To many observers, Manny Ramirez is a clubhouse cancer and an aging slugger on the downside of his career. To the LA Dodgers, he remains one of baseball's best hitters and provides a much-needed edge in the NL. The Dodgers reportedly are nearing a two-year, $45 million contract extension, and Ramirez is certain of two things: 1. He's going to continue acting like a loon and 2. He's going to hit at least .500 again against the Cubs.
Why They Might Be Good: Attitudinal off-guard Kobe Bryant has made a promise to Lakers fans: "We're going back to the Finals. How? By me taking zero shots a game. If I get my teammates involved—teammates like [streaky guard] Sasha Vujacic, [streaky guard] Maurice Evans, and [streaky guard] Jimmy Jackson—there's no stopping us."
Why They Might Be Good: It's still difficult to accept the fact that last season—when they were healthy—these perpetual doormats sported one of the most reliable starting lineups in the league, led by rock Elton Brand. But as solid as they were in '06, they shored up their roster with the signings of professionally-diagnosed depressive forward Vin Baker and hilariously named center Boniface Ndong.
Real estate developer and attorney Donald Sterling today committed to purchase the San Diego Clippers for nearly $13 million, an astronomical amount of money for a ball club with a dwindling fan base and only three winning seasons since its 1970 inception.