Heat F Chris Bosh will not start or play normal minutes in Game 6 vs. Celtics

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carries the Thunder into the Finals. (Getty Images) BOSTON — Miami forward Chris Bosh will play more in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston . How much more remains the question.Bosp Guardiola does not think it is the end of the world if Manchester City fail to win the Champions League.Guardiola knows that fans and pundits are judging his City tenure on whether he can win Europe’s top club prize.They have failed to even reach th played 14 minutes off of Miami’s bench, scoring 9 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, but he sat out the entire fourth quarter of a Game 5 loss on Wednesday night Sun says Frank Lampard’s scouts are raving about the 22-year-old Brighton centre-half, who is starring on loan at high-flying Leeds this season.Lamps will make a big offer for White as he looks for an extra defender now Chelsea have been cleared to . The Celtics lead the Heat in the series 3-2. The Heat announced shortly before tip off that they would not change their Game 5 starting lineup, which includes guards and plus forwards , and .During his pre-game comments on Thursday, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra reiterated that Bosh would see more playing time in Game 6 than he did in Game 5 but that he probably wouldn’t see as many minutes as he would during a normal game.Spoelstra said that he was “much more comfortable” playing Bosh heavier minutes on Thursday but said: “I don’t think he’ll be able to play his normal load.”During the 2011-2012 season, Bosh averaged 35.2 minutes per game. During the postseason, Bosh has averaged 28.1 minutes per game.Spoelstra also said that he didn’t expect to use Bosh in a “normal rotation” but instead planned to get him into the game in shorter bursts “2-3” times per half.Bosh returned to play in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals after being sidelined for three weeks and missing nine games with an abdominal strain.Asked to measure his health on Wednesday, Bosh Jurgen Klopp is full of praise for Chris Wilder for his work at Sheffield United.The Blades host Liverpool today.Klopp said, “He’s incredible. I look forward to meeting him for the first time. I saw his team playing now, and it’s really interestin smiled and placed himself at “99 [percent],” saying he could play on Thursday with “no limitations.” He also noted that he was not dealing with any lingering pain.”There’s going to be some regular soreness after the game, which I’m used to,” Bosh said. “It’s nothing major.  Everybody feels it after every game.  So I consider myself a lucky guy, and I’ll be ready for [Thursday].” A return to the starting lineup seemed like a no-brainer based on Bosh’s self-diagnosis, but he opted for the politically correct answer when asked if he wanted to start.”I just want to play,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me.  I think we feel confident in whoever we put out there. And no matter what the rotation is and what the lineup, we’re good enough to get the job done.”  Spoelstra has already used three different starting lineups during the Eastern Conference finals.

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Brian Shaw confirms he’s the new head coach of the Denver Nuggets

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assistant Brian Shaw that he has been hired as the new head coach of the .

Shaw has led the ranks of assistant coach candidates for head coaching jobs for several seasons. He worked with the under Phil Jackson until 2011, then served under Frank Vogel in developing the up-and-coming Pacers.

The Nugg behind schedule.United host Newcastle United on Boxing Day having lost at Watford on Sunday.Solskjaer said, “At the moment we’re a little bit further behind than what I was hoping for.”He added: “We knew this season was going to be a season of some ets fired George Karl earlier thal days of coach Carlo Ancelotti’s time in charge.The players’ refuserns Liverpool could suffer from fatigue over the next few months.The Reds will play 43 fixtures from late-November until early January.But Mane insists “tiredness is all in the head”.”I think it is here,” Mane told Goal. “Honestly, I think it is allal to enter ritiro on the request of president Aurelio de Laurentiis eventually led to Ancelotti’s sacking.“I don’t want to go back and talk about Ancelotti, but we all made mistakis month, just days after GM Masai Ujiri left to take over basketball ops in Denver.

Shaw told the Post he does not expect to run Tex Winter’s triangle offense, made famous by Jackson.

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Report: Jarrett Jack turned down extension, will be a free agent

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Jarrett Jack was a 6th Man of the Year candidate for Golden State and a huge part of their regular season and playoff success. He mGremio winger Everton will reportedly undergo a medical with Arsenal.Fox Sports says the Gunners have sent a physician to Porto Alegre to assess the 23-year-old after Wednesday night’s clash with Bahia.The deal is reportedly worth $45million, consisting of a $31million signing fee plus $14m in add-ons.Arsenal are also expected to seal a loan-deal for Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos this week.anaged the offense well at times, took over a scoring role in others, and was a veteran leader for a young team. He was scheduled to be a free agent this summer, but the Contra Costa Timesreports that Jack turned down an extension offer earlier this season: 

According to multiple team sources, the Warriors initiated extension talks with guard Jarrett Jack back in January. But Jack shut down such talks before they got rolling, looking to focus on the season and wanve a right to dream about the return of Paul Pogba from Manchester United.The Frenchman has been linked with his former club this season, along with Spanish giants Real Madrid.And Raiola, who has been happy to take shots at United in recent Park.Hayden admits he has shelved talk of signing a new contract to focus on a run of games in Steve Bruce’s starting XI.When asked about his future, Hayden told the Evening Chronicle: “At the minute, I’m just more focused on playing.”At the end of tweeks, toting to experience free agency.

via .

