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Lakers fire coach Darvin Ham after just two seasons as coach and exiting the team in the first round of the playoffs



LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Lakers fired coach Darvin Ham on Friday after just two seasons as coach.

The Lakers announced on social media that they were firing Ham 4 days after the season ended a first-round playoff loss to Denver in five matches.

Ham led Los Angeles to the Western Conference Finals lower than a yr ago in his first season as an NBA head coach. He replaced Frank Vogel, who was fired by the Lakers exactly 18 months after winning the franchise’s seventeenth championship in 2020.

Ham had two winning seasons and two playoff appearances, but that wasn’t enough for the championship-minded Lakers. With little time to capitalize on the simultaneous presence of Anthony Davis and 39-year-old LeBron James – who has not decided whether to return for his twenty second NBA season – the Lakers are once more resetting their coaching staff somewhat than placing the blame on general manager Rob Pelinka for the structure of the warehouse.

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“We greatly appreciate Darvin’s efforts on behalf of the Lakers and recognize the many accomplishments he has achieved over the past two seasons, including last year’s remarkable run to the Western Conference Finals,” Pelinka said in a press release. “We all want to thank Darvin for his dedication and positive attitude. While this was a difficult decision, it is the best course of action after a full season review. This organization will remain steadfast in its commitment to delivering championship-level basketball to Lakers fans around the world.”

Ham hosted a disappointing yr for the Lakers, who went 47-35 in the regular season and won the inaugural NBA midseason tournament. Then the Lakers they defeated New Orleans in the play-in game move as much as seventh in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, but that meant that they had to face Denver, which eliminated them from the playoffs last season.

Los Angeles led the defending champion Nuggets for long stretches of the first round, but Nikola Jokic and his teammates ultimately advanced to the second round series of comeback victories.

“It was a hell of two years to be sitting in that seat,” Ham said after the game. “A lot of good things have been done, but ultimately you want to win that top prize.”

The Lakers’ loss stung because James and Davis had been largely healthy all yr, and each superstars had played in more games than that they had played in an NBA season since 2017-18 – 76 for Davis and 71 for James, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. D’Angelo Russell also had a powerful regular season, setting a franchise record for three-pointers made.

This health and success has only translated right into a four-win improvement in the rankings in comparison with last season, with Ham receiving much of the blame from fans and observers for his game management, slow tactical adjustments and reluctance to vary his player rotation and starting lineups. even when something didn’t work.

The Lakers fell right into a hole they couldn’t escape from it went 3-10 during the holiday season right after the Mid-Season Tournament final. Ham was widely criticized for his lineups and rotations during this poor stretch — including curiously benching Russell and Austin Reaves while allowing plenty of playing time for Taurean Prince and Cam Reddish.

This slump ultimately prevented the Lakers from ending in the top six in the West, despite the fact that they finished the regular season with a formidable 28-14 run.

Players publicly supported Ham, but the signs of frustration were clear. After the Lakers blew a 20-point lead and lost to Denver in the second game last month, Davis said the Lakers “have periods where we don’t know what we’re doing on both ends of the floor,” which is widely interpreted as a glimpse into Ham’s coaching competence.

The Lakers achieved only a 43-39 result in their first season under Ham in 2022-2023, but took advantage of more favorable playoff matchups. After defeating Minnesota in the play-in game, they won a playoff series against Memphis and Golden State and reached the conference finals, where they were swept by Denver.

Lakers fire coach Darvin Ham after just two seasons as coach and a first-round playoff exit (AP Photo/Matt Kelley, File)

James, Davis and the Lakers haven’t won a playoff round in three of the 4 seasons since winning the 2020 championship in the Florida bubble.

Ham has two years left on his contract with the Lakers, who might be hiring their fourth head coach since James arrived in 2018. The latest coach might be the Lakers’ eighth coach in 14 seasons since the departure of Hall of Famer Phil Jackson in 2011.

Ham had an eight-year NBA profession as an athletic forward, winning a championship with Detroit in 2004. His first NBA assistant coaching job was with the Lakers in 2011, and he spent nine years as an assistant under Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta and Milwaukee. seasons – earning his second championship ring with the Bucks in 2021 – before returning to the Lakers as head coach.

James has a $51.4 million player option for next season, and his decision hangs over every offseason signing for the Lakers, who internally expect his return.

Pelinka must then determine whether he could make his long-awaited move for a 3rd superstar via trade or consider the assurances of Rui Hachimura and other players that the Lakers can turn out to be a contender with more continuity.

Russell has an $18.7 million player option after the sharpshooter excelled in the regular season and failed in the playoffs, notoriously going scoreless in the Lakers’ Game 3 against Denver. After Los Angeles was eliminated from the playoffs on Monday, the point guard said he had a “slight advantage.” I’ll try to make use of it.”

