Ted Green: Lay off Lane Kiffin; trade Chris Bosh for Andrew Bynum?
As I was sitting here chillin' with my armed bodyguard, Gilbert Arenas, got to thinking about that awkward, strained and surprisingly uncomfortable Lane Kiffin press conference.
What struck me even more than Kiffin's fidgety, voice-cracking nervousness was all that righteous indignation expressed by some members of the sports media, apparently morally outraged that Kiffin would be such a turncoat, leaving them in the lurch at poor old Tennessee.
First off, when he was hired and asked directly if he would be loyal to the orange and white, Kiffin told the athletic director there flat out that USC was the one job he very likely WOULD leave for. So he didn't lie about that.
Moreover, are the writers with these fabulously wound moral compasses actually going to tell us that if any of them wrote for a good, reputable paper, say the Kansas City Star, and the Washington Post offered them a job, like would they even give two weeks notice?
Gotta run, boys, someone clean out my desk and keep the Derrel Thomas poster, it's on me.
The Post calls and they're on the next flight to D.C., like Kiffin was to LAX.
This isn't Phi Beta Kappa stuff. Highly paid coaches are opportunists. They have to be. They have short shelf lives. They strike while the proverbial iron is hot and when their star is on the rise because they're hired to be fired. Or right place, right time and they're lucky, like Kiffin. But don't fault him for running like Usain Bolt when the Trojans called.
Every college football coach in America would have done the same thing, except maybe Joe Paterno and Urban Meyer.
The pros on Chris Bosh for Andrew Bynum:
1) Bosh is better.
1) Bosh is a poor man's, left-handed Pau Gasol and the Lakers already have the original.
2) As a fourth option when the Lakers are healthy, Bynum is one heckuva $52-million insurance policy for when one of the other frontline guys goes down. See: Pau's hamstrings.
3) Even though he likes Christmas, his mom and scoring a whole lot more than he does defense, Bynum is still a presence in the paint defensively. All Bosh knows about paint is, it looks good on his patio.
4) Bynum could actually be the Lakers' go-to-guy in five years when they're wheeling Kobe and his battered, broken old body to the games.
Whatever your take on that rumored trade might be, and this is one the New York Post's Pete Vecsey tossed out there that ain't gonna stick to the wall, it'll never happen because Bynum is Jim Buss' guy, his discovery, his claim to fame as an eyeballer of talent.
Case closed on that one.
So Chow's on at UCLA and here is today's Norm Chow Quiz: He's staying in Westwood because:
a) They're bumping his salary up from 640K/yr and agreeing to a nice contract extension.
b) He isn't as cool with Kiffin from their USC days vying for Pete Carroll's affection as Kiffin pretended they were at the press conference.
c) Norm is fundamentally a good guy who'd rather not be perceived as a human bouncy ball and blatant opportunist leveraging his new employers by flirting shamelessly with his old ones.
I'd say it's a) for sure...(b almost sure...(c maybe.
And to the hundreds of readers and latte drinkers I apparently offended by poking fun of Pete Carroll's choice of NFL cities, I'm profoundly sorry for raining on your parade. Oops, poor choice of verbs.
Green formerly covered sports for the L.A. Times. He is currently Senior Sports Producer for KTLA Prime News.