Friday’s Sports In Brief
CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James made the first move. Now what?
Cleveland? Los Angeles? Philadelphia? A surprise?
Stay tuned. Decision III is this summer’s blockbuster, and it’s coming soon.
James told the Cavaliers that he is not exercising his $35.6 million contract option for next season and will become an unrestricted free agent, two people familiar with the decision told the Associated Press.
The decision to decline the option for 2018-19 was expected by James because it gives him more options, which includes him re-signing with the Cavs, who can offer him the most money – a five-year, $209 million contract. James can also sign a short-term deal with Cleveland, something he has done each year since returning in 2014.
James had until 11:59 p.m. to express his intentions to the Cavs and his agent Rich Paul informed the team in the morning.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The deadline for Kevin Durant to opt into his contract with the Warriors for next season passed without him doing so, making the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP a free agent – yet his intention has always been to stay put and re-sign with Golden State.
Much like a year ago, Durant declined to opt in for the second year of his deal, allowing him to work on a more lucrative contract once the signing period begins Saturday night.
Durant only had to inform the Warriors if he planned to opt in, and the team had long been prepared for this move – merely a procedural decision – knowing his plans for months.
The 29-year-old Durant could sign for as many as four years and about $160 million. He has made clear all along his commitment to the Warriors, especially after winning a pair of championships in his first two seasons with Golden State.
DALLAS (AP) – The Dallas Mavericks are making another run at DeAndre Jordan, three years after the center jilted them in free agency to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jordan has opted out of the final year of that contract he signed with LA in 2015, and the Mavericks intend to pursue him as an unrestricted free agent, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
Dallas also intends to decline the $5 million club option on Dirk Nowitzki’s contract and re-sign him once its salary structure is more settled, the person told the AP. The move on Nowitzki is designed to create more room under the salary cap, as were the decisions to rescind qualifying offers to shooting guard Doug McDermott and center Salah Mejri, making both unrestricted free agents.
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) – When Barry Trotz resigned, the Washington Capitals didn’t even bother with a coaching search.
There was only one candidate and he got the job.
Top assistant Todd Reirden will take over the Stanley Cup-champion Capitals, promoted from the bench in a move that allows Washington to maintain a sense of continuity. Reirden coached the defensemen the past four seasons, was a finalist for another NHL head job two years ago, earned a promotion to associate coach and played a substantial role in the first championship in franchise history.
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan hopes promoting Reirden from within will allow the team to ”transition seamlessly into next season and beyond.”
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) – Defenseman Drew Doughty has agreed to an eight-year, $88 million contract extension through the 2026-27 season to stay with the Los Angeles Kings.
After cracking the Kings’ roster as an 18-year-old, Doughty has been among the NHL’s top defensemen throughout a 10-year career spent entirely with the Kings.
He won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman in 2016. As an aggressive, skilled two-way blueliner, he has been a finalist for the award in three other seasons – including 2017-18, when he scored a career-high 60 points while playing in all 82 games for the fourth consecutive season.
Doughty played a major role in the Kings’ Stanley Cup triumphs in 2012 and 2014, and he also has two Olympic gold medals from playing for Canada.
POTOMAC, Md. (AP) – Beau Hossler has been hanging around the lead on the weekend in search of his first PGA Tour victory, and he gets another chance at the Quicken Loans National.
So does Tiger Woods.
Hossler, the 23-year-old in his first full year on the tour, birdied four of his last five holes and finished with a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 18 for a 4-under 66, giving him a share of the lead with Ryan Armour and Brian Gay.
Armour (65) and Gay (64) each made short birdies on the par-3 ninth hole to finish their rounds and tie for lead.
Woods finished a steamy morning on the TPC Potomac at Avenel with two pars that felt just as big. On a day in which he made seven birdies – all but two of them from 15 feet or longer – Woods didn’t let a good round go to waste at the end. He saved par from the bunker on the eighth and ninths holes for a 65.
KILDEER, Ill. (AP) – Lydia Ko birdied the first hole and just kept rolling from there – all the way into contention for another major victory.
Ko shot a 6-under 66 in the second round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship to move two strokes off the lead. The 21-year-old New Zealander shook off an opening 74 at Kemper Lakes to reach 4 under and give herself a shot to win her third major.
First-round leader Sung Hyun Park (72), 2016 winner Brooke Henderson (71) and So Yeon Ryu (69) were tied for the lead at 6-under 138. Carlota Ciganda (69) was one stroke back, with Ko, Moriya Jutanugarn (72) and Annie Park (69) at 4 under in the third of the LPGA Tour’s five majors.
Michelle Wie (74) was 1 over. Top-ranked Inbee Park (76) missed the cut at 5-over 149.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – Maybe the best way to deal with the greens at the Broadmoor is to not putt on them at all. Jerry Kelly got the message, and now he’s in the lead at the U.S. Senior Open.
After coming up short from the middle of the 18th fairway, Kelly took advantage of a decent lie outside a bunker, chipped onto the green and watched it go straight in. He made three more birdies on the front nine – his second nine – to complete a 1-under 69 and headed into the weekend at 5-under 135, one shot ahead of Miguel Angel Jimenez.
JOLIET, Ill. (AP) – Brett Moffitt won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway after leader John Hunter Nemechek ran out of gas on the final lap.
Moffitt won for the third time this season and fourth time overall – and did it in a race he wasn’t scheduled to run until Fr8Auctions.com made a midweek commitment to sponsor the No. Hattori Racing’s No. 16 Toyota.
Moffitt also won in Atlanta in February and at his home track in Iowa two weeks ago.
Nemechek ended up seventh after leading 64 laps overall and for most of the final stage before his car slowed on the first turn on the last of the 150 laps on the 1.5-mile oval.
Ben Rhodes was second for his fourth top-five finish of the season, and points leader Johnny Sauter was third. Pole-sitter Noah Gragson was fourth, followed by Brandon Jones and Justin Haley, the winner last week at Gateway outside St. Louis.