Former Celtic Kevin Garnett and Bentley’s five-time Division 2 women’s coach of the year Barbara Stevens are among the eight finalists announced Friday for enshrinement into the Basketball Hall of Fame, a group highlighted by the late Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. Bryant and Duncan — a 15-time All-Star like Garnett — are first-time finalists, as is four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings, while Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, former Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich, four-time national men’s college coach of the year Eddie Sutton, and Stevens are multi-timers. This year’s enshrinement class will be announced on April 4 at the Final Four in Atlanta, with induction in Springfield on Aug. 29. The Hall also announced media awards for ESPN’s Michael Wilbon; play-by-play man Mike Breen; Turner’s “Inside The NBA” crew of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal; and sportscaster Jim Gray; and a lifetime achievement award to the late Tim Nugent, the founder of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.
Cashman, Yankees suspected Houston malfeasance
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman suspected the Houston Astros had been breaking rules against electronic sign stealing long before Commissioner Rob Manfred’s January report, and had spoken with both the league and other teams about it, but that “it’s healthiest for the game as we move forward to focus on the present and the future.’’ The Yankees lost four games in Houston in their ALCS loss to the Astros in 2017. Carlos Beltran — one of the primary figures in MLB’s investigation — worked last season as a Yankees’ special adviser. Cashman said Beltran was among myriad people he spoke to about his suspicions, but that “anybody that has been a part of that has kind of avoided answering the questions.” He would not say whether he would consider rehiring Beltran, whom the Mets hired and dismissed as their manager this offseason. As discussion of the scandal continued across the game, Washington general manager Mike Rizzo — whose Nationals beat Houston in last year’s World Series — declared “the thing that pains me the most is it puts a black cloud over the sport that I love;” the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger said “everyone knows they stole the ring from us’’ in 2017; and Tony Kemp, now in Oakland, said he firmly refused to be part of a scheme when teammates asked following September 2017 call-up by Houston . . . Cleveland starter Mike Clevinger will miss several weeks at least after surgery to repair the meniscus he tore in his left knee while working out at the team’s training complex earlier this week . . . Seattle outfielder Mitch Haniger had lower back surgery barely three weeks after having core surgery, both related to the ruptured testicle he likely sustained when he fouled a ball off himself last June . . . All-Star closer Josh Hader lost his salary arbitration case against Milwaukee, meaning he’ll earn $4.1 million, not the $6.4M he sought for this season. Players are 1-6 in arbitration this year, with seven cases still scheduled . . . Bartolo Colon, who will turn 47 in May, signed with the Monclova Acereros, defending champions of the Triple-A level Mexican Baseball League. Colon last pitched in the majors in 2018 with Texas.
Minnesota fires Bruce Boudreau
Minnesota fired coach Bruce Boudreau despite the Wild having won seven of their past 11 games, first-year general manager Bill Guerin saying “in some of the tighter game situations, we could be a little bit better.” Dean Evason takes over as interim coach for Minnesota, three points out of a West playoff spot entering Friday, with 25 games left. It’s the eighth coaching change in the NHL this season, matching the most ever for one season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau . . . Jay Bouwmeester had surgery to insert a defibrillator to restore his heart’s normal rhythm after the St. Louis Blues defenseman collapsed on the bench during a game in Anaheim this week. The 36-year-old will be monitored in California until he is cleared to return to St. Louis . . . Edmonton’s Zack Kassian was suspended seven games by the Department of Player Safety for kicking Tampa Bay’s Erik Cernak in the chest with his skate on Thursday.
Washington splits with All-Pro Norman
Washington released cornerback Josh Norman with one year left on the $75 million, five-year deal he signed in 2016, and wide receiver Paul Richardson after two disappointing, injury-plagued seasons. Norman struggled to live up to the expectations set by an All-Pro season in Carolina; Washington saves $12.5 million against the salary cap by cutting him now. Injuries limited Richardson to 17 games over two years. After signing a $40 million, five-year deal in 2018, the speedy Richardson caught just 48 passes for 507 yards and four touchdowns.
Manchester City gets two-year Europe ban
English Premier League champion Manchester City was banned by UEFA from the Champions League for two seasons and fined $33 million for “serious breaches” of spending rules and failing to cooperate with investigators in a seismic ruling against one of world football’s wealthiest clubs. The investigation, sparked by leaked internal correspondence showing City overstated sponsorship revenue in a bid to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations, prevents City from playing in any European competition until the 2022-23 season. It could have a significant impact on the club’s ability to sign players and retain manager Pep Guardiola, whose contract expires next season. The Blues are in the round of 16 of this year’s Champions League, and a distant second to Liverpool in the English Premier League . . . A Michigan jury convicted former Michigan State University gymnastics coach Kathie Klages of lying to police when she denied that two teen athletes told her of sexual abuse by sports doctor Larry Nassar in 1997, nearly 20 years before he was charged. Klages, the second person other than Nassar to be convicted of charges related to his serial molestation, faces up to four years in prison at her April 15 sentencing . . . Tokyo Olympic organizers and the International Olympic Committee said there is “no case for any contingency plans” due to the coronavirus for the 2020 Games, which open in just over five months. The outbreak has killed almost 1,400 in neighboring China, but only one in Japan . . . No. 12 Northeastern men’s hockey shut out No. 11 UMass Lowell, 3-0, at Tsongas Center, with Tyler Madden’s game-opening goal giving him points in 10 straight games. The Huskies (16-8-3, 9-7-1 Hockey East) host the River Hawks (15-8-5, 9-5-4) on Saturday . . . No. 6 Boston College (18-8-1, 11-6-0) moved into a tie for second in Hockey East, winning 3-2 at Merrimack (7-20-3, 5-12-3) . . . The Phoenix Mercury signed WNBA All-Star center Brittney Griner to a multi-year contract extension, possibly locking up one of the league’s most dominant players through the end of her career . . . The purse for this year’s Indianapolis 500 will increase roughly $2 million to a record $15 million, with the winner on May 24 receiving at least an additional $100,000. Winner Simon Pagenaud earned $2.6 million last year . . . Aleksander Aamodt Kilde got his first win of the season in a shortened men’s World Cup super-G at Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, sending the Norwegian to the top of both the discipline and overall standings.