Discover more from The Morning Column presented by The Sporting Tribune
Lakers, Nuggets favorites to win NBA championship
For the first time in nearly two years, the Lakers are favored to win the NBA championship, along with the Denver Nuggets after being 200-1 longshots this season.
Good morning and welcome to The Morning Column presented by The Sporting Tribune. Please subscribe if you haven’t done so already. It’s free and will be delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. OK, let’s get to it!
1. Lakers, Nuggets favorites to win NBA championship
For the first time in nearly two years, the Lakers are favored to win the NBA championship, along with the Denver Nuggets after being 200-1 longshots this season, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Arash Markazi.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets are now co-favorites to win the NBA championship, according to several sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
The Lakers moved up to the favorite position at 3/1 after the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Boston Celtics, 115-103, to take a 3-2 series lead with the potential to close-out their semifinal series in Philadelphia in Game 6. The Nuggets joined the Lakers as co-favorites at 3/1 when they defeated the Phoenix Suns, 118-102, to take a 3-2 series lead in their semifinal matchup.
Following the Lakers and Nuggets at 3/1, are the 76ers at 7/2, Celtics at 4/1, Miami Heat at 12/1, Phoenix Suns at 14/1, Golden State Warriors at 20/1 and New York Knicks at 150/1.
This is the first time in nearly two years that the Lakers have been the favorites to win the NBA championship.
Before this season started, the Lakers' odds of winning the championship were +2200. Their longest odds during the season were 200/1 in November when they started the season 2-10. The Nuggets, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, have been consistently one of the favorites to win the West and compete for a championship this season.
2. A’s to Vegas soap opera continues
The Athletics appear to be switching sites to a location on the Las Vegas Strip for their proposed $1.5 billion ballpark, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Steve Carp.
his A’s-to-Vegas move is turning into one heck of a soap opera.
Two weeks ago, it was the A’s agreeing to purchase 49 acres of land at the intersection of West Tropicana Avenue and Dean Martin Drive. This week, the team announced it was entering into an agreement to obtain nine acres of land where the current Tropicana Hotel and Casino sits on the Las Vegas Strip to build a ballpark.
What will next week bring? Land from the owners of the Rio for a buck? A 12th-hour sweetheart deal from the City of Henderson? Tune in and find out on “As the A’s Turn.”
It makes you wonder if team owner John Fisher and president David Kaval truly have their act together. They don’t have a deal with the Nevada legislature or Clark County to secure public funding in some form to help defray the $1.5 billion cost to build a ballpark with a retractable roof. They still haven’t applied to Major League Baseball for permission to move the twice-moved franchise from Oakland to Las Vegas. There’s no design for the stadium that has been shown publicly.
3. Lakers looking to close out Warriors in five games
The Lakers defeated the Warriors in Game 4, 104-101, and lead the series, 3-1. They will look to close out the series on Monday and advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2020, write The Sporting Tribune’s Rey Moralde.
The Los Angeles Lakers have a chance to knock out the defending champion Golden State Warriors and punch their ticket to the Western Conference Finals. That's kind of unbelievable, isn't it?
Well, closing out could be easy, according to one Laker legend Andrew Bynum. But the reality is that they're really not and we've seen teams blow 3-1 leads (even if they're not common at all) over the course of NBA (and sports) history. Heck, the Warriors have done it themselves when they came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016.
They were the defending champions then and they are the defending champions now. These Golden State Warriors aren't just going to lay down and bury themselves. They're going to be desperate and they are going to try throw haymakers as their backs are against the wall. And fortunately for G. State, they're going to be home for Game 5.
4. Robbie Lawler to retire following UFC 290; Dana White finalizes main card
Longtime UFC veteran Robbie Lawler is calling it a career, and Dana White completes UFC 290 main card, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Gabriel Ornelas.
Robbie Lawler is hanging up the four ounce gloves.
The former UFC welterweight champion will head into retirement following his fight with Niko Price at UFC 290 on July 8, UFC president Dana White announced on Wednesday via social media.
According to White, Lawler will enter the UFC Hall of Fame on Thursday July 7, along with Rory MacDonald, for their epic fight that took place at UFC 189 in 2015.
Lawler, 41, began his professional career in 2001 and joined the UFC in 2002. “Ruthless” left the UFC in 2004 and fought under the banners of Elite XC, where he earned middleweight gold, and Strikeforce before returning to the UFC in 2013.
5. The Ducks are picking second overall. What happens next?
The Anaheim Ducks had the best odds of winning the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and a chance to select Connor Bedard but ended up with the second pick. What happens now? The Sporting Tribune’s Derek Lee has you covered.
The NHL Draft Lottery was held today in Secaucus, NJ. The Ducks had the best odds to win the draft lottery after finishing 32nd overall in the standings thanks to a 13-game losing streak that closed out the season.
The team with the best odds to win had won the draft lottery the previous two years, with Montreal selecting Juraj Slafkovsky last year and Buffalo selecting Owen Power in 2021. However, fate would not fall in the Ducks’ favor as they dropped to second overall, with the Chicago Blackhawks winning the draft lottery.
Anaheim will be picking second overall for the third time in franchise history after selecting Bobby Ryan in 2005 and Oleg Tverdovsky in 1994.
6. Grading Chargers 2023 Draft Class
The Chargers drafted much better than what analysts believe. How much better? The Sporting Tribune’s Fernando Ramirez has you covered starting with their first-round pick, TCU wide receiver Dustin Johnston.
The staff felt it was time to start thinking about the future of the receiving group. Johnston is about 6'3 but has the speed the offense is looking for to burn the opposing defense. He called himself unique because there isn't a receiver in the league like him.
He is hungry to learn, so he wants Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to teach him how to grow professionally. Many young receivers in the past have raved about Allen's willingness to help them grow with his advice.
Johnston should make an impact when his number is called upon. He does bring a unique set of receiving skills. He only needs to work on his catching because he tends to body catch, which is why he drops passes, but it is fixable.
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 in the area if you’re thinking about going to a game today:
1:00 p.m. – Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels – $4
7:30 p.m. – Seattle Sounders at LA Galaxy – $9
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:
10:30 a.m. – Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers – SportsNet LA
1:00 p.m. – Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels – Bally Sports West
7:00 p.m. - Vegas Golden Knights at Edmonton Oilers - ESPN
7:00 p.m. – Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors – TNT
7:30 p.m. – Seattle Sounders at LA Galaxy – YouTube
10. The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune
The Sporting Tribune’s Arash Markazi is joined by Brandon Deutsch and Ji Hae Wiley to discuss the Lakers being one win away from advancing to the Western Conference Finals after beating the Golden State Warriors to take a 3-1 series lead and Lonnie Walker IV being an inspiration on and off the court as he put the team on his back and scored 15 points in the fourth quarter.
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.
Thank you for reading. Please click below to subscribe to The Morning Column presented by The Sporting Tribune. It’s totally free and will be delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.
That’s it for today. Talk to you tomorrow!