Month: December 2019


Insider Trading: Manchester United officials in Spain for Pedro, Chelsea’s latest Stones bid and more


first_imgtalkSPORT’s transfer guru, Warren Haughton, joins Hawksbee and Jacobs to round up all the very latest rumours and gossip.He delivers an update on Pedro’s future, revealing Manchester United are haggling over a fee with the Barcelona for the winger.Roberto Martinez has been given the final say on John Stones’ future, but is he willing to listen to Chelsea’s latest offer for the defender? He also discusses Manchester City’s pursuit of Nicolas Otamendi and Kevin De Bruyne…Here’s some of the top transfer rumours on talkSPORT.com:Exclusive – ‘A stupid practical joke!’ De Bruyne’s agent furious following Wolfsburg declarationMan United offered goalkeeper Keylor Navas as Real Madrid continue David de Gea pursuitWellington Silva set for Championship loan after Arsenal reject Hertha Berlin bidArsenal transfer rumours: Mario Gotze would be a ‘great signing’ but ‘he’s not what the Gunners need right now’Everton set to make £15m move for Ukraine winger Andriy YarmolenkoJuventus showing interest in Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh MkhitaryanFenerbahce holding out for £9m fee for West Ham and Sunderland targetMario Balotelli latest: Liverpool outcast wants Premier League stay as Watford eye ambitious moveAdnan Januzaj to leave Man United despite match-winning performance?The man to solve Sunderland’s woes? Black Cats want £6.5m French strikerlast_img read more


Tottenham and England star is the next Steven Gerrard… and he’s part of a dying breed


first_img1 Dele Alli This time last year Dele Alli had just scored for MK Dons in a 2-1 win over Swindon in League One.Fastforward 12 months and the 19-year-old was going toe-to-toe with the masterful Sergio Busquets and striking a sublime first England goal in a man of the match display against France at Wembley.‘DELE ALLI WON’T BE STAYING AT TOTTENHAM FOR LONG WITH PERFORMANCES LIKE THAT’Alli’s meteoric rise is no fluke. Without getting too ahead of ourselves, the Tottenham midfielder could well be the closest thing England has had to Steven Gerrard in his prime since the former Liverpool captain’s career began to wane.Gerrard’s leggy, languid style was the driving force behind every success Liverpool manifested in the last decade. He was intense, dynamic and, above all, a box-to-box midfielder – character traits becoming increasingly evident in Alli.Ali’s adeptness going both forwards and backwards is a rare commodity in modern football. The archetypal British box-to-box midfielder is a dying breed, with players nowadays far more specified and regimented within their individual roles and strengths.Midfielders are increasingly either a holding player or attacking player, with those nuances becoming more and more mutually exclusive. It’s a far cry from Gerrard’s all-action displays which would see him in both penalty areas in the space of 30 seconds.Bayern Munich star Arturo Vidal is perhaps the flagbearer in modern football for that type of midfielder, with his unrivalled dynamism a huge factor in his resonating impact felt all over the pitch. The Chilean’s performances lead by example and his achievements in the last year – spearheading Juventus to the Champions League final and Chile to Copa America glory – are testament to his influence.Alli is the poster boy of the next generation hoping to imitate Gerrard and Vidal. His former manager and a man he regards as a father-like figure, Karl Robinson, revealed the meticulous deliberations behind the decision to let the young midfielder leave for Tottenham in January, albeit returning to MK Dons on loan for the rest of the season.Alli plundered 16 goals from midfield as the Buckinghamshire club finally clinched promotion to the Championship after years of flirting with success, and understandably his form saw him coveted by a number of Premier League clubs.center_img Aston Villa and Newcastle also had offers on the table, so Robinson soon realised he couldn’t deny his prize asset his chance to make the step up.In hindsight, the switch to White Hart Lane has proved a masterstroke. Even Alli’s most ardent supporters probably couldn’t have predicted the integral role he has assumed in ensuring Spurs have remained unbeaten in the league since the opening day of the season.Robinson built the foundations, but if there was ever a manager to take Alli to the next level it would be Mauricio Pochettino. Nine of the last 15 England debutants have burst onto the international scene under the Argentine’s stewardship, with Alli and Eric Dier the latest on that list.And Alli’s rapid emergence has proven as refreshing as it has been surprising, particularly for the traditional romantics of the English game. Against the French he made himself at home throughout his appearance, but illustrated his supreme potential in one, breathtaking instant. After crashing into Morgan Schneiderlin with a fierce slide tackle, he demanded the ball off Wayne Rooney and drove forward before unleashing a quite brilliant strike past his helpless Spurs colleague Hugo Lloris. It had the feel of a watershed moment in Alli’s fledgling career.Liverpool’s reported snub of the then 18-year-old, a boyhood Reds fan, in summer 2014 is their loss and Tottenham’s gain, with north London and Pochettino’s regime now the perfect environment to nurture his development.Unlike Jack Wilshere, the last heir apparent to Gerrard’s throne, Alli appears to possess the drive and temperament conducive to unlocking his true potential. In fact, if the former’s fitness doesn’t show signs of improvement it could be Alli who takes full advantage ahead of Euro 2016. If Pochettino can manage him wisely, next summer’s finals could prove the stage for a star to be born.last_img read more


