07.02.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

2future1This is where we witness, as Scott Cacciola wrote recently in the New York Times, a moment where “one person grabs hold of the collective psyche of fans, team officials and even civic leaders (to become) single-handedly in control of their fortunes.”
When does the parade up Chick Hearn Court begin again for LeBron James?
The announcement by his agency on Sunday afternoon that the 33-year-old intends to sign as a free agent with the Lakers on a four-year, $154 million deal — it will become official Friday — comes days after he turned down the chance to sign a five-year, $207 million deal to stay in Cleveland. Even though we’ve been told Paul George agreed to stay in Oklahoma City on a four-year, $137 million, that’s not really official yet, either.
Could he now change his mind?
Even though we’ve also been alerted to news that Chris Paul has agreed to a four-year, $160 million deal to stay with Houston, that’s not official either.
Could he now change his mind?
There’s also the deal announced that DeAndre Jordan has exercised his option to leave the Clippers and will agree to a one-year, $24 million deal in Dallas, his hometown, the Clippers believe as much that he’s gone and have already wished him well.
Could he now change his mind? He already did that once and stayed with the Clippers.
The point is: Things can still change between now and the end of the week. Even so much as: Will James change from No. 6 to No. 23 in yellow and purple?

2future2I’m not sure we want to live in a World Cup without Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Germany. Without Messi and Ronaldo. Surely, not without Team America. Or …
“This is one nutty World Cup and I’m loving every minute,” said Fox’s Alexi Lalas at one point during Sunday’s two penalty-kick deciders.
Apparently the rooting interest now shifts to Mexico for its early-morning battle against another global titan, Brazil, in a 7 a.m. contest from Russia, followed by Belgium vs. Japan at 11 a.m. Tuesday’s Round of 16 play wraps up with Sweden vs. Switzerland (7 a.m., FS1) and England vs. Colombia (11 a.m., Channel 11). England coach Gareth Southgate called the upcoming Colombia match “the biggest game in a decade” for his country. “We’ve got to just keep improving. We talked about momentum. Momentum shifts in games and I think we kept pressing right to the end.” The quarterfinals start Friday:  France vs. Urugay at 7 a.m., FS1, and Brazil/Mexico vs. Japan/Belgium at 11 a.m., FS1. Saturday, it’s Sweden/Switzerland vs. England/Colombia at 7 a.m., Channel 11 and Russia vs. Croatia  at 11 a.m., Channel 11. The semifinals are July 10 and 11. The championship is July 15 in Moscow.

2future3What you need to know about the start of Wimbledon: Twenty years after her tournament debut, Serena Williams, the seven-time champion who will turn 37 later this summer and skipped last year’s event during her pregnancy, drew a seed of No. 25, even though she’s currently ranked outside the top 150. Her first-round opponent Monday is Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, who has one career tour title. Williams is playing for the first time since pulling out of the French Open last month ahead of a match against Maria Sharapova, because of an injured chest muscle. Simona Halep is the women’s top seed, with American seeds including Sloan Stephens (4), Venus Williams (9), Madison Keys (10) and Coco Vandeweghe (16). Sharapova is 24th. Serena Williams has been given 6-to-1 odds of winning, second to Petra Kvitova (9-to-2).
Men’s top-seed Roger Federer, who also turns 37 next month and has won here eight times including last year, and two-time champ Rafael Nadal, the second seed who just turned 32 and recently won the French Open again, have combined to win the last six Grand Slam events. The only American seeds of the 32 are John Isner (9), Sam Querrey (11) and Jack Sock (18). In men’s doubles, Sock is paired with Mike Bryan and seeded No. 7. ESPN has coverage starting Monday at 4 a.m. through to the July 15 finale.

2future4.pngYour Dodgers and Your Angels, independent on what they want to wear, must be in red, white and blue, stars-and-stripes regalia for games on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week. As Paul Lucas from ESPN’s Uni Watch  takes you through the history of July 4 attire in the MLB, we believe it’s good to remind you about the mid-summer celebrations this week Southern California. where recreations of bombs bursting in air and sending your pet Schnowzer into a fit are worth considering. Wednesday, the Dodgers’ 5:10 p.m. start against Pittsburgh to end a 10-game homestand leads into … fireworks. This, a day after the Dodgers also play the Pirates and have a fireworks show in Tuesday night (it’s Clayton Kershaw’s next scheduled start). The Galaxy’s 7 p.m. game Wednesday at StubHub Center, perhaps not coincidentally against D.C. United, lead into … fireworks. Then the Dodgers drive up to Anaheim for a three-game series on Friday (7 p.m., Fox Sports West, SportsNet LA), Saturday (4:15 p.m., Channel 11) and Sunday (5 p.m., ESPN). That Saturday game will be followed up by … fireworks. Even though it likely won’t be dark enough in the 7:30-to-8 p.m. range for those things to have much of an effect. Kind of like the fireworks that go off behind the rock formation in Angel Stadium center field after a home run by the home team.

2future5.pngThe NBA Summer League has its charm. It did a year ago for the Lakers as it introduced Lonzo Ball to the world. The league’s appearance in Las Vegas starts post-July 4 — the Clippers face the Warriors (Friday) and Kings (Saturday), while the Lakers meet the 76ers (Saturday) and Bulls (Sunday). THis is after the Lakers have games in Sacramento against the Kings (Monday), Heat (Tuesday) and Warriors (Thursday). Here is the schedule. Might be a good time for LeBron James to get some reps in with his new teammates.

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