first_imgBut the most coveted free agent in the Class of ’19 has done it the old fashioned way: Meeting with teams, listening to their pitches, taking his own sweet time to make sure he gets it right and even giving the incumbent, Toronto, one last opportunity to sway him. A decision could come any time, but I could see him actually waiting until Saturday, the day all of this stuff is supposed to become official, before making his decision.Most impressively, there have been no leaks throughout the process, unusual in an environment in which agents and executives more often resemble sieves. Keeping the details private seems to have been a test to determine which team or teams can be trusted, and that might have had its roots in the dispute with San Antonio Spurs management two years ago that led to Leonard being traded to Toronto.(Then again, there’s the Magic Exception. Leonard and his uncle/adviser Dennis Robertson met with Johnson on Sunday, and of course Magic blabbed the details. The fact he’s now merely a concerned observer rather than an executive, and the fact that he is, after all, Magic, might have earned him a pass.)Meanwhile, the wait has driven at least one fan base certifiably insane – and of course, it’s that of the Lakers, operating all along under the assumption that Kawhi would spurn the Clippers and Raptors and join LeBron James and Anthony Davis in purple and gold. Heck, they were thinking along those lines even when the team didn’t have a max salary slot to give. Portland star Damian Lillard (knee) to miss Game 5 vs. Lakers On Mamba Night, the Lakers make short work of Blazers to take 3-1 series lead Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and other NBA stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant That Lakers Exceptionalism/runaway enthusiasm certainly contributed to a number of false alarms posted on social media the past few days. My favorite fake Twitter report of a Kawhi signing with the Lakers came Sunday afternoon and was purportedly from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, right down to the head shot in his avatar.The giveaway? The imposter misspelled Wojnarowski’s name. (He spelled Kawhi correctly, so I guess we have to give him that.)The view here? Kawhi has earned the right to take his time. He has had three good options from which to choose – the champion Raptors, who could offer him the most money; a presumed Lakers superteam with James and Davis (but also a bunch of guys on minimum contracts); and a Clippers roster on which he would be a perfect fit and in all likelihood the missing piece.While Kawhi could wait and ponder with the knowledge the money would be there, the mad rush by others Sunday to lock down contracts ASAP suggests players were afraid cap space would disappear if they didn’t move urgently.Have we said the opening of free agency was a joke? Let’s expand upon that. The NBA needs to revise its business calendar, because the current model isn’t fooling anybody. Or are you OK with the idea that the Lakers made a huge, franchise-altering trade and can’t officially comment on it (beyond a nudge and a wink) for 21 days?Related Articles Kawhi Leonard is an old soul in a young man’s body. I am guessing he stops behind the crosswalk on red lights and never, ever, pulls the tag off of a pillow under penalty of law, even when he’s the consumer.He certainly has observed the rules when it comes to his first foray into free agency, maybe to a fault. And it has driven people in two cities crazy.All around Camp Leonard, there was chaos over the weekend. The 3 p.m. PDT opening of the negotiating window turned out to be a joke. Kevin Durant posted news of his contract agreement with Brooklyn on Instagram a couple of minutes after 3, and more than $1.7 billion in contracts had been negotiated in less than two hours according to the reports that broke one after another. By the end of the day Sunday the tally had surpassed $3 billion. Either those players and agents and teams are lightning-quick negotiators, or else a lot of groundwork had been laid before it was legal to do so.(Stay tuned. We’ll double back to that issue.)center_img Nobody observes the negotiating limits. That’s obvious. And the tampering rules, selectively enforced as they are, are laughable to the point of irrelevancy. Does it really solve anything, for example, to fine a coach simply for commenting on a player’s skills, as the NBA did to Doc Rivers? (Hint: Doc didn’t say anything on ESPN that he hasn’t said when we’ve asked him about Kawhi in pre- and postgame interviews. I guess the latter constitutes free speech.)If it’s going to be the Wild, Wild West, let’s go all the way. Rather than starting the league’s business year on July 1, start it the day after the NBA Finals end. By then, the cap number for the coming season should be established.Allow teams to make and announce deals – which, among other things, will get rid of the absurdity of a drafted player walking on stage in the cap of a team that got rid of him two trades ago. Allow the negotiation process with free agents to begin, legally and openly, that day after the Finals. If the idea is to maintain that “free agent frenzy” atmosphere, make June 30 the opening bell for official signings.And here’s an idea: Make the free agent signing period a week long. July 6 can forever be known as the Kawhi Leonard [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Video: What LeBron James said about Jacob Blake … ‘Black people in America are scared’ Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more


first_imgJOCKEY QUOTESTYLER BAZE, EPICAL, WINNER: “I gave him a breather around the first turn, he’s a special horse just want to thank Jim and Darren who let me come back and ride him, he is a very special horse, I knew he was something all along. I count on the trainers and the horse, I go out there and do my job I have confidence they have done there’s already and go get the job done.”“I came back to ride him.  I counted on the trainer to have him ready.  I should have won on him the last time, but we got a poor start.  They schooled him in the gate and it showed today.  He’s a nice horse.  Once we got going on the turn, he showed his big turn of foot.  I like to ride fast horses in marathon races.  He was relaxed and when it was time to go, he took off.  (Baze on what is next?)  I’m leaving tonight.  I’m going to be riding the rest of the Oaklawn meeting and then head to Churchill Downs.  We will play it by ear.  I love Santa Anita.  This is my home.”RAFAEL BEJARANO, BEACH VIEW, SECOND:  “I thought I was in a good position, but nobody was going with Tyler’s horse, so I moved a little early at the three eighths (pole).  No excuse, the winner was best today.”MARIO GUTIERREZ, MARCKIE’S WATER, THIRD: “My horse doesn’t have much speed and I found myself up close, so I had to put a little pressure on the leader. I thought Kent’s horse would be up front pushing the pace, so when I didn’t see him I decided to push otherwise in a race of that length an easy leader can get away. I though my horse ran a big race considering the strength of the field.” TRAINER QUOTESJIM CASSIDY, EPICAL, WINNER: “It was a gate thing last time out (San Marcos Stakes Feb 9th), he does everything perfect, but he’s not the best gate horse in the world, what he did last time was he hopped out of there and shuffled back a bit and he showed a new dimension, he came home pretty good but he still got beat and came in second. You know the first time Tyler rode him he said ‘I think he could go three miles’ There aren’t too many 3 mile races but he’s got speed and he doesn’t mind the horse next to him that goes with him it doesn’t seem to rattle him at all he’s very kind and he’ll go as far as you want to go.“Kent Desormeaux rode this horse a while back and he thought the horse was going to run off with him, so he took a hold of him and he knew that was the wrong move. Tyler and Victor got boxed in and couldn’t get out in a few races, so we had a few excuses for previous races.“We had a few struggles along the way with this horse, but he has had the right trip in the last few races and it shows.”NOTES: The winning owner is DP RacingDP Racing’s Epical and jockey Tyler Baze win the Grade II, $200,000 San Luis Stakes, Friday, March 29, 2019 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA. © BENOIT PHOTOlast_img read more