Tuesday Sports in Brief
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Magic Johnson abruptly quit as the Los Angeles Lakers‘ president of basketball operations Tuesday night, citing a desire to get back to the simpler life he enjoyed before taking over the franchise just over two years ago.
Johnson didn’t tell owner Jeanie Buss or general manager Rob Pelinka before he stepped in front of reporters about 90 minutes before the final game of the Lakers’ sixth consecutive losing season.
Johnson didn’t directly tie his decision to the future of coach Luke Walton, who was widely expected to be fired by Johnson soon. But Johnson repeatedly mentioned Buss’ affinity for Walton and Johnson’s desire not to cause upheaval between them.
Johnson also says he’s tired of being fined by the NBA for tampering.
The 40-year-old kept his plans secret until the end of his final home game. After speeches from Larry Bird and others he idolized growing up in Germany, Nowitzki told the crowd, “this is my last home game.”
Nowitzki played a record 21 seasons with the same franchise, scoring 30 points in his final home game in a 120-109 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
The 14-time All-Star has one game remaining, Dallas’ season finale at San Antonio on Wednesday night.
NEW YORK (AP) — Pittsburgh pitcher Chris Archer has been suspended for five games, Cincinnati outfielder Yasiel Puig for two and Reds manager David Bell for one for their roles in a bench-clearing fracas last weekend.
The commissioner’s office said Tuesday that Archer has appealed his penalty and will play pending a decision. Puig and Bell were to serve their discipline starting Tuesday.
Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre also fined all three for their behavior Sunday.
Cincinnati’s Derek Dietrich stood in the batter’s box to admire his long home run in the second inning, and two innings later Archer threw his first pitch behind the waist of Dietrich. Plate umpire Jeff Kellogg warned both benches and Bell jogged from the dugout to the infield, arguing Archer should have been ejected.
Benches and bullpens emptied, and an enraged Puig barreled into a bunch of Pirates.
The NHL has suspended defenseman Slava Voynov for the 2019-20 season and 2020 playoffs after determining he committed acts of domestic violence.
Commissioner Gary Bettman suspended Voynov on Tuesday for what the league called unacceptable off-ice conduct. The 29-year-old Russian could have his eligibility restored on July 1, 2020, based on good behavior.
Voynov was suspended indefinitely in October 2014 after being arrested for domestic abuse. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor, left the United States to go back to Russia and in July had the conviction dismissed by a judge in Los Angeles county.
Bettman said he determined after a league investigation and a March 21 hearing that Voynov engaged in acts of domestic violence against his wife.
TORONTO (AP) — The New Jersey Devils will have the No. 1 pick at this year’s NHL draft.
The team was announced Tuesday night as the winner of the draft lottery.
The Colorado Avalanche had the best odds of landing the first pick at 18.5 percent, but they drew the No. 4 selection. The New York Rangers will pick second and the Chicago Blackhawks will select third at the June draft.
The 15 teams that failed to qualify for the 2019 playoffs — or the franchises that acquired the first-round picks of non-playoff clubs — participated in the lottery.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mick Cronin has been hired as UCLA’s basketball coach, ending a months-long search to find a replacement for the fired Steve Alford.
The university says Cronin agreed to a $24 million, six-year deal Tuesday.
He leaves his alma mater Cincinnati after 16 seasons, having led the Bearcats to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last nine years.
The 47-year-old coach will be introduced at a campus news conference Wednesday.
Cronin’s only other head coaching stint was at Murray State from 2003-06. He was associate head coach at Louisville from 2001-03 and worked as an assistant and video coordinator from 1996 to 2001 at Cincinnati.
Alford was fired on Dec. 31.
NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Mullin “stepped down” as basketball coach at St. John’s on Tuesday after four years on the job, citing a “personal loss.”
Athletic Mike Cragg director announced the decision, saying the team “progressed well.” He noted Mullin’s “contributions” and “deep passion for this program,” but did not detail any reason for the move.
Mullin said in a separate statement he had suffered a “recent personal loss,” without elaborating. His older brother, Roddy, died last month at 58 after battling cancer for years. Gerard Richard Mullin played basketball at Siena from 1979-83.
Mullin, the greatest player in school history, had two years remaining on his contract. He was coming off his first winning season and only trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Red Storm lost to Arizona State in a First Four game last month.
St. John’s went 59-73 under Mullin, including 20-52 in Big East play, after he replaced Steve Lavin in March 2015 and embarked on a substantial rebuild.
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Tech hired former Auburn and Purdue coach Nell Fortner on Tuesday to replace MaChelle Joseph as coach.
Fortner, 60, also the former WNBA Indiana Fever coach, coached the 2000 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal.
Fortner, who also has worked as a TV analyst for ESPN, has been out of coaching since resigning at Auburn, where she worked from 2004-12.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former UFC champion T.J. Dillashaw has accepted a two-year suspension for doping.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which administers the UFC’s drug testing policy, announced the ban and Dillashaw’s decision Tuesday.
USADA says Dillashaw tested positive for recombinant human erythropoietin, a synthetic hormone better known as EPO.
Dillashaw’s suspension ends Jan. 18, 2021, exactly two years after the positive sample was collected during his preparation to challenge Henry Cejudo for the flyweight title. Cejudo stopped Dillashaw in 32 seconds to keep his 125-pound belt.
The 33-year-old Dillashaw relinquished his 135-pound belt three weeks ago after announcing he had failed a doping test.
NEW YORK (AP) — Lenny Dykstra has sued one-time New York Mets teammate Ron Darling, St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Publishing Group over a passage in the pitcher’s new book accusing the outfielder of directing racist comments toward Boston pitcher Oil Can Boyd during the 1986 World Series.
Dykstra, sentenced seven years ago to prison on both federal and California state charges, filed suit Tuesday in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan alleging defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Darling’s “108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters from My Time in the Game” was published April 2 by St. Martin’s Press, which is part of Macmillan.
Darling wrote Dykstra was “one of baseball’s all-time thugs” and was in the on-deck circle at Boston’s Fenway Park before Game 3 of the 1986 World Series while Boyd warmed up “shouting every imaginable and unimaginable insult and expletive in his direction — foul, racist, hateful, hurtful stuff.”
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — LPGA founder and pioneering golfer Marilynn Smith has died at 89.
The LPGA Tour said she died Tuesday in Goodyear, Arizona, surrounded by family and friends. Smith last was seen in public March 24 at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, greeting players as they walked off the 18th green.
Smith was one of the 13 founders of the LPGA Tour. Her 21 victories, two majors and endless support of her tour led to her induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.