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al that was made official on the first day of free

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The Clippers brought reserve center back on a one-year contract, a deal that was made official on the first day of free-agency. Contract details have not been revealed, but it is expected to be a deal for the mitheir performance in defeat at home to Crystal Palace.The Clarets fell to goals in either half from Wilf Zaha and Jeff Schlulpp – and lost Charlie Taylor to a hamstring injury early in the contest.“Frustration is the right word because e to watch in the title race.With Brendan Rodgers team making a positive start to the season, James thinks they can sneak into the battle for the Premier League again.The club famously won first international break of the season is always a good time to look at the league table and take stock. So far Chelsea and Manchester United have struggled while Leicester City and Everton have made strong starts, suggesting the Big Six could finalthe title a few years ago despite being nearly 1000/1 odds atI wasn’t onimum.

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VIDEO: Derrick Rose playing basketball one-on-one…. with a samurai

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As the world waits for the return of to an court, video surfaced this weekend of Rose at a promotional event in Japan, taking poor out-matched fools one-on-one. Some things to note here: The crossover looks good, he seems ais place in defeat to Inter Milan.Giampaolo surprised everyone by picking Leao in the starting XI.The 20-year-old Portuguese striker had played only 15 minutes against Udinese in August.“Leao is a good player, he is fast, agile and has skill. I thoble to plant, and his explosion looks great for someone who isity boss Brendan Rodgers says James Maddison needs to respond positively to his England snub.Maddison has been named in a couple of England squads under Gareth Southgate but is yet to make his debut, remaining an unused substitute in the most recent n’t going full speed. You want it to look effortless, and it does. All good signs. 

Oh, and he dunked past a samurai.

You know, like you do.

Rose is slated to return to regular seas for Liverpool.The Reds are likely to sign a center back if Dejan Lovren leaves in the summer, as it would leave them short in that area.White is on loan at Leeds United this season, where he has excelled for the club that is at the top of the Champion NBA action for the first time since the ‘ 2012 first-round playoff series against Philadelphia on October 29th in Miami against the defending champion . 

 

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n a deadline day move to Manchester United, it has

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Pistons guard missed his fifth straight game down after missing out on a deadline day move to Manchester United, it has been claimed.The Athletic suggests the prevailing feeling was that King felt ‘used and messed around’ as United made e United to drop their price for Romelu Lukaku.The Mirror says the Belgian’s hopes of linking up with former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte at Inter Milan hinge on United taking a big financial hit on the striker.The Reds want Inter to match the £75m, plncouraging noises with a £25million offer before turnin Saturday night against the Timberwolves due to a hand injury. He remains listedn.Having been eliminated from the Champions League, Inter will meet Ludogorets in the Europa League round of 32.Zanetti told TyC Sports: “We’re still only halfway through the season, but we want to compete in Serie A, the Coppa Italia and Europa Leag as day to day with his ailment, according to the team’s official website.

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Pistons’ Charlie Villanueva fined $25,000 for flagrant foul

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 forward has been fined $25,000 by the league for his flagrant foul on  guard in Detroit’s 103-97 win over Sacramento on Tuesday night.

The play was reviewed and was determined to be a Flagrant 2 foul, which is an automatic ejection.

Thomas clearly took exception to the foul, jumping up and going at Villanueva before beingaptain Lionel Messi has sympathy for Manchester City over their two season Champions Leagueny Martial in a friendly against Tottenham.The two Premier League sides played out an intense friendly in Shanghai, with United getting a 2-1 win.Martial hit the post in the first half and then gave his team a 1-0 lead. And his boss was very pleased ban.Speculation is already mounting as to whether City will be able to retain and attract the best players without the lure of being involved in Europe’s top separated. Thomas told reporters the play was bad and

“No, it was just the fact that it was a dirty play and he’s a dirty player,” Thomas said. “It is what it is. He got kicked out of the game, so it wasn’t nothing big. A lot of guys do stuff like that knowing you can’t really fight iing victory over Real Betis on Sunday.The match will mark the final game of a dismal season.Zidane said, “The message is clear. Tomorrow’s is the last game of the season and we’ve had a good final week’s work to now go and end the season on a high. Wn this league, so it’s all right.”

 center was ejected for a similar play last week and was .

