: Somebody posted a meme tonight on Facebook that read “Less than two months until football season!”

Screw you, dude. Preseason football is even more unwatchable than the WNBA.

Other than that, the Rams literally had no news in the last week. See you Friday! 🙂

This week in Los Angeles sports (5/12/16-5/19/16)

There are blogs that are far more dedicated to the Dodgers, Lakers, Kings, etc. But those are run by fans who won’t put their beer bong full of estrogen to the side so they can level with you. I’m a fan of those teams, too, but I will level with you. Maybe even have some fun at our own expense. Maybe even bring out some concepts you haven’t considered.

For the uninitiated, covering sports is my wheelhouse. Perhaps for a #tbt, instead of ruining the Internet with my face, I’ll post some old press passes. Ooooh, hat boy sat on press row at Staples Center! Pinch me!

Anyway, here goes, in order of most newsworthy to least, with one caveat. I know nothing about the WNBA inner workings other than it was a bad idea. I don’t cover the Sparks.

Lakers: The purple and gold darlings of the city are heading toward the light, presumably at the end of the tunnel instead of falling into the abyss of a hellish afterlife. They managed to secure the No.2 overall pick for the upcoming NBA draft in June. The top two players from college are presumably can’t-miss, but at one point, so was Ryan Leaf for the San Diego Chargers.

Actually, I think the pick — and some fans really think that’s a problem — is a great problem to have. I go to bed at night dreaming of having that problem. Sorry, James, but Blake Lively isn’t interested in you. Would you like to hook up with Selena Gomez?

As a matter of fact, God, yes, I would.

The bigger conundrum facing the Lakers has nothing to do with the draft. We still don’t know what type of a coach Luke Walton will be. He’s still helping coach the Golden State Warriors. Will he utilize their offense? The triangle offense of his former coach, Phil Jackson?

For that matter, with the retirement of Kobe Bryant the glamour franchise of the NBA has $60 million in salary cap room. That gets you past a lot of velvet ropes and poppin’ bottles. But where does that money go?

They still don’t have a center. Detroit has the chance to match any offer the best center available, Andre Drummond, gets. Miami is flooding Hasan Whiteside’s place with all the bikini babes Pitbull can find to keep him. That leaves Al Horford of Atlanta and — I apologize for bringing him up — Dwight Howard.

So yeah, the No.2 pick is good news. Stop overanalyzing it.

Kings: The bullies on skates re-signed coach Darryl Sutter and his many nuanced dour expressions to a new contract. I understand it. I actually like the guy.

I’m just not sure it’s a good idea. Here’s why:

Coaches wear out their welcome in the locker room. You can only play certain roles so many times before the players reflexively tune you out. Don’t blame the players for it. We do that in the workplace, too.

Pat Riley of the Showtime-era Lakers knew he had to leave Los Angeles not because he forgot how to coach. Of course, he could coach. But in a playoff series against Houston in his final year, he was trying to motivate his players and they didn’t even look at him.

It was nothing personal and he knew it. They had simply heard it all before.

Sutter has been said to have a personality that wears people out. He’s been in Los Angeles for five years. Yes, the two Stanley Cups are an achievement.

I don’t see them achieving that again. I could be wrong.

Dodgers: The so-called smartest front office in the history of sports itself continues to genuflect at the altar of Our Lady of Blessed Mediocrity. They are 2 1/2 games behind the Giants in a weakened National League West, a division that was weakened by the Dodgers own doing, I might add.

They are currently in a stretch of 10 games against teams currently in last place in their respective divisions. LA started that run — when it should be killing teams — at 1-2.

Look, it’s not that analytics aren’t useful, but the problem I see with this alleged brain trust is that they are focused entirely on the process that they haven’t noticed the results on the field, which is a .500 team.

Analytics masterminds prefer to hire inexperienced managers, who are so happy to be pulling a paycheck they’ll alter their strategy to whatever the spreadsheet mandates. So new manager Dave Roberts sits at 21-20. He replaced Don Mattingly, who turned perennial doormat Miami into a slightly better 21-19.

The other thing about analytics? It’s predicated on value, doing more with less. The Dodgers have surely embraced less. They cut their payroll by more than $50 million.

So, smart guys, where’s the “more with” part?

Rams: Uh, they started selling season tickets, which is nice. Those tickets get you into a stadium in South Central, which is not nice.

God help you if ESPN insists on night games being scheduled there.

Also, some fans are submitting redesigned uniforms for the franchise to consider. Yo, playa. On behalf of my rolling eyeballs, stop. Just because you can print Tupac’s image on a T-shirt doesn’t give you artistic license to stencil Todd Gurley’s name in Old English font on the back of a jersey.

Clippers: No truth to the rumor that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are splitting the medical bills.

Galaxy: The team hasn’t taken the pitch in a little more than a week. I hate that. I like watching the world’s game. What I can tell you is that forward Giovani Dos Santos has turned down a request to play for the Mexican national team for the upcoming Copa America tournament. I have no idea why. I have no jokes about it, but the dude is in his mid-20s and has the talent to make an international impact. Disrespecting coaches is no way to secure playing in the World Cup.