– Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com reports that the Magic are considering a trade sending F Dwight Howard to the Lakers for a package of players, draft picks and salary cap relief, while F Andrew Bynum would land with the Cavaliers. Bynum reportedly has the Cavs on an approved “short list” of places he’d agree to an extension, while the Cavs have the necessary draft picks to get a deal done. Stay tuned.
– The Trail Blazers have rejected multiple sign-and-trade offers from the Wolves for RFA G Nicolas Batum, including as many as three 1st-round picks or last year’s No. 2 pick F Derrick Williams, according to ESPN. The Wolves are prepared to sign Batum to a 4-year/$46.4M offer sheet on Sunday, which “Portland management believes … is vastly more than Batum is worth.” The story may be planted, as logically, the Blazers would take three picks and a top prospect in exchange for a player who doesn’t want to be with the team and will be overpaid. The two teams have had previous issues which may be coming into play–there is an outstanding argument about F Martell Webster’s medical records from a 2010 trade, and Minny’s signing of F Brandon Roy has cost Portland as much as $17M in lost insurance money. Stay tuned.
– The Knicks are discussing a sign-and-trade with the Blazers for G Raymond Felton, according to ABC reporter Mark Haggard, and may not match the offer sheet for RFA G Jeremy Lin as a result. Felton told Haggard that “a deal is about to be completed sending him back to the NY Knicks … Felton also said the Knicks deal with Jeremy Lin is off.” Houston as also not formally submitted the offer sheet yet. Stay tuned.
– The Raptors have officially signed Knicks’ RFA G Landry Fields to a 3-year/$19M contract, as the Knicks have declined to match their offer sheet on Saturday. Fields has two-year career averages of 9.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 30 minutes per game. The Raptors will give him $6.3M annually, as he projects to become the new starting three. Fields regressed last year to 25.6% from downtown and just 56.2% from the FT line.
– The Nets and G C.J. Watson have agreed on a 2-year contract for the veteran’s minimum, after Watson cleared waivers on Friday. It’s another solid, low-budget signing for the Nets.
– The Raiders have agreed to terms with unsigned franchise SS Tyvon Branch on a 4-year/$26.6M contract with $17.1M guaranteed. Branch was set to count $6.2M against the salary cap under his franchise tender. The Raiders reportedly entered the week less than $1M under the cap. Branch has been a 16-game starter each of the past three seasons, and has recorded at least 104 tackles in every season since 2009. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 20th best safety in 2011.
– Ravens’ unsigned franchise RB Ray Rice remains “optimistic” the sides will reach a long-term deal before the Monday afternoon deadline. CBS’ Jason La Canfora reported Thursday the sides were in stalemate, and that it would take a “major reversal” to come to an agreement before Monday’s deadline. Rice is believed to be seeking more than $10M annually, which would make him the NFL’s second highest-paid running back after Vikings’ RB Adrian Peterson. For now, he appears likely to play under his $7.7M tender.
– NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi reports that the Bears and unsigned franchise RB Matt Forte are “extremely close” to a long-term deal. Forte said on Friday that he expected heavy negotiations to take place this weekend. Forte has yet to sign his $7.749M franchise tender, and Monday is the deadline for the two sides to come to an extension.
– Lions’ unsigned franchise DE Cliff Avril told the Detroit Free Press that he’s “not getting a good vibe” about reaching a long-term deal before Monday’s deadline. ”I’m hopeful, but I don’t know. I’m not getting a good vibe, let’s put it that way. But I’m hopeful.” Avril says he’s unsure what he’ll do if forced to play under his 1-year/$10.6M tender. “I haven’t talked to my agent past that point, honestly.” Avril could hold out until Week 10 without losing an accrued year toward free agency, but would make only a pro-rated portion of his salary.
– According to the Columbus Post-Dispatch, the Blue Jackets have inquired as to the availability of Kings’ G Jonathan Bernier. Bernier asked to be traded for the second time this week after making a similar request at the trade deadline in February. He has a ton of potential, but is stuck behind G Jonathan Quick as long as he’s in LA. The Jackets recently acquired G Sergei Bobrovsky from the Flyers and still have G Steve Mason, however, but Bernier would represent an upgrade over both options.
– Stars’ GM Joe Nieuwendyk revealed that F Derek Roy’s (shoulder) surgery last week was not mandatory in order for him to play. ”It was an elective [surgery], a choice. He could have played. He did play with it. It was a decision made by that organization. I spoke to Joe before when we went through all the medical records prior to when we made the trade. [Roy] was rehabbing, he played with the shoulder last year and he would have played going forward.” The extra damage was found when the Stars’ medical staff gave Roy a more comprehensive medical exam. Roy will be out until November.
– The Braves have acquired SS Paul Janish from the Reds for RHP Todd Redmond. Janish will fill in for SS Andrelton Simmons (fractured finger) and SS Jack Wilson (dislocated pinkie). Janish, 29, was sporting a .237/.332/.391 batting line in 49 games at Triple-A Louisville. He’ll carry no fantasy value.
