Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

Category: Question of the day

Should the Knicks' Jeremy Lin play in the All-Star game? [Poll]

Should the Knicks' Jeremy Lin play in the All-Star game?
New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin is one of the NBA's biggest stars, but he is not an All-Star. That's what happens when a meteoric rise to superstardom takes place mere weeks before the All-Star game, which will be Feb. 26.

Should the NBA figure out a way to get Lin into the All-Star game? Writers from around Tribune Co. will discuss the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times

If David Stern can nix the Chris-Paul-to-the-Lakers trade for "basketball reasons," he can surely come up with an excuse to send New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin to Orlando.

And don't just put him in some lame skills challenge, either. Let him play in the All-Star game and say it's for "humanitarian reasons."

PHOTOS: Absolute Lin-sanity

Lin would turn a ho-hum event into a Linernational phenomenon, generating interest across the globe. By the way, he might also make a more worthy starter for the East than Knicks teammate Carmelo Anthony, who was sidelined for most of New York's return to respectability under Lin.

Getting Lin to Orlando? Lin-genious.

Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel

Jeremy Lin has been with the Knicks, for, what, two minutes? Now we want to change All-Star weekend rules for him?

There's a push to add him to the dreadful rookie-sophomore game in Orlando.

PHOTOS: New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin

If he were playing for Memphis, would anybody hold a write-in campaign? I mean, we’re treating him like he’s Tim Tebow in shorts.

I know the All Star stuff is all an exhibition, but if the NBA accommodates Lin, we'd have chaos and free-thinking, and David Stern loathes chaos and free-thinking. He's already quelled the Chris Paul rebellion, so don't make him crush Linsanity (although the league has to froth at all the All-Star marketing possibilities.)

I've got an idea. Lin can play if the All Stars agree to play defense in the actual game.

Continue reading »

Peyton Manning: Is the decision to return to Colts his to make?

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning is welcome to return to the Indianapolis Colts -- as long as he is willing to restructure his contract. So said Colts owner Jim Irsay on Tuesday.

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss whether they believe Irsay when he says the decision is Manning's to make. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion with a comment of your own.

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

I believe Jim Irsay is sincere when he says he wants Peyton Manning back, as long as it’s at a reasonable price –- one that would allow the Colts to draft Andrew Luck and stay out of salary-cap jail.

What we’re watching is a high-stakes, high-profile game of chicken, with each side -– the Colts and Peyton -– determined to come away looking like the good guy. If financially feasible, the Colts would accept the Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers template of letting Luck learn at the elbow of Manning for a season rather than immediately plunging into the fire.

The question is, how willing is Manning to come off that $28-million number to finish his career in Indianapolis? The latest move by Irsay puts the ball back in the quarterback’s court.

Continue reading »

Should the Pittsburgh Steelers part ways with Hines Ward?

Hines Ward

Hines Ward has played his entire career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but that may change if recent rumors that the team is ready to cut ties with their all-time leading receiver are true.

Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss whether the Steelers should part ways with the two-time Super Bowl winner and MVP of Super Bowl XL. Please check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

Although Hines Ward is not productive enough to merit the annual $4 million on the remaining two years of his deal, he’s shown a willingness to renegotiate to stay with the Steelers. Simply discarding him would be a mistake.

New offensive coordinator Todd Haley needs to turn his attention to cultivating a relationship with Ben Roethlisberger, who was very close to former OC Bruce Arians, and the young receiving trio of Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown still have room to grow. Each would benefit from the tutelage of the more physical Ward, who -– for the right price -– could have a Charlie Batch-type role of elder statesman, giving Haley and Roethlisberger time to bond. Aside from Ben and Hines, the Steelers are young on that side of the ball.

Yes, the Steelers would be giving up something more than money in keeping Ward -– typically, a team wants its fourth or fifth receiver to play special teams, and the soon-to-be-36-year-old Ward probably isn’t suited for that. But for, say, $1 million a year, he would still be a worthy investment.

Continue reading »

Is Jeremy Lin the real deal or a flash in the pan?

Jeremy Lin. Click for more photos.

Jeremy Lin is taking the NBA by storm. The New York Knicks point guard, who went undrafted out of Harvard and was waived by both Golden State and Houston this season, scored 38 points against the Lakers on Friday night and has no fewer than 20 points in each of the last five games.