Jack’s on the books for $5.5 million but wll likely draw not only more money, but a longer-term deal. With Stephen Curry’s extension kicking in and Klay Thompson’s on the horizon, it could make for a difficult decision for the Warriors. It presents a question of future vs. now for Golden State.

If they think they can contend right now with this core as it develops, they’ll want Jack back. If they feel that Curry has reached the point of being “the guy” then they may want to develop a younger point guard behind him and keep their flexibility open. It’s a fascinating question that could get hijacked should Jack get a high offer on an open market with several teams with lots of cap space. (Get it, hijack, high Jack? ) 

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No Derrick Rose, no Kirk Hinrich, no Luol Deng for Bulls in Game 3

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No emotional returns, no big talent boost, just more of the same for the in Game 3 against . The Bulls that PG , PG  and SF are all out for Game 3. 

Vague reports had circulated, more than usual that is, that Rose was gearing up for a return in Game 3. Tom Thibodeau said Thursday with Rose, who continues his absence legend Paul Merson believes Unai Emery knows his defence must improve.The Gunners look vulnerable once again at the back, despite signing David Luiz in the summer.But Merson thinks Emery remains hopeful his star attacking force can balance out their after being medically cleared by doctors for months following his ACL surgery. es have made in the Premier League.When their first game ended in a 4-0 loss to Manchester United, many worried for the Blues and boss Frank Lampard.But they have bounced back and are firmly in contention for a top four a lot.Their away form is espec

Hinrich’s bruised calf is so severe  due to damage to muscle fibers. He has tried to warm up the last four games and been unablteta is using information from previous club Manchester City to move for Shakhtar Donetsk defender Mykola Matviyenko.That’s according to Matviyenko’s agent Yuriy Danchenko, who claims he has been in talks with Arsenal all week in regards to selling te to go. 

 despite having lost 15 pounds due to complications from a spinal tap last week. He was admitted twice to the emergency room last weekend due to complications from the procedure. 

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2013-14 EOB NBA Division Previews: Northwest Division

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 . They’ve owned this division the last three years. And they will continue to own it. Yes, they lost their third-leading scorer for a second straight season. Yes, is coming off knee surgery and will miss the first 4-6 weeks of the season. Yes, there are questions about their bench. 

But none of those things will prevent them from winning their division, and probably by a wide margin. The question is: Can they wrap up the Northwest by late March? 

Here’s the thing with the Thunder this season: just turned 25. And he’s getting anxious. Last season, he went into otherwordly levels of efficieny, shooting 50-40-90 while nearly leading the league in scoring. Where is he going next? He’s shown the ability to become more of a playmaker and he’ll need to be with the absence of Westbrook. The Thunder have the world’s second best player, and when you hold that crown to , it’s like being the world’s best player in most other eras. 

The Thunder will need production from some unknowns like and maybe rookie . But proved to be a more than capable player in Westbrook’s place in the postseahis season.James has scored three goals in his first four appearances for United, and has impressed with his pace and his direct play.”I don’t think they [United] expected what they have got from Daniel James so early on in his Manchester United careson, and if he continues to blossom, they may have another bench star in the making. 

 . After the Thunder, it’s kind of a mess. I have no idea what to make of the Nuggets. This is a team that won 57 games last season and lothey’re going for the Cups this season.Guardiola wants to retain both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup – and insists he will not prioritise next month’s Champions League showdown with Real Madrid in his bid for more glory at Wembley.He said: “I rotate st their best defensive player, their coach, their GM and their best scorer is coming off an ACL injury.

Last season, they were a trendy upset pick in the West, but after bowing out to the and the upheaval of the offseason, perception has changed about them. They’ve now become the “if” team in the division. If can be the man, if can start realizing his potential, if can continue to grow, if can come back strong, if J.J. Hickson can help inside — if the answers to those questions are yes, then the Nuggets can win 50 games. 

If the transition from George Karl to Brian Shaw doesn’t go smoothly and Lawson isn’t capable of running the show in a halfcourt style and McGee flames out and Faried doesn’t excel in this system and Gallinari isn’t the same — then it could be trouble. 

So as you’ll see, I’ve got them picked for 39 wins, which puts them fourth in the division. But at the same time, they could prove to be a playoff lock by December. I’m so confused.

 . It’s hard not to look at the Blazers and see them improving drastically this season. This was a team that while they finished 33-49, they were 25-25 on Feb. 8 and squareuson insists Manchester United is stil the ‘go to’ place for any young player in the country.United have a proud history of bring through some of the greatest footballers the sport has seen, from George Best, Bobby Charlton and the Class of 92, all tly in the playoff conversation. On March 22, they were 33-36 and still in it. But they lost 16 straight to finish the season which probably was a product of their historically horrific bench finally catching up to them. 

They’ve taken steps to rectify the second unit, adding C.J. McCollum in the draft, and in free agency, and and via a trade. They have the Rookie of the Year coming back to improve on his stellar debut season, they have an All-Star power forward in and they have an outstanding 3-and-D guy in . 

The pieces appear to be there, but it’s hard to know how players will respond in their second seasons and there are trade rumblings around Aldridge. The Blazers could win 50 games and reach a seed as high as six. Or they could fizzle and finish 10 games under .500. Hard to figure right now.

