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#SportsReport: Phillies crush the Braves; Astros top Yankees

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Big Ten votes to add USC, UCLA as members starting in 2024

The Big Ten voted unanimously to add Southern California and UCLA as conference members beginning in 2024. The expansion to 16 teams will happen after the Pac-12’s current media rights contracts with Fox and ESPN expire and make the Big Ten the first conference to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The announced came almost a year after Oklahoma and Texas formally accepted invitations to join the Southeastern Conference in July 2025.

Jokic, Beal cash in quickly as NBA free agency begins

The NBA generated more basketball related income than ever this past season, the total number coming up just short of $9 billion. Business is good. The first night of free agency underscored how good. Nikola Jokic and Bradley Beal both quickly agreed to deals that will be worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars by the time they expire, highlighting the moves made Thursday when the NBA’s annual free-agent negotiating window opened.

AP source: Kevin Durant asks for trade from Brooklyn Nets

A person with direct knowledge of the decision says Kevin Durant has requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. The decision revealed just before the start of NBA free agency undoubtedly will have teams scrambling to put together enormous offers for the perennial All-Star. The Nets have been working with Durant to find a trade partner, and he has multiple teams on his preferred list. That's according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the player nor Brooklyn revealed any details publicly. ESPN first reported Durant’s trade request and cited Phoenix and Miami as two of his preferred destinations. Durant is a 12-time All-Star, four-time scoring champion, three-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time NBA champion.

AP Sources: NFL adamant on indefinite suspension for Watson

Deshaun Watson’s disciplinary hearing concluded Thursday with the NFL adamant about an indefinite suspension of at least one year and the quarterback’s legal team arguing there’s no basis for that punishment, two people with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press. Both sides presented their arguments over three days before former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson in Delaware, according to both people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the hearing isn’t public. Watson was accused of sexual misconduct by 24 women and settled 20 of the civil lawsuits.

Ex-agent: Braves fostering 'false narrative' about Freeman

The former agent of Los Angeles Dodgers star Freddie Freeman says his ex-team, the Atlanta Braves, is presenting a “false narrative” about the first baseman’s departure in March. Freeman was in tears in Atlanta last week when he returned to the city where he had played his entire career. His former agent, Casey Close, says the Braves are falsely suggesting that he failed to communicate a contract offer to Freeman, who signed with the Dodgers in mid-March. That deal came three days after the Braves signed All-Star first baseman Matt Olson from Oakland.

LIV tees off in Oregon amid criticism over Saudi funding

The Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf tour’s second event teed off Thursday, angering a group of families who lost loved ones on Sept. 11 and want the Saudi government held to account for the terrorist attacks. About 10 family members and survivors spoke at a small park honoring veterans in tiny North Plains, home to Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. The LIV Golf series, funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, was making its first stop on American soil this week after a debut this month outside of London. Carlos Ortiz took the lead Thursday with a 5-under 67. Dustin Johnson, the 2020 Masters winner, was a shot back, and Hideto Tadihara, Pat Perez and Brenden Grace were two shots off the lead.

JT Poston shoots 62, leads John Deere Classic by 2 strokes

J.T. Poston shot a 9-under 62 on Thursday to take a two-stroke lead in the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic. Coming off a second-place tie last week in Connecticut after also opening with a 62, Poston eagled the par-5 second and had seven birdies in a bogey-free round at TPC Deere Run. He won the 2019 Wyndham Championship for his lone PGA Tour title. Canadian Michael Gligic was second at 64, playing in the final group of the day off the first tee. Vaughn Taylor and Christopher Gotterup followed at 65.

Most American men reach Wimbledon's 3rd round since 1995

There will be eight American men in the third round of Wimbledon for the first time since 1995. That's also the largest group for the country at that stage of any Grand Slam tournament since the U.S. Open a year later. Brandon Nakashima, Taylor Fritz and Jenson Brooksby all advanced at the All England Club. Nakashima pulled off the biggest surprise by beating 2021 Wimbledon semifinalist Denis Shapovalov of Canada. Four U.S. men will play for a berth in the fourth round Friday: John Isner, Steve Johnson, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul.

Parade of champs: Avs live it up as they celebrate Cup title

The parade through the streets of Denver to celebrate the Colorado Avalanche’s Stanley Cup title offered a little bit of everything. That included dogs wearing Avalanche sweaters, Nathan MacKinnon jumping off the fire truck to shake hands with the swarm of fans and defenseman Bowen Byram being momentarily confused for a fan by security. It also included the crowd chanting “We Got The Cup,” and a shirtless Gabriel Landeskog hoisting the Cup they secured by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was the Avalanche's first title in 21 years and third in the franchise's history.

Red Wings hire Lightning assistant Derek Lalonde as coach

The Detroit Red Wings have hired two-time Stanley Cup-winning assistant Derek Lalonde as coach after a lengthy search process. Lalonde was on Jon Cooper's Tampa Bay Lightning staff the past four years in which they won the Cup twice and most recently reached the final. Lalonde is now in charge of a team in Detroit on the upswing of a long-term rebuild. Lalonde is the first active Cooper assistant to take a head coaching job in the NHL. He replaces Jeff Blashill who coached the Red Wings for seven seasons.

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