But is "Linsanity" here to stay? Or is he an overnight sensation whose star will fade as quickly as it lighted up?

PHOTOS: Jeremy Lin

Writers from around Tribune Co. will discuss the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune

Jeremy Lin is the real deal -- as long as the expectation is NBA rotation player and not star. There's a reason Lin went undrafted, got cut and sat low on the depth chart until recently. And, yes, his breakout is one of the best story lines of this NBA season.

However, Lin's five-game run has come against three bad teams and a Lakers team with an aging Derek Fisher trying to guard him. Lin appears to be an excellent pick-and-roll player, so that skill should translate to him lasting. And he's of course in an ideal system for his skills with Mike D'Antoni emphasizing that set and Lin's ability to keep a live dribble to make plays.

POLL: Is Jeremy Lin the real deal or flash in the pan?

But expect advance scouting to catch up to Lin and his numbers to become more modest. He's in the league to stay, just not to star.

Continue reading »

Where will Dwight Howard be dealt before the trade deadline?

Howard_275Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss where Dwight Howard might end up if dealt by the Orlando Magic before the NBA trade deadline. Feel free to join the discussion by leaving a comment of your own.

Baxter Holmes, Los Angeles Times

“It’s about wherever God wants me to play, wherever He wants me to go.” – Dwight Howard

Let’s ask Tim Tebow, then. (He and God are best buds.)

Or let’s just pick the Lakers because … why not? He can play with Kobe Bryant, making Howard’s dream come true. He can play in a huge media market … and be a “Hollywood star.” He can win a title this season.

Plus, there’s the Shaq-precedent. Shaq left Orlando for L.A. and it worked out fine -- or far more than fine.

If the Magic wants Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in return, Howard will probably never suit up for the Lakers. Then again, with the Clippers on the rise and the Lakers in decline, don’t be surprised if the Lakers' brass makes some bold moves to get Howard and and get back on top.

Shandel Richardson, South Florida Sun Sentinel

The Orlando Magic has been here before. If the team learned anything from that experience, then Dwight Howard will be gone before the trading deadline.

The Magic brass will not let this become another Shaquille O’Neal situation. Howard has made it clear he wants out. There is no point in dragging out this process. It’s time to grant his wish. Where doesn't matter. Send him to Los Angeles, Chicago, New Jersey or anywhere else Howard has hinted he wants to play.

At least this time the Magic can get something in return. O’Neal left for free. By trading Howard, the Magic has a chance to build the franchise. Then maybe, just maybe, focus can be on actual basketball and not whether Howard stays or leaves.

The Magic found a replacement for the Superman of the early 1990s. They will find a replacement for the replacement.

Continue reading »

Should the Indianapolis Colts hire Jim Tressel as their coach?

Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss whether the Indianapolis Colts should hire former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel as their new head coach

Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss whether the Indianapolis Colts should hire former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel as their new head coach. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.


Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

Jim Tressel clearly is a pretty special coach. At least he was a pretty special college coach. It makes perfect sense for Tressel to be a candidate in Indianapolis. The Colts aren't looking for a candidate for beatification, or the next president of the United States. What they need is a man who can coach. 

Tressel hardly would be the only NFL coach or player with a skeleton or two in his closet. What we're not sure of is if Tressel's success at Youngstown State and Ohio State was primarily the result of his recruiting skills, as opposed to his coaching skills. He would need to be more than a salesman to win in the NFL.  

If Tressel helps the Colts win, no one in Indianapolis is going to give a darn about the NCAA rules he broke in Columbus.

Continue reading »

Should Jim Caldwell have been fired by the Indianapolis Colts?

Jim Caldwell

This post has been updated. See the note below.

Jim Caldwell was fired Tuesday after three years as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts following a 2-14 season without star quarterback Peyton Manning. Caldwell, who took the team to the Super Bowl after the 2009 season and back to the playoffs a year later, was the latest to be shown the door by the Colts this month, following vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian.

Should Caldwell have lost his job under such circumstances? Was is it time to change direction for a franchise that has a new general manager in Ryan Grigson and presumably will draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck as the top pick in April's draft?

