– According to Hockey Night in Canada, is that the NHL’s salary cap is going up next season. Meanwhile, the NBA has long hinted that the salary cap in its league will likely go down this summer. The cap in the NHL will supposedly go up $900K to $57.7M. This will put the cap floor at $41.7M. Meanwhile, the NBA has long hinted that the salary cap in its league will likely go down this summer.
– RHP Pedro Martinez plans to begin a throwing program this week with the intention of signing a free agent deal around the middle of the season. “I’m in good shape, real good – it doesn’t take me that long to get ready,’’ Martinez told the Boston media after throwing out the first pitch at Sunday’s Red Sox season opener. He’s been linked to the Phillies and could sign a contract similar to last year’s prorated $2M deal.
– The Red Sox have signed RHP Josh Beckett to a four-year/$68M extension. The new deal, to be announced Monday afternoon at a press conference, will pay Beckett a $5M signing bonus and annual salaries of $15.75M from 2011-2014. The 29-year-old righty has gone 65-34 with a 4.08 ERA since joining the Red Sox back in 2006, strong numbers in baseball’s toughest division.
– Brewers’ owner Mark Attanasio said Monday that contract extension talks with 1B Prince Fielder are “ongoing.” The talks will apparently continue into the regular season. Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, met a few times with Brewers management this spring, but it doesn’t sound like anything is being rushed. After all, the big man is currently locked up through 2011. He’s also fresh off a 46 HR and 141 RBI season.
– ESPN.com’s Buster Olney hears that there are currently no contract negotiations taking place between the Nationals and 1B Adam Dunn. Dunn told MLB.com two weeks ago that he is willing to allow talks to carry over into the regular season, so there’s no reason to panic. Dunn, 30, smacked 38 home runs and 105 RBI last season while earning $8 million. He’ll make $12M this year, but is set to become a free agent in the fall.
– Lakers’ F Kobe Bryant’s extension is a three-year/$83.5M deal with a no-trade clause. The extension begins in the 2011-12 season when Kobe will earn $25.2M. He’ll get $27.8M in 2012-13 and $30.5M in his final year, 2013-14, when he turns 35. Under his current contract, Bryant is due to earn $24.8M next season. Bryant also had a no-trade clause in his previous contract. If he were to agree to a trade, his extension includes a trade kicker that would trigger an additional payment to him.
– According to the Arizona Republic, Suns’ F Channing Frye is declining his player option for next season. Frye reportedly would like to stay in Phoenix but figures he can make more than the $2.1M he was scheduled to make for the team next season.
– Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone will headline the 2010 NBA Hall of Fame class. Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss, high school coaching great Bob Hurley, Sr., and WNBA star Cynthia Cooper also were in the class announced at the Final Four. NBA veterans Dennis Johnson and Gus Johnson and international star Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira will be honoured posthumously. The 1960 and 1992 U.S. Olympic teams, which both won Olympic gold medals, will be part of the induction ceremony on August 13.
– The Bergen Record reports that the Nets are looking at Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski as their next head coach. Coach K declined a Lakers offer for five-years/$40M in 2004. The belief is that Prokhorev is ready to offer between $12-15M per season to Krzyzewski to coach as well as to possibly be GM.
– Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson has been fined $35K for criticizing game officials.
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has updated the Q&A section of his official website (JRsBarBQ.com) with some more insight into his future – how long he’ll be with WWE, whether he’ll announce again and if he’d consider a General Manager role on television. Some highlights:
Jim Ross: General Manager: “I am not interested in traveling to Raw each week and becoming a character. The GM role feels tired to me and I don’t want to attempt to resurrect a broken down horse. I personally think that, by and large, the GM biz/role has started to run its course. I’m talking full time or Guest General Managers, especially guest GM’s who have not the first clue about the product and engage others in lame skits featuring poor acting.”
Will He Return to announcing? “WWE has moved on in another direction and I am not in their broadcasting plans. It is not my call to not call WWE bouts any longer but I am fine with it nonetheless.”
His WWE Contract Status: “There are no guarantees that I will be staying in WWE when my contract expires at the end of April. That’s simply the nature of negotiations. Both sides have to win to make it a successful deal.”
– The word amongst friends of Chris Kanyon is that an empty bottle of Seroquel was found near his body when he died on Friday night, reports ProWrestling.net. This particular drug is used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. His death is being investigated as a suicide.
