– Clippers’ F Blake Griffin (left knee) has a tear of the meniscus in his left knee and will miss the Olympics. He’ll undergo surgery next week and miss 8-10 weeks, but sources close to him believe he will be ready for training camp. Griffin will now have had procedures on both knees with the left one being the one that cost him his rookie season. Hornets’ F Anthony Davis will replace Griffin on Team USA roster. He scored nine points in just 10 minute in the fourth quarter including a four-point play.
– The Pacers have signed free agent G Gerald Greenmto a reported 3-year/$10M contract. Indy passed on Green to take F Danny Granger in the 2005 draft. Green averaged 13 points and 1.4 3-pointers in 31 games with the Nets, and should be a nice addition off the bench.
– Raptors’ G Jose Calderon “would welcome a trade” out of Toronto following the acquisition of G Kyle Lowry, according to ESPN. The Raptors aren’t expected to amnesty Calderon, and are looking for a trade exception in return for the Spanish guard. The Mavs are interested, but will hold until they’ve decided on Luis Scola and Elton Brand first.
– The Lakers are interested in F Elton Brand, F Antawn Jamison and F Jermaine O’Neal for the “veteran minimum,” according to ESPN. Jamison is drawing league-wide interest, but is believed to be leaning towards the Nets.
– Jerry Zgoda wrote Thursday evening that Friday would be the soonest there would be any movement on a potential sign-and-trade between the Blazers and Wolves for RFA F Nicolas Batum. This could suggest that a sign-and-trade is getting closer. Stay tuned.
– The Rockets have decided to waive F Luis Scola using the amnesty clause in order to clear salary space to make a run at Magic’ F Dwight Howard, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Scola averaged 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in his NBA career and has only missed eight games in five years. The Mavericks are rumoured by Wojo to be targeting Scola, along with Elton Brand, who was waived by the Sixers.
– Indy Star’s Mike Wells is reporting that the Pacers have signed free agent G D.J. Augustin to a 1-year contract. Augustin’s qualifying offer was withdrawn by the Bobcats on Thursday. He’ll battle with George Hill for the starting job.
– The Celtics are targeting free agent G O.J. Mayo or G Courtney Lee, according to Sam Amico. Lee has also been on their radar for days, while Mayo would likely need a sign-and-trade.
– Kings’ G Jonathan Bernier revealed to NHL.com that he asked the team for a trade. ”I asked the Kings to trade me before the trade deadline, but they refused. Now that Jonathan Quick signed a long-term deal, I expect to be traded before training camp starts.” Bernier’s ceiling is very high, but he’ll never get a chance to show it in LA. Most teams goaltending situations appear to be set at this point in time, so it’s not known what kind of market he’ll attract. Any teams that fail to acquire G Roberto Luongo from the Canucks could be in on the bidding.
– Flyers’ F Scott Hartnell’s agent, Matt Oates, revealed that his client is hoping to sign a contract extension with the team. ”Scott would welcome coming back; he loves it in Philadelphia. But we haven’t had any contact with the Flyers just yet.” Hartnell is coming off a career season, scoring 37 goals and 67 points in 82 games. Philly may be wise to wait and see if this past season is a sign of things to come, or an aberration in his stats. Hartnell is currently scheduled to become a UFA next summer.
– CBS’ Jason La Canfora reports there has been “considerable progress” in long-term talks between the Bears and unsigned franchise RB Matt Forte. La Canfora reports that the sides have an idea of how a 5-year deal might look, but are still not seeing eye-to-eye on how to structure the first three years. La Canfora now agrees with ESPN’s Chris Mortensen in saying that the sides would reach an agreement before Monday’s deadline–he had previously characterized the chances of a deal getting done as “weak.”
– Texans’ QB Matt Schaub (Lisfranc surgery) has been given doctor’s clearance for the start of training camp. Despite being held out of offseason practices as a precaution, has been involved passing drills with teammates over the past week. Both Schaub and the team have insisted for weeks that his foot is 100% healthy.
– ESPN’s Jayson Stark was told by sources that the Phillies are preparing a “substantial offer” to LHP Cole Hamels to try and sign impending free agent within the next two weeks. Philly is hanging on as long as possible before officially becoming sellers. Stark reports that the team has had had numerous internal discussions about whether to break that 6-year plateau with Hamels. The 28-year-old is drawing league-wide interest.
– Red Sox’ 2B Dustin Pedroia (thumb) took batting practice Thursday and is no longer wearing a cast. It was originally thought that Pedroia would need to wear a cast for two weeks, but now appears to be ahead of schedule. He hopes to return as soon as he’s first eligible next Thursday.
– The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday that there is “insufficient evidence” to arrest Giants’ 3B Pablo Sandoval for an alleged sexual assault. Sandoval was questioned by Bay Area police regarding a sexual assault complaint which was filed on June 1 by a 21-year-old woman. Sandoval’s attorney, Eric Geffon, had previously called the encounter “consensual.” No charges are expected.
– According to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, the Dodgers have “identified” Brewers’ 3B Aramis Ramirez as a potential trade target, but still have Padres’ 3B Chase Headley as a higher priority. LA continues to search for an upgrade prior to the July 31 trade deadline. Ramirez, 34, is batting .272/.346/.475 with 10 home runs and 52 RBI in 78 games this season for the Brewers. Headley, 28, is hitting .267/.368/.413 with eight homers and 42 RBI through 86 games out in San Diego.
– Blue Jays’ RHP Brandon Morrow (strained oblique) will throw off a mound for the first time this weekend. He remains out indefinitely. The 27-year-old has been sidelined for the past month.
