The Clippers are breaking up their underachieving core by sending nine-time All-Star Chris Paul to Houston for send Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, some filler and a top-three protected 2018 first-round pick. It’s not nearly enough of a return for L.A., but Paul had told the Clippers he planned to sign with Houston in free agency so the Clips at least got something in return. Paul wants to play for a title contender as he has never reached a conference finals. The Rockets, who might not be done as they are trying to land Paul George, jumped from 30/1 to 15/1 for next year’s NBA title. The Clippers rose from 40/1 to 100/1 and still could lose Blake Griffin.
It’s a matinee finale between these 2016 playoff teams. The Nats ran wild on Cubs starter Jake Arrieta on Tuesday to the tune of seven steals. Cubs catcher Miguel Montero criticized Arrieta publicly after and then was released on Wednesday. There could be more base-running issues for the Cubs on Thursday as they start ace lefty Jon Lester, who is almost incapable of throwing to first base to keep runners on. Lester is working on three straight quality outings and hasn’t faced Washington since 2015. The Nats go with the weak link of their rotation in Joe Ross. He is coming off a strong seven-inning, one-run outing, though. Kris Bryant is out for the Cubs with a sprained ankle.
LA Dodgers At LA Angels
It’s the finale of the four-game Freeway Series – the Dodgers will add the designated hitter in the American League park. They are huge favorites behind ace lefty Clayton Kershaw, a favorite to win a fourth career Cy Young Award. The Dodgers have won the past 10 times Kershaw (11-2, 2.47) has taken the mound. He leads the NL in wins and is second in innings, strikeouts, ERA and WHIP. The Angels counter with JC Ramirez. He shut down a good Boston offense last time out. Ramirez last faced the Dodgers on June 8, 2015, throwing three scoreless innings with the Mariners.
Deep Dive On 2017 Chicago Bears
The coach perhaps on the hottest seat entering the 2017 season is Chicago’s John Fox as the Bears slipped from 6-10 his first year to 3-13 in 2016. The Bears had a good running game behind rookie Jordan Howard, but the quarterbacks were largely bad and the defense below average. The Bears signed Mike Glennon from Tampa Bay to be their starting QB – and then traded up one spot to No. 2 in the 2017 draft to take North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky. He showed NFL traits and production in his one season as a starter with the Heels. Trubisky has excellent short-area accuracy and pocket movement and his 76.9 percent adjusted completion percentage against the blitz was third in the draft class The Bears are given a win total of 5.5 for this year. If they finish below that, Fox won’t be back.