NBAThe seemingly endless trade rumors surrounding Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony took a new twist yesterday when the Lakers began preliminary discussions on a blockbuster deal, ESPN reported. The Lakers’ offer centers around big man Andrew Bynum, 23, who missed the first 24 games of the season because of offseason knee surgery. The Knicks have been the team commonly linked in Anthony trade talks. The New York Daily News reported that Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan and Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke have had direct negotiations. The trade deadline is Feb. 24 . . . Guard Brandon Roy is returning to practice and wants to rejoin the Trail Blazers this weekend. Portland’s three-time All-Star had arthroscopic surgery on both of his knees just three weeks ago . . . Magic center Dwight Howard said he is annoyed by the recent talk about his contract and the possibility he would leave Orlando when he becomes a free agent. Howard’s current contract runs through the 2012-13 season . . . Cesare Rubini, a Hall of Fame member in basketball and water polo, died in Milan at 87. The International Basketball Federation said he had Alzheimer’s disease.
FootballTitans’ Munchak fires Heimerdinger Titans coach Mike Munchak fired offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger as he starts to remake his coaching staff a day after taking over the top job. Heimerdinger, who is continuing cancer treatment after being diagnosed in November, confirmed he had been fired . . . The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled there is no legal reason to grant Vikings defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams permanent relief from their NFL suspensions for violating the league’s anti-doping policy. Barring another appeal, the ruling appears to clear the way for the NFL to suspend the players, which it has been trying to do since the Williamses tested positive for a banned diuretic in 2008 . . . The NFL added a second option for the roughly 400 fans who had to give up their seats at the Super Bowl: They can choose to attend any future Super Bowl instead of being limited to the 2012 game . . . Georgia coach Mark Richt suspended leading rusher Washaun Ealey for failing to follow “the Georgia way.’’ . . . UMass signed wide receiver Elgin Long of Arlington, Texas, to a National Letter of Intent.
BaseballReport: Pujols sets contract deadline Slugger Albert Pujols has set Feb. 16, the day he is expected to report to spring training, as the deadline for contract negotiations with the Cardinals, ESPN reported . . . The Tampa Bay Rays designated outfielder Justin Ruggiano and first baseman-outfielder Leslie Anderson for assignment, creating openings on the 40-man roster for free agent acquisitions Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez . . . The Yankees’ Russell Martin is set to resume catching drills today for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in December . . . Indians catcher Carlos Santana has been cleared to resume all on-field activities following a six-month checkup after knee surgery . . . Pitcher Ross Ohlendorf and the Pirates have gone to salary arbitration in the first hearing of the year. The 28-year-old righthander asked for a raise from $439,000 to $2,025,000. The Pirates argued he should be paid $1.4 million.
GolfFinchem: PGA won’t halt fan calls PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem would like to see more common sense used in enforcing penalties for rules infractions phoned in by alert fans watching on television but he said halting their input completely is not an option . . . Europe is changing its Ryder Cup qualifying process to strengthen its team through the world ranking and reducing the captain’s picks to two players. The top five players to make the 2012 team will come from the European Points list, which is money earned in the 12 months before the matches. The next five would come from the World Points list, which is ranking points at the same time.
TennisClijsters closes in on No. 1 ranking Kim Clijsters, who won the Australian Open for her fourth Grand Slam victory, only needs to reach the semifinals of the Open Gaz de France this week to overtake Caroline Wozniacki at No. 1. She plays Kristina Barrois in the second round today. Clijsters became No. 1 in August 2003 at 20 for the first time, held the top spot again later in 2003, and was last No. 1 in January 2006 . . . Defending champion Robin Soderling eased to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Robin Haase to reach the second round of the
MiscellanyDevils’ Brodeur out with sprained knee New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur sprained his right knee Sunday and his status is day to day. The injury will not require surgery, but general manager Lou Lamoriello said Brodeur will need to rehabilitate the knee . . . UFC contender Kenny Florian is moving down a weight class, from welterweight to featherweight, he told ESPN. Florian (14-5), a Boston College graduate who owns and operates Florian Martial Arts Center in Brookline with his brother, Keith, lost his last fight by unanimous decision to Gray Maynard in August 2010 at UFC 118.
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