– Mariners’ C Jesus Montero (concussion) has been cleared for baseball activities. Montero hasn’t played since suffering a mild concussion when he was hit in the mask by a foul tip last Wednesday.
– Cardinals’ RHP Kyle McClellan (shoulder) underwent season-ending surgery Tuesday. The 28-year-old was attempting to rehab a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, but suffered a torn labrum during a recent throwing session. The Cards will likely look to add a reliever by the deadline.
– ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Orioles are now “poking around” on Mariners’ LHP Jason Vargas. Vargas has a 4.07 ERA and 86/32 K/BB ratio over 19 starts this season, but he been knocked around to the tune of a 5.09 ERA outside of Safeco Field.
– According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays are nearing a deal with 1st-rounder 3B Richie Shaffer. The 21-year-old was selected 25th overall out of Clemson in last month’s MLB Amateur Draft. The deadline to get deals struck is Friday at 5 p.m. ET.
– According to Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA, the Yankees have signed 1st-round pick RHP Ty Hensley. Hensley was selected No. 30 overall in last month’s First-Year Player Draft. He’ll get a $1.2M bonus, less than the recommendation of $1.6M. The two sides initially agreed at $1.6M, but the Yankees ended up getting a discount because an MRI showed abnormalities in his right shoulder.
– Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Orioles have made “significant progress” in negotiations with No. 4 overall pick RHP Kevin Gausman. Gausman, the first pitcher taken in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, is reportedly aiming for a bonus slightly above the slot recommendation of $4.2M.
– TMZ.com and Batista announced Early Friday Morning that he will will make his professional MMA debut for the CES MMA league on October 6 from Providence, Rhode Island. Batista’s MMA opponent will be Rashid Evans (not UFC Fighter Rashad Evans). Batista attempted to join Strikeforce in 2010 however, they could not come to terms.
m.tmz.com/article_head.f… I’m making my MMA debut oct 6th live on PPV check it! BOOOOM there’s the announcement. Sorry haters!
Bautista was also at Comic-Con in San Diego on Thursday along with Wu Tang Clan rapper RZA to promote their new “Man With The Iron Fists” movie. He announced the following on Thursday afternoon:
Its official #TheManWithTheIronFists hits theatres November 2nd!
– WWE diva Kharma’s profile has been moved to the Alumni section of WWE.com. She tweeted on Thursday afternoon:
Getting a flood of dm’s. I guess the cat’s out of the bag.
Yes. I have been officially promoted to the alumni section of the WWE roster.
Kharma, whose real name is Kia Michelle Stevens, signed a contract with WWE in December of 2010 and made her debut on May 1, 2011 at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view as she decimated Michelle McCool. Weeks later, Kharma spoke for the first time on television to reveal she was pregnant and thus forced to take a leave of absence from the organization. Stevens made a surprise return in January as the twenty-first entrant in the Royal Rumble Match and subsequently announced to TMZ.com that she had given birth to a baby boy named Jamie on December 31, 2011. She then admitted in March that the child died before she could give birth and had lied due to her emotional state at the time.
– Two weeks before Charlie Sheen, star of the new FX sitcom, Anger Management, is scheduled to join WWE as the Celebrity Social Media Ambassador for the historic 1,000th episode of Raw SuperShow, the award-winning actor is giving the heave-ho to social media. TMZ.com reported Thursday night that Sheen plans to shut down his Twitter account within days, or possibly hours, due to his belief that the social media platform is not worth his while. During the three-hour milestone event July 23 at 8/7 CT on USA Network, the “winning” actor is scheduled to entertain his 7.7 million Twitter followers and the WWE Universe all night long with his unique 140-character analysis of the action.
– As reported earlier, former WWE divas Nikki Bella Twins (Nicole Garcia) confirmed on Twitter this week that she recently underwent breast augmentation surgery.
Love how “Nikki’s” my boobs are trending worldwide! Ha what can I say… I wanted my own set of #TwinMagic haha Besos! Nikki
The two were spotted on the red carpet at Wednesday’s ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, California. Check out these recent pictures of the Nicole new additions – including a few pictures from Wednesday night’s ESPY Awards:
– The Rock tweeted that’ he’s begun his “insane” training for the the upcoming Fast 6 movie and still has his sights set on the winning the WWE Championship:
Been on an insane training & diet regimen preparing for FAST 6. I come home to THIS from my girls.. pic.twitter.com/kOK7soKD
– According to the PWInsider, almost all of the tweets from WWE developmental wrestler Dean Ambrose have been deleted. This could be another sign that his WWE debut is imminent.
– Natalya joins Colt Cabana on the latest Art Of Wrestling podcast (listen here), where she discussed breaking into the professional wrestling industry against her father’s wishes, relocating from Calgary, Alberta, Canada to Tampa, Florida upon signing a WWE developmental contract, various wrestling cities, Hart family tales and more. The SmackDown Diva also addressed fan concern with her lack of WWE television time in recent months.
“Just because you’re not the Diva’s Champion that day, or just because you’re not on TV that week, or just because you lose a match people get so worked up about it,” she says. “It’s all very cyclical, that’s what I’ve come to realize. Especially for women in the business, it’s very very cyclical. You can’t be on top forever.”
– Kelly Kelly’s K2 blog has announced that the WWE diva has been contacted by the Scott Fellows, creator of the Nickelodeon series Big Time Rush, about appearing on the show. A statement from Fellows on the Kelly Kelly blog reads:
“It would certainly be exciting to have Barbara in one of the new episodes of the series, the boys are excited, Barbie has a very good relationship with them. She is a big fan of them.She was in some concerts, Chris Masters was in a episode and it would be exciting to have another WWE Superstar ”