AP source: Kyrie Irving requests trade from Nets
NEW YORK (AP) — All-Star guard Kyrie Irving has asked the Brooklyn Nets for a trade, a person with knowledge of the details says. The request comes less than a week before the trade deadline and possibly signals an ending to his tenure with the franchise, either before that or after this season ends. Irving made the request after talks about a new contract did not go to his liking, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because talks were to remain private. It was first reported by ESPN and The Athletic. Irving is eligible for a contract extension but the Nets refused to give him one last summer.
Super Bowl-bound Eagles are built around QB Jalen Hurts
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles are trying to win their second Super Bowl in franchise history. They went 14-3 this season largely on the play of quarterback Jalen Hurts. He is a finalist for AP NFL MVP, Offensive Player of the Year and tied a franchise record with 33 total touchdowns. Hurts is only 24 and could be rewarded with a new contract in the offseason. His only focus now is beating the Kansas City Chiefs next week in the Super Bowl.
Fight between Magic, Timberwolves leads to 5 players ejected
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A fight broke out and punches were thrown during the game between the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Five players were ejected following the brawl, which started in front of the Orlando bench late in the third quarter. Minnesota guard Austin Rivers and Magic center Mo Bamba were the initial players involved, and it spilled over to include several others on the court. Rivers, Jaden McDaniels and Taurean Prince were ejected from the Timberwolves. Jalen Suggs was tossed along with Bamba for Orlando.
Analysis: Eagles weren’t afraid to make difficult decisions
The Philadelphia Eagles are playing for another Super Bowl title because they weren’t afraid to make difficult decisions following a disastrous 2020 season. Just three years after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in franchise history, the organization was at a crossroads following a 4-11-1 finish in the pandemic-altered season. Owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman decided to fire coach Doug Pederson and move on from quarterback Carson Wentz. Those moves worked out when they brought in coach Nick Sirianni and drafted quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round.
Sean Payton is officially named Broncos head coach
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos made it official in announcing Sean Payton as their new head coach. He will be formally introduced at team headquarters Monday. The Broncos and New Orleans Saints agreed on a compensation package for Payton this week and he has already been busy interviewing candidates for his coaching staff. Payton won a Super Bowl and posted a .631 winning percentage during his 15 seasons as head coach of the Saints. He replaces Nathaniel Hackett, who flopped so badly that he became just the fifth head coach in NFL history not to make it through his first season.
Kitayama leads Pebble Beach as the worst of the wind looms
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Kurt Kitayama has a one-shot lead at Pebble Beach and now comes the hard part. It’s not that Kitayama is going after his first win on the PGA Tour. The conditions figure to be the toughest over the weekend. The starting times for Saturday already have been moved up one hour because of high wind in the forecast. Kitayama has come close to winning. He battled Rory McIlroy in South Carolina and Jon Rahm in Mexico. Only four players from the top 10 at Pebble have won. But with the ever-changing weather, the next 36 holes could be wide open.
NHL takes skills showcase outside, McDavid shines inside
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The NHL took advantage of holding All-Star Weekend in South Florida by holding two Skills Competition events outside in the sun. A handful of players took turns hitting golf and hockey shots on a par-4 course. Others shot pucks at foam surfboards to splash opponents into dunk tanks on the beach with plenty flying into the ocean. Sidney Crosby got dunked steps from the beach, while Montreal’s Nick Suzuki holed a birdie with a hockey stick. Inside, Connor McDavid reminded the rest of hockey why he leads the league in goals by going 8 for 8 in the accuracy shooting competition.
Ukraine pushes to exclude Russia from 2024 Paris Olympics
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine is stepping up efforts to lobby international sports leaders against Russian participation in next year’s Paris Olympics. A meeting of the Ukrainian Olympic Committee did not commit to a boycott but its head renewed a threat to do so if Russia and Belarus are allowed to compete and said it would lobby other nations and sports officials in the next to months to join. The International Olympic Committee is pushing to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete at the 2024 Paris Games without their national flags or anthems as “neutral athletes.” The leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania urged the IOC to ban Russia and said a boycott was a possibility.
Olympic echoes of boycott era as Ukraine vs IOC intensifies
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A contest that could define the 2024 Paris Olympics is playing out 18 months before medals are awarded. It’s giving the International Olympic Committee a political challenge with echoes of the 1980s boycott era. Ukraine fired up its campaign on Friday to have Russia and military ally Belarus excluded from the next Summer Games. There was talk in Kyiv of a boycott and support from sympathetic governments in the Baltics and elsewhere in Europe. The IOC says their stance is “regretful.” The IOC has pointed to its own rules and Olympic history to make its case.
Column: IOC talks tough on Russia — until Paris on horizon
The IOC likes to talk tough — as long as it’s not heading into an Olympic year. Now, with the approach of the cash cow that is Paris 2024, the hypocrites running the Olympic movement are eager to get Russia back in the games. They’ll surely find a way, despite Vladimir Putin’s brutal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and growing threats of a boycott from those who don’t think the Russians should be allowed anywhere near the City of Light. For once, just once, we’d love to see the International Olympic Committee do the right thing. But it surely won’t.