The world according to Jim:

• In a week, it will have been two years since that rollicking news conference at a rec center in South L.A., the day that newly acquired Kawhi Leonard and Paul George sat on a stage with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and then-coach Doc Rivers, in which the Lawrence O’Brien Trophy – the “Larry O’B,” as Ballmer memorably shrieked – was referenced as a tangible goal.

“We’re only here for one reason,” Ballmer said then. “We wanna win it all.”

Never assume, right? …

• The Clippers’ journey has not been a straight line since then. It took another severe detour this week with the announcement of Leonard’s surgery to repair a partially torn ACL, and the anticipation of a recovery timeline that could be anywhere from nine to 12 months. That, along with Leonard’s contract status – he has until Aug. 1 to exercise a $36 million player option for next season or decline it and become an unrestricted free agent – has further complicated what seemed a straightforward goal that day at Green Meadows Recreation Center. …

• Does Kawhi pick up the option and gamble that he’ll be back for the latter part of the ’21-22 season and able to show he can perform to the level that will get him a max contract next summer at age 31? Or does he decline the option, go the Kevin Durant route and sign a long-term contract with someone on the assumption (there’s that word again) that he’ll be as good as ever post-injury?

Kawhi being Kawhi, it’s all a guessing game until Aug. 1, and you think people in the Clippers’ front office might not be freaked out by the possibilities? Consider that his last acts on a basketball court in Game 4 against Utah before he got hurt – the hammer dunk over Derrick Favors, the block of Bojan Bogdanovic – were reminders of what he has been able to offer at his best. …

  Arizona Senate leaders issue new subpoenas for Maricopa County routers amid ongoing audit

• Incidentally, the NBA Board of Governors reportedly has voted to retain the play-in tournament at least through next season. Given what the league lucked into this past season, with LeBron vs. Steph (and their ratings potential) in the Western Conference play-in, this is a surprise? …

• Item: NCAA president Mark Emmert now talks of decentralizing and deregulating college sports.

Comment: The scam has now been fully revealed. Most of those who care realized long ago that the system was corrupt. And there will apparently be no antitrust exemption coming the NCAA’s way, so maybe it’s time for the organization to just fade into obscurity with a new, more sensible governing body taking its place. …

• Today’s spur of the moment poll: Who has been the most feckless and/or tone-deaf: Emmert, IOC president Thomas Bach or baseball commissioner Rob Manfred? …

• When is a quarantine not a quarantine? Bach was supposed to sequester in the posh five-star hotel in Tokyo typically preferred by the IOC pooh-bahs after he landed in Japan, …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

      

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