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How the Lakers won free agency
Time will tell if the Lakers are able to win an 18th championship this season but they already won this offseason and free agency.
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1. How the Lakers won free agency
Time will tell if the Lakers are able to win an 18th championship this season but they already won this offseason and free agency, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Mark Medina.
Well before NBA free agency began, the Lakers already outlined their priorities.
They wanted to retain most of their key rotation players. They wanted to enhance their backcourt depth. They wanted to add another backup center.
It’s one thing for the Lakers to outline their vision ahead of time. All 30 NBA teams spend the entire year managing their salary cap, evaluating their current roster and brainstorming future possibilities.
It’s quite another thing, however, to execute that plan in real time. Sometimes, a team’s own free agents receive other offers that become too lucrative to pass up. Sometimes, the other teams’ free agents accept another deal before they can even make their pitch. Sometimes, blockbuster trades happen that create a ripple effect across the league.
Even with those dynamics in play, the Lakers still reached all of their goals through the first two days of free agency.
2. Christen Press’ influence reaches beyond soccer
Angel City’s Christen Press is uplifting women's soccer in the business world as well, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Kamran Nia.
Growing up, Christen Press believed her value was attached to her play on the soccer field. And that put tremendous pressure on her. Standards for women’s soccer were far from where they are today, and there was no professional league. She did not know that value for a women's soccer player could involve their off-the-field success.
“Growing up, I felt this pressure to be successful,” said Press during a panel on Thursday. “I was raised in an environment where I believed that my worth was tied to the performance, and that was an incredibly difficult environment.”
However, as women’s soccer evolved, so did Press’ understanding of the game. Fast forward to 2015, Press was playing in the NWSL for the Chicago Red Stars and represented the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) on the biggest stage, the World Cup.
Then, Press and the United States won the 2015 World Cup, and the NWSL clubs chose to continue to their fourth year, the first time a women’s soccer league in the United States made it past the third year. The popularity surrounding the sport was rising, sparking a push for increased standards.
3. Sporting Tribune MLB Mock Draft 1.0
The Sporting Tribune's Taylor Blake Ward releases his first MLB Mock Draft as we are just over a week away from the first selection of the 2023 MLB Draft.
As we are just over a week away from the first selection of the 2023 MLB Draft, Taylor Blake Ward of The Sporting Tribune has put together his first MLB Mock Draft for the year. Team executives, decision makers, and crosscheckers flew in across the country last week and over the weekend to their respective club locations or draft meeting settings to finalize their big boards and systematically map out of a gameplan for the draft in their own personal favor following the College World Series and MLB Draft Combine where they finalized their collection of data and concluded some in-person interviews.
There is a consensus top five talents in this draft, with the often consensus top position player and top pitcher going 1-2 in some order between LSU's Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes. The remaining three of the five have all been mentioned with the top two picks and further with some questions about one of them falling a few picks out of the top five selections. After that, Wake Forest's Rhett Lowder and Virginia's Kyle Teel are in an odd second tier that's not distant from the top five or the next tier of about 12-15 players which could go anywhere from picks 6-20 with the eventual surprise one or two that fall into the 20-25 range.
4. Strickland makes case for title shot at UFC Fight Night
Sean Strickland defeated Abus Magomedov in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Strickland vs. Magomedov at UFC Apex on Saturday, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Paul Delos Santos.
Sean Strickland made his latest case to be considered both a top-5 fighter and a middleweight title contender, after defeating Abus Magomedov at 4:20 of the second round in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Strickland vs. Magomedov at UFC Apex on Saturday.
“We know Izzy is on [expleitive] repeat. They tried to bring a boost,” he said. "Every time they try to bring new blood ... I sent them back. Give me the [expletive] title. I deserve it."
After a slow first round, which included an extended timeout due to an eye poke, Strickland turned it up i, taking advantage of a visibly tired Magomedov. Stricklnad strung together multiple punching combinations, eventually finishing Magomedov via TKO at 4:20 of the second round.
“He wanted to go home,” Strickland said. "He quit, man. Again, I don't want to throw shade at him. He's a solid guy. He's a nice guy. I'm ready to die. I'll die in here. If you don't have that mindset, don't fight me.”
5. Gudas, Killorn bring snarl and skill to Anaheim
The Anaheim Ducks improved in free agency after the additions of Alex Killorn and Radko Gudas, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Felix Sicard.
The Anaheim Ducks have signed Alex Killorn and Radko Gudas on the first day of unrestricted free agency to four-year, $6.25 million annual average value ("AAV"), and three-years, $4 million AAV contracts, respectively. Both signings represent a further shift away from Anaheim's rebuild, and an added emphasis on the immediate future.
General manager Pat Verbeek just witnessed 82 games of his club playing some of the worst hockey in NHL history. He has a young core in Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale, and Troy Terry that is about to get far more expensive.
As bad as Anaheim's season was -- netting them the second overall pick that turned into Leo Carlsson -- the time for full-on rebuilding has effectively passed due to the roster's changing financial structure. If there was any doubt about that, Verbeek swiftly vaporized it by signing two aging veterans to term-laden deals. Both contracts carry risk to the players' respective ages, and how they pan out will have an outsized impact on Anaheim's fortunes in the coming years.
6. Aces rout Sun in battle between WNBA’s top teams
The Aces (15-1) won their eighth straight game and improved to 9-0 at home with Saturday's 102-84 victory over the Connecticut Sun, writes The Sporting Tribune’s W.G. Ramirez.
Who got next?
Right now, it's the Las Vegas Aces' world and 11 other teams in the WNBA are simply trying to keep up.
The Aces (15-1) won their eighth straight game and improved to 9-0 at home with Saturday's 102-84 victory over the Connecticut Sun.
It was the third meeting between last year's WNBA finalists after the teams split a pair of games in Connecticut (12-5) earlier this season.
All five starters finished in double digits for Las Vegas, led by Kelsey Plum, who finished with 25 points just a couple of hours after being named a reserve to the WNBA All-Star game.
Reigning league MVP and third-time All-Star captain A'ja Wilson had 23 points and 13 rebounds while Candace Parker had 15. Jackie Young and Chelsea Gray each scored 11.
7. Odds and Ends presented by Circa Sports
Here are some odds at Circa Sports if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
8. Ticket Time presented by TickPick
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game today.
6:30 p.m. – Pirates at Dodgers – $37
6:30 p.m. – Angels at Padres – $91
9. On the Air presented by The D Las Vegas
Here are the game times and television channels for professional teams in the region today.
6:30 p.m. – Pirates at Dodgers – SportsNet LA
6:30 p.m. – Angels at Padres – FS1, Bally Sports SoCal
10. The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune
The Sporting Tribune’s Arash Markazi is joined by Brandon Deutsch and Armani Buckets to talk about Russell Westbook and where he will end up this summer. Does he stay in Los Angeles and return to a Clippers team that embraced him and or does he chase one last payday somewhere else?
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune on The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio in Southern California, 98.5 The Bet in Las Vegas and the Hawaii Sports Radio Network 95.1 FM and 760 AM in Hawaii. You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
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That’s it for today. Talk to you tomorrow!