Toon have re-signed former Arsenal defender O’Conn


pitcher put a lot of runners on in his Cactu with Arsenal fans on Sunday.The midfielder faces being stripped of the captaincy after insulting the home support against Crystal Palace.Dibrani, of SC Zofingen, is best friends with Xhaka and told Blick: “He’s not feeling well, he’s battered. “He is League start against the A’s Tuesday. He allowed five runs on eight hits with two walks over 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander allowed two runs in the first before making it through the next n doubt over brother Paul Pogba’s intentions at Manchester United.On the same evening as Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, launched a stunning attack online against United mae Lolley.The Daily Mail says he is at the top of Dean Smith’s list for a spot on the right wing but could cost £10million.Lolley is a Villa fan and used to watch matches from the Holte End, so a move would appeal. The 26-year-old has enjoyed the besnager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, older brother Mathias also weighed into the debate ovethree innings unscathed. But in the fifth, he gave up three runs, including a two-run homer by Yoenis Cespedes. McAllister also struck out three.McAllister, the No. 4 starter for Cleveland, has a 5.85 ERA in six spring outings.

changes in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup defeat to Leic


The last time played for the — back in 2008 — he was in his mid-30s. Now entering his third stint with the team during his standout career, how old does he think is now?

“Twenty-five,” Ibanez told .com with a chuckle. “I really do. I’m 25. I really do think that. I don’t even see what the big deal is with the age thing. Maybe I’m naive to it all, but I feelsive win over disappointing West Ham United at Goodison Park.Silva is fighting to ease doubts over his future after four straight Premier League defeats plunged Everton into the relegation zone – but this was a vastly-improved, excellent display to e great, so I really don’t think about it. Except when these guys remind me; which is pretty much every day.”

Ibanez, who is actually 40, has n Murray says he didn’t know anything about Manchester United’s reported interest towards the end of January.The 36-year-old striker penned a new deal with Brighton this week, after he was linked Barca B debut last season and Girona chief Quique Carcel saw enough to make a move for him this week.AS says Carcel hopes to take Villarasa on-loan next season.Girona boss Juan Carlos Unzue believes Villarasa will fit seamlessly into his system in twith a late move to Old Trafford.Murray told talkSPORTseemingly discovered a youthful vigor this spring, hitting .366 with four homers and 13 RBI over 14 Cactus League games. Coincidentally, he has not hit above .310 in spring training since 2008, his last year with Seattle.

List of the Day: HR leaders sorted by … popes


Bless you, Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun!

Connolly, you see, has posted, courtesy of baseball historian Bill Arnold, . Yea, verily: Home runs, Popes.

As Connolly notes, 11 Holy Fathers have held sway during the life of major-league baseball, which provides us with some surprising and not-so-surprising home-run, um, archbishops.

Recreated for your spiritual uplift is said list:

home-run leaders, by PopePope, years of reignPapal HR leader, no. of homersPius IX, 1846-76Charley Jones, 6Leo XIII, 1878-1903Roger Connor, 138Pius X, 1903-14Frank Schulte, 73Benedict XV, 1914-22Babe Ruth, 162Pius XI, 1922-39Babe Ruth, 552Pius XII, 1939-58Ted Williams, 482John XXIII, 1958-63Hank Aaron and Harmon Killebrew, 174Paul VI, 1963-78Hank Aaron, 437John Paul I, 1978Jim Rice, 13John Paul II, 1978-2005Barry Bonds, 703Benedict XVI, 2005-13Albert Pujols, 312 Data courtesy of Dan Connolly and Bill Arnold; Popes courtesy of God

Jim Rice, taking the service entrance to greatness yet again.

Anyhow, bets on the HR leader during the reign of ? Giancarlo Stanton? M defender Toby Alderweireld insists they go to RB Leipzig in good spirits.Spurs fought back fro emulate club legend Dennis Bergkamp if he is to stay at the club for the next few years.The future of Ozil has come into sharp focus, given his huge contract and dwindling impact on the first team.Boss Unai Emery would prefer to offload the £350,00m a goal down to draw 1-1 at Burnley on Saturday ahead of Tuesday’s second-leg Champions League round 16 clash in Germany. RBL lead the tie 1-0 on aggregatike Trout? Ryan Braun or Miguel Cabrera if, God forbid, the actuarial estimates pDarmian, formerly of Torino, could be headed for Italy before the European transfer window closes on September 2. Meanwhile, centre-back Marcos Rojo, who came close to a Deadline Day move to Everton, will be staying at the club. “I can see maybe Mattrove to be accurate? Tony Campana in a verifiable miracle that will advance Francis’ case for sainthood?

On the subject of Popes and the smiting of baseballs, consider this obligatory in the utmost:

And also with you.

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Mariners turned profit in ’12 despite low attendance, $84M payroll


Think it’s tough for Major League Baseball teams to make money? Well, the made $5.86 million last season, .

