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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Stories by Larry Brown:

Julius Randle to decline option, become free agent

Julius Randle

Julius Randle will be looking to cash in after his best season in the league.

Randle plans to decline his $9 million player option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Randle signed a two-year, $17.7 million deal with the Pelicans last offseason but had such a good year he decided he can find a much more lucrative offer this summer.

The No. 7 overall pick in 2014, Randle averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game last season. He spent the first four seasons of his career with the Lakers.

Gary Woodland rides fearless approach on 14th hole to US Open victory

Gary Woodland

Gary Woodland took a fearless approach on the 14th hole in the final round of the US Open on Sunday to help extend his lead, setting the tone for a strong close en route to his first major.

Woodland was only leading by a shot over Brooks Koepka but was able to increase the lead to two with an improbable birdie on 14. For his second shot on the par-5 hole, Woodland used a 3-wood and launched his ball over the massive bunker in front of the green to set himself up for birdie. It was a huge risk as he could have gotten stuck in the bunker. Many conservative golfers would view laying up as the safe play, but Woodland went for glory instead.

By getting near the green in two, Woodland put himself in position to chip and putt for a birdie and was able to shave a stroke to move to -12, pushing his lead over Koepka back to two. The decision to go big on the hole and having it pay off helped him win the tournament, along with his big chip on 17.

This is Woodland’s first career major win.

Watch: Tyson Fury put on a defensive clinic against Tom Schwarz

Tyson Fury

Not only did Tyson Fury bust open Tom Schwarz’s nose, knock him down, and win via second-round TKO in their fight on Saturday night, but he showcased some next-level defense from a heavyweight.

Fury used his exceptional head movement to avoid about six straight punches from Schwarz. Take a look:

If you don’t get hit, you can’t get hurt.

Some fighters are defensive specialists and just avoid damage, but Fury also inflicted plenty. After his knockdown in the second, Schwarz’s corner was ready to stop the fight at the same time the referee stopped it.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights, including the knockdown that led to the stoppage:

Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs), is now targeting a fight later this year and rematch against Deontay Wilder some time next year.

Watch: Tyson Fury sings Aerosmith after TKO win

Tyson Fury sings

Tyson Fury showed off an array of talents on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Fury beat Tom Schwarz via second-round TKO in their heavyweight fight at the MGM Grand. Then after his fight, he grabbed the mic and proceeded to sing Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”

While this may seem out of the ordinary for many fans, it’s actually nothing new for Fury. He did the exact same thing after his win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.

Fury, 30, is now 28-0-1, with the draw coming in his previous fight against Deontay Wilder. He plans to fight on either Sept. 21 or Oct. 5 and then rematch Wilder next year.

Details of draft picks Lakers traded to Pelicans revealed

Rob Pelinka

Details of the draft picks the Los Angeles Lakers traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in the Anthony Davis deal have been revealed, and they are significant.

The Lakers agreed to trade three first-round draft picks to the Pelicans for Davis, not to mention Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. Beyond that, they also agreed to swap picks in one other drafts, meaning the Pelicans essentially control the Lakers’ first-round picks from 2021-2024.

Pelicans get:

– No. 4 pick in 2019
– 2021 first-round pick (top-8 protected). Becomes unprotected 2022 pick if it does not convey in 2021
– right to swap first-round picks in 2023 (so if Lakers have higher pick in draft, Pelicans can swap spots)
– 2024 unprotected first-round pick, with the option to defer unprotected pick to 2025

New Orleans gets the No. 4 overall pick this year. They didn’t want a pick from the Lakers next year because they figure the Lakers will be good as they will have both Davis and LeBron James. In 2021, the pick is top-8 protected, meaning if the Lakers land a pick within the top eight, they get to keep it, but the Pelicans would get the Lakers’ pick in 2022 regardless of where it falls should the pick not convey in 2021.

The real value for New Orleans comes from years 2023-2025. They are guaranteed to have the Lakers’ first-round pick in 2024, regardless of where it falls, but they can defer that pick to 2025. They will also have the option to swap first-round picks with the Lakers in 2023.