 . Does anyone remember how the Timberwolves were kind of good during the 2011-12 season, and before ‘s knee injury, were in the playoff conversation? 

They were even competitive last season despite going 31-51, even with ‘s injury problems and Rubio slowly regaining form. 

Now Love is healthy, Rubio looks fantastic, they added a terrific wing scorer in , is turning into an elite big and they’ve got as their jitterbug bench pop. 

Isn’t this a playoff team? 

The problem with the Wolves is that they haven’t been able to prove anything yet. While Love can be one of the five most productive players in the league, he hasn’t really won yet. Same goes for Rubio and Pekovic. Rick Adelman is one of the best in the business so having him in charge counts for something and while the Wolves look dangerous, they may not be entirely there yet.

 . It’s going to be a rough season in Utah. The front office finally pulled the plug on the – frontcourt, relieving the log jam that’s held up and ‘s development. The Jazz are going with a youth movement type of thing and while there are nice pieces in place — like and — their bench is atrocious and they don’t currently have a point guard because of ‘s injury. 

It will be a struggle for Utah to win 30, unless Favors and Kanter are better than expected and Hayward shows he can be a featured player. And even still, that probably only means 35. 

 Kevin Durant. You know, if you wanted to get cute with this, you could say Russell Westbrook. You know, considering how the Thunder stumbled in his absence last postseason and how that clearly illustrated Westbrook’s importance to the team. 

But that’s making the assumption they wouldn’t have struggled the same way without Durant if the roles were reversed. So we’re going with “Pick the best player” rule, and that’s Durant. Do you want me to gush? Because I can. Nah, I’ll just leave it at this: He’s pretty good. 

 Trey Burke. The Northwest has unfortunately already been bitten by the injury bug with both Burke and Portland’s C.J. McCollum set to miss the beginning of the season. 

But Burke will have the most significant role and was a trendy pick by a lot of people to win the actual Rookie of the Year, before he was injured. He’s not going to miss that much of the season and assuming he can get his feet under him, he could have a pretty nice season. 

Dark horse candidate? Steven Adams. He’s looked outstanding in the preseason and while it’s unlikely he’ll supplant as the starter in OKC, he could see 20-25 minutes a game anyway. And at the rate he was scoring and pulling in rebounds, that could be good enough for an 8-and-8 average, which would be pretty impressive. 

 

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Report: Hill has “Kobe” procedure on knee, targeted by Lakers, Knicks, more

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Grant Hill turns 40 in October. 

Four-Oh. 

And he’s not ready to hang them up. Not onl online.The Daily Star says Werner has gone on a mass social media cull unfollowing everyone including his current club, RB Leipzig.The striker, who has scored 27 goals in 34 appearances this season, has been linked with a summer move to Anfield.In ry that, but Hill has some new legs, apparently, thanks to the procedure that is sweepingitive, and that’s the way it has to be.We have our problems, and I’m not going to repeat them because people know and some people are tired of me repeating the problems we have.”But we are positive and I have nothing to complain about the players in athletes with knee conditions. 

that Grant Hill has had the platelet-enrichment procedure made famous by , experimental and performed on Bryant in Germany. As a result, ESPN reports the , , , and have interest in signing the former Piston, , and Sun. 

Hill struggled with injuries for almost the entirety of his career, robbing him of his prime, until he arrived in the desert, where Phoenix’s renown training staff not only kept him in good condition, but helped him to flourish. He was very productive for the Suns, avea did have offers to leave last summer, but decided to stay after enjoying his best season as a Real player last term.Agent Oscar Ribot told RMC: “Benzema and Real Madrid go together, for me it would be strange to see him elsewhere with another jerseraging 13 points and 5 rebounds per 36 last season for Phoenix and shooting 45 percent from the field. 

He’s a quality locker room leader who brings no baggage with him and works hard. Yeah, he’s 40, but he’s done the work to extend his career after his body betrayed him early. Any of those teams would be better with him. 

Plus, old jokes! Everyone loves those, right?

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Kobe Bryant says he can play at a high level for another three years

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has never been one to lack confidence. The ‘ shooting guard has put together an all-time résumé over the course of his 17 years in the . To do the things that he’s done, you have to believe you’re capable of just about anything on a basketball court. It’s what has made him fearless no matter what the situation is presented for him to attempt to conquer.

Bryant’s newest situation to conquer is coming back from a torn Achilles tendon. The comeback from something like that has never been very easy tise as much as £100m from the sale of tove for Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.Pogba is eager to see the deal happen, though negotiations have proven difficult due to United’s asking price. However, Don Diario, Guti says: “He is a very complete player.”It is true that he is not asheir fringe players this summer.The Liverpool Echo says Jurgen Klopp must decide whether to retain or off-load young talent like Marko Grujic and Harry Wilson, currently on-loan with Hertha Berlin and Derby reso do, let alone to come back and play at an All-NBA level like Bryant is expected to do. But that’s not deterring Kobe from looking at this situation as a mere speed bump in finishing out his career strong. that he believes he can play at least another three years at a high level.

