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Utah Jazz owners to sell majority stake to tech entrepreneur

Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller announced the sale of the team.Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Gail Miller, whose family has owned the Utah Jazz for 35 years, agreed to sell a majority interest in the franchise to Ryan Smith, co-founder of Qualtrics, a Utah-based software company. Miller, 77, who along with her late husband, Larry, bought a 50 percent stake in the Jazz in May 1985, announced the agreement Wednesday. The sale includes the majority interest in the Jazz, Vivint Smart Home Arena, the Salt Lake Stars of the NBA G League and management of the Class AAA Salt Lake Bees minor league baseball team. ESPN reported a purchase price of $1.66 billion. Smith, 42, is a Utah native and longtime Jazz fan. Qualtrics, which SAP bought for $8 billion in January 2019, became the team’s jersey sponsor in the 2017-18 season but opted to put a patch for the cancer research campaign “5 For The Fight” on the jersey rather than the company’s logo. Larry Miller, a successful car dealer in Utah, purchased the first 50 percent stake for $8 million in 1985 and the remaining half of the Jazz for $14 million in 1986, quelling fears that the team would relocate to Miami or Minnesota. Led by coach Jerry Sloan and the ultra-durable star duo of Karl Malone and John Stockton, Utah quickly established itself under Miller’s stewardship as one of the league’s steadiest franchises.

76ers in talks with Morey

It sounds like Daryl Morey is on his way to Philadelphia.David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The Philadelphia 76ers are in advanced negotiations with former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to become president of basketball operations as part of their front-office overhaul that began after an underachieving season, multiple people with direct knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press. The deal is expected to be finalized as early as this weekend. Elton Brand will remain general manager …The Houston Rockets are hiring Dallas Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas to become the franchise’s next head coach, sources told ESPN. Silas and the Rockets were finalizing terms on a contract. Silas will replace Mike D’Antoni, who left after his contract expired at the end of the season …The NBA’s revenue dropped 10 percent to $8.3 billion for the 2019-20 season amid losses because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to financial numbers shared with teams and obtained by ESPN. The league is projecting losses of 40 percent for 2020-21 if the season advances without fans and accompanying gate-night receipts … Toronto Raptors shooting guard Terence Davis is facing third-degree assault and criminal mischief charges after an incident involving his girlfriend Tuesday night in Midtown Manhattan. The two got in to an argument and Davis hit the woman in the face, hurting her eye, and grabbed her phone and broke its screen, NYPD Detective Sophia Mason said in a statement. Davis was awaiting arraignment. The Raptors said they were aware of reports about the incident and were gathering more information.



Owners to vote on Mets sale

Major League Baseball owners will vote Friday to approve the sale of the New York Mets to billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday night because details of the ongoing process had not been announced. The proposed purchase of 95 percent of the Mets by an entity of Cohen was already approved by MLB’s ownership committee. Cohen needs 23 of the 30 clubs to sign off for the deal to be completed. The sale values the franchise at $2.4 billion to $2.5 billion … The Mets declined 2021 options on catchers Wilson Ramos and Robinson Chirinos and on infielder Todd Frazier, allowing all three to become eligible for free agency.


Rockies decline Murphy’s option

Daniel Murphy's time in Colorado has come to an end.David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Colorado Rockies declined infielder Daniel Murphy’s $12 million option , bringing a close to his two-year stint with the team. Murphy will receive a $6 million buyout. The 35-year-old never really flourished at hitter-friendly Coors Field after signing a $24 million, two-year deal — with a mutual option for ’21 — in December 2018 … The Miami Marlins exercised the club option for center fielder Starling Marte, who will make $12.5 million next year …With four unsurprising decisions by the Washington Nationals, Adam Eaton, Howie Kendrick, Aníbal Sánchez and Eric Thames all became free agents. The Nationals declined the option of retaining each player for the 2021 season. It was the team’s first batch of moves since MLB’s offseason officially began. Earlier in the day, Ryan Zimmerman, Sean Doolittle, Asdrúbal Cabrera, Kurt Suzuki and Brock Holt hit the open market, too.



Djokovic close to sealing No. 1

Novak Djokovic saved four set points in a 7-6 (11-9), 6-3 win over Borna Coric to reach the Erste Bank Open quarterfinals in Vienna and move one step closer to sealing the year-end No. 1 ranking. Djokovic can lock up the top position by winning the title on Sunday. Otherwise Rafael Nadal could still mathematically overtake him, although the Spaniard would need to enter a tournament in Bulgaria next month in order to do so.


Horse racing

Breeders’ Cup field set

Kentucky Derby winner Authentic heads a field of 11 horses, possibly including filly and Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver against males, for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, with trainer Bob Baffert entering three horses in the $6 million race that includes Belmont winner Tiz the Law. The Classic field was among a total of 201 horses pre-entered for the $28 million, 14-race world championships on Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.


AHL to start season Feb. 5

The American Hockey League moved its projected start of next season back to Feb. 5 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, announced president and CEO Scott Howson. The AHL is the top minor league affiliate for the NHL, which is targeting a Jan. 1 start for the season … Defending champion Primoz Roglic made a strong attack on the demanding final climb to win the eighth stage of the Spanish Vuelta , closing the gap to overall leader Richard Carapaz. Roglic moved from fourth to second in the overall standings and closed within13 seconds of the lead … African soccer confederation president Ahmad Ahmad announced he will stand for re-election next year despite a first term littered with problems and reports he is about to be sanctioned by FIFA’s ethics committee … Top American figure skaters were given an opportunity to compete again and earn prize money during the pandemic-shortened season in the new Las Vegas Invitational. The event, which featured two-time world champion Nathan Chen, took place Monday and will air on NBC on Nov. 15. Teams representing NBC analysts Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir skated for $50,000 in prize money … Marcus Ericsson signed a multi-year IndyCar deal to return to Chip Ganassi Racing.