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NBA names former player Mike Bantom as new referee chief

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The General’s replacement has been found. 

The that U.S. Army General Ronald Johnson was leaving his post as the league’s senior vice president of referee operations at the end of July, a position he had held since 2008. On Wednesday, NBA commissioner David Stern announced the hiring of JohLaLiga president Javier Tebas admits he’d like to see Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba in Spain.Pogba remains a target for Real Madrid this month.And Tebas told AS: “The best option for La Liga? May Pogba come and no one leave. “It would be the best. “But the important thing is the competition of 20 clubs every weekend for 10 months, which makes it the best league in the world.”nson’s replacement: former NBA player and long-time league executive Mike Bantom.

Bantom will oversee the NBA’s officiating program, including the recruiting, training and development of all NBA officials. He will report to Joel Litvin, NBA President, League Operations and his new role will begin immediately. “Mike has been an invaluable part of the NBA for over season, securing the Champions League with a comfortable 2-0 final victory over Tottenham Hotspur. After several runners-up finishes – in the Premier League, the Europa League, the League Cup and, of course, last season’s Champions League – the 20 years and has excelled in leadership positions across both our domestic and international businesses,” said Stern. “That experience, together with his considerable accomplishments on the court and his respect in the basketball community, make Mike an outstanding choice to lead the NBA’s officiating program.” 

Bantom was promoted from his position as Senior Vice President of Player Development, a job he had held since 1999. His 20-plus years with the NBA also included stops with NBA Events and NBA Europe.

Bantom, 60, averaged 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists during a 9-year career that included stops with the , Seattle SuperSonics, , and during the 1970s and 1980s.

While Bantom’s position isn’t particularly public, the conduct and performance of the referees he oversees are always hot topics. The unchecked outrage and conspiracy theories have cooled off a bit since the Tim Donaghy referee-gambling scandal first broke back in 2007, but the league will continue to find itself fighting a never-ending war for its credibility until error-free robots are invented to t in June, Giroud failed to find a move away last month, despite being made available by Chelsea.The veteran will now be allowed to run down his contract and leave on a Bosman transfer this summer.Le 10 Sport says the one formal offer he has in fronthandle officiating duties.

The league has made real progress over the last two seasons by undertaking efforts to increase transparency, setting up websites and even a Twitter account to explain calls, correct misconceptions and admit errors. Hopefully that progress continues under the new leadership.

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VIDEO: Pacers’ Jeff Pendergraph fined for playoff flop against Hawks

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We have our first flop fine of thbreak.The Magpies will play in the FA Cup fourth-round replay with Oxford United, while all other Premier League teams not involved in the competition have the weekend off.Asked if he had to change his plans for the scheduled break, Bruce said: “All e 2013 NBA Playoffs. 

 reserve big man was fined Sunday for a flop in Game 5 against the  last Wednesday. While defending , Pendergraph took a little bit of contact in the post and dropped back like hemain keen on Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes.A Bola says Tottenham will renew their efforts to sign Fernandes in January.Tottenham opened talks with Sporting over a deal for Fernandes towards the end of the transfer window, but he was consider was Neo dodging bullets in The Matrix. It’s a clear flop and an easy call for the league to make against Pendergraph. 

Pendergraph will have to cough up $5,000 to the league for the flop. The differenc-Korean-star-forward-Hwang-Hee-chan-starring-Red-Bull-Salzburg.html”>Daily MailArsenal-scouting-South-Korean-star-forward-Hwang-Hee-chan-starring-Red-Bull-Salzburg.html”> says Arsenal and Crystal Palace are among the Premier League clubs keeping a cle between the regular season league flopping policy and the playoff policy is players won’t receive a warning before they have to pay the league. The next violation would be a $10,000 fine, the third violation would cost him $20,000, and a fourth violation is worth $30,000. Anything beyond four violations is subject to a fine and/or a suspension.

During the regular season, players paid out $25,000 collectively in fines for flopping. There were 24 flops identified by the league. , , ,  and  were all fined for a second flop violation during the season.

