– F LeBron James isn’t expected to announce his decision until at least Wednesday evening, when a three-day Nike camp in Akron ends. Many feel LBJ is still leaning towards re-signing with the Cavs. The Knicks also met with James’ representatives for a second time in Cleveland on Saturday, according to the NY Daily News. This may not mean much in the long view, but it’s a noteworthy event as LeBron’s decision looms just days away — possibly Wednesday evening but more likely Thursday.
– According to G Joe Johnson’s agent, Arn Tellem, JJ is set to re-sign with the Hawks for a maximum contract of about 6-years/$120M. Tellem confirmed Sunday in an entry he wrote for the Huffington Post website, in which he said Johnson “announced his intention to re-sign with the Hawks for six more years.” Tellem wrote that Johnson chose to remain in Atlanta over Chicago and New York, where he would have been reunited with Mike D’Antoni, his former coach in Phoenix. The Knicks tried to convince Johnson that if he signed with them he could make up lost salary with contract incentives and endorsements, but obviously their pitch didn’t work. JJ will rejoin a playoff-ready core in Atlanta, with a contract that won’t expire until he’s 35 years old. For the Knicks, missing out on Johnson means they’ll probably start targeting F Mike Miller.
– F Amare Stoudemire met with Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni on Sunday morning, as the two worked out whatever differences existed between them. D’Antoni also called Amare late last week to tell him how much the Knicks want him. It would be shocking if he doesn’t sign with New York at this point — he’s attending team owner James Dolan’s Fourth of July party, and has apparently been recruiting Spurs’ G Tony Parker and Nuggets’ F Carmelo Anthony.
– F Ilya Kovalchuk will reportedly not be signing with the Kings. GM Dean Lombardi said on Sunday afternoon that the highly sought after UFA would not be coming despite their best efforts to bring him on board. The Devils and Islanders are believed to be the front-runners at this time for his services. Stay tuned.
– Leafs’ GM Brian Burke is still looking to add a veteran defenseman to his roster via free agency. Although there is no word on who Burke is targeting, Andy Sutton, Willie Mitchell and Jay McKee could be on the Buds’ radar. If the Maple Leafs are successful in signing a veteran blueliner, it will certainly accelerate the Tomas Kaberle trade talks. Stay tuned.
– F Mike Modano said he will be patient in his search for a new club. “I really have been through this before, so it’s not that new. There’s a lot more texting now, but you still just try to ask questions and answer what they want. It’s a lot of waiting around, that’s the tough part.” Modano has had discussions with the Red Wings, but it may be tough for them to fit him into their salary structure.
– Twins’ C Joe Mauer, the overall vote leader, heads the group of AL All-Star selections. Justin Morneau, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Evan Longoria, Josh Hamilton, Ichiro Suzuki, Carl Crawford and Vladimir Guerrero were also voted in as starters. The AL reserves include Miguel Cabrera, Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, David Ortiz, Elvis Andrus, Vernon Wells, Jose Bautista, Torii Hunter, Ty Wigginton, Alex Rodriguez, Ian Kinsler and John Buck. Kinsler and Buck were injury replacements for Pedroia and Martinez, respectively. The AL pitching staff consists of David Price, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Phil Hughes, Cliff Lee, Fausto Carmona, Trevor Cahill, CC Sabathia, Neftali Feliz, Mariano Rivera, Jose Valverde, Matt Thornton and Joakim Soria. The Final Vote will come down to Paul Konerko, Nick Swisher, Kevin Youkilis, Delmon Young and Michael Young.
Cardinals’ 1B Albert Pujols was again the leading National League All-Star vote-getter. Others that were voted as starters include Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Ryan Braun, Andre Ethier, Jason Heyward and Yadier Molina. The NL reserves consist of Martin Prado, Ryan Howard, Brandon Phillips, Omar Infante, Michael Bourn, Chris Young, Brian McCann, Adrian Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Scott Rolen, Corey Hart, Matt Holliday, Marlon Byrd and Jose Reyes. Phillips and Reyes were added as injury replacements for Utley and Tulowitzki, respectively, and Prado will start at second. Heyward might require an injury replacement, as well. Pitchers that were selected for the squad include Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Yovani Gallardo, Tim Hudson, Evan Meek, Arthur Rhodes, Matt Capps, Brian Wilson and Jonathan Broxton. For the Final Vote, it will be between Joey Votto, Ryan Zimmerman, Carlos Gonzalez, Billy Wagner and Heath Bell.
– The D’Backs have released LHP Dontrelle Willis. In six games with Arizona, five as a starter, Willis was 1-1 with a 6.85 ERA. He struck out 13 and walked 27 in 22 1-3 innings.
– The Indians have placed OF Shin-Soo Choo (sprained right thumb) on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 3.
– The Astros have placed 1B Geoff Blum (loose bodies in right elbow) on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 2.
– The Cardinals have placed OF Ryan Ludwick (left calf strain) on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 26.
– The Padres have placed OF Will Venable (lower back strain) on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 2.
– The Twins have placed 2B Matt Tolbert (contusion on right middle finger) on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 1.
– The Red Sox have placed RHP Manny Delcarmen (strained right forearm) on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 1.
– UFC Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar defeated Shane Carwin on Saturday night at UFC 116 by submission in the second round of the fight. Carwin came out strong in the first round, dropping Lesnar with a vicious uppercut and almost putting the champion away with a fury of ground and pound. Lesnar survived the round and came back strong in the second round, making Carwin submit from an arm-triangle choke. After the fight, Lesnar thanked referee Josh Rosenthal for not stopping the fight when he appeared to be in trouble. Lesnar said:
“He hit me pretty good, and I don’t know, I ended up there on the ground. I just had to go into survival mode and stay busy. I really have to thank the referee for allowing that thing to go on. I wasn’t hurt. I thought if I just kept moving — I could feel Shane’s punches getting less and less — and I thought, well, if I can get out of here then I’m just going to exert a lot energy. I realized there was [not a lot of time left], so I just tried to stay busy. He’s a beast. He definitely won the first round [laughs].”
Former WWE personalities Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Steve Austin, Jim Ross and Bill Goldberg were shown in attendence. Lesnar’s longtime friend Paul Heyman was also with Lesnar throughout the weekend. At the post-show press conference, UFC President Dana White announced that Lesnar’s next title defense will be against undefeated heavyweight Cain Velasquez. No date has been announced, but the fight is expected to take place later this year.
– According to WWE Magazine’s “Best of WWE” Special Issue, which was released last Tuesday, WWE Studios’ upcoming comedy film starring Paul “Triple H” Levesque will be released in theaters next summer. Also note, the magazine refers to the film as Inside Out, but it has since been changed to The Chaperone. The film is currently being filmed in New Orleans, Louisiana.
– R-Truth revealed in an interview with WWE Magazine that he has another entrance theme in the works which would be specifically performed at pay-per-view events.
“The new song is called “Right Time. It’s hip-hop with some metal guitars in it. The lyrics will encourage crowd participation, too. The song just talks about going through life, doing the right things and keeping your head up.
Marc Valeri – firstname.lastname@example.org
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