Source: Pistons to re-sign ex-Wildcat Prince, Jerebko
The Detroit Pistons are attempting to rebuild by keeping at least a couple of key players.
Tayshaun Prince and Jonas Jerebko will re-sign with the Pistons, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because the deals have not been announced.
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Prince, an unrestricted free agent, is expected to sign a four-year, $27 million contract. Jerebko, a restricted free agent, will be back for a $16 million, four-year deal.
Contracts couldn't be signed until the collective bargaining agreement was completed late last night. Teams can have their first practice of the season as soon as Friday.
Prince averaged 14.1 points last season, his ninth with the Pistons. Detroit drafted him 23rd overall out of Kentucky in 2002, and he helped them reach at least the Eastern Conference finals in his first six seasons. The 6-foot-9, 215-pound Prince has been regarded as one of the better defenders in the league and has averaged nearly 13 points over his career, but he has had three straight down seasons.
Shane Battier will join the Miami Heat this season. Saying he only wants "a winning role" at this point in his career, Battier announced Thursday morning that he would sign with the Eastern Conference champion Heat. Miami let him know as soon as the free-agency shopping window formally opened this week that he was the Heat's top signing priority .
Center Greg Oden, Portland's often-injured former No. 1 draft pick, will sign the Trail Blazers' $8.9 million qualifying offer on Friday, Oden's agent said. Agent Bill Duffy confirmed Thursday that Oden would sign the one-year deal when the team opens training camp. But it is not clear when Oden, who is coming off left-knee surgery, might be available to play for the Blazers.
Commissioner David Stern announced Thursday that owners and players ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, the final step to ending the five-month lockout and paving the way for training camps and free agency to open Friday.
The NBA, as owners of the New Orleans Hornets, won't trade All-Star guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. NBA spokesman Mike Bass says: "The league office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons."
Lakers forward Lamar Odom would have gone to New Orleans, and fellow Los Angeles forward Pau Gasol to Houston, people told The Associated Press on Thursday on the condition of anonymity.
League adds 8 regional combines
The NFL has added eight regional combines to the main combine it stages each year in Indianapolis.
The regional combines will begin Jan. 28 in Los Angeles and also will be held in Houston, Baltimore, Tampa, the New York area, Chicago, Atlanta and Cleveland through March 17. The Indianapolis event is at the end of February.
Players who attend a regional combine could be invited to a super-regional at Ford Field in Detroit on March 30-31. That event will be attended by NFL team scouts and player personnel directors.
Brett Favre likes retirement just fine.
Favre said on his Web site this week that he is not coming back to the NFL, even with injuries to quarterbacks around the league.
The statement said: "I'm enjoying retirement with my family and have no plans to play football. I haven't contacted nor have I been contacted by any teams, and all reports are inaccurate."
Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis, a big step toward healing from a sprained left ankle. Quarterback Christian Ponder, however, didn't practice as he nurses a right-hip pointer that jeopardizes his chance to play Sunday at Detroit. Peterson has missed the last two games.
Buffalo kicker Rian Lindell's season is over after the 12-year veteran was placed on injured reserve a month after breaking a bone in his right shoulder. Lindell missed four games and became the ninth Bills regular to be placed on IR. Journeyman Dave Rayner has taken over the kicking duties.
Lew Bush, the linebacker who played for the Chargers for seven seasons and was part of their lone Super Bowl team in 1994, died Thursday. He was 42. Bush, who also played for the Chiefs, died of an apparent heart attack, the Chargers said. He is the seventh player from the Chargers' title team who has died.
McIlroy trails by two in Dubai
U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy shot a 30 on the back nine Thursday at the Dubai World Championship to gain the early edge over top-ranked Luke Donald in the duel for the European money title. The 22-year-old McIlroy had six birdies on the back nine for a 6-under 66 and finished third behind leader Peter Hanson of Sweden (64) and 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie of Scotland (65). Donald, who played alongside McIlroy, shot an even-par 72.
FedEx Cup runner-up Webb Simpson and 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley lead the field at the 23rd annual Shark Shootout beginning Friday at Tiburon Golf Club.
Rapid Redux goes for 21st straight win
Rapid Redux, who broke the record for consecutive wins last month at Mountaineer Park with his 20th straight victory, will try to tie the all-time North American record for victories in a calendar year on Tuesday at Laurel Park.
Citation owns the single-season record with 19 wins in 20 starts in 1948, the year he won the Triple Crown. Rapid Redux has won all 18 of his starts this year. Rapid Redux drew the No. 1 post for Tuesday's sixth race at 11⁄16 miles, along with six other horses.
The gelding's winning streak began on Dec. 2, 2010, at Penn National. He has won 21 of 22 races and earned $246,694.
Rapid Redux earned his 19th straight victory at Laurel Park on Oct. 27 to tie Zenyatta and Peppers Pride in the record book and has won three other races at the track during the streak.
The last word
Last summer, when NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki decided to stay in Dallas, he took $16 million less than a maximum contract so the club would have a better chance to sign a quality supporting cast. Said Nowitzki on the Mavericks' roster reshuffling:
"I guess I didn't take less enough. I still got a decent deal out of it so maybe it wasn't enough cutback."