The Golden Knights will win their first Stanley Cup, plus other best bets for Tuesday

Good afternoon gamblers, it’s Chris Bengel back with you on this Tuesday.

Let’s shed a tear: the 2022-23 NBA season is officially over. The Nuggets captured their first NBA title in franchise history after they defeated the Heat in Game 5 on Monday. As a surprise to absolutely no one, Nikola Jokic took home NBA Finals MVP honors for his performance in the series. During the series, Jokic averaged 30.2 points, 14.0 rebounds and 7.2 assists while shooting 42.1 percent from three. It was truly a postseason for the ages for Jokic.

The sports world could see a championship crowned for the second consecutive night. The Golden Knights have a chance to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Let’s dive into Tuesday’s picks.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket
Panthers at Panthers, 8 p.m. | TV: TNT

The Pick: Golden Knights (-190)
Key Trend: The Panthers are 0-7 in the last seven meetings in Vegas.
As I predicted prior to the Stanley Cup Final getting underway, the Golden Knights are the superior team, and they’ve shown that throughout the majority of the series. With a chance to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup on their home ice, I’m not hesitating to back Vegas in this spot.

The Panthers climbed back into the series after forward Carter Verhaeghe lifted the Panthers past the Golden Knights in overtime of Game 3. However, the Golden Knights raced out to a 3-0 lead and ultimately won Game 4 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Vegas has continued to get stellar production from star forward Jonathan Marchessault, who helped set up William Karlsson’s game-winning goal in the second period.

Marchessault has tallied points in nine consecutive games while racking up four goals and three assists throughout the first four games of the Stanley Cup Final. If the Golden Knights end up wrapping up the series in Game 5, it’s quite likely that Marchessault will win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league’s playoff MVP. Count on Marchessault and the Golden Knights to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history and get it done in Game 5.

💰 More Picks
Nationals at Astros, 8:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

The Pick: Over 8.5 (-105) — Tuesday’s matchup features two teams that are both struggling in a big way right now. Still, the over is definitely the play when it comes to the Astros and Nationals.

The defending champion Astros have lost five of their last six games, including dropping two out of three against the Guardians over the weekend. The Astros have caught a bad break when star outfielder Yordan Alvarez suffered an oblique strain and had to be placed on the injured list. Even without Alvarez, the Astros have more than enough firepower to put several runs on the board against the Nationals.

National starting pitcher Patrick Corbin has certainly had his fair share of struggles throughout the 2023 season. Corbin enters Tuesday’s start with a 4-6 record and a 4.89 ERA. The left-hander has been brutal on the road this season as he’s accumulated a staggering 5.72 ERA in five road starts on the year. Corbin has also yielded 12 earned runs across his last three starts and should continue to struggle against the Astros.

Key Trend: The over is 7-3-1 in the last 11 meetings.

White Sox at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. | TV: MLB Network
The Pick: Lance Lynn Under 5.5 Strikeouts (-131) — It’s been a season to forget for White Sox starter Lance Lynn. Entering Tuesday’s outing, the veteran left-hander has a mind-boggling 6.72 ERA and has allowed 13 earned runs in just his last two starts. Unfortunately for Lynn, things aren’t going to get any easier as he’ll face the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Lynn has yielded at least four earned runs in eight of his 13 starts so far this season. He’s also been a victim of the long ball, as he’s surrendered four home runs over his last two starts. Short outings have been a trend for Lynn on the year, and facing a lethal Dodgers offense is a tall task. I’m not predicting many strikeouts in this one.

Rangers hire Peter Laviolette to replace Gerard Gallant, Flames promote Ryan Huska

The Stanley Cup Final is still going on, but the coaching carousel is almost done spinning. For all intents and purposes, every NHL head coaching vacancy has been filled this offseason with the New York Rangers hiring Peter Laviolette on Tuesday.

Six NHL teams changed coaches this offseason, and the first team to name its new coach was the Washington Capitals, who hired former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant to replace Laviolette. The Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets will also have new head coaches in the 2023-24 season.

