Is 2013 A.J. Burnett’s swan song?

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starting pitcher may be calling it quits after the 2013 season.

“I know it’s going to come up,” Burnett said, . “These guys [teammates] keChristmas party this season.Bruce says the players are ‘sensible enough’ to know ‘there isn’t enough time’ to have a Christmas party this year because of the Magpies’ packed fixture schedule.”I don’t think there will be time for a Christmas party, buep getting on me about it. They keep saying, ‘Two more [years]! Two more!’ I don’t know. We’ll see.”

Burnett is 36 and in the last year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract he signed with the Yankees before the 2009 season. H has been given a warning about his move to Chelsea this past week.The Ajax midfielder will join the Blues this summer and found himself struggling against a physical Getafe for Thursday’s 2-0 Europa League defeat in Madrid.Van der Gijp reasoned: “Yoe was traded to Pittsburgh before last season.

There are a few more reasons he might be ready to hang up the cleats for good. In the triblive.com story, Burnett mentions his two kids, who are 12 and nine ywill return after the international break.The pair have missed the last two weeks of action.”Yeah, they’re not ready for tomorrow,” the manager revealed ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Bournemouth.”Probably after the international break. That is alwears old. Personal accomplishment won’t likely keep him in the game, as he already has two World Series rings, a win in the World Series and a no-hitter under his belt. He’s also 29 strikeouts from 2,000 on his career, so he’ll get there this season. Anything beyond that is likely unattainable.

Also, Burnett will have made more than $120 million in his career.

Add it all up, and it’s easy to see why this could be Burnett’s last year.

Worth noting: Burnett told triblive.com that if he did keep playing, he wouldn’t want it to be anywhere but Pittsburgh. It could be lip service, but that’s what he said.

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ebakio is in demand this summer.The Belgian attack

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The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Giants outfielder was removed from Wednesday’s Cactus League game against the Reds due to an illness. Torresisons with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp this season.Norwich face the Reds at Anfield on the opening day of the season in August.“No, it’s not annoying,” Farke said when asked about his reaction to people contrasting the two.“In general it is a goo was thrown out trying to stretch sign Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.Speaking on RMC, Villeneuve says Real are desperate to take thrth £320m over eight years.The life insurance company has been on Spurs’ shirts since 2013, but the new deal is a significant rise in revenue for the Champions League finalists.It matches the reported £40m-a-year deal Chelsea signed in 2015 with Yoe France World Cup winner to Spain.He said, “I learned that little (Ferland) Mendy was going to Real and (Eden) Hazard was a priority, just lika triple and looked to be at less than full speed.

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Podcast: Yankees team preview

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In this episode of the podcast, Chris and Mike Axisa discuss how the luxury tax impacted the and their strengths and weaknesses heading into the season.

Is this the worst Yankee team on paper in recent memory? How did the luxury tax impact the club? We go around the infield, starting with catcher. What type of performance can the team expect out of their , combo? Is a good fit for the park? What are the timetables for and ?We transition to the outfield, where the team is making some defensive changes. How will handle center field? What will the team do with , who is going to be a free agent at the end of the year?Time to talk about the rotation. How much of a concern is it that the team has some aging pitchers, , and Andy Pettitte, at the top of the rotation? What can we expect from and ?In the bullpen, the team will Manchester United are ready to bid for Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye.The PSG-40m-rated-Evl for Liverpool winger Ryan Kent hasn’t changed.Gerrard admits Rangers’ £10m Europa League windfall will not trigger a renewed swoop for Ryan Kent – but he has pulled the shutters down on any clubs looking to snatch away his top stars.“Nothing herton-star-Idrissa-Gueye.html”>Daily MailPSG-40m-rated-Everton-star-Idrissa-Gueye.html”> says the Toffees are believed to be open to the idea of selling Gueye but want to recoup a fee of around £40million for the player, who has three years left on his contract.Manchester United consider the Everton midfielder to be a good anchor man to play alongside Paul Pogba in the middle of the park. The France international benefited from having N’Golo Kante mop up behind him as Les Bleus triumphed in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.The Red Devils are looking to replicate this partnership but with Gueye at Old Trafford in the hope it will get the best out of their £89million man.get Mariano Rivera back. Is this the season he finally declines? With Rivera, and , can this be one of the top bullpens in the gamegue final because of their togetherness.The Reds are back in the showpiece event of European football a year after losing at this stage to Real Madrid.Shaqiri, who arrived from Stoke City in the summer, believes there is a real resilience and camarad?It’s decision time. Mike tells you if he thinks the Yankees are a contender in a tough AL East.Make sure to follow Mike on Twitter . I can be found .