That’s definitely not a huge figure, as many baseball players earn more than that in a given season. But here’s why this is important: The Mariners ranked 26th in attendance last season, only drawing 21,258 fans per game, .

So we’re talkinyear extension of their kit deal with sportswear firm Kappa until the end of the 2021/22 season, reports, /.According to Calcio Finanza, the original five-year agreement, due to expire at the end of the season, was worth €8 million (US$8.7 million)g about a fourth-place team barely drawing over 21,000 per game with a payroll north of $80 million still making money. And I couldn’t help but think about the Miami Marlins’ offseason.

The Marlins had a similar payroll in 2012, at $89,875,132. Of course, the trade of in July helped free up some dollars, but overall they weren’t drastically higher than the Mariners. The Marlins ranked 18th in attendance, drawing 27,400 per game. So if the Marlins were losing money while the Mariners made money, the business model needs to be altered.

For Jeffrey Loria and company, that just means slashing payroll without worrying about their immediate on-field product. Now, let’s understand something: Teams shouldn’t gather payroll just for the sake of doing so. Getting ‘s salary off the books, for example, was the correct move. He was already overpaid and then forgot how to be a quality closer. I’m just finding it hard to believe the Marlins had no shot at building a contender around now-departts new Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes can enhance his own game.Pereira is determined to take his own chances to shine in United’s midfield, with a start likely against Club Brugge on Thursday night, and the arrival of Fernandes can assisted , and . Saying they finished in last place — Loria’s favorite excuse this offseason — is far too simplistic. There were injury issues and they started selling (with otiations along with Real Madrid.Real are locked in talks with Chelsea over a fee for the Belgium captain, but are unhappy with their valuation.Chelsea are insisting on at least €100m to sell Hazard – a fee Real president Florentino Perez views as the and trade) when they were only seven games out of a wild-card spot.

Let us not forget that for years the Marlins promised everything would be different once they secured their new stadium, and now they have it, at a significant price () to local taxpayers. And club president David Samson had the nerve to say on Tuesday night’s broadcast of the World Baseball Classic that Marlins Park has been “great for Miami.” Pathetic.

As for this season in Miami, attendance is going to plummet, but fret not Loria fans, he’ll make plenty of money. The Marlins’ payroll won’t even hit $40 million this season.

The lesson in all of this is that if you ever have enough money to join an ownership group of a Major League Baseball team, do it in a heartbeat. You’ll make money and you don’t have to be accountable to your fan base unless you want to be.

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lla are desperate to keep hold of Jack Grealish th


Cardinals second baseman hit his second home run of the spring on Thursday in the team’s 7- striker Jamie Vardy says he should have more goals at this stage of the season.Vardy can be his own harshest critic and he surprisingly admonished himself for “fluffing” chances against Aston Villa, despite scoring twice.His double at Villa Park mea6 win over tue opponents Vitoria.Arsenal left Vitoria with a 1-1 draw as Shkodran Mustafi’s header was cancelled out by an injury-tAston Villa signing Louie Barry was on target for England U17s 4-0 win over Ukraine on Monday.It followed Barry’s substitute appearance in Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Russia.Villa spent 1m euros to sign Barry from Barcelona last month.The move came just six months after Barry joined Barca from Villa’s rivals West Bromwich Albion.ime bicycle kick from Bruno Duarte. Keown told BT Sport: “There are problems all over the pitch. It can quickly be turned around. Ihe Yankees. He is now batting .360

Dodgers to give away mini statue of Robinson, Newcombe, Campanella


Regardless of how the ‘ high-salaried players fare on the field this coming season, Dodger Stadium easily has the best promotional calendar in the majors. We’ve already praised their bobblehead giveaways — seriously, — and now there’e midfielder endured a torrne.The England international has been sidelined with a hamstring injury that will likely keep him out for a lengthy period of time.Mourinho started Heung-min Son up front in Sunday’s FA Cup draw with Middlesbrough.He told reporters after the game: “Wid run with injuries during his time with Arsenal, which ended in the summer of 2018.Now with West Ham United, Wilshere has opened up on one of the most difficult periods of his life.”It was 2016, and I picked up an injury s this:

In celebration of Jackie Robinson’s birthday, here’s your first look at the Robinson, Newcombe and Campanella Statue:

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@DodAlex Telles’ contract.A Bola says Porto have told Chelsea they must pay £40m for left-back Telles as Frank Lampard looks to shore up his side’s leaky back line.The 27-year-old Brazilian has been a key target for the Blues, who have made several attegers)

That statue of Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, along with Cy Young and MVP winner Don Newcombe, will be the giveaway April 15, when the Dodgers square off against the Padres.

Once again, well done, Dodgers promotional braintrust. It’s amazing what people can do once freed from the shackles of Frank McCourt, no?

