FIFA to intervene as Cardiff and Nantes can’t agree on Sala feeby Ansser Sadiqa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveCardiff City have failed to agree a compensation deal with Nantes over Emiliano Sala.The Championship club had originally agreed to pay £15 million for the Argentinian before his tragic death earlier this year.Cardiff have now disputed the figure agreed with the Ligue 1 club.FIFA will get involved this week to find a resolution. About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say
LeBron JamesSFCleveland136.3+1.4 Manu GinobiliSGSan Antonio5739.2+1.1 PJ TuckerSFPhoenix/Toronto3535.7+1.4 2016-17203726 Khris MiddletonSGMilwaukee3943.3+1.1 Jimmy ButlerSFChicago3036.7+2.2 Danny GreenSGSan Antonio4637.9+2.0 2013-14153039 James Ennis IIISFMemphis5037.2+1.4 Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder washed out of the playoffs Tuesday night in a 105-99 Game 5 loss, the last sigh of a frustrating 4-1 series loss to the Houston Rockets. The game followed a familiar script, with the Thunder rushing out to an early lead as Westbrook put a good and thorough thumping on the Rockets defense. But as the game wore on, Westbrook began to tire, the Houston defense began to tighten, and the OKC bench hemorrhaged an enormous number of points. As the Rockets pulled away, the Thunder had no means to make up that ground, because the Thunder cannot shoot.Oklahoma City’s glaring lack of shooting is nothing new. The team shot just 31.1 percent from 3 in the series, and that’s humiliating, sure, but it’s also not too far off of the Thunder’s regular season average of 32.7. Westbrook himself threw up brick after brick, going 13 for 49 from 3 (26.5 percent), many in the desperate fourth-quarter scrums that always seem to wrap up Oklahoma City’s games. But this paucity of reliable shooters isn’t simply because Kevin Durant left town over the summer and the team traded Serge Ibaka for Victor Oladipo; it’s the result of a yearslong failure of the Thunder to find perimeter players who fit the modern NBA landscape.For as long as there’s been an NBA analytics movement, the 3-and-D wing player has been one of the atomic units of the mathematically sound game. The role of perimeter defender and long-range specialist isn’t necessarily new. In the generation before Shane Battier was beatified by Michael Lewis in The New York Times Magazine, Bruce Bowen, Rick Fox and Doug Christie were manning the position, and before them, guys such as the Showtime Lakers’ Michael Cooper or the Bad Boy Pistons’ Joe Dumars filled the role. But now the 3-and-D guy is more in focus than ever. Which is why it might be a surprise that there are still relatively few players who fit the description.Over the last four seasons, the number of players who qualify1These cutoffs are somewhat arbitrary — they’re only meant to broadly capture the essence of the role — but if anything they stand to underestimate the number of players with the skills to perform roles other than 3-and-D. That’s because there’s a theoretically limitless number of players who fit the 3-and-D description, while rebound rate and assist rate are limited by the number of opportunities for a team, so the thresholds wouldn’t pick up a good rebounder like Steven Adams who yields rebounds to Westbrook, or a point guard such as the Spurs’ Patty Mills, who shares time with distributors like Kyle Anderson and Manu Ginobili. as a 3-and-D (hitting a breakeven 33 percent of their 3s and a defensive Real Plus/Minus of at least 12While playing at least 15 minutes per game in 20 or more games.) has lagged far behind the number of players who fit other traditional roles, such as the rebounding, defensive big man3Defensive RPM of at least 1 and a defensive rebounding percentage of at least 20 or the playmaking point guard.4Offensive RPM of at least 0 and an assist percentage of at least 20. Andre IguodalaSFGolden State936.2+1.8 The Thunder have had a lot more success finding big men — rebounding defenders like Steven Adams, or players to clean the offensive boards, like Enes Kanter — but such players are far more common than a prototypical 3-and-D guy, and even if they weren’t, a surplus of rebounding isn’t as viable as a surplus of shooting.Yet while there isn’t an abundance of shooter-defenders, they also aren’t impossible to find for a team that knows where to look. Yes, some like Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant and LeBron James are simply good at everything. And some, like Portland’s Al-Farouq Aminu, are lottery picks who end up as just role players. But the vast majority of the players who turn out