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Charles Barkley plans to hang up the mic after the next NBA season




Charles Barkley, TNT, Inside the NBA

With all the discuss TNT losing the NBA broadcast rights, people have been speculating what is going to occur to the “Inside the NBA” team of Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson. Well, Barkley has publicly stated that no matter whether TNT retains the rights or it goes to one other network, he is looking it quits after this season.

According to Barkley got here in went on the air following the final NBA Championship Game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics on June 14 and announced to his co-hosts and the world that the upcoming season could be his last as a broadcaster.

After telling the guys that he had been talking to other networks and that the NBA partnership was nearing its end, no matter the consequence, he hung up the mic after his twenty fifth 12 months as a commentator.

This puts every thing on hold, and the NBA Hall of Famer decides to put it on hold. It is speculated that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will announce the results of various conversations and negotiations between several platforms regarding who will receive what packages the NBA offers.

announced that the league is negotiating further agreements regarding media rights under the contract with TNT ending after the 2024-25 season. Platforms which can be in talks with the NBA include Disney/ABC/ESPN, Amazon, NBC and Warner Bros. Discovery (parent company of TNT).

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‘Lock That Girl Up!’: Fans Demand Justice for Former Illini Star Terrence Shannon Jr. after an alleged rape victim joked “I have…” using a money emoji




Terrence Shannon Jr. #0 of the Illinois Fighting Illini found not guilty.

On June 13, after a week-long trial, former University of Illinois college basketball star Terrence Shannon Jr. was acquitted on charges of rape and sexual battery. Now fans want Shannon’s accuser to face consequences.

Shannon, 23, was charged with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman in September on the Martini Room, a bar near the University of Kansas campus.

Shannon attended the Kansas-Illinois football game on September 8. An unidentified woman told police that within the early morning hours of September 9, a man at a bar pulled her towards him and groped her. She accused the suspect of grabbing her buttocks and reaching under her skirt and penetrating her together with his fingers shortly after they met.

A couple of months later, Shannon learned that he would face criminal charges. He was arrested in December after a woman identified him in a photo of the Illinois basketball team that was available online. Shannon was charged with “unlawfully, criminally and knowingly (engaging) in sexual intercourse with a person … who did not consent to sexual intercourse under circumstances where he was overcome by force or fear, which constitutes a first-degree personal offense.”

Terrence Shannon Jr.  No. 0 of the Illinois Fighting Illini found not guilty.
Terrence Shannon Jr. of the Illinois Fighting Illini reacts after the Connecticut Huskies were defeated within the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at TD Garden on March 30, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

“I definitely felt uncomfortable (…) I do not know why I didn’t (leave). But I would love to do it,” the prosecutor said in the course of the trial.

The basketball star consistently denied the allegations against him. “I never touched, grabbed, pulled. (…) That didn’t happen,” Shannon told the jury after the trial began, per published reports.

Shortly after the arrest, the Illinois basketball team decided to suspend Shannon indefinitely and launched its own independent investigation. The university ultimately dropped the investigation attributable to what the college described as insufficient evidence. Shannon was allowed back onto the court after the temporary restraining order was upheld. He’s already missed six games, but he still made it lead Illinois to the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Elite Eight before losing to national champion Connecticut.

Multiple witnesses, including a current Kansas Jayhawks basketball player, corroborated Shannon’s account and said they didn’t see the Illinois player act inappropriately towards the girl that night.

The attorneys also said Shannon’s DNA was not taken from the accuser’s body in the course of the hospital examination, and so they turned over text messages from the alleged victim in the course of the trial. group chat with your mates where she shared a link to the basketball player’s arrest with ESPN and her friends joked that “She’s got his…” together with a money emoji.

After the not guilty verdict, Mark Sutter, one in all Shannon’s lawyers, said: “We are pleased with the final result. Terrence Shannon Jr. he finally got his day in court. In September we denied the allegations and that day we promised that at some point we’d stand trial and we did. And we’re completely happy with the result. And I believe society at large is guilty for Shannon Jr. apology”.

Shannon released a statement saying that he’s now able to move on from this case and give attention to his future.

“Thank you to everyone who has been by my side over the past nine months,” the statement read. “I knew I used to be innocent of those terrible crimes and I had faith in God that at some point everyone else would comprehend it too. I’m very grateful to everyone for believing in me, especially my family, friends and legal team, whose support helped me survive. I’m able to put this chapter of my life behind me and focus fully on my path forward.

The verdict sparked strong reactions on social media from many individuals who believed there ought to be a “punishment” for the false allegations.

“Shannon shouldn’t have left it like that. I would sue her for defamation, and the prosecutor and policemen for malicious prosecution” – one person he suggested.

This was expressed by other social media users similar feelings. “Anyone who falsely accuses someone of rape should be publicly shamed and imprisoned.”