The Blue Jackets have reportedly reached an agreement with Mike Babcock to become their next head coach, but that is not official. Columbus will wait until Babcock’s contract with the Maple Leafs expires on June 30 to announce the move, per a report from The Athletic.

Let’s take a look at how the NHL coaching carousel has played out this offseason.

Rangers hire Peter Laviolette
The New York Rangers have officially announced the hiring of Peter Laviolette, who has been behind the bench in every NHL season since 2001-02. He replaces Gerard Gallant and becomes the 37th head coach in Rangers history.

“We are thrilled that Peter will be the next Head Coach of the New York Rangers,” Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury said in a press release. “With Peter’s extensive experience as a Head Coach in the National Hockey League, as well as the success his teams have had at several levels throughout his career, we are excited about what the future holds with him leading our team.”

In his 21 seasons as an NHL head coach, Laviolette has compiled a record of 752-503-25-150. Laviolette won a Stanley Cup as the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, and he has taken two other teams, the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators to the Stanley Cup Final. Most recently, Laviolette spent three years with the Washington Capitals, and he was fired after missing the postseason in 2023.

Ryan Huska hired by Flames
Ryan Huska has officially been hired by the Calgary Flames as the 24th head coach in franchise history. Huska will replace former Flames head coach Darryl Sutter, who parted the team fired following the 2022-23 season.

“I’m honored to have earned the trust of Flames ownership, of Craig and the entire management group to coach this team,” Huska said in a statement. “My position coming into this is a little different than most as I know our players very well. We have good people in our dressing room, excellent hockey players who want to win. My job is to inspire them every single day to help get our team to the next level.”

Huska has served as a coach in the Flames organization since the 2014-15 season. At that time, he was named as the head coach of the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Flames. The team later became the Stockton Heat and Huska accumulated a 135-118-7 record in four AHL seasons. In 2018, Huska became an assistant coach for the Flames and held that position until he was named the franchise’s head coach on Monday.

Ducks hire Greg Cronin
The Anaheim Ducks named Greg Cronin as the team’s next head coach on Monday. This comes after the franchise elected not to renew the contract of previous head coach Dallas Eakins, who produced a 100-147-44 record in four seasons with the Ducks.

“While we did cast a wide net in searching for the next head coach, it became clear to me that Greg would be the ideal fit for the position,” Ducks General Manager Pat Verbeek said in a statement. “Being a young team, I felt we needed a teacher of the finer points of the game, and someone who has worked extensively over time with talented young players, helping them develop into successful NHL players. Greg has done all that and more, and we are excited to name him head coach of the Anaheim Ducks.”

Cronin, 60, brings an abundance of experience as he has 36 years of coaching and player development experience. He has spent 12 years as an NHL assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs and two different stints with the New York Islanders.

Cronin has served as the head coach of the American Hockey League’s Colorado Eagles since 2018 and also previously spent six seasons as the head coach at Northeastern University. He has led the Eagles to a 164-104-30 record during his tenure with the team and they have been to the Calder Cup Playoffs in four of his five seasons.

Blue Jackets will reportedly hire Mike Babcock when contract expires
According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, the Columbus Blue Jackets are expected to hire veteran head coach Mike Babcock. The deal is expected to become official when Babcock’s contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs expires on June 30. Babcock hasn’t coached in the NHL since the 2018-19 season, when he spent 23 games behind the Maple Leafs bench.

Babcock will replace former Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen, who put together a 62-85-16 record in two seasons with the team.

Babcock has spent time as the head coach of the Ducks, Red Wings and Maple Leafs over the years. The 60-year-old bench boss had the most success with the Red Wings, as he led Detroit to a 458-223-105 record with the team. Babcock won the Stanley Cup in 2008 with the Red Wings.
Prior to the beginning of the 2015-16 season, Babcock was hired by the Maple Leafs as their next head coach. The Maple Leafs qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in three consecutive seasons, but never made it out of the first round.
Babcock was fired in Nov. 2019 after he faced multiple accusations of mistreating some of his players. Former Red Wings star Johan Franzen accused Babcock of being verbally abusive and Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios supported Franzen’s claims.
Andrew Brunette lands with Predators
The Nashville Predators parted ways with head coach John Hynes and announced that Andrew Brunette has been hired as the franchise’s next head coach.

