United States president Joe Biden has praised LeBron James for "inspiring the nation" after surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time regular season NBA scoring record.

Los Angeles Lakers forward James entered Tuesday's game with the Oklahoma City Thunder needing 36 points to break Abdul-Jabbar's record, which had stood for 39 years.

The four-time MVP moved past Abdul-Jabbar's 38,387 career points to go outright number one with a 14-foot fadeaway jumper late in the third quarter at Crypto.com Arena.

James' game-high 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting with three steals were not enough to prevent the Lakers from losing 133-130 to the visiting Thunder.

But it was job done on an individual level as he strengthened his case as being the greatest basketball player of all time – a debate that will rumble on for some time.

A number of sports stars and wider global figures have paid tribute to James, who now has 38,390 career points to go with the four NBA titles won with three different teams.

"LeBron, congratulations. With your whole heart and soul you broke a hell of a record. You elevated the game," US president Biden said in a video message. 

"More than that, like Kareem, Bill Russell and others who came before you, you challenged and inspired the nation to be better, do better and live up to our full promise."

James rose with both arms in celebration after making history and posed for photos with 75-year-old Abdul-Jabbar, who was in attendance in Los Angeles.

Fellow Lakers great Magic Johnson said: "I never thought that Kareem's scoring record would be broken by anybody. 

"It means more to myself and to our fans because you're wearing that purple and gold and broke it as a Laker. 

"This historic moment is so special because we will never see another LeBron James."

James has 7,314 points across five seasons with the Lakers, having previously scored 23,119 in 859 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers and 7,919 in 294 for the Miami Heat.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver added: "It's a towering achievement that speaks to his sustained excellence over 20 seasons in the league. 

"And quite amazingly, LeBron continues to play at an elite level and his basketball history is still being written."

James is averaging 30.2 points per game this season, which is the seventh-best record in the division, narrowly ahead of Kevin Durant (29.7) and Stephen Curry (29.4).

Golden State Warriors guard Curry and Brooklyn Nets forward Durant also congratulated James on his remarkable achievement.

"Your sustained level of play for 20 years, reaching this pinnacle of scoring in basketball, it is unbelievable," Curry said. 

"Way down the road, when we're reflecting back on our careers, we'll be able to be at that level knowing what it was like to battle at the highest level."

Durant added: "It's even funny to just even say that, coming from where you have come from, how hard you grinded for this long. 

"It's been an inspiration since day one. Much love and keep setting the bar high."

Devin Booker's return after a month and a half layoff inspired the Phoenix Suns to a 116-112 win over the Brooklyn Nets despite Cam Thomas putting up over 40 points for a third straight game.

Tuesday's game was Booker's first since suffering a groin injury in a defeat to the Denver Nuggets in late December, with the Suns enduring a mixed time in his 21-game absence, including a run of six consecutive losses.

But Booker was back into the swings of things against the Nets, scoring 19 points on six-of-15 shooting while adding six assists in 26 minutes to help the Suns to another win.

Booker was delighted to be back, telling reporters after the game: "That's all I want right there, man.

"Just competition, being back out there with the band, feeling that energy, feeling that presence. The team has it rolling right now, so just inserting myself in a way that wasn't disruptive and try to keep the flow that they have."

Suns coach Monty Williams feels Booker's desperation to win is the key to the positive effect he has on his team-mates, saying: "Devin's attitude is always he just wants to eat. Kill and eat. That's how he operates. And he's a winner. And he wants to do everything he can to win the game.

"I thought the guys got a great deal of energy from him tonight just being on the floor. Everybody's excited that he's back."

Booker's winning return to the court was nearly derailed by another spectacular effort from Thomas, who at 21-years-old became the youngest player to ever score 40 points in three consecutive games.

The guard racked up a career-high 44 points against the Washington Wizards on Saturday and then another career-best 47 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, before his 43-point effort in the defeat to Booker's Suns.

While he was frustrated two of those games ended in defeats, Thomas is enjoying the historic form he finds himself in, stating: "It's real surreal. I'm just glad to have my name in the history books, being this young.

"Obviously, I'd rather have the win because it sounds better when you have these 40-point games with the two [games] that we lost.

"But it's just good to have my name in history, I'm just going to embrace it. Just be proud of all the hard work you put in."

LeBron James' off-court legacy is even more impressive than becoming the NBA's all-time leading regular season points scorer, suggests Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

James broke Abdul-Jabbar's record on Tuesday in the Los Angeles Lakers' 133-130 defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder, with a fadeaway jump shot late in the third quarter seeing him pass the 38,387 points Abdul-Jabbar racked up with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Lakers before retiring in 1989.