“Now it’s time to lock this girl up and throw away the key.” he tweeted fan.

“People who bring false accusations against innocent people have to be held accountable and serve their very own prison sentences. I’m glad he won, however the accuser must be punished indirectly for what he did,” one other person he tweeted.

NBA star LeBron James also called and offered Shannon’s support.

“To my young (King) Terrance Shannon Jr! I really like you and best regards! Proud of you!!,” James wrote. “God is sweet! The apology ought to be 30 times louder than the hatred he felt, but we know the way it’s. Anyway, back to the regular program. Great days ahead!”

Illinois coach Brad Underwood said he was “excited for Terrence” and praised him for showing “exceptional poise, maturity and focus” within the months following the accusations.

Before the allegations surfaced, Shannon was projected to be a first-round draft pick. However, Shannon’s lawyer confirmed that he shall be working with multiple teams within the lead-up to the draft.

In May, Shannon traveled to Chicago for the NBA draft, where he expressed his desire to clear his name in court. “I can’t wait for (my) day in court,” Shannon told reporters.

The NBA draft will happen on June 26. The Atlanta Hawks have the No. 1 pick.

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NFL expands Africa programs to Nigeria with three-day talent identification camp




The NFL announced Friday that it’ll further expand its efforts in Africa by hosting a talent identification camp in Nigeria, the fourth country on the continent to host league programs.

The three-day camp, which will likely be held this month in Lagos, will likely be attended by 21 potential players from 10 African countries, whose task will likely be to select future participants of two international NFL training programs: the NFL Academy in England and the International Player Pathway (IPP) program.

This camp follows on from initiatives held over the past two years in Ghana and Kenya (2022) and Cape Town, South Africa (2023) because the NFL looks to construct a fan base on the continent.

Although Ghana (34.7 million), Kenya (54 million) and South Africa (59 million) have significant populations, they’re dwarfed by Nigeria (229 million), probably the most populous country on the continent.

This begs the query as to why Nigeria was not the primary African country chosen.

Seattle Seahawks receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba celebrates after a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lumen Field on December 18, 2023 in Seattle.

Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

Osi Umenyiora, a two-time Super Bowl champion and the NFL’s chief ambassador for Africa, said that while Nigeria, his parents’ birthplace, would ideally be their first stop on the continent, the league wanted to get its African programs so as first.

“Nigeria will largely focus on what the NFL is doing,” Umenyiora said. “So we wanted to make sure that when we got there, everything would be OK and we would do it the right way.”

On the one hand, expansion is about finding a way to give people outside the United States a possibility that did not exist before: playing within the NFL. But it is also about market expansion. As the NFL moves into more television markets, Umenyiora says it may’t ignore Africa, whose historic economic problems are rooted in colonization.

Nigeria and other African countries have seen economic growth over the past few years, and with the continent having the world’s youngest population, there is a growing fan base right under the league’s nose. Give Nigerians and other Africans opportunities now and they’ll turn out to be consumers later, just as Hollywood and music spread internationally.

“As countries start to get more and more revenue, as they start to get younger, as they start to get more and more technology, they start to consume more and more NFL content,” Umenyiora said.

NFL games were played in England, Germany and Mexico. The Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers will play their first league game on September 6 in São Paulo.

Umenyiora hopes the continent will host its own international match soon.

“The moment we have the infrastructure there that can accommodate an NFL game, wherever that is, the moment we have it, they’re going to have to do it,” he said. “You can’t be a global sport and you can’t go around… the whole world and say no to Africa.”

David Njoku celebrates his first turnover in the primary half against the New York Jets at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 28, 2023 in Cleveland.

Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

After the camp in Nigeria, Umenyiora hopes to expand into Rwanda, Morocco, Egypt and Angola. For now, nonetheless, the league’s efforts on the continent are starting to bear fruit.

According to the NFL, there are currently greater than 135 players of African descent within the NFL, including Seattle Seahawks receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Cleveland Browns quarterback David Njoku, who will attend the camp in Lagos.

While the IPP program, which provides skilled soccer training to world-class athletes, a lot of whom have never played soccer, is a world initiative, 4 of the 11 participants who took part in 2024 were of African descent. Six Nigerian players from the 2023 IPP class have made NFL rosters this season.

The NFL can also be working with its 32 clubs in countries including Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom as a part of its Global Markets program, which goals to increase the league’s visibility world wide. The Philadelphia Eagles (Ghana) and Cleveland Browns (Nigeria) are the one teams collaborating with African countries.

As a part of Nigeria’s program this month, the NFL can even host a flag football tournament for local under-14 school teams and the primary women’s football training session.

Martenzie Johnson is a senior author at Andscape. His favorite moment within the cinema is when Django asks, “Do you want to see something?”

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