Ireland delays end of full coronavirus lockdown

first_imgBut Martin said the reproductive rate of the virus — the number of fresh infections a single case passes on — “has now risen above one” and the priority now was to reduce it.”By doing so, we will give ourselves the best chance possible to fully reopen our schools in late August,” he added.The government will also formulate regulations with enforcement and penalty capabilities to mandate the wearing of facemasks in shops, he said, announcing the cabinet’s decision to keep current measures in place until August 10.Some pubs have already been allowed to open in the republic. Ireland will delay the end of its coronavirus lockdown, slowing down its accelerated plan to return to normal because of a surge in new cases, prime minister Micheal Martin said Wednesday.Under an accelerated version of the government’s original plan to leave lockdown, Ireland had been set to enter the fourth and final stage of restrictions relaxing on Monday.The most significant move would have seen all pubs and bars allowed to start trading. As Ireland raised the tempo of its plan to end lockdown last month those of its 7,000 pubs serving food were allowed to open on June 29.It is the remaining drinking-only establishments which have now been dealt a three-week delay.The Vintners Federation of Ireland — which represents pubs outside the greater Dublin area — said it knew of 3,500 yet to reopen.Meanwhile, restrictions limiting gatherings to 50 people indoors and 200 outdoors will also be extended.”Given the risk of the spread of infection associated with social gatherings, as well as the evidence of outbreaks from bars and pubs in other countries… hotel bars, nightclubs and casinos will remain closed,” Martin added.The announcements represent a significant scaling back of the government’s ambition to reopen the nation ahead of schedule.They also introduce a fresh note of caution in the republic in the face of a feared “second wave” of infections.Ireland has seen 1,748 deaths in the coronavirus outbreak, according to Wednesday department of health figures.There have been several days where no deaths have been registered but as the country began reopening, the number of infections has risen.Public health officials have expressed particularly concern about new cases among younger people.”There is evidence that unrestricted house parties have led to a rise in recent outbreaks of the virus,” said Martin.”We need to refocus the message for our young people about the positive role they can play in preventing the further spread of the virus.”center_img Topics :last_img read more

PREMIUM‘America is an important country’, Prabowo to visit US for first time in decades

first_imgGoogle Nearly one year after being appointed as a Defense Minister by his political rival, former Army general Prabowo Subianto is leaving for the United States this week to meet his US counterpart Mark Esper; quite a diplomatic achievement after years of being barred entry to the country.Prabowo had long been banned from visiting the US because of allegations of human rights abuses. He was included in a blanket ban on the Army’s Special Forces (Kopassus) for alleged human rights violations in East Timor when the territory was under Indonesian rule.The minister talked about the five-day visit to the US starting on Thursday in a video released by the Gerindra Party on Tuesday, confirming that he was accepting the invitation because he considered the US an important country.”America is an important country and I was invited, so I must fulfill the invitation,” Prabowo s… LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Log in with your social account Linkedin Forgot Password ? Facebook Topics : Prabowo-Subianto defense defense-ministry Defense-Minister Mark-Esper Indonesia united-stateslast_img read more

Higuain lands in USA ahead of Inter Miami switch

first_img Read Also: Messi: Barcelona president harassed in first public outing Advertisement Loading… Gonzalo Higuain has arrived in the United States ahead of his switch to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami . Jorge Mas , Inter Miami ‘s managing owner, posted a photo alongside Higuain , who has been convinced to join David Beckham ‘ s project in MLS .center_img According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Higuain has reached an agreement with Juventus to tear up the remaining year on his contract. This summer has seen Inter Miami already sign Blaise Matuidi , a team-mate of Higuain at Juventus last season. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Promoted ContentCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable Way10 Actors And Actresses Whose Careers Were Boosted By Soap Operas5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks13 kids at weddings who just don’t give a hoot5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks9 Talented Actors Who Are Only Associated With One Role8 Things To Expect If An Asteroid Hits Our PlanetA Guy Turns Gray Walls And Simple Bricks Into Works Of Art7 Most Asntonishing Train Stations In The WorldMind-Bending Technology That Was Predicted Before It Appeared7 Mysterious Discoveries From All Around The World7 Reasons Why You Might Want To Become A Vegetarianlast_img read more

