N’Golo Kante back in Chelsea training despite coronavirus concerns

Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has made a return to full contact training on Tuesday ahead of the Premier League restart next week.

Kante had been training individually at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground after he expressed concerns over his safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and was initially granted compassionate leave to miss the squad’s return to training.

However, the 29-year-old was reintegrated with Frank Lampard’s first-team squad, and the World Cup winner will be expected to play a pivotal role in the closing stages of the campaign.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Kante joined in as the team indulged in a series of different skill activities using various props,” Chelsea said in a statement.4

“The midfielder looked sharp as he took part in a series of rondos before finding the net with a smartly placed shot in the practice game.”cheap nfl nike jersey

The 29-year-old has regularly attended the club’s Cobham training base but only to follow an individual programme rather than joining in group sessions, despite the Premier League voting to return to contact training last month after agreeing a detailed protocol with medical advisors and the government.

Kante lost a brother to a heart attack shortly before the 2018 World Cup and suffered a health scare of his own two years ago when collapsing during training.

He is concerned about the risk of infection to other family members. Chelsea remain wholly supportive of Kante’s stance and did not put him under any pressure whatsoever to return to group training.

Chelsea will restart their Premier League campaign against Aston Villa on June 21.

With nine games remaining, Lampard’s side sit fourth in the standings, three points clear of Manchester United, as they chase Champions League qualification.

Ben Simmons one step closer to mega-deal

Ben Simmons is a step closer to the mega millions of a “max” NBA deal after the Philadelphia 76ers exercised their fourth-year option on his rookie contract.

It means Simmons is locked in with the 76ers for next season — no surprise given the 2016 No. 1 draft pick’s stellar career start — and it positions him for a massive pay rise after that.

Simmons will be eligible for a five-year maximum contract extension in July 2019, with current NBA projections estimating that will be worth $A223 million.

Securing Simmons long-term will be a major priority for the 76ers, who are building their resurgent team around the 22-year-old Australian — the reigning NBA rookie of the year — and dominant centre Joel Embiid.

After next season, he will become a restricted free agent, meaning only the 76ers will be able to offer him a max deal. Others would have to offer less.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

That looming contract negotiation is just one big basketball decision facing Simmons over the coming 12 months.

He is yet to confirm whether he will join the Australian team for their landmark games against Team USA in Melbourne next August.1

Those two games kick off a huge 12 months in Australian basketball, with the 2019 World Cup in China and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to follow.

Simmons has spoken freely about his desire to play in the Olympics and he looms as crucial to the Boomers’ big hopes of a maiden medal at the Tokyo Games.

A max NBA contract would bring added pressure with its great wealth if the 76ers try to safeguard their investment from the added injury risk of playing for Australia.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

The NBA allow their players to play internationally, although a spate of recent injuries to star athletes has led some, including former NBA commissioner David Stern, to question that.

Brett Brown, the 76ers coach, well understands the pressures that await his 208cm point guard, having coached the Boomers for four years including the 2012 London Olympics.

“You understand completely the passion and responsibilities these players feel towards their nation. There is internal, domestic pressure,” Brown told AAP.

PSG’s collection of stars need to come together as a team to have any hope in Europe

In the away dressing room at Anfield on Tuesday, Kylian Mbappe sat quietly, his head in his hands. A few minutes earlier, the French prodigy gave the ball away on the edge of his own box, which led to Roberto Firmino’s goal, which led to another Paris Saint-Germain loss away from home in a big game: a 3-2 defeat to Liverpool.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Mbappe is sat between Lassana Diarra and Christopher Nkunku. The room is silent. This is not the way PSG wanted to start a new Champions League campaign. Despite the defeat and despite the average performance by his team, however, Thomas Tuchel is not angry; he is actually quite content. The manager even highlights the fact that Paris came back from 2-0 down to draw level 2-2 and almost get a point. In the middle of the room, on the two tables of food left for the players is untouched for now. The PSG squad feels a bit like a beaten boxer, knocked out late in a very important fight.9

When the Parisians arrived at the stadium, two hours before kickoff, they looked very relaxed — probably too relaxed. Tuchel was the first one to get out of the coach while Mbappe and Neymar were last. Garissone Innocent, the 18-year-old goalkeeper who has just signed his first professional contract, and Gianluigi Buffon, who was suspended, travelled with the team as well, which could be seen as a sign of unity.

