TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Ex-Dinamo Zagreb chief Mamic: Levy included price for 5 shirts in fee for Spurs Modric dealby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Dinamo Zagreb chief exec Zdravko Mamic has recalled selling Luka Modric to Tottenham.The Real Madrid ace moved to Spurs in 2008.Mamic recalled to Four Four Two magazine: “We already had an agreement for Modric to move to London. I asked Levy (Daniel, chairman) for five Spurs jerseys and he told me that he would give them to me, but that at that point Tottenham would pay a lower sum for the player’s transfer, given that from the agreed €21m it would be subtracted. “Levy is the best negotiator in the world. This story made me realize how much he values every single euro coming out of Tottenham’s coffers.”
Lewis Schaffel1989Miami1300-726 Bernie Bickerstaff1991Denver1479-2335 Michael Jordan2001Washington1436-150146 Chris Wallace2008Memphis1416-9296 Pat Williams1990Orlando1300-9252 Rod Thorn2001New Jersey1446-109234 Walter Brown1947Boston1300-82100 Harry Weltman1988New Jersey1412-80-49 GMs inheriting rebuilding teams Stu Jackson1996Vancouver1300-7540 Ernie Grunfeld2004Washington1444-119114 Sam Presti2008Seattle1440-137119 John Paxson2004Chicago1420-109112 Jack McCloskey1993Minnesota1325-60-59 Billy King2011New Jersey1352-5197 Grizzlies1996-75-62+35 The average GM in that situation saw a 62-point Elo improvement from the beginning of Year Two through 27 games of his third season, and 24 of 32 GMs oversaw some kind of improvement. Hinkie, by contrast, saw a loss of 84 Elo points over the same span — by far the steepest drop on a list littered with some of the most glaring managerial failures in league history. Adding insult to embarrassment: yes, that’s Colangelo up at the top, albeit navigating a very different NBA in 1969.You’ll notice that a few of the GMs on the above list took the reins of an expansion club. Certainly, the 2013-14 76ers featured a roster that could pass for a brand-new NBA franchise. This raises the question: How might the Sixers fare if we arbitrarily (but, let’s be honest, justifiably) assigned them an expansion-level Elo of 1300 before the 2013-14 season and compared their progress to those of the NBA’s other modern expansion teams, going back to the 1976 ABA-NBA merger? Now that Jerry Colangelo is Skyping in to the Wells Fargo Center for what The New York Times calls a “father figure” role in the 76ers front office — which, suuure — it seems like an opportune time to take inventory of just how big a mess Sam Hinkie and his Process have made.We know, we know: The Sixers want to be this bad; these are planned grotesqueries; the trades have been fine and the picks are still coming and never you mind the reported dozen-odd team owners banging down Adam Silver’s door demanding a good waterboarding for ol’ Sam. Silver, of course, denies intervening (which you can hear for yourself on a special episode of Hot Takedown), and that’s practically a co-sign from the man in charge, isn’t it now? A full-on prosecution of Hinkie’s process is justified and overdue. For now, however, we’ll confine ourselves to discussing the shape of Philadelphia’s evolution in the broadest possible sense, comparing its progress during Hinkie’s reign with that of other teams also undergoing such radical, um, rebirths.We looked at this a few ways. First, we used our Elo ratings to find all GMs who took over a below-average team that got worse in the GM’s first year in control — specifically, overseeing an Elo decline of at least 50 points,1The equivalent of a 2-point drop in point spread each game. enough of a drop to pick up teams that needed more than one offseason’s worth of work. We then looked for the Elo gains or losses each made between the start of his second season and the 27-game mark of his third — i.e., where Hinkie is with the Sixers right now.We’re trying to isolate full-on rebuilding jobs: teams that were already bad and were still in demolition mode during Year One but were presumably trying (or at least should have been trying) to lay down some semblance of a foundation after that. We can then judge Philadelphia’s progress against this historical standard. Turns out, Hinkie has ruled over the biggest Elo decline of any GM under those circumstances, ever: Hornets1989-24+5+41 Kiki Vandeweghe2002Denver1469-9065 Carl Bennett1949Fort Wayne1495-11388 Nick Mileti1971Cleveland1300-10354 Danny Ainge2004Boston1481-6834 David Kahn2010Minnesota1371-129137 What if the Sixers were an expansion team? Edwin Coil1966Detroit1428-11075 John Nash1991Washington1416-63-31 Mavericks1981-31+78+134 Pepper Wilson1959Cincinnati1481-174-16 Jerry Colangelo1969Phoenix1300-133243 Magic1990-92+137+34 