(H/T – )

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Five must-watch and must-avoid League Pass teams for 2013-2014

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With NBA season right around the corner, it’s time for us to handicap NBA League Pass games — contests not featured on national television. The League Pass Broadband option has provided a cheaper option where people can choose five teams instead of paying for the whole 30. And even those who select the option for the full slate of games online or on television, there are always decisions to be made throghout the year as to how to prioritize one’s viewing.

We’ve got you covered. 

What follows is a guide to the top five best and worst league-pass watch teams. This is not based on the quality of the team. That plays a part, but the big factors to consider are: 

1. How fun is the team to watch on a nightly basis?

2. How good/bad are the announce teams and television production?

3. How many national television appearances are there? You don’t want to spend your time or money on a team that you see consistently on other outlets, or at least don’t get to watch with the package you paid for. 

4. How many close games will they be in? The don’t appear because they’ll blow out a lot of teams. Same with the . You don’t want a team you’re going to get a lot of 18-point wins over, even with the star talent. 

5. Division balance: You want to make sure you target divisions with good teams where you get to see them as part of your package. For example, a Pistons selection means you get to see four games from the Bulls and . You don’t want to load up within the division, and you want a balance across conferences as well. 

So with that, here are the teams you must check out, and must stay far, far away from, on League Pass this season. 

Other rankings: |  |

Gotta tell you, I hated the name when it came out. Loathed it. I generally still only refer to them as “NOPE!” And that affected my initial reaction to their uniforms. But seeing them in action? They’re actually pretty smooth.

, a pterodactyl with a jetpack, is emerging in his second year. very quietly, almost subliminally, erupted as a playmaker and defensive demon. can fill it up when healthy, is still devastatingly intriguing, is basketball joy and Jason Smith and comprise maybe the most badass frontcourt this side of wherever lives.

Throw in Joel Meyers on play by play, the Mardi Gras uniforms, and the low number of national television appearances and here you are. Your best League Pass team. Plus, you get 15 games against the Rockets, , Mavericks, and .

You lose 17 games to national television appearances, so that’s a bummer. But only five of those come after January, so when the playoff rush is really on you get a steady diet of the Warriors.

is an easy one. But don’t sleep on getting to watch , who shoots like Curry and defends like, well, someone better than Curry. ‘s intensity is worth the time as well, and you get ‘s smooth offense. Also, coming in and out of timeouts, there’s a chance you get Mark Jackson’s huddle speeches.

A pleasing color scheme and the ‘s most raucous atmosphere outside of OKC throw in a benefit as well. A great announce crew and a team with a lot of swagger make this the second best bet, despite its heavy exposure this season.

Entertaining regardless of result. If they play well, it’s good basketball by a team of talented players which features veterans and young bucks both. If they play poorly, it’s a trainwreck you can’t pull your eyes from. I’m a strong believer in the idea that your league pass team shouldn’t be elite all the time. Good basketball teams aren’t always entertaining (see our worst LP teams list below).

The Pistons are just bipolar enough with and Josh Smith to balance on that line between being rewardingly good and frustratingly flawed. You want the team to tease you a bit. The Pistons will go full-on “Some Like It Hot” in that regard.

is a bonus factor, so is George Blaha, arguably the best announcer on League Pass. Throw in the vintage uniforms, the history at the Palace, and “Deeeeee-troit-Basket-baaaaaallll” and this is a no-brainer.

I get why you wouldn’t go this route. There are question marks. If you’re tired of Dwight Howard, that’s enough. Their announcers tend to grate on some people, though I will say that generally speaking, the crew credits good players on the other team (a big bonus with me) and will provide breakdowns of strengths and weaknesses on both sides.

But look, this team has fast, talented wings who can light it up, a center who looks like Judge Reinhold, a legendary big man as a coach and and Chandler Parsons’ handshakes. There’s a lot of win here, if you can get past the things that bother you.

If it weren’t for the division crossover, I’d put the Cavs here. 78 games of is worth the investment alone. But the Pistons take precedent, and so the Raptors fill in.

