The Lakers’ potential gamble on JJ Redick, plus a 16-year-old’s stunning USWNT debut

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Good morning! I am zeroing in on the weekend already.

While You Were Sleeping: A 16-year-old star says hi

Everything looked normal when Lily Yohannes came on as a sub for USWNT in the 72nd minute of the Americans’ 3-0 victory against South Korea last night. Except nothing about Yohannes’ presence was normal. 

History was made in that 72nd minute as Yohannes, just 16 years old, became the youngest player to debut for USWNT since 2001. Then, 10 minutes later, she did this:

Sheesh. The funny thing is that she isn’t even new to the international stage. Back in April, Tamerra Griffin wrote about the impact Yohannes was already making at Ajax, where she signed at just 15 years old. There’s also a wrinkle: She could still opt to play for the Dutch national team, as she has lived in the Netherlands for the last seven years. 

Expect the recruitment from both sides to ramp up now, especially as USWNT remakes itself. Moving on:

Big Bets: JJ Redick, LeBron James and a career wager

LeBron James is the most accomplished basketball player to ever play in the NBA. No one has ever been as consistently great as James, and absolutely not for as long as him. If he were to retire tomorrow, he would own the most impressive career in league history. 

James is not retiring at 39 though, and plans to play at least another year or two. His current team, the Lakers, has a job opening at head coach. Is this the time to take a chance on your next coach or to hire a coach with bona fides to maximize James’ title opportunity? 

The Lakers are, according to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, close to picking the former. And it’d be a massive gamble: 

  • The team is “zeroing in” on JJ Redick as its top head coaching candidate, per our report. Redick is a former NBA sharpshooter turned media star who owns a podcast network and sits alongside Mike Breen and Doris Burke on ESPN’s top NBA broadcasting team. He also happens to co-host a podcast about hoops tactics with … LeBron.
  • Listen to Redick speak in any forum, and his basketball intellect is clear. That is not the question here. It’s mostly that Redick has never coached above the youth level. Not in the NBA, college or even high school, though he’s had opportunities as an assistant. Of note: Redick’s college coach, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, is heavily assisting the Lakers’ search.
  • It’s jarring to me that the Lakers might spend James’ likely last two seasons with a brand-new coach. Even the best coaches don’t win right away. Though James still plays at a superstar level, he turns 40 in December. Are we wasting his last chances on someone who needs seasoning? 

The Lakers, for what it’s worth, are “infatuated” with Redick and envision him as a long-term Pat Riley type on the sideline. That’s the best-case scenario. And the league has seen first-year head coaches win titles in their debut seasons (including Riley, though he’d first been a Lakers assistant coach), but none with Redick’s resume. The best comparison is Steve Kerr, though he’d spent three years as the Suns’ GM before coaching the Warriors. 

Read Shams’ full report here. The hire is not yet official, but it seems the move could be announced after Redick is done calling the NBA Finals. No pressure, man. 

Zach Harper will have plenty more in-depth thoughts in The Bounce later this morning, including possible other Lakers moves this offseason and, most importantly, picking other podcast hosts as NBA head coaches.

News to Know

Man City’s sticky legal case
There is a money mess brewing across the Atlantic, as Manchester City — after incurring 115 charges for breaching financial rules in February — is suing the Premier League. The case will begin Monday, focusing on recent rule-tightening, which limits the amount of money teams can take from club-linked sponsors, a practice that could circumvent the EPL’s profit and sustainability rules. If City’s suit is successful, it could reshape the EPL’s entire financial outlook. Our full explainer is very helpful.

Lamb absent from Cowboys camp
Star wide receiver CeeDee Lamb is not at Cowboys mandatory minicamp this week as he seeks a contract extension, a source confirmed to The Athletic. It comes in an offseason in which fellow WRs — Justin Jefferson, Jaylen Waddle and Amon-Ra St. Brown — signed big deals. This and Dak Prescott’s impending free agency make for a tense summer in Dallas. In other contract news: The 49ers locked up Christian McCaffrey for two more years at $19 million a season.

Bad bets
Yesterday, MLB officially banned shortstop Tucupita Marcano for life after it claimed that he placed 25 bets on the Pirates last season while a member of the club and more than $150,000 on baseball over the course of a year. This surprised many, including former teammates who called him “quiet” and friendly. Ken Rosenthal expertly pointed out the fine line MLB delicately straddles with gambling. Elsewhere in gambling scandals: More details emerged about banned NBA player Jontay Porter’s alleged scheme, which investigators say netted bettors over $1 million in profits.

More news

Watch This Game

MLB: Dodgers at Pirates
6:40 p.m. ET on MLB Network
Arguably the league’s most stacked offensive lineup squares off against hotshot rookie Paul Skenes. Easy call. 

WCWS: No. 1 Texas vs. No. 2 Oklahoma (Game 1)
8 p.m. ET on ESPN
This is the matchup we all wanted, right? The Sooners are here after outlasting Florida in extra innings yesterday. Thus we will either get an Oklahoma four-peat or crown the Longhorns, who unseated them for the No. 1 overall seed. Plus, it’s OU-Texas.

Pulse Picks

Where did all of MLB’s Latin American starting pitchers go? Andy McCullough and Chad Jennings investigated a trend that shocked me today. Well worth your time. 

New MLB Power Rankings are here, too. There’s a new No. 1

NCAA baseball Super Regionals are coming this weekend. Daniel Shirley, Mitch Light and Mitch Sherman broke down the most interesting matchups

Something that’s gaining traction this week: Pierre LeBrun emptied his notebook ahead of the Stanley Cup Final on everything he’s hearing about the upcoming NHL free agent market

An interesting report from a bunch of our NFL staffers: There is severe backlash to the NFLPA’s proposed new offseason schedule. Interesting perspectives there. 

I loved this, which I saw in yesterday’s The Athletic FC newsletter: An explainer on why the term “Leeds Day” has taken off in South Korea. And yes, a “Leeds Day” is a good thing. 

Most-clicked in the newsletter yesterday: Jim Trotter’s column from earlier this spring on the uncomfortable truth behind the Caitlin Clark Effect

Most-read on the website yesterday: Jon Greenberg’s column on how Chennedy Carter and Angel Reese don’t mind being the bad guy in the Caitlin Clark saga. Reese then got tossed last night, though Lonzo Ball said he’d pick up the fine. What a week.

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(Photo: Jamie Schwaberow / Getty Images)

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