You can listen to the podcast in our popout player, which can be found

We would also encourage you to .

This episode runs a little more than 45 minutes.

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, with Norwich beating Manchester City headlining

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Cardinals startiIan Carlo Poveda to leave for Leeds United.Guardiola was asked after the FA Cup win over Fulham why City had let Poveda go and went on to explain why he thinks Leeds will be a good fit.”Because he’s young, he has to play, he’s not able [to play here]ng pitcher isn’t considering retirement despite the unlikelihood of him pitching in 2013 because of recurring neck, shoulder and arm issues. “I don’t think I’ll ever retire, to be honest with you, I’ll never say that word,” he said. “There might always be hope. Maybe when I’m 48 I can come back and do it some more.” Carpenter will remain away from the team while he recovers from his latest setback. If my arm is what it is like now, at some point in time you have to be like, ‘All right, enough’s enough,'” Carpenter said. “You can only push it so mu the Hammers have communicated to Bilbao they will meet the €30m option in Nunez’s contract to bring him to London in January.Nunez, 22, is ready to leave Bilbao after finding himself on the fringes of the first team this season behind fellow defench. I can’t pitch with the way that Ies fan attacked Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish last season, reports BBC Sport,Paul Mitchell ran onto the pitch and hit Grealish from behind during March’s Championship derby between the sides.Mitchell was jailed for 14 weeks on 11 March.An indepen feel right now. It’s not fair to anyone. I’m going to go ahead and rest it and wait until our guys get back. … We’ll just have to see what happens through time.”

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Reds’ Johnny Cueto diagnosed with ‘mild oblique strain,’ return for NLDS in question

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(Getty Imgaes)

CINCINNATI — After  starter left Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Saturday, the team called the injury a back spasm. On Tuesday, Reds trainer Paul Lessard said the injury has been diagnosed as a mild oblique strain, which casts further doubt on Cueto’s avquality of summer arrival Giovani Lo Celso.For the draw with Sheffield United on Saturday, Lo Celso completed 90 minutes for the first time since joining on loan from Real Betis.”Gio has come in and been excellent, he’s shown his quality,” said Winksailability not just for the NLDS but the entire postseason.

Cueto threw only eight pitches before exiting Game 1, and the team expressed hope he could return. Lessard said Tuesday the team has yet to decide whether to send Cueto for an MRI — and it’s unsure if or when he can return.

Cueto’s oblique might affect him more because of his extreme twisting motion. The issue is Cueto’s right oblique, which irated Blues boss Frank Lampard saw the winter market shut on Friday without a signing being made.Instead, Chelsea are set for a big spending summer and ESPN says high on their shopping list will be Ziyech.Ziyech is also being tracked by Manchester Uns opposite of most oblique strains. Pitchers and hitters usually have oblique injuries on their front side.

“They said he’s getting better, but we don’t know what ‘better’ is,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said in Tuesday’s pregame news conference. “So it’s a question. I mean, that’s a volatile area. You’ve seen the obliques: Sometimes they hang around for a while, and sometimes they don’t hang around for a while. We don’t know the severity of it. He came in yesterday and got treatment all day long, Mane says they’ve learned from last season’s title collapse.The Reds are 14 points clear at the top of the table going into Sunday’s game with Wolves and seem certain to end a title drought that has lasted since 1990.”We have learned from the mistakeso right now I would just be guessing to let you know how he is exactly right now. In a nutshell, we don’t know.”

When asked about the team’s Game 4 starter, if necessary, Baker said the team wouldn’t make a decision until after Tuesday’s Game 3. The Reds lead the best-of-5 series with the two games to none. Baker said he’d be reluctant to use , who pitched four innings of relief in Game 1. However, if the team doesn’t put Cueto on the DL, he’d be the most rested starter the team has.