First off, you need a team you can watch grow, and this team will likely be very different in April than October. Second, you have the young star in few know, so you can tell your friends at the bar about him. is the kind of star you want to watch and track, even if his summer eye surgery doesn’t result in a dominant offensive season.

Their announce crew is top notch, and while the baseline 3-D figures are disconcerting, they’re also at least unique. Toronto has a young roster with some fun players on it, you get the occasional Saturday and Sunday early afternoon games to switch it up, and being in the Atlantic, you get multiple games to see New York and Broolyn.

MUST-AVOID

I know what you’re thinking. “ROSE!” And yes, is exceptionally fun. He’s shown no signs of rust from the injury and should be lighting up defenses.

But the offense, Marty. Something’s got to be done about the offense. This is not to say that the Bulls don’t have an effective or efficient offense. But this thing is about as smooth as an ’89 Buick rumbling down an unpaved road. Most of it comes down to “Pick and roll, point guard shoots or passes it to mid-range shooter, miss, offensive rebound, putback.” Again, the Bulls are vey good on both sides of the ball. But it’s not fun to watch, it never has been under Tom Thibodeau, even with Rose.

They’re on national television a ton, and will get picked up more for NBA TV. They feature a lot of blowouts. You’ve got some good things, great things really, like Rose, and his finger gunz, yelling, dunks, and a fun drinking game around how many minutes Thibodeau overplays his stars.

But this doesn’t make up for the overall television watching experience. Stay away. You’ll see the Bulls enough, and they’re a must-watch in the playoffs. But keep ’em off the list.

A train-wreck rebuilding process. There’s no t Scholes doesn’t like the idea of Rio Ferdinand taking the technical director’s job.Scholes who has recently vacated his position as Oldham manager, confessed he isn’t even sure on the specifics of a technical director’s role, after Ed Woodward held elling how long will be out. is already unhappy. They have no legit center. Your best reason to watch this team are and if does something crazy.

They’re likely to be n.Having been eliminated from the Champions League, Inter will meet Ludogorets in the Europa League round of 32.Zanetti told TyC Sports: “We’re still only halfway through the season, but we want to compete in Serie A, the Coppa Italia and Europa Leagundisciplined because of all their young players, and they lack an offensive presence. They all know this team won’t contend and that’s going to mentally hit them.

The Celtics were relevant for five years. The run is over.

Or as I like to call it, “American Horror Story: .” The absolute worst team in the league is making no effort to win this season. There’s just no reason to watch these games. They’re going to lose, and lose badly. There are some players to watch, but no one who is must-watch TV.

They are trying to be bad. They’re not asking for your viewership. Don’t provide it.

Another divisive pick. is must-watch TV and he’ll likely be back by December. still has some left in the tank, and is a joy to watch when healthy. You’ve got celebrity sightings and everyone (but me) loves PA announcer Lawrence Tanter.

So why not?

Well for starters, you’re counting on a team with a guy coming off an Achilles’ tear, a guy coming off a year with a leg fracture and a degenerative back condition, and Gasol’s beat-up body to stay healthy, which is kind of tough at their age.

They’re on national television a lot, this season based on popularity. You’ll get to see them if things turn out great for them, so there will be no shortage of Kobe moments. But if you sucbscribe, you are going to get a lot of ‘s shot selection and pick and roll. You get as the wing shooter and as the bench weapon.

Their overall telivision experience is over the top, and the defense could be downright atrocious. The Lakers’ popularity is does not make good viewing on a Tuesday from Milwaukee.

I went back and forth on this one. I always want to watch . I always want to watch . I always want to watch Rick Carlisle coach.

But man, if things don’t get right, this gets rough.

The Mavs have eight national television appearances. Play your LP card right, and you can watch them up to 11 more times. Nineteen games is going to get you a pretty good idea of who they are if they’re good. Meanwhile, is referring to something called “Monta Ball,”  can’t defend, and Nowitzki has battled injuries the past two years.

Dallas has a great announce crew, a y midfielder Phil Foden admits the title race could be decided this month.City are now 11 points runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool.“We are all gutted in the changing room,” Foden said after Saturday’s draw at Newcastle United.”We wanted to gterrific arena experience, and a team with some talent. But the downside risk is too much to support signing them up.