Check out our 2015-16 NBA Predictions. Jim Paxson2000Cleveland1468-57-30 Rich Cho2012Charlotte1422-271168 ELO CHANGE FROM 1300 THROUGH SEASON Bobcats2005-5+80+65 Elo change for season three is through the first 27 gamesSource: Basketball-REFERENCE.com Garry St. Jean1998Golden State1406-11038 Glen Grunwald1998Toronto1445-202185 Rob Hennigan2013Orlando1478-22980 EXPANSION TEAM1ST YEARONETWOTHREE (1ST 27G) Elgin Baylor1987L.A. Clippers1424-21749 Sixers2014-137-68-88 EXECUTIVE1ST YEARTEAMINITIAL ELOYEAR 1YEAR 2 TO YEAR 3 Again, the Sixers are way behind schedule. Not only would their Elo change since “expansion” rank last among modern expansion franchises, they’re also the only team to be in worse shape after 27 games of Year Three than they were when the franchise “began.” Being a team with no past at all is better than being these Sixers.Now, the standard procession of Hinkie Stan counter-arguments. Argument the first: Expansion teams are generally trying to make incremental progress in their first few seasons, which is not necessarily what Hinkie’s Sixers are pursuing. Argument the second: The draft is an imperfect science with bad luck lurking behind every lottery pick, and the lottery itself is based on probabilities as well. When your entire team-building concept relies heavily on risk tolerance, it’s no surprise that busts are likely when the boom doesn’t come. Argument the third: The Only Goal Is Winning A Championship (And Building A Dynasty), and the Sixers remain well-positioned to draft or develop a superstar.We’ll leave those arguments to be settled another day. What this research suggests is that the Sixers have made significantly less progress than their historical analogs (to the extent those exist), and NBA fans looking to watch a decent game of basketball in Philadelphia these last three years would have been better served if the league had dissolved the 76ers and held tryouts. Eddie Donovan1971Buffalo1300-89-35 Timberwolves1990+41+108+33 Raptors1996-37+125+25 Heat1989-72-55+3 Sam Hinkie2014Philadelphia1460-206-84 Source: basketball-reference.com Mike Dunleavy1993Milwaukee1412-54-37 ELO CHANGE
Blake Bortles25.41411+3 WINS Matthew Stafford21.71927-8 Cam Newton23.02726+1 All newsletters Derek Carr25.82322+1 Carson Palmer20.72625+1 Ben Roethlisberger21.03028+2 Alex Smith18.82730-3 Philip Rivers24.42218+4 Eli Manning23.52523+2 Andrew Luck24.22821+7 Matt Ryan24.32925+4 The Saints offense does occasionally sputter, and for those games, the team’s chances of winning are solely reliant on the defense — in other words, virtually hopeless. In games when the Saints scored less than the league average, they went 2-14. Brady’s Patriots went 5-6 when they failed to best the league average.The Saints head into their season opener in Minnesota tonight determined to finally turn around their defense. Head coach Sean Payton said he’s “optimistic” about the unit. Players are even hoping a preseason stretch of eight consecutive quarters without allowing a touchdown will prove meaningful now that the games actually count. We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe It’s not Brees’s faultThe difference in win total for quarterbacks if their actual defense was replaced by a league-average defense in each game, 2014-16. Among the 47 games Brees started in the past three seasons, the Saints would have won 10 more games (technically, they would have won 12 games they actually lost and lost two they had actually won, for a net increase of 10). In both 2014 and 2016, Brees’s record would have been 11-5, and New Orleans would have made the playoffs. To be sure, this is just a back-of-the-napkin calculation, and several variables can distort this expected-win statistic — for instance, Brees and the Saints probably wouldn’t have scored as much if they hadn’t been constantly losing.But when you look at all the non-Brees starting quarterbacks who also started from 2014 to 2016, the connection between clearing the league-average point total and winning games is quite strong: The quarterbacks in our sample average 0.97 wins for every one time they clear that bar. Brees, on the other hand, registered 0.68 wins for his better-than-average offensive days. Matthew Stafford is the anti-Brees in this regard: The Detroit Lions’ QB has 27 wins since 2014 despite leading an offense that beat the league-average point total just 19 times. QUARTERBACKAVG. OPP. PTS/GAMEEXPECTEDACTUALDIFF. Joe Flacco20.32321+2 Drew Brees is in a league of his own statistically. He has led the NFL in passing yards three years in a row and seven times as a Saint (no other player in history has hit that mark more than five times). He has topped 5,000 yards five times — all other quarterbacks in history have combined