Inside the dressing room, it is a reflection of the cartography of the squad: the two Germans together (Thilo Kehrer and Julian Draxler), the Spanish speakers (Edinson Cavani next to Angel Di Maria and Juan Bernat), the youngsters from the academy (Sebastien Cibois, Moussa Diaby and Stanley Nsoki), the French clan (Diarra, Mbappe, Nkunku, Presnel Kimpembe, Adrien Rabiot and Alphonse Areola) all on the same line and then, on the other side of the room, the Brazilians (Thiago Silva and Marquinhos around Neymar).cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

One of the problems for PSG in Liverpool was that they did not play as a team, they were not united enough. And maybe that’s reflected in how the dressing room is set up. At this level, against a team of the calibre of Liverpool, you cannot afford to be anything less than a cohesive unit. The difference could come from the team spirit and the collective hard work. There was not enough of that on the French side.

PSG largely defended with only seven players, as Neymar and Mbappe did not track back enough. They were dominated in midfield by the activity of Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner. Attacking wise, there was not enough movement, not enough triangles or combinations. Neymar was nonchalant (at best) and didn’t look connected to the rest of the team. This is a big season for the Brazilian after his injury last year and a controversial World Cup, yet he doesn’t look totally committed and motivated.

Tuchel’s biggest task was exposed in Liverpool: making this team play as a team. Individually, he has a lot of talent at his disposal, but making them play together and for each other will not be easy.

Josh Gordon’s tenure in Cleveland ends with trade to Patriots

The Cleveland Browns have traded talented but troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon to the New England Patriots.

In return, the Browns will get a 2019 fifth-round pick, while the Pats will get a 2019 seventh-round pick from the Browns if Gordon is not active for 10 games, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

At least eight to 10 teams called the Browns inquiring about potentially trading for Gordon, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson reporting, after the Browns announced Saturday that they intended to release Gordon on Monday.

The Patriots will pay Gordon the remaining $697,058 on his 2018 contract. Gordon will be a restricted free agent after the season, and New England can tender him.1

To make room for Gordon on the roster, the Patriots released wide receiver Corey Coleman. The Patriots have now made 28 transactions involving a wide receiver since the start of the new league year in March, tied with the Denver Broncos for the most in the NFL in that span.

Cleveland’s preference had been to trade Gordon to an NFC team, a source told Schefter on Sunday.

“I think (general manager) John (Dorsey) got the best deal that he could get,” Cleveland coach Hue Jackson said Monday in announcing the trade. “(Gordon’s) gone now, and we’re gonna move on and coach the team that’s here and get our team ready to play Thursday night.”cheap nike nfl jerseys china

The Browns on Saturday provided no details behind their decision to part ways with Gordon, but a source told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen on Saturday that Gordon broke the team’s “trust” when he reported to the facility Saturday with a hamstring issue after being a full participant in practice all week. The source said there were other “mitigating factors” inclusive of current and past incidents.

Rockets defensive guru Jeff Bzdelik retiring before start of season

On the cusp of the opening of training camp, Houston Rockets associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik — architect of the franchise’s No. 6-ranked defense — is retiring, league sources told ESPN.cheap customized nfl jerseys

Bzdelik, 65, informed coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey of his decision on Sunday. Bzdelik has been considering retirement throughout the summer, and there are no health issues that dictated the decision, sources said.1

Bzdelik’s defense evolved into one of the NBA’s best units last season, moving up significantly statistically in the consecutive seasons that he oversaw it. Rockets assistant Roy Rogers is expected to assume a bulk of the defensive responsibilities, but he’ll have help on staff.

Houston had the NBA’s best regular-season record and reached a Game 7 before losing to Golden State in the Western Conference finals last season.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Bzdelik started in the NBA 30 years ago as a scout, eventually working for Pat Riley with the New York Knicks and becoming head coach of the Denver Nuggets from 2002 to 2004. He was a college head coach with Air Force, Colorado and Wake Forest.

Sigi Schmid had more to lose than prove in ill-fated second stint with LA Galaxy

A certain infamous politician recently made a point of reminding his supporters that they were about to get tired of winning. It was hard not to think of that sentiment on hearing the news that Sigi Schmid, the winningest coach in MLS history, who had succeeded the second-most winningest coach in MLS, Bruce Arena, was stepping down as LA Galaxy coach, to be replaced by the third-most winningest coach, Dom Kinnear.