“You would rather not because you don’t go through the year with guys pitching on four days’ rest,” Baker said. “Right now, we don’t have any decision on a Game 4 starter. Right now, it depends on what happens today and then we will make that decision after the game. I would like to not even have that decision to make, to tell you the truth. That would be the epitome of a good day, you know, would be for Homer to throw a good day and we can worry about somebody else starting the next series. A lot depends on [Tuesday].”

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Johan Santana done for season with back injury

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(US Presswire)

starting pitcher is expected to be out for the rest of the season after an MRI revealed lower back inflammation, the Mets announced Wednesday.

Santana will not require surgery, only medication and rest. Thus, it’s a good bet he will return with a clean bill of health next spring. At this point, that’s the most important thing for both sides, as Santana is due $25.5 million next season.

Santana, 33, ends what has to be considered a successful comeback season. The numbers as a whole don’t look great, as he ends 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, but there’s some necessary context here.

First of all, Santana was coming off a very sallana admits he remains in the dark over plans for his future.Lallana is off contract in June, though has intimated he won’t seek a move away this month.He told talkSPORT: “It’s easy to keep working.“I’m enjoying playing for the best team in the werious shoulder injury that conte admits he’d like to see Real Madrid midfielder Brahim Diaz playing consistently.De la Fuente also admits being disappointed seeing Dani Olmo leave Dinamo Zagreb for RB Leipzig, insteads with crisis club Atletico Madrid for Thomas Lemar.The Leganes-stalemate-Arsenal-continue-talks.html” target=”_blank”>Daily Mail says Lemar was left out of Atletico Madrid’s squad as the Spanish side’s poor form continued with a goalless draw at hom of returning to Spain.He said, “Dani Olmo is always right wheuld have ended his career. He was able to make a full recovery by opening day this season, which was long in question. Then consider that Santana was 6-4 with a 2.76 ERA through his first 16 starts, among them the first no-hitter in Mets franchise history on June 1.

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A’s place Seth Smith on DL

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Bad news for the improved helsea legend John Terry believes they are in the best position to finish fourth in the Premier League.The Blues have seen their lead cut down after losing to Manchester United at home on Monday night.And they have the small matter of Tottenham cominyet still precarious offehape when Arsene Wenger was in charge.Many Gunners fans were tired of Wenger by the end of his spell, given the team had fallen away from being a regular in the Champions League under the Frenchman.The arrival of Spaniard Unai Emery was meant to ushense, as OF/DH has been forced to the DL because of a strained hamstring.

Smith, who has a solid of 112 on the season, injured himself while running out a grounder on Thursday night. While he’s started 27 games at DH this season, he’s also spent 436.0 innings in the field.

The A’s have rr Herrera admits PSG won’t be his last club.The former Manchester United midfielder hopes to close out his career back in Spain, where he shone for Real Zaragoza and Athletic Bilbao.”I was immensely happy in Bilbao, but I am from Zaragoza, which is seplaced Smith on the active roster with outfielder Michael Taylor. The 26-year-old Taylor, who was once a highly regarded prospect, had a brief and unsuccessful call-up in May. He’s hitting .301/.413/.471 at Triple-A Sacramento.

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Pirates fail to sign RHP Mark Appel

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(US Presswire)

Stanford right-hander Mark Appel — the projected No. 1 pick who fell to 8th in last month’s draft — did not sign with the Pirates at Friday’s deadline. He will return to Stanford for his senior season, as he and his advisor, Scott Boras, had threatened. The Pirates will receive the No. 9 pick in next year’s draft as compensation. He was the only first-rounder who didn’t sign.

“After much thought, prayer and analysis of both opportunities, I came to the conclusion the best decision is to remain at Stanford continuing my studies, finishing my degree, and doing all I can to assist the Cardinal baseball team in our goal to win a national championship,” Appel said in a statement. “I greatly valued the prospect of a professional opportunity and I will pursue a professional baseball career after getting my Stanford degree. I appreciate the love, support, and guidance from everyone who helped me make this decision.”

Earlier Friday, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reported it was unlikely Appel would sign. Pittsburgh had reportedly offered a $3.8 million signing bonus — $1 million less than top pick Carlos Correa of the Astros and $900,000 more than the suggesting slot bonus of $2.9 million. Pittsburgh had a draft cap of $6.56 million and spent $2.58 million on its 16 picks.

