RelatedPosts Bayern Munich fans undergo Super Cup coronavirus tests Vidal lands in Milan to complete move from Barca to Inter Whirlwind Bayern Munich dismantle Schalke in season opener Borussia Dortmund scored a goal in each half through Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi to beat hosts VfL Wolfsburg 2-0 on Saturday for their sixth straight Bundesliga win to stay on the heels of leaders Bayern Munich.The result lifted second-placed Dortmund to 57 points, four behind leaders Bayern, who beat Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2. Portugal international Guerreiro tapped in a cutback from Thorgan Hazard after Erling Haaland had failed to connect in the 32nd minute and Hakimi fired in from a fine Jadon Sancho assist — his 16th of the season — in the 78th to make sure of the three points.The Bundesliga resumed last week, with no fans in attendance, after being suspended for more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Dortmund central defender, Mats Hummels, was taken off at halftime with a knock on the leg, although he did not appear to be seriously injured.They are already missing injured Dan Axel Zagadou and Captain Marco Reus.“I briefly spoke to the doctor,” Dortmund’s Sports Director, Michael Zorc, said. “Mats had problems with his heel.“He has had them in training for some time.“We hope that he will be able to play on Tuesday.”The Wolves only briefly got a look-in when Renato Steffen was sent through right after the restart.But with only keeper Roman Buerki to beat, his shot glanced the bar and sailed high. They have now lost five consecutive home games to Dortmund, the first team to do that at Wolfsburg, while Dortmund have not conceded a goal in their two games since the league restart.Wolfsburg, who suffered their first defeat in eight league games, were left with 10 men when substitute, Felix Klaus, was sent off with 10 minutes remaining for a rough challenge.Reuters/NAN.Tags: Bayern MunichBorussia DortmundErling HaalandJadon SanchoThorgan HazardWolfsburg
The positive, though, is that Gayle Benson has shown no inkling of selling, at least not yet. In fact, she’s gotten more involved with the team as the Davis situation has unfolded. Maybe she can even be persuaded to beef up the Pelicans’ thin front office. That would be a good sign that she sees the team as more than a charity project.And she should. Benson bought the Pelicans for $338 million seven years ago, and the franchise is now easily worth $1 billion. Whatever annual losses the Pelicans incur, they do not outweigh the overall profit since the team was purchased. Unless she feels a need to cash out quickly on the team, Benson would be wise to hold onto it if only for the financial appreciation.A far more important sticking point than Davis is the Pelicans’ arena. The building opened in 1999 and is due for upgrades. Asking for municipal resources might not go over well in the city and could be the problem that leads to a sale. The Pelicans’ lease in Smoothie King Arena is up in 2024. Just a few short days ago, we were told with some confidence that this year’s trade deadline — which strikes next Thursday — would be a bit of a flop, with perhaps Jeremy Lin being the biggest name on the move.But the NBA never disappoints, does it? The week started with the Anthony Davis trade request and climaxed (for now) with the dumping of star Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas, leaving the Mavericks with a fascinating future and the Knicks with an acre of cap space. So let’s dig into this week’s Rumor-ama.MORE: Fans work up NBA Trade Machine deals for Anthony DavisThe future of Davis has gotten most of the attention coming out of New Orleans this week, and rightly so. But for teams not realistically in the Davis sweepstakes, there is plenty of interest in what else is going on with the Pelicans.That’s because league sources say the Pels are willing to do a more general strip-down of the team in the hunt for future assets. The most desirable non-Davis piece is forward Nikola Mirotic, who has been sitting out for the last week with a so-called calf strain.Mirotic missed time with an ankle injury in December but is still having one of his most productive seasons, averaging 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds. He is making 36.8 percent of his 3-pointers and his 59.1 true shooting percentage is the best of his career.According to a league source, one team that has expressed interest in Mirotic is the Sixers, who have been eager to land a stretch-4 after having traded away Dario Saric in the Jimmy Butler package. New Orleans is seeking a first-round pick, and the Sixers have all their own first-rounders and a Miami first-rounder in 