The Sports Report: Why the Rams signed linebacker Bobby Wagner

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Gary Klein: The Rams and star defensive lineman Aaron Donald agreed to terms on a restructured contract that will make him the NFL’s highest-paid non-quarterback, a person with knowledge of the situation unauthorized to speak publicly about the deal said Monday.

Terms of the deal were not announced, but NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported that Donald is guaranteed $65 million over the next two seasons and $95 million through 2024.

Donald, a three-time NFL defensive player of the year and seven-time All-Pro, helped lead the Rams to a Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. He was due to carry a salary-cap number of $26.75 million in 2022, according to overthecap.com.

Before the Super Bowl, a report emerged that Donald was contemplating retirement. After the game, Donald did not dispute the report, saying he would take time to enjoy the victory. During the “I Am Athlete” podcast last week, Donald said he would be “at peace” if he did not play in 2022.

But the Rams had made new contracts for quarterback Matthew Stafford and Donald their top offseason priority. The Rams also are expected to reward receiver Cooper Kupp with an extension.

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LAKERS

From Dan Woike: The Lakers officially introduced Darvin Ham as the 28th coach of the organization Monday.

“This is an incredibly bright and promising day in Lakers history,” said Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ general manager and vice president of basketball operations.

Ham, 48, previously served as an assistant to Mike Budenholzer in Milwaukee and Atlanta for nine seasons before being hired by the Lakers more than a week ago.

“It’s like coming back home,” said Ham, whose first NBA coaching job was as an assistant with the Lakers from 2011-13.

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Hernández: Darvin Ham’s message is clear: This is on the Lakers players

UCLA SOFTBALL

From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: UCLA delayed but couldn’t deny the inevitable.

As expected, Oklahoma will play for its second consecutive national championship.

UCLA stunned the top-ranked Sooners in the first game of the Women’s College World Series semifinals Monday with a 7-3 win at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, but Oklahoma snapped back into form with a dominant 15-0 victory in the winner-takes-all Game 2.

Just pushing the defending champions to an elimination game could be seen as an impressive feat for the No. 5 Bruins. It was Oklahoma’s second loss by four or more runs in the past two seasons. The Sooners responded with their 40th run-rule victory of the season, handing UCLA its largest margin of defeat in school history.

UCLA BASEBALL

Sonny DiChiara went three for four with four RBIs, Nate LaRue added three RBIs and No. 14 overall seed Auburn beat UCLA 11-4 on Monday in the championship of the Auburn Regional.

Auburn (40-19), which won its ninth straight NCAA regional contest, became the first team in Southeastern Conference history to score 50-plus runs in its first three NCAA tournament games. The Tigers advance to the super regionals.

USC BASEBALL

From Ryan Kartje: After three turbulent years atop one of college baseball’s proudest programs, Jason Gill is out as USC’s baseball coach.

Gill was fired by USC on Monday, two weeks after the Trojans finished last in the Pac-12 Conference and more than a year after the university opened an investigation into his conduct. D1Baseball first reported that USC planned to fire Gill, but nothing was made official until Monday, when baseball players and staff were asked to meet to discuss the program.

“I enjoyed my time at USC and appreciated the opportunity to lead its baseball program,” Gill said in a statement released by the university. “I am excited to see what the future holds for me and my family, and I wish the players and the program the best.”

The university’s investigation into Gill remained ongoing as USC limped to a 25-28 overall record and 8-22 mark in the Pac-12, losing seven of its last eight games to miss the inaugural conference tournament. The unrest within the program continued to simmer as well, players, parents and some staffers taking issue with Gill and his leadership. A person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly about it told The Los Angeles Times that multiple players intended to leave if Gill remained.

ANGELS

From Luca Evans: Michael Lorenzen, starting Saturday night against the Phillies, wanted to be the guy. Then he got knocked around for five runs in the first inning. Aaron Loup, entering in the eighth inning with a 6-2 lead Sunday, wanted to be the guy. On the mound, he told himself again and again, “This is where it ends.” Then he loaded the bases and left without finishing the inning.

You want to be the guy for the Angels, Loup said, that stops this skid, this 11-game freefall out of the division lead and out of a wild-card spot. But being the guy comes at a price. Younger pitchers, Loup said, can start to press too much.

Noah Syndergaard, the dapper Viking with a slowing fastball but a lot of guile, seemed like the guy Monday night against the Boston Red Sox. Except the Angels’ bats offered nothing of substance in a 1-0 loss to match a gutsy performance, and all Syndergaard had to show for six innings of one-run ball was an “L” for his record.

Their shovels continue to dig. The hole continues to widen. Nobody has been the guy for 12 straight losses. The Angels’ record slouched to 27-29 after puffing its chest at 24-14 three weeks ago.

“I understand, if you’re an Angels fan, nobody’s happy,” manager Joe Maddon said pregame. “But it’s early enough in here to do something different about this, and we intend to.”

————

‘Los Angeles Angels’ will appear on jersey for first time with City Connect uniforms

Mike Trout vs. Bryce Harper: Round Three was no contest

DODGERS

From Dylan Hernández: The manager wasn’t to blame this time. The front office wasn’t either.

Julio Urías pitched only 5⅓ innings Sunday because of Julio Urías.

Urías limited the high-scoring New York Mets to one run, but his elevated pitch count forced the Dodgers to rely once again on their overworked bullpen, resulting in a 10-inning, 5-4 defeat.

Dropping the final two games of a four-game series against the Mets, the Dodgers went 2-5 on a homestand that marked the final stretch of a 30-day period in which they played 31 games.