No fear, athletes will get to train properly again: Anjum Moudgil

first_imgKOLKATA: Ace rifle shooter Anjum Moudgil believes athletes will not be scared of returning to practice after the Sports Ministry gave its go ahead to the resumption of training in all sports complexes and stadia earlier in the week.The COVID-19 pandemic had brought the sporting world to a standstill with almost all events across the globe getting cancelled or postponed, including the Tokyo Olympics. The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) has also cancelled all its tournaments this year. India has been under lockdown since March 25 to combat the menace of the deadly virus but as it entered the fourth phase, the government decided to ease restrictions and among them were re-opening of sports complexes and stadia. “I am happy that the stadiums are open and that athletes will get to train again properly for any competitions this year or preparations for the Tokyo Olympics,” World Championships silver medallist Anjum told IANS on Wednesday. Anjum has been recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sporting honour. The first Indian athlete to make the cut for the Olympics by winning a silver medal in 10m air rifle at the 2018 World Championships in Changwon, Anjum said all the decision to re-open sports complexes and stadia will help athletes get back in shape. “All the athletes will now be in good shape before playing any tournament domestically or international,” said the 26-year old who is good at both 10m Air Rifle and 50m Rifle 3-position categories. Around the world, the German Bundesliga football league has resumed without spectators while Spanish LaLiga and the English Premier League is planning a June return. But as many as six tested positive for coronavirus across three Premier League clubs. Asked if there will be fear among athletes as they resume training amid the pandemic, Anjum said: “No, I think if all the athletes will follow the proper protocols of wearing masks and using sanitiser or maintaining social distance there will be no fear in returning to the stadiums for training.” (IANS) Also Read: COVID-19 pandemic: BCCI eyeing September-November windowlast_img read more

Jackson lifts NC A&T past Md.-Eastern Shore 83-62

first_img February 24, 2020 AJ Cheeseman scored 16 points for the Hawks (5-23, 4-9). Kevon Voyles added 10 points. Gabriel Gyamfi had nine rebounds.The Aggies improve to 2-0 against the Hawks for the season. NC A&T defeated Maryland Eastern Shore 91-53 on Jan. 11. NC A&T takes on South Carolina State on the road next Monday. Maryland Eastern Shore takes on Delaware State at home on Saturday.___For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25___ Jackson lifts NC A&T past Md.-Eastern Shore 83-62 Associated Press center_img Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditGREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Ronald Jackson scored 20 points with 14 rebounds and North Carolina A&T beat Maryland-Eastern Shore 83-62 on Monday to win its 10th straight at home and to stay atop the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference standings.Conference assists leader Kameron Langley scored 10 points with eight rebounds and 13 assists to become the Aggies’ all-time assists leader, breaking the record held by Thomas Griffis (582).Kwe Parker scored 15 points with eight boards and blocked two shots and Andre Jackson scored 12 points for the Aggies (15-14, 11-3), who outscored the Hawks48-26 in the paint. Devin Haygood added 10 points. Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.comlast_img read more

DOWNPOUR: Syracuse fails to contain USC playmakers in 42-29 loss at MetLife Stadium

