Howdy everyone, and welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Los Angeles Times daily sports newsletter. My name is Houston Mitchell and I’m your host for the festivities. Subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here.
Let’s get to it.
Just when I think I can go a day without leading this newsletter with the Lakers, they pull me back in.
The NBA is investigating the Lakers to see whether they tampered with Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons.
“The league office is looking into whether any contact took place between Ben Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers that violated NBA rules,” league spokesman Mike Bass told The Times.
Magic Johnson probably sparked the investigation when he said Sunday that Simmons had reached out to the Lakers on Sunday to request a meeting with him to talk basketball.
The Lakers released a statement Monday clarifying what Johnson said:
“To clarify, last November the 76ers sent an email to the Lakers asking if Ben Simmons would be able to speak with Magic Johnson about his Hall of Fame playing career. After receiving the email request from the 76ers, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka contacted 76ers general manager Elton Brand and informed him that Magic could only do so if the 76ers gave written pre-approval. That was the end of the matter.”
Brand also commented on Monday: “Pelinka called me and said that Ben wanted to talk to Hall of Famers after the season; Magic was on the list. He asked for authorization … I said no. This was over a month ago.”
Simmons also talked about it, saying, “Trying to learn from somebody like that would be huge. Getting to speak to him, he’s been in multiple situations where he had to play the five and won championships. Just a Hall of Famer. One of those guys, in terms of what position I’m in, a 6-10 point guard.”
It’s OK. If the Lakers somehow did get Simmons, they’d probably just include him in a trade for Anthony Davis.
Lou Williams scored 45 points but it wasn’t enough as the Clippers lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 130-120.
Helene Elliott takes a look at the state of the Ducks after the firing of coach Randy Carlyle. An excerpt:
In a season full of mistakes [GM Bob] Murray did one thing right: He kept his best prospects in San Diego of the American Hockey League, away from the sour atmosphere that hovers over the Ducks like the scent of a hundred stinky hockey gloves. Top talents Max Jones and Troy Terry might be promoted “if we can get them in a positive environment,” Murray said, but for now he’s likely to keep them in San Diego so they can sustain the success they’re having and, he hopes, bring expectations of winning to Anaheim next season.
There is a lot wrong with this roster. But as Murray said during a conference call with reporters on Sunday, he won’t have to take this down to the studs and launch a four- or five-year rebuild. Gibson, Jones, Terry, Sam Steel and Hampus Lindholm represent a solid core for the future, and Murray’s staff does an outstanding job at scouting and development. He is hamstrung by the long, lucrative contracts and no-move clauses he gave forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler, and he said he will ponder whether he will ask one or more of that 30-something trio to waive those no-move clauses should their names come up in trade discussions. “I have no fear of going and doing that myself,” Murray said.
The Kings ended their road trip with a 6-4 loss to the Washington Capitals
Pitchers and catchers report to spring training for the Angels today, and Maria Torres has four questions the Angels need to answer.
Phil Mickelson shot a seven-under 65 in the weather-delayed final round to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am by three shots over Paul Casey.
It was Mickelson’s fifth win in the tournament, tying the record set by Mark O'Meara.
Born on this date
1926: Baseball player/broadcaster Joe Garagiola
1934: NBA legend Bill Russell