Thursday’s Sports In Brief
From Isaiah Thomas to Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose, the Cleveland Cavaliers loaded up on big names last summer.
None will be there if the Cavaliers get back to the NBA Finals.
In what felt like an unprecedented do-over for a contending team, the Cavaliers simply changed the pieces that weren’t fitting for new ones on Thursday at the trade deadline.
Fans who usually marvel at LeBron James were instead praising his general manager, with Koby Altman using a series of swaps to strengthen a sputtering team and leave open the possibility for more moves.
The Cavaliers acquired Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, who got Thomas, Channing Frye and a first-round pick. George Hill came from Sacramento and Rodney Hood from Utah as the Cavaliers dealt away Rose, Wade, Jae Crowder and Iman Shumpert – changing nearly half their rotation.
All that wheeling-and-dealing stole headlines even with nearly two-thirds of the league making deals.
Wade returned to Miami, mending fences with Pat Riley and finding a soft landing in a place where he won three championships following the fallout in Cleveland. The Heat struggle to score and used a second-round pick to bring back the player who did that more than anyone else for their franchise.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Jimmy Garoppolo signed a record-breaking, five-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers that will pay him a reported $137.5 million to keep him off the free-agent market without forcing the team to use the one-year franchise tag.
NFL Network first reported the terms of the contract, which is worth $27.5 million per season to top the previous record set by Detroit’s Matthew Stafford last year by $500,000 per year.
San Francisco acquired Garoppolo from New England before the trade deadline for a 2018 second-round pick. As soon as he took the field a few weeks later, he immediately turned around a franchise that started the year with a 1-10 record.
Garoppolo took over as starter and led San Francisco to five straight wins to end the season. That solidified the organization’s belief in him and the willingness to offer him the largest average per year contract in NFL history.
While Garoppolo lacks the track record of the top quarterbacks in the NFL after spending most of his career as Tom Brady’s backup with New England, what he has shown when he has gotten on the field has been impressive.
He completed 67.4 percent of his passes this season, averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with seven TDs, five interceptions and a 96.2 rating. Among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts last season, Garoppolo ranked first in yards per attempt, fourth in completion percentage. His 308.4 yards passing per game in his five starts also would have led the league had he played a full season.
NEW YORK (AP) – The baseball players’ union will open its own spring training camp for the first time since the end of the 1994-95 strike, inviting free agents to work out at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Union head Tony Clark said Thursday the camp will open Tuesday and workouts will start the following day under Bo Porter, the Houston Astros’ manager in 2013-14. The camp is scheduled to run through March 4, and the union has the option to extend the camp through the end of the month.
More than 100 players who exercised their right to become free agents last November are without final agreements. Teams start spring training workouts next Wednesday.
Agent Scott Boras represents 15 free agents seeking jobs, a group that includes J.D. Martinez, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Jake Arrieta. His company has its own training facilities in North Miami, Florida, and Newport Beach, California, and he is not sure whether his clients will work out at his facilities or IMG.
”They certainly will have the option to use either,” he said.
The union sent an email to agents announcing the decision. The camp will be open to the players who became free agents under Article XXB of the sport’s collective bargaining agreement, the most prominent group on the market.
”The location is a dedicated, major league-caliber site, with multiple full/half fields, a private locker room, dedicated training staff and an advanced workout facility with a trainer and strength and conditioning coordinator,” the union said.
Personal trainers will not be allowed inside the facility. Players will be provided workout gear, and the union is arranging liability insurance, travel and housing. Players will be given per diems. They are to bring their own bats and shoes.
AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) – With Scott Dixon at the wheel, the prototype for a windscreen to help protect IndyCar drivers from flying debris passed its first on-track test, a big step toward requiring such devices, perhaps as early as next year.
”I think it’s definitely a milestone as far as moving forward and moving in the right direction for some more safety initiatives, and we all know the reasons why,” the four-time IndyCar series champion said.
The only real problem for Dixon was the lack of air flow made things quite warm. But he described that as ”an easy fix.”
”The cooling thing we kind of knew,” Dixon said, ”but we just didn’t want to deal with it right now.”
Jeff Horton, IndyCar director of engineering and safety and head of the windscreen project, was happy with the results.
”When a guy like Scott gets out, a veteran of ours, and says there’s no deal breakers, a couple of small things to look at, what better could you ask for,” Horton said.
The windscreen wouldn’t prevent all flying-debris accidents since material still could sail over the front of the screen or come in on top of the driver, who otherwise is protected only by a helmet. Driver Justin Wilson died in August 2015 of injuries he sustained when he was struck by flying debris in an IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway.
But IndyCar officials see the windscreen as potentially a big improvement in safety. With more testing to be done, the screen probably wouldn’t be required on the circuit until 2019 at the earliest.