“We were unable to reach an agreement with first round selection Mark Appel and bring him into our already strong organization,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington man is expected to replace Milan coach Stefano Pioli at the end of this season.Alessandro Jacobone of Radio Rossonera rev in the Carabao Cup.Watford managed a convincing 3-0 win in the second round clash against the lower division side.And their boss believes it will give them confidence going into a key Premier League game against Newcastle at the weekend.He said to realed yesterday: “He [Rangnick] has been watching AC Milan games on TV for 3 months and after every game writat Southampton.Daniel James gave United a 10th-minute lead but Jannik Vestergaard levelled in the second-half to earn a point for 10-man Southampton, who had Kevin Danso sent off.Pogba was particularly poor in a wasteful United side that again faileding a report.“Hesaid in a statement released by the team. “Our final offer exceeded the available bonus pool money and was essentially up to the last dollar we could offer prior to falling into the second tier penalty which would have resulted in the loss of a first round draft selection. While, as we have shown in past years, we are willing to be aggressive with our financial offer, we simply did not feel it was in the best interest of the organization to forfeit our first round selection in the 2013 amateur draft.”Selecting Mark was a calculated risk, as we knew he would be a difficult sign. As an organization, we need to continue to take these types of calculated risks. While we would’ve preferred to add Mark to the group of talented prospects in our system, we wish Mark, and his family, nothing but success in the future.”

The Nationals were able to agree to a deal with California high school right-hander Lucas Giolito late in the process, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman confirmed. J the Nationals gave Giolito a signing bonus of $2,925,000.

Also signing near the deadline was No. 5 pick, right-hander Kevin Gausman of LSU. According to Heyman, Gausman received a signing bonus of $4.32 million. Gausman tweeted the news of his signing with Baltimore just after the 5 p.m. ET deadline for picks to sign:

Happy to be the newest member of the Baltimore Orioles organization!!! Living my dream!! !

— Kevin Gausman (@KevinGausman)

Earlier Friday afternoon, the Rays announced the signing of Clemson third baseman Richie Shaffer, the 21st overall pick. Shaffer received a signing bonus of $1,712,500, according to Callis.

Friday morning, the Marlins agreed to a deal with left-hander Andrew Heaney, the ninth overall pick. Heaney, from Oklahoma State, will received a $2.6 million signing bonus.

Late Thursday night, the signed New Mexico right-hander Ty Hensley for a $1.2 million bonus. The two had agreed to a $1.6 million bonus, but an MRI showed an abnormality in his right shoulder, sending the two sides back to negotiations.

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NL West Notes: Geoff Blum, Dexter Fowler, Jeremy Guthrie, Luiz Cruz

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The swap an ailing utility man for a healthy one; the deal with soreness and make a slight rotation change; the Dodgers add a utility man of their own from the minors.

Arizona Geoff Blum (oblique) from the 60-day disabled list, the team announced via Twitter. The 39-year-old utility man has played just eight games this season, the last as a pinch-hitter April 16th. Blum made just 12 starts last season and will see a similar role this season, serving as a switch-hitting bench bat. He hit a modest .224/.309/ys Manchester United teammate Mason Greenwood has been working hard on the training field.17-year-old Greenwood grasped his first-team opportunities with both hands against Astana on Thursday night, scoring the winning goal in the 1-0 victory over Ol.408 last season in 55 plate appearancesTo make room for Blum, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a back injury. McDonald is an ace glove at shortstop and has provided some rare pop in 2012 with aJames admits he draws inspiration from club legend Ryan Giggs.James is delighted to be playing for the Wales coach.”Giggsy, as soon as I came into the Wales set up, had ambitions for me,” James said.”The way he brought me and a lot of other youngster .488 slugging percentage (.332 career). The need for a slick-glove shortstop is lessened by ‘s return from injury, as both he and can hapies manager has been offered an extension to his current deal, which expires on June 30.But despite briefly chatting to managing director Lee Charnley at the club’s training ground on Monday, Benitez has given no indication as to whether he is goingndle the position. Monday as he deals with a sore lat muscle, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. Wednesday in order to take some pressure off and Christian Friedrich, Tracy Ringolsby of Root Sports reports. This is the first deviation from the Rockies’ four-man rotation since moving to it June 20th. The infielder Luiz Cruz from Triple-A Albuquerque, Dylan Hernandez of the Times reports. Cruz is a career .221/.275/.260 hitter in 56 games at the level but the 28-year-old has destroyed the Pacific Coast League this year, hitting .318 with eight home runs in 74 games. Shawn Tolleson was optioned and Ted Lilly was shifted to the 60-day DL to make room for Cruz.

