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LeBron James is so good the NBA world thinks he alone is enough to drag a head-scratching Lakers squad to the playoffs – Sports – Pulselive.co.ke

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  • After landing LeBron James in free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers made several offseason moves that baffled the NBA world.
  • Despite a head-scratching roster, several people around the league believe the team will still make the playoffs despite playing in the deep Western Conference.
  • Several sources said LeBron James is good enough on his own to get the Lakers to the playoffs.

The Los Angeles Lakers landed the biggest fish of the summer, then proceeded in a way that baffled most of the NBA world.

After signing LeBron James to a four-year contract this summer, the Lakers then signed free agents like Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and Michael Beasley to one year-deals to add to their promising young core.

The Lakers essentially built a squad opposite of what James had with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Lakers added ball-handling, length, and toughness, sacrificing the shooting that can make a LeBron-led team so difficult to defend. Though all of their free agents have intriguing qualities, those qualities can come-and-go during the regular season. Rondo and Stephenson, in particular, are known to have lackadaisical approaches to defense and effort during the season.

Yet, in discussions with sources around the league, including two assistant coaches, current and former, and a player, there is a common belief that despite the Lakers’ unusual offseason, they can still make the playoffs. Behind that belief is one factor: LeBron James.

One GM said James is the most “consistent” force in the NBA. He’s been to eight straight Finals and ruled the league for nearly a decade. Even with subpar talent, he’s enough to get the Lakers into the postseason.

One assistant coach joked that James could drag non-athletes like ourselves to the playoffs. The coach said James’ greatness is under-appreciated.

Only one assistant coach expressed doubt about the Lakers’ playoff chances. Indeed, there’s a giant hurdle in the way — the talent of the Western Conference.

Last year, it took the final game of the regular season between the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves to decide who would make the eighth seed. The Wolves won, making it in with a record of 47-35.

This year, the conference only stands to get better. The Lakers, who missed the playoffs, added the best player in the league. The Nuggets hope for better health from star forward Paul Millsap, which could boost their win total from last year. The Los Angeles Clippers have a deep team of solid NBA players and were in the playoff hunt last year until the final few weeks. Teams like the Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, and New Orleans Pelicans have all remained steady. And, of course, there’s the Golden State Warriors at the top.

Even teams like the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks who are unlikely to make the playoffs should be better this year. There are no easy outs in the West.

Several sources believe there could be a repeat of the 2013-14 season when the Phoenix Suns went 48-34 and still missed the playoffs.

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One source with front office experience said while the Lakers’ free agent acquisitions have received most of the attention, what may be more important is the development of their young players. If players like Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart make big strides this season, the source said, the Lakers could be better than expected.

The same assistant coach that doubted the Lakers’ playoff chances, however, also expressed that there’s a danger in relying on young players. With so much inexperience, it may be tough for James to rely on anyone night-in and night-out.

This Lakers’ team figures to be short-lived. The free agents all signed one-year deals, leaving cap space for the Lakers next summer when there is a huge free agent class.

With training camp and the season just around the corner, the LeBron Lakers figure to be a must-watch show. Luckily, we’ll get to see plenty of them.



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Suluhu: Closer ties for Kenya and Tanzania

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?President Samia Suluhu’s address to Parliament was a masterclass in charm, punctuated by periodic applause and stomping of feet by Kenyan lawmakers.

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Covid-19 deaths, hospitalizations soar among youth in Americas – KBC

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Hospitalizations and deaths of younger people are surging as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates across Latin America and the Caribbean, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa Etienne said on Wednesday.

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“Adults of all ages – including young people – are becoming seriously ill. Many of them are dying,” Etienne said at her daily press briefing as quoted in a PAHO release.

In Brazil, mortality rates doubled among those younger than 39, quadrupled among those in their 40s, and tripled for those in their 50s, between December 2020 and March 2021, she said.

“For much of the pandemic, our hospitals were filled with elderly COVID patients, many of whom had pre-existing conditions that made them more susceptible to severe disease,” Etienne said. “But look around intensive care units across our region today. You’ll see they’re filled not only with elderly patients, but also with younger people.”

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Etienne urged hospitals in the region to increase the size of intensive care units (ICU) in anticipation that the trend will continue, while warning that expansion of ICUs cannot continue indefinitely.

As a result, she urged nations to double down on prevention measures such as lockdowns and facemasks.

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Uhuru wa biashara, Suluhu ya vikwazo: How Kenya-Tanzania trade will be streamlined

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President Uhuru Kenyatta with his Tanzania counterpart Samia Suluhu, who is on a two-day state visit in Kenya.[PSCU]

President Uhuru Kenyatta says ministers from both Kenya and Tanzania should resolve all non-tariff barriers and other restrictions affecting the two countries within four months.
Uhuru, on Wednesday said going forward, there will be no business visa or work permits for Tanzanian wishing to do business in the country.
“You are free to come and trade here in Kenya, there will be no business visas or work permits as long as you abide by the laws of the land,” he said.
Uhuru was speaking during the Kenya-Tanzania Investment Forum at Serena hotel. The forum was in line with President Samia Suluhu’s two-day state visit.
Kenya has about 513 companies doing business in Tanzania compared to Tanzania’s 30 in Nairobi.
Uhuru said in the next two weeks, concerned ministers from both sides should clear all the traffic jams at the Taveta and Namanga border points.
Uhuru said they should pay a special focus to the issuance of Covid-19 certificates to ease the movement of  transit cargo.
“I direct that all the maize lying at the border be cleared in two weeks. We cannot subject businesses to more suffering,” Uhuru said.

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Uhuru urged the ministers to move swiftly and ensure the ease of doing business at the border pointswas decisively tackled.
“It is not about wearing suits and meeting over tea.Get to the ground and understand what is affecting those traders. Don’t just sit in those offices. If you need to consult, do it and get the work done,” he said.
Uhuru’s sentiments came shortly after the Kenya Business Community nsaid it was ready to trade with the Tanzanian business community.
Led by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce (KNCC), the community proposed the formulation of a Joint Business Council that will support the two countries.
KNCC President Fred Ngatia said the council would play a key role in addressing issues that bedevil  Nairobi-Dar trade,
The community said there should be policy forums and investment-focused events that will target small-scale enterprises.
“We are going to focus more on economic projects by identifying favourable financing institutions that will help us settle some of the commercial disputes affecting our community,” Ngatia said.
He said this will be made possible through the Public-Private Partnerships offered by the government.
As a result, KNCC in partnership with the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce will host a trade and investment exhibition in Dar es Salaam this August aiming to help SMEs unlock their potential.
So far Trade and Agriculture ministers from the two sides have had a breakfast meeting and agreed to initiate bilateral discussion before the end of the month.
Trade CS Betty Maina said the discussions aim to iron out all issues that have been hampering trade between the two countries.
This includes issues surrounding maize import.
President Samia Suluhu said her government was ready to serve as a bridge to pave way for businesses between the two countries to thrive.
“It is not about competing and complicating things, but about developing business relationships to allow both parties to explore opportunities,” she said.
Suluhu said while Tanzania is rich with natural resources and tourist attractions, Kenya is thriving in the ICT world and thus the need for exchange of skills on research and development.
“Muna bahati sana maanake upande mmoja mnao Uhuru wa kufanya biashara na upande mwingine Suluhu la kuondoa vikwazo,” Suluhu said.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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