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‘Everything with Messi is progressing adequately’ – Laporta ‘convinced’ Barca captain will sign new deal

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'Everything with Messi is progressing adequately' - Laporta 'convinced' Barca captain will sign new deal

Barcelona president Joan Laporta says he’s “convinced” Lionel Messi will sign a contract renewal and that “everything is progressing adequately” between club and player behind the scenes.

Messi is just over two months away from becoming a free agent, having yet to reach an agreement with Barca over an extension amid reported interest from the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

It has been suggested that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s illustrious 17-year career at Camp Nou will end this summer, but Laporta is still confident of tying a prized asset down to fresh terms after being re-elected as club president last month.

What’s been said?

Asked for an update on Messi’s contract situation, Laporta told Deportes Cuatro: “Everything is progressing adequately.

“I will do everything within the club’s capabilities to get him to stay. That’s what we’re doing. Messi is motivated.

“He is an extraordinary person and I am convinced that he will want to continue at Barca.”

Messi’s stance on his future 

Messi pledged to remain on Barca’s books for one more season after reversing his decision to formally request a transfer in the wake of a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League quarter-finals.

The 33-year-old has since knuckled down to help Ronald Koeman usher in a new era at Camp Nou, but has insisted he won’t make a final decision on his future until the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

“I have nothing clear until the end of the year, I will wait for the end of the season,” Messi said in December. “The important thing is to think about the team, finish the year, think about trying to get titles and not be distracted by other things. 

“I don’t know if I’m going to leave or not and if I leave, I would like to leave in the best way.”

Messi’s record for Barca this season

Whether or not Messi commits to the Blaugrana for another year will likely depend on how well they finish the season, with two trophies still up for grabs.

Barca are third in La Liga with eight games left, two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, and also have a Copa del Rey final clash against Athletic Club to take in this weekend.

Messi has contributed 29 goals and 13 assists to Barca’s cause through 39 outings in all competitions to date, including 23 in La Liga – four ahead of Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema in the race for the Pichichi.

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Twitter reacts to Russell Westbrook’s NBA-record 182nd career triple-double

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Twitter reacts to Russell Westbrook's NBA-record 182nd career triple-double

Russell Westbrook made history Monday night, notching his 182nd career triple-double — and moving past Oscar Robertson for the all-time NBA record.

Robertson’s record lasted 47 years, from 1974 through Monday night when a fourth-quarter rebound in front of a reduced-capacity crowd in Atlanta gave Westbrook sole possession of the record. It took him 12 years to surpass Robertson’s record after he achieved his first triple-double (17 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds) in 2009 as a rookie with the Thunder.

MORE: Jaylen Brown injury update: Celtics star out for rest of season with torn wrist ligament

Monday’s triple-double was Westbrook’s 36th of the year. That insane output is helping him average, for the fourth time in his career, a triple-double over the course of the season. The previous such campaigns came in 2016-17 through 2018-19.

Westbrook finished with 28 points, 21 assists and 13 rebounds in the Wizards’ 125-124 loss to the Hawks; the loss dropped Washington to 32-37 on the season, but the team still ranks 10th in the Eastern Conference standings. The Wizards’ playoff hopes pale in comparison to the history Westbrook made, however.

He even made sure to get the game ball from officials so he could be certain to commemorate the historic achievement.

Here are some of the best reactions to Westbrook’s history-making feat:

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Kenny Mayne’s ESPN cover letter was perfect precursor to his incredible career

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Kenny Mayne's ESPN cover letter was perfect precursor to his incredible career

ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, one of the most recognizable talents in sports broadcasting, is leaving the network, he announced on Monday.

The 27-year ESPN anchor broke the news on Twitter, describing his exit from the worldwide leader in sports as a “salary cap casualty.” Naturally, he could only include some of the dry humor that helped him become a beloved presence in the studio and on millions of sports fans’ TVs.

MORE: ESPN anchors get emotional over laid-off co-workers: ‘We are all hurting’

The longtime “SportsCenter” host’s final day will be on May 24, bringing to an end a 27-year stint at ESPN that began in 1994. His absence will undoubtedly be noted among fans who appreciated his humor and presence in ESPN’s studios — but his Monday announcement is as good a reason as any to remember the incredible cover letter that first landed him the gig in 1994.

Mayne sent a short and sweet cover letter to ESPN’s John Walsh in 1994, offering him three checkboxes in the former’s bid to land a job with ESPN:

Unsurprisingly, Mayne made Walsh smile. Walsh wouldn’t be the last person to smile at Mayne’s humor and creativity.

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Jaylen Brown injury update: Celtics star out for rest of season with torn wrist ligament

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Jaylen Brown injury update: Celtics star out for rest of season with torn wrist ligament

The Celtics will have to fight for a playoff spot without one of their most important players.

Boston announced Monday night that All-Star forward Jaylen Brown has suffered a torn scapholunate ligament in his left wrist and will miss the rest of the 2020-21 season. He is expected to undergo surgery later this week.

MORE: Will LeBron James return vs. Knicks?

The Celtics offered no specific timetable for Brown’s return to the court, but as The Athletic’s Jared Weiss noted, Boston guard Romeo Langford suffered the same injury last year and took about six months to recover. If Brown stays roughly on that timeline, he should be available to rejoin the lineup for the start of the 2021-22 campaign.

Brown dealt with injury and COVID-19 issues throughout the season, but the 24-year-old still managed to earn his first All-Star selection with some of the best individual numbers of his career. He averaged a career-high 24.7 points per game while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from 3-point range.

Without Brown available, Boston will rely heavily on Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker to produce offensively. The Celtics will also need more from trade deadline acquisition Evan Fournier, who most recently scored 30 points in a loss to the Heat on Sunday — his highest scoring output since joining the team.

Even if other players step up in Brown’s absence, the Celtics, currently the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference standings, are unlikely to make a deep run in the 2021 NBA playoffs. They would face an uphill battle in a potential first-round series against the 76ers, Nets or Bucks, the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference.

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