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NBA salary cap for 2022-23 projected to increase to $123.6M

By Tim Bontemps NEW YORK -- The NBA's salary cap for the 2022-23 season is projected to come in at roughly $123.6 million, sources told ESPN, an $11.6 million increase from last season's $112 million figure. At that number, the luxury tax line for the 2022-23 season would be roughly $150.2 million, and the hard cap -- which teams cannot exceed if they acquire a player in a sign-and-trade deal or if they use the full midlevel exception -- will come in at roughly $156.9 million. The final salary-cap number, which will be determined once the audit of the league's finances is complete and the basketball-related income for the 2021-22 season is totaled, will be sent to teams before the   ... Read More

Longhorns coach Sarkisian adds WR Cook II to football recruiting haul

By Blake Baumgartner Johntay Cook II became the latest prospect to join Steve Sarkisian's emerging recruiting haul on Wednesday. Cook, residing at No. 43 overall in the 2023 ESPN 300, is a 6-foot, 175-pound wide receiver from DeSoto High School in DeSoto, Texas. He is the ninth player to commit to Sarkisian and Texas since quarterback Arch Manning's announcement on June 23. "With Arch Manning, nobody is going to be able to fool with me and him. Freshman year I'll have Quinn Ewers, so I'm arguably going to have the best two quarterbacks in college football," Cook told 247Sports. Cook is the third ESPN 300 recruit to pledge to the Longhorns since Saturday, joining safety Derek Williams (No. 76) and   ... Read More

Astros left fielder, shortstop injured in outfield collision

By NEW YORK -- Houston Astros left fielder Yordan Alvarez and shortstop Jeremy Pena were hurt when they collided in the eighth inning of Wednesday's game against the New York Mets while running down a popup. With Pena shifted to the right side and the game scoreless, Dominic Smith popped the ball into short left. Both players called for the ball, and as Pena caught it, each hit the other in the face with his glove. Both fell to the field and needed assistance. Alvarez was removed on a cart, sitting up, and Pena walked back to the dugout. Chas McCormick replaced Alvarez, and Mauricio Dubon took over for Pena, who initially wanted to remain in the game. Play   ... Read More

Wizards star Bradley Beal declines $36.4 million player option

By Bradley Beal has declined his $36.4 million player option for the 2022-23 NBA season, his agent Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, making him an unrestricted free agent. Beal, who has played his entire 10-year career with the Washington Wizards, likely will have two options next month: either sign a five-year max contract to remain in Washington or elect to go elsewhere on a four-year max contract, the most he can sign with another team. Beal, who turned 29 on Tuesday, averaged 23.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 6.6 assists in 40 games for Washington last season before undergoing season-ending wrist surgery in February. The previous two seasons, Beal -- who has made the All-Star team   ... Read More

Bucks’ Bobby Portis declining $4.6M option, to become NBA free agent

By Milwaukee Bucks forward Bobby Portis has informed the team that he'll decline his $4.6 million option and become a free agent, his agent, Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday. Portis has early Bird rights in Milwaukee. According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, the maximum that Portis can sign for is four years and $49 million. The contract has to be for a minimum of two seasons and cannot include an option in the second year. A year ago, after helping the Bucks win a title, Portis declined a $3.8 million option and became a free agent. He ultimately stayed in Milwaukee on a two-year, $9 million contract that included a player option in the   ... Read More

Harden declines option with Philadelphia 76ers, becomes free agent

By Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden has declined his $47.3 million option and become a free agent, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday. Harden keeps real the possibility of negotiating a new deal that would deliver the Sixers roster-building flexibility in free agency -- including use of the full $10.5 million exception. In Harden's conversations with the team since the end of the season, he has shared extensively his desire to help the organization reshape the roster toward championship contention, sources told ESPN. The opt-out could go a long way in reshaping the Sixers' bench, including that full midlevel exception, the $4.1 million biennial exception and sign-and-trade deals. Teams may begin negotiating deals with free agents starting at   ... Read More

MLB suspends 12 players, coaches for roles in Seattle Mariners-Los Angeles Angels brawl

By ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Los Angeles Angels interim manager Phil Nevin was suspended 10 games and Seattle Mariners outfielder Jesse Winker received a seven-game ban from Major League Baseball for their roles in a benches-clearing brawl during the second inning of Sunday's game. Nevin and Winker were two of 12 players or coaches suspended between the teams, according to an MLB release Monday night. Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford received five games, Angels pitchers Ryan Tepera and Andrew Wantz were suspended for three and Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez, Angels reliever Raisel Iglesias and major league interpreter Manny Del Campo received two games. Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon, who is out for the rest of the season after undergoing wrist surgery,   ... Read More