James is also the fourth-highest assist maker in league history and has also won four NBA Championships, yet Abdul-Jabbar believes it is what the 38-year-old has done off the court that makes him so special.

The LeBron James Family Foundation set up a school in his hometown of Akron in Ohio, while also providing rent-free housing for up to 16 families for those in need.

James has also been active in his support of non-profit organisations and vocal on global issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement.

Abdul-Jabbar lauded James for his off-field activities, telling the TNT post-game crew: "What LeBron has done off the court is more important than what he has done on the court.

"He has sent kids to school. He has provided leadership and an example of how to live.

"I was very impressed with his family. His mum, I met her a couple of years ago when they played a couple playoff games in Cleveland. 

"LeBron came out and introduced me to his mum, so he really has the right values. Family, hard work, and all those things lead to success."

On the court, Abdul-Jabbar pointed to James' longevity and his leadership as the keys to his success, adding: "LeBron's career is one of someone who planned to dominate this game. 

"He got out of high school, he had the size and the talent to step right into the NBA, and he immediately started to have his effect.

"It's been going for almost 20 years now, so you've got to give him credit for the way he planned to last, and to dominate.

"He led teams to three world championships, and they didn't get there because of someone else and LeBron tagged along, LeBron led them. He has that indefinable essence that they call leadership.

"When he gets out there on the court and tries to get things done, guys want to get behind him and see that it happens, because they have that much respect for him and his talent."

LeBron James was the biggest story in sports on Tuesday as he became the NBA's all-time scoring leader, but the Oklahoma City Thunder got the last laugh.

James reached the legendary record late in the third quarter, with a turnaround jump shot from the free throw line bringing up his 36th point of the game, and his 38,388th regular season point overall to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 39-year-old record.

But it was the Thunder leading 104-99 at the time of the basket, and it would be the Thunder coming away with the 133-130 victory.

Oklahoma City were led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who remains one of seven players this season averaging at least 30 points per game (30.8) after scoring an even 30 on nine-of-17 shooting, adding eight assists and two steals.

Rookie wing Jalen Williams was terrific with 25 points (10-of-19 shooting), seven rebounds and six steals, while point guard Josh Giddey added 20 points (10-of-19), six assists and five rebounds.

James ended up scoring a game-high 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting with seven rebounds and three steals, while Russell Westbrook put together one of his better performances this season with 27 points (10-of-19), eight assists and two steals.

With the win, the Thunder improved their record to 26-28 to sit 11th in the Western Conference, although things are so tightly bunched that they are only 2.5 games back from the six seed. 

The Lakers fell to 25-30, and are four games back from the Dallas Mavericks in the six seed.

Thomas makes history as Booker returns for Phoenix

Brooklyn Nets rising star Cam Thomas became the youngest player to ever score 40 points in three consecutive games, but Devin Booker's return lifted the Phoenix Suns to a 116-112 win.

After scoring a career-high 44 points against the Washington Wizards on Saturday, and then following it with another career-high of 47 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, Thomas dropped 43 against the Suns.

He shot 11-of-23 from the field – his worst shooting performance in this three-game run – but boosted his tally by going 18-of-20 from the free throw line.

But the return of Devin Booker after 21 games and six weeks on the sideline provided a jolt in the arm for the Suns, contributing 19 points on six-of-15 shooting with six assists in 26 minutes, while Deandre Ayton dominated the action with 35 points (14-of-18) and 15 rebounds.

Another Jokic masterclass blows away the Timberwolves

Reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic showed exactly why he is the favourite to make it a three-peat with a dominant performance in the Denver Nuggets' 146-112 blowout of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Jokic had 17 points on eight-of-10 shooting with 10 rebounds and 10 assists by half-time, and he did not attempt a field goal in the second half, finishing with 20 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds.

He has a chance to become the first center in NBA history to average a triple-double if he can maintain his current figures of 24.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 10.2 assists, while Michael Porter Jr carried the scoring load against Minnesota, pouring in 30 on 11-of-15 shooting.

They say styles make fights, and it will be a true styles clash when the run-and-gun Indiana Pacers travel to take on the grinding Miami Heat on Wednesday.

Coming into the contest, the Heat sit sixth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 29-25, 4.5 games ahead of the 10th-placed Pacers (25-30). Miami have been treading water recently with a 5-5 record from their past 10, while Indiana have struggled to a 2-8 run.

While there are many complex layers to this contest, a lot of it boils down to one simple point: the Pacers want to play fast, and the Heat want to play slow.