‘I’ve got more chance of dating Kelly Brook!’ – Fans react to news Chelsea want Mauricio Pochettino


first_img Mauricio Pochettino Mauricio Pochettino is a wanted man with the wonders he’s performing at White Hart Lane.Tottenham are very much in the Premier League title race right now, along with Manchester City, Arsenal and Leicester City, after a brilliant campaign so far.So it’s understandable reports are suggesting the Argentine is on Chelsea’s shortlist to become the soon-to-be deposed champions’ next permanent boss.He joins top coaches Diego Simeone, Jorge Sampaoli and Didier Deschamps on the touted four-man list, but the news was met by mixed views form Blues fans, and scorn from Spurs supporters.You can see the best of the reaction from Twitter below… 1last_img


Lethal injections face review


first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.With society’s view of cruel and unusual punishment shifting dramatically in recent decades, legal experts say the almost universal embrace of one form of execution – a lethal dose of drugs – has made the time right for an unprecedented review of how states end the lives of condemned killers. Most of the 38 states with the death penalty rely on the same three-drug combination to execute inmates, including California, where a challenge to lethal injection has put executions on hold for nearly two years. The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to review Kentucky’s lethal injection method has ensured a near-moratorium on executing the more than 3,300 condemned prisoners in the United States will last until the justices rule next year. In recent years, the conservative, closely divided Supreme Court has scaled back the death penalty somewhat – barring the execution of juveniles and the mentally retarded. At the same time, the court made sure most death sentences were preserved. Legal experts say the justices could not wait any longer to weigh in on lethal injection. Lawyers for death-row inmates, armed with evidence of botched executions in states such as Ohio and Florida, have flooded courts around the country with legal challenges in the past few years. “I think the court felt absolutely compelled to step in and make some sense of this,” said Michael Laurence, director of California’s Habeas Corpus Resource Center, which represents Death Row inmates. “There is also the idea that the states need to get it right.” For all practical purposes, the Supreme Court has never addressed what it takes for states to “get it right” when it comes to executions. There is surprisingly sparse precedent on the subject, and the justices have never outlawed a form of execution. Most legal experts do not expect the Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling in the Kentucky case to end the death penalty. Instead, the consensus is the court will provide guidelines for what states must do to ensure that executions are carried out humanely, whether in the types of drugs they use or in the safeguards put in place during executions. A number of judges around the country have found serious flaws in state lethal injection methods. Last year, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose declared California’s process “broken.” Fogel is considering whether to put that legal challenge on hold while the Supreme Court reviews the Kentucky case. Legal experts predict the Supreme Court will follow the approach used several years ago when ruling that it is unconstitutional to execute mentally retarded inmates – rather than lay out a rigid protocol, the justices left it to the states and lower courts to set the standards for mental retardation in capital cases. “They are going to want to make sure executions continue,” said Deborah Denno, a Fordham University law professor and lethal injection expert. “But at the same time, there is going to