Monday’s Sports In Brief
Michael Phelps is coming out of retirement, lured back into the pool by the fun of it and the possibility of swimming at a fifth Olympics in Rio in 2016.The 22-time Olympic medalist will compete for the first time since the 2012 London Games at a meet in Mesa, Ariz., on April 24-26.
Bob Bowman, the swimmer’s longtime coach, told The Associated Press that Phelps is entered in three events – the 50- and 100-meter freestyles and the 100 butterfly.
Phelps returned to training last fall and re-entered the U.S. drug-testing program. He has completed his six-month waiting period by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to be eligible for competition. Bowman said Phelps is ”pretty far” from being back in top form. He’s been training Monday through Friday with Bowman’s team at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club in his hometown.
Besides Phelps, USA Swimming said Olympians Ryan Lochte and Katie Ledecky are among those expected to swim in the Arena Grand Prix at Skyline Aquatic Center.
WASHINGTON (AP) LeBron James’ only visible significant role was that of postgame heckler, interrupting Michael Beasley’s interview amid a loose, upbeat locker room that normally wouldn’t jibe with a 21-point loss – or throwing in a towel in the race for a No. 1 seed.
James and Chris Bosh took the night off, and the Heat were beaten 114-93 by the Washington Wizards in a no-contest game that guaranteed the Eastern Conference’s top seed for the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers are locked in to a first-round series against the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks, while the two-time defending champion Heat get the No. 2 seed and either the Wizards or the Charlotte Bobcats. Figuring it would be better to be fresh for the postseason, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra sat two of his Big Three, saying they were dealing with ”minor ailments” from ”the residual of a long season.”
PHOENIX (AP) – The Memphis Grizzlies are back in the playoffs and the upstart Phoenix Suns are staying home.
Mike Conley and Zach Randolph made the critical plays in the final 68 seconds and the Grizzlies pulled out a 97-91 victory over Phoenix that clinched the last playoff spot in the West and eliminated the Suns from postseason competition.
Randolph scored 32 points to lead the inside power game that was just enough for Memphis to beat the Suns for the fourth time in four games this season and send the Grizzlies to the playofs for the fourth straight year.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Pacers’ biggest win so far this season came off the court.
One day after breaking out of a slump by beating Oklahoma City and hours before Miami rested its star players, essentially ceding the top seed in the East, the city’s Capital Improvement Board approved a new deal that would help the Pacers stay financially competitive in one of the NBA’s smallest markets.
In exchange for providing $164 million to pay for operating costs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse over the next 10 years, the Pacers agreed to extend a lease agreement that will keep them in Indy for up to 13 more seasons. Board members voted 8-0 in favor of the deal.
SAN DIEGO (AP) – The San Diego Padres think so much of second baseman Jedd Gyorko that they gave him a hefty raise and he’s only 13 games into his second full big league season.
Gyorko’s agreement is a six-year deal that adds $35 million over five seasons through 2019.
It replaces a one-year deal agreed to last month and includes a team option for 2020. San Diego essentially buys out one year of free agency and possibly two.
Gyorko proved himself with a big rookie season, hitting .249 with 23 home runs and 63 RBIs.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – General manager David Poile hopes he sent the strongest message possible by making the first coaching change in Nashville’s history: missing the playoffs is not acceptable for the Predators.
Poile announced that Barry Trotz, the NHL’s longest tenured head coach with one team, would not be back for a 16th season after the Predators missed the postseason for a second straight year. A few hours later, Poile said at a news conference that won’t get it done.
Trotz’s contract expires June 30, and the Predators offered him a job in their hockey operations department. The two-time Jack Adams finalist made it clear in a very emotional news conference before Poile spoke that he appreciated the offer but wants to keep coaching.
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) – Chiney Ogwumike was selected No. 1 by the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA draft, joining her sister Nneka, drafted by Los Angeles in 2012, as the only siblings to be chosen first in the league.
Peyton and Eli Manning are the only other siblings to be taken No. 1 in the history of the four major American pro sports according to STATS.
Odyssey Sims of Baylor went second to Tulsa and San Antonio took Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride with the third pick.
New York drafted Alyssa Thomas of Maryland fourth before trading her to Connecticut as part of a deal to acquire 2012 MVP Tina Charles.
The Indiana Fever selected Natasha Howard of Florida State with the fifth pick.