first_imgEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It’s not often that a team can come out flat twice, blow most of an 18-point lead and ultimately survive on the road more than 2,700 miles from home.Even rarer is an offense that acts listless to start, disinterested in the middle, yet coolly puts forth 42 points with a late-game explosion that leaves its opposition grasping at thin air.But Southern California is not most teams, and Saturday’s experiment away from the Carrier Dome was an environment atypical of most college football games.A partisan crowd that appeared to contain more red than orange watched USC (2-0) ride its marquee trio of Matt Barkley, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee to a 42-29 win over Syracuse. Five of Barkley’s six touchdown passes were secured by his two star receivers, and the No. 2 team in the country demonstrated its superior playmaking ability as it kept the Orange (0-2) winless for another week.“They have three excellent players in Matt Barkley, Woods and Lee,” Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone said. “I think they are very elite. They are elite college football players. First-round-type caliber draft picks.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThey compose a unit that scored on its first play of the season — a 75-yard touchdown pass to Lee — last week against Hawaii, and that has come to expect similar results with each and every possession.So when the clock expired on a scoreless first quarter, it was only a matter of time before the juggernaut rounded into form.“We’re never really going to shut them down and stop them from making plays,” Syracuse linebacker Marquis Spruill said.True to form, Barkley and Co. made quick work of the blank scoreboard early in the second quarter. Barkley (23-for-30, 187 yards, six touchdowns, one interception) connected with Lee on a 13-yard slant route to open the scoring on the Trojans’ first possession, and later dropped in a beautiful 29-yard touch pass to Woods despite near-perfect coverage by SU cornerback Ri’Shard Anderson, who even had a hand between Woods’ arms.USC took a 14-3 lead into halftime, and its offensive triumvirate continued clicking in the second, despite a break of more than an hour due to heavy downpours and thunderstorms.The Trojans’ first possession in the second half culminated with another Barkley-to-Woods touchdown, this time victimizing Syracuse cornerback Brandon Reddish. He, too, got a hand between Woods and the ball, only to see the All-American wrestle it away for a 4-yard score on a bullet pass from Barkley.It left Reddish shaking his arms in frustration, knowing that his coverage was essentially perfect, yet Woods still found a way to score.“He just took it and scored a touchdown,” Reddish said. “On certain plays, Barkley just throws it to the right spot for his receivers to make plays.”Reddish’s statement is personified through Barkley’s two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Lee on nearly identical fade routes. Each time, he lofted the ball up and over the head of Anderson, who was beaten on three of Barkley’s six scores on Saturday, for Lee to pluck nimbly out of the air.Together Lee and Woods combined for 159 receiving yards, five touchdowns and 329 all-purpose yards.Barkley said he would bet on his two receivers every time in one-on-one coverage. But when Lee’s third and final touchdown beat double coverage from Syracuse on a 3-yard fade to the back left corner of the end zone, it was clear that, sometimes, USC’s one is better than its opponent’s two.“They just made some good plays, did a nice job,” said Scott Shafer, SU’s defensive coordinator, who was visibly frustrated after the game. “Hats off to Southern California, good football team. Those kids made some nice plays.”Perhaps no play was nicer than Woods’ 76-yard reverse that set up the touchdown that put the game out of reach at 35-16. Working from right to left across the field, Woods took a pitch from Barkley and turned the corner courtesy of a block from Lee. He cut back, unabated by the slickness of the turf, juking Syracuse strong safety Shamarko Thomas and leaving free safety Jeremi Wilkes slipping toward the sidelines.That brought the ball to the 4-yard line, and two plays later, Barkley found Lee for the game-clinching touchdown.Said Barkley: “We had some plays in the second half that I really liked.” Comments Published on September 9, 2012 at 12:48 am Contact Michael: mjcohe02@syr.edu | @Michael_Cohen13 Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Related Stories Gallery: Southern California 42, Syracuse 29Storify: Southern California 42, Syracuse 29Slow start by offense costs Syracuse in 42-29 loss to Southern Californialast_img read more

J.E Sarpong: “Local coaches deserve a chance at the big gigs”

first_imgThe head coach of the newly promoted Premiership side, Ebusua Dwarfs, has expressed concern about the current situation of our locally trained coaches in the country.Joseph ‘J.E’ Sarpong noted that there are competent coaches in the country who are yet to be tested at top level because clubs don’t want to take a risk with them.”We have good and confident coaches who are well trained and can do better but are not given the chance. The trained coaches need to be graded and monitored after the completion of the courses but not to grouped us all in one calabash,” he told Asempa FM’s Ultimate Sports Show.J.E Sarpong believes Ghanaian coaches are not treated fairly and need equal opportunity like that of the foreign coaches.He was speaking in reaction to the news that Hearts are soon to announce the appointment of Japanese-American Kenichi Yatsuhashi to lead the team in the coming season.– Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