And looking at that list, it’s perhaps fair to ask the question, “What have you won for me lately?”

The Galaxy are a team that has gone from unquestioned dominance in MLS to an indeterminate position in their own city in the space of a few short years. When LAFC appeared on the scene, the Galaxy were quick to remind their would-be rivals of their peerless achievements in the opening two decades of MLS history, but a legacy of winning can rapidly diminish in worth when it appears consigned to the past.

And since Arena’s departure, the Galaxy have at times more closely resembled the lopsided team he inherited than the organization he shaped. First Curt Onalfo, who was dismissed in July 2017, and now Schmid have struggled. With due respect to Kinnear — a fine coach at Houston — there’s little in recent history to suggest he’s about to arrest the trend.

Nobody doubts the pedigree of Schmid, Arena and Kinnear, or their outsize influence on the generation of American coaches that followed them. In advance of Schmid and Arena meeting in a July 2016 game between their then-teams the Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy, a coaching-family-tree graphic even did the rounds to underline that influence.

At the time, this writer wrote a piece for this site noting that the diagram “represents a fascinating kind of core sample of a cultural moment that might be passing,” yet nobody was anticipating just how fast that moment would indeed pass — or how far away the moment when Arena and Schmid were the unquestioned dominant figures in domestic soccer would look from our current vantage point.

Schmid was ousted from Seattle that summer, and Arena would go on to a misadventure with the national team that fall, while the club team he left behind threatened to slide from benchmark to irrelevance.

Paul Pogba on Manchester United exit rumours: ‘It’s not me who is talking’

Paul Pogba has insisted he is focused solely on returning to match fitness following his part in France’s World Cup triumph and dismissed ongoing speculation over his Manchester United future as “rumours.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The 25-year-old, an £89 million signing from Juventus in the summer of 2016, has been repeatedly linked with a move to Barcelona since returning to Old Trafford.

And Pogba’s relationship with United manager Jose Mourinho has also added to doubt over the midfielder’s long-term future.1

But speaking after France’s 0-0 Nations League draw against Germany in Munich on Thursday, Pogba refused to kill the speculation.

“It’s not me who is talking,” Pogba told reporters. “I’m trying to work on myself physically.

“I got back late [from the World Cup] so I’m trying to perform as well as possible.

“I’m just trying to do my job. For the rest there will always be talk.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Asked if being together with the national team was a good distraction for him, Pogba replied: “With my teammates it’s always good.

“There’s a good atmosphere so it’s always nice to return to France with my teammates.”

Cubs use long ball to beat another ace in Aaron Nola

They didn’t listen to their manager. They might not in October, either. But if Chicago Cubs hitters want to take matters into their own hands and simply bring the thunder against playoff-caliber pitching, surely Joe Maddon won’t mind.

Before the Cubs’ series-clinching, 8-1 win against Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, Maddon was opining about how to win a game against an elite arm like the Phillies’ right-hander.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

“I still want to see us get back to opposite-field hitting,” Maddon said. “Scoring runs with singles. … That’s what we have to show more of to beat the better pitching. To go out there and just beat them up with the three-run homer, that doesn’t normally occur.”

Except it did Sunday against Nola.

But instead of one three-run homer, the Cubs hit three solo shots off the Cy Young contender. The first one came from Daniel Murphy in the third inning, after Nola had struck out seven in a row, mostly with a devastating curveball. He never did recover from the gut punch delivered by Murphy, the Cubs’ latest game-changer on offense.1

“I was probably as surprised as anyone to get Aaron right there, as well as he’s been throwing it this year,” Murphy said after the game.

Nola looked human after the blast to right, which came on a 1-2 pitch after several foul balls. Soon after, Anthony Rizzo hit his 23rd home run of the season, and he was followed by MVP candidate Javy Baez hitting his 30th of the year while notching RBI No. 100 at the same time. That made it 3-0, and the Cubs never looked back.

They added three triples in the game, compiling three home runs and three triples in the same game for just the second time since 1900, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

So about that scoring with singles Maddon was talking about? It never materialized, not that anyone is complaining.