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Bryan LaHair to RF; Anthony Rizzo to Chicago?

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Fact: The have moved Bryan LaHair to right field. Assumption: The Cubs have moved Bryan LaHair to right field because they will soon call up top prospect Anthony Rizzo, who plays first base, which is LaHair’s old position.

That’s how Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune . LaHair was in the lineup in right on Monday against the White Sox, and besides hitting his 13th homer of the season, he also made a nifty play on a Gordon Beckham liner. As for the obvious implications of LaHair’s powin over Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday.Pepe, who has struggled in his early games for the Gunners, finished off some fine work from Wilffour threat on Monday night.It’s claimed Chelsea are seeking revenge for a 4-0 opening-day defeat at Old Trafford back in August, but Kante insists the only ambition in the dressing room is to solidify their position in the top four.”We are having anried Zaha with a cheeky backheel finish to make it 2-0.Crystal Palace winger Zaha then got one of his onesition switch, basebal of their summer transfer budget.The Gunners have finally caved to Saint-Etienne’s demand that the 18-year-old return to play for them next season.Saliba’s potential is considered worthy of the wait, despite Unai Emery not getting immediate help for l-ops honco Theo Epstein was tellingly coy: “You see the lineup tonight,” Epstein told Sullivan. “We might be taking a look at players in different positions to allow the team to be in a position to succeed when we do potentially make a move.”

The 22-year-old Rizzo is presently hitting .364/.426/.745 at Triple-A Iowa, so, yeah, a call-up is a tad overdue.

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After optioning Lind, Blue Jays put struggling first baseman on outright waivers

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A day after optioning Adam Lind to Triple-A, the put the struggling first baseman on outright waivers on Friday, a mornd Leno has confessed he had a “tough day” after defeat at home to Chelsea.Arsenal were heading for their first win under new boss Mikel Arteta when a Leno howler gifted Chelsea an equaliser at the Emirates. The mistake was the turning point in the ve that shows their frustration with him and one that would allow tho to Liverpool – if Villa go down.The historic Premier League club are fighting for their lives, and will have to get enough points to stay up when the season resumes.But Phillips thinks despite the host of clubs that want to sign Grealish, he has eyem to remove him from the 40-man major-league roster.The Blue Jays didn’t announce the move, but two major-league sources told CBSSports.com that Lind showed up on the waiver wire Friday.Outright waivers are irrevocable, so if any team puts in a claim on Lind, the Blue Jays would lose him. But Lind’s contract, which pays him $5 million this year and next year and includes three club options that guarantee him another $3.5 million, makes a clacan lead them to the very top.The Spaniard is under a lot of pressure from fans, especially after the loss to Leicester City at the weekend, stretching the club’s winless run to five.But the Gunners board is behind Emery, as it believes he is still oim fairly unlikely.Lind, who is still just 28 years old, is only three years removed from a season where he hit .305 with 35 home runs and 114 RBI. His production fell off the next two seasons, and this year he was hitting .186 with just three home runs in 118 at-bats at the time he was sent down.The move to option Lind to Triple-A was taken by some to mean that the team just wanted to see if he could figure things out. The move to put him on outright waivers suggests that the Blue Jays would simply prefer to be rid of him.The Blue Jays have more roster moves coming, with Vladimir Guerrero expected to join the club as soon as he works himself into shape. Blue Jays people are telling friends with other teams that more moves are expected on Monday.

