Thursday’s Sports in Brief
The Knicks made the surprising move after saying Porzingis requested a trade earlier Thursday.
The 7-foot-3 Porzingis was the No. 4 pick in the 2015 draft and once was expected to be the Knicks’ franchise player for years. But they declined to give him a contract extension last summer, and now by trading him and Hardaway seem instead to be gearing up to pursue players in free agency.
Hardaway has two more years and about $37 million left on his contract, and moving that was necessary if the Knicks were going to find a way to open the most cap space possible.
TORONTO (AP) — Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer and his staff are heading to the All-Star Game.
The Bucks‘ 105-92 win over the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night clinched the spot for Budenholzer, who will coach in the All-Star Game for the second time in five years. He also coached in 2015, when he was with the Atlanta Hawks.
Milwaukee improved to an NBA-best 37-13 with the win. Toronto fell to 37-16, and the loss means its first-year coach Nick Nurse now cannot overtake Budenholzer in time for the All-Star job. It goes to the coaches of the teams with the best record in the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference through Sunday’s games.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A courtroom quest by two New Orleans Saints ticketholders for a full or partial do-over of this year’s NFC championship game because of a blown “no-call” by game officials was rejected by a federal judge.
NFL officials have acknowledged that flags should have been thrown when a Rams defensive back leveled a Saints receiver with a helmet-to-helmet hit at a crucial point in the final minutes of regulation time. The Rams won the Jan. 20 conference championship in overtime and are set to play the New England Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl in Atlanta.
Fan reaction in New Orleans has included disbelief, anger and resignation, expressed in newspaper headlines, billboards (“They reffed up” said one), promises by some restaurants and bars that they won’t show the Super Bowl broadcast, and posters of blind referees.
And at least two lawsuits. One was a class-action lawsuit on behalf of ticketholders that was awaiting action in state court.
DENVER (AP) — Nolan Arenado and the Colorado Rockies have agreed to a $26 million deal to avoid arbitration, the largest one-year salary for an arbitration-eligible player.
Josh Donaldson set the previous mark at $23 million with Toronto last season. The 27-year-old Arenado was set to pass that record even if he went to arbitration. Arenado asked for $30 million earlier this month, while the Rockies offered $24 million.
Arenado has won a Gold Glove at third base in each of his six major league seasons. He is a career .291 hitter with 186 home runs, 616 RBIs and an .886 OPS. He batted .297 with an NL-leading 38 homers last season, finishing third in MVP voting while making $17.85 million. Colorado beat Chicago in the NL wild-card game before being swept by the Milwaukee Brewers in the Division Series.
Arenado is eligible for free agency after the 2019 season and figures to be the top player on the market next winter.
Women’s hockey star Kendall Coyne Schofield said Thursday she doesn’t believe NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire questioned her knowledge of the sport during an awkward pre-game interaction this week.
McGuire was criticized on social media for the situation that occurred during Wednesday night’s game in Pittsburgh between the Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning. During the broadcast on NBC Sports Network, the two were near the ice and he told Coyne Schofield which benches the teams were on and noted the network was paying her to be an analyst, not a fan.
In a statement provided by NBC Sports to The Associated Press, McGuire said: “We were all thrilled to have her join our coverage last night, but at times my excitement got the better of me and I should have chosen my words better. I have the utmost respect for Kendall as a world-class player, analyst of the game and role model.”
McGuire has been calling women’s hockey games for more than 15 years, including several Olympics.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The NCAA banned Missouri’s football, baseball and softball programs from the postseason for a year and placed the entire athletic department on probation after a two-year investigation revealed academic misconduct involving a former tutor.
The penalties mean the Tigers‘ highly regarded football team won’t be eligible for the SEC title game or a bowl game this fall, while their baseball and softball programs will not be allowed to participate in the SEC Tournament or the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA also trimmed scholarships amid other punishments.
Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright vowed that the school would appeal “this harsh and inconsistent decision,” a back-and-forth process that could take several months.