Hynes tallied a 134-96-18 record in four seasons as the Predators head coach, but never could lead the team past the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 48-year old had one year remaining on his contract with Nashville.

Brunette spent the 2022-23 season as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils. He was named the associate head coach of the Florida Panthers in October 2021 after Joel Quenneville resigned as the team’s head coach. Following the 2021-22 season, the Panthers hired Paul Maurice as their next head coach. Florida did offer Brunette a significant assistant coach position with the franchise, but he chose to join the Devils’ coaching staff instead for the 2022-23 season.

During his time as the Panthers head coach, Brunette accumulated a 51-18-6 record and led the team to a first-place finish in the Atlantic Division.The Panthers ended up being eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that season.

Capitals tab Spencer Carbery as next head coach
The Washington Capitals have tabbed Spencer Carbery as their next head coach, the team announced on May 30. Carbery spent the 2022-23 season as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs after rising up through the minor leagues through the Capitals organization.

Prior to hiring Carbery, the Capitals elected to part ways with previous head coach Peter Laviolette following the 2022-23 campaign. Laviolette’s contract expired with Washington, so technically he wasn’t fired.

Carbery, 41, has made waves as a coach in the Capitals farm system in the past. He served as the head coach of the Capitals’ AHL affiliate Hershey Bears for three season and took them from a last-place team to the Calder Cup Playoffs. During the 2020-21 campaign, Carbery was named the AHL Coach of the Year after leading the Bears to a first-place finish.
In addition to his success in the AHL, Carbery also won ECHL Coach of the Year honors in 2014 during his time with the South Carolina Stingrays. During his time in the minor leagues, Carbery only had a team finish below .500 in one season.
The Capitals expressed interest in keeping Carbery within the organization following the 2021-22 season, but he accepted the assistant coach job with the Maple Leafs.
Carbery was in charge of the Maple Leafs’ power-play this past season and Toronto ended up thriving, as they converted 26% of their power-play opportunities — good for second in the NHL behind the Edmonton Oilers.

Panthers vs. Golden Knights picks, NHL odds, Game 5 predictions from hockey model

The Florida Panthers hope to begin their second major series comeback this postseason when they visit the Vegas Golden Knights for Game 5 of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday. After edging Pittsburgh and Buffalo by one point for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, Florida trailed Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston 3-1 in their first-round matchup before rallying to shock the hockey world. The Panthers find themselves in an identical situation against Vegas, which looks to avoid joining the 1942 Detroit Red Wings as the only teams to squander a 3-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

Opening faceoff at T-Mobile Arena is set for 8 p.m. ET. Vegas is the -190 favorite (risk $190 to win $100) in the latest Golden Knights vs. Panthers odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over/under for total goals scored is 5.5. Before making any Panthers vs. Golden Knights picks, be sure to check out the NHL predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.

This model simulates every NHL game 10,000 times, taking into account factors like current form, individual matchups, injuries and short- and long-term trends when making NHL picks. The model seeks the best values on the money line, puck line and total.

Now, the model has its sights on Golden Knights vs. Panthers and just locked in its picks and Stanley Cup Final predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the NHL odds from Caesars Sportsbook and trends for Panthers vs. Golden Knights:

Golden Knights vs. Panthers money line: Vegas -190, Florida +158
Golden Knights vs. Panthers over/under: 5.5 goals
Golden Knights vs. Panthers puck line: Vegas -1.5 (+143)
VGK: The Golden Knights are 15-0 this postseason when scoring at least three goals
FLA: The Panthers are 7-8 all-time when facing elimination in the playoffs
Golden Knights vs. Panthers picks: See picks at SportsLine
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Why the Golden Knights can win
Vegas has been an offensive juggernaut of late as it has outscored its opponents 23-9 over its last five games. The team has produced at least three goals in each of its 15 wins thus far this postseason, and is 35-0 when doing so in the playoffs since losing 5-4 in overtime to San Jose in Game 7 of its first-round series in 2019. Converting power-play opportunities also has been key for the Golden Knights as they are 9-1 when cashing in with the man advantage this postseason.