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Hollins says flopping has no part in basketball after Allen fined

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A day after his star , coach Lionel Hollins admitted that flopping should not be allowed and the penalties are justified. But at Saturday’s shootaround before Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, Hollins also made it clear the flop by the Grizzlies’  (seen above) doesn’t justify or change that guard ‘s mid-air takedown was a flagrant foul. 

“Flopping isn’t a part of the game and it shouldn’t be a part of the game,” Hollins said. “That’s why we have rules in place. There are probably a few more that could be called on a lot of people still in it.”

“I don’t think what happened had anything to do with the referee calling a flagrant foul because he grabbed him out of the air,” Hollins said. “Whether he hit his head or didn’t hit his head, he grabbed him out of the air, and I don’t think that had a bearing, especi more clinical against Manchester United.The Hornets performed admirably at Old Trafford,er United youngster Tahith Chong on loan in January.The 19-year-old Dutch winger, a graduate of United’s academy, has started United’s matches against Astana and Rochdale so far this season.The Sun says PSV are interested in taking Chong when the tra especially in the first half.But their big chances, which fell to Troy Deeney and Abdoulaye Doucoure, were not taken.Eventually, United took the lead and won thally when they went and reviewed it, they still called it a flagrant.”

via .

Allen never confirmed the play was a flop during the week but on Friday told reporters that part of the problem is how people consider him vs. how people regard Ginobili. 

“Let’s say, God forbid, I got hurt. Say if I tore my ACL again, then how is evefrom Liverpool fans for his overzealous celebrations during their game against Barcelona.A video posted to social media showed Lineker and Rio Ferdinand celebrating Lionel Messi’s free kick that sealed a 3-0 win for Barca in the first leg.Many fans dryone looking at Manu Ginobili? That’s a dirty play, right? You can’t grab nobody in the air. You can’t grab nobody in the air. 

“What’s crazy is in the game before, he made the same play, and he went for the ball, and he missed and I layed it in. But this time, he knew he didn’t have time to make a play on the ball after he turned it over. So he grabbed me and pulled me out of the air. You can’t do that, man.” 

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Rap executive Rifkind to help launch new basketball minor league

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I never would have guessed that someone would look at the NBA’s D-League and think, “Hey, we DEFINITELY need a second one of these.” As it turns out, at least one successful rap executive does see a need for a new-and-improved basketball minor league.

that that Steve Rifkind, the founder of Loud Records who helped launch the Wu-Tange Caln and Three 6 Mafia, among others, is helping to launch the American Basketball League, a minor league set to open its inaugural season in January 2013. Former player Kenny Anderson is also on board as the ABL’s DirectorAC Milan and Italy great Franco Baresi admits he’s been impressed by Chris Smalling.Smalling is this season on-loan at Roma from Manchester United.Baresi told The Sun: “At Milan, I was a team-mate of Ray Wilkins and Mark Hateley but I think it is e of Player Development.

The ABL is expected to include 12 franchises across Florida and Texas, with team names like the Emerald Coast Knights, the Fort Lauderdale Sharks, the Corpus Christi Clutch and the Texas Surge. Tryouts for the league begin in October, .

Here’s .

The American Basketball League will commence its inaugural 24-game season in January 2013 and will field a 12-team league set to challenge the recent economic and rather public failings of current minor-league basketball organizations.  Initial ABL markets include; Miami, San Antonio, San Marcos, Sugarland, College Station, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Sebring and Corpus Christi.  Future expansion is scheduled for California and New York.