The young Pacers, led by the current official league-leader in assists Tyrese Haliburton (10.3 per game), play at the fourth-highest pace in the league (101.9 possessions per game). Meanwhile, the veteran Heat outfit, led by the current league-leader in steals Jimmy Butler (2.1 per game), play at the third-slowest pace (97.1 possessions).

That mindset dictates many key indicators for each team, starting with the disparity in fast-break offense.

The Pacers lead the league with 19 fast-break points per game, while the Heat are 27th at 11.3 – so Indiana will run all over Miami, right?

Well, not necessarily. The hectic pace the Pacers play at is conducive to high-scoring offense from both teams – allowing the sixth-most fast-break points per game (15.0) – while the Heat often control the tempo and limit fast-breaks all together, allowing the fourth-fewest points per game in that category (12.1).

Another symptom of playing fast at all costs is turnovers, and that is an area the Heat will look to exploit.

Miami forces a turnover on 16.8 per cent of opponent possessions – the best rate in the league – and 17.4 per cent of their total points come directly from these turnovers, which is the second-highest percentage.

Meanwhile, the Pacers' commit turnovers on 15.0 per cent of their possessions, making them the eighth-most turnover prone side in the NBA.

Another key difference between the two franchises is their discipline defensively, which primarily presents itself in two areas – fouling and boxing out.

Miami allows an offensive rebound on just 8.6 per cent of opponent misses – the best rate in the league – while Indiana allow the second-most (12.1 per cent).

The Heat also limit their opponents to the second-fewest made free throws per game (16.2), while the Pacers give up the most (20.3).

While this game is essentially about a fast team and a slow team, it is also about a good defense and a bad defense.

For the season, the Heat boast the fifth-best defensive efficiency in the league, allowing 111.0 points per 100 possessions, and they have been even better than that recently, with their mark of 109.8 across their past 15 games the third-best figure during that period.

Unfortunately for the Pacers, who started the season so far above expectations, their offense has cratered over that same 15-game span as Tyrese Haliburton's injury triggered a dismal run that resulted in the league's worst offense (109.3 points per 100 possessions). Haliburton has returned for their past three games, but there has been no improvement, with their 104.2 offensive rating in those three games also the worst figure in the league.

Indiana also rank 22nd in defense for both the full season and across the past 15 games, and their one strength on that end – Myles Turner, who is top-five in blocks per game (2.4) for the seventh consecutive season – is partially negated by the fact that Miami's offense only absorbs 3.8 blocks per game, tied for the league's fewest.

However, the silver lining for the Pacers is that they can bomb away from long range – averaging the sixth-most made three-pointers per game (13.8) – while the Heat are not equipped to stop them, allowing the second-most made threes per game (13.2).

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Indiana Pacers – Buddy Hield

While Haliburton and Turner are the Pacers' two best players at both ends of the court, Hield is the X-factor thanks to his marksmanship and the Heat's tendency to get beat from long range.

Averaging 3.8 made three-pointers per game, he trails only Golden State Warriors duo Stephen Curry (4.9) and Klay Thompson (4.2), Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard (4.1) and Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball (3.9) – and Hield's three-point percentage of 42.8 is better than all of them.

Miami Heat – Jimmy Butler

Adebayo is the only All-Star selection this season for the Heat, but Butler is the straw that stirs the drink, and the key to their efficient half-court offense.

He is metronomically consistent – averaging exactly 14.1 field goal attempts per game in both wins and losses this season. Butler's ability to control the pace and not allow his opposition to dictate play will be crucial against a team with such a different style, as will his distribution skills, with a 20 per cent assist increase (4.4 up to 5.3) in wins.

KEY BATTLE – Who will control the pace?

It goes without saying that whichever team forces the game to be played at their pace should have the advantage, and unfortunately for the Pacers, it is far easier to slow the game down than speed it up.

By controlling the rebounds, limiting their own turnovers and staying switched on defensively, Miami can turn this into a halfcourt grind and take the sting out of Indiana's speed in transition, so it will be imperative that the visitors shoot well from deep.

If the Pacers can hit some early threes and build a lead, it will create a sense of urgency in the trailing side that inevitably leads to quicker shots, more possessions and a style that suits the away team.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Since the beginning of the 2021-22 season, these two sides have met on six occasions. Despite the fact that Miami have been a staple in the playoffs and the Pacers are on track to miss out for the third season in a row, they have split those six meetings 3-3.

Illustrating how evenly matched the teams have been, they are 2-2 in their past four, and 1-1 in their past two, while the three most recent contests have been decided by a combined margin of 10 points.

LeBron James admitted after breaking the all-time regular season scoring record on Tuesday that he feels he is the greatest player in NBA history.