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

Jim Caldwell was not the reason the Colts went from 10-6 and 2-14, so if he was fired for failing to win, he was fired for the wrong reason. If he was fired because he was part of the old Colts and the team wants to head in a new direction, that makes more sense.

Gone is Bill Polian, the man who hired Caldwell. In his place is new general manager Ryan Grigson, who undoubtedly wants to put his stamp on the team with a new head coach. It’s also at least possible that Peyton Manning will be gone, replaced by Andrew Luck. So Caldwell’s offensive system that was so important to Manning may no longer be necessary.

Caldwell wasn’t incompetent; he merely got stuck in a situation in which all of the pieces around him changed.

Continue reading »

In what order would you rank the coaches still in the playoffs?

Bill BelichickWriters from around the Tribune Co. rank the four coaches remaining in the NFL playoffs. Feel free to join the discussion with a comment of your own.

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

How should these four coaches be judged and sorted? The one definitely headed to Canton? It’s Bill Belichick. The one with the most recent ring? It’s Tom Coughlin, whose team beat New England in Super Bowl XLII. The hungriest? It’s John Harbaugh, who has gotten his team to the playoffs four seasons in a row. The one who has done the best job this season? It’s Jim Harbaugh, who turned around a franchise that was 6-10 last season and hadn’t made the playoffs since 2002.

Obviously, all four know how to push the right buttons to motivate their teams, and each understands how to build a team for success in January (and maybe February), so ranking them is a little like grabbing names out of a hat. Each fits his particular franchise. So this ranking is based on who has had the most impressive victories in this season’s playoffs: Coughlin, Jim Harbaugh, Belichick, John Harbaugh.

Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune

It's hard to pick against Bill Belichick in any forum, let alone this one, where his three Super Bowl rings puts him at the top of the list. Tom Coughlin comes next because he also has a championship, defeating Belichick and the Patriots just four years ago.

Jim Harbaugh should be a slam dunk for Coach of the Year awards this season for the quick work he’s done in turning around a rudder-less 49ers organization. But you have to flip a coin between him and his brother John in Baltimore. The Ravens have been a force annually in the AFC North under John Harbaugh. Imagine if the family has a reunion in Super Bowl XLVI -- it will be a terrific storyline.

Dave Hyde, South Florida Sun Sentinel

1. Bill Belichick. He has an elite quarterback, he’s held a weak defense together with gum and baling wire and he's been in this position enough that he merits trust.

2. Jim Harbaugh. He’s transformed Alex Smith into a a real quarterback. He put his best offensive players -– Vernon Davis and Frank Gore -– in position to deliver in Saturday’s playoff. And when New Orleans took the lead –- twice –- in the final few minutes, his team didn’t buckle.

3. Tom Coughlin. He’s old-school tough with the most balanced formula for winning out there. Mainly, he throws the ball with Eli Manning and defends the throw with the rush of a great defensive line.  

4. John Harbaugh. He’s ridden the defense this far, as usual. But the offense hasn’t progressed.


Sudden turnover churns the NFL playoffs

Giants' timing is perfect in 37-20 upset of Packers

Tim Tebow is named Broncos' starting quarterback for 2012

Photo: Bill Belichick. Credit: Elise Amendola / Associated Press

Should Bud Selig accept a two-year extension as MLB commissioner?

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who reportedly will be offered a contract extension by baseball owners this week. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times

Here's a better question: If he doesn't, who replaces him?

Selig is 77. He had proclaimed repeatedly that he would retire at the end of this year. No one believed him, not even his wife. No one formed a committee to search for his replacement.

This would be a good time for Selig to go. MLB just reached a new labor agreement, ensuring two decades without a strike or lockout. Revenues are up, to $7.5 billion. He pushed Dodgers owner Frank McCourt out the door.

But MLB runs by consensus, and Selig is the one who spends hours every day building that consensus. More power to him. Yet it might be nice if the new contract were accompanied by an announcement of a succession plan. Selig will be 80 by the time his new deal expires. There is baseball beyond him, and now is the time to prepare.

Phil Rogers, Los Angeles Times

Bud Selig loves his work, and he does it very well. Sooner or later, he’s going to have to walk away -– for his good, not the game’s. But that time is not now. There’s no reason that the 77-year-old Selig shouldn’t accept the owners’ offer of a two-year contract extension, which will mean he’ll run the game through 2014, more than likely spending his 80th birthday in the office.