What all this means is if the Lakers fall on hard times again after LeBron James’ contract with them ends (potentially 2022), they won’t be able to rebuild through the draft easily because the Pelicans will reap the rewards of them stinking. That’s what happened to the Nets with the ill-fated Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade. Not only did Pierce and Garnett prove to be bad assets, but once they became bad, all their high draft picks were controlled by the Celtics, which made it hard for them to rebuild.

David Griffin knew exactly what he was doing and made sure to load up on draft picks for after James’ contract with the Lakers ran out. Maybe LaVar Ball’s prediction isn’t so silly after all.

LaVar Ball guarantees Lakers will never win another championship

LaVar Ball Lakers

LaVar Ball does not seem to be taking the trade of his son well at all.

LaVar was at the Drew League in Los Angeles to watching his youngest son, LaMelo, play on Saturday when news that his son was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans broke. Ball was visibly upset at the trade news.

Later in an interview, he told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk that the Lakers would regret the deal and never win a championship again.

“I guarantee… it will be the worst move the Lakers ever did in their life and they will never win another championship,” Ball said.

LaVar has long had a vision that all three of his sons would be playing on the Lakers together. That is crumbling one piece at a time. Son LiAngelo was never good enough to be an NBA player; the Lakers have traded Lonzo; and who knows what will happen with LaMelo.

LaVar has kept his big mouth mostly shut over the past several months. If he doesn’t like what he sees with the Pelicans, expect him to be vocal about it very quickly. He’s already made noise in the past that he preferred his son to be traded to Phoenix.

Yankees acquire Edwin Encarnacion in trade with Mariners

Edwin Encarnacion parrot

The New York Yankees have added another big bat to their roster.

The Yankees on Saturday evening acquired Edwin Encarnacion in a trade with the Seattle Mariners, as first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman says 19-year-old pitching prospect Juan Then may be included in the trade. He adds in some financial details of the move:

Encarnacion had been sidelined recently with a lower back issue, though that may have been the Mariners being extra cautious as they pursued trade options. The 36-year-old DH has slugged an AL-leading 21 home runs this season and recently surpassed the 400-home run mark for his career. He is batting .241/.356/.531 this season.

He will join a crowded DH market in New York. The Yankees have Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton out on rehab assignments getting closer to returns. They also added Kendrys Morales in a trade with Oakland, though he is on the injured list because of his calf. Plus Clint Frazier is also in the mix as an outfielder and DH option.

Seattle has been unloading players since their early hot start fizzled out. They’re 19 games out of first in the AL West and recently dealt Jay Bruce to Philly.

Magic Johnson congratulates Rob Pelinka on ‘great trade’

Magic Johnson

We have now officially entered a bizarro world for the Los Angeles Lakers.

A little over an hour after news broke that the Lakers reached agreement with the New Orleans Pelicans on a trade for Anthony Davis, Magic Johnson went on Twitter and sent his congratulations to Rob Pelinka on a “great trade.”

Johnson congratulating Pelinka is so bizarre on many levels.

First, this is Magic congratulating a guy he wanted to fire, which is so odd. Does that mean Magic thinks Pelinka went from being bad to good at his job in the span of two months?

Second, less than a month ago, Magic said Pelinka had betrayed him. And now he’s complimenting him like nothing happened. Again, supremely odd.

Third, Johnson resigned from the Lakers abruptly at the end of the season, seemingly because he had endured enough criticism over the team’s bad season and no longer wanted to be a part of it. By congratulating them now, it’s like he wants to be involved again now that things are going better.

Fourth, it almost seems like Magic is trying to claim some credit by getting his name involved in the trade. This is a deal the Lakers had been trying to make prior to last season’s trade deadline, but the Pelicans were an unwilling trade partner. Pelinka finally getting the deal done is like a completion of a move Magic had wanted to make, and it seems he wants that recognized.

There is never a shortage of drama when it comes to the Lakers and Magic Johnson.