I feel pretty damn confident I can be at a high level for at least another three years. I feel like how I was playing last year – I know I’ll be healthy and I’ll be ready to go this year – I know what I can bring. And I think I can easily do that for another three years.

I think the (Achilles) injury has something to do with it. It really increased the drive. And probably San Antonio getting so close to winning No. 5, probably hurt me a little bit too. I want to make sure I push the ring count out a little further. It was really, really close there. They played phenomenally well. But it’s a testament to what skill can do. To what us old guys can do if you play together, if you play with one mind and one purpose you can accomplish great things. It was inspirational for me and hopefully inspirational for the city of Los Angeles and this organization of what we can do, how this tide can change fairly quickly and we’ll be looking at a parade.

Legacy is clearly a very important thing to Bryant, and he wants to go out with arguably the greatest NBA career of all time. Another championship would tie him with Michael Jordan, but Bryant could push this whole brough.The ex-Chelsea and England captain is said to have spoken to Boro’s chairman Steve Gibson this week, says The Sun.Local lad and ex-Boro hero Jonathan Woodgate was favourite with the bookies but has been usurped by former Fulham boss Slavisa Jodiscussion beyond that.

He has 31,617 career points, good for fourth all time. He’s going to pass Jordan next season and be left sitting behind Karl Malone and leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. If Bryant is able to come back quickly from his Achilles injury and keep his scoring pace like we saw last season, he’ll score roughly 6,300 points over the next three years. That would move him ahead of Malone and put him within striking distance of becoming the all-time leader.

That would also mean Bryant is capable of putting in the same amount of production at year 20 in the NBA as he did in year 17, which is something that we rarely see done. Of course, we haven’t seen a lot of people do the things that Bryant has done throughout his career. 

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Glen Taylor takes Timberwolves off market, prepares for bright future

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MINNEAPOLIS — owner Glen Taylor has done a lot of good for his home state of Minnesota. He’s donated an incredible amount of money to charities, employed thousands of people, and he was even a state senator from 1981 to 1990. One more thing he’s making sure he does for the state of Minnesota is guaranteeing it won’t lose its .

As Taylor announced the hiring of new president of basketball operations Flip Saunders, he also told reporters Friday he was no longer actively looking to sell the team to a limited or minority partner who would eventually take over his majority ownership. In fact, Taylor is looking to buy out existing limited partners to own an even greater percentage of the franchise he saved from being moved to New Orleans in 1994. 

“I have made the decision not to sell the team at all,” Taylor announced at the press conference to reintroduce Saunders. “Matter of fact, I have made an offer to my limiteds who have said Ham United manager David Moyes has said he has been working tirelessly to bring in new signings this month.The Hammers completed the loan signing of Slavia Prague midfielder Tomas Soucek on Wednesday.Speaking after Wednesday’s loss to Liverpool, Moyethat they might want to get out, that I offered to buy them out. So we’re going to go the opposite direction. Rather than me having a smaller interest in the team, it would be a larger interest in the team. Any limiteds that are in a place in life where they want to take advantage — and they’ll make a healthy reward on their investment in the Timberwolves — but want to take advantage of that, I will personally buy them out.

“But I would also say, as Flip irrent squad.Ince has called out Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial for their displays last term as United missed out on the top four.”You’ve got Marcus Rashford who scored 11 goals last year and gets a new contract,” hs coming in as a limited [partner], that I still think that it would be in our interest to find some other people who live in Minnesota, who have a keen interest in our state and this organization, to come in as limiteds. So we’re open to doing that.”

Taylor said he currently has 12 limited partners and estimated that half of them might sell and the other half would stay in. 

Saunders has remained friends with Taylor, even after being replaced by Kevin McHale as coach of the Wolves back in 2005. When Taylor announced last summer that he was looking for someone to buy a minority stake in the team with the intentions of moving the majority ownership over to them at some point, Saunders stepped in and attempted to help Taylor find a group willing to keep the team in Minnesota. But selling off the team wasn’t that simple for Taylor. As he searched for a group of local investors, he realized he didn’t want to sell after looking at the organization’s current state and the future of the .

“I think just going through the whole process,” Taylor explained, “I think it would be accurate if you just said maybe I had seller’s remorse. All of a sudden I realized, ‘Gee, what if I do sell this team? I like coming here, watching the games! I like being involved in this type of stuff.’ Also, just that we didn’t have the year that I thought we would have. The idea of selling it after a bad year doesn’t taste good to me. Seems like to me, if I ever sell it, I would want to be close to the top, like we’ve built it up to the top. I think it’s just the combinations of that.

“Then I talked to Flip, we were talking about selling the team and Flip was trying to figure it out. Then I can remember one day, he said to me, ‘God, are you really interested in selling the team? You don’t act like it.’ And I said, ‘No, I’m not really.’ He said, ‘Let’s start thinking about another program here.’ I don’t mind people saying, ‘Glen had seller’s remorse and changed his mind and needs a better plan now.’ ”

Taylor was approached by various groups from out of state that were looking to move the team or to get a cheaper price than the Wolves owner was comfortable with giving them. Other potential buyers wanted to take the team over immediately, which wasn’t something Taylor wanted to do. He didn’t want to just relinquish controlling interest in the team right away.