[Note: No, I actually don’t think McCourt hurt them in promotions, but it’s still fun to jab at him anyway. He deserves it.]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and . Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: , and .

CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes has agreed personal


Phillies second baseman , who hasn’t participated in spring training since 2010 because of chronic knee issues, is expected to be ready for spring training this year, according to the News Journal. Presumably, then, he’d also be ready for the start of the season after beginning each of the last two on the DL. “When a guy is down for two years and doesn’t play full seasons in the two years prior you have to be a little concerned. But we think Chase has learned and we have learned to manage whatever he’s got going on in his knees pretty well,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “We thinNew Everton assistant manager Luis Boa Morte admits he’s been shaped by all the coaches he’s worked with.As a player who made 296 Premier League appearances he plaact with Tottenham until 2021.He has now joined League One side Ipswich Town on loan until January.A product of the Spurs Academy system, the 22-year-old winger made his first team debut for us in a Champions League group stage fixture against APOEL yed under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and Jean Tigana at Fulham.But he also worked alongsik he’s put hiy bid for Birmingham City attacker Jude Bellingham.ESPN says United’s pursuit for Bellingham failed with Brum rejecting a £20million offer for the highly-rated midfielder.The Red Devils’ bid was rebuffed due to the structure of the deal and an agreemself in the position to be ready to go out of the chute this spring. But that remains to be seen.”

NBA can buy back Bucks if no new arena construction by Nov. 2017


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Senator Herb Kohl was very adamant that when he sold the to their next ownership group, the team was going to be kept in Milwaukee for this Bucks’ fan base. TheFiorentina have signed Inter Milan fullback Dalbert.The defender joins the Viola on a season-long loan.“I’m very happy to be here, I’ll see you soon. Forza Viola!” he said.The Brazilian joins the Viola on a dry loan with no option to buy and replaces Cristiano Biraghi, who is moving the other way.Inter spent €21m to sign the 25-year-old from French side Nice in the summer of 2017. latest ownership group headed by Wesley Edens and Mark Lasry purchased the Bucks’ franchise from Kohl for $550 million, promising to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee. Part of the money was put toward a new arena that will replace the Bradley Center.

, there is a clause in the purchase deal for the Bucks that will help ensure everything is done to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee. If construction on a new arena isn’t started by November of 2017, the league will have the right to buy back the franchise from the new owners. The buy back purchase price would be $5ited defender Chrhe Reds are on the hunt for a no.2 goalkeeper to deputise for Alisson Becker, as Simon Mignolet will be sold.The Sun claims Hull City’s Marshall is near the top of their wanted list.Marshall is 34 and has played in the Premier League before.Jurgen Klis Smalling says he’s happy with his move to Roma.Smalling is on-loan at Roma to the end of the season.He told Forbes: “I’m really enjoying Italian football and I think it does suit my game. Hopefully come May I can say I’ve had a 75 million.

The NBA has the right to buy back the Milwaukee Bucks from incoming owners Wesley Edens and Mark Lasry if a deal to a bring a new arena to the city is not in place by November 2017, according to sources briefed on the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com that the sale agreement announced last week to transfer the Bucks from longtime owner Herb Kohl to Edens and Lasry for a purchase price of $550 million includes a provision that allows the league to buy back the team for $575 million if construction on a new building in Milwaukee is not underway by the deadline.

Although one source said Monday that the league would likely only take that step if it didn’t see “significant progress” toward a new arena in Milwaukee by then, this provision ensures that the NBA would control the fate of the franchise from that point as opposed to Edens and Lasry.

This isn’t a threat so much as a checks-and-balance measure by Kohl and the league to make sure we don’t see another situation like what happened with the Seattle SuperSonics and their eventual move to becoming the Oklahoma City Thunder. Clay Bennett purchased the team and when a new arena fell apart in Seattle, he quickly moved the team back to his hometown in Oklahoma City.

It’s a nice gesture by all parties involved to show the people of Milwaukee the league wants to keep the team there.

RIP Pelicans: Monsters, Anthony Davis, and you


With the eliminated from playoff contention, it’s time to look back on their lost season and the injury-marred 2013-2014 campaign. It’s also time to look forward and ask whether this team needs a new roster, a new coach, or just some time healthyy-to-day work.Spurs chairman Daniel Levy agreed to a £10million offer from Amazon to film a fly-on-the-wall documentary series documenting the club’s season.The Mirror says Mourinho revealed he was on board after being asked whether he was happy wit together.

Since left just three years ago, the Pelicans have looked for a franchise player, someone to build around. They structured their rebuild to acquire that player and in 2012, landed the top pick in . Davis showed flashes his rookie season but there were injury concerns and you still didn’t know if he would be “the guy.” won Rookie of the Year, after all.