It would be different, and Selig probably would have long ago resigned, if that office were not in downtown Milwaukee, a short drive from the house where he begins most days on a treadmill and ends them in front of a bank of televisions. Selig is well compensated, but the biggest concession he’s ever gotten from MLB owners is the understanding that in the modern landscape he can oversee 30 franchises as well from Wisconsin as New York.

He has plenty of work to keep him busy -– in particular the stadium issues in Oakland and Tampa Bay and the ownership issues of the Dodgers and Mets -– and he’s a man who likes to be busy. He has a solid corps of longtime second-in-commands, who serve him well, and he can delegate. He’s trusted by owners and the players. He won’t be around forever, but there’s no reason to hasten a succession that seems sure to weaken MLB’s leadership.

Continue reading »

Can Tim Tebow lead the Denver Broncos to the AFC Championship?

Tim Tebow led the Denver Broncos past the Pittsburgh Steelers in a wild-card game Sunday afternoon, throwing for 316 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another score. But can he do it again Saturday against the New England Patriots with a trip to the AFC Championship on the line?

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

Can Tebow lead the Broncos that far? Yes, with the unpredictability of the NFL, any of the remaining teams could conceivably get that far. But will it happen for the Broncos? I have my doubts.

The Patriots are far from invincible, and they need to spackle a lot of holes in that defense. But Tom Brady & Co. has averaged 34.2 points a game, two touchdowns per game more than the Steelers, and the Broncos aren't built for shootouts, where they're drawn into that pass-first mentaility. New England beat the Broncos, 41-23, three weeks ago, and that was in Denver.

There's nothing to suggest the Patriots will take a step backward. Then again, the Patiots' defense is ranked 31st overall and 31st against the pass, so there's always hope for more Tebow Time.

Continue reading »

NFL playoffs: Who will advance from the wild-card games? [Poll]


Eight teams enter this weekend's wild-card round of the NFL playoffs, but only four will continue on to the divisional round. Two of the games look to be pretty tough to call, while the other two appear to be blowouts in the making -- although appearances sometimes can be deceiving.

The AFC South champion Houston Texans (10-6), making their first-ever playoff appearance, are three-point favorites over the visiting Cincinnati Bengals (9-7). The game features a pair of rookie quarterbacks in Houston's T.J. Yates and Cincinnati's Andy Dalton.

Yates started the year behind the now-injured Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart but has delivered solid play in his six games this season. Dalton has been the starter in Cincinnati since Week 1 and has led the surprising Bengals to only their third playoff appearance since 1990.

The NFC South champion New Orleans Saints (13-3) routed the Detroit Lions (10-6), 31-17, back in Week 13 and are expected to do so again, entering Saturday's game as 10-point favorites. Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw for an NFL record 5,476 yards, but Detroit's Matthew Stafford wasn't far behind with 5,038, which was third-best in the league this year and fifth-best all-time.

The New York Giants (9-7) needed a Week 17 win over the Dallas Cowboys to clinch the NFC East and a playoff spot. They are three-point favorites over the visiting Atlanta Falcons (10-6), although the game basically is a toss-up, with the Giants going 4-4 at home and the Falcons 4-4 on the road.

Quarterback Eli Manning has carried much of the load for the Giants this season, passing for 4,933 yards with 29 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, while the Falcons have a balanced offensive attack featuring running back Michael Turner (1,340 yards, 11 touchdowns) and quarterback Matt Ryan (4,177 yards, 29 touchdowns, 12 interceptions).

The Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) are eight-point road favorites over the AFC West champion Denver Broncos (8-8), who enter the playoffs on a three-game losing streak and with quarterback Tim Tebow seeming to have lost the magic that carried him through most of the season. But the Steelers are riddled with injuries, with running back Rashard Mendenhall out for the playoffs with a torn ACL and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger attempting to play with a badly sprained ankle.

Writers from around Tribune Co. will try to predict which team will make it out of each game. Check back throughout the day for their responses. You can join the discussion by voting in the polls and leaving a comment of your own.

Continue reading »

Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About the Reporters
Sports Now is written by the entire Sports department of the L.A. Times.

Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.



Bleacher Report | Los Angeles

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More on Bleacher Report »

Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: