HOUSTON (AP) — Russell Westbrook is headed to the Washington Wizards and John Wall is moving to the Houston Rockets in a significant swap of point guards – one an MVP, the other a No. 1 overall draft pick – just weeks before the season starts.
The Wizards also shipped a future lottery-protected first round pick to the Rockets.
While Wall has played his entire professional career in the nation’s capital, the move ends Westbrook’s tenure in Houston after just one disappointing season. He arrived from Oklahoma City in July 2019 for Chris Paul and draft picks.
The Rockets had hoped that the 32-year-old Westbrook would be the final piece they needed to win their first title since winning back-to-back championships in 1994-95. But instead, Houston was eliminated from the playoffs by the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in the Western semifinals.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – LeBron James has agreed to a two-year, $85 million contract extension through the 2022-23 season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
James’ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, confirmed the deal. The Lakers are still finalizing their new contract with big man Anthony Davis, who is also represented by Paul.
James is getting the maximum deal to extend his tenure in Los Angeles, where he moved two seasons ago after his second stint with his hometown Cavaliers. Davis and James teamed up last season and won the Lakers’ 17th championship in the bubble in central Florida.
James’ previous contract ran through the upcoming season with a player option for 2021-22, allowing the third-leading scorer in league history to become a free agent next summer if he chose. Instead, James has committed to play through his 20th NBA season with the Lakers, where he moved in 2018 after title-winning tenures in Cleveland and Miami.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – The Pittsburgh Steelers are still perfect, even amid all their imperfections.
Playing in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the week in the middle of a pandemic, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 266 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown to JuJu Smith-Schuster, and the Steelers improved to 11-0 with a disjointed 19-14 win over the undermanned Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens (6-5) lost their third straight while playing without more than a dozen players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins.
Backup quarterback Robert Griffin III struggled in Jackson’s place, turning it over twice in the first quarter and completing 7 of 12 passes before being replaced by Trace McSorley midway through the fourth quarter after injuring his left hamstring. McSorley, one of 11 players promoted from the practice squad before kickoff, connected with Marquise Brown for a 70-yard touchdown run with 2:58 left.
NEW YORK (AP) – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league remains committed to finishing the regular season as scheduled.
Goodell also said on a conference call that while the NFL is considering a bubble format for the playoffs, it wouldn’t necessarily resemble what the NHL and NBA used in successfully in completing their seasons.
NEW YORK (AP) – Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. were cut loose by the Chicago Cubs after helping the team win its first World Series title in more than a century, among 59 players who became free agents as part of the fallout from the coranavirus pandemic when their teams failed to offer them 2021 contracts by Wednesday night’s deadline.
Cincinnati reliever Archie Bradley, Atlanta outfielder Adam Duvall, Colorado outfielder David Dahl and Minnesota outfielder Eddie Rosario also were let go by their clubs, who did not want to allow those players to become eligible for salary arbitration in February, which would have been their right had they been tendered contracts.
Schwarber earned $2,596,296 in prorated pay from his $7.01 million salary last season but hit .188 with 11 homers in 59 games, down from 38 homers, 92 RBIs and a .250 batting average in 155 games in 2019. Almora batted .167 in 28 games last season and earned $1,667,667 prorated from $4.5 million, down from a .236 average, 12 homers and 32 RBIs in 2019.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Joel Ayayi matched his career high with 21 points and Andrew Nembhard and Corey Kispert each had 19, and No. 1 Gonzaga rallied to beat No. 11 West Virginia 87-82 in the Jimmy V Classic.
The Bulldogs (3-0) struggled to get in sync early and again after freshman Jalen Suggs injured an ankle in the first half. But Gonzaga used a late 13-4 run to take control and scored six straight points late to seal it.
Derek Culver led West Virginia (3-1) with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Oscar Tshiebwe had 14 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 7:26 to play. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak and dropped the Mountaineers to 0-5 in the series.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Adam Flagler scored 18 points and was one of four players in double figures for No. 2 Baylor, which pulled away late to beat No. 5 Illinois 82-69 in the second game of the Jimmy V Classic.
Baylor (3-0) won for the first time this season with coach Scott Drew on the sideline. He missed the previous two games after a positive COVID-19 test, but watched his team swing the game with its trademark defense in the second half.
Ayo Dosunmu had 18 points and Giorgi Beshanishvili added 15 for Illinois (3-1).
NORMAL, Ill. (AP) – Emon Washington had 30 points and Illinois State scored the fourth-most points in Division I history with a 177-108 victory over Greenville.
Illinois State sits behind Loyola Marymount and LIU Brooklyn in the NCAA record book. LMU scored 186 points in 1991 and 181 in ’89, LIU Brooklyn totaled 179 in ’97 and Oklahoma had 173 in ’89.
On Sunday, Murray State beat Greenville 173-95.