James needed 36 points to break the record against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he reached that figure in the final seconds of the third quarter, drilling a free throw line fadeaway to eclipse Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's mark of 38,387.

The Lakers ultimately went down 133-130 to the visiting Thunder, although it was no fault of James, who scored a game-high 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting with three steals, and the Lakers were plus eight in his 34 minutes of action.

After the contest, James was asked a couple of questions from fellow legendary Laker Shaquille O'Neal, with the last being about who he feels is the greatest player in the history of the league.

"I'm gonna let everybody else decide who that is, or talk about it, but it's great barbershop talk," James said, before O'Neal cut him off and demanded a straight answer.

"Me personally, I'm going to take myself against anybody who has ever played this game," he said. 

"But everyone is going to have their favourite, and everyone is going to decide who their favourite is, but I know what I've brought to the table, I know what I bring to the table every single night, and what I can do out on this floor.

"I always feel like I'm the best to ever play this game, but there's so many other great ones that I'm happy to just be a part of their journey."

O'Neal also asked if James believes he can go on and continue to add to the record for years to come, and interestingly, James left the door open to perhaps playing for a different franchise before he hangs up his boots.

"For sure, I know I can play a couple more years," he said. "The way I'm feeling, the way my body has been reacting to me through the course of this season, I know I can play a couple more years.

"It's all about my mind. If my mind is still into it, if I'm still motivated to go out and try to compete for championships, because I feel like that's what I can still do.

"For any group of guys, for any franchise, I can go out there and still help win multiple championships, or win a championship.

"That's my mindset, but it's all about the mind. If my mind is sharp, and I feel motivated to go out and prepare myself every single day, then I can continue to play this game."

LeBron James gave an emotional speech after surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time regular season scoring record on Tuesday, thanking those who helped him along the way.

James came into the contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder trailing by 35 points, and he needed only three quarters to get there, nailing a fadeaway jump shot late in the third period to bring up 36 points on 12-of-18 shooting.

That basket gave him his 38,388th regular season point, while he is already 1,644 points clear of Michael Jordan for the most points in playoff history.

During a lengthy delay after James broke the record, where Abdul-Jabbar came onto the court for a symbolic passing of the torch, James reflected on the journey to this moment.

"I just want to say thank you to the Lakers faithful, you guys are one-of-a-kind," he said.

"To be able to be in the presence of such a legend as great as Kareem means so much to me, it's very humbling – please give a standing ovation to 'The Captain' please.

"To my beautiful wife, my daughter, my two boys, my friends, my boys, my family, my mother – man, everyone who has ever been a part of this run with me the past 20 years.

"I just want to say I thank you so much, because I wouldn't be me without y'all. All y'all help, all y'all passion, all y'all sacrifices helped me get to this point. 

"To the NBA, to Adam Silver, to the late great David Stern, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of something I've always dreamed about. 

"I would have never, ever, in a million years have dreamt this even better than it is tonight… thank you guys."

Debates around the greatest of all time in sport can often be as polarising as any other.

Now that LeBron James has surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to stand at the top of the NBA's all-time leading scoring chart though, it seems appropriate to review the case for the 38-year-old to be considered the greatest basketball player of all time.

In what has without question been at least one of the best careers ever seen, James has four NBA championships to his name, as well as four Finals MVPs, four NBA MVPs, 19 All-Star selections and three All-Star MVPs. His 13 All-NBA First Team selections are two more than anybody else.

Enough to make any doubter's eyes water.

Added to that, after overtaking Kareem on Tuesday, he not only stands alone atop the all-time scoring list, but has a real opportunity to pull away and perhaps even go past 40,000 before hanging up his sneakers. He has long been the playoff scoring king, with his 7,631 playoff points already 1,644 clear of second-placed Michael Jordan.

It isn't just racking up the points, he has also passed on his fair share of assists, recently pushing past Steve Nash on that all-time leaderboard, with James now fourth for NBA assists.

As the first pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, it was hardly surprising that James impressed from the start with the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging 20.9 points per game (PPG) in his debut season from 79 games.

It was the 2005-06 season where he really exploded, though, averaging 31.4 PPG in the regular season, which remains his highest ever for a campaign, before recording 30.8 PPG in the playoffs, where the Cavs were eliminated in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals by the Detroit Pistons.

James took Cleveland to the postseason for five straight campaigns, agonisingly losing the 2007 Finals to the San Antonio Spurs, before taking the mantel again in 2009 as he put up 35.3 PPG in 14 playoff outings before more Conference final heartbreak against the Orlando Magic.

The television event titled 'The Decision' was controversial, though undoubtedly captivating as James dramatically revealed he was leaving the Cavs for the Miami Heat in 2010.

