Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersWhatever they are, they have a promising future as well as a lot of heart, about to pursue Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard with salary cap space, with charismatic figures such as Rivers and Jerry West to lead their recruiting effort and an inspiring story to tell.Then there are the Lakers … or there would be if they weren’t in hiding.Since Magic Johnson dropped the big one on them – 12 days ago – no team official has appeared in public. This suggests its own message:The Lakers’ road ahead involves massive secrecy and an inability to handle hard times?Suggesting how overwhelmed Jeanie Buss is, she hasn’t told her people to make an appearance, or said anything herself, other than her flowery Twitter paean to Johnson (“Earvin, I loved working side by side with you. You’ve brought us a long way. We will continue the journey. We love you.”) Imagine that. Playoff thrills locally, after all.It was supposed to be over by now. The Lakers left us months ago except for their managerial meltdown. The Clippers were supposed to be finished off by Golden State before anyone noticed they were in the postseason.Instead, in yet another miracle, the Clippers staged the biggest playoff comeback in NBA history, coming from 31 down to win Game 2 in Oakland to make a series of it, after making a season of it when no one expected that.Or, as Coach Doc Rivers told his players: “We don’t die. We multiply. We’re like roaches.” Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Did Jeanie miss the one about someone trying to pin the blame for drafting Lonzo Ball on her?Oh, well, kids fight in the best of families.There has been no sign of General Manager Rob Pelinka, whom Buss is standing by after Magic reportedly tried to fire him for “back-stabbing” him.LeBron James, the mainstay of social media, has yet to mention Magic’s departure or his own hopes going forward.Of course, no one has glimpsed the secretive Kobe Bryant, who declined Jeanie’s offer to take over with Magic in 2017 and doesn’t look interested in doing it now.If no one knows what’s going on, it’s likely that she has reached out to Bryant.A source says Kobe’s importance to Jeanie explains why Pelinka, Kobe’s former agent whom Magic gored, remains in place with enhanced powers and no thought of replacing him.Elsewhere, Pelinka is regarded with open skepticism. The New York Times’ Marc Stein called him “a polarizing figure” with “numerous reports of trust issues – not only in his dealings with other teams and former rivals in the agent world but also former Lakers players (Larry Nance Jr. and Andrew Bogut) who were jettisoned after broken promises.”Actually, “broken promises,” or reassurances that don’t turn out to be true, are common enough for GMs.Nevertheless, Pelinka did, indeed, have a controversy-filled career as an agent. Now in the bullseye after Magic’s accusations – if only for joking, “Where’s Earvin?” – the buzzards have come home to roost.As for any hope that Bryant will ride to the rescue, he’s not one to agonize about decisions. If he had any interest in taking over, we would have heard about it by now.Kobe isn’t taking questions about it but did in March, telling Slam Magazine’s Tzvi Twersky, “The answer is no, I’m not doing it.“I’m not interested … not even (for) a couple years. I’m just not interested. I don’t want to be a GM. I don’t want to own a team. I don’t want to coach. I have no interest in any of that. That’s an easy answer for me.”Of course, Kobe might still be in the loop, even if he has no desire to run anything day by day. As such, he’s like the man behind the curtain in “The Wizard of Oz.”Whether Kobe’s counsel is helpful remains to be seen. Bold and intelligent as he is, he has no experience running teams and enthusiastically endorsed Magic’s half-baked idea about not needing shooters.In a perfect irony, there is one former Lakers great who’s still in the game and would have been invaluable. Of course, that’s West, whom the Lakers – presumably, Magic – declined to hire when he was hoping to be invited back.Jeanie is widely considered good people, but her obsession with Lakers Family … which she treasures as her birthright from the father she worshiped … keeps her from thinking clearly, or at all.Outside her cocoon, it looks like they’ve gone as far as they can with former Lakers … the approach that backfired so badly with Magic proving temperamentally unsuited to his job … but it’s continuing.With the Lakers’ marquee stature and the vast resources conferred by a $3 billion TV deal, they should attract top management people like Golden State GM Bob Myers, San Antonio’s R.C. Buford, Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti or Houston’s Daryl Morey.Reaching out to them would have meant asking their teams for permission. Nothing like that happened.The well-regarded David Griffin, a LeBron ally as Cleveland GM, was available. With no Lakers interest, he accepted a job with New Orleans days after Magic stepped down.“Jeanie is great,” a GM said, “but she is too insulated and has made no effort to expand her knowledge base outside the Laker family. They won’t get A.D. (Anthony Davis) because they don’t have the best package.”Ominously for whoever’s in charge, the Lakers’ scheduled return to greatness is based on acquiring Davis in a trade with New Orleans, which looks ever-more problematic.For months, I wrote the Lakers were the favorites as A.D.’s preferred destination. Now NBA people say several Western Conference contenders, desperate at being capped by the Warriors, could make attractive offers without assurances he will re-sign in the summer of 2020.Teams never used to run such risks, but things have changed.Toronto did it a year ago, trading DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio for Leonard.Presti did it two years ago, trading Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana for Paul George, who was supposedly Lakers-bound but re-signed in OKC. If that wasn’t enough, Presti might be ready to offer Steven Adams for A.D.Houston, run by Morey, another tightrope walker, could offer Clint Capela.Meanwhile, in Portland, Trail Blazers players are wooing A.D. openly, as if they were Lakers.