Lakers dump Luke Walton after three fruitless seasons
Luke Walton is out as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers after three losing seasons. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka announced Walton’s departure Friday, three days after the abrupt resignation of president of basketball operations Magic Johnson. Pelinka called Walton leaving a mutual decision. The former Lakers forward went 98-148 after getting his first permanent head coaching job with the 16-time NBA champions. The former Golden State assistant never led the Lakers to the playoffs, not even after the arrival of LeBron James last summer. Walton leaves three days after the Lakers’ final game of their 37-45 season was upstaged by the shocking pregame resignation of Johnson, who inherited Walton when he took over the Lakers’ front office in February 2017 . . . Joel Embiid, the 76ers’ All-Star center, is doubtful to play Saturday in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets because of tendinitis in his left knee that cost him most of the final month of the season. Embiid will make the call if he can suit up Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center . . . Thunder forward Paul George could miss Sunday’s playoff opener at Portland with right shoulder soreness . . . The Raptors’ OG Anunoby had an emergency appendectomy Thursday, two days before his team begins the playoffs. There is no timetable for his return, although the 6-foot-8-inch forward is expected to miss at least the first round against the Magic . . . Three people familiar with the situation say the Pelicans have reached an agreement in principle to make former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations. Griffin will take over for former Pelicans general manger Dell Demps, who was fired in the middle of his ninth season with the club and a few weeks after All-Star Anthony Davis’s trade request in late January.
LB Foster reinstated, but fined
Linebacker Reuben Foster has been fined two game checks and reinstated to the Washington Redskins’ active roster after an NFL investigation into an incident of domestic violence found he did not violate the league’s personal conduct policy. Foster, 25, will be allowed to participate in all team activities, which includes Washington’s offseason program that begins next week. Foster avoided being suspended in the aftermath of a domestic violence charge from November, which triggered a review based on his previous violations of league policies. Prosecutors in Tampa, Florida, decided in January not to pursue a domestic violence case, dismissing the first-degree misdemeanor battery charge . . . The Giants officially signed wide receiver Sterling Shepard to a four-year contract extension that will pay him roughly $41 million . . . The Vikings and wide receiver Adam Thielen have agreed in principle to a four-year contract extension valued at $64 million, with incentives that could be earn him as much as $73 million over the life of the contract . . . Forrest Gregg, the Hall of Fame lineman for the Green Bay Packers of the 1960s that Vince Lombardi called the ‘‘finest player I ever coached,’’ died Friday at age 85. Barbara Gregg said her husband of 59 years died in Colorado Springs from complications of Parkinson’s disease. ‘‘I lost my sweetheart this morning,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s awful. He died in my arms.’’ The six-time All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowler was elected to the NFL’s all-decade team of the 1960s and to its 75th anniversary team. A guard and tackle, Gregg is one of four NFL players to win a-half dozen NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls with the Packers. Gregg finished his career with another Super Bowl title with the Cowboys in 1971.
Sanchez joins Yankees’ IL list
Catcher Gary Sanchez has a strained left calf and became the 12th Yankees player on the injured list. More than half the Yankees’ starting lineup is hurt. Sanchez joined outfielders Giancarlo Stanton (strained left biceps) and Aaron Hicks (left lower back strain), shortstop Didi Gregorius (recovering from Tommy John surgery last October), third baseman Miguel Andújar (torn labrum in right shoulder), and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (strained left calf) on the IL. New York placed Sanchez on the 10-day IL retroactive to Thursday and recalled catcher Kyle Higashioka from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before Friday’s series opener against the White Sox. Later, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said righthanded reliever Dellin Betances will get a cortisone shot in his right shoulder Saturday, which will keep him out another 6-7 weeks . . . Mike Trout was ruled out for the Angels’ weekend series against the Cubs after he strained his right groin during the team’s last homestand. Trout visited Dr. Steve Yoon on Friday in Los Angeles. Angels general manager Billy Eppler said imaging showed a reduced amount of swelling. Trout signed a record $426.5 million, 12-year contract near the end of spring training. The two-time AL MVP is batting .406 with five homers and 12 RBIs in 12 games this year . . . The Cubs placed Victor Caratini on the 10-day injured list with a broken bone in his left hand, sidelining the backup catcher for 4-6 weeks. The 25-year-old Caratini is scheduled for surgery Monday . . . Two players in the Tigers system and a free agent pitcher have been suspended 25 games each for violating the minor league drug program. Catcher Moises Nunez, on the roster of Single A Connecticut of the New York-Penn League, and pitcher Richard Terrero of the Tigers’ team in the Gulf Coast League were suspended. Also penalized was free agent Jorge Baez. There have been 15 players suspended this year under the minor league program.
Harvick nabs Richmond pole
Kevin Harvick won the pole for Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. Harvick turned a fast lap at 124.298 miles per hour to earn the 27th pole of his career and his second this season . . . Cole Custer passed Austin Cindric with 20 laps to go at Richmond Raceway and earned his second NASCAR Xfinity victory of the season . . . Duke’s Zion Williamson and Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu won the John R. Wooden Award as the nation’s outstanding men’s and women’s college basketball player, respectively . . . Eighth-seeded Sam Querrey advanced to the semifinals in the US Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston, beating Janko Tipsarevic, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-4). Querrey will face Christian Garin, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over qualifier Henri Laaksonen. Casper Ruud also advanced, spoiling Marcel Granollers’s 33rd birthday with a 6-1, 6-0 victory . . . Tommy Smith, a tough-tackling former Liverpool captain whose goal helped his hometown club win the European Cup for the first time, has died. He was 74. Nicknamed the ‘‘Anfield Iron’’ and described as a ‘‘club legend’’ by Liverpool, the defender made 638 appearances for the team from 1960-1978 and won nine major trophies — four English league titles, two FA Cups, a European Cup and two UEFA.