Will LeBron James’ Lakers be patient, sign impact names in offseason, or go for it now?

For a while at the start of the NBA season, it looked as if LeBron James’ patience was going to be severely tested. The Los Angeles Lakers lost their first three games, and five of their first seven, enough to heat the seat of head coach Luke Walton and raise the ire of president of basketball operations Magic Johnson.

The question then was how long could James stand the struggles and teething troubles before pushing internally for significant personnel upgrades, even if it came at the expense of long-term flexibility attracting impact names next summer.

That’s not the question anymore, not after a 16-10 start heading into Monday night that hasn’t always been convincing but provided evidence these Lakers have something about them, namely enough spirit and unpredictability to often overcome what are still too many concentration lapses.

Yet now arises a different conundrum, one that looked unlikely to arise even a few weeks ago. How ambitious should these Lakers be, not for next summer but right now?

Led by James, L.A. won 14 of 19 after its initial troubles, has mostly stayed around the fourth and fifth spot in the Western Conference and is trending heartily in a satisfying direction.

And so, the new question — strengthen now or hold firm?

The thinking always has been that this was a transition year, a period of adaptation while necessary sacrifices were made in order to prepare for next summer and a championship quest the following season. Expectations were thus tempered accordingly.

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Everton vs Watford: TV channel, live stream, kick-off time and team news

The former Hornets boss has led the Toffees to the cusp of the top-six, but will be hoping for three points after being held to a draw by Newcastle in midweek.

What time is kick-off?

THIS game is the Monday night Premier League offering TONIGHT – December 10.

Kick-off at Goodison Park is at 8pm.

Last season's encounter here was a a 3-2 thriller, with the Toffees coming back from 2-0 down before Tom Cleverley missed a 101st minute penalty.

Which TV channel can I watch it on?

YOU can catch all the action on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 7pm.

Sky customers can stream via their Sky Go account, whilst non-subscribers can access a stream by purchasing a NOW TV pass from £7.99.

As ever, SunSport will be running a comprehensive LIVE BLOG right here.

What is the team news?

Full team news to follow.

SunSport's predicted line-up:


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USOC fires chief of sport performance Alan Ashley after his silence in Nassar case

U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland fired USOC chief of sport performance Alan Ashley on Monday morning after she was made aware of the contents of the Ropes & Gray report revealing that he failed to take action for 13 ½ months after learning about sexual abuse allegations against Larry Nassar.

USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky confirmed the dismissal Monday afternoon, 20 minutes after USA TODAY broke the news of the damning report.

The law firm Ropes & Gray was hired in February by the USOC to investigate when USA Gymnastics and USOC officials first became aware of evidence of Nassar’s abuse and what they did with that information. It reviewed more than 1.3 million documents and interviewed more than 100 people, including gymnasts and employees and board members of the USOC, USAG and the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

Ashley oversaw the USOC's divisions that provided resources and support to the national governing bodies and top athletes competing internationally. The support includes funding, services and coaching, sport science, sports medicine and on-site operations in support of performance at the Olympics. 

Related: New report details how USOC, USAG failed to protect athletes in Nassar case

Column: USOC official Alan Ashley rightly fired after staying silent in Nassar case

Ashley was one of the highest paid USOC employees. Like many top executives, he earned bonuses based on the performance of American athletes at the Olympics.

According to the organization’s 990 tax forms, his compensation ranged from $426,000 to $459,000 annually from 2014-16. The USOC paid Ashley $720,000 in 2017, making him the organization’s second highest paid employee besides Blackmun, who received $1.3 million in compensation that year.

Contributing: Rachel Axon

 

 

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Tuesday's racing tips: A Tuesday longshot to fill your pockets at Uttoxeter from Jack Keene

There has been plenty of money for some of the picks but they've been running like utter yaks.

There will be some lovely betting opportunities later in the week, so there's no time like the present to bang in a juicy winner.

Beginners chases rarely present an opportunity to have a good punt, but Uttoxeter's 1.30 is a cracker.

There are some exciting young horses in the 16-strong field, but it could pay to side with the battle-hardened NOW MCGINTY.

Stuart Edmunds' likeable seven-year-old progressed well over hurdles last season, rounding off his campaign with a cracking second in a Grade 3 at Aintree.

He made a promising start to his chasing career when second to the smart The Worlds End at Chepstow.

He jumped soundly on that occasion, so it was a surprise to see him unseat his rider at just the second fence in a hot race at Huntingdon on Sunday.

Given that he was out of the contest at such an early stage at the weekend, the quick turnaround isn't a concern .