to be 3-and-D studs come from the late-first or second round of the draft, meaning every team has a chance at drafting and developing them. Here are the 20 players who fit the bill this season: Luke BabbittSFMiami1641.4+1.2 Number of NBA players in key roles, by season Solomon HillSFNew Orleans2334.8+1.5 Rudy GaySFSacramento837.2+2.0 2015-16114728 DeMarre CarrollSFToronto2734.1+1.0 Al-Farouq AminuSFPortland833.0+3.2 The NBA’s 3-and-D wings, 2016-17 Jae CrowderSFBoston3439.8+1.4 Since the Thunder allowed Thabo Sefolosha to leave via sign-and-trade in 2014, the Thunder have struggled to find perimeter role players who can both shoot from distance and hold their own on defense. This season, Oladipo has taken on Ibaka and Durant’s spacing responsibilities (and beginning next year, much of their salary cap space) while being a worse shooter than either. In past seasons, the Thunder’s meek supporting cast could be somewhat attributed to the luxury of having Durant and Ibaka — both excellent spot-up shooters — which let the Thunder fill out the roster with more specialized (or, to put it less generously, more limited) players thanks to Durant and Westbrook’s versatility. But even that strategy eventually reached its limits late in games, when the Thunder offense would grind down to Durant holding the ball, surrounded by questionable-at-best shooters. And this season the issues have only intensified: The Thunder placed their man on the table above, sure, but only after replacing one of the best players in the league with a baseline role player.That’s because the few shooters the team has come up with in recent years have all been uniformly bad defenders. Teams can get away with having mediocre defenders who can shoot — think Kevin Love and Channing Frye on the Cavs — but not apocalyptically bad ones. In 2014-15 and 2015-16, the Thunder filled that role with Anthony Morrow, who was the functional counterweight to Andre Roberson, a superb defender who might as well be shooting with his eyes closed. Morrow shot 38.7 from 3 in 2015-16 for the Thunder but was one of the worst defenders in the league, with a defensive RPM of -3.05. This season’s Morrow is Alex Abrines, a 23-year-old out of Spain who shot 38.1 percent from 3 and made the opposing offense 4.3 points better when he was on the court. The maxim might be that a player only needs one elite skill to be useful to an NBA team, but the corollary is that he can’t be among the worst in the league at everything else to be useful to a playoff contender.These specific deficiencies showed themselves during those late-game panics against the Rockets. The Oklahoma City bench units have been lambasted for their startlingly bad numbers without Westbrook, and the shooters’ inability to play defense is a big reason why. The defense gave up 117.1 points per 100 possessions (-12.1 net) when Abrines shared the floor with Westbrook, and a shocking 147.1 points per 100 (-42.1) when he was paired with Jerami Grant, one of the Thunder’s other sort-of shooters off the bench.It’s clear that the Thunder roster cannot persist in its current state, and in the first season after losing a player like Durant, certain allowances ought to be made for holes in the team’s roster. But the persistent lack of shooting in Oklahoma City, and the persistent rostering of one-dimensional players in a league run by multidimensional lineups, is reason enough to question whether the problems facing the Thunder are ones the team is capable of overcoming. Data includes regular season games only. 3-and-D players hit 33 percent of their 3s and a defensive Real Plus/Minus of at least 1. Rebounding bigs had a defensive RPM of at least 1 and a defensive rebounding percentage of at least 20. Playmaker point guards had an offensive RPM of at least 0 and an assist percentage of at least 20.Sources: NBA.com, basketball-reference.com Kevin DurantSFGolden State237.5+1.4 NAMEPOSITIONTEAMDRAFT #3 POINT %DEFENSIVE REAL +/- Robert CovingtonSFPhiladelphia—33.3%+4.3 Trevor ArizaSFHouston4334.4+1.3 Victor OladipoSGOklahoma City236.1+1.6 SEASON3-AND-DREBOUNDING BIGPLAYMAKER PG Thabo SefoloshaSFAtlanta1334.2+2.4 2014-15184235 Patrick BeverleySGHouston4238.2+1.6 Data includes regular-season games only.Sources: basketball-reference.com, nba.com