Commanders, Terry McLaurin agree to three-year extension with $28M signing bonus

By Adam Schefter Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin is signing a three-year extension worth up to $71 million in new money that places him among the NFL's five highest-paid WRs, sources told ESPN. Agents Buddy Baker and Tony Bonagura of Exclusive Sports Group finalized the deal Tuesday with Washington senior vice president of football operations Rob Rogers. The three-year extension for McLaurin includes a $28 million signing bonus, the largest given to any wide receiver, and also has 76.4% of the new money in the deal guaranteed. The deal contractually ties McLaurin, 26, to Washington through the 2025 season. McLaurin's rookie contract had been set to expire after the 2022 season. He had skipped the three weeks of voluntary   ... Read More

Mississippi State gives football coach Mike Leach extension and raise

By Alex Scarborough Mississippi State and football coach Mike Leach have agreed to a two-year contract extension that will raise his annual salary to $5.5 million and run through the 2025 season, a source told ESPN. State law caps the length of contracts for state employees at four years. Leach's previous salary was $5 million per year. Leach, who was previously the head coach at Washington State and Texas Tech, is entering his third season at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs went 4-6 during the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season. In Year 2 under Leach, the team reached a bowl game and finished third in the SEC West with a record of 7-6. Mississippi State will open the season against Memphis on   ... Read More

Clippers center Ivica Zubac agrees to three-year, $33 million extension

By Adrian Wojnarowski Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac has agreed on a three-year, $33 million contract extension, his agents, Jeff Schwartz and Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports, told ESPN on Tuesday. The Clippers declined a $7.5 million team option on Zubac's contract, clearing the way to negotiate a new deal for Zubac, who is the longest-tenured player on the roster. Zubac, 25, is a frontcourt anchor on a starry Clippers roster expected to compete for an NBA championship next season. Zubac had his most productive NBA season for the Clippers a year ago -- averaging career bests of 10.3 points and 8.5 rebounds. In his fourth season with the Clippers after coming over in a trade from the Lakers,   ... Read More

Colorado Avalanche defeat Tampa Bay Lightning to take first Stanley Cup since 2001

Andrew Bershaw /Icon_Sportswire(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The Colorado Avalanche beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 Sunday night in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Tampa, Fla. The Avalanche took the series 4 games to 2, and will bring Lord Stanley's Cup back to the Centennial State for the first time since 2001.   This is the third Cup for the Avalanche, whose first Cup victory came in 1996, followed by another win in 2001. Colorado stopped Tampa from winning its third title in a row.  Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.   ... Read More

Clifford agrees to return as Charlotte Hornets coach, sources say

By Steve Clifford has agreed on a deal to become the Charlotte Hornets' coach, returning for a second run on the job, sources told ESPN. Clifford, who led the franchise to two playoff appearances in a five-year run that ended in 2018, returns in the wake of Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson changing his mind about accepting the Charlotte job and deciding instead to stay with the Warriors. Clifford always had a strong working relationship with owner Michael Jordan and fit the profile of what Jordan and GM Mitch Kupchak wanted for this developing, young roster: a coach who could improve them defensively and transform them into a playoff team. Clifford is well-regarded among his coaching peers and respected   ... Read More

US swimmer rescued by coach from bottom of pool after fainting in World Championship

Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images(BUDAPEST, Hungary) -- American swimmer Anita Alvarez is breathing a sigh of relief on Thursday after her coach dramatically rescued her when the athlete fainted and sank to the bottom of the swimming pool in the middle of her routine on Wednesday night. The dramatic scenes unfolded at the World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary, while Alvarez, 25, was competing in the final of the women’s solo free event and suddenly lost consciousness, causing her to sink to the bottom of the competition pool. Andrea Fuentes, Alvarez’s coach, immediately dove into the water and was able to pull Alvarez to the surface before the swimmer was taken off for medical treatment on a stretcher as the rest   ... Read More

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testifies about Washington Commanders’ ‘toxic’ workplace culture

Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing Wednesday to investigate the National Football League's handling of what lawmakers are calling the Washington Commanders' "toxic" workplace culture, including sexual harassment. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared virtually to face a grilling from committee Democrats. During the roughly two-and-a-half hour hearing, Goodell was questioned about both the team culture in general and allegations about owner Daniel Snyder's personal conduct. Snyder did not testify as the committee had requested, although a name card and microphone were placed in front of an empty chair at the witness table. A spokesperson for Snyder cited a "business conflict" in a letter to the committee, according to ESPN. "His   ... Read More

Browns excuse Baker Mayfield from mandatory minicamp in ‘mutual decision’

By Jake Trotter BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns have excused quarterback Baker Mayfield from attending the team's mandatory minicamp next week. The team said Wednesday that it was a "mutual decision and best for both parties." Mayfield has been away from the Browns since Cleveland replaced him with Deshaun Watson as their starter in a trade with the Houston Texans in March. Mayfield has been in his hometown of Austin, Texas, rehabilitating from offseason surgery that repaired a torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder. Cleveland has been unsuccessful so far this offseason in trading the former No. 1 overall pick. The Browns discussed a Mayfield trade with the Carolina Panthers during the NFL draft but never got close   ... Read More

