The Sports Report: Inside the Lakers’ coaching search
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
From Dan Woike and Broderick Turner: In the grand scheme of the Lakers’ offseason, letting go of the coach was the easy part. Finding someone who can better lead them than Frank Vogel, who won an NBA championship two seasons ago, won’t be easy.
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The ruins of the Lakers’ season still fresh in his memory, Rob Pelinka laid out the plan for this search amid controversy in how the team handled Vogel’s firing, the news leaking on social media moments after the final game of the season.
“We just felt like it was time for a new voice,” Pelinka said. “And that’s not to say anything against the incredible accomplishments that Frank Vogel’s had. He was a great coach here and he’s going to go on to be a great coach somewhere else. We just felt like it was time for a new leader.”
Now the Lakers are back in an all-too-familiar position, facing a massive decision surrounded by other enormous questions. Three years ago they were hiring a coach in the wake of Magic Johnson’s surprise resignation as team president of basketball operations. Now they’re fighting an image problem around the NBA and a leveraged future with LeBron James, the ultimate win-now player, getting older and, seemingly, more susceptible to injuries.
“There’s just so much optimism thinking about where we are as a franchise right now,” Pelinka said on May 20, 2019. The Lakers had just hired Vogel after a dramatic coaching search and no one could share that optimism.
Today, the Lakers face the same challenges as they try to find some goodwill after a 49-loss season and Vogel’s embarrassing exit.
Those in the league with knowledge of the situation expect Toronto’s Nick Nurse, Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers and Utah’s Quin Snyder to be candidates should they become available. Former Portland coach Terry Stotts, former Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks, former Lakers coach Mike Brown and Utah assistant Alex Jensen also might be considered. Same for Juwan Howard, who interviewed in 2019, although sources told The Times that his intention is to continue coaching Michigan, where two of his sons play.
“Is the Lakers’ job that attractive?” one coaching agent asked, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive subject. “I’m not so sure it is. But someone will take the job.”
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From Jack Harris: There was a bloop single. Two walks. Three doubles. Six total hits. And a carousel around the bases.
By the time the fourth inning was over Sunday, the game effectively was too, the Dodgers riding a seven-run outburst against Cincinnati Reds starter Tyler Mahle to a 9-1 win at Dodger Stadium.
The victory was the sixth in a row for the Dodgers (7-2), who completed their second consecutive series sweep by following a familiar formula: They got good pitching, with starter Andrew Heaney striking out 11 over six scoreless innings; and their lineup came alive for one big frame, sending 11 batters to the plate during a relentless fourth.
Hernández: Trevor Bauer’s impasse with MLB creates a continuous nightmare for Dodgers
Mike Trout left the Angels’ 8-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Sunday after being hit in his left hand by a pitch, but the team said X-rays were negative and the three-time AL MVP is day to day.
Trout was struck by a 1-1 slider from Rangers right-hander Spencer Patton leading off the fifth inning. He said he had difficultly picking up the 81-mph pitch in the shadows on a day when Globe Life Field’s roof was open, and he lowered his hands to protect his midsection.
“Like a normal day, I probably just turn like this (turning his left shoulder in) and just get hit,” Trout said.
Trout jumped around and shook the hand in pain. He initially walked toward the visitors dugout, then marched about halfway down the first-base line, where he was met by trainer Mike Frostad and manager Joe Maddon. Frostad checked to see if Trout could squeeze the hand, then walked him off the field and back to the clubhouse.
From Jeff Miller: He re-emerged here, on a small set of metal bleachers, next to an empty practice field, 2,500 miles from SoFi Stadium.
On a windy and warm spring afternoon, Donald Parham Jr. sat alone with a visitor sent to chronicle his comeback.
Nearly four months had passed since Parham disappeared from view under much brighter lights. A national television audience and sellout crowd watched as he was strapped to a stretcher and rolled out of the most frightening scene of the 2021 NFL season.
The Chargers tight end remembers all of it: the touchdown pass slipping from his grip, his head snapping back onto the turf, his body stiffening and ignoring the pleas to move even as the tremors shook his otherwise rigid arms.
“I was just thinking about if I’ll ever play again,” Parham said. “Really thinking about everything else I still wanted to do. It was a life-flashing-before-your-eyes kind of thing. Was it all going to be taken away from me in that instant?”