Nope, no more concerns here. Davis erupted into not only the Pelcians best player, but a legitimate top-15-to-top-10 player in the entire NBA. He is a force of nature. He is a mechanized dinosaur that shoots lasers from his eyes. He is a tree person that swats shots into neighboring kingdoms. He is the thing under the bed that the things under the bed are afraid of.

After that, there were some signs that this team, when healthy, could compete. drastically changed their offense and provided spacing, which helped them get back to set their defense. The book on was that he was bad this year, but that was only if you focused on his shooting percentage. Once he found his groove (which may be attached to him starting), he really showed out, and his overall contributions in both rebounds and assists should matter more, too.

looked like an actual NBA player this year. No kidding.

There are a lot of teams in the league that can talk about their injury woes. The , the , the , it’s been a bad year for them. But the Pelicans may be able to trump them all.

Let’s start here.

Their preferred lineup of – – , Ryan Anderson, and Anthony Davis? It played eight games together. Eight.

Jrue Holiday missed 36 games, out for the year with a stress fracture.

Eric Gordon missed six games with his usual knee and hip ailments.

Ryan Anderson missed 48 games; broke his toe, and then suffered a herniated disc in his neck in a terrifying collision and was lost for the year. Seriously, the universe needs to get off Ryan Anderson’s back.

Anthony Davis missed nine games for various injuries.

missed 39 games, gone for the year.

Tyreke Evans missed time for ankle and shoulder issues.

I’m not kidding, this team was a M*A*S*H* unit by season’s end. They had to have run out of tape at some point. And all this for a team that was integrating new pieces and dealing with young players coming together. You need time and repetition to get good under such circumstances. The Pelicans had the luxury of neither.

Still, there are legitimate concerns. Monty Williams’ credentials were that he would be a tough defensive coach who could bring young players and some veterans and make them into a tough unit with the athleticism at his disposal. Instead the Pelicans are a forest fire on defense, raging out of control no matter how much water you dump on it. They are inconsistent, undisciplined, and struggle with essential assignments. Last year was one thing, given the lack of perimeter speed. Maybe having Holiday for a full season along wih Evans would have helped. But the results are still poor.

In related news, there’s still not a clear sign of how to use Anthony Davis. The Pelicans reportedly wanted to move Eric Gordon over the summer, couldn’t do it, and wound up moving . The result was Anthony Davis playing at the five a lot, which is… weird. It works because Davis is insane, but it’s still not ideal. Jason Smith was injured, and struggled prior to the injury. … no. Just no.

Can Jrue Holiday-Eric Gordon- Tyreke Evans work as a three-headed monster in the backcourt? Don’t know, too many injuries. Is Al Farouq-Aminu good enough to start for a playoff team with his hustle and defense, despite his inconsistency and offensive struggles? Don’t know, too many injuries. Do the Pelicans need a real five next to Davis? Don’t know, too many injuries. That’s the worst part of this season for New Orleans. Not only was it a monster disappointment in terms of wins, but you don’t know whether they’re inherently flawed or not.

Too many injuries.

Oh, and they made this thing. 

Anthony Davis.

When I was a kid I used to draw monsters in class. And I’d always make them unnecessarily complicated and over-powered, a product of watching too many Godzilla movies. “Oh, let’s give him wings. And laser eyes. And missile launchers on his arms! And a tail with an axe on it!”

Anthony Davis is like if you took one of those drawings and made him into an NBA player.

He had the wingspan coming in. We knew he’d be a god pick and roll player, throwing down lobs, blocking shots. But in just his second season, Davis has added the face-up mid-range jumpshot, the turnaround fadeaway out of the post, the pump-fake up-and-under, the weakside rotation, return-to-your-man block, the chasedown, the pick-and-pop, nearly everything. If he’s hitting that jumper, there’s nothing you can do. Nothing.

Anthony Davis averaged 21.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.4 steals, and 2.9 blocks (!) per game. He shot 53 percent from the field and 79 percent from the line with a 27.2 PER. The Pelicans scored 120 points per 100 posessions with him on the floor, surrendering just 104, for a net rating of plus-16.

He turned 21 this month.

I don’t honestly have enough of a sample to pick from. Eric Gordon shot just 44 percent from the field, but 39 percent from three. is a defensive nightmare, but he’s a backup point gaurd forced to start half the time and working with the leftovers of an operating room. Austin Rivers? Rivers improved and even though he still can’t shoot, showed good signs.

How about this, I’ll go with Monty Williams. I like Monty Williams a lot. I think he’s a good man and a good coach that works hard. He’s also about as hard on his players as any coach I have ever seen covering this league. Every compliment laced with criticism, every encouragement sounds more like a beratement. I don’t think he lost the locker room, the team hung together. But there’s just no way their defense should be this bad given his reputation.

I don’t think it’s necessarily Williams’ process, but instead just tweaks and his inflexibility. If he’s retained this summer, a different approach is advisable going into next system, schematically or otherwise.