However, it turned out to be the catalyst for him to reach the next step as he was immediately surrounded by more talent in Miami, and before long, much-deserved silverware.

Linking up superbly with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, James reached the Finals every year in Florida, winning his first championship in 2012, before following it up in 2013 with another.

His numbers were slightly lower at the Heat than they had been in Cleveland, though that perhaps owed to the fact that when deciding to join Miami, he was joining forces with arguably the league's second-best player at the time in Wade.

James' first title win in 2012 saw him average 30.3 PPG during the postseason, and led the way as he got some revenge on the Spurs in 2013, excelling in Game 7 to win his second championship.

In 2014, James came back to Cleveland with the Ohio-born star's desire to take his team to the promised land for the first time, and he did just that.

Just as he had in Miami, James went to the Finals every year of his second spell with the Cavaliers – resulting in eight consecutive Finals appearances – and every year they played against the dominant Golden State Warriors.

After losing 4-2 in 2015, they returned to get revenge in 2016 as James starred on their way to an almost Hollywood-ending win against the Warriors, securing their first NBA championship after coming back from a 3-1 deficit against a team that set the record for the best regular season ever at 73-9.

They were unable to repeat the trick as the Warriors, with the addition of Kevin Durant, beat them in both the 2017 and 2018 Finals, but reaching four Finals in a row was still more than Cavs fans could have realistically expected.

Unfortunately for them, James was getting itchy feet again.

James had a solid enough start to life in Los Angeles, posting 27.4 PPG for the Lakers in 2018-19, though injury issues sustained by him and several of his new team-mates led to a wobbly season, and therefore, no postseason for the first time for James since 2005.

Inevitably, he came roaring back the following year and in spite of the chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, James and the Lakers returned to win the "bubble championship", the fourth title of his career with a third different team. In doing so, he became the only player in NBA history to win Finals MVP with three franchises.

However, the 2020-21 campaign was one to forget as James recorded his lowest PPG for a season (25.0) since his rookie year, before the Lakers were dumped out of the playoffs in the first round by the Phoenix Suns.

Was it all over for LeBron? Not likely. He responded to that setback by scoring 1,695 points in just 56 games last season at an average of 30.3 PPG, his best regular season return since 2005-06.

James also reached a notable landmark last March, becoming the first player in NBA history to record 10,000 assists and 10,000 rebounds in a career.

Unfortunately for him, his team-mates were unable to match those efforts and the Lakers again failed to even make the playoffs, which could be why they were so desperate to find the funds to tie James' immediate future down as he was given a bumper contract to make him the highest-paid player in the league.

LeBron has thrived again this season, averaging 30.0 PPG from 43 appearances as he tries to drag the Lakers back to the playoffs.

Arguments can of course be made for the player with the most NBA titles Bill Russell, or the man whose name is synonymous with so many NBA records Wilt Chamberlain, while Lakers legends Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant have to be in the conversation also.

However, ask most people who they believe to be the greatest of all time and you wil have to go a long way to find someone who doesn't immediately blurt out the name of Michael Jordan.

The Chicago Bulls icon was a five-time NBA MVP, six-time NBA champion, six-time NBA Finals MVP, 10-time All-NBA First Teamer, 14-time NBA All-Star; won 10 scoring titles and retired with the NBA's highest scoring average of 30.1 PPG.

 

Jordan was a force of nature who always seemed to raise his game beyond others exactly when his team needed it, while James has experienced more disappointment in clutch scenarios.

He has also taken his team with him to ultimate success more than once, and arguably teams that had more limitations than Jordan's best times at the Bulls.

When you consider that Jordan is also in the argument for the greatest sportsman of all time, it is testament to James that he's even in the conversation.

"It's not heavy. I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to be in this league for at least a few more years," James recently said as he closed in on Kareem's record.

Which is ominous for the rest of the league, quite frankly.

Is he the greatest of all time? As with most discussions on the topic, it probably doesn't matter.

James has scored more points than anyone else to ever compete in the NBA, and that is undisputed.

LeBron James has passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA's all-time leading points scorer in the regular season.

James reached the landmark on Tuesday in the Los Angeles Lakers' game against Oklahoma City Thunder, clinching the historic points with a fadeaway jump shot late in the third quarter. He reached the end of the third period with 36 points on 12-of-18 shooting with five rebounds and three steals.

It is the latest in a long line of achievements in the game for James, who also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers (twice) and the Miami Heat before moving to Los Angeles in 2018.

The 38-year-old recently became the fourth-highest assist maker in NBA history, and he already owned the overall combined points record including playoffs, with his 7,631 playoff points 1,644 clear of second-placed Michael Jordan.