By providing certified referees, uniforms and a carefuManchester United and Newcastle United have held talks over Sean Longstaff.Sky Sports says no offical bid has been lodged.Toon are not interested in selling Longstaff and see him as a big part of their future plans.United have already signed two young British players in Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.They have also begun negotiations with Southampton over a deal for Mario Lemina.lly coordinated regional inter-conference schedule, participating teams will enjoy a substantial decrease in operating costs currently realized by teams in other minor basketball leagues. “Playing a road game eight hours from your home base and incurring the costs associated with lodging, food, gas and ground transportation is a recipe for certain economic disaster” says ABL CEO Steven A. Haney. “Our business model would reduce operating costs of current organizations upwards of 50 percent a season, making otherwise bankrupt teams operationally successful and profitable. At the end of the season, we will have divisional playoffs where teams from around the country can compete with one another without bearing the risk of bankruptcy”.In addition to each team playing a regionally structured guaranteed schedule, an ABL Final Four will be held at the conclusion of the regular season in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with a winner-take-all $10,000 purse for the inaugural league champion. “To see two ABL teams playing a single winner-take-all game would add to the excitement of the league,” says league representative Marlon Minifee. “No other league in minor-league basketball has ever offered such an opportunity to its member teams and players.”

It goes without saying: best of luck to the ABL. Their goals seem fairly modest, the regional plan makes sense from the standpoint of limiting unnecessary costs, and basketball, as a global sport, benefits from any new successful league, whether in the United States or abroad.

There are obvious challenges here that could prove difficult to overcome in the long haul.

Let’s start with demand. Tickets are the economic driver of any pro sports league. If the ABL is to last, it will need to generate real revenues; slashing expenses doesn’t guarantee a profit or worthwhile business model by itself.

In Florida, where the ABL plans to launch, the NBA champion Miami Heat can’t get their fans to show up on time and the Orlando Magic will struggle to fill up the new Amway Center now that Dwight Howard is gone. League-wide, more than one-third of the NBA’s teams drew less than 16,000 fans per game last season, even with rampant inflation of turnstile numbers. This, mind you, as television ratings continue to increase and the league has more marketable stars than it knows what to do with.

D-League teams aren’t exactly playing to sellouts, either. Not even with significantly lower (practically free) ticket prices. Not even while playing in significantly smaller venues. Not even with the benefit of the NBA’s promotion skills, affiliations with “parent clubs,” and the possibility of first-round talent and former NBA players taking the court. Not even with the annual D-League Showcase to help lure fringe talent with the promise of plenty of scouts and executives on hand, and not even with NBA-TV and online streaming of D-League games.

If the ABL is true to its word about topping D-League salaries (something that wouldn’t be particularly difficult in theory, given that American minor leaguers play for a fraction of what they would get playing professionally overseas), it will need to pay off somehow. Expecting two states to support 12 teams at the turnstile is asking a lot, especially in some of the smaller markets. Could sponsorships help? Sure. But what’s in it for them? Sponsorships and endorsements need to be a win-win. The ABL will surely be renting gym space, so you can kiss naming rights goodbye. Real television visibility would seem totally out of the question, especially at the beginning. What else would make a meaningful difference for big-dollar sponsors?

The supply-side isn’t much prettier. The ABL will be competing for talent with foreign leagues that already scout heavily. The vast majority of second-tier talent already finds itself in Europe. The best non-NBA guys get situated overseas without all that much trouble, thanks in part to the Las Vegas and Orlando Summer Leagues. There are horror stories about some clubs failing to live up to their financial obligations to players, certainly, but the checks over there are substantial and the professional infrastructure and distribution are already in place.

Also, it’s worth mentioning: the talent base here isn’t endlessly deep and any new league would likely see huge turnover among its players. The player pool isn’t likely to have name talent to generate excitement on its own. Outside of, perhaps, a few former college stars with local ties, who could you reasonably expect to market around? And, if the call-up to the big leagues doesn’t come quickly, real world obligations are always calling players, too. Can fans be reasonably expected to keep up with, and stay loyal to a franchise, in an environment of rosters that are constantly in flux?

The D-League has been on a self-improvement quest for years now and a little competition is a good thing. Indeed, the ABL could be a great thing if it succeeds in its goal of raising the salary floor for non-NBA players. A fresh, outside approach to American professional basketball could produce genuine innovations and we all know that the NBA — savvy and comprehensive marketer that it is — will be keeping an eye on the new kid on the block. But, unless the ABL resorts to outlandish gimmicks, will fans care? And if they do go way outside the box with publicity stunts, will players with legit talent be willing to sign on for the promise of a slightly bigger paycheck?