Interesting test out of the bays the Gunners have already been in contact with Bayern Munich over the 31-year-old as they bid to bolster their defensive options in January.Boateng is reportedly keen to leave this month in order to improve his chances of regular first-team footbaox for new owner Tom Benson. Do you pull the usual new-NBA-owner, freak out over the disappointment, fire the front office and coach, demand a bunch of trades, and generally go overboard? Or do you look at the roster and say “sometimes, you just get hurt?” I say give it one more year. The Pelicans may have a lot of money tied up in an underperforming roster but they have the highest upside of any team in that situation and most importantly, they have players with trade value. They can make the moves they need to.

They won’t have their pick, unless they win the lottery, which is a shame, but Jrue Holiday is still a damn fine player.

They need to get a five next to Davis. I won’t abandon this concept. He’d be much better able to play the four and not have to bang down low with guys with more weight. Use him as an omega-four, able to do whatever’s called upon for him, and if you need to go small, you have Ryan Andrson right there

It may not sit well with impatient Pelicans fans, but the best course of action is minor tweaks, improve the defense, figure out if Monty Williams isn’t the right fit for this roster (George Karl is available, after all), and try and get everyone healthy next season.

Sometimes there are no easy answers. Most of the time, really.

Are we assuming they don’t get plagued by a dark spell this time?

I still think this is a playoff rants to move to England.With Lille’s board accepting they must sell the Ivory Coast attacker this summer, TMW says his favoured destination is the Premier League.While raft of English clubs have been linked with Pepe, Arsenal are the one team to makeoster. If an offer for Eric Gordon comes in, sure, move him. But you’ve got the pieces and Anthony Davis is only going to get better. Bear in mind the Pelicans are 1.5 games back of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference and had flashes where they were competitive.

I’ll put them in for 44. Maybe I’m a sucker, but I’d rather take the good roster I know can do better than a different one I don’t.

Henderson was sidelined with injury.Speaking after


center wse.The Reds have lost two of their last three matches since Henderson was sidelined with injury.Speaking after the loss to Chelsea on Wednesday, Henderson said: “He’s been very good for us this season.”Very important. And he is our captain. We apprecas cleared to play following a two-game absence due to an illnessi was delighted for young pair Ansu Fati and Carles Suarez after victory over Real mocked the Egyptian Football Federation during last night’s African football awards gala.Salah chose not to attend the ceremony, despite being nominated for Player of the Year – which went to Reds teammate Sadio Mane.Egypt were given CAF’s award for Betis.As Messi sat out the game, the young duo both featured in the 5-2 rout.”Great game of all, 3 first points in LaLiga and very happy to see the boys of the house s Friday, but never saw the floor in a 93-88 loss to the Hawks. He took a DNP Coach’s Decision in the loss, the ninth game he has missed this season.

Blatche has been a solid option off the bench for the Nets yet again this season, averaging 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per game.  

Silver’s ‘nuclear’ reaction to Sterling creates owner-player power shift


The impact event has occurred, now comes the fallout. In the event of Adam Silver “going nuclear” on Donald Sterling Tuesday by banning the Clippers owner for life and directing the Board of Governors to vote him out of ownership, the vibrations from the events of the past five days have not only uncovered a number of uncomfortable truths about our culture and the NBA in regards to race, but have considerably affected the future of the sport.

Or to put it simply, the Sterling event may have changed the balance of power between ownership and the players.

The players’ union historically exists somewhere between the juggernaut of the MLBPA (guaranteed non-cap limited contracts) and thtching Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez.FC Inter News reports both are keeping tabs on the Argentine striker after his terrific start to the season under new boss Antonio Conte.Martinez, 22, has already bagged six goals this season after linking up e pathetic mess that is the NFLPA. (The NFLPA literally cannot protect its players’ own health in a legal sense, and despite playing the most violent of the major sports, players do not possess guaranteed contracts; who is running this thing?). It established guaranteed contracts and has capitalized on its star power, but has struggled in a number of areas (like every sports union has), such as pensions, the continued rollbacks of the players’ share of basketball-related income in CBA negotiations, and the overall dynamic between players and owners.

But Adam Silver’s action Tuesday, moving beyond David Stern’s historical directive of always protecting ownership, signals a shift, or at least a potential shift, in that balance. The players reacted with overwhelming enthusiasm at Silver’s decision and the emotional and impassioned way he delivered the hammer Tuesday. Silver didn’t just issue punishment based on legal or public relations implications, but out of what appeared to be a genuine imperative on his part to act as an advocate for the players. Or in the words of Kevin Johnson:

“On this day, Adam Silver is not only the owners’ commissioner, he is also the players’ commissioner and we’re proud to call him our commissioner.”

via .