“A couple of guys wanted to take over immediately,” Taylor said, “and I wasn’t ready for that. It was always that I was going to stay in partner with them for three years, so I just couldn’t find the right partner. I would like to go back and see if there are some locals that are limited [owners]. I like partners. I like people that either help or criticize in order to help make the organization better.”

The Hansen-Ballmer group that agreed to purchase the Sacramento Kings at a valuation of $525 million (and later increased it to $550 million) approached Taylor about selling the team to them before they became involved with the Maloofs in a deal to buy the Kings and move them to Seattle. But Taylor didn’t like the idea of selling his team just to see it moved out of state.

“They came and met with me before the Sacramento thing,” Taylor said, “when they were out exploring. Their interest at that time, I think they probably talked to a number of teams, I made it very clear to them that I wasn’t going to move the team.”

The change of heart for Taylor to go from wanting to own a smaller portion of the team to owning a larger portion of the team could be due to the improving landscape of the NBA for owners. With the new collective bargaining agreement increasing revenue sharing among owners and with a new television deal coming in 2016 that is expected to greatly increase the profits for the entire league, Taylor’s new desire to keep his team and own more of it makes sense.

“As we talked about it, that time we talked about was probably four or five weeks ago, and I said, ‘You really don’t want to sell the team, do you?’” Saunders said as he recalled a conversation he had with Taylor. “He goes, ‘You know, I’m really having fun and I see where the league is going. There’s a new TV deal coming up and it’s going to be astronomical prices, it could go through the roof.’ “

Taylor is excited about the future of the Wolves’ organization and the direction the NBA is headed. And if all goes according to plan, he will have kept his team in Minnesota for the long haul, made a lot of of praise for young teammate Billy Gilmour.Gilmour was named man of the match for his display in Chelsea’ s 2-0 FA Cup win against Liverpool in midweek.”What I remember about him since the beginning is that he always wants to give solutions,” said Azmoney off of a future sale, and will be able to continue to contribute to his home state. 

“I think some day it will be figured out,” Taylor proclaimed, “that when Glen Taylor didn’t sell his team in 2013 and he kept it until 2023, 10 years later, that he made a lot of money. And I’ll tell you, most of that money is going to go to good causes. It’s not going to go to Glen Taylor, it’s not going to go to his family; it’s going to go to good causes in Minnesota.”

And what is Taylor’s plan to take the necessary steps to keep the team in Minnesota when he is gone?

“I think you’ll see the answer to that in a couple of weeks.”

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Amar’e Stoudemire talks about the fire extinguisher incident and Jeremy Lin

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is setting the record straight: He didn’t punch a fire extinguisher. He slapped it. You hear?

Stoudemire joined Fox Radio () and talked about the incident that happened during the ‘ opening-round series against the Heat.

“It wasn’t a punch at all, actually. It was more like a slap against the wall, but I caught the edge of the fire extinguisher. Some people think I balled my fist up and punched throuFlores.That’s according to RMC Sport’s Salim Baungally, who says the former Rennes star has suffered after the sacking of Javi Gracia.He explained, “Basically, Watford had attacking players already in place when Ismaïla Sarr arrived. (Gerard) Deulofgh a glass fire extinguisher, which is totally opposite of the truth. It was more like a smack against the wall, kind of a backhand or a reach-back slap across the wall and caught the edge of the fire extinguisher. I think a lot of people confused my passion with frustration. I’m such a passionate player. I want to win so bad to where sometimes I want to win, so I bring my passion and it gets confused with frustration.”

After slap-punching the extinguisher following Game 2, Stoudemire missed Games 3 and 4 but returned for Game 5 with stitches in his left hand. He apologized after the incident, tweeting “I am so mad at myself right now. I want to apologize to the fans and my team, not proud of my actions. headed home for a new start.”

The way Stoudemire describes what happened makes a lot of sense. Because it’s hard to imagine him just wailing on a fire extinguisher case. He’s not a moron. But an innocent, frustrated slap against the wall that went wrong? Understandable.

Like he said, he’s passionate. And the Knicks just fell in an 0-2 hole to the Heat and were looking at a swift first-roHarry Kane will be ­questioning his future at Spurs.Kane has cut an increasingly ­frustrated figure of late – remarking that the club never seems to learn ­lessons and move forward.Berbatov, speaking in his role as a Betfair ambassador, told theund exit. Naturally, he didn’t help things by cutting his hand to pieces, but accidents happen.

And not that we really need verification, certainly shows it was a slap, not a punch. But tWolves youngster Ryan Giles could be on the move this summer.The Express & Star says Shrewsbury are eyeing a loan move for Giles.The left-back made his senior debut at Shrewsbury in the FA Cup in January.The Shropshire club now lead a host of sides keen on acquiring his signature on a temporary basis ahead of next season.hen again, does it matter? He cut it and had to miss games. Slap, punch, kick, whatever — it ended up costing the Knicks.

Stoudemire was also asked about Jeremy Lin and said he deserved all the buzz.

“Jeremy had a great 15 or 20 games when he played. Those were some pretty phenomenal games and what he did out there was … you can’t take nothing from him, so the hype was well-deserved. I mean he really played well for us and he put us back in the playoff mind frame. It was great to watch.”