for only four such seasons. Brees’s New Orleans offenses have finished in the top 10 in scoring in six straight years, and his nine consecutive seasons of 30 or more TD passes are nearly twice as many as the next closest QBs (Brett Favre 1994-98 and Peyton Manning 2009-14). Brees’s passing résumé would force the office printer to run out of paper.But there is one reasonably important statistic that Brees struggles in: winning football games. The Saints last had a winning season in 2013, finishing 7-9 for three straight years. And in the 16-game era, no quarterback has started every game and missed the playoffs more often than Brees, who has done this seven times. Even some Saints fans are asking whether Brees is merely a compiler of gaudy passing numbers who can’t deliver in the clutch.But Brees isn’t the reason the Saints have lost 27 games in three seasons — the defense is. Among all 32 teams from 2014 to 2016, the Saints ranked 28th, 32nd and 31st in points allowed per game, respectively. Over those three seasons, the Saints gave up 28.2 points on average in Brees’s starts — that’s practically a touchdown more than the league average during that time (22.7). No other current starting quarterback in this time period has nearly this high a hurdle to clear to get a win.1For this, we looked at the 18 quarterbacks who are currently starters and also started for any team in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The three quarterbacks with the most wins during that time — Tom Brady (35), Aaron Rodgers (32) and Russell Wilson (32) — have defenses that have allowed an average of 18.6, 22.1 and 17.1 points per game, respectively.2Only counting games in which they started.Let’s pretend for a second that New Orleans had an average defense — not even a good one — over the past three seasons. If the actual points surrendered by the Saints in each of the 47 games that Brees started in 2014-16 were replaced with the league average for the season, how many more games would Brees have won? Andy Dalton19.72526-1 Aaron Rodgers22.13532+3 For current starting quarterbacks who also started in the 2014 through 2016 seasons. Expected wins are based on whether the opposition team scored the NFL average points per game for a given season.Source: pro-football-reference.com Russell Wilson17.13032-2 Jay Cutler26.11112-1 Drew Brees28.23121+10 Tom Brady18.63335-2 The Saints need a defensive awakening to happen soon. Although Brees plays as though he’s ageless, he’ll turn 39 in January. He doesn’t even need his defense to be good for the team to be successful. The Saints have finished 20th or better in points allowed just five times in his 11 seasons in New Orleans, and Brees has led his team to the playoffs in each of these seasons — averaging 12 wins. Alas, those are his only winning seasons for Payton and his rotating cast of defensive coordinators.Check out our latest NFL predictions.
Liverpool legend John Barnes feels that it’s unfair to expect Mohamed Salah to produce another 40-goal campaign, but hit out at the “ridiculous” suggestions that he’s a one-season wonderThe Egyptian forward’s impressive debut campaign at Anfield last term saw him named the PFA and FWA Player of the Year.However, Salah has struggled to replicate the same statistics he recorded last season with just three goals to his name, so far.But Barnes feels that Salah is more of a team player and ridiculed talk that the 26-year-old’s standards are falling.He told the Daily Star: “Salah’s been fine.“I mean he hasn’t obviously scored as many goals as he did last year, but I never expected him to.“Because I don’t think Salah is regularly going to be scoring 40 goals a season as easy as he did last year.“But if he can be part of a team who has won seven games in a row, as much as he hasn’t scored all the goals, then that’s fine, he’s doing equally as well.Virgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“That’s much more important for him to do that than for him to be scoring lots of goals and us not to be winning.“So as much as individually people may think he’s not doing as well as he did last year, he’s part of a team and helping out the team to be better than they were last year.“It depends what you call a one-season wonder.“If he doesn’t score 40-odd goals this year and that means that he’s a one-season wonder, that’s ridiculous.“Because if he only scores 20 goals which means he hasn’t done as well but will win the league, that’s even better.“So maybe in terms of scoring 40-odd goals, but not in terms of being effective and helping the team to be even better this year than they were last year.”Liverpool will make the trip to Stamford Bridge to face Salah’s former club Chelsea today at 18:30 (GMT +2).