Jack Eichel, who did not appear in the playoffs in his first seven NHL seasons, is fourth in the league with 23 points. The 26-year-old center has gone 11 games without a goal but has notched five assists over the first four contests of this series. Jonathan Marchessault shares the postseason lead with 24 points and is riding a nine-game streak during which he has collected eight goals and six assists. The 32-year-old right wing has netted four tallies and set up three others in the Stanley Cup Final. See which team to pick here.

Why the Panthers can win
Florida should not be lacking confidence after the feat it pulled off against the mighty Bruins in the first round. Keeping Vegas’ offense at bay will be key as the Golden Knights are 15-0 this postseason when scoring three or more goals and 0-6 when recording fewer than three. The Panthers also have excelled in tight playoff contests, going 10-2 in one-goal games – including 7-0 in overtime.

Having Matthew Tkachuk, who is dealing with an undisclosed injury, in the lineup is imperative as the 25-year-old left wing is tied for the postseason lead with 24 points and shares third place with 11 goals. Florida also needs its other top offensive players to get going in order to become the fifth team in history to win multiple series in one postseason when facing multi-game deficits. Sam Reinhart has yet to land on the scoresheet in the Stanley Cup Final. Carter Verhaeghe and Aleksander Barkov (one goal, one assist apiece) have been blanked in three of the four games and Sam Bennett has notched only two assists. See which team to pick here.

How to make Golden Knights vs. Panthers picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Over on the total, as the simulations have the teams combining for 6.2 goals. It also says one side of the money line has all the value. You can only get the model’s pick at SportsLine.

Stanley Cup Final results, recap of the entire postseason

The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, after quite a wild ride, are over. The Vegas Golden Knights made relatively quick work of the Florida Panthers in the Final, ending the series with a 9-3 Game 5 win on Tuesday.

It caps what a postseason that was full of surprises.

The Boston Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy and entered the playoffs after setting new NHL records for wins (64) and points (135). Boston couldn’t even make it out of the first round though, as the Panthers pulled off a historic upset in Game 7 to knock them out.

In the West, the Colorado Avalanche looked ready to defend their title as champions, but that didn’t last long. Instead, Vegas was the final team standing in the West and eventually the league.

Drexel basketball player Terrence Butler found dead in on-campus apartment

Drexel basketball player Terrence Butler was found dead in his apartment Wednesday morning, the university announced. Butler was entering his third season at Drexel and was enrolled in the university’s engineering college after starring in high school at Bishop McNamara in Forestville, Maryland.

“On behalf of the entire Drexel community, we extend our deepest sympathy to Terrence’s family, friends and teammates,” Drexel president John Fry said in a statement. “In addition to being a student-athlete, Terrence was involved in numerous activities and organizations at Drexel and was a friend to many throughout the University community.”

Butler appeared in eight games over his two seasons with the Dragons as the 6-foot-7 forward was hampered by injuries that limited his on-court impact. He claimed a spot on the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll in each of his two seasons with the program.

In high school, Butler was a McDonald’s All-American honoree and named Bishop McNamara’s 2019 most valuable player. He followed sisters Tasia (James Madison) and Tiara (Syracuse) in playing Division I college basketball. The university did not reveal a cause of death.

“We hope that all in need of healing can find solace int he days ahead,” Fry wrote.

Vicente Luque bests Rafael dos Anjos in first fight since brain bleed

Vicente Luque did not live up to his reputation as a ruthless finisher, but he showcased important new wrinkles to his game and overcame a year’s worth of adversity. A well-rounded Luque stifled the gameplan of Rafael dos Anjos to earn a unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Saturday’s combatants had a lot to fight for. Luque was sidelined for a year after suffering a brain bleed in his first career knockout loss against Geoff Neal. Dos Anjos, a former lightweight champion, recently made the move to welterweight permanent in pursuit of being world champ again.