2Ohio StateMichigan Wisconsin OklahomaPenn State— How accounting for head-to-head results changes playoff odds 5MichiganWisconsin Penn State ColoradoOhio State— 8Colorado—MichiganWashington Alabama9292 How the top 10 teams have fared head-to-head 6Wisconsin—Ohio State MichiganPenn State 4Washington——Colorado We’ve been getting a lot of angry notes from Michigan fans. And even though I’m from East Lansing, I think they have a point. Sort of.Here’s the rub: Michigan fans claim their Wolverines have a shot at the college football playoff, even though they rank fifth (the top four teams make the playoff) and have finished their regular season (Wisconsin and Penn State are playing for the Big Ten championship instead).Even the most rabid Michigan backers don’t expect their team to displace any of the current top four if everyone wins out. Undefeated No. 1 Alabama is one of the strongest college teams in history and will become the SEC Champion if it beats Florida on Saturday. No. 2 Ohio State — which, like Michigan, is idle this weekend — just beat Michigan last Saturday. And No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Washington are potential one-loss conference champions, while two-loss Michigan is neither of those things.Alabama would have a decent shot at the playoff even with a loss, but if either Clemson or Washington falls, another slot could open up. Apart from Michigan, the most plausible contenders to fill it are Wisconsin and Penn State — whichever one wins the Big Ten championship — and Colorado, if it beats Washington for the Pac-12 title.Wisconsin, Penn State and Colorado would each be 11-2 conference champions, as compared to 10-2 non-champion Michigan. The playoff selection committee explicitly accounts for conference championships as part of its selection criteria. So Michigan has a hard argument to make, it would seem.Except for one thing: Michigan played Wisconsin, Penn State and Colorado. It beat all three of them. And although the committee says it considers conference championships, it also says it takes head-to-head results into account. How would the committee weigh everything? Nobody’s quite sure. RANKSCHOOLWINSLOSSESPLAYING THIS WEEK Oklahoma65 10Oklahoma State——Oklahoma Oklahoma State12 Michigan16 3Clemson——— Ohio State92%94% CHANCE OF MAKING COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF Penn State2122 Clemson8081 Washington6666 SCHOOLPREVIOUSLYWITH HEAD-TO-HEAD ADJUSTMENT Wisconsin3021 Colorado1010 7Penn StateOhio StateMichiganWisconsin 9Oklahoma—Ohio StateOklahoma State Our college football playoff model, however, had been putting a fairly heavy thumb on the scale against Michigan. That’s because we’d programmed it to account for conference championships, but not for head-to-head results. Why not? There wasn’t any particularly good reason; we’d intended to build in a head-to-head adjustment earlier this fall and then got distracted by that whole presidential election thing. Also, because head-to-head results didn’t happen to matter very much in the first two years of the committee’s rankings — there was no case analogous to the one Michigan faces this year — we didn’t have much data on how much the committee really cares about them.Still, we think making some effort to account for head-to-head results is better than nothing, even if we’re basically just making an educated guess about the magnitude of the effect. So we’ve built an adjustment into our model. As before, the program runs a series of simulations in which it plays out the remaining games and estimates how the committee will rank the teams. Then there’s a new step: It checks to see if teams that are ranked in close proximity played one another. If in one simulation it initially had Colorado ranked No. 4 and Michigan No. 5, for instance, it might flip them because of the head-to-head result. Or it might not: The magnitude of the head-to-head adjustment is randomized a bit from simulation to simulation but generally set to a fairly conservative value. (We’ll recalibrate everything next year; how the committee untangles Michigan and the other teams will tell us a lot about how much it really cares about head-to-head play.)As a result of this change, Michigan’s chance of making the playoff increases to 6 percent. That’s still not very good — the model thinks it’s unlikely that the committee will put an idle team into the playoff, especially when it has two losses and didn’t win its conference championship. (The loss to Ohio State is especially complicating, because the committee would have to take two teams from the Big Ten but not the conference champion?) The committee could also evade the head-to-head question by taking two-loss Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, whichever one wins the Big 12 this weekend,1The Big 12 doesn’t have a championship game, but Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are playing one another, and it just so happens that the winner of that game will win the Big 12. instead of a second Big Ten team. But 6 percent is an improvement for Michigan from the 1 percent chance our model gave it before the adjustment. 