Worst loss of season is Lakers’ fifth straight as Rockets win 118-95

first_imgKuzma led the Lakers with 22 points and 12 rebounds, though all but six of those points came in the fourth quarter after the Lakers had begun to wave the white flag.Continuing on a theme, the Lakers committed 21 turnovers for the second straight night. Giveaways remain the Lakers most pressing concern despite the team’s best efforts to take better care of the ball.“The turnovers again killed us,” Walton said. “We literally are doing drills that the players joke are like high school drills.“That’s what it’s come to.”Brandon Ingram led four Lakers starters in double figures with 18 points, while Lonzo Ball played arguably his least effective game of his rookie season.He finished with 2 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound and 3 turnovers while playing just 22 minutes. Ball did not play in the fourth quarter, though that may have had as much to do with caution as anything.Ball complained of calf tightness in both legs Saturday in Denver, and the issue persisted on Sunday.“It’s like I got two knots in my calf right now,” he said. “So, it’s like this” – he stacked one fist on top of the other – “two rocks every time I run and jump. You can play through it, but it just hurts a little bit.”Ball, who went 0 for 4 from the field,  said sitting out the game had been on the table, but he went through the Lakers pregame walk through and determined he could play.“He didn’t seem to have that same bounce, that same push he’s been giving us,” Walton said.That could have explained some of the Lakers struggles against the Rockets.“A lot of what we do and how we go is dependent (on him),” Walton said. “Which is a lot off pressure to put on a young rookie, to play that position.”The Lakers have grown accustomed to having Ball snare rebounds, throw the ball ahead to streaking teammates, forcing defenses to collapse.“Tonight,” Walton said, “I didn’t feel like we got as much of that out of him.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error PreviousHouston Rockets guard James Harden goes up for a dunk during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, right, steals a pass intended for Houston Rockets guard James Harden during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsHouston Rockets guard Eric Gordon drives past Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, left, defends Houston Rockets guard James Harden, center, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson (6) and Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) battle for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) blocks a shot by Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (0) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) fouls Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Los Angeles Lakers forward Corey Brewer, right, defends Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10), front, goes up for a basket over Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) tries to save the ball from going out of bounds during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots under pressure as Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, left, and center Brook Lopez (11) defend him during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots over Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) drives the ball as Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10), left, and forward Luc Mbah a Moute (12) defend him during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (0) goes up for a dunk over Houston Rockets center Clint Capela during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) goes up for a basket as Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) defends him during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)Houston Rockets guard James Harden goes up for a dunk during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)NextShow Caption1 of 15Houston Rockets guard James Harden goes up for a dunk during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)ExpandLOS ANGELES – In their previous four games, the Lakers always had a chance. They fought back from early deficits, forced overtime against the champs, went cold at just the wrong time.Their fifth straight loss, however, was much more decisive.Behind big scoring surges in the second and fourth quarters, the Houston Rockets blew out the Lakers 118-95 at Staples Center on Saturday. When the Lakers next take the court, Wednesday in Philadelphia to kick off a four-game trip, they will not have won a game in more than two weeks.“I think everyone that’s with us knew that this was going to be a testing time of the season,” Coach Luke Walton said.center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersOne night after the Lakers (8-15) melted down over the final four minutes in a loss to the Nuggets in Denver, they were simply outplayed by the Rockets, who improved to a league-best 18-4.The 23-point margin was the worst of the season for the Lakers who lost by 16 points on opening night against the Clippers and at Washington on Nov. 9.James Harden led Houston with 36 points and nine assists, while fellow All-Star point guard Chris Paul scored 21 to go with six assists and four rebounds. .It was in the second period that Harden got especially hot, pouring in 16 points while making all five of his shots from the field. The Rockets outscored the Lakers 34-19 to break wide open a game that had been tied at 27 through the first 12 minutes.“He’s a tough guard,” said Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma, who often found himself switched onto Harden defensively. “There’s a reason why he’s one of the best players in the league. It’s hard to guard somebody that takes that many dribbles and has that many moves and shiftiness.”last_img read more