President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in rebuffing a subpoena Monday in the investigation into Russia’s election meddling. Then a top House Democrat cited new evidence he said appeared to show Flynn lied on a security clearance background check.With Trump himself in the Mideast on his first foreign trip as president, investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign — and allegations of Trump campaign collaboration — showed no sign of slackening in Washington. Flynn’s lawyers claimed an “escalating public frenzy” against the former aide justified declining the subpoena for his records.The attorneys told the Senate intelligence committee Flynn will not turn over personal documents sought under the congressional subpoena nor otherwise comply as part of its investigation. Hours later, Rep. Elijah Cummings, senior Democrat on the House oversight committee, cited what he said were inconsistencies in Flynn’s disclosures to U.S. investigators in early 2016 during his security clearance review.Cummings said Flynn appeared to have lied about the source of a $33,000 payment from Russia’s state-sponsored television network, failed to identify foreign officials with whom he met — including Russia’s President Vladimir Putin — and glossed over his firing as chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration. Cummings made his points in a letter asking the committee’s chairman, Jason Chaffetz of Utah, to subpoena the White House for documents related to Flynn.Flynn’s own defensive crouch revealed the high legal stakes he faces as investigations intensify: a U.S. counterintelligence probe of Russia, a criminal investigation involving him and multiple congressional probes.His attorney, Robert Kelner, declined to comment on the new assertions by Cummings.Besides the “public frenzy,” Flynn lawyers also said earlier in the day the Justice Department’s appointment of a special counsel has created a legally dangerous environment for him to cooperate with the Senate panel’s investigation.Trump appointed Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and top military intelligence chief, as his top national security aide in January, only to fire him less than a month later. The White House said that Flynn had misled top U.S. officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, about his contacts with Russian officials, including Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.Democratic Rep. Cummings said Monday that Flynn repeatedly provided inconsistent or untruthful statements to U.S. security clearance investigators in January 2016 before the renewal of his credentials. The Trump administration has criticized the Obama administration for failing to properly vet Flynn during that period, but Cummings and other Democrats have blasted Trump and his team for failing to more carefully check Flynn’s background before they brought him to the White House.Cummings cited a report in March 2016 that he said showed the retired Army general telling authorities that payments he received for his 2015 trip to Moscow were paid by “U.S. companies.” In fact, the oversight committee released detailed email and payment records months ago showing that the source of Flynn’s payment of more than $33,000 was RT, the Russian state-sponsored television network that has been labeled a propaganda network by U.S. intelligence.Flynn went to Moscow to appear at an RT gala, sitting at the head table with Putin. Flynn was paid $45,000 by RT for the appearance through his speaker’s group, Leading Authorities Inc. After the firm’s deduction, Flynn received the $33,000, according to records obtained by the committee.Meanwhile, the Senate committee’s subpoena to Flynn focused on his interactions with Russian officials. It sought a wide range of information and documents about his and the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians dating back to June 2015.Flynn’s response stressed that his decision to invoke his constitutional protection was not an admission of wrongdoing but rather a response to the current political climate in which Democratic members of Congress are calling for his prosecution. Even “truthful responses of an innocent witness” can give the government ammunition that could be used against him, the attorneys noted, quoting a 2001 Supreme Court ruling.The attorneys noted that if Flynn complied with the committee’s request, he could be confirming the existence of documents, an act that itself could be used against him.Trump himself walked back into the Russia controversy during his visit to Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, standing beside him, was asked Monday if he had any concerns about intelligence sharing with the U.S.After Netanyahu responded — he said the cooperation was terrific — Trump volunteered that he “never mentioned the word or the name Israel” during his recent Oval Office conversation with top Russian diplomats.That comment referred to revelations that he divulged classified information about an Islamic State threat in his May 10 meeting in the Oval Office with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador. U.S. officials have said the information originated with Israel. However, it has not been alleged that Trump told the Russians that Israel was the source.Trump has defended Flynn since his ouster and called on him to strike an immunity deal because Flynn was facing a “witch hunt.” The president’s comments were in stark contrast to his harsh words during the 2016 campaign for people who received immunity or invoked the Fifth Amendment in the probe of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.“You see, the mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” Trump said during a September campaign rally in Iowa.On Monday, one of Trump’s top GOP supporters, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, told reporters during a news conference in Trenton that he had expressed concerns about Flynn during the presidential transition.“If I were president-elect of the United States, I wouldn’t let General Flynn in the White House,” Christie said.Flynn’s decision does not fully close the door on future cooperation with the committee. Attorney Kelner said in March that Flynn wants to tell his story “should the circumstances permit,” and he said it would be unreasonable for him to agree to be questioned “without assurances against unfair prosecution.”Flynn’s letter comes less than two weeks after the committee issued a subpoena for his documents as part of its ongoing investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign. In addition to the Senate investigation, Flynn is also being investigated by other congressional committees, as well as an FBI counterintelligence probe and a separate federal criminal investigation in northern Virginia.An additional complication for the congressional committees: If they move to grant Flynn immunity, they will likely have to enter into discussions with Mueller to determine whether that could impede the FBI’s case.Former CIA Director John Brennan is to testify in open and closed hearings Tuesday before the House intelligence committee, which is conducting its own investigation. Share