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Lakers’ Jim Buss: I’ll quit if club doesn’t contend ‘in 3 or 4 years’

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owner and head of basketball operations Jim Buss says he told his family business during a January business meeting that he will step down if the Lakers do not return to contention within “threed to have held onto Neymar this summer.Despite the player being angry after being blockeRakitic, according to the Daily Record.The Red Devils want to sign the World Cup finalist for a fee of around £30m.However, the Blaugrana are not willing to sell 30-year-old Rakitic for less than €55m.There is still hope of a deal getting done as d from returning to Barcelona, PSG powerbrokers are happy to have kept hold of him.PSG chief Jerome Chaunac told UOL Esporte, “We will talk with Neymar to know hi or fours years.” From the Los Angeles Times: 

“I was laying myself on the line by saying, if this doesn’t work in three to four years, if we’re not back on the top — and the definition of top means contending for thrent performances.Sunday’s draw with Aston Villa leaves United ninth in the table and 22 points behind leaders Liverpool.”There won’t be an acceptance from the fans, Ole, his staff or people at the club,” Scholes told Sky Sports News. “They know it’se Western Conference, contending for a championship — then I will step down because that means I have failed,” he told The Times about the meeting. “I don’t know if you can fire yourself if you own the team … but what I would say is I’d walk away and you guys figure out who’s going to run basketball operations because I obviously couldn’t do the job.

“There’s no question in my mind we will accomplish success. I’m not worried about putting myself on the line.”

via .

Buss has been under heat since taking over operations several years ago. It has been widely reported that the decisions to let Phil Jackson go after 2011 was his call, that the decision to bring in Mike Brown, fire Mike Brown, then hire Mike D’Antoni over Jackson were also his. 

Meanwhile, in a year they expected to take a step back from contention due to ‘s departure but still be in the mix, the Lakers put up the worst record in franchise history. Injuries to almost all of the Lakers, but especially and , had a huge impact on that, but it also reflects the awful team they put around them, signing players like ,  and . 

The Lakers gave Bryant a two-year, $49 million extension before he had even returned from his Achilles injury, then watched him go down with a fractured leg after six games. They are cap strapped with aging assets, as Nash has indicated he won’t retire, freeing up the $10 million owed to him. 

Buss will have cap space in 2015, however, with room to remake the team with starpower, especially should opt out of his contract. But the Lakers have also indicated they intend to re-sign , which could further limit their ability to improve. 

Either way, it’s a bold move by the younger Buss to put himself on the line like that, especially as the Times reports on younger siblings with basketball backgrounds waiting to potentially take over. 

The Lakers recently signed GM Mitch Kupchak to a multi-year deal on the eve of clinching the worst record in franchise history. 

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e against the Hawks, according to the team’s offic

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forward made his on Thursday, and remains on track for Friday’s game against the Hawks, according to the team’s offici United and Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov thinks Spurs should not hire Jose Mourinho.There are rumours suggesting that Mourinho is primed for a return to the Premier League, after he rejected French giants Lyon in the past week.Spurs boss Maurical website. Davis missed Wednesday’s game against the Raptors due to upper evealed Cristiano Ronaldo wants him to join Juventus.At Hazard says he’s happy to embrace the demands of being a Real Madrid player.The Belgian insists he’s joined to win things.He told @jayshetty: “When you play for Real Madrid you need to win things every season. “You need to win, win, win. If you don’ the final whistle of Portugal’s Nations League win over Holland, Ronaldo and De Ligt were seen laughing.And the Ajax defender was asked what they’d been talking about.“Ronaldo asked me to comerespirator infection. He is averaging 34.3 points and 14.3 rebounds over his past four appearances. In 58 games, he’s averaging 21.4 points, 10.4 boards and 2.9 blocks per contest.

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VIDEO: Kawhi Leonard’s alley-oop dunk from Boris Diaw in Game 5

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The fell down 22-6 in Game 5 of the Finals on Sunday, but they did not panic, not in the least. They hit the with a 12-0 run in the first quarter and, in the second, Leicester City have signed Belgium attacking midfielder Dennis Praet from Sampdoriafor a reports £18m.The 25 year old made 34 Serie A appearances last season and Sampdoria boss Eusebio di Francesco has described him as “ld has spent the past seven years at the club, but his deal is due to expire in the summer.The Mirrorsays Leeds are willing to offer the defender a renewal in the coming weeks.Berardi has not played regularly this term, starting only four games this one of the best midfielders in Italy”.kept pushing.

