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The Sports Report: Kawhi Leonard is not a clock watcher

Temple v San Diego State
Kawhi Leonard with San Diego State in 2011.
(Harry How / TNS)

Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell and my dogs still haven’t calmed down from all the fireworks. Except for the stuffed one. He came through it like a trouper.

Basketball

Everyone in the world is waiting for Kawhi Leonard to make a decision on who he will play for next season. Yes, everyone. There’s a 111-year-old woman in Kuala Lumpur who is hanging on just to find out. Even the Mars Pathfinder probe, dormant since 1997 or so, came to life and sent one transmission: “Where Kawhi?”

Yet, he still hasn’t decided. What could possibly be taking him so long? Well, why not ask the guy who recruited him to San Diego State? That’s what our Andrew Greif did, talking to Justin Hutson, who is not the head coach at Fresno State.

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“He’s going to make [his decision] on his own terms, his own time,” Hutson said. “He’s going to talk to the people important to him about it. He’s not going to be out leaking every little bit or have an announcement.

“It was a fun recruitment, but he didn’t talk a whole lot. It wasn’t hard having a conversation with him at all if you were one-on-one with him. He wasn’t going to waste words. I think there are people trying to see that now, that he does have a personality. He has a really good personality. He’s just not going to volunteer it.”

What do the oddsmakers say? Here’s the latest odds on which of the three remaining teams in the hunt will sign him:

Toronto, 4-5

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Lakers, 19-10

Clippers, 19-10

It will be a disappointing outcome for both local teams if Leonard signs with the Raptors. But the way their luck has run, I fully expect it to happen.

NFL

A very sad story in the NFL. Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Kendrick Norton, 22, had his left arm amputated and remains hospitalized after a car crash in the Miami area Thursday.

Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Alex Camacho told ESPN that the pickup truck driven by Norton crashed into a concrete barrier. Rescue crews extracted Norton, who had severe injuries to his left arm and was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, where he remains.

“With sadness, I can confirm that Kendrick Norton was in a car accident last night and suffered multiple injuries, including the amputation of his arm,” his agent Malki Kawa tweeted. “We ask that you continue to pray for him.”

“We were made aware this morning of a serious car accident involving Kendrick Norton,” the Dolphins said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Kendrick and his family during this time.”

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Women’s World Cup

Columnist Helene Elliott on the U.S. women’s team:

“Carli Lloyd has adapted to her role as a reserve forward on the incomparably deep U.S. women’s World Cup team, but that doesn’t mean she likes it.

“A starter for 13 years, the New Jersey native is too much a team player to put her concerns above the success the Americans have enjoyed while blasting through group play and clawing out three straight 2-1 wins to reach the final on Sunday against the Netherlands.

“Still, Lloyd’s hunger to make an impact hasn’t been softened by age — she will be 37 on July 16 — and she chose her words carefully the other day when discussing how her journey to her fourth World Cup appearance has been different compared to the years she played a prominent role and scored so many clutch goals on international stages.

“There’s a lot of things that are out of your control in life, and you can either look at it as a negative or you can look at it as a positive,” said Lloyd, who scored the gold medal-clinching goals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and recorded a hat trick to lead the U.S. past Japan in the 2015 World Cup final.

“I know that my ability and my work ethic and many things I bring to the team, the intangibles, I can be playing out there. There’s no doubt.

“But for whatever reason, the coaches have made that decision, and I come in and it’s my job to make something happen. These last three games I’ve come in and I’ve had 10 minutes and it’s my job to close out those games.”

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Schedule (PDT)

Saturday (third-place game)

Sweden vs. England, 8 a.m., Fox

Sunday (Final)

U.S. vs. Netherlands, 8 a.m., Fox

World Cup poll

After Tuesday’s victory, a lot of people on social media complained about Alex Morgan and her “cup of tea” celebration after her goal. And, to be fair, a lot of people thought it was great. There were also complaints after the U.S. defeated Thailand, 13-0, in their opening match that the U.S. women are being less-than-gracious this World Cup. What do you think. are the U.S. women arrogant, or just having fun? Click here to vote in our poll, or email me and let me know.

Your favorite sports moment

Something new to open up this newsletter and make it more reader interactive: What is your favorite all-time L.A. sports moment? Click here to tell me what it is and why, and I’ll start running them in future newsletters. And yes, if your favorite moment is about the Angels or Ducks or a team just outside of L.A., I’ll count that too. And the moment doesn’t have to have happened in L.A., just needs to involve an area team.

Our next one comes from Keith Veraldi of Eagle Rock:

“I have been fortunate to grow up in the 1960’s as a sports fan living in L.A. Many great pro and college teams, legendary columnists in the local newspapers, HOF announcers, historic venues. Plenty of championships as well as heartbreaks in fifty-five years. Thousands of remembered moments.

“But my absolute favorite was on Sept. 2, 2017. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC hosting Western Michigan in the season opener for both football teams. For a fourth quarter point-after attempt, the Trojans sent out blind long snapper Jake Olson. The WMU coaches and defensive players, knowing beforehand the incredible story of this young man and the chance he might be inserted into this game, chose not to “rush” the line upon the snap thus allowing this very special moment to occur.

“For me, the moment, as well as Jake’s story, his courage and heart are the essence of sports. And sportsmanship. I was privileged to bear witness.”

Odds and ends

Dodgers defeat Padres, 5-1…. Rangers defeat Angels, 9-3…. Return to home run derby ‘a no-brainer’ for Dodgers’ Joc Pederson…. Wimbledon: Lauren Davis upsets defending champ as several Americans advance…. City Section all-star team heads to Chicago to represent Los Angeles…. Lakers open NBA Las Vegas Summer League play Friday…. Clippers open Las Vegas Summer League play on Saturday…. Galaxy defeat Toronto, 2-0.

Other newsletters

We also have other newsletters you can subscribe to for free. They are emailed to you and we don’t sell your name to other companies, so no spam from us. They are:

Our Dodgers newsletter, written by me. Subscribe here.

Lakers newsletter, written by Tania Ganguli. Subscribe here.

Horse racing newsletter, written by John Cherwa. Subscribe here.

Soccer newsletter, written by Kevin Baxter. Subscribe here.

Today’s local sports schedule

San Diego at Dodgers, 7 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Angels at Houston, 5 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Born on this date

1923: Former USC football coach John McKay

1950: Baseball player Gary Matthews

1951: Baseball player Goose Gossage

1956: NFL player James Lofton

1969: NHL player John LeClair

1979: Tennis player Amelie Mauresmo

Died on this date

1998: Football player Sid Luckman, 81

2002: Baseball player Ted Williams, 84

2010: NHL player Bob Probert, 44

And finally

Ted Williams is honored at the 1999 All-Star game. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email us here. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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