Magic shake up roster, add Arenas, Turkoglu, Richardson
The Orlando Magic acquired troubled guard Gilbert Arenas from the Washington Wizards and Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson from the Phoenix Suns in a major roster shakeup Saturday. The Magic announced that they traded forward Rashard Lewis for Arenas. They sent Phoenix guards Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus and backup center Marcin Gortat. Orlando also received former University of Louisville standout Earl Clark from the Suns.
The overhaul was a major move for a Magic franchise that began the season saying it had all the pieces for its first championship. Instead, Orlando had lost five of its last six games entering Saturday to drop from first to fourth in the Eastern Conference. The slide was magnified by winning streaks of 11 and 12 by rival Miami and Boston, a ripple effect that was enough to force Orlando to overhaul the roster. Again.
After making the NBA Finals in the 2008-09 season, the Magic parted ways with Turkoglu — a fan favorite who went to Toronto — and traded with New Jersey to get Carter. The decision turned out to be a complete disaster. Carter struggled mightily in Orlando's disappointing exit in the East finals last season to Boston, and a rough patch early this year convinced the Magic that they might not have enough to contend after all.
"We needed a little bit more punch," Magic President Otis Smith said. "All those guys coming in have an ability to move the ball. After looking at our team through 25 games, we were missing a little something. I thought change was needed."
■ LeBron James didn't get a chance to show off for the president. Didn't get a chance to psyche out Gilbert Arenas at the free-throw line. Didn't get a chance to put No. 1 overall pick John Wall in his place. So James merely had the same experience he's had everywhere else lately: He got booed and won. This time, however, he needed a fortunate no-call at the buzzer.
James and Chris Bosh got away with contact on Kirk Hinrich on a potential game-winning layup, letting the Miami Heat escape with a 95-94 win over the last-place Washington Wizards, who nearly pulled off the upset without the injured Wall and the just-traded Arenas. The Heat's winning streak now stands at 12. The Wizards have lost seven straight.
President Barack Obama was also a no-show, canceling plans to witness the talents that now make their home somewhere near South Beach. "For him to actually see what I do live, it would have been great," James said before the game, "but he's a busy man."
Injured Rodgers, Favre both ruled out
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not receive medical clearance after sustaining his second concussion of the season and was ruled out for Sunday night's game at New England. Matt Flynn, a seventh-round draft pick out of Louisiana State in 2008, is expected to make his first career start for the Packers. The Packers also signed quarterback Graham Harrell from their practice squad and placed safety Anthony Smith on injured reserve.
■ Brett Favre won't play in Minnesota's game Monday against Chicago. Favre didn't participate in Saturday's practice, and Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier said the 41-year-old quarterback won't play against the Bears. Favre's NFL-record streak of 297 consecutive starts ended last Monday when the Vikings played the New York Giants. He said this week his sprained throwing shoulder is still bothering him and that he's also still experiencing numbness in his hand. Running back Adrian Peterson was back at practice Saturday after sitting out the past two days as a precaution because of ankle and knee problems.
Source: Tebow might get first NFL start
Suddenly, the Denver Broncos' season is far from finished. With Broncos starting quarterback Kyle Orton unable to practice this week because of painfully sore ribs, rookie Tim Tebow is "likely" to start Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, according to an NFL source.
"If the starting quarterback can't go, then the backup has to step in and play," said former Broncos receiver Rod Smith. "It will be a tough place for him to make his first NFL start, but what I like about him is, he's used to playing in front of 100,000 people. And not all of those people were on his side. He's used to playing in hostile environments and playing well."
A final decision by Broncos interim head coach Eric Studesville and his staff won't be made until Orton's ribs are tested in pre-game warmups, but the team is moving forward with plans of giving Tebow his first NFL start.
Els up by two on Goosen in South Africa
Four-time winner Ernie Els took a two-shot lead into a marathon last day of the South African Open, after the country's biggest stars rose into contention on Saturday for the 100th national title in Durban, South Africa. Els' second straight 65, a flawless second round of 7-under par, lifted him to the top of the leader board at 14-under 130, two strokes clear of Retief Goosen, who finished with a 68. That means South Africa's big two — Els and Goosen — will play the final 36 holes Sunday with 19-year-old Frenchman Romain Wattel, who turned professional after he won a European Challenge Tour event as an amateur in his hometown of Strasbourg in September. Wattel carded a 6-under 66 to lie third, one stroke behind Goosen.
Vonn named AP's female athlete of year
Lindsey Vonn was named the 2010 Female Athlete of the Year, chosen by members of The Associated Press. Never before has a skier — male or female — won one of the annual AP awards, which date to 1931. Vonn received 77 of 175 votes submitted by news organizations that make up the AP's membership. That is more than double what anyone else got in the tally announced Saturday.
Vonn won two medals at the Vancouver Olympics, including the first downhill gold for an American woman, and captured her third consecutive World Cup overall title. Racehorse Zenyatta's 32 votes placed her No. 2 in the AP balloting for the second consecutive year. The 6-year-old mare retired with a 19-1 record. Connecticut basketball player Maya Moore finished third with 29 votes.
A pair of perfect games at Joyland
The season's high-scoring ways continued at Joyland Bowl this past week with a pair of perfect games. Jerry Crowe rolled a 300 en route to a 701 series in the Bluegrass Bowling League. The other perfect game was rolled by Calvin Mayes in the TNBA league.
■ The 32nd Bradley Open will be held at Collins Bowling Centers-Eastland on Jan. 8-9. The scratch singles event is open to the first 264 entries. The entry fee is $200, and first prize is $5,000 and a paid entry to the 2012 USBC Masters and the High Rollers Tournament. Entry forms are available at either Collins location.
Dropo, 1950's top AL rookie, dies
Walt Dropo, who played 13 seasons in the majors and won the 1950 American League Rookie of the Year award with the Boston Red Sox, died of natural causes in Storrs, Conn. He was 87. In 1950, Dropo beat out New York Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford to win AL Rookie of the Year honors after batting .322 with 34 home runs and a league-best 144 RBI in 136 games.
The last word
Anyone else think the timeout- and foul-filled final minutes of an NBA game are torturously long? Steve Rushin of SI.com wrote:
"Still, it's comforting to know that if the world were to end today, Larry Brown would call timeout, buying humanity another 110 seconds."