Commanders DC Jack Del Rio defends tweets about Jan. 6 hearings

By John Keim ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio defended his tweets about the upcoming congressional hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, saying he wants to know why there's not similar energy devoted to the "riots" in the summer of 2020 as there is to what he termed a "dustup" at the U.S. Capitol. Del Rio tweeted Monday in response to a tweet about upcoming hearings on the events of Jan. 6: "Would love to understand 'the whole story' about why the summer of riots, looting, burning and the destruction of personal property is never discussed but this is??? #CommonSense." Del Rio said Wednesday he was just asking a question about events in the spring   ... Read More

Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw set to return Sunday vs. Giants

By Clayton Kershaw is set to start Sunday for the Los Angeles Dodgers' series finale against the Giants in San Francisco, manager Dave Roberts said on Wednesday. Kershaw was placed on the injured list last month due to inflammation in his right SI joint, which connects the base of the spine to the hip bones. He hasn't pitched since a win over the Chicago Cubs on May 7. Before getting shut down, Kershaw was in the midst of another dominant season. He began 2022 with seven perfect innings against the Minnesota Twins and holds a 1.80 ERA through five starts, striking out 32 batters and walking three in 30 innings. ESPN's Alden Gonzalez contributed to this story.   ... Read More

Kupp, Los Angeles Rams reach 3-year, $78.5M extension

By Cooper Kupp and the Los Angeles Rams reached an agreement Wednesday on a three-year extension worth $80 million, including $75 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter. The contract ties Kupp to the Rams for the next five years at $110 million, sources said, and makes him one of the highest paid wide receivers in the NFL. The Rams reworked star defensive tackle Aaron Donald's deal earlier this week, making him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL.   ... Read More

Rangers expect to be ‘hungry and angrier’ on home ice after Game 4 loss

By Greg Wyshynski TAMPA, Fla. -- The New York Rangers will be "angrier" heading back home after back-to-back losses to the Tampa Bay Lightning tied the Eastern Conference finals at 2-2, according to forward Artemi Panarin. "It makes us more hungry and angrier. Sometimes that's good when you've lost. I think it's just how we'll react. I don't think we've lost our confidence. Only be more hungry next game," he said after New York's 4-1 Game 4 loss on Tuesday night. The Rangers have been a different team at home and away in their Stanley Cup playoff run. At Madison Square Garden, they average 4.22 goals per game and give up 2.22 goals per game. On the road, the Rangers   ... Read More

Broncos reach sale agreement; price tag is $4.65 billion

By Jeff Legwold ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos have entered a sale agreement with the Walton-Penner family ownership group, the sides announced Tuesday night. The agreement is for $4.65 billion, sources told ESPN, confirming multiple reports. That would be a record price paid for a North American sports franchise. The Walton-Penner group -- headed by Walmart heir Rob Walton; his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner; and her husband, Greg Penner -- will also include Mellody Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments as well as chair of the board of the Starbucks Corp. and a director at JP Morgan Chase. "Today marks a significant step on the path to an exciting new chapter in Broncos history," Broncos CEO Joe Ellis said in   ... Read More

Semien homers twice, Rangers split twinbill with Guardians

AP CLEVELAND -- — After a slow start, Marcus Semien's hitting his stride — and home runs. Semien homered twice and tied a Texas franchise record for hits in a doubleheader as the Rangers connected for four homers in a 6-3 win over Cleveland Guardians to earn a split on Tuesday night. Cleveland won the opener, also 6-3, behind starter Cal Quantrill. Semien homered three times in the two games and finished 7-for-8, raising his average from .196 to .221. Semien, who was batting just .177 at the end of May, has six homers in his last 11 games after going 43 without one. “Balls do start falling,” Semien. “That’s nothing I’ve changed. It’s just constant work in the cage   ... Read More

Judge dismisses Title IX claims against Nebraska

By PAULA LAVIGNE A federal judge in Nebraska dismissed the claims of four female students who had sued the University of Nebraska alleging that the school failed to adequately respond to their reports of being sexually assaulted and harassed by male athletes. In his ruling issued Wednesday, Chief U.S. District Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. wrote that the school's actions, even with reported delays and missteps, did not reach the threshold of being "deliberately indifferent," and did not put the students at risk of further harm or violate their civil rights. The dismissal came almost a year after the U.S. Department of Justice, in a rare move, filed a statement of interest in the lawsuit. The DOJ accused the university   ... Read More

Vitale to be honored with Jimmy V Award at 2022 ESPYS

By Dick Vitale, the longtime ESPN college basketball broadcaster and Hall of Famer, will be the recipient of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at this year's ESPYS. Vitale, 82, announced in August that he had undergone multiple surgeries to remove melanoma. In October, he announced he had been diagnosed with lymphoma. His chemotherapy treatment for lymphoma forced the veteran broadcaster to step back from ESPN's college basketball coverage. "The good news is that he doesn't believe anything is life-threatening; however, Dr. [Steven] Zeitels says I have pre-cancerous Dysplasia on the vocal cords," Vitale said in a December statement. "Bottom line is I need to rest them -- my voice needs a T.O., BABY!" Vitale has documented his cancer   ... Read More

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