#1 the all-star von vv1122365 22.12.2018 06:16

TURIN, Italy -- New Juventus coach Massimo Allegri says he was both surprised and honoured when the Italian champions approached him to take the job on Wednesday, just a day after Antonio Conte made his sudden departure. The 46-year-old Allegri was fired by Milan in January after 3 1/2 seasons with the squad, having led the Rossoneri to the Serie A title in his first year in charge in 2010-11. He also previously coached Grosseto, Sassuolo and Cagliari. "It was like a lightning bolt in a clear sky when I was called yesterday," Allegri said after signing a two-year deal. "Its an honour and I realize how important it is to coach Juventus. Im here to help this squad continue to win." Conte led Juventus to the past three Serie A titles but left by mutual consent Tuesday. "Were closing one winning cycle and opening another," Juventus chief executive Giuseppe Marotta said. "We had to react quickly and the choice of Allegri was made to continue winning." Conte hinted that his departure was due to differences with club officials over the transfer market. He reportedly wanted to sign highly priced players like Chiles Alexis Sanchez, who instead left Barcelona for Arsenal, and Colombias Juan Cuadrado, who is still entertaining offers to leave Fiorentina, but the club didnt agree. Instead, Juventus has gone after Manchester United left back Patrice Evra, Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata and Hellas Verona striker Juan Manuel Iturbe. "Winning is difficult. It comes with a lot of effort, especially in a club like Juventus where there is the obligation of victory," Conte said Tuesday. Allegri had been mentioned as a possible replacement for Cesare Prandelli as coach of Italys national team but now Conte and Roberto Mancini are the top candidates for that job. Allegri might have to make peace with Juventus midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo, who was let go by Milan in 2011 -- apparently because Allegri wanted a more physical presence in front of the defence. Pirlo became one of the architects of Juves title runs the past three seasons and at 35 remains a key playmaker. "Unfortunately that year Andrea had a series of injuries and had trouble coming back," Allegri said. "There were never any problems with Andrea and I never questioned Andreas qualities, otherwise I would be considered crazy. Im happy to have him again after three years." Many Juventus fans were critical of the hiring of Allegri. "I understand the fans skepticism, because in the space of a single day their coach was changed," Allegri said. "I hope to win them over with hard work, respect and professionalism. Air Jordan 1 Outlet Store . Next week, hell try to add to the list. 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With the wounds of a Game 7 loss beginning to heal and the dust settling on the season that was, the attention immediately shifted to Lowry, an impending free agent, and whether or not hell be back in a Raptors uniform next fall. Although the star point guard is prohibited from putting pen to paper until the NBAs moratorium period concludes after the first week of July, there is a resounding belief within Torontos locker room that he is planning on sticking around. It was written on the face of his teammate and good friend DeMar DeRozan as the all-star guard deflected question after question regarding Lowrys future with the subtlety of a hand grenade. Will it be difficult to watch Lowry go through the free agency process? "No, no, no," he said Monday afternoon, accompanied by a big smirk. Why not? "Because," he replied, as reporters began to snicker. "No" How would you feel if, for whatever reason, he wasnt back? "Im not worried about that," DeRozan insisted. Do you know something we dont? "I didnt say that. I didnt say he was, I didnt say he wasnt. I just said Im not worried about it." The 24-year-old spends the bulk of his summers working out in Las Vegas. If that was his poker face, its a good thing he rarely strays from the gym. "Why would he leave?" DeRozan asked in the rhetoric a day earlier. A fair question and one Lowry could not find an answer for when pressed shortly after Torontos one-point loss and first-round elimination to the Brooklyn Nets. "Of course I can see myself back," said the Raptors point guard. "We just went to Game 7, first round. Nobody expected us to be there. Of course I can see that." Coming off a breakout campaign in which he averaged career-highs of 17.9 points and 7.4 assists, the 28-year-old will take his time and weigh his options before making a decision, that much he made clear. "At the end of the day, its still a business and you have to be a businessman for the situation that youre in," he said, "but I am very happy. This has been one of the best seasons Ive had, through and through. Best coaches, teammates, [front office]. Its been great. I am happy. Without a doubt, I can say Im happy." While money and the terms of his next deal should play a big part in the negotiation process that will take place in roughly two months, its hard to put a price on happiness. Thats something that any other suitor may have difficulty matching. Finally, in his eighth NBA season, Lowry started to scratch the surface of what many believed had been there all along. Only, it very nearly played out at Torontos expense. "We knew if we lost [after the Rudy Gay trade] it was going to get blown up," Lowry wisely pointed out. "Thats just the fact that, once we made the trade, if we would have lost a little more, I probably wouldnt be sitting here today, just being honest." As it turned out, the Raptors were his perfect storm. For the first time, he was entrusted to lead a team without looking over his shoulder or pretending to be something hes not.ddddddddddddHe came to training camp with a rejuvenated approach, in the best shape of his playing career. "The most important difference Ive seen in Kyle is his ability to lose weight," said Patrick Patterson - a teammate of Lowrys in Houston - with a straight face, if you can believe it. "When he was in Houston, he was on the heavy side." He and DeRozan formed the leagues second-highest scoring backcourt, only behind the Golden State Warriors "Splash Brothers" of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. "Why wouldnt you want to be on a team with a guy like that?" he said of DeRozan. Most of all, hes grown up. A year ago he stood in the Raptors practice gym, head down, embarrassed after a lost season and promised to be back, better than ever. "[Im] very disappointed for myself because I know Im a much better player than what Ive shown this year," he had said on Apr. 15, 2013. This version of Lowry, sitting at the front end of the ACC media centre, couldnt have been more dissimilar. Hes channeled the very things that used to work to his detriment - his hardheaded, stubborn nature - to become an indispensable player. As a result, he has a greater understanding and appreciation for whats important to him at this stage of his career. First and foremost, his priority is to win. "I want to be happy," Lowry repeated, identifying overall team situation as the primary factor in making his decision. "I want to win, but its something that me and my agent, we have yet to talk about. But I know I want to win, and thats important to me." How does Toronto stack up? "I love this place," he exclaimed. "I love the situation. Its simple as that." No, Lowrys not going anywhere. The Raptors give Lowry his best opportunity to win and Lowry does the same for the Raptors. They need each other. "Kyles like my biggest brother," said sophomore Terrence Ross. "I look up to him, ask for advice on a lot of different things, on and off the court. Hes hands down the best point guard Ive ever played with. Hes taught me a lot. He motivates everybody. I really hope he comes back. I even talk to him all of the time, saying You got to come back, youre basically the heart of the team, we need you to come back." Lowrys response to Ross frequent sales pitches; "He always played it off like weve got to worry about something else right now." Now, Lowry tops the teams offseason agenda. Hes their highest priority and it wont take long after the clock strikes 12:01 AM on July 1 for Masai Ujiri and agent Andy Miller to sit down and finalize an agreement to keep the star point guard in Toronto long term. "We wouldnt have been here if it wasnt for Kyle," DeRozan said. "Kyle is an elite player," added Patterson, "and as far as him staying here, Im sure a lot of people in Toronto would love that. It all depends on him. But definitely if Toronto wants to get better in the future, have someone to build around and be the key, the glue for the basketball team, what better person to start with than Kyle?" 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