NBA

Popovich breaks all-time NBA wins record, LeBron scores 50 as Lakers respond

By Sports Desk March 12, 2022

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  • 'Nothing has changed' – Bulls reiterate desire to re-sign LaVine 'Nothing has changed' – Bulls reiterate desire to re-sign LaVine

    The future of two-time All-Star guard Zach LaVine remains the biggest question mark this offseason for the Chicago Bulls.  

    The franchise's desires, however, have been made crystal clear.  

    "We hope Zach is here for a long time, and nothing has changed," executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas said Monday.  

    Karnisovas and the Bulls have repeatedly made their desire to re-sign LaVine public, with the NBA's free agent negotiating period set to start on Thursday.  

    Karnisovas spoke at a news conference intended to introduce first-round draft pick Dalen Terry, but LaVine's unrestricted free agency again took centre stage.  

    LaVine previously said that he plans on exploring his options in free agency but has not ruled out returning to Chicago.  

    The Bulls could offer LaVine a contract up to five years and about $212million, while the largest offer he could receive from another team would be near $157m over four years.  

    Expectedly, Karnisovas remained quiet on the offer the team plans to make to LaVine.  

    "I'm confident. I'm confident in approaching this free agency in the next couple of days, sitting down with our group, looking at a lot of things," he said. 

    After scoring a career-high 27.4 points per game in 2020-21, LaVine's production and efficiency dipped a bit last season as he battled thumb and knee injuries, averaging 24.4 points a night.  

    LaVine had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in May.  

    "I think he's gonna be healthy," Karnisovas said. "I think he's now progressing great."

    The Bulls got off to a strong start last season, leading the Eastern Conference into February but losing 15 of 22 games to close the regular season.

    Despite ending a four-year playoff drought, they were dispatched in the first round in five games by the Milwaukee Bucks.  

    Even with the disappointing end to the season, Karnisovas would like to keep together the core of LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Lonzo Ball.  

    "This group has been here only since October," Karnisovas said. "We're still trying to get used to how to play with each other."

    While free agent deals will not be officially recognised by the league until July 6, teams and players can agree to terms starting from this Thursday.

  • Mariners trade for Carlos Santana after Ty France injury Mariners trade for Carlos Santana after Ty France injury

    The Seattle Mariners acquired veteran slugger Carlos Santana from the Kansas City Royals for a pair of pitchers on Monday, helping to fill the void at first base in the wake of Ty France's injury.

    The 36-year-old Santana is in the midst of a third straight sub-par season, batting .216 with four home runs and 21 RBIs in 52 games, but has shown significant improvements at the plate in the past three weeks.

    After slashing .157/.291./.244 with seven extra-base hits in his first 37 games, Santana has compiled a .367/.492./.592 slash line with two home runs, five doubles and 11 RBIs in 15 contests since June 7.

    An All-Star in 2019 with the Cleveland franchise, Santana's 263 career home runs are the seventh-most by a first baseman since his 2010 rookie season.

    Santana will take over at first for France, who suffered a Grade 2 flexor strain in his left forearm on Thursday and is sidelined indefinitely. 

    France was enjoying a stellar season before his injury, batting .316 with 10 home runs while leading Seattle with 45 RBIs.

    The Mariners, who own baseball's longest active playoff drought at 20 seasons, begin play on Monday in fourth place in the AL East, seven games out of the league's second wild card spot.

    As part of the trade, Seattle sent right-hander Wyatt Mills and minor league righty William Fleming to Kansas City, with the Mariners also receiving cash considerations.

    Santana, who was first traded to the Mariners in 2018 but returned for a second stint in Cleveland 10 days later, is in the final year of a two-year, $17.5million contract.

  • Wimbledon: Hurkacz ace pledge reaches €2,100 but seventh seed exits early Wimbledon: Hurkacz ace pledge reaches €2,100 but seventh seed exits early

    Hubert Hurkacz sent down 21 aces in his first-round match at Wimbledon, enough to raise €2,100 for the people of Ukraine but not enough to reach the second round.

    The seventh seed, who was a semi-finalist at the All England Club last year, promised on the eve of the championships to donate €100 in aid for every one of his aces.

    "Hope my serve works well," Hurkacz wrote on Twitter, and it certainly did across five sets against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

    Having averaged 11.6 aces per match this season – his 452 the third most on the ATP Tour – Hurkacz had 21 to just three double faults in an effective serving display on Monday.

    Unfortunately, Davidovich Fokina was still able to pull off an early upset, narrowly advancing 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 5-7 2-6 7-6 (10-8).

    This was the third top-10 win of Davidovich Fokina's career but the first on grass, with his previous two such victories both coming at the Monte-Carlo Masters (vs Matteo Berrettini in 2021 and versus Novak Djokovic in 2022).

    While Hurkacz will not add to his ace tally, John Isner undoubtedly will.

    He had a remarkable 54 in his five-set win against Enzo Couacaud – as many as Hurkacz managed across six matches in his 2021 run to the last four.

    The last player to record 50 or more aces in a grand slam match had also been Isner, against Steven Johnson at the 2020 US Open.

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