The recent downturn notwithstanding, the Dodgers will be playing baseball in October.

The question is whether they can survive three or four rounds of the postseason and win their second World Series in three seasons without Urías and Walker Buehler shouldering heavier workloads.

GOLF

Phil Mickelson, a chief recruiter for a Saudi-funded rival league to the PGA Tour, is ending his four-month hiatus by adding his name to the 48-man field for the LIV Golf Invitational that starts Friday outside London.

Mickelson will be joining Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and three other former major champions in a 54-hole tournament at Centurion Golf Club with $25 million in prize money and $4 million going to the individual winner.

“I am ready to come back to play the game I love but after 32 years this new path is a fresh start, one that is exciting for me at this stage of my career,” Mickelson said in a statement posted on social media.

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NHL PLAYOFFS

All times Pacific
Conference finals

Western
All games on TNT
Colorado (C1) vs. Edmonton (P2)
Colorado 8, Edmonton 6
Colorado 4, Edmonton 0
Colorado 4, Edmonton 2
Colorado 6, Edmonton 5 (OT)

Eastern
All games on ESPN
New York Rangers (M2) vs. Tampa Bay (A3)
New York 6, Tampa Bay 2
New York 3, Tampa Bay 2
Tampa Bay 3, New York 2
Today at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m.
Thursday at New York, 5 p.m.
*Saturday at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m.
*Tuesday, June 14 at New York, 5 p.m.

*-if necessary

NBA PLAYOFFS

Schedule and results
All times Pacific
NBA FINALS
All games on ABC

Boston vs. Golden State

Boston 120, Golden State 108
Golden State 107, Boston 88
Wednesday at Boston, 6 p.m.
Friday at Boston, 6 p.m.
Monday at Golden State, 6 p.m.
*Thursday, June 16 at Boston, 6 p.m.
*Sunday, June 19 at Golden State, 5 p.m.

*-if necessary

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1930 — Gallant Fox, ridden by Earle Sande, wins the Belmont Stakes by three lengths over Whichone, becoming the second horse to capture the Triple Crown.

1941 — Whirlaway, ridden by Eddie Arcaro, becomes the fifth horse to win the Triple Crown by capturing the Belmont Stakes by 2½ lengths over Robert Morris.

1952 — One Count, ridden by Eddie Arcaro, wins the Belmont Stakes by 2½ lengths over heavily favored Blue Man.

1969 — Arts and Letters, ridden by Braulio Baeza, ends Majestic Prince’s bid for the Triple Crown with a 5½-length victory in the Belmont Stakes.

1978 — The Washington Bullets beat the Seattle SuperSonics 105-99 in Game 7 to win the NBA Championship.

1980 — Temperance Hill, a 53-1 long shot ridden by Eddie Maple, wins the Belmont Stakes by two lengths over Genuine Risk.

1986 — Danzig Connection, ridden by Chris McCarron, wins the Belmont Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths over Johns Treasure to give trainer Woody Stephens his fifth straight Belmont win.

1995 — Hakeem Olajuwon’s tip-in with .3 seconds left gives Houston a 120-118 overtime win in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Houston, trailing by 20 points in the first half, are led back by Kenny Smith, whose Finals record seventh three pointer sends the game into overtime.

1998 — Utah breaks the record for fewest points in an NBA game since the inception of the shot clock, losing 96-54 to Chicago in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. It’s the highest margin of victory in NBA Finals history. Utah’s 54 points break the NBA-record of 55 set earlier in the season by Indiana.

2004 — Ruslan Fedotenko scores twice, including the critical first goal, and the resilient Tampa Bay Lightning hold off the Calgary Flames 2-1 in Game 7 to win their first Stanley Cup.

2006 — New Jersey becomes the first state to institute a statewide steroid-testing policy for high school athletes.

2008 — Da’ Tara spoils Big Brown’s bid for a Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes. Da’ Tara, a 38-1 longshot ridden by Alan Garcia, goes wire-to-wire winning by 5 1/4 lengths over Denis of Cork. Big Brown, the 1-4 favorite, is eased up in the homestretch by jockey Kent Desormeaux finishing so far behind at the end that his margin of defeat isn’t even charted.

2009 — Roger Federer completes a career Grand Slam, winning his first French Open title. Federer wins his 14th major title to tie Pete Sampras’ record by sweeping surprise finalist Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4.

2014 — California Chrome fails in his bid to win the first Triple Crown in 36 years, losing the Belmont Stakes to long shot Tonalist and leaving his owner to complain others took “the coward’s way out” by skipping the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

2014 — Miguel Cotto becomes the first Puerto Rican fighter to win world championships in four weight divisions, stopping Sergio Martinez in their WBC world middleweight title fight. Martinez doesn’t get off the stool when the bell rings for the 10th round.

2015 — LeBron James turns in a triple-double to remember, Matthew Dellavedova makes the go-ahead free throws in overtime, and the Cavaliers overcome a fourth-quarter collapse to outlast the Golden State Warriors 95-93 in Game 2 of the NBA finals. James finishes with 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists in 50 minutes, carrying Cleveland’s depleted roster to victory on the NBA’s toughest home floor.

2018 — The Washington Capitals raise the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history after a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of the finals.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Tonalist upsets California Chrome in the 2014 Belmont Stakes. Watch and listen here.

Until next time…

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at [email protected], and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


https://www.latimes.com/sports/newsletter/2022-06-07/rams-aaron-donald-sports-report

Christin Hakim

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