Too bad, .

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s as he continues to nurse a sore lower back. He i

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Bucks center missed his third straight game Monday against the Nuggets as he continues to nurse a sore lower back. He is being listed as day to day, according to the is ready to sign a new contract with Manchester United.The Brendan Rodgers admits they weren’t at their best for victory over Watfng time”.The England international was shipped off to Atletico Madrid after failing to perform last season.But Trippier believes he wasn’t given adequate enough time to recover from the 2018 World Cup.”We all did so well at the World Cup but I didn’tord.Jonny Evans won a penalty and Jamie Vardy converted from the spot, before England international James Maddison made it 2-0 with a clinical strike in injury time.Despite playiSun says De Gea is ready to sign an eye-watering £91m five-year deal when United return from their pre-season tour.The Old Trafford giants have been negotiating with the Spain international team’s official website.

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n shootaround Wednesday and is expected to play We

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Hawks guard took part in shootaround Wednesday and is expected to play Wednesday night at the 76ers. Harris has been dealing withis axing for Manchester City attacker Raheem Sterling.The Daily Mail says the squad have been left shocked at the decision to axe Sterling from the squad to face Montenegro following hiith Chelsea for Michy Batshuayi.Now inside the final 18 months of his current deal, Batshuayi is threatening to stay next season and run down his contract.As such, reports Le Soir, Chelsea are alerting intermediaries to the Belgium international’s avs bust-up with Liverpool defenderadmits they failed to move the ball quickly enough for their 0-0 draw with Brighton.The hosts struggled to create in the final third and found Brighton bodies in the way when they did, which left Nuno looking at the speed of his side’s play on a frus Joe Gomez.Members of the squadh a foot injury.

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Floyd Mayweather visits the Heat to deliver title-defending message

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Floyd Mayweather is an all-time great when it comes to his boxing acumen and ability to defend every championship belt he’s collected during his perfect career. He’s never lost a title fight; in fact, at 45-0 he’s never lostam and Liverpool.The 42-year-old awarded Manchester United a controversial late penalty in their last-16 victory over Paris St-Germain in March.The Champions League final takes place at Estadio Metropolitano in Madrid on Saturday, 1 June at 20:00 BST a fight, period. There are certain mental hurdles you have to be able to clear when you’re defending a championship, no matter what sport you end up earning that championship in.

With the looking to win their third straight championship this season, Mayweather decided to visit the team’s practice session and deliver a message about how proud he is of the Heat and how he understands what it means to be the champ, which puts a target on your back when everybody is trying to take you down. It was a rare outsider visit allowed by the Miami Heat, but one Pat Riley apparently felt was a necessary thing. :

Mayweather was seen exiting the Heat’s practice facility just as reporters were entering to interview players. By then, he had already gotten a power message across to an awed  and several of his teammates.

“With him being 17 years-and-0 — we’re trying to defend two titles — he’s been defending for a long time,” James said. “He definitely knows where we’re coming from. It’s definitely exciting to have someone, one of the greatest of all time, to be in your presence. It’s something you can talk about years from now when you look back on the history of sports. That guy was at our practice.”

Heat players said Mayweather, who is 45-0 and has won titles in five different weight divisions, talked to the team about remaining on top in the face of what is expected to be stiffer competition o Capello has likened Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo to Dejan Savicevic.Zaniolo struck twice for Italy in their Euros qualifying victory over Armenia – making him the youngest Roma player to do so.”Zaniolo has understood what it means to be an importfrom much-improved contenders across the league.

The fact that LeBron James, who is quite respectful of history when it comes to the and sports in general, sounds like he’s in awe of being in Mayweather’s presence shows you the type of cachet the champion boxer has with athletes. This can seem like an overblown news item on the surface, and maybe it even is after you dig deeper into the ebb and flow of an NBA season, but the littlest things can help refocus a team looking to defend a championship and every bit of motivation counts when you’ve won two straight titles.

The Heat will attempt to be the fourth franchise in NBA history (Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, and Los Angeles Lakers being the others) to win three straight championships when they kick off the 2013-14 season. They stand to earer United fans have shown their support for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by setting a season ticket sales record.The Daily Mail says the club’s supporters continue to provide their backing, with the United declaring that they sold all 52,000 for 2019n a big place in history if they do it and Floyd Mayweather stands to possibly win a lot of money by betting on them, which he has been known to do. 

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J.R. Smith delayed surgery until after securing new contract

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re-upped with the this summer on a three-year deal worth $18 million. Shortly thereafter, he had surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon and remove scar tissue from a meniscus tear in his left knee. The timing seemed odd, since Smith was clearly hampered by the injury in the playoffs, where he shot 33 percent from the field. 

How Roma.The defender is on a straight loan with the Giallorosso.And Smalling has impressed since moving to the Serie A outfit.”He’s a boy who couldn’t be here without being a regular and we decided on that. I am so, so happy for him because we can see did all that work out, exactly?isting on some special clauses included in the deal.La Reppublica says the 41 year-old is prepared to return to Juve as cover for Wojciech Szczesny, but with a catch.Buffon wants assurances he will play at least eight first team games next season.Wer Smith says he purposefully held off to prputting Lucas Paqueta up for sale.Just a year after his arrival from Flamengo, Paqueta has been made available by the Rossonero.Gazzetta dello Sport says Milan are seeking €35m to sell the midfielder this month – a loss of €3m on the fee they paiotect his contract negotiations. 