Free agency guide: What the Lakers will look for in guards

first_img Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers The prototype: Wayne Ellington – This might be a little wishful thinking for the Lakers, because there’s always enough demand for 3-point specialists that Ellington (41 percent career 3-point percentage) could get better offers. But he has enough experience that he would make a little more money on a minimum deal than younger players, and he might be at a point in his career (he turns 32 in November) when contending might mean more than the bottom line given that he’s never reached the second round of the playoffs. The Lakers will have to make convincing arguments for players such as Ellington who still have juice left and can help space the floor for their dynamic stars. Winning in the margins is more important than ever for a team without many of its future draft picks: Signing effective veterans who can stay on the floor in playoff scenarios could make an enormous difference in the ceiling for this team.Other names: This category merits some consideration for Lakers who played last season and the team might try to get back toward the lower end of their budget. Alex Caruso is a restricted free agent, and because of his play toward the end of last season, it’s possible that another team tries to pry him loose for more than the minimum. The Lakers might be hard-pressed to keep him if they get their third max player. There’s also Rajon Rondo, who is divisive because of his stats that reflect negatively on his last season, but the fact that he’s played with James and Davis before has to help his case to return.The Lakers need to fill out a roster, so it might be possible that they turn to guys who simply can spark bench runs occasionally: Think J.J. Barea, Raymond Felton or the immortal Jamal Crawford. Even though these players are older and have clear flaws, it’ll be necessary to mine that category of player to fit the team’s limited budget options once the major players get signed. This is probably also the place to put D’Angelo Russell, who has generated considerable buzz, but is a restricted free agent. The timing would be tough for the Lakers unless Irving reaches a quick agreement with Brooklyn, and the Nets renounce Russell right away. A creative scorer and passer who averaged seven assists and shot nearly 37 percent from 3-point range last season, Russell would have valuable skill sets the Lakers could use. He would not command a full max salary, but most expectations are that his next contract will pay him well over $20 million per year.ROTATION LEVELThe next tier of players opens up if the Lakers fail to get their max candidate. They can likely target one or two top-level role players, then start moving down the list. This is an investment in the cast around James and Davis, assuming those two are good enough to contend for a championship but just need the right pieces around them.The prototype: Patrick Beverley – If you want to get a sense of the 30-year-old’s value, just ask down the hall. Clippers teammates and coaches pointed to him as the lifeblood of the team. That competitive mindset would be welcome for a Lakers franchise that struggled to shift into contending mode last season. Beverley makes a two-way impact. He’s not a high volume scorer and never has been, but he’s a career 38 percent 3-point shooter, and his long-distance ability should pair well with James. He doesn’t require the ball to make an impact, but he’s a good enough passer that he can run the offense when James is on the bench. While he’s just 6-1, he’s relentless, and scraps for rebounds and steals that most players his size don’t get. A former Lakers draft pick, Beverley would be a good fit back at Staples Center – with the caveat that he is probably looking for a career-making payday with his next contract (perhaps $11-13 million per year?).Other names: Anywhere the Lakers can get shooting, it’s welcome after their 3-point percentage was a debacle last season. ESPN reports that the Lakers are interested in adding Portland guard Seth Curry, who was an efficient shooter last year. Some others in this vein might include Philadelphia’s J.J. Redick (who just turned 35) or and Milwaukee’s George Hill (a former James teammate). Indiana’s Darren Collison, an Inland Empire native and UCLA product, would have been squarely in this market except for a surprise retirement announcement on Friday night via The Undefeated (a decision that squeezes teams such