All respect to these two after going all 5 rounds 👏 #UFCVegas78

— UFC (@ufc) August 13, 2023
Luque has finished 13 opponents in 14 UFC fights — the third highest finish per win percentage in UFC history — but stopping one of UFC’s most experienced and battle-tested veterans is a tough ask. Dos Anjos’ gameplan was rather straight forward: punch his way inside and take down the younger, harder striker.

Luque not only showed significant improvements in his takedown defense but he also displayed poise and maturity in scoring his own takedowns. RDA finally opened up in Round 5 with his striking and was doing rather well, but it was too little too late. Luque scored a career-best five takedowns.

“It’s a miracle I’m here. I’ve never feared anything but I feared never coming back in here,” Luque said in his post-fight interview. “In the first round, I was afraid of being hit. It’s been a year. I didn’t know how I’d react.”

Luque bounced back from the first consecutive losses of a professional career boasting more than 30 fights. Dos Anjos is 1-1 in his last two as he closes in on 50 pro bouts at 38 years old.

Luque called for an opponent ranked inside the UFC’s official top five as he makes a run towards UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards.

Details emerge on why 76ers star called Daryl Morey a liar as NBA continues investigation

James Harden publicly called Philadelphia 76ers general manager Daryl Morey “a liar” at a recent event in China, and now, we at least have some idea about why. As the NBA continues its probe into the drama in Philadelphia, Shams Charania is reporting that Harden told the league that his comments referred to his trade request earlier this offseason.

Harden said that Morey promised to trade him quickly following his decision to pick up his $35.6 million player option for next season, according to Charania.

Instead, the 76ers have now ceased trade discussions involving Harden and plan to keep him into the season. Morey has said on the record that he would only trade Harden for “either a very good player or something that we can turn into a very good player.” No such offer is known to have materialized, and discussions with the Los Angeles Clippers, Harden’s preferred destination, have seemingly gone nowhere.

Harden will turn 34 this offseason, and has now requested three trades since the 2020 offseason. He is coming off of yet another playoff disappointment and has never been known for his conditioning or defense. His trade value, for now, appears limited.

Notably, however, the NBA’s investigation was focused on whether or not the Harden situation involved any salary cap circumvention. Last offseason, Harden took a one-year deal with that $35.6 million player option in an effort to give the 76ers more flexibility to improve the roster around him. Rumors have suggested that the arrangement would eventually be followed up by a long-term contract this offseason, though there has been no credible reporting suggesting that Philadelphia made an illegal agreement with Harden about a future contract.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne have reported that Harden plans to report to Philadelphia’s training camp in September. Of course, Harden has never actually held out while seeking a trade. He has, however, displayed a history of playing poor basketball while awaiting a deal. He arrived at training camp for the 2020-21 season with the Houston Rockets late and visibly out of shape. In his final game with the Brooklyn Nets, he scored just four points in a loss to the Sacramento Kings.

Harden’s future in Philadelphia remains murky, but Morey’s history suggests that he will not make a poor deal just to get rid of Harden. He kept the disgruntled Ben Simmons for most of the 2021-22 season as he awaited a suitable trade. He eventually found one with Brooklyn that landed him Harden. That deal certainly didn’t come together quickly. Harden claims Morey promised him that this one would, but for now, it appears to be on hold until something changes.

Heat star Bam Adebayo criticizes NBA players who miss games due to load management

I don’t think we’ll be seeing Bam Adebayo sitting out games due to load management any time soon. The Miami Heat All-Star forward recently shared his opinion on players around the league who often miss games due to load management, and he’s certainly not a fan of the concept.

During an appearance on the “To Inspire” podcast, Adebayo shared why he doesn’t agree with load management.