“For one, I’m a father and I have two young children to look after,” Smith said Monday. “It made more sense for my family to get a deal done before [surgery].”

“Without a doubt, the best part about it was we had the support of the team,” Smith said. “The team supported us, the [team doctor] supported us all on the decision. At the end of the day it was more of a family decision than anything else.”

via .

So, hey, he put off surgery a bit to make sure he got the best deal possible. Hard to blame a guy for that. And since the Knicks were on board with the timetable, there’s no reason not to. Why risk a complication damaging your livelihood? It says more about the Knicks’ faith in Smith than anything. They were willing to risk giving him a three-year deal before he had surgery to repair a tendon. That’s love, folks. 

Smith has to be cleared by the team’s doctors, and an independent counsel, then serve a five-game suspension before returning to game play in the regular season. Smith won the Sixth Man of the Year award for the 2012-13 season for his play off the bench for the Knicks. In 80 games, he averaged 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists while shooting 42.2 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from the 3-point line.

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Kevin Durant doesn’t think folks should crown the Lakers just yet

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(Getty Images)

has predictably been on a media tear with “struck” coming ondo Deportivo says Barcelona are set to consider a summer swoop for Lacazette if Antoine Griezmann rejects them for a second year in a row.The Atletico Madrid star has long been a target for Barca but chose to stay put last year.And Lacazette has emeut. And he’s of course getting lots of questions about the new look and how the Thunder stack up after sending L.A. packing last year. 

But Durant isn’t getting worked up over what he says is being described as a great team “on paper.” From Yahoo Sports: 

“People outside, fans, media, of course they are going to say [the Lakers are the favorites] because on paper they have the best lineup in the league. But you still got to play the games. We respecelsea boss Frank Lampard is delighted with the football they’re playing.Lampard was commenting after victory at Watford.”I think off the ball has been a big thing for us, and it was one of the first things that I wanted to broach,” Lampard told Sky St everybody. We are going to go through the league respecting everybody as well.

“We already view ourselves as an elite team, but we have to prove it again. Last year is over with.”

“It was a great move for [the Lakers],” Durant said. “[Howard] is the most dominant center in the league. It’s going to make it tough on other teams. But I like that challenge. We all like that challenge in OKC. It should be fun.

“That’s what the Lakers do. They make big moves. That’s part of their DNA.”

via .

Durant has never run up against a roadblock he just couldn’t get over yet. They couldn’t get past the Lakers in 2010, and ran them out of the second round in five games last year. They couldn’t get past in 2011, and brushed them aside like they were nothing in 2012. They fell to the , but haven’t hadn June, Eriksen could be sold by Spurs this month – rather than be allowed to run down his contract.The Dane has been linked with Inter Milan, but Gazzetta dello Sport says Leonardo has stepped in with a bumper contract offer.PSG have offered terms t to face them in the Finals again, yet. The Lakers represent a whole new problem, a team that may have just leapfrogged them, and have the ability to contend for three to four years, which would force the Thunder to take drastic measures to get over the hump. 

It’s great to talk about the challenge now, but any team that has run up against someone they couldn’t get over said that the first time. 

Durant’s right that there are a multitude of ways for the Lakers to not be as good as they are “on paper.” Injuries, chemistry, Mike Brown’s approach, Kobe’s mentality, all of these things play a part. But the paper does matter, because the paper is determined by results. And the results say that the league is in trouble when the Lakers take the court. 

Of course, if we’re talking about not being able to get past a team, it could very well be the Lakers singing that tune at year’s end. 

Which is why this will be so much fun to watch. 

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2013 Offseason Report: Toronto Raptors

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Over the next month, CBSSports.com’s Eye On Basketball will take a team-by-team look at the 2013 offseason. We continue with the Eastern Conference hopefuls, the . .

The Toronto Raptors didn’t have the season many of us thought we’d see in 2012-13, and yet it was still surprisingly uplifting by the time the entire campaign was over. In 2010-11, Jay Triano coached the Raptors to a 22-60 record and the team had the worst defense in the NBA. They gave up 110.0 points per 100 possessions. Dwane Casey took over the sidelines and brought the defensive schemes and system that helped the Dallas Mavericks win the 2011 championship to Toronto, improving the team’s defensive rating to 12th in the NBA at 101.5. 

That kind of extreme improvement, especially when is starting at center for 40 of the 66 games in 2011-12, left room for a lot of expectations heading into this past season. The Raptors were going to be one year deeper into the Dwane Casey School of Defense and Lithuanian prospect was coming over to the hedging, mobile center the system needed. But things didn’t just improve like they were supposed to. The Raptors didn’t move up; they moved backward… for a while.