His small yard has a good record at Uttoxeter (near 20% strike rate over the past five years), while a few of the market leaders are returning from absences so could be caught cold.

Read more from Jack by following him on Twitter @jkeene124

Jack Out The Box – Tuesday's each-way picks

1.30 Uttoxeter – Now McGinty

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4pm Arsenal news: Unai Emery targets 'new Toni Kroos', fans mock 'hippy crack' stars, Arsenal battle Man City for Pepe, and Marseille want Monreal

Shkodran Mustafi limped off leaving the Gunners facing a major injury crisis in central defence.

Read this and more with the latest news, gossip and updates from the Emirates Stadium.

TOUCH OF OZ

MESUT OZIL may have missed Arsenal's win over Huddersfield but he still managed to make one young supporter's day.

The German playmaker hugged and sat down next to the fan in the stands, chatting away with him at the Emirates.

NO MESSI BREAK UP

ARSENAL'S hopes of signing Ousmane Dembele looked to have been scuppered – by Lionel Messi.

The North London side were hoping to make a move for the French star, but Dembele's team-mates seem to be trying to put Arsenal off him.

PEP'S WATCHING

MANCHESTER CITY have joined Arsenal in pursuit of Lille star Nicolas Pepe, according to reports.

The Premier League champions sent scouts to watch the winger in action against Reims on Sunday.

NOTHING LEFT

MARSEILLE are keen to bolster their defence in January and could turn to Nacho Monreal or Alberto Moreno, according to reports.

The French side are currently fifth in Ligue 1 but are just four points clear of 11th-placed Reims.

UNITED AND GUNNERS WATCHING 'NEW TONI KROOS'

MANCHESTER UNITED and Arsenal are watching Hertha Berlin wonderkid Arne Maier.

The 19-year-old has been labelled the ‘new Toni Kroos’ in the Bundesliga.

NEEDS MUST

ARSENAL are suffering a crisis in central defence after Shkodran Mustafi limped off in the win against Huddersfield.

He joins fellow central defender Rob Holding on the treatment table.

DIVE ANOTHER DAY

GRANIT XHAKA, Shkodran Mustafi and Matteo Guendouzi were all booked for diving on a feisty afternoon in North London which saw 33 fouls and nine yellow cards.

Referee Paul Tierney certainly had his work cut out at the Emirates as Arsenal and Huddersfield's players, coaching staff and fans all climbed on his back.

JUST FOR THE CRACK

ARSENAL'S shamed hippy crack stars were mocked by fans who threw balloons onto the pitch during their game against Huddersfield this afternoon.

'FELT I WASN'T RATED'

ALEX IWOBI revealed he almost left Arsenal for Crystal Palace after feeling unloved at the Emirates

Nigerian forward Iwobi has been one of the key figures this season under new boss Unai Emery.

WING-ING IT

A THREE-MAN defence is not a new creation nor is it particularly revolutionary – but it has given Arsenal a new lease of life.

And two players are reaping the rewards more than most: Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac

GUNNER LEARN

UNAI EMERY resisted severely punishing the Arsenal stars caught inhaling ‘hippy crack’.

The Gunners boss has taken a dim view of the scandal exposed by The Sun.

SPECIALIST IN WINNING

ARSENE WENGER picked up another award last week and joked he should have left Arsenal earlier in order to win more trophies.

The Frenchman was handed the lifetime achievement award by the League Managers Association (LMA) after earning a similar gong at the Leaders Sport Awards in October.

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Leicester leading chase for next Jamie Vardy in Leyton Orient's non-league star Macauley Bonne

The in-demand 23-year-old has scored 17 goals already for the National League leaders this season.

And the Foxes are one of five Premier League teams who have shown an interest in the red-hot non-league striker.

Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Huddersfield are also keen on Bonne, who is valued in the region of £500k.

O’s boss Justin Edinburgh claims the Londoners – top of the National League – do not have to sell Bonne,  who signed a new two-year deal in August.

But the interest in their prized asset has gone through the roof in recent weeks due to his stunning form.


Championship clubs Norwich, Stoke, Nottingham Forest, QPR and Sheffield United all have Bonne on their radar too.

The Ipswich-born forward scored 25 goals last season after joining Orient from Colchester.

WHO IS MACAULEY BONNE?

Age – 23

Position – Striker

Born – Ipswich

Current club – Leyton Orient

International – Zimbabwe (2 apps, 1 goal)

Former clubs – Colchester, Lincoln (loan), Woking (loan)

Current season – 24 apps, 17 goals

 

That's the same number of goals as Vardy netted in his first campaign in non-league football with Halifax in 2011.