The passing we’ve come to expect from the Spurs is still on display, even if the shots aren’tstriker Rushian Hepburn-Murphy on a season-long loan.The 20-year-old, who has been capped by England from under-16 to under-20 level, played against Tranmere while on loan at Cambridge United last season.A Villa academy graduate, Hepburn-Murphy has p falling as often. Take this pretty play from and , where the latter stretches out to finish the play in the air:

With 8:34 left in the first half, San Antonio trails Miami 33-26. Leonard has a team-high 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting.

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Playoff Assist: Highlighting the weekend’s top playoff contributors

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The NBA Playoffs are in full swing and we’re taking a look at the players, lineups, and moments assisting teams the most during the postseason action.

The assist is always crediting the passer in the game of basketball, but it still requires the player receiving the ball to knock down he shot. Trevor Ariza helped the passers of the ‘ rack up assists and the team deliver a huge Game 4 loss to the Bulls with his 30-point effort. Nine of Ariza’s 10 made baskets were assisted, coming from , , and others in the half court and in transition. When Ariza has big games and shoots well from outside, the Wizards are just better.

Ariza has hit three or more 3-pointers in a game 33 times this season including the playoffs, with the Wizards winning 22 of those games. They’re 2-0 against the Bulls in the playoffs when this happens. When Ariza scores 20 points or more this season including the playoffs, Washington is 13-6. More Ariza success translates to Wizards’ success. 

The Toronto Raptors dropped home court advantage in the first game when they lost to the , and they’ve been trying to pick ord attacker Dodi Lukebakio has set his own transfer valuation.The Belgian, who spent last season on loan with Fortuna Dusseldorf, said he would be worth paying a substantial fee for, due to both his ambition and ability.“Why would 20 million be toit back up ever since. They finally accomplished that when and combined for 46 points in a Game 4 victory in which the Nets couldn’t get anything going in the fourth quarter. DeRozan had 24 points on 7-of-19 shooting but went to the free throw line 11 times, making nine of them.

The Raptors dominated with Lowry on the court. He was a plus-14 in the game in scoring 22 points on 7-of-17 on the fihe new season full of confidence.Despite losing mainstays like Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich) and Diego Godin (Inter Milan), there’s a lot of excitement around Atleti’s incoming signings, including Joao Felix and Kieraeld while hobbling all over the court and battling foul trouble late. This is exactly what the Raptors needed to even up the series headed back to Toronto for two out of the next three games, if it goes the distance.

Last year in the Eastern Conference finals, I asked what the biggest difference was in facing the Miami Heat in 2012 in the playoffs and in the 2013 playoffs. Hibbert said the addition of the Birdman to the Heat was the big difference. Instead of an unreliable dump-off option when the Heat have dribble penetration, they added a big-time finisher at the rim who made shot blockers hesitate to rotate over.

He had 12 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes in the Game 3 victory over the . Despite being dunked on by earlier in the seres, he’s still in there trying to turn away shots and own the paint on both ends of the floor. The more he plays for the Heat, the better they seem to play.

The Indiana PCody Drameh is being watched by Liverpool.The Liverpool-scouts-impressed-17-year-old-Fulham-defender-Cody-Drameh.html”>Daily Mail says Liverpool are ready to make a move for Fulham’s teenage right back Drameh.Drameh, not 18 until December, has playedacers have been dying for Paul George to return to star form and we got to see it in Game 4 quite a bit. In 43 minutes of action, George had 24 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists as he led the Pacers to a must-win victory. When the scoring wing from the Pacers shoots better than 50 percent from the floor in this series, the Pacers win. In their two losses, George is shooting 9-of-29 from the floor. 

In the two victories, he’s shooting 19-of-34 from the field. If the Pacers can get their best player to score efficiently and be active all around the floor, they’ll avoid an embarrassing first round loss and buy themselves more time to right the ship before/if they face the Heat later in the playoffs. But they need him to be good in order to survive and advance.

‘s winning 3-pointer from the left corner was the buzz of the Dallas Mavericks’ Game 3 win over the , but Monta Ellis was the player who kept them in the game. His scoring in the fourth quarter put them in position to win the game on Carter’s shot. He was 5-of-5 from the field for 12 points in the final period and was the leading scorer in the league with 29 points. Monta Ellis have it all and the Mavs win.

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