“A lot of guys sitting, like load management, that kind of bothers me in a sense,” Adebayo said. “You have a lot of kids and parents who want to see you play. You have kids who probably come from the inner city, and their parents make a way to put them all the way up in the stands, and then for you to find out you’re not playing. And it’s because you feel like ‘I gotta load manage and be prepared, ready for this.’ I remember as a kid, I would’ve gave my last dollar and my foot to go see Kobe Bryant play. I know if I felt like that it’s a lot of other kids that felt like that.”

It’s not surprising Adebayo thinks that way about load management, because over his six years in the NBA he averages 70 games a season. He’s only played fewer than 60 games just once, and that was due to injury which forced him to miss a month-and-a-half. Adebayo also isn’t the only player who has spoken out in opposition of the practice, Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star guard Anthony Edwards also shared a similar opinion during All-Star Weekend in February.

However, load management often doesn’t come from a player necessarily wanting to sit out of a game, it’s typically a decision made by several parties including coaches, the training staff and player. Golden State Warriors MVP guard Stephen Curry shared back in January the misconception around load management when this debate was at its height.

“I campaign to play every game,” Curry said. “That’s the misconception about load management and how it goes. It’s never the player that’s saying, ‘Hey, I want to sit.’ For all those people worried about that part of our league and all that, it’s usually not the player that’s going to the training staff and saying, ‘Hey, I don’t have it tonight.’ It’s usually the other way around and there’s a lot of science involved.”

Kawhi Leonard is regularly criticized for load management, however he’s struggled with injuries for several years, so not playing every back-to-back game makes sense. The same goes for someone like LeBron James, who despite incredible durability for most of his career, has dealt with injuries in recent seasons. That’s resulted in James missing games due to load management so his body isn’t overworked during the regular season.

It’s admirable that Adebayo is thinking about the fans who could potentially miss their favorite player in action, but it’s not as if most guys want to just sit out. This might be one of those moments where once a player has been in the league for over a decade you start to see the value in trying to preserve your body in order to extend your career. So perhaps we’ll revisit this when Adebayo is in Year 15 and see what he thinks then.

Knicks suing Raptors over former employee allegedly taking proprietary information, per report

The New York Knicks have sued the Toronto Raptors and several members of their organization, according to SNY’s Ian Begley. At the center of the suit is former Knicks employee Ikechukwu Azotam, whom Toronto began recruiting in June and ultimately hired this offseason. The suit alleges that Azotam “illegally procured and disclosed proprietary information” from the Knicks upon leaving the team and shared that information with the Raptors.

“These files include confidential information such as play frequency reports, a prep book for the 2022-23 season, video scouting files and materials and more,” according to a statement issued to Begley. “Given the clear violation of our employment agreement, criminal and civil law, we were left no choice but to take this action.”

Azotam, a former assistant video coordinator for the Knicks who held multiple positions between 2020-23, started getting recruited by Toronto in June and informed the Knicks that he was offered a position in July, according to Begley. The lawsuit alleges that he “conspired to use Azotam’s position as a current Knicks insider to funnel proprietary information to the Raptors to help them organize, plan, and structure the new coaching and video operations staff” under first-time head coach Darko Rajakovic.

Begley reported that the suit claims that the Raptors “directed Azotam to misuse his access to the Knicks’ subscription to Synergy Sports to create and then transfer to the Raptors over 3,000 files consisting of film information and data.'” Synergy Sports is a video and analytics tool frequently used by both teams and media companies (including CBS Sports).

Following the report, the Raptors released this statement:

“MLSE and the Toronto Raptors received a letter from MSG on Thursday of last week bringing this complaint to our attention. MLSE responded promptly, making clear our intention to conduct an internal investigation and to fully cooperate. MLSE has not been advised that a lawsuit was being filed or has been filed following its correspondence with MSG. The company strongly denies any involvement in the matters alleged. MLSE and the Toronto Raptors will reserve further comment until this matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.”

Typically, disputes between teams are handled internally within the league. However, due to the possible legal violations at play here, the Knicks seemingly believe that what allegedly happened here exceeds the scope of league discipline and needs court intervention.