“We’re just grinding out at-bats,” Murphy said.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

If Baez was the offense’s engine in the first half of the season, Murphy has been leader at the plate in the second half. In fact, before Murphy arrived, the Cubs were stuck in neutral on offense, languishing near the bottom of the NL in many post-All-Star-break categories. Murphy has been a difference-maker at exactly the time the Cubs needed him.

“Daniel coming here is the separator,” Maddon said. “For a while there, we weren’t really playing a wonderful offensive brand of baseball.”

Chauncey Billups says he’s ready to run NBA team

The former Pistons standout was back in the Detroit area Friday night as part of the BIG3 — entertainer Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league of former NBA players — which made a stop at Little Caesars Arena.

Billups had talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers last year but did not join their front office. When Detroit overhauled its organization this year, he seemed like a potential fit, but that didn’t happen either.

“My desire is to one day run a team, be in a front office and try to build a champion,” Billups said. “I know that I will, and I know I’m going to do a good job. When that opportunity presents itself, and it’s a good opportunity, I’ll be ready to go.”cheap nike nfl jerseys china

The Pistons were run by Stan Van Gundy — their coach and president of basketball operations — for the past four seasons, but they moved in a different direction this offseason. Dwane Casey was hired as Detroit’s new coach, and Ed Stefanski came on board as a senior executive.2

“I thought Stan did a good job. Stan is a very good coach, but sometimes you just need a new voice,” Billups said. “Coach Casey obviously has been a very good coach the last few years. He’s really ascended to the top of the ranks in the league. Whatever happened in Toronto presented an opportunity for him to come here.”

In one offseason, Casey has been fired by the Toronto Raptors, hired by the Pistons and named NBA Coach of the Year.

Billups is still viewed fondly in Detroit after leading the Pistons to the NBA title in 2004. The team played at The Palace of Auburn Hills back then. The Pistons played their first season at downtown Little Caesars Arena in 2017-18.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“It’s always good to be here. Everybody knows how much I love the city, love the fans. Obviously, I never had the opportunity to play in this building. I wish we would have. I wish we played in the city when we were here,” Billups said. “But The Palace was good to us. The city was good to us, the fans. So it’s always good to be back here. I’m such a big Pistons fan. … I’m excited for the team for next year. The East is wide open, and I’m excited for the team. New coach, new everything.”

As for Friday’s BIG3 competition, Billups’ team — the Killer 3s — lost the night’s opening game as Metta World Peace was ejected. That was an unusual development in what Billups said should be a lighthearted league.

Two-time champion JaVale McGee wants to stay with Golden State

“I haven’t thought about [another team] mainly because, hopefully, in my mind, I’m a Warrior for the rest of my career,” he said to ESPN on Monday, six days before the free-agency period begins on July 1. “If that happens, it would be a blessing.”

The first half of the 2017-18 season saw the 7-footer receive minimal playing time, including 16 DNPs. But after the All-Star break, head coach Steve Kerr inserted McGee into the starting lineup in place of Zaza Pachulia to try to spark the Warriors, who were struggling by their own standards.81

Kerr stayed with McGee as his starting center in the opening round of the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs, then changed course in the next two rounds. But in the Finals, after surviving Game 1, Kerr went back to McGee.cheap nfl jerseys china

Against the Cavs, he was 14-of-17 from the field and scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, in Games 2 and 3 before helping the Warriors finish off the Cavs to win the franchise’s third championship in the past four years. It was McGee’s second title with the Warriors after he’d played only 62 total games in the three seasons combined prior to joining Golden State in 2016.

McGee, who made $2.1 million on a minimum contract this past season, remembers when he realized he wanted to try to make the Bay Area his long-term home.

“This year, in the Finals,” he said. “Just all of us out there together, especially the starting five. The cohesion that we had when I was in the game, it speaks for itself. We swept ’em. So, it was definitely a beautiful thing and it just felt right. It was just so smooth when I was inserted in there. It was a lot of fun. I want to continue experiencing that.”

Golden State has six other free agents to tend to in addition to McGee: Kevin Durant, David West, Pachulia, Kevon Looney, Patrick McCaw and Nick Young.

“I don’t know how [free agency] is going to turn out, but it’s going to obviously be a long one, especially with everybody waiting for LeBron [James] and Kawhi [Leonard],” he said. “So, you never know what pieces will fall and who needs who. But I want to be back with the Warriors. This is where I want to be.”authentic nfl jerseys