Wizards

Beckham mum on plans after leaving MLS, Galaxy

201211192226807640341-p2.jpeg

Beckham mum on plans after leaving MLS, Galaxy

CARSON, Calif. (AP) David Beckham will announce the next stop in his soccer career near the end of the year. Until then, he's focusing on winning one more trophy with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Beckham said Tuesday he has several ``exciting opportunities on the table'' to continue playing after he leaves the Galaxy next month, capping a six-season U.S. career with Los Angeles' second straight appearance in the MLS Cup on Dec. 1.

``I still feel that I have something left in me as a player,'' Beckham said at the Galaxy's training complex. ``I still feel like I have one more challenge in me as a player. Even at 37 years old, I still can play at a high level. Where that will be yet, I haven't decided.

``Right now my focus is on the final,'' he added. ``Once that's out of the way, we have an (exhibition) tour to deal with, and then it's Christmas, which we always spend in London, so I'll be there and I'll make the decision then.''

The English midfielder wasn't specific about where he might end up next, deflecting questions about every destination from Australia and China to France and Britain. While discussing his future in the most oblique terms, Beckham only confirmed he won't move to New York or any other MLS team.

``There are options, and I'm very lucky at my age to have options,'' Beckham said. ``People have talked about my retirement, people have mentioned will I retire, and I actually don't feel I'm ready to retire yet.''

After two strong MLS seasons largely free from major injuries, Beckham says he's leaving Los Angeles only because he reached every goal he set for himself in his landmark move stateside in 2007. He agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Galaxy last January after completing his initial five-year deal, but revealed the second year of his deal was a mutual option.

``I feel that I've been successful off the field, but on the field has always been the most important thing for me,'' Beckham said. ``To be able to win a championship last year, that was the final goal for me with this team.''

Given Beckham's acumen for managing his worldwide celebrity alongside his soccer career, his next destination could be Australia's A League, where five clubs have confirmed interest in acquiring him to boost the sport's relatively low popularity Down Under, or China's Super League, where Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka already are playing for Shanghai Shenhua.

Beckham politely declined to give any indication where he'll play in the new year - but he confirmed he plans to become an MLS owner in the near future, sounding his usual optimistic notes about soccer's future in North America. Beckham's MLS contract includes an option to purchase a franchise when his career ends.

He also did nothing to squash growing speculation he could become at least a part-owner of the Galaxy if he doesn't get an MLS expansion team. AEG, the sports conglomerate that owns the Galaxy and the NHL's Los Angeles Kings, is for sale.

``The foundations are now there for this sport to continue to grow,'' Beckham said. ``I've seen it grow in the last six years, and we all want it to continue to grow. My commitment as an owner, people will be well aware of that in the new year, and hopefully where that will be. And like I said, my commitment as an ambassador for this sport and this country won't change.''

When asked whether he was aware the Galaxy are for sale, Beckham smiled and said: ``I heard that. I heard that. We'll see.''

Beckham announced his decision to his teammates earlier Tuesday, although coach Bruce Arena and star Landon Donovan already knew about it. Beckham said he got a round of applause and ``a little abuse'' from the Galaxy, who will attempt to win their second straight league title against the Houston Dynamo at Home Depot Center next Saturday.

``We're all very aware of the timing,'' said Donovan, the American star who clashed with Beckham upon his arrival in Los Angeles before forming a durable partnership. ``It's a good thing. He's certainly going to be very motivated, and all of us who have been around are going to want to send him out the right way.''

Although Beckham is done playing for the Galaxy, it's clear the global icon isn't permanently leaving Hollywood. Beckham said his family considers it home, and he plans to ``be at as many games as possible'' next season.

``I'll continue to support this club, because I love the players here,'' Beckham said. ``I love the fans. I love the ownership.''

When asked if he would miss Beckham, Arena smiled.

``He'll be around,'' Arena said. ``David can talk about what David is doing, but I don't think he's leaving Los Angeles forever. He'll still be here.''