Bonne is currently joint top scorer in the National League, level with Salford's big-money forward Adam Rooney.

Althoug  Bonne plays in England's fifth tier, he has two international caps with Zimbabwe after qualifying through his parents.

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Phil Foden to sign new six-year Man City deal as pressure grows on Pep Guardiola to start youngster

The Daily Telegraph say the teenager will pen a six-year deal keeping him at the Etihad until 2024.

Foden, 18, has struggled for game time this season under Pep Guardiola – with all but one of his 13 appearances coming from the bench.

The gifted midfielder is regarded as one of the best young players to come the through the academy since Sheikh Mansour purchased the club in 2008.

Guardiola is a huge fan of Foden, but has come under pressure to give the England Under-17 World Cup winner more first-team action.

Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Paris Saint-Germain and a host of Premier League sides have enquired about Foden, who has no intention of quitting his boyhood club and is desperate to force his way into the manager’s plans.



But the Catalan coach has so far resisted sending Foden out on loan to aid his development and feels his progress is best served staying with his first-team.

Guardiola is no fan of the Premier League 2 set-up and thinks City should be allowed to field a B team in the Football League, like clubs do on the Continent.

Foden committing his long-term future to City will be welcome news after the exit of Jadon Sancho last year and the inevitable departure of Brahim Diaz, who has agreed to join Real Madrid.


City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak spoke last May of his desire to get at least one academy player into the first team each year.

He said: “I’d like at least a player, if not two, playing and competing at the first-team level from the academy every year.

“That is what I would like. Can we do that? We will try everything we can.

“Certainly everyone knows that ambition and target and today I think the academy is producing.

“The short answer is that the academy is producing what we aspire for it to produce and it is doing it now.

“ I’m not talking about the future, I’m talking about now because I know what we have.”

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Mesut Ozil makes young Arsenal fan's day by sitting next to him in stands at Huddersfield win

The German playmaker hugged and sat down next to the fan in the stands, chatting away with him at the Emirates.

Ozil, 30, was out of action for the fifth game in a row on Saturday as he continues to recover from back ache.

In the video, shared by @Touchofozil on Twitter, he is clearly walking rather gingerly when he comes across to the young supporter, who is wearing an 'Ozil' cap.

After saying hello to the star-struck fan, the Arsenal midfielder gives him a hug and then takes a perch on the seat next to him in the private box.

The clip appears to be taken just before kick-off with the pre-match music playing in the background.


Ozil has come in for a lot of criticism this season but was lauded for his selfless act.

Replying to the tweeted video, @arsenal_25 said: "This is so sweet love this @MesutOzil1088 come back soon we miss you."

Arsenal fan @ObiWanDave added: "Love the guy, proper humble and a baller as well."

And fellow Gunner @UTAFTB said: "Brilliant @MesutOzil1088 you made that wee lads day. Your a proper hero."

 

 

 

Arsenal went on to win the cagey affair 1-0 thanks to Lucas Torreira's emphatic overhead kick.

But questions marks remain over Ozil, his commitment and his future at Arsenal.

He was one of the players caught in the "hippy crack" scandal, as revealed by The Sun last week.

And despite a stunning second half against Leicester in October, it has been a difficult season for the German.


He has racked up just four goals and remarkably managed one assist.

It is simply not enough for a player who built such a strong reputation for creating chances at Real Madrid, on the international stage and in his earlier years at the Emirates.

SunSport revealed last week that Inter Milan would offer Ozil an escape route next year.

And now Arsenal are considering flogging him for just £25million after losing patience with Ozil and his £350,000-a-week wages.

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Kingston Frontenacs power past Kitchener Rangers

The Kitchener Rangers fell to the Kingston Frontenacs 4-1 on Sunday afternoon at the Aud.

After a scoreless opening period, Jayde Wilson opened the scoring for Kingston at the 14:06 mark of the second period.

With less than 30 seconds remaining in the second period, Brett Neumann put a puck behind Rangers netminder Luke Richardson to double the visiting side’s advantage.

Kitchener closed the gap to 2-1 when Rickard Hugg notched his 14th of the season on the power play with just over 14 minutes to play in the third period.

That was as close as the Rangers would get as Neumann restored Kingston’s two-goal lead at the 13:26 mark of the game.

He would complete his hat trick, scoring his 24th of the season at the 18:49 mark.

Neumann has now scored 26 goals on the season.

Brendan Bonello was between the pipes from Kingston, making 31 saves to record the victory.

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