The defense looked much worse and the offense wasn’t good enough to make up for the drop on the other side of the floor. The team was faltering and they needed some kind of injection of life. Enter Bryan Colangelo and a trade of , and a second round pick that net Sidibe says he’s happy at Everton.The fullback has admitted he is considering staying at Everton permanently following his season-long loan from Monaco.He told L’Est-éclair, “A Spanish club had expressed to me its interest, concrete. I had contact ted them from the Memphis Grizzlies. This was the moment the basketball online universe imploded.

Gay had been a disappointing scorer for the Grizzlies, primarily because he was struggling to make jump shots from the outside. He just flat-out couldn’t shoot much anymore and the fit wasn’t working with what the Grizzlies needed to do. They needed to play the game through their All-Star center and power forward, not their small forward whose jumper wouldn’t find the net. And a change of scenery was pretty much exactly what Gay needed to at least start stretching his legs as a player. 

Before Gay joined the team, the Raptors were 16-30 and nowhere near thinking about the playansfer-news-Crystal-Palace-Michy-Batshuayi”>Daily ExpressChelsea-transfer-news-Crystal-Palace-Michy-Batshuayi”> says Crystal Palace are ready to make a new move for Batshuayi in the January transfer window.The Selhurst Park side, currently sixth in toffs. They were only scratching their heads, wondering why didn’t do more and Jonas Valanciunas didn’t play more, and figuring out if the improvement in Dwane Casey’s first year was just a fluke. After Gay joined Toronto, the team finished the season 18-18 and missed the playoffs by four games. It wasn’t proof that the Raptors had finally figured it out, but they at least were a pain to deal with most nights.

First and foremost, the Raptors needed new management. Even with the acquisition of Rudy Gay that gave the Raptors some new life, Bryan Colangelo had worn out his welcome. He had butchered the roster and the momentum of the team far too many times and the feeling in the front office was just incredibly stale, even when bringing in quality stalan Rice feels they can push for a top six finish.Rice was speaking after their 0-0 draw with Aston Villa.He said, “If you look at the players we’ve got, without a doubt we should be pushing for top six, like Wolves did so well last season.“Last rters like Rudy Gay and . 

Secondly, the Raptors needed a bit of 3-point shooting to improve on their percentage from last season. The Raps took the 12 most attempts on the year but had just the 26th best percentage. Or if you’re a pessimist, they had the fifth worst at just 34.3 percent. Third, the Raptors needed some rebounding, as they seemed to get pounded on the boards most of last season. They finished 20th in the NBA in rebounding percentage.

Toronto traded their 2013 draft pick (along with Gary Forbes) to the Houston Rockets in order to bring in Kyle Lowry to be their starting point guard. It ended up in the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the trade and they picked Steven Adams out of Pittsburgh with it.

Their second round pick was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in the Rudy Gay trade and eventually became out of San Diego State. 

This was the easiest draft Toronto has had because they weren’t involved at all.

The biggest move the Raptors made this offseason was getting rid of Bryan Colangelo from the basketball decision-making and bringing in 2013 NBA Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri. After  took a blowtorch to the Pepsi Center with the Denver Nuggets, the Nuggets effectively cleaned house by letting Masai Ujiri walk to Toronto on a big five-year deal and axing George Karl as he was heading into the last season of his deal. Ujiri’s presence in Toronto instantly gave them one of the more confident front office executives in the NBA and he started shaping the rest of the front office to suit his plan.

Toronto then traded away former No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks for , (they bought him out), and . They also received a first round pick and two second round picks from the Knicks. Richardson won’t be much of a factor, if at all, but the presence of Novak gives them some much-needed outside shooting.

After a strong summer league showing in Orlando, the Raptors signed undrafted point guard  out of Marquette. The Raptors also signed away from the Indiana Pacers for a two-year deal and they grabbed on a two-year deal. Hansbrough fills a need for rebounding and Daye has been an inconsistent, but sometimes productive outside shooter.

Toronto also brought in as a backup point guard option on a one-year deal. However, his inability to make shots will probably end up putting Buycks ahead of him on the depth chart.

Overall grade and accomplishments: A-

Why did the Raptors get such a high grade from me when it looks like they didn’t do much at all? Because they finally did some house cleaning that was probably long overdue. Yes, Colangelo did get them Rudy Gay and he could end up being a great perimeter weapon for them. Whether you think he’s deserving of his contract or not, the team did find a way to play much better in the second half of the season with him. We don’t know if that will continue into next year, but we’ve at least seen evidence that they can play better with him on the court.

The departures of Colangelo and Bargnani prove to the organization and the fans that the past won’t be held onto any longer. Few executives are as aggressive and savvy in the trade market as Ujiri and with his scouting team in place, we could see this team turned around in a relatively short amount of time. You have to find a direction before you can start moving and it’s easy to feel like Ujiri is good at finding direction for a team.

The moves to the roster were minor for the Raptors, but if we see them get back to the 2011-12 defensive effort and execution that brought about such nice expectations for the team coming into last season, they may not need to do a whole lot. could stand to make more jumpers, Rudy Gay too. And while Jonas Valanciunas has gained some bulk to his frame and started playing more physical basketball against lesser competition, we still need to see that at the NBA level, in real NBA games to know he’s ready to make the leap.

It’s just good to see the Raptors can finally move into a new era of basketball without the old one glaring them in the face. Change isn’t always fruitful, but it often can be very good.

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