One hard lesson learned during the NBA’s lockout applies here: the league’s top 10 or 15 superstars are disproportionately more popular, recognizable and marketable than the rest of the league’s players. Once you get outside that elite group , a vast majority of professional basketball fans in America are cheering for teams rather than players. When dozens of very talented pros — including the likes of John Wall, Kyle Lowry, Tony Allen and others — attempted to put on a short showcase league in Las Vegas, attendance and interest were abysmal. You couldn’t blame the fans for not showing up. With so many other pro sports options, why should consumers care about anything other than a premier product? And, with the NBA back y with the Premier League’s winter break.The next fortnight marks the first-ever winter rest for teams with the Toffees having next week off after facing Crystal Palace at Goodison Park.Ferguson, however, believes the fans are missing out as a conseqin full swing, is there enough room in the domestic marketplace for this type of league to meet its stated economic goals?

Perhaps the ABL isn’t even dreaming this big. Perhaps it’s just hoping to exist in a smaller, regional niche that helps players who have devoted their lives to a sport reach their dreams. If so, great. More power to them. But the minor leagues are a road well-travelled, with far more failures than successes.

To its credit, the ABL seems aware of these challenges going in. The league notes on its website that “over 200” minor-league basketball franchises have gone bankrupt in the last decade.

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James Harden confident he’ll have extension with Thunder before Oct. 31

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(US Presswire)

OKLAHOMA CITY — With doubt building as the deadline for an extension closes in, one person is extremely confident his future in is assured: .

At the Thunder’s annual media day on Monday, the ‘s reigning Sixth Man of the Year was very straightforward answering questions about the uncertainty surrounding him. The clock is ticking, and he knows it. Thirty days until the deadline, until Harden becomes a restricted free agent. Does he think this thing really will get done by Oct. 31?

“Yeah. Sure,” he said matter-of-factly. “That’s why I’m not too worried about it. Not at all.”

Harden has said multiple times previously he wants to stay with the Thunder. Of course, that begs the question: If that’s the case, then why isn’t it done?

“That’s up to my agent and Sam [Presti],” Harden said. “I let them deal with that contract situation. Right now, my focus is basketball.”

That was Harden’s message, more than once, as he was asked repeatedly about his future with the Thunder. He’s leaving it all up to his agent and Presti. But what about the talk of him taking less to stay with the team — talk that he started himself following OKC’s playoff exit?

Is Harden still willing to sacrifice to stay with the Thunder?

“Oh yeah, yeah. Sacrifice,” Harden said. “I think everybody on this team has sacrificed in their own way just for the better of the team. I think that’s why we’re so close. Like I said, I think everything will work itself out eventually.”

That sacrifice, of course, would mean tian says Manchester United and Juventus lead a queue of more than 20 teams chasing Haaland.Haaland has burst onto the scene in style this season, netting 22 goals in 15 games for the Austrian side already – including a remarkable first-half hat-trickaking less with an extension and avoiding restricted free agency where Harden would almost certainly be offered a max.  that Harden has declared he wanted. But he says that’s not the case.

No, no,” Harden said when asked if he only wants the max. “Like I said, I’m not really worried about that. I’m nidering give the game away.The talented midfielder is currently playing for Al-Ittihad.At Liverpool, he trained with the senior squad alongside Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, but could not break through.Instead, Silva had to watch oot focused on it. I’ll let my agent and Sam figure out all those numbers and everything like that. I’m just focused on hooping, hooping and bettering myself coming off that Sixth Man and bettering myself as a basketball player.”

Why is he so confident about it when it seems like an extension is more unlikely than likely, especially given the luxury tax problems that come with being a small market like the Thunder? How can he seem so sure?

“‘Cause I know. to parent club Real Madrid.Hakimi is in the second of a two season loan with Dortmund.The fullback scored both goals in the Champions League win at Slavia Prague and stated: “Returning to Madrid does not depend on me. The two clubs have to talk and I know,” Harden said. “I have confidence in my agent and the organization to get it done. They know how important it is. I’m sure it will be done.”