as the Lakers).Restricted free agency is a tricky game for the Lakers, but if they aim high, Malcolm Brogdon would make a lot of sense as a fit. The 26-year-old is big, versatile and a 42-percent 3-point shooter. Milwaukee reportedly doesn’t want to let him get away, but their salary-cap situation might force them to walk away if another team makes an offer that’s robust enough.MINIMUM LEVELIf the Lakers come back with a third star, they’ll likely have to fill out the bulk of their roster with minimum-level players. These are typically borderline NBA talents or past-their-prime players who already have significant career earnings. Minimum contracts are set and come with no bonuses ($2.6 million for veterans with 10 years of experience) – it’s possible that some players mentioned in this tier would want to sign for more.Related Articles With LeBron James and Anthony Davis as their headliners, the Lakers almost assuredly have the most intimidating frontcourt in the NBA next season.But how do they fill out the rest of the spots?That’s perhaps the biggest burning question for a team that really only has four roster spots figured out for next season. While boasting two stars already, the guard spots could help make the difference between a middle-of-the-road playoff team and a championship contender. After looking at wings, it’s time to examine potential backcourt help.With the free agency negotiating window beginning Sunday at 3 p.m. PT, here’s a look at how the Lakers could spend their cap space on guard play, with needs for long-range shooting, play-making and hopefully competent defense at those spots: Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersMAX LEVELReports are increasing that the Lakers are focused on landing small forward Kawhi Leonard with their max salary slot. But what happens if they don’t convince the reigning NBA Finals MVP to be a Laker? Guard is probably the next spot they’ll be looking at.Max level players generally are eligible for 30 percent of the available salary cap, which is about $32 million dollars next year. Any of the players in this section will have offers of that salary or near that salary. The teams that they played for last year can offer five-year deals: The Lakers can only offer four.The prototype: Kyrie Irving – There’s a very narrow line here. Jimmy Butler and Kemba Walker are also desirable for several reasons, but Irving stands slightly above for his blend with his former teammate James, and Davis needs the spacing Irving can help provide. Irving just turned 27, the youngest of the top guard trio, and he shot above 40 percent from 3-point range last season. He also had a career-best 6.9 assists per game, which shows a growing ability to make plays for others out of his already well-documented and unique shot creation skillset.There are drawbacks: Irving is a sieve on defense, and the Celtics improved measurably defensively when he was off the court. Everywhere Irving has been, questions of chemistry have followed, and a fracture with James led to Cleveland trading him. It’s also discouraging that he had a negative net rating last year in the playoffs for Boston, a bitter finish to an uneven tenure. But at his best, Irving is a nearly unstoppable scorer, a long-distance shooter and spacer, arguably the game’s top ball handler, one of its top finishers at the rim and he knows how to play with James (and they started smoothing things over last season). He was also the fifth-best scorer last year in “clutch” situations according to the NBA, behind players such as James Harden and Leonard. A pairing with Davis could be a foundation that extends well past James’ prime.Other names: Butler is probably the second-best fit here for vastly different reasons. He has better size (6-foot-8), better two-way impact and he had great games for Philadelphia in the playoffs in intense situations (plus-11.9 playoff net rating). He brings chemistry issues of his own (see: his ugly exit from Minnesota) and doesn’t space the floor as effectively as Irving would, but he’s physical, and when he’s motivated, he can be a far better defensive player than either Irving or Walker. Multiple media reports cite Walker as a near-lock for Boston now, in Irving’s messy wake, but Walker is a strong shot-creator and scorer despite his diminutive stature. Could he evolve into a more efficient long-range threat with the kind of attention James and Davis would command? Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions last_img read more