When asked how Beckham would do as an MLS owner, Arena joked: ``He might get rid of the coach. That might be one of his first acts as an owner.''

``I'm sure he'll be very good,'' Arena added. ``My guess is David's not going to be sitting behind a desk 12 hours a day in a management capacity. I think he'll be a little bit apart, and come in when needed and do that. But I think his experience, his presence, his name is going to do wonders for whichever club he ends up being part of.''

When asked whether he could work for Beckham, Arena cracked: ``I've been working for him for the last four years. I'm happy I'm getting a break for a little bit.''

Quick Links

Jimmy Butler requests trade, gives Timberwolves three preferred teams, not including Wizards

usatsi_10460772.jpg
USA Today Sports

Jimmy Butler requests trade, gives Timberwolves three preferred teams, not including Wizards

Just days before NBA training camps are set to begin, All-NBA guard Jimmy Butler is trying to force his way out of Minnesota.

The four-time All-Star has requested a trade from the Timberwolves and, according to ESPN, has given them a list of three preferred teams: the Knicks, Nets and Clippers. That list is extra-pertinent because Butler has a player option after this upcoming season, and he is reportedly willing to sign a contract extension with any of those three.

That does not mean the Wolves will honor his request, but any team other than those three that trades for him will be at risk of losing him after one year. That risk worked out well for the Thunder this past year in their trade for Paul George, but every situation is different.

Butler’s list tells us a few things about his priorities. For one, he wants to play in a major market. New York and L.A. are the top two markets in the NBA. To that point, it’s interesting he has omitted the Lakers.

The three teams Butler listed would give him no realistic chance of winning, at least in his first season. Either he’s taking a long-term approach to competing, or he would rather be the No. 1 guy on a bad team than the No. 2 or 3 star on a good team.

For those wondering if the Wizards would be a fit, those factors would seemingly work against them retaining him beyond one season. Though D.C. is a big market, it’s not L.A. or New York. And Butler would not be the clear star in Washington with two All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal already in place.

That is all beyond what the Wizards would have to give up for Butler. Though he’s not quite Kawhi Leonard, the return probably wouldn’t be far off. The Raptors had to give up DeMar DeRozan, a perennial All-NBA selection, among other pieces. The Thunder had to part with Victor Oladipo in their package for George and that has since proven to be a steep price.

Maybe the Wizards could offer Otto Porter, Jr. and/or some combination of draft picks and young, emerging players. But it would be a hefty price given the risk of him potentially leaving, and though Butler is very good, he’s not as young or as good as Leonard, for comparison.

To give up the farm in a trade, that player better make his new team significantly better. It’s questionable if Butler could do that for the Wizards.

The Wizards have done their due diligence in checking in on George, Leonard and others who have become available in recent years. It would not be surprising if they make a call for Butler, but as of now not enough adds up to make it a perfect match.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

 

Quick Links

Maroon 5 to perform at Super Bowl LIII halftime show

super-bowl-halftime-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports

Maroon 5 to perform at Super Bowl LIII halftime show

Super Bowl LIII will be played in the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., but the halftime musical performance will not be headlined by anyone from the A-T-L. 

Maroon 5 will take the stage in Atlanta on Feb. 3, according to Variety

The seven-man pop group will follow in the footsteps of Justin Timberlake, who performed during last year's halftime show in Minnesota. Notable recent performers include Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and the Black Eyed Peas.

Many expected the halftime performance to be an artist or group with Atlanta roots -- a city full of musical talent -- particulalry in hip-hop. Acts such as Usher, the Migos, Future, and Ludacris all come from the 'Big A.' But the NFL opted to go with the Los Angeles-based group instead. The NFL has not released a statement yet regarding the performer.

Maroon 5 has produced hits with many of today's musical stars, including a 2017 track with Future, as well as Cardi B and SZA. Should Maroon 5 want to bring out a suprise guest, they will have plenty of artists to choose from.

The NFL has seen several spectacular halftime performances, so it will be interesting to see where Maroon 5 will rank.