– The Nets are nearing an agreement on a three-team trade that would net them Nuggets’ F Carmelo Anthony, sources tell Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Apparently, Anthony has said that he’s “on board” with signing an extension in New Jersey as long as the Nets land F Richard Hamilton from the Pistons. Here’s how the blockbuster is expected to go down:
To Nets: F Carmelo Anthony, G Chauncey Billups, F Rip Hamilton, G Anthony Carter, G Sheldon Williams
To Nuggets: F Derrick Favors, G Devin Harris, 2 1st-round picks, F Anthony Morrow, G Ben Uzoh, F Stephen Graham
To Pistons: F Troy Murphy
The Cavaliers and Wizards also have been involved in discussions with the Nets in Anthony talks. Other names that have been mentioned in talks are Nets swingman G Quinton Ross, F Renaldo Balkman, G Terrico White and F DaJuan Summer.
The 15-17 player deal is expected to become official within the next 48 hours. Stay tuned.
– Cavaliers’ F Anderson Varejao (torn tendon in right ankle) will require surgery and is done for the season.
– The Kings have signed D Jack Johnson to a 7-year/$30.5M extension. Great move by the Kings, who sign their second best defenseman to a reasonable rate. He will make $3.5M in the first three years of the deal and $5M in the last four years for a $4.35M salary cap hit starting next season. The deal is tied for second-longest in franchise history. Johnson, soon to be 24, is in his 5th season with the Kings. He set career highs with eight goals and 28 assists last season, but is on pace to shatter his career assist mark.
In addition, the Kings are working on an extension for D Drew Doughty. Doughty, 21, was a finalist last season for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the league’s best defenseman.
– Rangers’ F Alexander Frolov (torn right ACL) will undergo surgery and miss the rest of the season. Frolov also sprained the MCL in the same knee, but the ACL tear is the more serious injury. Frolov signed a1 -year deal with the Rangers in the hopes of a bounce-back season. It remains to be seen when or where Frolov will suit up next.
– Flames’ F Tom Kostopoulos has been suspended for 6 games as a result of a hit to the jaw of Red Wings’ D Brad Stuart on Friday. He will forfeit $29,569.92. Stuart is out 6-8 weeks.
– The Thrashers have placed F Evander Kane (undisclosed) on the IR, retroactive to January 7. He’ll be eligible to return by the January 14.
– ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that the Cardinals have already started preliminary discussions with WR Larry Fitzgerald about a long-term extension. Fitzgerald has one year remaining on the 4-year/$40M pact his signed in 2008. Fitzgerald’s next contract would likely make him the highest paid non-quarterback in NFL history.
– ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Raiders’ LB Nnamdi Asomugha’s contract has voided, making him a UFA. Asomugha’s deal included a little-known clause that said his contract would void if he didn’t achieve his not-likely-to-be-earned incentives in 2010 — and he didn’t. His contract also contained a stipulation that if he didn’t achieve his incentives, the Raiders would agree not to designate him their franchise or transition player. To achieve his incentives, Asomugha had to play in a greater number of defensive plays in 2010 than he did in 2009, and this season Asomugha played in only 14 games whereas he played in all 16 in 2009. He also could have achieved his incentives by improving upon on his interceptions, fumble recoveries or sacks this season — but he didn’t have any interceptions, fumble recoveries or sacks this season. Simply put, Asomugha doesn’t pile up stats because no one is throws in his direction. Once free agency hits, the 29-year-old will be the top defensive player on the market.
– Georgia’ WR A.J. Green will forgo his senior season and enter the 2011 NFL draft. College’s best wide receiver will officially take jump to the NFL. Clemson’ DE Da’Quan Bowers would be Carolina’s likely target at No. 1 overall if they decide to hire Chargers’ DC Ron Rivera as their head coach, but Green won’t drop past Cincinnati at No. 4 overall.
– Police in Louisiana have called off the search for Ravens’ FS Ed Reed’s brother, Brian, who jumped into the Mississippi River on Friday. Reed was being chased by police after allegedly stealing a car. His jacket and shoes were found, though he wouldn’t have lasted long in the river before hypothermia set in due to 42-degree waters. Ed Reed told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols he broke down crying while in a team meeting Saturday. The Pro Bowler is active Sunday after being limited with a rib injury in practices this week.
– Peter King of SI.com is hearing that the Panthers will give Chargers DC Ron Rivera a second interview Sunday. King was the same source that reported Rivera as the early favourite to land the job in Carolina. Rivera figures to revamp Carolina’s defense and could bring along San Diego’s QB coach John Ramsdell as his OC, as he’s a veteran known for his ability to develop young quarterbacks.
