– The Rockets are attempting to make a trade offer for Magic’ F Dwight Howard, according to ESPN. The Rockets reportedly had discussions about moving up in the draft with the Kings and Raptors, and Houston may be prepared to part with G Kyle Lowry in order to make a deal happen. One GM believes the “real aim” of GM Daryl Morey is to acquire two top-10 selections, then flip both as part of a “considerable trade offer” for Howard. Stay tuned.
– Thunder’ impending FA G James Harden expects to sign a contract extension with the team, according to ESPN. Harden, the league’s Sixth Man of the Year, said that he “loves it” with the team and expected an extension to be worked out. Harden is eligible to sign a contract extension beginning July 1, and added that he might take a pay cut to stay with OKC. “A dynasty is being built here.”
– WWE has changed the official names of the Money in the Bank Ladder Matches taking place at Money in the Bank on July 15. In the past, the two annual matches were referred as Smackdown and Raw matches. WWE.com has Big Show listed as the first participant in the WWE Championship Money in the Bank Ladder Match. While WWE has yet to announce whether a World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Ladder Match will take place, F4WOnline.com reports that there are plans to hold it.
– Ryback addressed comparisons to Bill Goldberg during an interview with the July 2012 issue of WWE Magazine. When asked what his look tells WWE Universe members, Ryback responded,
“All the Rob Van Dam comparisons are fine with me because we actually have the same airbrush guy. I feel like I’m a colorful person in terms of my personality and what people are going to see over time. The plain black look just didn’t cut it for me. It worked for Austin, it worked for Goldberg, but I’m not Austin or Goldberg—I’m Ryback.”
He was also asked why people should care about him over anyone else:
“I bring an intensity and excitement that nobody’s seen in a long time. When you watch a Ryback match, you’re going to be entertained one way or another, whether it lasts for two minutes or twenty minutes.”
– This weekend marks the five-year anniversary of the Chris Benoit double murder-suicide that occurred over a three-day period ending on June 24, 2007. He murdered his wife and son before hanging himself. Two former WCW stars went on Twitter to remember their late friend.
Perry Saturn: “Another one of those horrible anniversaries. Chris was a great friend and I miss him.”
Scotty Riggs: “Many wrestling fans remember this weekends 5 yr anniversary in their own way, I chose to miss my friends Chris, Nancy & Daniel … All RIP.”
Blue Meanie: “Today I reflect on a the 5yr ann. of the most shocking days of my life w/the Chris Benoit double murder/suicide.”
– 10 years ago today, Bret Hart suffered a stroke after hitting his head in a bicycle accident. He briefly suffered paralysis on his left side, which required months of physical therapy. Hart has since recovered much of his mobility and is in good health, although he suffers from an emotional imbalance. Hart addressed the anniversary on Twitter, writing,
“10 years ago today at this very hour, death came calling and returned home empty handed. Thank you God for letting me continue my journey.”
– Today marks the anniversary of three more wrestling deaths: Shane Bauer, who was Chris Benoit’s early tag team partner Biff Wellington, was found dead five years ago today. Toni Adams passed away two years ago today at the age of 45, while midget wrestling star Cowboy Bradley passed away that same day at 75.
– The Mets have placed RHP Frank Francisco (strained left side) on the 15-day DL. Francisco had an MRI Sunday that revealed the injury. He has converted 18 of 21 save chances in his first season with New York.
– The D’Backs have signed RHP David Hernandez to a 2-year contract. The 27-year-old is 0-1 with two saves and a 2.90 ERA this season, with 45 strikeouts in 31 innings over 33 games.
– The Pirates have claimed UTIL Drew Sutton off waivers from the Rays. Sutton, who will report to the Pirates later this week, hit .271 with six RBIs in 48 at bats for Tampa Bay before being designated for assignment Friday.
– Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities believes it’s “a given” that the Vikings will limit RB Adrian Peterson’s (ACL, MCL, meniscus surgery) early-season workload if he’s available for Week 1. Barring setbacks, AP should be ready for Week 1, but top beat writer believes RB Toby Gerhart is “in line to carry the load out of the gate.” If true, it would just be a matter of time before Peterson returns to his old workhorse role.
– A California county has surprised both the 49ers and Santa Clara leaders by pulling $30M in tax funds from the new 49ers stadium. Santa Clara County officials told the Mercury News that they would rather spend the money on teachers. The team and the city say voters specifically earmarked money for the $1.2B stadium and that the county has no right to keep it. The newspaper says lawsuits are likely. A new board that oversees property tax from redevelopment zones was responsible for the sudden revocation. It was so unexpected that city leaders say it violated public notice laws. Voters approved a 2010 measure that allocated $40M in redevelopment funds for the stadium, which is set to open in 2014. Construction began in April.