1Alabama——— Apart from Michigan, this change also affects Ohio State’s calculus a bit. Aren’t the Buckeyes shoo-ins? Would the committee really demote a team all the way from No. 2 to No. 5?Probably not, but consider what happened in 2014. The committee — to our model’s surprise — dropped TCU all the way from No. 3 to No. 6 in its final rankings despite TCU having won. We learned from that experience that the committee isn’t necessarily all that consistent from week to week. So Ohio State, which won’t be the Big Ten champion, might be just a little bit nervous if the committee decides it values conference championships highly.But it matters which team wins the Big Ten instead of Ohio State. If it’s Wisconsin, the Buckeyes have less to worry about because they beat the Badgers head-to-head. (Wisconsin might make the playoff as a second Big Ten team, but probably not without Ohio State making it as well.) Ohio State lost to Penn State in the regular season, however. So if Penn State wins the Big Ten, it will be able to cite both a head-to-head victory and a conference championship in its case to get in ahead of Ohio State. Our model expects that Ohio State would probably still make it under such circumstances — quite possibly alongside Penn State — but it isn’t quite as safe. (In the new version of our model, Ohio State has a 97 percent chance of making the playoff if Wisconsin wins the Big Ten and a 91 percent chance if Penn State wins instead.)So almost no matter what happens, we’ll be left with a bit of a mess. One solution? Expand the playoff to six or eight teams, so the close calls stemming from janky conference-championship scenarios are resolved on the field and not in a conference room.
The dream-team paradigm has gone through several permutations over the years. In the era before the salary cap, star-powered rosters could stay together for many consecutive seasons, resulting in monstrous talent collections such as the Steel Curtain-era Pittsburgh Steelers (who had an absurd nine Hall of Famers on their roster in 1978) and even more recent teams such as Bill Walsh’s San Francisco 49ers and Jimmy Johnson’s Dallas Cowboys. But the advent of free agency in 1993 — and the subsequent addition of the salary cap — made such dream teams more difficult to keep together, whether by pre-emptively forcing teams to let useful players go or penalizing for years teams that tried to skirt the cap by pushing player paydays into the future.More recent dream team attempts have been the subject of ridicule, such as when the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles signed a group of veteran free agents that included Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jason Babin and — of course — Vince Young. When Young was asked to describe Philly’s new squad, he infamously responded with a smile and two words: “dream team.” In the end, the Eagles went a disappointing 8-8, writing a cautionary tale for future free-agent spending sprees.But around the same time, the NFL’s current preferred team-building strategy began to come into focus as young, cheap (at the time) quarterbacks such as Baltimore’s Joe Flacco and Seattle’s Russell Wilson won Super Bowls. With a change to the league’s collective bargaining agreement significantly lowering the price tags on incoming rookie QBs, teams realized that they could use the draft to acquire the most important asset in football — a star quarterback — for a relatively low price and then trick out the rest of their roster with the savings. The dream team concept was reborn.Take the 2017 champion Eagles, who spent a combined 4.5 percent of the cap on signal-callers Carson Wentz and Nick Foles — the former of whom vied for league MVP honors before a knee injury ended his season and the latter of whom was the Super Bowl MVP. That Philly team was laden with non-QB talent, and many of its members were productive veterans (Ronald Darby, Jay Ajayi, Alshon Jeffery, Timmy Jernigan, etc.) who had been plucked from other teams.This season’s Rams have taken a version of that same formula and run with it even further. They got 40 total points of Approximate Value1Pro-Football-Reference.com’s single-number measure of player value. out of veteran newcomers, which would rank 10th among Super Bowl winners, and that was with Talib, Peters, Suh and Fowler all having relative down seasons.That last part makes the Rams a bit different from other successful dream teams of the past. The 1994 