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VOL. 132 | NO. 152 | Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Rough Start at Kansas for Dedric Lawson

By Don Wade

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Former University of Memphis Tiger Dedric Lawson was suspended for an incident at practice at Kansas. He did not travel with the Jayhawks to Italy. (Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

Admit it: If you first saw news of a Lawson suspended at the University of Kansas, you assumed it would be K.J. It was K.J, after all, who exited the University of Memphis giving coach Tubby Smith double-bird via social media, saying inappropriate things, and let’s not forget this: playing with a selfishness on the court that could make you wince.

But it wasn’t K.J. that Jayhawks coach Bill Self suspended. It was Dedric Lawson, who not only is much the better player but had been much the better citizen, too.

Self said Dedric got into an altercation at practice and did not handle it well. So, he missed the Jayhawks’ trip to Italy. Self also made a point to say Dedric was still on the team.

But it’s a rough start in Lawrence, Kansas, and a bad look. Both Dedric and K.J. have to sit out this coming season as transfers. Fair question: Will they both make it to the 2018-19 season and actually play for the Jayhawks, or will there be more drama?

Cardinals Stay with Status Quo at Trade Deadline

John Mozeliak, the St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations, was faced with two choices: go all-in on a season that is not over, but that has been slipping away for months, or stay with what the team has and hope for the best.

He picked the latter and it’s difficult to find blame with the decision. First, the Chicago Cubs clearly have the best roster, are playing much better since the All-Star break, and have improved the team. Within a week or so, the Cardinals could be chasing a ghost. And the Milwaukee Brewers are also in the National League Central Division mix.

The Cardinals are beyond realistic wild-card contention and though the starting rotation has been solid, and at times stunningly good, the offense and defense have holes. So does the bullpen, for that matter.

Starter Lance Lynn will almost certainly depart as a free agent after the season, but the market wasn’t going to bring a lot for him anyway.

The rest of the season will now be about the Mike Matheny Watch. Fans have become frustrated with the St. Louis manager and Mozeliak has made enough comments about “culture” and “chemistry” the last few weeks to give the impression Matheny’s dugout seat has warmed a bit.

Asked about the pressure that seems to be on Matheny, Memphis Redbirds manager Stubby Clapp said: “It’s not fun to listen to. The last thing we want is something bad to happen to him. He’s a great man. I played with him. I wish him all the best. I hope this thing turns around 360 and they go on to win the whole thing.”

No More NBA Awards?

His motivation was far from pure, but Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is not entirely wrong about the NBA awards process – or the awards process in any major pro sports league – having its issues.

Morey told SI.com’s The Crossover that the MVP voting process, which involved 100 media members, has some flaws. Worth noting: Houston guard James Harden lost out on the Most Valuable Player Award this season to Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook.

“I don’t know if this is a good process,” Morey told The Crossover. “The ones that are decided by players or executives or media, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. I honestly don’t think there’s a good process. You could argue for eliminating the awards altogether. I don’t really see a good way to do it that doesn’t have major issues. I like clean answers. If there’s not going to be a set criteria and there’s going to be issues with how it’s structured, for me it might be better to not have it.”

Morey said there seems to be a shift away from winning when voting for the award. He went on to say that adding Chris Paul to the Rockets will only make it tougher for anyone on the team to win MVP (seeming to imply much winning is to follow).

“We’ve moved on since the award isn’t focused on winning anymore,” he said. “Let’s just win and not worry about it.”

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