– Joey Styles revealed Saturday on Twitter why WWE shut down its social networking site, WWEUniverse.com: “We closed wweuniverse.com b/c facebook.com/wwe grew so incredibly large so incredibly quickly.” The other reason why WWE’s answer to MySpace was shut down was because it was expensive to run, both in hosting costs and in man hours needed to monitor the site.
– It was reported earlier that WWE laid a copyright claim on the trailer for WWE Studios’ upcoming Triple H themed movie The Chaperone, which surfaced on YouTube Thursday. Regarding this, it is said that company executives hated the version of the trailer that hit the web since it was bootlegged with very poor video quality. They also didn’t want to give off the impression that it is a low-budget independent film.
– Based on statements made by Moore County District Attorney Maureen Kruger, the person administrating Jeff Hardy’s current legal case, the expectation is that the TNA World Heavyweight Champion’s negotiated plea will result in the drug trafficking charge being dropped (which carries a mandatory prison sentence), but that he’ll plead guilty to possession. Should the drug trafficking charge be dropped, it is likely that he will face penalties via fines and probation since he’s a first-time drug offender, thus avoiding jail time. The negotiated plea takes place Jan. 20.
– Reigning TNA Knockouts Women’s Champion Madison Rayne spoke to Brian Fritz of Fanhouse.com about how she she got interested in pro wrestling, playing a bad girl on television, the state of the Knockouts division, Awesome Kong joining WWE, and more. Rayne was asked to give her thoughts on the state of the Knockouts division, with the interviewer noting that it was extremely successful ‘and then it seemed to go through a bit of a lull.’
“Yeah, there’s been some ups and downs with the changing faces in the division but I never saw what other people did when they said it was lacking and that there was a shortage of talent or whatever it was they were using to describe the time there when we had a couple of people leaving and a couple new people coming in.
“I’ve always thought that the Knockouts division had a lot of potential and a lot of incredible talent more so now than ever I think. There’s a lot of new faces and a lot of people that the fans are familiar with but haven’t necessarily seen interact with other girls. So, wrestling fans are getting faces and new storylines to follow and new people to see in the ring together. It’s exciting for all of us and I think it’s equally exciting for everyone watching.”
She also commented on the ratings the division draws, as Knockouts bouts frequently garner the highest-rated segments on iMPACT!.
“It feels good because I know how hard we all work and that we bust our butts and we all put 100 percent into every week, every match, every segment, everything we do. So, it’s good to know that all our hard work pays off every week.”
Rayne also talked about former TNA Women’s Knockout Champion Awesome Kong reportedly signing with WWE.
“I think she deserves any and every good opportunity that comes her way. So, whether it be here or with another company or doing something that’s not even affiliated with wrestling at all. I think whatever makes Kong happy, I’m happy for because she is a good person, got a big heart and she deserves any opportunity that she gets.
– Former WWE star Matt Hardy announced recently via YouTube that he planned to make several changes in 2011, beginning with a new haircut. He said yesterday on Twitter that he got his hair cut, writing, “Oh my God! My hair looks drastically different.. DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT!! But I love it!!” He then posted an image of “a brand new haircut,” but later revealed it to be a red herring and that it was actually his friend Kimo.
Hardy then posted a video revealing that he had braided his hair—similarly to WWE star Tyler Reks. He also noted his plans to reincarnate his life both professionally and personally in 2011, and that the change has begun. Hardy said,
“In 2009, I was on top of the world. It was truly the greatest year of my life, both personally and professionally. In 2010, it was the furthest thing from that. It was the most terrible year of my life, both personally and professionally. I realized there were outside forces that stripped my passion for the business I grew up loving, professional wrestling. I realized there were outside forces that caused me problems. I realized there were outside forces that made me hate my life day-to-day, that changed me, that turned me into something I wasn’t.
“But in 2011, all that will change. Because in 2011 I will reincarnate my passion for the business. Much like, I will reincarnate Matt Hardy.”
– Angelina Pivarnick of MTV’s Jersey Shore has been in discussions with TNA Wrestling officials the past week, reports TMZ.com. However, unlike Jwoww’s few second brawl with TNA Knockout Cookie on the October 14, 2010 episode of TNA iMPACT!, Pivarnick wants to compete in a legitimate wrestling match. TNA officials are contemplating pitting Pivarnick against Cookie in a PPV bout.