Breaking the Alabama-Clemson monopoly: Sizing up Texas A&M’s chances

first_imgSporting News recently leased its 2019 College Football Playoff predictions, and it comes as no surprise that we picked another Alabama-Clemson matchup in the CFP championship game on Jan. 13 in New Orleans.  Can anybody break up the Alabama-Clemson monopoly at the top of college football? Sporting News will take a closer look at some of the top-10 programs with the best chance to do just that. We have already looked at Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma — schools that have combined for six CFP appearances. We even gave Michigan a look. MORE: Sporting News post-spring top 25Today, we’ll take a closer look at the team still looking to break through for that first appearance out of the SEC West. Texas A&M is ranked No. 11 in Sporting News’ post-spring preseason top 25. The Aggies are coming off a 9-4 season in Jimbo Fisher’s first year and have a loaded schedule where they can prove whether they are Playoff material.  Can the Aggies break through and make a run at the Tigers or the Tide? A closer look:Why Texas A&M can break up Alabama-ClemsonMore Kellen Mond  Mond took over the starting quarterback position for the Aggies last season, and he turned it up in the last four victories. He averaged 213.8 passing yards and 46 rushing yards per game, throwing 12 touchdowns to two interceptions and rushing for three more scores. Mond is a pass-first quarterback who can escape trouble in the pocket, and that development should continue in 2019.Improved defense Fisher had a top-20 scoring defense in his first season at Florida State in 2010. The Seminoles were a top-five defense the following season. The second season under defensive coordinator Mike Elko should produce even better results. There will be bumps considering the defense lost its top-six leading tacklers last season, but the defensive line will evolve around defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, and the depth through recruiting will continue to pop over the next two seasons.  Big stagesTexas A&M is one of only only two teams guaranteed to play Alabama and Clemson in the regular season, the other being South Carolina. The Aggies lost 28-26 in a thriller with the Tigers last season and 45-23 at Alabama. Fisher can use that film as teaching material for another crack at No. 1 and No. 2. Clemson has lost two home games since 2013, but Fisher led the Seminoles past the Tigers in one of those games: a 51-14 blowout in 2013.MORE: 2019 Texas A&M lookaheadWhy Texas A&M won’t break up Alabama-ClemsonThe Aggies did lose a lot on defense, and leading rusher Trayveon Williams and tight end Jace Sternberger are gone for the NFL. Texas A&M will need some new skill position players to develop and a new-look defense to be better than it was without all those veterans. The momentum in recruiting is real, but Fisher isn’t up against the ACC Atlantic. He’s trying to build something in the SEC West, where Alabama and LSU also had top-five classes. No program likes to hear “a year or two away,” but that might be the case here.  Coach factorFisher is one of five active coaches with a national championship. Alabama’s Nick Saban and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney are the only ones at their current schools, and Kansas’ Les Miles and North Carolina’s Mack Brown are back in the game this year.Fisher is the most-recent active coach other than Saban and Swinney to win it all.Fisher is using the same blueprint in College Station that built an NFL factory at Florida State, and he’s doing that with the lessons learned on how it can crumble. Texas A&M beat a pair of 10-win teams in Kentucky and LSU last season, but Fisher wasn’t given that lucrative contract to beat the Wildcats and Tigers.He was hired to break a national championship drought that extends back to 1939.MORE: Texas, A&M among elite recruiters again, especially in Lone Star StateStat that mattersSince joining the SEC, Texas A&M is 14-18 against top-25 teams. That includes a 5-10 record against top-10 teams.The Aggies made their biggest statement victory in 2012 when Johnny Manziel led a 29-24 upset over No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, but the Tide have won the last six meetings by an average of 22.2 points per game.If Texas A&M is going to take over this division, then it has to take out Alabama. Fisher knew that when he was hired.  Can Texas A&M break up Alabama-Clemson?The Aggies also have a demanding SEC schedule that includes a September visit from Auburn and back-to-back road games at Georgia and LSU to end the regular season. Who made that schedule again? You want Texas on top of that?  If Fisher leads the Aggies to 10 wins against that schedule, then they will have more than just a New Year’s Day Six case. Let’s say the Aggies beat three of Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Georgia and lose one more game. Texas A&M somehow squeaks into the SEC championship. Would you put an 11-2 Aggies team in the College Football Playoff?  You probably should at that point.  Texas A&M is one of the teams that can play its way into the Playoff with that schedule. We’ll see if they are truly a year or two away from contention.last_img read more