Watching the game from the family home in Lakeland, Fla., Felicia Parham said she and her husband, Donald Sr., were pulled from their seats and found themselves pacing. And praying. Mostly praying.
On their TV came a close-up of their son’s face. His eyes were shut, and he wore no discernible expression.
Just moments earlier, Felicia said, she had been bouncing on the couch, shouting at the TV and rooting on her firstborn — just as always — much to the concern of the family’s anxious, barking Pomeranian, Cash.
“All of a sudden,” Felicia said, “everything went on pause.”
Ismael Tajouri’s goal proved to be pivotal as LAFC picked up a 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.
Tajouri’s goal put LAFC (5-1-1) on top for good at 2-1 in the 70th minute. Diego Palacios got an assist on the goal.
Christian Arango and Jose Cifuentes also scored for LAFC.
Troy Terry scored twice, Trevor Zegras had a goal and an assist, and the Ducks defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-4 on Sunday night.
Gerry Mayhew, Cam Fowler and Derek Grant also scored and John Gibson made 29 saves for the Ducks, who earned a point for the third straight games.
Jake Bean scored twice for the Blue Jackets, while Sean Kuraly and Cole Sillinger each had a goal. Columbus, though, has lost the first two on their three-game California trip. Jean-Francois Berube made 26 saves.
A minute into the third, Anaheim broke a 3-all tie when Zegras finished off a two-on-one from Grant, getting his 57th point to tie Bobby Ryan (2008-09) for points by a Ducks rookie.
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1908 — Tommy Burns knocks out Joseph Smith in the fifth round in Paris to retain the world heavyweight title.
1959 — The Montreal Canadiens win their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup with a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fifth game.
1962 — Boston’s Bill Russell scores 30 points and grabs 40 rebounds to lead the Celtics to a 110-107 overtime win over the Lakers and their fourth consecutive NBA title. Russell’s 40-rebound effort matches his NBA Finals record set on March 29, 1960.
1966 — Bill Russell is named the coach of the Boston Celtics to become the first African American head coach of an NBA team.
1967 — Rick Barry scores 55 points as the San Francisco Warriors beat Philadelphia, 130-124, in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
1986 — Washington ends the game on a 18-0 run in the last 3 minutes, 49 seconds and wins it on a banked Dudley Bradley 3-pointer at the horn. The 76ers had a seemingly safe 94-77 lead, but do not score in the 3:39 in the opening game of the first-round of the NBA playoffs.
1987 — Philadelphia’s Mike Schmidt hits his 500th home run with two out in the ninth to rally the Phillies to an 8-6 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium.
1988 — Ibrahim Hussein of Kenya battles past Juma Ikangaa of Tanzania in the final 100 yards to win the Boston Marathon by 1 second, the closest ever.
1991 — John Stockton breaks his own NBA single-season assist record as the Utah Jazz rout the Seattle SuperSonics 130-103. Stockton’s 11 assists give him 1,136 for the season, two more than the record he set last season.
1999 — Wayne Gretzky ends his NHL career at Madison Square Garden with an assist, setting up a second-period goal as his New York Rangers fall to Pittsburgh 2-1 in overtime. Before the game, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announces the league is retiring No. 99 in honor of “The Great One.”
2001 — A.C. Green plays in his 1,192th consecutive game, which remains the NBA record. His streak began on November 19, 1986.
2005 — Defending champion Catherine Ndereba of Kenya becomes the first woman to win a fourth Boston Marathon and Ethiopia’s Hailu Negussie wins the men’s race to break the Kenyan stranglehold on the world’s oldest annual marathon.
2007 — Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox faces the minimum 27 batters in a 6-0 no-hit victory over the Texas Rangers. Buehrle walks Sammy Sosa with one out in the fifth, then promptly picks him off first base.
2017 — The NCAA awards coveted men’s basketball tournament games and other events to North Carolina, effectively ending a boycott that helped force the state to repeal parts of a law that limited protections for LGBT people. The governing body announced decisions for events through 2022, two weeks after the NCAA said it had “reluctantly” agreed to consider North Carolina again for hosting duties.
Mike Schmidt hits his 500th home run. Watch and listen here.
Until next time...
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