2021, plus an enormous stash of second-rounders: three (including Chicago’s) this year, three (including New York’s or Brooklyn’s) next year and four in 2021.There’s also the team that was the frontrunner at this time last year to land Mirotic from Chicago — the Jazz. Sources told Sporting News that they, too, have interest in Mirotic.Utah is seeking a perimeter-oriented big man to play with Rudy Gobert and could land Mirotic with a first-round pick. The big question would be whether Utah would ship out starting forward Derrick Favors, whose contract is not guaranteed for next year, or piece together a deal featuring some young players (Raul Neto, Tony Bradley) along with a pick.Portland, which is very much a buyer for roster depth at the deadline, could be a factor for Mirotic, and the Rockets have long coveted him as a long-range big man. Both are expected to make a pitch for him. Celtics staring at smokescreen?On the surface, the team that may have had the toughest day of all on Thursday is the Celtics. Boston is angling for a trade to bring in Davis but can’t yet make a deal because the Celtics have Kyrie Irving, and both are designated rookie scale players — teams can’t acquire two such players via trade.Davis’ camp has let it be known that Davis would not want to re-sign in Boston in 2020 (he does have another year on his contract) if Irving was not on the roster.The Knicks’ surprising blockbuster trade of Porzingis to the Mavericks essentially wiped clean New York’s payroll, putting them in prime position to sign two superstars, with Kevin Durant and Irving as the primary targets. Thursday evening’s rumor mill suggested that Davis believes Irving will sign with the Knicks.Don’t put too much stock in that, however. For one thing, front-office sources around the league believe that’s a smokescreen scare tactic as Davis’ agent tries to push him to the Lakers. Uncertainty about what the Celtics might offer works heavily in the Lakers’ favor.MORE: Jayson Tatum addresses Davis trade rumorsBoston can’t trade for Davis until Irving’s contract is up on July 1. That leaves only two possibilities for the Celtics. They can get a commitment from Irving to stay, and once they have that certainty, they can make their offer to New Orleans for Davis. That would be ideal for the Pelicans, because the Celtics have a slew of attractive assets on hand. But it would require New Orleans to wait past the trade deadline and past the draft.Or, Irving can bolt for the Knicks or someone else, and if Davis’ insistence on only playing in Boston if Irving is there is valid, the Celtics presumably would withdraw their offer to the Pelicans because the Celtics wouldn’t want to give up assets for a player who only wants to be in town for one year.That would leave New Orleans in the lurch and likely force them to accept a deal from the Lakers, which the team is trying to avoid.In reality, even if Irving leaves, the Celtics would have a strong core left behind, with Gordon Hayward and (likely) Al Horford, some combination of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart, a stable coaching situation and assets on hand to bring in another player. That’s not a bad situation for Davis.Additionally, they’re in the East. For Davis, the road to the Finals — with or without Irving — would be much easier in Boston than in LA. No matter how his agent tries to puppeteer the situation, that’s not going to change.Not so fast on selling PelicansThe decision of Davis to agitate for an escape from New Orleans has highlighted lingering fear for the future of the franchise in that city. But league sources tell Sporting News that the Davis situation really has no bearing on the next steps for the Pelicans in general.That’s not to say that the team won’t soon be a candidate to be sold and potentially moved. It’s just that the Pelicans, who have had a hard time selling themselves in a mostly football-oriented city, were already on thin ice before the Davis issue arose.Tom Benson, who also owned the Saints, took over the Pelicans in 2012 (then known as the Hornets) after the NBA took the unusual step of purchasing the team itself from troubled owner George Shinn and holding it until a local buyer could be found. Benson was the hero, but his death last year led to speculation that, without him as a benefactor, the Pelicans were doomed to a sale and a move.MORE: Has Davis already played his last game with Pelicans?A report suggesting that Davis was upset with the Pelicans because Benson’s widow, Gayle Benson, prioritized the Saints over the Pelicans was no surprise. The Saints are an icon in the city, after all, with six decades of history. The Pelicans have only 17 years of mostly spotty history in town.