Nor is it likely to end well for a lot of Lakers, some of whom could be New Orleans-bound in a trade for Anthony Davis … or cut for salary cap space, like the eight of them who are on one-year deals, to bring in more free agents like Klay Thompson … or unemployed like Coach Luke Walton if Magic Johnson holds him responsible for any shortfall.,I don’t see a second-round loss going over well with Johnson, not after he read Walton the riot act seven games into the season, then, in as close as he felt like coming to reassuring everyone publicly, said Luke would, “finish this season unless something drastic happens, which it won’t.”,It’s still emerging with last week’s report by ESPN’s uber-connected Adrian Wojnarowski that Magic has wanted a new coach since he took over, but has yet to convince Jeanie Buss, who is “fiercely loyal” to Walton.,Despite his cachet, James hasn’t been a behind-the-scenes schemer … aside from all his player recruiting … although Riley, whom LeBron left high and dry, late revealed that LeBron hinted that he would like him to fire Coach Erik Spoelstra during LeBron’s first season in Miami without coming out and actually asking him to do it.,A recent report from ESPN’s uber-connected Adrian Wojnarowski indicated that Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson has wanted a new coach since he took over in February of 2017, but has yet to convince team owner Jeanie Buss, who is “fiercely loyal” to Luke Walton, left.

As Saints coach Sean Payton rode an imaginary dirt bike around an overjoyed locker room, team executives surely toasted the gridiron accomplishments nearby.,These 36 games fully reveal glaring problems for the current state of this team and perhaps the future of the franchise.,When an injury to Payton — who was traded for a second-round pick last year and signed for just $3 million this summer — leaves a gaping, unfillable hole in the team’s rotation, it’s a sign of deeper problems.,And, every day the team fails to gain its footing, the louder the conversation gets surrounding Davis’ future.,While the Pelicans can offer Davis more money than any other suitor, the All-NBA stalwart publicly stated he’s more concerned with legacy than money, an obvious signal to the Pelicans he’s not returning unless he believes it can net him the kind of team success he needs to reach NBA legend status.

Have the USC and UCLA football and basketball teams ever been collectively worse?The Sparks won the citys most recent title in 2016, but that coach is gone.,Yasiel Puig needed to be traded, but he also deserves a nice farewell, and heres hoping he hears it on his first game back with the Cincinnati Reds.For USC football, gritNow that Clay Helton has kept his job and addressed his offense with the hiring of noted passing guru Kliff Kingsbury, there is a bigger hurdle to clear, one that can only come from within.Its time for the program to get tough again.That attitude must start with Helton, who, even in these turbulent times, has remained the Nicest Man on the Planet.,The infamously dour coach often acted like a grump, and sometimes it seemed like his players werent having much fun.Kelly doesnt seem interested in selling the city on UCLA football beyond coaching its team, and thats too bad.,Theyre good enough, if only they can stay upright for long enough.For UCLA basketball, coachingMaybe Steve Alford can turn this surprising mess of an early season into a Sweet 16 appearance like hes done before with far less talented teams.But if he cant, heres guessing Bruin athletic officials, who showed their deep pockets with Chip Kelly, are going to pay for somebody who can.UCLA guard Kris Wilkes (13) drives to the basket against USC guard Shaqquan Aaron on March 3.,For LAFC, repeatThis towns newest sports franchise did everything right in its first year, including opening a sparkling new stadium and building a passionate new fan base.They need to just keep doing it, and maybe this time, throw in a playoff win?For the Galaxy, Zlatan IbrahimovicThats more than enough, thank you.For this column, an endingHappy holidays!

After a weeklong exchange of flattery and pleasantries through the media, LeBron James reportedly had dinner with New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis after the Lakers 112-104 victory on Friday night at Staples Center.,Some believe James secretly runs Klutch Sports Group behind the scenes, leading to speculation that the Lakers superstar could guide Davis to Los Angeles either via trade or in free agency in two years.,Shortly after those comments, James reportedly exited Staples Center and met Davis for dinner in Los Angeles.,That reported dinner between friends only threw fuel on the fire, leading fans to believe that Davis and James were meeting to discuss a coup d'état that would eventually land "The Brow" in Tinseltown.,Unlike the soon-to-be retiring Wade, and the soon-to-be free agent Anthony, Davis is in control of his own destiny and could force a move to Los Angeles either now or in two years.