be some sort of compromise.” The challenges to lethal injection center on the argument that the combination of drugs, coupled with sloppy procedures and inadequate medical training, create an unnecessary risk that Death Row inmates will suffer painful executions. That, lawyers argue, violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. But even the handful of Supreme Court decisions touching on execution methods have not dealt with whether the mechanics of any particular method amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. Legal experts say the lethal-injection issue will put the Supreme Court in uncharted territory. “There is certainly no case on point,” said Ellen Kreitzberg, a Santa Clara University law professor and death penalty expert. “There is no case where there is precedent they need to follow.” Cases tucked in old law books aren’t expected to provide much guidance. In 1878, the Supreme Court refused to block the firing-squad execution of a condemned murderer in Utah, but the ruling dealt primarily with whether the states could choose their execution method as long as it wasn’t cruel and unusual. Rather than address the pain and suffering that might result from death by gunshot, the justices simply asserted: “The punishment of shooting as a mode of executing the death penalty for the crime of murder in the first degree is not included in that category.” The Supreme Court later took the same approach in two cases involving the electric chair, including a 1947 ruling that repeated malfunctions of Louisiana’s electric chair did not subject condemned killer Willie Francis to cruel punishment. Five aborted attempts to execute Francis, the court said, were nothing that “amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in the constitutional sense.” The Supreme Court has not addressed an execution method in the past six decades, as states continued to hang, shoot, electrocute and use lethal gas to carry out death sentences until the 1990s. At that point, ironically, the threat of court fights prompted most states to shift to lethal injection. Two key legal battles in the mid-1990s are likely to be examined as the Supreme Court weighs lethal injection. In 1994, the San Francisco- based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a bitterly divided 6-5 ruling, found that Washington’s hanging method was constitutional because the state took precautions to ensure a swift and painless death. But two years later, the 9th Circuit concluded that California’s gas chamber was unconstitutional because of evidence that inmates had suffered during executions. That ruling spurred the state to switch to lethal injection. But over the past five years, as virtually all states moved to lethal injection, court battles heated up, producing conflicting rulings in different courts – and a scattershot approach to executing inmates from state to state. hmintz@mercurynews.com (408) 286-0236 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Firing squads. Hanging. The electric chair. The gas chamber. None of these methods of execution tossed the nation’s capital-punishment system into as much disarray as lethal injection, the supposedly antiseptic solution to concerns about how best to put condemned killers to death. A metastasizing legal furor over lethal injection has forced the U.S. Supreme Court to examine a method of execution for the first time since 1878, effectively halting capital punishment around the country. One legal expert has dubbed it a “molasses moment” in death-penalty history. A confluence of historical, legal and social factors have pushed the showdown over lethal injection onto the high court’s docket – a paradox for an institution that never considered whether the hangman’s noose or “Old Sparky” were constitutional ways to put someone to death. last_img read more


