Knicks get Chandler from Mavericks in three-team deal
The anchor of the Dallas Mavericks' defense now centers one of the league's best frontcourts. Tyson Chandler joined the New York Knicks on Saturday, in the belief that joining Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire means he's not done competing for championships. The Knicks have long needed a defensive presence, and Chandler plans to provide it.
"I know what my job is coming here," he said. "I know I came here to defend. I'm going to defend the rim, I'm going to rebound, I'm going to get extra shots. And I think if we play on both ends and play as a team, the sky is definitely the limit for this squad."
Chandler gets a four-year contract worth about $56 million after coming to the Knicks via sign-and-trade as part of a three-team deal. The Knicks sent Ronny Turiaf and cash to the Washington Wizards and reserve guard Andy Rautins to the Mavericks, and there were other picks involved.
The Knicks also waived point guard Chauncey Billups and designated him as their amnesty player so they could afford Chandler.
The 7-foot-1 Chandler helped the Mavericks win the NBA championship last season, averaging 10.1 points and 9.4 rebounds, and at first hoped he would return to Dallas. But the Mavericks wanted to keep other options open, and when the Knicks emerged as a surprising option, they quickly became Chandler's preferred one.
"The Knicks were never on my radar. I'd never seen them as being a possibility and once I got word that it could potentially happen, they became my No. 1 priority," Chandler said.
It took some work, notably using the amnesty clause to waive Billups so his $14.2 million salary wouldn't count for salary cap or luxury tax purposes. Billups was their starting point guard last season after coming with Anthony in a trade from Denver and was expected to return, with the Knicks picking up his option for this season in April when they would have owed him just $3.7 million had they waived him within five days after the season ended.
"We didn't want to get rid of Chauncey and when I talked to him today I told him, 'Chauncey, it's not like we're waiving you because we don't want you. Look at it as what it is. We traded you basically for the starting center on the NBA championship team,'" interim general manager Glen Grunwald said.
Howard talks about trade request
Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando, putting one of the NBA's most dominant big men on the block at the start of training camp. Magic GM Otis Smith confirmed Saturday that Howard has formally requested a trade. A team spokesman said earlier in the day that the team had granted New Jersey, Dallas and the Los Angeles Lakers permission to talk to Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, to discuss possible trades. The All-Star is eligible to opt out of his current contract in July 2012.
"I've done everything for this city. I don't think people understand the magnitude of love I have just for this city," Howard said. "It's beyond basketball. I think people, anybody should understand that. For me this has just not been a city I enjoy playing basketball in. I love everybody here, that's why it's been so tough."
Howard said recent playoff disappointments played a role in his trade request. He alluded to the hurt he felt as he watched the Lakers celebrate their 2009 NBA championship on the Magic's home floor.
"I've been back and forth," Howard said. "Mainly because the people here really care for the city. Nobody's gonna understand that. And if you hate me because of a jersey, then you never really loved me. That's how I feel."
Donald closes in on money title in Dubai
Top-ranked Luke Donald was on the verge of becoming the first golfer to win the European and American money titles, shooting a 6-under 66 Saturday in the third round at the Dubai World Championship to trail leader Alvaro Quiros by four strokes.
While Donald climbed the leader board, Rory McIlroy headed the other way to all but end his chances of overtaking the Englishman for the top spot on the European money list. The U.S. Open champion had a shaky 1-under 71 to drop into a tie for eighth.
"It's over," McIlroy said. "Luke is in a great position and he's played great the past couple of days. I expect him to go out and shoot another very solid round tomorrow and wrap things up."
McIlroy needs to win the tournament and Donald needs to finish outside the top nine for any chance of overtaking him for the European money title. Donald, who wrapped up the American money title this year, is fourth. Despite his strong round, Donald said he isn't about to start celebrating just yet.
"I would be foolish to think it's over," Donald said. "Tomorrow it will be just like any other day in terms of focus. I will be trying to catch whomever is the leader and trying to win the tournament."
■ PGA champion Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele shot a 10-under 62 in better-ball play Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Mark Calcavecchia and Nick Price in the Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples, Fla. Calcavecchia and Price, trying to become the first Champions Tour duo to win the 12-team event, had a 63.
Kiefer opens Cup season with gold
Foil fencer Lee Kiefer, a senior at Paul Dunbar, won the women's Division I championship at the North American Cup in Kansas City. Kiefer, who won bronze at the Senior Worlds in October and went undefeated in the three North American Cups last season, began the 2011-2012 season with another gold medal.
In a rematch of their Pan Am Championships finals from July, Kiefer built a 10-3 lead against Doris Willette of Lafayette, Calif., during the first period of the finals before going on to win 15-6.
"I'm always happy to win, but today was a struggle. It was a difficult day, but I powered through. It wasn't pretty," said Kiefer, who had lost a pool-play match earlier in the day. "I had a headache that was bothering me and some days you just feel like you're fencing pretty and everything's going well and this wasn't it."
Killer Graces wins Hollywood Starlet
Killer Graces defeated Charm the Maker by half a length to win the $402,000 Hollywood Starlet on Saturday at Hollywood Park, giving Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer his second win in the Grade I race in three years. Ridden by Joe Talamo, Killer Graces ran 11⁄16 miles on the synthetic Cushion Track in 1:44.09 and paid $30.40, $9.40 and $7.40 at 14-1 odds.
"We had an absolutely perfect trip," Talamo said. "She really likes this track. Her only bad races were at Del Mar. She's just getting better and better and you can do anything with her. She's a really nice filly and I can't wait until she's 3."
High school cross country
Louisville runner 19th at nationals
Edward Cheserek of Newark, N.J., edged Futsum Zeinasellassie of Indianapolis by one second in a race of undefeated runners to win the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championship on Saturday in San Diego. Molly Seidel of Hartland, Wis., used a late surge to overcome Erin Finn to win the title by two seconds.
Cheserek finished the boys' race in 14 minutes, 52 seconds. Louisville Holy Cross' Jacob Thomson finished 19th in 15 minutes, 42 seconds.
The last word
Green Bay star wide receiver Greg Jennings said he has no problem with quarterback Aaron Rodgers getting most of the credit for the Packers' 12-0 start. Jennings said:
"We always hear, 'Aaron, Aaron, Aaron, Aaron.' He can have it. We're confident in ourselves. We know what we do. We make him look good and he makes us look good. If you want attention you'll get it. It'll come. But it'll come when it needs to come."