Abdul-Jabbar retired in 1989 as the league's all-time leading scorer having registered 38,387 points during a storied career with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Lakers.

He claimed top spot in April 1984 when he surpassed the previous record of the great Wilt Chamberlain.

James now heads that list and could pull away to give himself a considerable lead as he has given little indication of an imminent retirement, instead stating his wish to one day play alongside his oldest son Bronny.

Marcos Giron survived a scare against qualifier Alex Rybakov in the opening round of the Dallas Open on Tuesday, escaping with a 6-4 6-7 (1-7) 6-1 victory.

One of the top seeds in action, Giron is ranked over 300 spots higher than Rybakov, but the underdog put up a serious fight and held up well in all key indicators.

Rybakov had 29 winners with only 17 unforced errors, and he had just two double faults to go with seven aces, but Giron was better in both categories. His talent shone through with 34 winners and 16 unforced errors, while he also had 10 aces and no double faults.

Also in Dallas, French eighth seed Adrian Mannarino secured a 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 win against Steve Johnson, and he will now face Australia's Jordan Thompson following his 6-1 7-5 triumph over Denis Kudla.

Meanwhile, at the Cordoba Open, Argentina's Federico Coria was the top seed to advance after defeating Brazil's Thiago Monteiro 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-2.

There was less success for hometown seventh seed Pedro Martinez, who was eliminated 7-6 (7-3) 2-6 6-0 by Chile's Cristian Garin, while Federico Delbonis beat Alejandro Tabilo 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 7-6 (8-6) to earn a shot at second seed Francisco Cerundolo.

The New Orleans Saints have emerged as a candidate to acquire Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

The Raiders granted Carr permission to speak with the Saints' front office and he will visit the team on Wednesday, according to multiple reports. It will be the first known meeting between Carr and a potential suitor.

Previous reporting indicated that the Raiders would only allow Carr to meet with teams willing to meet the team’s asking price in trade negotiations.

While there is reportedly no trade imminent, the visit firmly establishes New Orleans as a serious contender to land the nine-year veteran quarterback.

Carr, who has a no-trade clause, signed a three-year, $121.5million extension last April, but was benched for the final two games of the 2022 season in what was called a mutual decision.

Over $40m in Carr's contract becomes guaranteed on February 15, after which the four-time Pro Bowler would become cumbersome to trade.

The trigger date, which Carr has declined to renegotiate, forces the Raiders to urgently pursue a trade partner that both meets the team's asking price and pleases Carr enough to convince him to waive his no-trade clause.

The Saints are looking to improve a quarterback group that included Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton last season, with Taysom Hill continuing to take snaps as a gadget option.

New Orleans are projected to be well over the 2023 salary cap as currently constituted, and would need to restructure a number of contracts – including Carr's – if a trade were to materialise.

Saints coach Dennis Allen was the Raiders' head man in 2014 when the franchise drafted Carr in the second round and started him as a rookie.

The New Orleans Saints have emerged as a candidate to acquire Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

The Raiders granted Carr permission to speak with the Saints' front office and he will visit the team on Wednesday, according to multiple reports. It will be the first known meeting between Carr and a potential suitor.

Previous reporting indicated that the Raiders would only allow Carr to meet with teams willing to meet the team’s asking price in trade negotiations.

While there is reportedly no trade imminent, the visit firmly establishes New Orleans as a serious contender to land the nine-year veteran quarterback.

Carr, who has a no-trade clause, signed a three-year, $121.5million extension last April, but was benched for the final two games of the 2022 season in what was called a mutual decision.

Over $40m in Carr's contract becomes guaranteed on February 15, after which the four-time Pro Bowler would become cumbersome to trade.

The trigger date, which Carr has declined to renegotiate, forces the Raiders to urgently pursue a trade partner that both meets the team's asking price and pleases Carr enough to convince him to waive his no-trade clause.

The Saints are looking to improve a quarterback group that included Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton last season, with Taysom Hill continuing to take snaps as a gadget option.

New Orleans are projected to be well over the 2023 salary cap as currently constituted, and would need to restructure a number of contracts – including Carr's – if a trade were to materialise.

Saints coach Dennis Allen was the Raiders' head man in 2014 when the franchise drafted Carr in the second round and started him as a rookie.

Jason Kelce and Travis Kelce are making history at Super Bowl LVII, but so far the experience has been nothing out of the ordinary for their football family.

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce will become the first brothers to face each other in a Super Bowl on Sunday.

They were team-mates at the University of Cincinnati before both were drafted by Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. Jason was picked by the Eagles in 2011, Reid's penultimate year as head coach in Philadelphia, with Travis then selected by the Chiefs in 2013, Reid's first season in Kansas City.

Both have since experienced Hall of Fame career trajectories, but one will see their resume somewhat blotted at least in part by their sibling in the season-ending showpiece at State Farm Stadium.

But the historic nature of their encounter has not been reflected by the build-up, at least in the mind of elder brother Jason.

Asked about the unique situation of being an opponent to his younger sibling, Jason said: "I don't know, we're handling it pretty good right now, but I think on game day, we're going to truly get the feel of what that's going to be like when all the adrenaline's going, the testosterone is pumping.

"You know, we're both highly competitive individuals. Right now we're still pretty good. We're being like brothers.

"My mom was at the media night last night with cookies. So it's been a pretty normal family affair up to this point.

"But obviously the closer you get to game time, the more the competitive nature is gonna come out."

 

Kyrie Irving "felt very disrespected" during his time with the Brooklyn Nets, he said after joining the Dallas Mavericks.

Irving was traded by the Nets to the Mavericks after a tumultuous four years in Brooklyn.

The eight-time All-Star joined the Nets alongside Kevin Durant in 2019, but the pair were unable to deliver success together.

Injuries, along with Irving's absence as he was unvaccinated at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, limited the two superstars to only 71 starts together.

Irving pushed for a trade ahead of Thursday's deadline and was granted his move to the Mavericks before explaining why he wanted to leave Brooklyn.

"I just know I want to be places where I'm celebrated and not just tolerated or dealt with in a way that doesn't make me feel respected," he said.

"There were times during this process where I was in Brooklyn and just felt very disrespected, my talent.

"I work extremely hard at what I do; nobody ever talks about my work ethic, everyone talks about what I'm doing off the floor. I want to change that narrative, write my own story, continue to prepare in the gym, and now I'm in Dallas, control what I can control.

"I'm always going to be close with those guys in Brooklyn, like I am with those guys in Boston, like I am with those guys in Cleveland.

"It's a team competitive sport, but we care about each other's families way more off the court. I know those relationships will extend, I'm just preparing to win.

"I'm not the person to really speak on names or go to someone behind their back and leak stuff to the media, that's never been me.

"I've been an audience member seeing people say things about me that ultimately just fall off my shoulder. I'm in a place I'm grateful I got to grow into.

"I spent time off the basketball court that gave me the time to appreciate life in a new way.

"I know I need healthy boundaries. Especially in this entertainment business, there's a lot of disrespect that goes on with people's names and their families; I'm just not with it.

"It's nothing personal against those guys in the front office, it's just what I'm willing to accept.

"I took a chance and luckily the Dallas Mavericks picked me up. It's just all what I can control."

Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid conceded Patrick Mahomes is not 100 per cent healthy ahead of Super Bowl LVII.

Mahomes' health is the dominant storyline for the Chiefs ahead of their clash with the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium on Sunday.

He suffered a high ankle sprain in the Chiefs' Divisional round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, an injury that forced him to come out of the game before returning in the second half.

Mahomes subsequently played through the injury in the AFC Championship Game with the Cincinnati Bengals, willing them to a thrilling 23-20 victory.

Speaking at Opening Night on Monday, Mahomes said his ankle is "definitely better", however Reid on Tuesday clarified that his star quarterback is still not at full strength.

"Yeah, so I wouldn't tell you he is 100 per cent," Reid said.

"But the training staff works with him endlessly. I guess it'd be a tribute to both of them for Pat coming back for more and for those guys cranking on him."

Despite his ankle issue, Mahomes has still performed at a very high level in the postseason.

Across his two playoff games, Mahomes has completed 69.9 per cent of his passes for 521 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Reid is used to seeing Mahomes producing magic on the field, but even he has been taken aback by what his signal-caller has produced while playing on one healthy ankle.

"So, Julie [Frymyer, Chiefs physical therapist] spent most of the time with him," Reid added. "We've got all the latest greatest stuff to use, technology-wise, so he's used it all and has been able to make these jumps here where he can actually function and play in a game, which is very remarkable."

Aaron Rodgers is going on a four-day "darkness retreat" in an attempt to help evaluate his future amid retirement and trade speculation.

Four-time NFL MVP Rodgers is considering his future with the Green Bay Packers, who missed the 2022 playoffs, amid reports his team are mulling over a trade.

The quarterback only signed a three-year, $150million extension in March but endured a difficult season in which he threw for 3,695 yards, the fewest in any of his full seasons during his career.

Rodgers has not ruled out retirement either and told The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday he will embark on a "darkness retreat" that includes "four nights of complete darkness" to help consider his future.