Can’t say it face to face? Just send an IM


first_imgSure, instant messaging is fast and efficient. For many teenagers, it’s also a great way to avoid those OMG moments – that’s “omigod” – of mortifying face-to-face confrontations. More than four in 10 teens, or 43percent, who instant message use it for things they wouldn’t say in person, according to an Associated Press-AOL poll released Thursday. Twenty-two percent use IMs to ask people out on dates or accept them, and 13percent use them to break up. “If they freak out or something, you don’t see it,” said Cassy Hobert, 17, a high school senior from Frenchburg, Ky., and avid IMer who has used it to arrange dates. “And if I freak out, they don’t have to see it.” Overall, nearly half of teens ages 13 to 18 said they use instant messaging, those staccato, Internet-borne strings of real-time chatter often coupled with enough frenzied multitasking to fry the typical adult brain. Only about one in five adults said they use IMs – though usually with less technological aplomb or hormone-driven social drama. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Danny Hitt, 34, a real estate agent in Riverside, says he has chatted with four or five IM buddies at once – a number some teens would consider embarrassingly low. He prefers the telephone for important communications. “To me, a significant conversation takes a phone call,” Hitt said. “The inflection in the voice, you lose that” with instant messages. Instant messaging’s lack of physical proximity is exactly the point for those determined to avoid cringe-inducing episodes. Self-protection Take Lewis Grove, 19, a college sophomore from Heath, Ohio, who said he has used instant messages for both ends of the dating cycle. “Fear of rejection – if you’re face to face, you can’t close out the window and disappear if you’ve been rejected” like you could if you were instant messaging, he said. Grove said the IM breakup has its advantages, too. “I’ve had some crazy ex-girlfriends. Saying that in person would probably not be the best idea for my physical safety,” he said. Among teenagers, about half of girls and more than one-third of boys said they have used instant messages for things they wouldn’t say in person. Teens do not have sole rights to using instant messages for their personal lives. About eight in 10 adults who IM use it to send personal messages from work. About half of adult IMers say they log on to IM at least daily – slightly below the percentage of teens who do so that often. Yet comparing the use and technical sophistication of instant messaging by teens and adults, while not quite like comparing Einstein to a walnut, is pretty one-sided. Teens dominate Teens are far more likely to use many of the bells and whistles that have pushed IM programs well beyond the simple text message. They are at least twice as likely as adults to send IMs to a friend’s phone, and to use them to share music or video files or to listen to music. They also are more likely than adults to use IM to chat with more than one person at a time, and to send photos or document files. And while three-fourths of adults say they send more e-mails than instant messages, nearly that many teens say they send more IMs. Teens also dominate when it comes to high usage. Ten percent say they spend three hours or more a day instant messaging, about double the adult rate. Nearly one-fifth, or 17percent, send more than 100 IMs daily, about triple the number for adults. “I could be practicing my viola or riding my bike,” said Traci Laichter, 14, of Henderson, Nev., reciting her parents’ efforts to wean her from her four hours of IMing per day. “I guess it makes sense, but, oh well, I’d rather talk to my friends.” Nearly six in 10 teens say they research homework while IMing – a percentage many parents might find suspiciously low. Large numbers of people check e-mail and search the Internet while instant messaging, while one-third to half of teens say that while IMing they also upload photographs, download music or videos, listen to online radio or update their blogs or social networking profiles. Adults outdo teens in only one activity while instant messaging – online shopping. The poll also found less than one-fifth of people use IM’s abilities to have audio chats or view streaming video of the person they are messaging. Over half say they have received unsolicited IMs from somebody they don’t know, while about one-third say they sometimes message people they’ve never met. AOL, Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have the most popular instant messaging programs, which collectively handle several billion IMs daily. People reported IMing slightly less than they did in a similar AP-AOL survey last year. Industry analysts said they believe IM usage is growing, and said people could be confused about whether to include IMs sent from cell phones and Web sites. The online survey of 410 teens and 836 adults was conducted Oct. 25-Nov. 5 by Knowledge Networks. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 6 percentage points for teens and 4.3 points for adults. — WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? IM — Instant Message AFAIK — As Far As I Know BTW — By The Way BRB — Be Right Back FYEO — For Your Eyes Only GGP — Got to Go Pee IMHO — In My Humble Opinion JK — Just Kidding LOL — Laughing Out Loud POTS — Parent Over The Shoulder ( as in “I can’t type right now, POTS.”) ROTFL — Rolling On The Floor Laughing SSIF — So Stupid It’s Funny TBC — To Be Continued160Want 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


FAMOUS DONEGAL HOTEL PUT ON THE MARKET


first_imgJackson’s Hotel has been put up for sale.Jackson’s HotelThere was shock across the county in January when the Ballybofey hotel was put into receivership.Owners Margaret and Barry Jackson were left devastated after a receiver was appointed to run the day-to-day affairs of the hotel. Now the 138 bedroom facility has been put on the market.The luxury four star hotel boats full leisure centre facilities, 3 large functions suites, as well as separate bar and restaurants.The sale is being handled by DTZ Sherry Fitzgerald and a guide price on the hotel is on application.FAMOUS DONEGAL HOTEL PUT ON THE MARKET was last modified: July 24th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Ballybofeydonegalfor saleJackson’s HotelRECEIVERlast_img read more


Arsenal close to £33m deal, Manchester United to spend £60m-plus on striker?