– Orioles’ RHP Jason Hammel (right knee) said Saturday that’s leaning toward knee surgery, and will likely be placed on the DL before Sunday’s game. Hammel has a piece of loose cartilage that is hitting a nerve whenever he bends his knee. If he does go under the knife, he’s expected to be out until early-September.
– According to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, the Angels have interest in acquiring Twins’ LHP Francisco Liriano and RHP Matt Capps. Liriano, who’s coming off a 15-strikeout performance, is expected to be moved before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
– The Tigers have placed LHP Drew Smyly (intercostal strain) on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 7. The severity of the injury or when it occurred is not yet known.
– MLB Network’s Peter Gammons reports the Mets have considered trading for Red Sox’ C Kelly Shoppach. Boston is reportedly looking to promote C Ryan Lavarnway, making Shoppach expendable. He would likely platoon with C Josh Thole in New York if acquired. The Mets are also believed to be interested in Rockies’ C Ramon Hernandez, so Shoppach appears to be the backup plan.
– The Cardinals have signed LHP Brian Fuentes to a minor league contract. Fuentes posted a 6.84 ERA in 25 innings with the Athletics prior to his release. He’ll earn a prorated amount of the veteran minimum if promoted to the bigs.
– The Miz posted a few noteworthy tweets on Saturday. When was asked on Twitter if he will be at WWE Money in the Bank on Sunday night, he replied:
Only of wwe recognizes my talent RT @RyanBitch: @mikethemiz Will you be at the Money In The Bank PPV Sunday? #TeamCobra
When asked about the best technical wrestler out there, he said:
Who give a shit #IBeatBitchesUp RT @Bburkes03: @mikethemiz best technical wrestler period? #TeamMiz
Another follower asked, “whats the best thing about being a wrestler?” Miz responded:
Im not @CMPunk im a sports entertainer RT @elizapoo: @mikethemiz whats the best thing about being a wrestler ? ?#CabreraAtKeyClub?
– Sara Del Rey, who was recently signed by WWE, is expected to train other WWE divas in addition to her performing in the ring. Del Rey is known for being a world class wrestler that does not fit the typical profile of a barbie-doll WWE Diva. There is also a feeling that Del Rey loves wrestling and won’t join the long string of models who leave the company to pursue outside projects. Del Rey currently has two more independent bookings which will conclude by mid-August, after which she will begin with WWE.
– There are still conflicting reports as to Kharma’s status with WWE. She is still listed as “Alumni” on the WWE website and WWE’s Twitter account. Kharma re-tweeted the following message from a fan on Friday:
I hope @Kharma only stays in the #WWEAluimi until she returns and beats the crap out of barbie doll divas
– The Miz has finished filming his scenes for the WWE Studios movie, The Marine: Homefront.
– Former WWE Superstar Carlito tweeted some thoughts about Friday’s SmackDown show, dubbed “Zackdown” and featuring guest GM Zack Ryder. Carlito, who knows a thing or two about what’s cool, says doesn’t get the Zack Ryder character:
Maybe Im getting old? I dont get the whole zack ryder thing, actually it annoys me. I like zack though, hes a good kid.
– The Boston Herald has released information about former WWE superstar Dave Bautista’s first professional MMA opponent, Rashid “Smash” Evans. Evans is a native New Yorker and has a professional record of 1-2. The Herald noted that the CES MMA promotion is “currently working on a pay-per view deal to get the show televised, but nothing is finalized yet.” The fight is set for 10/6 in Rhode Island.
– According to the PWInsider, WWE is having difficulty registering a trademark for the name “Ryback.” WWE’s submission to register the name was initially rejected back in January because the US Patent & Trademark Office felt the name was a surname, which you cannot copyright. WWE responded that Ryback is not a surname, but were rejected once again because the USPTO was not satisfied with WWE’s reasoning. WWE also recently registered the trademark “WWE Spotlight” as a name for a new television show. Spotlight was the name of one of WWE’s syndicated shows back in the 1980?s.
– WWE Superstar David Otunga has begin filming the WWE Studios movie The Hive, starring Halle Berry. Otunga will likely be off television while working on the project. Otunga noted on Twitter that he’s shaved off his signature goatee for the movie and is now clean-shaven. Check out this picture of Otunga’s new look:
– Hulk Hogan will be opening a retail store in Clearwater Beach, Florida later this month. The store, which will sell Hulk Hogan merchandise and memorabilia, will feature regular appearances and autograph seessions from Hulk Hogan and friends. Hulk’s wife Jennifer and daughter Brooke will both be involved in the business.
– Thursday’s iMPACT! Wrestling drew around a 0.8 cable rating, with 1.11 million viewers. The show did not rank in the Top 50 shows on cable for the night, so the official rating won’t be available until next week. The DirecTV blackout is a factor in this week’s rating being lower than usual, with 20 million DirecTV subscribers not having access to Spike TV on Thursday night.
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com reports that the Magic are considering a trade sending Dwight Howard to the Lakers in exchange for a package of players, draft picks and salary cap relief, while Andrew Bynum would land with the Cavaliers.
According to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, the Angels have interest in acquiring Francisco Liriano from the Twins.