NBA parity on the line as teams prepare for beginning of free agency

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error After the Warriors blitzed LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the Finals in five games and Durant was named the series MVP, the rest of the NBA realized that being great was no longer good enough.Now the only way to contend is by selling out and loading up on superstars. So now Gordon Hayward, drafted by a Utah team that in seven years he led out of the lottery and into the Western Conference semifinals, might forgo building with the team that is prepared to give him everything to play in Boston, a team more ready to contend.It’s a head-scratching time. The Collective Bargaining Agreement has proven to be as good of a friend to small-market teams as the Declaration of Independence was to the crown. The pact between the league and its players was designed to encourage players to stay put.It was designed for Paul George to want to stay in Indiana, but with a year left on his contract he has leveraged his way into a certain trade out of the Hoosier State, and could land in Boston or Cleveland, teams that won 51 and 53 games last season, met in the Eastern Conference finals and still realize they are at least one superstar away from challenging the Warriors.It was designed to keep Gordon Hayward in Salt Lake City. The Jazz can offer Hayward more than $44 million and one more year than anyone else.But if the fifth contract year and all that money wasn’t enough for Chris Paul, who as the president of the player’s association helped negotiate the charter known as the CBA, who’s to say it would be for anyone else?Paul’s now-former head coach, Doc Rivers, said in a local radio interview on Thursday that he doesn’t believe it’s the money that motivates free agents, that being able to win championships fast dictates player movement. The coming days will be an important test of that theory.If a majority of players are genuinely more interested in where they’re playing and who they’re playing with, then the system is broken. Dangling a few million dollars as an incentive to remain in place could prove to be irrelevant.If Boston, Cleveland and Houston are indeed successful in forming their own super teams, the rest of the NBA is forced out of the arms race. The divide between the haves and have-nots widens. More teams choose to bottom out in perdition like the Philadelphia 76ers.While star players have never been able to earn more in free agency, the value of a single superstar has never been less. That’s why Chicago dealt Jimmy Butler on draft night, and why players like Kristaps Porzingis, George and even DeAndre Jordan have all found themselves in trade talks.The NBA is on the cusp of monumental change.By Saturday morning, when the fiery orb emerges from the belly of the Atlantic and coffeehouses across the nation open their doors, the Boston Celtics could be more imposing than Cleveland and Houston best positioned to challenge the Warriors. Or, just maybe, the little guy will win. Perhaps Hayward will make like Stockton and Malone and vow to never leave Salt Lake, Blake Griffin will re-up with the Clippers, and the NBA will be able to raise those last shreds of parity to the top of its flagpole for one more season. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersYet, the summer of 2017 marks an especially hectic time in league history. Teams are clearing room for superstars to join other superstars to match the juggernaut and, seemingly, unstoppable Golden State Warriors.Boston, a team that came within three wins of reaching the NBA Finals not only won the draft lottery, but will enter the offseason with plans to add two more All-Stars. One, All-NBA point guard Chris Paul, has already said sayonara to his employer and teamed up with the runner-up in Most Valuable Player voting.Suddenly, the offseason feels like picking sides during a pick-up game at All-Star weekend.The league’s inability to smooth out a dramatic spike in the salary cap last season following its new TV deal gave Golden State the unexpected flexibility to sign Kevin Durant. Add the four-time scoring champion to a core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green that had already won a championship – and was already positioned to contend for more – and you create a monster.How is the rest of the league supposed to keep up? The only way to beat a team with potentially four future Hall of Famers is with an All-Star lineup of your own.center_img Just after 9 p.m. on Friday, shortly after the Pacific Ocean swallows the sun and East Coasters seek companionship in the late innings of West Coast baseball, the cellphones of NBA executives, agents and players will begin to buzz. Twitter will crash.It is in those quiet hours between the last beer on Friday night and the first mug of java on Saturday morning, when most Americans finally put work behind them and get to sleep in, that the NBA’s offseason machine groans into motion, that the league is most alive. Players either find new homes or at least lay the ground work to earning their next millions. “It’s an exciting time, it’s a frustrating time. Every offseason is significant. Contenders are born with the decisions made and the money spent in the first minutes after the calendar at the league’s New York headquarters turns to July.last_img read more

DECKED OUT JOINS THE PARTY IN TIME TO TAKE GRADE I, $300,000 AMERICAN OAKS BY A NOSE FOR TEAM DESORMEAUX; STREET BOSS FILLY GETS 1 1/8 MILES OVER A SOFT TURF IN 1:47.86

first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 31, 2016)–With a resolute stretch run, trainer Keith Desormeaux’s Decked Out, ridden by his brother Kent, was up to nail Sassy Little Lila by a nose in North America’s final Grade I event of 2016, the $300,000 American Oaks at Santa Anita.  Shortened earlier in the day from a mile and a quarter to 1 1/8 miles on turf due to concerns with the hillside crossing at the top of the stretch, Decked Out got the distance over a rain-dampened course that was listed as good in 1:47.86.Idle since running a respectable 12th in the Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes on Oct. 1, Decked Out was taken in-hand out of the gate and had two fillies beaten as the Oaks field of 12 crossed under the wire for the first time.“She won the Providencia (Grade III, 1 1/8 miles on turf April 9) on soft ground, so I definitely wasn’t worried,” said Keith Desormeaux.  “We don’t get this weather too often here in Southern California…She looked tired (in the stretch).  She looked like she was starting to labor so I was surprised that she continued on.  She showed her heart today.”Although she was the 7-2 favorite as the field of sophomore fillies loaded into the gate, Decked Out shot up to 9-2 at post time, as eventual seventh place finisher Stays in Vegas got crushed in the late wagering and was hammered down to 5-2.  Decked Out rewarded her backers with payouts of $11.00, $6.00 and $4.20.“It’s been that kind of year for the Desormeaux family,” said Kent.  “It was doubtful from the quarter pole.  I wasn’t getting there fast enough, and I thought I won, but with recent photo finishes, I was scared to have an opinion…The turf course has a lot of give to it.  I wouldn’t call it yielding, but it’s definitely soft.”Owned by Big Chief Racing, LLC, Head of Plains Partners, LLC and Gene A. Voss, Decked Out, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Street Boss, improved her record to 16-3-2-3 and with the winner’s share of $180,000, increased her earnings to $480,859.Sassy Little Lila, a lightly raced daughter of Artie Schiller who brought a sharp recent form in New York to Santa Anita for the first time under Luis Saez, led throughout and just missed in a gallant effort.  Off at 4-1, she paid $5.80 and $4.00.“I thought we were going to be right there,” said Saez, who had ridden Sassy Little Lila for trainer Brad Cox in all five of her previous starts.  “If we didn’t win, (I thought) it was going to be a dead heat.  When I came back and saw the result…I thought we had it.  The course was fine…I felt like she was very comfortable.”Irish-bred Lady Valeur, who was attentive to the pace with Rafael Bejarano, finished third, a half-length behind Sassy Little Lila.  Off at 17-1, Lady Valeur paid $7.20 to show.Fractions on the race were 22.68, 47.03, 1:10.70 and 1:35.08.last_img read more

Liberia Immunization Platform Trains 55 Anti-Ebola Awareness Workers

first_imgThe Liberia Immunization Platform (LIP), in partnership with the Catholic Relief Services-Liberia (CRS),  has trained 55 anti-Ebola health workers intended to help kick the deadly disease out of Liberia.Speaking at the LIP’s official launch yesterday on the Old Road in Monrovia, the health entity’s board chairperson, George Stewart, pointed that though the deadly Ebola virus is in the country, Liberians should remain hopeful and prayerful.Board Chairman Stewart also reminded Liberians and support partners that one day the Ebola virus crisis will come to a permanent end and closure and Liberia will  bounce back in triumph and strength.He also explained that the LIP is a health- related entity that is heavily involved in extensive immunization of children and child bearing mothers throughout the country.Mr. Stewart also intimated that by virtue of the universal convention of the United Nations International Children Fund (UNICEF), every child and child bearing mother should have the right to effective and sustained immunization in Liberia.But Mr. Stewart indicated that Liberia and its people have found themselves in a crisis that has taken precedence over every situation in the country.The LIP’s board chair noted that right now in Liberia, the Ebola virus is killing people indiscriminately, and these include rich, powerful and poor.  The disease is indeed capable of bringing untold misery, grief and tears upon all.He further disclosed that the Catholic Relief Services, considering the sensitive nature of the Ebola virus,  decided to provide funding to LIP and its affiliates to get involved in kicking the deadly disease out of Liberia.“We have come on this stage to fill gaps and engaged five communities in more sustained grass root  support, an approach that enables you all to visit homes and exercise your interpersonal communication,” Chairman Stewart asserted.The LIP boss urged the 55 anti-Ebola campaigners and awareness carriers to take all health-related  precautions that would ensure their protection and security during their face to face interactions with Liberians.Mr. Stewart also underscored the fact that denial factor is still entrenched in the hearts and minds of some Liberians and community residents in Monrovia and its environs.He further disclosed that LIP and partners have secured 2500 prepared buckets for distribution to homes and institutions that are in dire need sanitation and Ebola virus materials.Mr. Stewart stressed the need for the campaigners to teach the recipients the best practices in the use of the sanitation and anti-Ebola buckets and chlorine.“Serve as goodwill ambassadors of LIP and its support partners as your actions on the field of duty could have the same effect on all of us in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia,” Mr. Stewart stressed.In closing, Chairman Stewart intimated that LIP membership comprised of 22 civil society organizations working together to ensure the successful implementation of the anti-Ebola awareness in LIP’s areas of operations.For her part, the Program Manager of the CRS and Global Alliance Vaccine Immunization (GAVI) Madam Suene Flomo told the LIP’s anti-Ebola volunteers that it was praiseworthy that they have taken up their times to assist Liberians.As a result of the current Ebola crisis in Liberia, CRS as a reliable and sustained partner cannot sit idle but get involved by supporting local partners in the fight against the virus.Madam Flomo also reminded the volunteers and Liberians in general that the fight against the Ebola virus is the sole responsibility of the Liberian Government.She also stressed that there is still greater need for sustained education and awareness amongst the greater population of the country.In brief remarks, Mrs. Danietta Richards, senior staff at LIP,  extended thanks to the 55 Ebola virus-trained volunteers and stressed that the Ebola virus is real and kills. She also urged the Ebola virus volunteers to not engage the community dwellers in confrontation but work with them to ensure that their lives are protected and secured in Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

2 targets in unrelated shootings

first_imgGLENDALE – A man was shot at his home in a quiet northwest Glendale neighborhood Tuesday, less than 24 hours after a 17-year-old boy was shot during a confrontation between two vehicles’ occupants. Tuesday’s shooting happened about 12:30 p.m. in the 1300 block of Bruce Avenue, a street of single-family homes, many with neatly kept yards. The victim was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, and police had no suspect in custody. “We don’t know what the circumstances are surrounding the shooting,” said Sgt. Tom Lorenz, a spokesman for the Glendale Police Department. The victim’s condition was unclear. Police were talking to the victim’s mother, who was home at the time of the shooting but was not considered a suspect, and to other relatives. Officers blocked traffic along the 1300 block of Bruce after the shooting, and residents expressed shock at the attack. “I was out this morning. When I came home, the street was all blocked off,” said neighbor Deb Johnson, 31, who works as a consultant. “You never want to hear that there’s been something like this on your street.” Police do not believe that Tuesday’s shooting is related to a shooting Halloween night, also in northwest Glendale. Two 18-year-olds from North Hollywood are jailed in connection with the Halloween shooting. In that incident, a 17-year-old boy suffered minor injuries when he was shot about 9:45 p.m. Monday near Glenwood Road and Alameda Avenue, police said. Two men in a white Honda confronted the teenager and his friends, who were in a white van, and the Honda’s driver got out and shot at the van’s occupants several times with a handgun. The wounded teenager was driven to a hospital by his friends. The assailants followed the van and opened fire again at Western Avenue and the Golden State Freeway, but no one was hit by those bullets, police said. Burbank police officers saw a white Honda speeding and stopped it, arresting Mkrtich Melkonian and Hrant Barsegyan, who are both 18 and from North Hollywood. The men have been booked on suspicion of attempted murder. Alex Dobuzinskis, (818) 546-3304 [email protected] AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Steve O’Meara ‘excited’ as he prepares for his title clash

first_imgWest London’s Steve O’Meara speaks after the weigh-in ahead of his fight with Liam Smith for the vacant Commonwealth light-middleweight title at the ExCel London. (Video courtesy of iFilm London) See also:O’Meara ready to seize title chanceDeGale backs O’Meara to win titleDuo weigh in ahead of title showdownsWatch O’Meara and Smith weigh in ahead of their title 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Spiders Fly with Electricity

first_imgScientists have known about spider “ballooning” for a long time, but only recently have they determined that spiders use electricity to fly.When we think of flying creatures, we probably don’t think of spiders. But it’s true: some species of spider can fly long distances on air currents, using strands of silk as parachutes. This has been observed for a long time. A press release from the University of Bristol points out that Charles Darwin puzzled over this, wondering how hundreds of spiders showed up on ships at sea and took off again even on windless days.A recent paper in Current Biology reports that ballooning spiders use electricity to get aloft. Somehow, they are able to sense the level of static electricity in the air. They respond by standing on tip-toe and releasing silk strands out their abdomens, catching even slight air currents to rise up into the air. With electrical forces, they can fly miles high into the air! A video in the press release says, “Of all the great flyers the world has ever known, it may come as a surprise that one of the best aviators in the animal kingdom doesn’t even possess wings.” Maybe a new verse should be added to “The Spider and the Fly.” The researchers begin their paper,When one thinks of airborne organisms, spiders do not usually come to mind. However, these wingless arthropods have been found 4 km up in the sky, dispersing hundreds of kilometers. To disperse, spiders “balloon,” whereby they climb to the top of a prominence, let out silk, and float away. The prevailing view is that drag forces from light wind allow spiders to become airborne, yet ballooning mechanisms are not fully explained by current aerodynamic models. The global atmospheric electric circuit and the resulting atmospheric potential gradient (APG) provide an additional force that has been proposed to explain ballooning. Here, we test the hypothesis…. We find that the presence of a vertical e-field elicits ballooning behavior and takeoff in spiders. We also investigate the mechanical response of putative sensory receivers in response to both e-field and air-flow stimuli, showing that spider mechanosensory hairs are mechanically activated by weak e-fields. Altogether, the evidence gathered reveals an electric driving force that is sufficient for ballooning.Despite knowing about spider ballooning for many years, nobody ever tested the electrostatic force on the behavior till now. By putting spiders in a Faraday Cage, the researchers were able to control the amount of static, writes Alison George at New Scientist. The Bristol research team led by Erica Morley watched the spiders take up their ballooning posture when the static rose, tiptoeing for take-off. The press release includes a video showing how they ran their experiments. They also measured the effect on altitude:The second part of the experiment examined the effect of the electric field on airborne spiders, and found that the height of the spiders could be controlled by raising or lowering the electrical field. “If you switch the voltage off, you see the spiders slowly start to drop. You can play with their altitude,” says Morley.Lightning storms from Earth orbit (NASA)Spider silk, being a good insulator, collects a net negative charge on its outer surface that interacts with the atmosphere, where a potential gradient can provide lift. In addition, the spider’s mechanosensors can respond to the twitching of silk strands when atmospheric static changes, so that they know the best time to assume flight posture and let out the silk.Now that this physical effect has been demonstrated in spiders, a theoretical physicist envisions engineers using it for technology. No batteries would be required:Other researchers are impressed that this long-standing conundrum has been solved. “It is very satisfying to see this proved in such a convincing way,” says physicist Peter Gorham of the University of Hawaii, whose theoretical calculations of the plausibility of electrostatic spider flight inspired Morley’s study.It is theoretically possible that tiny, light-weight drones could one day take to the air in the same way as ballooning spiders, he speculates. “Spiders weighing 100mg can balloon. That’s more than enough to fly a tiny microprocessor and camera.”Morley’s team wants to continue researching to see if other small animals make use of atmospheric electrostatic forces. Bumblebees, for instance, can detect electrostatic fields around flowers to guide them to food sources. “We also hope to carry out further investigations into the physical properties of ballooning silk and carry out ballooning studies in the field,” Morley says.Of all the great flyers the world has ever known, it may come as a surprise that one of the best aviators in the animal kingdom doesn’t even possess wings.The subject of electrostatic ecology seems wide open for ecological study and even weather forecasting. The researchers note that “Quite surprisingly, APG is rarely invoked, let alone quantified, in conventional weather descriptors and parameters collected by weather stations.” And yet electric fields around vegetation provide opportunities to study the interaction of small creatures with their environment.Credit: Corel Pro PhotosYou can make your hair stand on end by touching a Van de Graaf generator. Don’t expect to float off into the air, though; you have too much mass. You do, however, have sensors in your hair follicles that can detect the movement. Maybe you could do experiments on how static electricity provides you with useful information about your surroundings. What can your hair tell you in pitch darkness? Test your hypothesis on body hair and whiskers, too. For both sexes, most parts of the skin (the largest organ of the human body) contain hairs, even tiny transparent ones that are invisible without a microscope. We are covered with sensors!Spider ballooning is but another remarkable example of how living creatures can use information from the environment to navigate and migrate. Fish and birds follow fluid currents. Spiders and bees take advantage of electricity; electric fish even produce it. Perhaps the most astonishing example is using the earth’s magnetic field to navigate, as shown in Illustra Media’s films Living Waters and Metamorphosis. This spatial information, too weak for humans to sense, provides a global map that sea turtles can utilize to swim thousands of miles. Thirty years later, that stored information can help them return to the exact same beach they hatched from. Salmon use this sense, too, in the open sea. Perhaps magnetic field information is a component of navigation in butterflies as well. Static electricity can lift spiders miles into the sky, but doesn’t help them get back. They don’t need to; they can set up shop wherever they land. It’s a remarkable method of long-distance travel that spiders employ to colonize the planet. Don’t freak out over this; they eat flies, after all. (Visited 502 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Toronto market in tripledigit decline US markets fall sharply

first_imgCanada’s main stock index plummeted more than 250 points Friday, down 4 per cent over the past week, in a broad-based decline that included drops in every sector.The S&P/TSX composite index fell 254.89 points to 15,606.03 today.The last such drop was more than seven months ago when it lost about 269 points on May 17, 2017.While all sectors finished Friday in the red, shares in health care saw the steepest losses of an average 6.18 per cent.Cannabis stocks led the decline in the sector, with Canopy Growth Corp. dropping $3.44 or 12.49 per cent to $24.11, while Aphria Inc. shares fell $1.60 or 10.34 per cent to $13.88. Both were among the top three worst performing shares on the TSX Friday.Aphria’s losses came the same day it announced a $20-million deal to sell its stake in an Arizona cannabis company to an affiliated U.S. firm. The Canadian licensed marijuana producer is looking to reduce its direct involvement in medical pot in the U.S.Things weren’t any better south of the border.The Dow Jones industrial average shed 665.75 points to 25,520.96. The S&P 500 index lost 59.85 points to 2,762.13 and the Nasdaq composite index slipped 144.91 points to 7,240.95.“(The market) was priced to perfection, meaning certainly not a cheap market, so you would expect that any major negative news would be badly taken,” said Patrick Blais, a managing director and senior portfolio manager at Manulife Investments.Investor mindsets are shifting to realize that interest rates in the U.S. will go higher and likely at a quicker rate than originally anticipated, he said, which means all asset values probably need to be reassessed to the downside.“Maybe the market needs to temper its bullishness on valuations,” he said.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar closed at an average trading value of 80.78 cents US, down 0.60 of a U.S. cent.The March crude contract fell 35 cents to US$65.45 per barrel and the March natural gas contract slipped by a penny to roughly US$2.85 per mmBTU.The April gold contract dropped US$10.60 to US$1,337.30 an ounce and the March copper contract lost about 2.2 cents to roughly US$3.19 a pound.Follow @AleksSagan on TwitterCompanies in this story: (TSX:WEED, TSX:APH)last_img read more

Chinese welcome Huawei executives release in Canada

first_imgBEIJING — China’s Foreign Ministry has denied knowledge of the detention of a former Canadian diplomat, as Chinese citizens rejoiced over a Canadian court’s decision to release a top Huawei Technologies executive on bail.The release of Huawei Technologies’ Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou (MUHNG’ Wahn-JOH’) prompted an outpouring of support for her and her Shenzhen-based company Wednesday on social media.A university student in Beijing told the AP that he thinks the detention of former diplomat Michael Kovrig was related to Meng’s case. He said that China cannot let Canada make ambiguous accusations against Chinese citizens.The U.S. sought Meng’s arrest on suspicion she misled banks about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.A justice in British Columbia released her on $10 million Canadian (US$7.5 million) bail after three days of hearings.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Boeing tops Europes Airbus in airliner deliveries

first_imgBoeing is keeping its title as the world’s leading maker of airliners, a nose ahead of Airbus.Europe-based Airbus, which assembles some planes in the U.S., said Wednesday it delivered 800 commercial aircraft in 2018.That’s six less than Boeing’s record year, announced earlier this week. The Chicago company has major manufacturing sites in Washington state and South Carolina.Both companies are riding strong demand from airlines reporting strong travel demand.Boeing says it received a net of 893 new orders last year, and Airbus got 747 orders.A Cowen analyst says Boeing deliveries were “a tad light” but deliveries of its new 737 MAX — the plane involved in a deadly October crash in Indonesia — beat expectations.The Associated Presslast_img