Former Newcastle defender Davide Santon 1 Watford target Davide Santon has revealed he wants to stay at Inter Milan.The Premier League new boys have been chasing the former Newcastle full-back since securing promotion to the top flight but the 24-year-old is reluctant to return to England.Santon, who has been capped eight times at senior level for Italy, returned to Serie A in January – ending his four-year stay at Newcastle in which he made 94 appearances in all competitions.New Hornets boss Quique Sanchez Flores had been keen to bolster his defence with Santon’s experience but the left-back has poured cold water on any potential move.“I want to stay at Inter,” the defender wrote on his official Facebook page.“I read all your comments and want to say I know nothing about all this.“Your comments were really very pleasing and I embrace you all with affection. Forza Inter!”
While Daniels or Watson would have helped, the mission for now is salary-cap flexibility, with the Lakers positioning themselves to be capable of offering a maximum contract starting at as much as $14 million per season as early as summer 2007. And Phil Jackson said Thursday he will support the plan, even if he might not see any benefit during his three years as Lakers coach. That means sacrificing signing players that could help in the short term for the possibility of someday landing a superstar. In their past two exhibition games, the Lakers have gotten a first-hand look at Washington’s Antonio Daniels and Denver’s Earl Watson, two of the top guards that were available on the free-agent market this summer. Both Daniels and Watson signed identical five-year, $29 million contracts, deals the Lakers just as soon could have offered using their midlevel exception. Instead, the Lakers opted to sign veteran guard Aaron McKie for a modest two years and $5 million. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “All those things are a process of trying to put yourself in the best possible space,” Jackson said, “so that when that opportunity shows up, we can really jump to that spot and make that next big move that moves this team back into that higher echelon.” But the Lakers already have seen two marquee players who could have become free agents in 2007 re-sign with their current teams. Both Houston’s Yao Ming and Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire signed maximum extensions in recent weeks. The Lakers probably now have to wait until summer 2008. Jackson admitted the Lakers were restrained in their moves this summer because they wanted to keep open the possibility of making an offer to Yao or Stoudemire. The possibility of coaching Yao, in particular, was said by an insider to interest Jackson. Blown out: The Lakers lost 105-94 to Denver, the same team they will play in the season opener on Nov. 2. They have given up 104.5 points on average through four exhibition games while center Chris Mihm has been called for 17 fouls in only 75 minutes. Mihm picked up his first foul only 40 seconds in Thursday, shoving Denver forward Nene while trying to grab a rebound. He fumbled away a sure basket in the early going and finished with four points and four fouls in 18 minutes. “This was a struggle for him,” Jackson said. “He missed a couple easy shots and I thought it bothered him. He made two nice moves in the lane, did everything but the ball going in the hoop, and I think that affects a player.’ The Lakers were outscored 35-13 with their starters on the floor. Devean George again was a bright spot for the Lakers, hitting four of seven shots and totaling 11 points. George hit jumpers from 21, 20 and 17 feet Thursday. “That was my focus this summer was getting that mid-range game and getting those cracks,” George said, “because I was either a 3-point shooter or trying to drive and dunk. So I kind of wanted to work on that in-between.’ The Lakers will play Charlotte tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center. Ross Siler, (818) 713-3610 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!