– In light of Chris Kanyon’s passing over the weekend, it’s interesting to note that a total of twenty-two talents who performed for World Championship Wrestling in 1998 have since passed away – nearly equal to a 25-man MLB roster. Likewise, a total of six wrestlers who performed for the World Wrestling Federation the very same year have since passed on (Big Boss Man, “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, Golga, Owen Hart, Road Warrior Hawk and Test). However, only two WWF performer deaths have been attributed to drug use while the WCW list is significantly greater.
In its entirety, here is the list of deceased talents who performed for WCW in 1998. With the exception of one performer, all deaths listed occurred before the age of 50.
Bam Bam Bigelow – 2007 / 01 / 19 (45)
Bobby Duncum, Jr. – 2000 / 01 / 24 (34)
Brady Boone (referee) – 1998 / 12 / 16 (40)
Brian Adams – 2007 / 08 / 13 (44)
Chase Tatum – 2008 / 03 / 23 (34)
Chris Adams – 2001 / 10 / 07 (46)
Chris Benoit – 2007 / 06 / 24 (40)
Curt Hennig – 2003 / 02 / 10 (44)
Davey Boy Smith – 2002 / 05 / 17 (39)
Eddie Guerrero – 2005 / 11 / 13 (38)
Elizabeth – 2003 / 05 / 01 (42)
Emory Hale – 2006 / 01 / 28 (36)
Johnny Grunge – 2006 / 02 / 16 (40)
Joey Maggs – 2006 / 10 / 15 (37)
Kanyon – 2010 / 04 / 02 (40)
Louie Spicolli – 1998 / 02 / 15 (27)
Mark Curtis (referee) – 1999 / 09 / 08 (37)
Randy Anderson (referee) – 2002 / 05 / 05 (42)
Ray Traylor – 2004 / 09 / 22 (41)
Renegade – 1999 / 02 / 23 (33)
Rick Rude – 1999 / 04 / 20 (40)
Rocco Rock – 2002 / 09 / 21 (50)
Additionally, six more talents who joined WCW after 1998 have since passed on – Chris Candido, “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, Mike Awesome, Rhonda Singh, Sherri Martel and The Wall. All six deaths listed occurred before the age of 50.
On a final note, Kanyon’s passing marks the fifteenth consecutive year in which at least one talent who performed for WCW between 1991 and 2001 has died.
– The Redskins will reportedly allow the player rep for RFA QB Jason Campbell to seek a trade for his client. Washington is “open” to retaining him as QB Donovan McNabb’s backup, but Campbell would obviously prefer a chance to start elsewhere. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is expected to address Campbell’s situation further at McNabb’s introductory press conference Tuesday. In the unlikely scenario that Campbell sticks around, he’d collect $3.14M per his one-year tender.
– The Rams have released QB Marc Bulger. The move saves $8.5M in salary, which will come in handy when the Rams make QB Sam Bradford one of the league’s highest paid quarterbacks later this month. Bulger, who turned 33 today, has seen his YPA average drop in six consecutive seasons and his completion rate fall in five straight while looking shell shocked in the pocket behind a swinging-gate offensive line. He’ll likely generate interest, just not as a starter.
– The Texans have signed K Neil Rackers to a two-year contract. The Texans will hold an open competition between Rackers and Kris Brown in camp. Rackers has a stronger leg for touchback purposes and has been more accurate over the last two seasons, missing just four regular season field goal attempots compared to Brown’s 14, including 11 last year alone. Neither is especially great in the clutch.
– The Lions have acquired OG Rob Sims from the Seahawks in exchange for a 5th-round draft pick. Sims, 26, will likely move into the Lions’ starting lineup immediately at left guard. Sims has racked up 31 starts over the last three seasons and is a low-risk acquisition because he’s only under contract through 2010 at just $1.176M.
– The Colts are “actively pursuing Chargers RFA LT Marcus McNeill,” according to local San Diego radio host Lee Hamilton. Signing McNeill away from the Chargers would cost the Colts a 1st and 3rd-round pick along with a huge contract extension, so an offer sheet may not happen. That said, upgrading the power on their offensive line is a priority for the Colts.
– TNA star Mick Foley has updated his MySpace.com blog with more thoughts on the tragic death of former WWE & WCW wrestler Chris Kanyon. With yet another young life lost, Foley once again shines a light on the less-than glamorous transition from wrestling superstar to everyday civilian.
“Unfortunately, suicide is a solution that far too many wrestlers have opted for. I really wish there was some kind of emotional crash pad for wrestlers to land on when the bright lights dim, or when injuries take their toll, or when one is finally forced to face the fact that the next big break just might not come around.”