Thursday’s Sports In Brief
DALLAS (AP) The Dallas Mavericks made two plays for the future, acquiring big man Nerlens Noel from the Philadelphia 76ers before the trading deadline and waiving point guard Deron Williams to clear the way for rookie Yogi Ferrell.
The Mavericks sent veteran center Andrew Bogut, young swingman Justin Anderson and a protected first-round draft pick to the 76ers.
The 22-year-old Noel was the sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft. He clashed with the Sixers at times during his stay due to a logjam in the frontcourt that also included Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid. He gives the Mavericks an athletic, defensive-minded power forward who will be a restricted free agent this summer.
The Mavericks will keep their pick in this year’s draft if it is among the top 18. In that case, the 76ers would get a pair of Dallas second-round picks, in 2017 and 2020.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The Oklahoma City Thunder got some help for Russell Westbrook by acquiring forwards Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott from Chicago just before the NBA trade deadline.
The Bulls also sent a 2018 second-round pick to the Thunder. Oklahoma City sent Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow to Chicago.
Gibson adds the athleticism and experience to the front line that the Thunder lost when they traded Serge Ibaka in last year’s draft. He averaged 11.6 points and 7.0 rebounds this season in 55 starts for the Bulls this season.
PHOENIX (AP) – The Phoenix Suns pulled off a pair of trades just before the NBA deadline, trading forward P.J. Tucker to Toronto for forward Jared Sullinger and a pair of second-round raft picks (2017 and `18) and acquiring power forward Mike Scott, the rights to Turkish guard Cenk Akyol and cash considerations from Atlanta for the top-55 protected 2017 second-round pick.
Guard Brandon Knight remained with the Suns despite widespread speculation he could be headed elsewhere because he has been inconsistent and not thrilled with his role coming off the bench behind starters Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker.
DENVER (AP) – The Denver Nuggets added another big man for the stretch run by acquiring Roy Hibbert from the Milwaukee Bucks for a protected second-round pick in 2019.
The 30-year-old center figures to spell Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee as the Nuggets try to hold on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
CLEVELAND (AP) – Charles Oakley, still at odds with the New York Knicks, watched his former team in his hometown.
The Cleveland native sat next to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert as the Knicks played the defending NBA champions.
The former power forward attended his first Knicks game since being arrested after getting into an altercation with security guards at Madison Square Garden earlier this month.
Oakley has a strained relationship with Knicks owner James Dolan, who banned the former player a few days following the incident. Dolan lifted the ban after meeting with Oakley and NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Oakley has yet to accept the invitation and hasn’t returned to the Garden.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Denny Hamlin didn’t need a Toyota teammate to grab another win at Daytona International Speedway.
Hamlin charged past Dale Earnhardt Jr. with one lap remaining to deny Earnhardt a victory a 150-mile qualifying race that Earnhardt dominated. Earnhardt led 53 of the 60 laps in the second qualifying Duel, but couldn’t hold off a Hamlin charge at the end.
Hamlin got a push from Chevrolet driver Austin Dillon to gather the momentum needed to get past Earnhardt. Typically, the Toyota drivers have teamed together to navigate through traffic in restrictor plate races.
In the qualifying race, Hamlin didn’t need his fellow Toyota drivers and even overcame a pit road penalty to get the win.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) – PGA Tour rookies Cody Gribble and Wesley Bryan, each opened with a 6-under 64 in the morning and it stood the rest of the day to share the lead after the first round of the Honda Classic.
More than half of the field was at par or better.
Martin Kaymer, a two-time major champion from Germany playing on a sponsor exemption, chipped in from behind the 17th green for birdie and closed with a two-putt birdie from 40 feet for a 65, tied with Anirban Lahiri of India.
Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter were part of a large group at 66. Sergio Garcia was headed in that direction until he pulled his tee shot left on the par-3 fifth hole and made double bogey, added a pair of other bogeys and recovered with a birdie on his final hole for a 68. He was in the group with defending champion Adam Scott.
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) – The decision to withdraw Budapest’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics is the third political defeat for Hungary’s populist prime minister in less than a year.
With the decision announced late Wednesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban eluded the risks of an opposition-initiated referendum, but was forced to abandon an idea he mentioned wanting to carry out 15 years ago.
Orban, who has pledged to turn Hungary into an ”illiberal state” and was an early backer of U.S. President Donald Trump, is considered a European standard-bearer of populist policies, including strong nationalism and anti-immigration.
The decision to end the Olympic bid came just days after a new political party, the Momentum Movement, succeeded in gathering nearly twice as many signatures as needed to force a citywide referendum on the plan to host the Olympics.
MEXICO CITY (AP) – Nursing an aching right shoulder injury, Novak Djokovic planned to return to tennis at Indian Wells in the California desert. But the Serbian star changed his mind and accepted a wild card to play in the Acapulco tournament that starts Monday.
Djokovic, who earlier this month required treatment in the shoulder after a four-set Davis Cup win over Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, joins a loaded field of six top-10 players, tournament director Raul Zurutuza announced Thursday.
The 29-year-old Serbian Djokovic declined to play in Dubai, where he has played every year since 2007.