first_imgHere are the top transfer-related stories in Wednesday’s newspapers and online…Manchester City are convinced that the Etihad will be Lionel Messi’s only destination if he ever leaves Barcelona. City have not given up hope of signing the five-time World Player of the Year, though they know the chances of luring him from the Nou Camp are slim. With Pep Guardiola, Messi’s friend and former Barcelona coach, taking over at City this summer, they believe they would be clear favourites to sign the 28-year-old Argentina star if he wants a new challenge. (Daily Mail)Manchester United have held secret talks over the transfer of Borussia Dortmund hot-shot Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Old Trafford giants have sounded out Aubameyang’s representatives about his availability after making the striker their No1 target for this summer. Dortmund insist Aubameyang is not for sale, but United would be able to offer in excess of £60m. (Daily Mirror)Manchester United are close to winning the race for Dutch wonderkid Tahith Chong. The 16-year-old striker, who can also play on the wing and in midfield, impressed United’s scouts when he was on duty for Feyenoord’s Under 17 side at the Premier Cup held at United’s Carrington training complex last summer. (Manchester Evening News)Arsenal are closing in on a £33.7million deal for Switzerland star Granit Xhaka. The Gunners are prepared to pay the Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder £120,000 a week. Arsenal tried to sign him in January but are confident of getting their man now after boss Arsene Wenger spoke with Xhaka’s father Ragip. (The Sun)Southampton will test Arsenal’s resolve to hang on to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with a major summer bid for the England winger. The Saints hope to capitalise on the 22-year-old’s frustrations at his lack of first-team starts at the Emirates by tabling an offer for their former youth-team product when the transfer window opens. (Daily Mirror)Leicester have told Claudio Ranieri he will be rewarded with a £3million-per-year double-your-money deal at the end of the season. Ranieri has made it clear he is in no rush over negotiations, but the Foxes’ top brass will move quickly to tie him down after his remarkable campaign. (Daily Mirror)Mauricio Pochettino has a £10million buy-out clause in his Tottenham contract. Spurs are increasingly confident their title-chasing boss will agree a new deal this summer. But any clubs looking to poach the Argentine will have to stump up the massive eight-figure sum to have any chance. (The Sun)West Ham chairman David Sullivan has confirmed for the first time that he wants to sign Liverpool striker Christian Benteke. Sullivan has also claimed the Hammers were turned down by incoming Chelsea boss Antonio Conte last year before they landed Slaven Bilic. (Daily Mirror)Liverpool have set their sights on Roma attacking midfielder Leandro Paredes. Reds scouts have watched the midfielder in action on multiple occasions this season. (Daily Express)Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel will consider making a move to the Chinese Super League in the summer. Mikel is the latest Chelsea player to be targeted for transfer by wealthy clubs in the Chinese Super League. (London Evening Standard)Tottenham and West Ham want England Under-19 star Taylor Moore. The 18-year-old Lens defender will cost around £1.5million. (The Sun)Swansea are set to sign £6million Miler Bolanos from Gremio. The clubs have agreed the price for the Ecuador hitman, 25. (The Sun)Reading plan a new offer as they bid to sign Bolton defender Rob Holding. The Royals will pay £600,000 for the 20-year-old. (The Sun)And here are the latest talkSPORT.com headlines…??Transfer report: Manchester United to launch £31m move for Atletico Madrid starletManchester United transfer news: Sergio Romero quashes rumours he could make River Plate returnPremier League strugglers Aston Villa eyeing move for former Chelsea and Liverpool midfielderValencia target outgoing Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini to replace Gary NevilleTottenham transfer report: Auxerre starlet Lamine Fomba targeted by Premier Leaguelast_img read more


talkSPORT International receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise


first_imgtalkSPORT has today announced that its international arm has been named as one of the winners of the 2016 Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest accolade for business success.talkSPORT International has been given the Queen’s Award for International Trade in recognition of its achieving outstanding growth during the last three years, both in terms of broadcast offering and commercial success.It was established in 2012, when it acquired the global audio rights to the Premier League and FA Cup matches, and today broadcasts in five languages – English, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic and Vietnamese – with partner stations in 69 countries.The business, which broadcasts from its international broadcast centre in London, has grown its sales by a staggering 680% in the three years from 2012 – 2014, providing high quality football commentary and content to its partners around the world, vastly improving – and continuing to improve – listener access to the Premier League.Scott Taunton, Chief Operating Officer for talkSPORT’s owner Wireless Group plc, said: “We’re extremely proud of what we’ve built and achieved with talkSPORT International. The business is playing a leading role in the development of sports radio services around the world, bringing top-level football commentary to countries that wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to experience live Premier League and FA Cup matches. “Our relationship with the Premier League has already been successfully extended to 2019 to support this goal and we continue to invest in our international team, which consists of native speakers of key languages such as Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish, Bahasa Malay and Vietnamese, giving us a clear competitive edge in providing content which is relevant to a wide range of global markets.”The Queen’s Awards are made annually by HM The Queen and are only given for the highest levels of excellence demonstrated in each category. talkSPORT International will be officially presented with the Grant of Appointment and a memento of the award at a special Ceremony to be held later in the year, and will also receive an invitation to join a special reception at Buckingham Palace. talkSPORT is the global audio partner of the Barclays Premier League 1last_img read more