49ers, for instance, were jam-packed with talented veteran newcomers — including Rickey Jackson, Ken Norton Jr. and Bart Oates, each of whom posted double-digit AV the previous season. The crown jewel, of course, was Deion Sanders, who arrived from Atlanta in free agency. They were all meaningful contributors to the Niners’ Super Bowl win that season, most notably Sanders, who won defensive player of the year honors. Similarly, the 1999 St. Louis Rams picked up Marshall Faulk from the Indianapolis Colts, along with many other newcomers, and went on to win the Super Bowl thanks to Faulk’s NFL offensive player of the year season.2An MVP turn from QB Kurt Warner didn’t hurt, either.The 2018 Rams don’t have anyone with the instant impact of a Sanders or Faulk. But one thing that makes them intriguing is how they’ve supplemented the dream-teamers they do have with younger, cheaper talent. The average age (weighted by AV) for the 10 Super Bowl champs most laden with new veteran talent3Ages are as of Dec. 31 for each season. I used a quick-and-dirty calculation that multiplies together AV from the current and previous seasons for incoming veteran players, to capture both established production and current-season value. was 27.6 years old; for L.A. this season, that number is 26.8. The Rams’ four best players by AV — Gurley, Donald, Jared Goff and Robert Woods — are all 27 or younger, and none of them were among the newcomers L.A. brought in this season. (And only Donald and Gurley were playing on contracts guaranteeing more than $30 million.) Whereas yesterday’s dream teams rose or fell more on the performances of their incoming stars, the new formula for general manager Les Snead and coach Sean McVay has been to use them as supplemental pieces to help support a young core.Not that the current Rams have nothing in common with their dream-team precursors, mind you. Even though teams have gotten much savvier about using contractual tricks to free up cap space and avoid the kind of “salary-cap hell” that, say, the 49ers found themselves in during the late 1990s, the Rams’ aggressive roster moves have still ratcheted up the pressure to win in a relatively short window of time. While most of the Rams’ key starters are still locked up in 2019 as well (with the exceptions of Suh, Cory Littleton and Rodger Saffold), they will begin facing tough salary constraints in the offseason before 2020 — when most of the current secondary and offensive line hits free agency — and particularly before 2021, when Goff will need to sign an extension. Compounding things, L.A. also traded away its second- and third-round draft picks this spring to snag Peters and Fowler.4On top of downgrading from the fourth round to the sixth in 2018 and losing a 2020 fifth-rounder. Even a smartly managed win-now strategy has an expiration date.But then again, so does every team-building tactic in the NFL — unless we’re talking about the Patriots. The Rams are exactly where they knew they’d need to be to justify their all-in roster strategy. They have the young stars and the veteran talent, plus the right coach to steer things in McVay. All that’s left is one more win to prove that dream teams are a viable way to build an NFL champion after all. The Super Bowl-bound Los Angeles Rams are a fascinating exercise in modern NFL team-building. While their opponents in Atlanta, the dynastic New England Patriots, seldom break the bank for anybody other than quarterback Tom Brady — who has been under center for a record nine Super Bowls with the Pats — the Rams spent aggressively after the end of last season. They opened the pocketbook for homegrown stars such as Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley, who each signed massive extensions, and also made a handful of outside pickups, including Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Dante Fowler Jr.All told, the spree left L.A. with 34 percent of its 2018 salary-cap dollars committed to returning veteran players on fresh extensions (tops among playoff teams) and an additional 22 percent of the cap spent on incoming veterans (third only to the Bears and Texans among playoff teams), according to data from ESPN’s Stats & Information Group. The result was a star-studded roster that many called the dreaded D-word — “dream team” — a label that has come to symbolize a roster concept that doesn’t always work in the NFL. But unlike previous dream-team iterations, the Rams have made it work, primarily by relying less on the newcomers and more on the talent they’ve developed. And that might provide a blueprint for future champions, if not exactly future dynasties.
