AP source: Lakers trading Westbrook to Utah in 3-team swap
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers are trading Russell Westbrook to Utah and reacquiring guard D’Angelo Russell from Minnesota in a three-team, eight-player deal, a person with knowledge of the trade told The Associated Press. Los Angeles is also getting guard Malik Beasley and forward Jarred Vanderbilt from the Jazz, bolstering its core around LeBron James in a bid to jump-start its sputtering season. Minnesota is getting Mike Conley Jr. and Nickeil Alexander-Walker from Utah along with three second-round picks, while the Lakers are sending Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones and their first-round pick in 2027 to Utah with Westbrook. Westbrook’s tenure with his hometown team lasted just 130 tumultuous games.
Chiefs’ Mahomes says ankle will be ready for Super Bowl
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes says he’s “definitely in a better spot” when it comes to his ailing right ankle than he was for the AFC championship game. The All-Pro quarterback also says he doesn’t expect to be limited by it when he leads the Kansas City Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl. Mahomes spoke before Wednesday’s practice at Arizona State’s facility. He said he’ll probably continue to get treatment on the ankle he hurt against Jacksonville in the divisional round throughout the week and possibly right up until kickoff.
Super Bowl has rare matchup of top 2 regular-season teams
This year’s Super Bowl features a rare matchup of the NFL’s top two teams from the regular season. The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs were the league’s only 14-game winners, marking just the sixth time since the 1970 merger that the squads with sole possession of the two best records in the regular season met for the championship. The last time it happened came after the 2013 season when Seattle beat Denver 43-8 in a matchup of 13-win teams.
Analysis: LeBron has defied odds, with no drop-off in sight
LeBron James is 38 years old. He is in Season 20 of his NBA career. He is, by conventional basketball-playing standards, ancient. History says his decline should have started already. Except it hasn’t. Not even close. And count that as just another example of what sets James apart from so many other greats, so many other superstars of their sport who were good enough for long enough to climb atop some lists in the record books.
Who has next for James’ scoring record: Luka? Tatum? Anyone?
James Harden averaged 36 points a few seasons ago. Devin Booker once scored 70 in one game. There are many more players doing much more scoring now than when LeBron James began his NBA career in 2003-04. A player scoring like Harden in his peak years could be flirting with 40,000 points in a mere 15 years, but even that might not reach where James will put the record. Perhaps young players such as Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum or Victor Wembanyama could have a chance. Or maybe the player hasn’t even been born.
UConn women lose 2nd straight game for 1st time since 1993
MILWAUKEE (AP) — UConn lost back-to-back games for the first time in three decades after the fourth-ranked Huskies were beaten 59-52 by Marquette on Wednesday night. The Huskies, who were playing three nights after an 81-77 home loss to No. 1 South Carolina, lost consecutive games for the first time since March 1993. Chloe Marotta had 19 points and Jordan King added 18 for Marquette (16-8, 9-6 Big East), which beat UConn (21-4, 13-1) for the first time in 17 meetings. Dorka Juhasz led UConn with 15 points.
Pro Picks: Eagles’ talent over Chiefs’ experience
PHOENIX (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles left their dog masks at home. Back in the Super Bowl five years after winning the first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history, the Eagles took a different path to reach this one. They’re 1 1/2-point favorites against the Kansas City Chiefs, per FanDuel Sportsbook, after outscoring the Giants and 49ers 69-14 in the playoffs. Last time here, the Eagles became the first No. 1 seed to enter the playoffs as a home underdog. After sneaking past Atlanta in the divisional round, they were underdogs against Minnesota in the NFC championship game. They routed the Vikings and went on to beat Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the favored New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Vandy stuns No. 6 Tennessee on Lawrence’s buzzer-beating 3
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tyrin Lawrence knocked down a 3-pointer from the right corner at the buzzer as the Vanderbilt Commodores snapped an 11-game skid against its in-state rival by upsetting sixth-ranked Tennessee 66-65 Wednesday night. Students rushed the court and joined the Commodores in celebrating easily the biggest win in coach Jerry Stackhouse’s fourth season. Then the Commodores celebrated by running along the courtside slapping high-fives. Tennessee had a chance to finish off the win. The Vols didn’t score again after Olivier Nkamhoua’s 15-foot jumper with 50 seconds left. Lawrence finished with a team-high 19 points
Chiefs’ Jones sets sack standard for Kansas City defense
PHOENIX (AP) — Any success that the Kansas City Chiefs have in slowing down Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl probably rests on the shoulders of Chris Jones. The All-Pro defensive tackle is having the finest season of his career, and his two sacks in the AFC title game against Cincinnati helped the Chiefs reach this stage. Jones emerged alongside Aaron Donald as the league’s most dominant interior lineman this season, and helping a Kansas City pass rush that was among the worst in the NFL last season suddenly become one of the best.
NFL Commissioner Goodell tackles diversity, concussions
PHOENIX (AP) — From diversity to concussions, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated the league is still looking for improvement. As for officiating, he says: “it’s never been better.” Goodell addressed those topics and more, including the Washington Commanders’ investigation, flex scheduling and international play in his annual Super Bowl news conference Wednesday. DeMeco Ryans became the NFL’s third Black head coach when Houston hired the former Pro Bowl linebacker and 49ers defensive coordinator. Ryans joined Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin and Tampa Bay’s Todd Bowles. There are three other minority coaches, including Miami’s Mike McDaniel, who has a Black father and identifies as biracial.