What lies beyond that is what starts to stir the pot. Silver spoke with both Chris Paul and Kevin Johnson before Tuesday’s announcement and based off multiple reports, the players indicated they intended to boycott the game if sufficient punishment wasn’t issued. TNT reported Tuesday that not only were the Warriors and Clippers in agreement on the boycott, but players for the other teams in action Tuesday were prepared to make the same statement. The result would have been catastrophic for the league in terms of revenue, PR, everything.

So did the threat impact Silver’s decision? Kevin Johnson doesn’t believe so.

A boycott was never mentioned in my conversations with Commissioner Silver.

— Kevin Johnson (@KJ_MayorJohnson)

Commissioner Silver made his decision not because of a threat, but because it was the right thing to do.

— Kevin Johnson (@KJ_MayorJohnson)

Quite frankly, our expectations were exceeded.

— Kevin Johnson (@KJ_MayorJohnson)

We’ll never know, but I lean towards no, that the idea of a boycott did not enter into his decision. This was Silver, making a bold statement on ethical grounds. There had been indications as far back as last year, in Silver’s statements about his intentions upon taking over the job as commissioner, that he recognizes the job as more than just perfunctory leader subject to ownership’s will. He’s expressed several times the importance of the commissioner’s office as the leader for the sport of basketball, the culture of basketball, and the NBA’s place as the global face of the sport. His decision and actions Tuesday weren’t about executing what the league has independently found to be appropriate action, nor delivery of the owners’ collective wrath. Instead, it was a bold proclamation that in fact his office is empowered to take action in pursuit of what’s best for basketball, and that means not only fostering an environment of diversity and cultural acceptance, but acting in the best interests of the players.

And that’s where things get tricky.

It should be noted at the outset that the NBA has every reason to be proud of the remaining 29 league owners. Support was unanimous, vocal, and at times very raw. Before Silver’s statement was issued, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander publicly pushed for this kind of action. Ownership, in a move that goes against its best interests, put what’s right for the NBA first. Yes, covering this PR nightmare up in the mushroom cloud dropped on Sterling Tuesday has benefits for them, but they knew the impact of empoweringthe annual LaLiga Promises tournament.Held in Abu Dhabi, Jose Reyes starred for Real Madrid – having only signed this season – including scoring four goals in the final as Los Blancos came from behind to beat Sevilla.This comes just months after his , or at least not standing in objection to Silver’s assertion of this kind of authority over ownership, was the right thing to do. That needs to be stressed.

The owners did the right thing here.

However, beyond that is the complicated matter that touches on a long-boiling conflict that has always been carefully moved to the margins in pursuit of avoiding how hot the topic is. In short, a majority white ownership group has long resisted the idea that the commissioner’s office should do anything but act in the owners’ best interest and follow the owners’ will, and that that balance of power should rest with them, and not with the players who are are, in fact, largely black. The dynamics of this are not race-driven but money-driven — it’s simple employer-labor politics that can be traced back to the beginning of organized labor.

But you cannot get around the reality of the racial dynamic in this. The NBA commissioner has effectively destroyed a majority owner’s control of his own franchise in pursuit of making a more perfect NBA through the protection of diversity and racial equality, and at the advocacy of a majority black players contingent. Even with minority ownership increasing consistently with owners like Michael Jordan and Vivek Ranadive, the racial dynamics of ownership are lost on the players, nor is their understanding of a majority-white media covering their sport and these issues, as is the case in this article.

Tuesday represented a precedent of the Commissioner’s office standing with the players against an owner, even if the other owners, the media, and the majority of the global community stood with him against Sterling. That’s still a dynamic that when removed from the specifics of the case and the emotion of the racial component, could make owners uncomfortable. There’s a reason Mark Cuban was so specific in his carefully worded support of Silver before and after the decision. Punish and remove Sterling by all available means of the NBA Constitution, but do not exceed that mandate.

It’s not about the racial component for ownership, despite skeptics’ fear that more of ownership feels the same way Sterling did, to any extent. It’s about protecting their side of the power balance which they have worked very hard to maintain and strengthen.

Set against this backdrop is the next CBA negotiation, which the players and owners can opt out for in 2017. When the new cap projections were delivered weeks ago, they showed a consistent improvement over even expected increases in revenue. CBA expert Larry Coon broke down the possible effects on that negotiation.

So what’s going to happen in 2017? The circumstances are entirely different now. Most or all teams are now profitable, thanks to the changes they negotiated in the new agreement, Franchise values have skyrocketed (the, the least valuable team in the league, is about to sell for around $550 million, which Mark Cuban calls “a bargain”). And on top of that, the league is about to receive a windfall of new cash in the next TV deal.

So it’s no longer a matter of ceasing operations because they can’t afford to play another season under the existing system — now it’s a matter of figuring out how to split the pie equitably so they can all keep the money rolling in.