The Manchester City manager is happy about how his team is performing, but he believes Sterling’s goal was simply awesomeAfter Manchester City defeated Newcastle 2-1, the Citizens’ coach Pep Guardiola praised one of his footballers.To the Catalan, Raheem Sterling played very intelligently and his goal was simply awesome.“He made a fantastic goal and he fought a lot,” Guardiola told reporters as per a Goal article.Chelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.“Especially in the second half, he played so cleverly. He moves the way we need him to move to help the team to be stable.”“The wingers are so important to make stability in our team and he did it quite well,” he said.“They [the players] know me. They convince me [and] I am satisfied the moment they run and do everything.”“The mistakes without the ball [and when] taking decisions – it is part of the process. So, it’s no problem,” he concluded.
Tottenham legend Gary Lineker believes Mauricio Pochettino has no need whatsoever to prove himself as a top-class coach.The Argentine has impressed greatly at Spurs in the past four years by converting them into regular top-four finishers in the Premier League, despite their limited resources.In light of this, Pochettino has been frequently linked with a switch to Real Madrid in La Liga along with Manchester United.Despite his impressive progress, however, critics have been quick to point out that Pochettino has failed to do the one thing that really counts in football – winning trophies.But former striker Lineker, who scored 80 goals in 138 games for Spurs and won the FA Cup with the club in 1991, insists Pochettino has nothing to prove to anyone.“He doesn’t need to win anything to be proclaimed as a terrific coach,” Lineker told talkSPORT.“He’s punching well above his weight in terms of how he’s performed at that football club, that’s why he’s been linked with Manchester United.“If he was the manager of Manchester City or Liverpool then you’d go ‘yeah, he needs to be winning things on a fairly regular basis.’Liverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.“Tottenham have got a good squad, but they haven’t got the strength in depth that City or Liverpool have.”He continued: “(Pep) Guardiola had to wait until his second season to win his first trophy at City.“On that basis does [Jurgen] Klopp need to win something this season? Yeah, probably.“But at the same time [Liverpool] play great football, they’re ultra-competitive and serious challengers in two of the biggest competitions in world football, so you have to weigh all that up.“Pochettino is not managing a huge club with massive budgets and expectations.“He’s not bought a player for the last two windows, now. Some people have short memories.”The last time Spurs won any silverware themselves came in the 2008 EFL Cup, where they defeated Chelsea 2-1 in the final.LONDON – FEBRUARY 24: Robbie Keane of Tottenham Hotspur leads the celebrations following victory during the Carling Cup Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on February 24, 2008 in London, England. Tottenham Hotspur won 2-1 after extra time. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
The project entails stabilizing approximately 5,000 feet of bluff on the north shore of the Kenai River starting at the creek near the mouth river and ending near Pacific Star Seafoods, just upriver from the senior center. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Army Corp of Engineers completed the feasibility study for the City of Kenai’s bluff erosion project on November 16. The project consists of constructing a berm about 5,000 feet long below the Kenai Bluffs toe. It is designed to prevent flood tides from washing away material that collects at the bluff toe and coastal storms from eroding the lower portion of the bluff. According to Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander the next step in the process is the design phase. The Lower Kenai River has eroded the Kenai River bluff through the original town site of Kenai at an estimated rate of three feet per year, causing the loss of public and private infrastructure, buildings, and lands.
NEW DELHI: With BJP’s sterling show in Bengal, it was widely speculated that it would get at least a cabinet berth in Modi’s new cabinet. However, it ended up with two ministers of state. Babul Supriyo, the singer- turned politician who fended off actress Moon Moon Sen in Asansol returns as a minister of state. Debasree Chaudhuri the BJP MP from Raiganj was also inducted as an MoS in the Modi cabinet. This is being viewed by political analysts as a royal snub to the BJP party cadre in Bengal. The BJP increased its tally in Bengal from two in 2014 to an impressive 18 seats this time around.