Liverpool fan LeBron James predicts Champions League triumph

By Sports Desk May 17, 2022

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  • Kyrie Irving opts in for $37m with Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving opts in for $37m with Brooklyn Nets

    Kyrie Irving has exercised his $37 million player option with the Brooklyn Nets for next season, confirming his decision on Monday.

    The move ends any chance of a sign-and-trade deal and takes Irving off the market when the free agency negotiating period begins on Thursday.

    Locking in the enigmatic Irving ends speculation of him fleeing—for now, at least.

    Earlier this off-season, Irving had given the Nets a list of approved destinations if a sign-and-trade deal were to happen. The only team on the list that explored acquiring Irving was the Los Angeles Lakers, ESPN reported earlier Monday.

    “Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow,” Irving told The Athletic. “I've made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall. A11even.”

    Irving has played just 103 of a possible 226 games since signing with Brooklyn in the 2019 off-season.

    Irving chose not to receive any COVID-19 vaccinations, leaving him unable to play for much of last season due to municipal regulations in New York. He played 29 games in 2021-22, averaging 27.4 points and 5.8 assists.

  • 'Nothing has changed' – Bulls reiterate desire to re-sign LaVine 'Nothing has changed' – Bulls reiterate desire to re-sign LaVine

    The future of two-time All-Star guard Zach LaVine remains the biggest question mark this offseason for the Chicago Bulls.  

    The franchise's desires, however, have been made crystal clear.  

    "We hope Zach is here for a long time, and nothing has changed," executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas said Monday.  

    Karnisovas and the Bulls have repeatedly made their desire to re-sign LaVine public, with the NBA's free agent negotiating period set to start on Thursday.  

    Karnisovas spoke at a news conference intended to introduce first-round draft pick Dalen Terry, but LaVine's unrestricted free agency again took centre stage.  

    LaVine previously said that he plans on exploring his options in free agency but has not ruled out returning to Chicago.  

    The Bulls could offer LaVine a contract up to five years and about $212million, while the largest offer he could receive from another team would be near $157m over four years.  

    Expectedly, Karnisovas remained quiet on the offer the team plans to make to LaVine.  

    "I'm confident. I'm confident in approaching this free agency in the next couple of days, sitting down with our group, looking at a lot of things," he said. 

    After scoring a career-high 27.4 points per game in 2020-21, LaVine's production and efficiency dipped a bit last season as he battled thumb and knee injuries, averaging 24.4 points a night.  

    LaVine had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in May.  

    "I think he's gonna be healthy," Karnisovas said. "I think he's now progressing great."

    The Bulls got off to a strong start last season, leading the Eastern Conference into February but losing 15 of 22 games to close the regular season.

    Despite ending a four-year playoff drought, they were dispatched in the first round in five games by the Milwaukee Bucks.  

    Even with the disappointing end to the season, Karnisovas would like to keep together the core of LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Lonzo Ball.  

    "This group has been here only since October," Karnisovas said. "We're still trying to get used to how to play with each other."

    While free agent deals will not be officially recognised by the league until July 6, teams and players can agree to terms starting from this Thursday.

  • Bale: Los Angeles FC move has come at right time in my career Bale: Los Angeles FC move has come at right time in my career

    Gareth Bale says he has joined Los Angeles FC at "the right time" in his career and is hoping to add more trophies to his haul during his time in Major League Soccer.

    LAFC announced on Monday that Bale has joined the club on a 12-month deal, with the option to extend through to 2024, following the expiration of his Real Madrid contract.

    As part of the deal, LAFC must pay fellow MLS side Inter Miami $75,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money (GAM) in exchange for the discovery priority to Bale.

    The Wales international had been linked with a number of teams, including former side Tottenham and hometown club Cardiff City, but he has opted for a move Stateside.

    And 32-year-old Bale, who is looking to maintain his fitness ahead of Wales' World Cup 2022 campaign in November, believes he has made the right choice.

    "I am extremely excited for this move to LAFC," he told the club's official website. "This is the right place for me and my family and the right time in my career. 

    "I cannot wait to get started working with the team and getting ready to win more trophies in Los Angeles."

    Bale spent nine years with Madrid – including a season on loan at Tottenham in 2020-21 – and won 16 trophies in the Spanish capital.

    However, he made just 21 league appearances combined in his final two campaigns at the Santiago Bernabeu, either side of that Spurs loan, after falling out of favour.

    Bale has continued to prove his pedigree over that time with Wales, most recently playing a key part in the recent World Cup qualifying play-off wins over Austria and Ukraine.

    The Southampton academy product will boost an LAFC side who already lead the Supporters' Shield race, and head coach Steve Cherundolo is delighted with the acquisition.

    "There are simply not many players in the world who can have an impact on a match like Gareth Bale," Cherundolo said. 

    "He can be dangerous in so many different ways, and we expect him to complement what we believe is already a strong team from the moment he arrives. 

    "His knowledge of the game and experience in playing in big games will be invaluable for our club."

    LAFC co-president and general manager John Thorrington added: "I am grateful to Gareth's management team who helped make this happen. 

    "It's clear Gareth is highly motivated to continue winning trophies and we're elated he has made the choice to join LAFC and help lead us in our goal of winning championships."

    Bale and fellow new signing Giorgio Chiellini are eligible to make their LAFC debuts against the LA Galaxy in El Trafico on July 8.

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