My prediction is that the players will opt out of the agreement in 2017 because they will feel they gave back in 2011, the system is now fixed, there’s a lot of new money rolling in, the teams are now making money hand over fist, and they will want to regain some of their previous concessions as well as receive their fair share of the new money. Further, the league will be more obliged to give it to them.

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Consider that the NBPA has been led into what has amounted to disaster over the last 10 years, as the findings in the investigation into now-ousted-executive-director Billy Hunter indicated. They have lacked commitment from the players, strong leadership, smart ideas, and people invested in running the organization who aren’t outside the players. Andre Iguodala spoke strongly after the Hunter debacle about the need to get people solely interested in the players inver United striker Mason Greenwood is a new record holder.Greenwood is now a United record-holder. In scoring against Astana, the attacker became United’s youngster-ever goalscorer in Europe. Marcus Rashford had previously set the record – when also polved. (Hunter was not a former player, nor are the agents pushing for their own involvement.) But Mayor Kevin Johnson, who has gained major visibility as a voice for the players in this process? He is a former player.

So now you have the possibility of stronger leadership in Kevin Johnson (who already people are clamoring to be given the Executive Director position if his duties as mayor of Sacramento allow), potentially stronger leadership in Chris Paul, and a player base which for the first time has seen its very real power in this equation (as opposed to the theoretical it has always been portrayed as), and that is now strongly and emotionally driven by the Sterling situation.

The odds are that this will cool and the players will remain too preoccupied with their own lives to mobilize. But if nothing else, Silver’s actions and the NBPA’s response through this situation have illustrated the possibility of ramifications we’re not aware of. This new role from the commissioner could help pave the way for a smoother process to get past a 2017 negotiation. It could shift the aggressiveness of the NBPA in pursuit of making gains back from that they lost in the 1999 and 2011 lockouts. There’s no way to know, and those are fascinating questions we’ll be examining in the future.

But for now, the facts are clear. Silver went nuclear on Sterling with the backing of both players and ownership, setting a new path for Silver beyond David Stern’s interpretation of the office, the players learned something very real about the power they hold, and the NBA will not be the same after this.

And yet everyone can agree that with Sterling gone, it’s changed for the better.

th the team, the team announced Monday. He could r


guard had his biceps examined by doctors on Sunday, and has been with the team, the team announced Monday. He could return to the lineup as early as Wednesday against Orlando. Irving suffered thes coach Gregory Dupont could be key in their pursuit of PSG striker Kylian Mbappe.That’s according to Okdied claims he’s the new favourite for the sack.But Pellegrini says he is “not under pressure”.Before hosting Arsenal on Monday, the former Manchester City boss insisted: “I am not under pressure. I am under my pressure from the first game of the sario’s chief pundit Eduardo Inda, speaking on El Chiringuito.Real have made Mbappe their No1 target for the summer market and the striker’s touc injury on March 16 against the Clippers, and has missed the last eight games because of the injury. The Cavaliers have only seven games remaining after Monday, so it is not clear how much Irving will be able to play down the stretch once he’s ready to return.cement.While the Scottish giants have not agreed a deal to sell the much wanted Scottish left back, they have already secured a player who could replace him.Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo has signed for Celtic from Rapid Vienna.The 24-year-old defender comes In 64 games, he’s averaging 21.2 points and 6.2 assists while shooting 42.8 percent from the floor per contest.

oresheet as Arsenal were comfortable winners at FA


guard injury during Monday’s o was delighted to again get on the scoresheet as Arsenal were comfortable winners at FA Cup opponents Portsmouth.Pompey played well in the first half at Fratton Park but trailed to Sokratis Papase Bosman battle for Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata.The Mirror says Athletic Bilbao are the latest La Liga side to offer Mata a return to his homeland, with the 31-year-old so far not committing to a new deal from United.United have offered thtathopoulos’ volley from Reiss Nelson’s cross just befovertime loss to the Pelicans in New Orleans, The Record reports.Thornton exited with 5:45 remaining in the first half with the injury and did not return. He finished with three points, one rebound and one steal in 10 minutes. He’ll likely be re-evaluated before W is ready to leave AC Milan this month.La Repubblica says the Brazil midfielder is unhappy with his situation with the Rossonero, having started the last six games on the bench.Paqueta wants regular football – particularly with places in the Brazil tednesday’s contest against the Bobcats.Thornton came in averaging 9.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in 60 games.

NBA charges Sterling, moves to terminate ownership


The NBA formally charged Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Monday with engaging in conduct that “damaged and continues to damage the NBA and its teams,” beginning the process by which the team’s ownership could be terminated by a three-fourths vote of the owners.

Under the league’s Constitution and By-Laws, Sterling has until May 27 to respond to the charge and will be permitted to attend and present evidence at a hearing before the full board. The hearing is planned for June 3, two days before the start of the Finals.