"I've got a pretty cool opportunity to do a little self-reflection in some isolation," the 39-year-old said. "And then, after that, I feel like I'll be a lot closer to a final, final decision."

Rodgers is yet to decide whether he will continue in the NFL with the Packers or another team, with retirement still an option.

"For sure; it's a real thing, 100 per cent," Rodgers said of retirement.

"That's why it's going to be important to get through this week and to take my isolation retreat and just to be able to contemplate all things my future and then be able to make a decision that I think is best for me moving forward and in the highest interest of my happiness and then move forward."

He added: "It's just kind of sitting in silence, which most of us never do. We rarely even turn our phone off or put the blinds down to sleep in darkness. I'm really looking forward to it."

The Las Vegas Raiders and New York Jets are reportedly interested in Rodgers, who reiterated his commitment to the Packers.

"I'm not a free agent, I'm under contract with the Packers," Rodgers said. "That gets lost in the conversation a lot.

"In years past, there's been a couple of years where we got ousted from the playoffs by the Niners and then I went and played at Pebble and those years were very razzing, I would say, from the crowd. A lot of Niner yells and other various well-timed trash talk.

"This year was a lot more positive, I think. The sentiment was very positive, people wanting me to get traded to their team, and the Raiders fans were probably the most vocal and the most numerous."

Bianca Andreescu fell to Yulia Putintseva in the first round of the Abu Dhabi Open after making a swift return to action.

Andreescu, who has not won a title since her 2019 US Open success, looked to have returned to form at last week's Thailand Open, only to suffer an injury that forced her to quit her semi-final against Lesia Tsurenko while trailing in the second set.

The Canadian did not alter her schedule, however, and was back out on court to face Putintseva on Tuesday.

Despite twice leading by a break in the opening set, there was no repeat run to the latter stages for Andreescu, who went down 7-6 (7-2) 6-2.

"I think the first set was a really physical set, we played really, really tough rallies," Putintseva said. "I was feeling a little bit more confident in the second set."

Andreescu's compatriot Leylah Fernandez was also eliminated, losing to Shelby Rogers, but both seeds in action – Beatriz Haddad Maia and Liudmila Samsonova – advanced, along with Barbora Krejcikova and Karolina Pliskova.

At the Linz Open, top seed Maria Sakkari headed through with a 6-1 7-6 (8-6) defeat of Nuria Parrizas-Diaz, but number two seed Ekaterina Alexandrova went down to Rebeka Masarova in three sets.

Marc-Andrea Huesler will face top seed Holger Rune in the second round of the Open Sud de France after coming through a battle with teenager Luca Van Assche.

Huesler arrived in Montpellier on a high from victories over German duo Alexander Zverev and Oscar Otte for Switzerland in Davis Cup qualifiers last weekend.

The left-hander saw off 18-year-old Frenchman Van Assche 6-3 3-6 6-3 and will get a chance to improve his perfect record against Rune to 3-0.

Italian Lorenzo Sonego sent eighth seed Benjamin Bonzi packing with a 6-4 6-3 win, while French-born American Maxime Cressy progressed with a 6-3 6-2 defeat of Antoine Bellier.

Arthur Rinderknech and Quentin Halys also advanced on home soil, along with Marton Fucsovics and Filip Krajinovic.

Dewayne Dedmon's time with the Heat is over after Miami traded the back-up centre to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

The Spurs also receive a second-round pick in the 2028 draft, while the Heat got cash considerations, which gives the franchise financial flexibility.

Dedmon is averaging 5.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 30 games this season, but has only appeared in one contest since being ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 10.

In that game, the 33-year-old argued with Heat coaches about playing time, feuded with team-mates and knocked a massage gun onto the court during play. He was suspended for one game by the Heat for his actions.

He joins a San Antonio team that has the second-worst record in the Western Conference at 14-40, and this will be his second stint with the franchise after playing there in 2016-17.

The 10-year veteran with career averages of 6.4 points and 5.8 rebounds has also played for the Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings.

The Heat, who are atop the Southeast Division with a 29-25 record, move on without Dedmon, as well as Kyle Lowry for the foreseeable future.

Lowry sat out Saturday's loss to the Milwaukee Bucks due to left knee soreness, and the Heat announced he will miss at least three more games.

He will be re-evaluated next week, with Miami having just two more games before the All-Star break.

The 17-year veteran missed three games in January due to left knee discomfort and he has struggled to find his shot since returning, averaging 5.6 points on 25 per cent shooting in his last five games.

On the season, the 36-year-old is averaging 12 points – his lowest scoring average since averaging 11.6 points in 2012-13 for the Toronto Raptors.

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