“I’m saying, ‘OK, Anthony Davis, we’ve got a winning culture. We win. We’re not jealous of each other. We have a good time,’ ” Damian Lillard told The Ringer.“He’ll win. He’ll get to be himself and he’ll get to be on a team that fits. I think he would be perfect for us.”Related Articles Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years By week’s end, the Warriors had reasserted themselves, leading the Clippers by 36 in Game 3 at Staples Center and winning by 27, showing what happens when you get them mad.Still, it was magical for the Clippers, if only for the three days between Games 2 and 3.As for the Lakers, everyone might have to scale down hopes. At present, their fans just want to make sure they haven’t left town. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Republicans said that after weeks of struggle, they had forced Democrats to drop their demand for a troop withdrawal timetable. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the House GOP leader, said: “Democrats have finally conceded defeat in their effort to include mandatory surrender dates in a funding bill for the troops, so forward progress has been made for the first time in this four-month process.” But Republicans agreed to concessions, as well, in terms of billions of dollars in domestic spending that Democrats wrung from them and the administration. Republican leaders had hoped to persuade the White House to make a tougher stand against the Democratic demands, but it appeared that they were undercut by the desire of the GOP rank and file for money for farmers and others. Final details of the measure remained in flux, although Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said at an early evening news conference, “we’re very close to having things tied down.” In all, officials said the measure included about $17 billion more than Bush initially requested. Of the $17 billion, about $9 billion would go for defense-related items and veterans’ health care. The balance would be for other domestic programs. The bill would also include the first increase in the federal minimum wage in more than a decade. Both the House and Senate have passed measures raising the current level of $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour in three separate 70-cent increases over 26 months. Those measures included modest tax breaks, mainly aimed at helping businesses that hire low-skilled or handicapped workers. Obey outlined an unusual procedure in which lawmakers in the House could cast two votes, one on the war-related provisions, and a second on all other items. That would allow liberal Democrats to oppose the war funds, confident that Republicans would supply the support needed for it to prevail. The opposite would be true for the domestic spending, which draws more support from Democratsublicans. The bill would then go to the Senate, where senators would have to vote yes-or-no on the entire package. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “We’re going to continue our battle, and that’s what it is, to represent the American people like they want us to represent them, to change the course of the war in Iraq,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Lawmakers in both parties claimed victory in legislation that contained no binding limitation on Bush’s powers as commander in chief. “I view this as the beginning of the end of the president’s policy on Iraq in this war,” said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill. “It ends the blank check of more troops, more money, more time and more of the same. And it begins the notion that we have to have a new direction to Iraq that has accountability, standards that you can measure progress and not.” Emanuel, Reid and other Democrats pointed to a provision setting standards for the Iraqi government to meet in developing a more democratic society. U.S. reconstruction aid would be conditioned on progress toward meeting the goals, but Bush would have authority to order the money to be spent regardless of how the government in Baghdad performed. And despite the Democratic claims of success, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters she is unlikely to vote for the war money because it lacks “a goal or a timetable” for a troop withdrawal. WASHINGTON – Flinching in the face of a veto threat, Democratic congressional leaders neared agreement with Bush administration Tuesday on legislation to pay for the Iraq War without a troop withdrawal timeline. Several officials said the emerging $120 billion compromise would include as much as $8 billion for Democratic domestic priorities – originally resisted by the White House – such as disaster relief for Hurricane Katrina victims and farmers hurt by drought. After a bruising struggle in which Bush vetoed one Democratic-drafted measure and threatened to reject another, congressional leaders in both political parties said they hoped the compromise would be cleared for President Bush’s signature by Friday. In power less than five months, Democrats coupled their war-related concession with a vow to challenge Bush’s policies anew, and quickly.