“If the NBA Board of Governors sustains the charge by a three-fourths vote, all ownership interests in the Clippers will be terminated and the team will be sold to new owne delighted after making his first start of the season against Preston North End on Tuesday night.The 19-year-old was one of three teenagers, along with Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Eric Garcia, to start in the 3-0 win which booked Manchester City’s placrs,” the league said in a statement.

“The charge asserts that Mr. Sterling engaged in conduct that has damaged and continues to damage the NBA and its teams,” the league said. “Among other things, Mr. Sterling disparaged African-Americans and ‘minorities;’ directed a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans or to bring African-Americans to Clippers games; and criticized African-Americans for not supporting their communities.”

The league said Sterling’s “actions and positions significantly undermine” the NBA’s diversity efforts and has damaged the league’s relationships with fans, business partners and government and community leaders.

“Mr. Sterling engaged in other misconduct as well, including issuing a false and misleading press statement about this matter,” the league said. “All of these acts provide grounds for termination under several provisions of the NBA Constitution and related agreements.”

Later Monday, the NBA released against the disgraced owner, in which the league asserted that not only had Sterling violated multiple articles of the Constitution and By-Laws and other agreements, but also destroyed evidence, provided false and misleading evidence to the NBA’s investigator and issued a “misleading press statement regarding this matter.”

Sterling’s attorney, Maxwell Blecher, has challenged NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s lifetime ban of the Clippers owner and promised to “adjudicate” the matter. In a letter to NBA general counsel Rick Buchanan, , Blecher also said Stdmits they want to keep hold of on-Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte has had surgery on his right knee in Barcelona after being carried off in the 4-0 win over Brighton.Laporte damaged his cartilage and lateral meniscus in a challenge with Brighton defender Adam Webster.The operation was successful but City have not yet given an indication of how long the 25-year-old will be out.loan Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman.The 22-year-old has impressed in his temporary stint at the Liberty Stadium so far, playing every minute of their Championship campaign and registering nine clean sheerling would not pay the $2.5 million fine levied against him.

Neither Sterling nor his attorney could be reached for comment on the NBA’s formal action Monday.

Sterling’s refusal to pay the fine is one of the violations cited by the NBA in its formal charge against Sterling. Under the Constitution and By-Laws, if an owner fails to pay “any dues or other indebtedness” within 30 days of written notice by the commissioner of default, that alone is grounds for ownership termination. In the summary of formal charges against Sterling, the NBA said Sterling already has been furnished written notice of default.

Sterling’s wife, Shelly, has said she would seek to preserve her ownership stake in the team. But the language of the NBA’s charge against Sterling makes it clear that a three-fourths vote by the owners would terminate all current interests in the team.

“Termination of LAC’s entire membership – including Mrs. Sterling’s interest in the team – is called for by the Constitution and related agreements and is the only viable means for bringing Mr. Sterling’s interest in the Clippers to an end,” the NBA states in the summary of charges. “Under the Constitution and related agreements, Mr. Sterling’s words, actions, and views are attributable to and deemed to be the actions of LAC itself.

“More specifically, if the Board, by a 3/4 vote, sustains termination charges on the basis of Mr. Sterling’s words, actions, and views, the Constitution calls for the entirety of LAC’s membership in the NBA to be ‘automatically’ terminated.” 

In addition to citing three specific articles of the league’s Constitution and By-Laws as the basis for the team’s ownership termination, the NBA cites New York law, under which “all member teams of the NBA owe each other a duty of loyalty to support the League in the attainment of its proper purposes. LAC breached this duty of loyalty through the acts described above, which were injurious, harmful, and disruptive to the NBA.”

Also notable was the league’s inclusion of statements Sterling made in a nationally televised interview on CNN among its grounds for termination. When Silver banned Sterling for life from the NBA on April 29 — three days after a recording of Sterling making racially insensitive comments was published by TMZ — he said the action was being taken solely against Sterling, and not against any other members of his family. But as for the termination of ownership by the board, Silver said Sterling’s fellow owners would consider “a lifetime of conduct.”

sing the team’s previous game with a back injury.


guard is available to play Wednesday’s against the Knicks, after missing the team’s previous game with a back injury. Thornton aggravated the injury last weekenendan Rodgers has once again defended Haboss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he wasn’t playing media games regarding David de Gea’s fitness.De Gea came off with a muscle abductor problem in Spain’s European qualifier in Sweden on Tuesday and Solskjaer indicated on Wednesday he was out of the mza Choudhury from criticism from Jurgen Klopp.Rodgers’ Liverpool counterpart was seething after Choudhury’s tackle on Mohamed Salah, whics he wants to be playing regular Champions League football.He told Goal: “We always want to level up and all players dream of playing in the Champions League. It’s a big competition and it’s good to have been followed by these kind of clubs. These arh left the Egyptian out of action for Sunday’s clash with Manchester Unid, but has recovered enough to come off the bench Wednesday.