That was the dumbest move that the Dodgers have made since dumping Roberto Clemente.Jonathan GoldsteinLa JollaHow low can the Bruins go?I have an idea for future sponsors for the UCLA basketball team.,I suggest Charmin or Pillsbury because their team is as soft as toilet paper and the Pillsbury Dough Boy.Richard KatzLos Angeles::While watching a UCLA basketball team full of elite talent lose at home to Belmont last Saturday, it occurred to me that elite coaches have a special quality that is lacking in Steve Alford.,Neither Alford nor Guererro seems to have the resources to wake up the team.Pauley was empty against a unknown Belmont team that stole a win with the back door wide open.,Knowing how much I learn in a two-hour Walton basketball broadcast, I can only image the breadth of knowledge that will come from a four-hour Academy Awards show.Jeff BlackLos AngelesOld schoolFor anyone who is student of the game, it is useful to recall that when the Dodgers swept the Yankees in the World Series of 1963, they used the exact same lineup each and every game.,But no worries, because irrespective of what they decide, two-thirds of the L.A. fan base will never be able to see the results.Bill WaxmanSimi ValleyFine whinesOne "fan" would not have a parade for the Chargers in Los Angeles if they won the Super Bowl.Others heap scorn and abuse on a Dodgers team that has made the World Series two years in a row.I've been following sports since the Dodgers were in Brooklyn, and I can't recall a bigger bunch of spoiled brats and whiners than some of those who appear on your letters page each week.Steve MehlmanBeaumontTrojan troubleIt seems that Lynn Swann is urgently trying to justify his retention of Clay Helton by doing some recruiting.

What was once mere speculation is now a folk movement as the schedule – aka the Pelican Death March – winds through Boston, where Celtic fans see Davis as their next Bill Russell … to Milwaukee, where the Pelicans took another loss and AD got another pitch … to Staples Center, where Lakerdom, starting with LeBron James, sees him as next in their line of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal.,Actually, Davis, who played through illness in Milwaukee, declined to talk to the press … perhaps further upset at the latest furor after James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin that trading for AD “would be amazing.,Wherever the Pelicans go, they’re obliged to rally around Davis with Coach Alvin Gentry proclaiming he’s theirs and will stay that way, and AD agreeing … up to a point.,LeBron’s comments about trading for Davis burned up the NBA last week with small markets worried their stars may be looted next.,NBA team officials seem reconciled to Davis joining the Lakers, but worry he’ll demand a short-term deal – as Bron did in Cleveland and Miami – signaling stars’ intentions to exert even more power.

James had 22 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds, and the Lakers beat the New Orleans Pelicans 112-104 on Friday night.,Davis had 30 points and 20 rebounds for the Pelicans, who lost their third straight game.,New Orleans shot 32.6 percent in the second half, leaving Gentry more concerned about his fifth loss in seven games than whether or not James tampered with Davis.,NOT TALKING

Davis took the opposite tact by brushing off James' comments after posting the second game in the NBA this season with at least 30 points, 20 rebounds and five assists.,Lakers: Zubac got the start with JaVale McGee missing his third straight game because of illness and scored eight of the Lakers' first 16 points. read more

NBA players, no matter how young, see such things coming.,The only 20-point, 10-rebound guys in the league right now are Giannis Antetokounmpo, Russell Westbrook, Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis, Randle’s teammate and the subject of league-wide desire.,Of course, Lakers fans have postulated that every great player on every other team was destined to become a Laker eventually: Hakeem Olajuwon, Ralph Sampson, Tim Duncan, Dominique Wilkins, etc.,The Pelicans feel this is clearly different because Rich Paul, James’ agent, has added Davis to his cast.,Randle and his young Laker mates were trying to figure out themselves, figure out the league, and get inured to the inevitable losing over the past three years.

"In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality," James said during the episode.,Several small-market general managers were upset the NBA did not intervene after James started openly recruiting New Orleans Pelicans' forward Anthony Davis, according to a report.,The general managers want the league to enforce its tampering rules against James, ESPN.com reported.,ESPN noted that the NBA's bylaws prevent a player from directly or indirectly persuading a player to join another NBA team.,James has been clamouring for another big-name player to join the Lakers and expressed a desire to play with Carmelo Anthony, who is still technically on the Rockets.

"In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality," James said during the episode.,Several small-market general managers were upset the NBA did not intervene after James started openly recruiting New Orleans Pelicans' forward Anthony Davis, according to a report.,The general managers want the league to enforce its tampering rules against James, ESPN.com reported.,ESPN noted that the NBA's bylaws prevent a player from directly or indirectly persuading a player to join another NBA team.,James has been clamouring for another big-name player to join the Lakers and expressed a desire to play with Carmelo Anthony, who is still technically on the Rockets.