Confirmed: Rangers complete signing of Liverpool starlet on four-year deal


first_img Jordan Rossiter in action for Liverpool 1 Jordan Rossiter has signed an agreement with Rangers to join the Light Blues in the summer, the Ibrox club have confirmed.The 19-year-old England youth international will move from Liverpool on a four-year deal until 2020.Midfielder Rossiter made five first-team appearances for his boyhood club after captaining and graduating from the Liverpool academy, including featuring against Sion in the Europa League, Jurgen Klopp’s first game in charge of the Merseyside club.Rossiter is Mark Warburton’s third recruit for next season following the captures of Matt Crooks and Josh Windass as the Gers boss gears up for the Ladbrokes Premiership.Warburton told the club’s official website: “Jordan is an outstanding young England youth international who will be an excellent addition to the Rangers squad.“Technically gifted and game aware, he also has a first-class character and displays a tigerish desire to reach the highest levels of the game.“It is a pleasure to welcome him to the club.”Rossiter was out of contract at Liverpool and with Gers’ head of recruitment Frank McParland aware of him from his Anfield days, the midfielder was snapped up by Warburton.Rossiter described the move as “an honour,” telling the club’s official website: “I am made up to be here, it is a great club with a lot of history, you look at the likes of Rangers’ teams and players over the years and I am really looking forward to getting started.“I have come from a massive club like Liverpool to another massive club like Rangers so it is a great feeling for me and an honour.“I know Frank McParland from my Liverpool days and working with the academy with him and he is a great fella. I am looking forward to working with him again and getting started here.“He didn’t need to sell the club to me, it doesn’t need much selling.“You look at Murray Park, which is a great training facility and then Ibrox; I walked into Ibrox and I was a bit taken aback by it.“I walked in and saw all the mahogany walls and it’s nice and old, you can tell it is a stadium with a lot of history and I’m sure there will be a lot more made there in the future.”“I chose Rangers because of the history it has got, it is a massive club and I don’t think people realise down south how big a club it really is.“I think I have always known and so have my family and it is just a great opportunity to carry on learning my trade.“Rangers is a club which wins trophies and winning trophies would be brilliant, they have two already and are going for a third next week so it is a club that is always going to win things and next season, hopefully, I can help with that.”last_img read more


Jackson gambles on Wafer


first_img Yet Wafer might have emerged with a winning hand from Friday’s news that the NBA suspended Kobe Bryant two games for a flagrant foul on Memphis guard Mike Miller in the fourth quarter Wednesday night. There is a strong possibility that Wafer, a second-round draft pick who has played all of six games and 19 minutes as a rookie, will start in Bryant’s place tonight against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. “He has a world of talent,” Odom added. “He’s a great offensive player.” Jackson surprised even the 20-year-old guard by playing him briefly on Christmas against Miami’s Dwyane Wade. Injury report: The Lakers suffered a scare when Lamar Odom twisted his right ankle driving the lane at the end of practice. Odom and Jackson both thought the 6-foot-10 forward would play tonight. Bryant stayed home with the flu and is not allowed to attend either game for which he has been suspended. Hard knocks: Jackson was asked what would have happened in his playing days if Bryant had delivered an elbow to the chin like he did to Miller. “That would have instigated a fight,” Jackson said. “If you did something like that, it definitely meant that you weren’t playing the person as a basketball player, you were out there to initiate rough stuff.” No Kobe: Odom said Friday he wanted all five starters to finish in double figures playing without Bryant. Jackson described his players as “licking their chops” thinking about the 30 shots that are now available for the taking. “I feel like this offense provides a lot of opportunities,” center Chris Mihm added, “and we’ve got a lot of guys that are, in my mind, very underrated offensively and defensively.” Ross Siler, (818) 713-3610 ross.siler@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! EL SEGUNDO – Through the first three months of the season, Lakers guard Von Wafer has garnered as much attention for his card playing as anything he has done on an NBA court. There was nothing subtle about coach Phil Jackson’s decision to give Wafer a copy of “Poker for Dummies” when he handed out books to the Lakers players on their six-game road trip last month. center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson “Von has a lot of game,” Jackson said. “He’s an aggressive player. Sometimes you’ve got to harness him a little bit.” The Lakers are down to just 11 available players, three of them rookies, with Bryant suspended. Wafer returned to the active roster only last week when guard Laron Profit was lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. “I just try not to put too much pressure on myself,” Wafer said. Wafer has been described by Jackson as an “unstoppable” scorer in practice. The 20-year-old guard admitted Saturday he might benefit from not having to find his rhythm coming off the bench. last_img read more