#SportsReport: NBA Will Keep Paying Players; Yankees Are Most Valuable MLB Team
The NBA says players will receive their full checks when the next payday for most of them arrives on April 15 despite no games having been played for more than a month at that point.
The league and the National Basketball Players Association have been in talks for weeks about the status of salaries during the game's shutdown. The last NBA games were played March 11, the day that Utah center Rudy Gobert became the first player in the league to test positive for the coronavirus. The pandemic will lead to the delay of at least 259 regular-season games through April 15, what would have been the end of the regular season.
In other developments related to the coronavirus:
The Los Angeles Clippers are getting together for workouts while the NBA season is suspended — via video conference calls. Up to 10 players at a time tune in to do workouts led by the team's performance staff since the league shut down practice facilities because of the coronavirus pandemic. They've also been using workout equipment tailored for each player and provided by the team. Coach Doc Rivers says that's led to trash talking while watching each other work out.
Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra says head coaches and senior department staffers will take 10% salary cuts. The reductions are expected to save about $15 million to offset anticipated revenue shortfalls because of event cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic. Approximately $10 million of that estimated savings comes from salary reductions for men's basketball coach Chris Mack, football coach Scott Satterfield, women's basketball coach Jeff Walz and baseball coach Dan McDonnell.
UFC 249 has been canceled after ESPN and parent company Disney stopped UFC President Dana White's plan to keep fighting amid the coronavirus pandemic. UFC 249 was scheduled for April 18, and White planned to follow it with weekly fight cards from Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino on tribal land in California's Central Valley.
Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano is back in New York after completing his quarantine period following a positive test for the coronavirus. Castellano tested positive for COVID-19 last month as part of a physical mandated by Gulfstream Park to determine if he could be cleared to ride in the Florida Derby on March 28. He quarantined in Florida and said he was largely asymptomatic throughout his time with the virus.
Australia's rugby league championship plans to restart on May 28, more than two months after it was suspended. The governing ARL Commission also says it intends to play a full three-game State of Origin series. Commissioner Wayne Pearce says they wanted to set a date and then work on finalizing a competition. Pearce says "a date is to give certainty to players and their schedules, clubs and thousands of people who are out of work through clubs and millions of fans."
The World Curling Federation has canceled its championships this year. The men's, women's, mixed doubles and senior championships will not be held in 2020. The WCF has adjusted its qualifying for the 2021 world championships and the 2022 Winter Olympics to compensate for the missing tournaments.
The International Tennis Federation is putting about half of its staff on furlough and cutting other employees' salaries because of the coronavirus pandemic. The move includes a 30% pay drop in 2020 for ITF President David Haggerty and reductions of 10% or 20% for others.
The Kentucky Derby Museum is looking to unload all merchandise for the 146th Derby dated May 2. The race has been postponed from that date to Sept. 5 because of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, over 300 Derby 146 items with the old date will be available for online sale from April 15 to May 3. The museum will donate 20% of sales proceeds to two funds that help those affected by COVID-19.
Slugger Mark Reynolds is retiring after hitting 298 homers over 13 seasons with eight teams. The 36-year-old made the announcement Thursday on SiriusXM Radio, saying he's moved beyond baseball. The all-or-nothing free swinger hit at least 30 homers four times and led the majors in strikeouts three times while compiling a .236 batting average. He hit .260 in 2009 and set career highs 44 homers and what is still a big league-record 223 strikeouts.
Forbes estimates the New York Yankees are baseball's most valuable franchise at $5 billion, up 9% over last year and 47% more than the No. 2 Los Angeles Dodgers at $3.4 billion. The Yankees are second among all sports in Forbes' evaluations to the Dallas Cowboys, listed at $5.5 billion in the last NFL ranking. The Yankees' YES Network broadcasts Forbes "SportsMoney" television show. The Boston Red Sox are third at $3.3 billion, Forbes said Thursday, followed by the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco, the New York Mets, St. Louis and Philadelphia. Each of those teams are worth $2 billion. Miami was last at $980 million, a drop of $20 million. Forbes estimates the MLB average team value rose 4% from last year to $1.85 billion, the smallest annual appreciation since a 2% rise in 2010.
The Houston Texans have picked up receiving help after sending DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals last month. A person familiar with the deal says the Texans have acquired Brandin Cooks from the Los Angeles Rams. The NFL Network reported the Rams will get a second-round pick while sending a future fourth-rounder to Houston. While Cooks hasn't matched Hopkins' superstar play during his six-year career, he is a fast, steady deep threat who has five 50-reception seasons for three franchises. Cooks had 42 receptions for 583 yards and two touchdowns for Los Angeles last season.
The Chiefs are bringing back cornerback Bashaud Breeland on a one-year deal that could be worth up to $4.5 million, a person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press, helping to alleviate one of the Super Bowl champions' biggest concerns ahead of the NFL draft. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Thursday because the deal had not been announced. ESPN.com first reported it. Breeland started 15 of 16 games for the Chiefs last season, which he played on a one-year prove-it deal after an injury-shortened season in Green Bay. He also started all three playoff games and was instrumental in helping the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers for their first championship in five decades.
Tua Tagovailoa's agent says the quarterback is healthy and will be ready for training camp. The former Alabama signal-caller held a virtual pro day with former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer Thursday after his personal pro day was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak. Tagovailoa injured his hip on Nov. 15 and had season-ending surgery two days later. He is expected to be among the top five picks in the NFL draft later this month.
The Chicago Bulls have a new leader. A person familiar with the situation says the struggling franchise has hired Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas to run their basketball operation. The 48-year-old Karnisovas had big roles in Denver, taking two-time All-Star center Nikola Jokic in the second round of the 2014 draft. He also picked up recent lottery selections Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Longtime executive John Paxson is expected to move into an advisory role. The futures of general manager Gar Forman and coach Jim Boylen are unclear.
Carolina Hurricanes president and general manager Don Waddell said All-Star defenseman Dougie Hamilton would be ready to play if the season resumes. Hamilton needed surgery to repair a broken left leg suffered in January and had been listed as out indefinitely before the season was suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic. Waddell said Hamilton's rehab has gone well and that he would soon start work on the ice. Hamilton was on pace to shatter career highs for goals, assists, points and plus/minus. He was a plus-30 with 14 goals, 26 assists and 40 points in 47 games before the injury.
Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave remains in a medically induced coma in a Toronto hospital after suffering a brain bleed earlier in the week. The 25-year-old was airlifted Tuesday to Sunnybrook Hospital and underwent emergency surgery. Doctors removed a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain. Cave's wife, Emily, said the family is no longer allowed to be in the hospital because of COVID-19 rules. She said they have no idea when they will be allowed to see him again.
Two former 21st Century Fox Inc. executives remain free on $15 million appearance bonds, three days after they were indicted as part of the U.S. government's investigation of soccer corruption. Hernan Lopez and Carlos Martinez were arraigned Thursday on wire fraud and money laundering charges in connection with alleged payments to officials of the South American governing body CONMEBOL. The indictment, unsealed Monday, also contended they made illegal payments to win broadcast rights for Fox to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Lopez and Martinez pleaded not guilty, as did the sports marketing company Full Play Group SA, which also is charged with racketeering. Judge Pamela Chen of U.S. District Court in Brooklyn ordered both to surrender their passports and imposed 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfews. Lopez is in Los Angeles, and Martinez is in Miami.
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