By Tim Stannard
Golden State Warriors looking to continue NBA domination while futile debate rages over Kevin Durant
A sports journalism qualification is one of the quickest to achieve. Approximately 18 seconds should do it.
Basically, there are three stories that can be repeated across all sports with great success. Is Player A better than Player B? Is Player A better than days-of-yore Player C. Is Team A better off without Player D.
Just swap around the names of Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James and Michael Jordan and you pretty much have the first two topics tied up for opinion pieces to last well into the next century.
The last question 'Is Team A better off without Player D' has been most used in the past couple of seasons in the case of PSG and Neymar. The swift answer is 'no' but that shouldn't stop anyone from endlessly debating it.
The same is happening in the NBA and that's not surprising considering Adam Silver's confessed love of bringing in as much soccer traditions and fads to basketball. The NBA Finals 2019 are underway on Thursday and aside from more jokes about the Drake Curse, the biggest topic ahead of the Golden State Warriors against Toronto Raptors series is whether the Californian outfit is better off without Kevin Durant.
Durant is still carrying a calf injury and his team has won five straight without him. However, it's entirely likely that the Warriors who are chasing a fourth title in five years would have won the games with Durant in the side. But more definitively.
Sports journalism. Like falling off a log.
However, the night's really big final is, of course, the second leg of the Recopa Sudamericana finale. Argentinean giants and Copa Libertadores winners, River Plate, are hosting Brazilian outfit, Athletico Paranaense with the tie nicely pitched with the visitors holding a 1-0 lead. Our coverage gets underway live on beIN SPORTS from 8PM ET / 5PM PT.
Madrid to make Hazard move after Belgian bids goodbye to Chelsea
Parts one and two of Eden Hazard's transfer to Real Madrid have now been successfully achieved.
One - a sterling performance and two goals in Wednesday's Europa League final to hand silverware to Chelsea fans and leave the club with a fairly good feeling and praise from Maurizio Sarri. "He's an extraordinary player," sighed Sarri.
Two - announce pretty clearly that his intentions are to leave Chelsea but still leave wiggle room if it all goes wrong. "I think it's goodbye but in football you never know," confessed the Belgian. "Maybe now it is the time for a new challenge," said a player who scored 16 goals and made 15 assists in the Premier League last season, which is pretty much what the entire Real Madrid squad aside from Karim Benzema managed.
Now it is the turn of Real Madrid to make some moves after Florentino Perez softened the ground a little this week by claiming that Hazard had been a target for some time.
Spanish outlet AS is reporting on Thursday that a formal bid is expected to be made to Chelsea today of upwards of $120 million. The weekend would see everything wrapped up before Hazard arrives on Monday and is put on display.
One transfer-rumor-turned-reality down - another 129 to go.
Get the latest on all the stories of the day as well as a look ahead to today's Recopa Sudamericana final on Post-to-Post: The Soccer Show on our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 5:30PM ET / 2:30PM PT.
Spalletti makes way for Antonio Conte at Inter
And then there were two.
Of the six coaches who parked their Italian clubs into the top spots of the Serie A standings this season, only two remain less than a week later.
Max Allegri and Claudio Ranieri wrapped up their spells with Juventus and Roma respectively. Gennaro Gattuso walked away from Milan after failing to guide the San Siro club into the Champions League places.
On Thursday, the 100% expected move of Inter telling Luciano Spalletti to vacate his desk was announced after an indifferent two-year spell where Inter failed to mount any kind of title challenge and only just scraped into a top-four spot this season.
FC Internazionale Milano can confirm that Luciano Spalletti is no longer Head Coach of the First Team.— Inter (@Inter_en) May 30, 2019
The Club wishes to thank Spalletti for his work and the results achieved together.#FCIM
The news wraps up a genuinely harrowing week on a personal level for Spalletti with his brother, Marcello, passing away on Tuesday.
Inter are expected announce the appointment of Antonio Conte on Friday with a three-year deal reportedly agreed with the former Juventus manager.
This will rule out Conte's return to the Old Lady, who may make a renewed effort to bring in Maurizio Sarri despite the Italian declaring after the Europa League final win that he intends to stay at Chelsea - if his bosses agree. "I deserve to stay at Chelsea but my opinion is not enough," said Sarri.
The Sports Burst live show will ponder this and the rest of the morning's breaking news on our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET / 9AM PT.