– The Magic have replaced the Knicks as Hornets’ G Chris Paul’s first choice if he can get himself traded. Paul wants to play with F Dwight Howard, according to sources, while it also doesn’t hurt that the Magic have more to offer New Orleans in a trade, making a deal more realistic. Paul is under contract for two more seasons, meaning the Hornets don’t have to move him. But Paul, since joining forces with LeBron James’ marketing company, seems determined to try to get out before the start of the season. The Knicks, Blazers and Mavericks remain on CP3′s short list of preferred teams.
– Lakers’ G Kobe Bryant (right knee) recently underwent arthroscopic surgery. This was the third time he’s had the knee scoped, and this one was kept pretty quiet by everyone. Bryant is rehabbing and is expected to be fully recovered prior to the start of the training camp on September 25.
– After the NY Post’s George King reported Friday that the Royals were willing to listen to inquiries about RHP Zack Greinke, Bright House’s Tom Krasniqi tweeted that he’s heard the Rays are “kicking the tires.” While the Rays do have pieces to offer in either Wade Davis or Jeremy Hellickson, elite outfield prospect Desmond Jennings or infielder Reid Brignac, it’s likely that nothing will materialize from this. With OF Carl Crawford’s future very much up in the air this winter, the Rays would be foolish to rid themselves of their top prospects at the moment.
– The Athletics have re-signed C Kurt Suzuki to a 4-year/$16.25M contract with a club option for 2014. Rather than an extension, essentially, his 2010 contract was replaced.Reportedly, the vesting option, which takes the place of his first year of free agency, kicks in if he plays somewhere around 110-120 games in 2013. The deal could be worth as much as $25-26M if the option is exercised.
– A source tells Jayson Stark of ESPN.com that the Yankees were “never close” to a deal for RHP Dan Haren on Friday. The two parties did swap names Friday, according to the source, however the Yankees rejected a proposal that included RHP Joba Chamberlain, 23-year-old RHP Ivan Nova, Zach McAllister and two other prospects. On the other side, ‘Zona reportedly rejected a counteroffer from New York consisting entirely of prospects. The D’Backs are reportedly trying to unload both RHP Chad Qualls and OF Chris Snyder in any deal involving Haren, which the Yankees did not want. Another sticking point between the two teams, according to the source, is how much of the $33M remaining on Haren’s contract the Diamondbacks are willing to assume. If the report is true, it doesn’t appear the Yankees have a leg up on anyone at the moment.
– Astors’ RHP Roy Oswalt still wants his 2012 club option guaranteed as part of any trade, but would be willing to restructure his contract should he be traded to the Cardinals, a source confirms to ESPN’s Amy Nelson. It’s becoming pretty clear that St. Louis has been Oswalt’s preferred destination all along. That doesn’t mean a trade will actually happen, of course, as the two clubs are working to find a common ground in negotiations. Stay tuned.
– The Royals OF David DeJesus (torn ligament in right thumb) will undergo season-ending surgery Monday for a torn ligament in his right thumb. A major disappointment for a quality veteran having his best season to date. DeJesus was hitting .318/.384/.443 on the year.
– Cubs’ LHP Ted Lilly could be traded as early as this weekend, sources have told the Chicago Sun-Times. The lefty’s value has risen after his last two starts, allowing four runs over 14 1/3 innings while striking out 16 and walking just two. The Mets, Tigers, Twins and Dodgers are believed to be the most interested. The Cubs would like to trade Lilly before his next scheduled start on Tuesday.
– Former OF Barry Bonds has pleaded not guilty to lying to a federal grand jury in 2003 when he denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs.– It appears Barry Bonds’ long-running criminal case may not go to trial until next year. The legal team for MLB’s home run king, the government lawyers prosecuting him and the judge overseeing the 3-year-old case were unable to set a definitive trial date Friday. They agreed to reconvene on August 6 to try again. On Friday, US District Judge Susan Illston told the lawyers her courtroom only was available for trial in September this year. But Bonds’ lawyers ruled out September, making an early 2011 trial likely instead.
– Canucks’ D Sami Salo (torn Achilles) is out indefinitely after suffering the injury during his off-season training. Salo will have to be evaluated further before a more detailed timeline for his return can be made. Salo has scored 25 to 28 points in each of his last three seasons, but hasn’t played in more than 68 games since 2003-04. Stay tuned.
– Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones told FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez on Friday that the team will not be trading DE Marcus Spears. A Miami Herald report Thursday speculated that the Dolphins might have interest in Spears, but those rumours have been put to rest.
– 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston reports that Patriots’ WR Wes Welker (shoulder, knee) will be fully cleared for all training camp activities. It’s been clear since May that Welker’s recovery is way ahead of schedule. Welker is not yet been medically cleared, but it’s expected to happen before the Pats begin two-a-days. Should Welker practice in team drills, he will not be eligible to begin the regular season on reserve/PUP.
– According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Bengals’ WR Antonio Bryant’s surgically repaired was still a “problem” this offseason. Mort says the health of Bryant’s knee is “one factor to watch” in the Bengals’ reported interest in WR Terrell Owens. Bryant underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee last August, and it continued to bother him off and on throughout the 2009 season. It was already a slight concern that he was “resting” the knee during offseason work, and now there’s reason to believe Bryant’s knee could be worse than initially thought.
– Wolves’ GM David Kahn and the team have each been fined $50K for comments Kahn made Thursday regarding F Michael Beasley smoking marijuana in the past. There are confidentiality rules regarding the league’s drug policy, which Kahn was in violation of when he said Beasley “smoked too much marijuana” back in the day.
Marc Valeri – firstname.lastname@example.org
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