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The NBA fined Houston Rockets guard James Harden $50,000 for violating the league’s Health and Safety Protocols, which among other things prohibit attending indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people or entering bars, lounges, clubs or similar establishments, it was announced Wednesday by Byron Spruell, president of league operations. Video of a maskless Harden at a strip club was reviewed by the team and league. Harden confirmed his presence at the event, disputing it had occurred at a strip club, in an Instagram post. As a result, the league was forced to postpone the Rockets’ opener vs. Oklahoma City. Harden’s future in Houston has grown dubious as the 2018 MVP reported late to camp amid rumors that he sought a trade from the Rockets, although he played in Houston’s last two preseason games. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Kenyon Martin Jr. and other players reportedly went to an apartment for haircuts, which led to contact tracing on all three players.

Three women promoted as full-time refs

Simone Jelks was one of three referees promoted to full-time status by the NBA, making her the fifth woman on the current lineup of officials. Jelks joins the group of female NBA referees that also includes Lauren Holtkamp-Sterling, Ashley Moyer-Gleich, Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder. Jelks becomes the seventh female full-time ref in NBA history, with the current five preceded by Dee Kantner and Violet Palmer . . . The Charlotte Hornets exercised the third-year contract option on projected starting forward PJ Washington and the fourth-year option on forward Miles Bridges . . . Michael Curry, 52, the former Detroit Pistons and Florida Atlantic coach, has joined Tom Crean’s men’s basketball staff at the University of Georgia. Curry was 39-43 as Pistons coach from 2008-09 and 39-84 at Florida Atlantic from 2014-18.

Baseball

Dodgers, RHP Kahnle agree on 2 years, $4.75 million

Tommy Kahnle landed a nice payday with Los Angeles.
Tommy Kahnle landed a nice payday with Los Angeles.Alex Brandon/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Dodgers and righthanded reliever Tommy Kahnle have agreed to a $4.75 million, two-year deal with $500,000 in added incentives, according to a person familiar with the contract. Kahnle threw just one inning for the New York Yankees in 2020 before having season-ending Tommy John surgery in August, and the 31-year-old is unlikely to pitch next season. Los Angeles is hoping he can return to form in 2022. Kahnle had a 3.67 ERA in 72 games for New York in 2019, striking out 88 in 61⅓ innings.

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Miscellany

The Sports Hub tops fall radio ratings

The Patriots may not have had their typically excellent fall, but their flagship radio station did. The Sports Hub (98.5) was first overall in the targeted men 25-54 demographic in the fall Nielsen Audio ratings, earning a 15.0 share in the period from Sept. 10-Dec. 2. All of its weekday programs all finished first or tied for first in their time slots. Sports radio station WEEI (850) finished fourth (5.0). WEEI’s share includes its online stream (0.4) and what it gets from Providence-based WVEI (103.7) from listeners located in the Boston market (0.2). Without that data included, flagship station WEEI 93.7 would have been tied for sixth (4.4). The Sports Hub’s online stream is included in its share. Last fall, The Sports Hub was second (10.5), while WEEI was fourth (7.0). In morning drive (6-10 a.m.), The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” show took first (15.3). WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” was fifth (6.0 including 0.3 from WVEI and 0.7 from its stream). In middays (10 a.m-2 p.m.), The Sports Hub’s “Zolak & Bertrand” show finished first (15.3). WEEI’s “Dale and Keefe” show tied for eighth (4.1, including 0.1 for the stream and 0.1 for WVEI). In afternoon drive (2-6 p.m.), The Sports Hub’s “Felger & Massarotti” was first with a 17.3 share, including an 18.5 in October and a 19.1 in November. WEEI’s “OMF” program was fifth (4.8, including 0.1 for its stream and 0.1 from WVEI). In the 6-11 p.m. window, The Sports Hub, which features “The Adam Jones Show” weeknights, was tied for first (9.7) with WROR programming. Tony Massarotti’s “The Baseball Reporters” show was part of this window at 6-7 p.m. through Sept. 25. WEEI’s “Mut at Night” program was tied for eighth with WXRV (3.6, with no share for streaming or WVEI).

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Chad Finn

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Sabres sign F Mittelstadt

It looks like Casey Mittelstadt will be sticking around Buffalo.
It looks like Casey Mittelstadt will be sticking around Buffalo.Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

The Buffalo Sabres signed forward Casey Mittelstadt to a one-year, $874,125 contract, a little more than a week before the team opens training camp. Mittelstadt, 22, was a restricted free agent entering his fourth NHL season after being selected with the eighth pick in the 2017 draft . . . Sun Yang, 29, a former Olympic champion and one of China’s most celebrated athletes, had his eight-year doping ban from swimming suddenly overturned by Switzerland’s federal court, which upheld a challenge questioning the neutrality of one of the panelists on the Lausanne-based Court of Arbritration for Sport, which had issued the penalty . . . Quarterback Shai Werts had three touchdown runs, including a 37-yarder, and threw a 65-yard scoring pass to help Georgia Southern beat Louisiana Tech, 38-3, in the New Orleans Bowl.

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