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Lakers at center of tampering probe

Paul George answers questions at his first news conference after his trade to Oklahoma City in July. SUE OGROCKI/FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The NBA is investigating whether the Los Angeles Lakers tampered with All-Star forward Paul George while he was under contract with the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers asked the league to open the probe. ‘‘The Lakers have been cooperative and, at this point, no findings have been made,’’ NBA spokesman Mike Bass said Sunday in a statement. ‘‘We have asked both teams to refrain from commenting while the investigation is ongoing.’’ There is no known timetable for the completion of the investigation being conducted by a New York law firm. The Pacers traded George to the Oklahoma City Thunder this offseason after George told the team he planned to leave Indiana as a free agent next summer. There has been speculation for some time that George has wanted to join the Lakers. Under NBA rules, teams are not permitted to attempt to sway any player who is under contract with another team. If the Lakers are found to have tampered, the NBA could issue any combination of fines, forfeiture of draft picks or suspensions of those who were deemed to be involved. Tampering, the league has said, can be either direct or indirect — and an interview that Lakers President Magic Johnson did earlier this year on ABC’s ‘‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’’ did little to quell speculation about George’s potential future in Los Angeles. In that interview, Kimmel asked Johnson what constitutes tampering, and if he would be allowed to speak to George if they happened to cross paths. ‘‘We’re going to say hi because we know each other,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘You just can’t say, ‘Hey, I want you come to the Lakers,’ even though I'm going to be wink-winking. You know what that means, right?’’

Heat signs ex-Celtic Mickey

The Miami Heat signed former Celtics forward Jordan Mickey to a contract that will pay him about $1.5 million this season. Mickey spent parts of the last two seasons with the Celtics, appearing in 41 regular-season games and four postseason games. He averaged 1.5 points . . . The Milwaukee Bucks say Giannis Antetokounmpo was training briefly with the Greek national team when he reported to his NBA team that he was experiencing knee pain, an injury that will keep him out of the European championship. General manager Jon Horst says the Bucks agreed with their medical staff's recommendation for Antetokounmpo not to play. He is scheduled to return to Milwaukee this week to begin daily treatment and rehab to be ready for Bucks' training camp. Greece’s basketball federation on Saturday accused the Bucks and the NBA of hatching a plan to prevent Antetokounmpo from playing in the European championship.

Mercury no match for Sun

Alyssa Thomas had 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists, Jonquel Jones added 20 points and eight rebounds and the Connecticut Sun beat the Phoenix Mercury, 94-66, in Uncasville. Connecticut led, 46-45, at halftime, but limited Phoenix to just 21 second-half points, its lowest-scoring half of the season . . . Tina Charles scored 19 points and Epiphanny Prince added 15 to help host New York beat the shorthanded Minnesota Lynx, 70-61, clinching a playoff berth for the Liberty . . . Emma Meesseman scored 21 points and Kristi Toliver had 12 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Washington Mystics beat the host Indiana Fever, 87-82, on Sunday night to clinch a playoff spot . . . Breanna Stewart had 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists, Jewell Loyd and Alysha Clark scored 17 points apiece and the Seattle Storm never trailed in a 103-66 victory over the host Chicago Sky. The Storm have won four in a row and are tied with Dallas for the eighth and final playoff spot, 2½ games in front of the Sky . . . Minnesota Lynx forward Plenette Pierson is retiring after the season. The two-time WNBA champion entered the league in 2003 and won titles with Detroit in 2006 and 2008. She has played for six different teams and won the league’s Sixth Woman of the Year honor in 2007.



Smith wears overall crown

Ragan Smith, 17, pulled away from the field at the US championships in Anaheim, Calif., to claim her first national title, posting a score of 115.250, more than 3 points clear of Jordan Chiles in second place and Riley McCusker in third. Smith opened up a 1.3-point lead over McCusker in the opening round Friday but admitted afterward she wasn’t particularly impressed by her own performance. She was considerably sharper less than 48 hours later, her 57.850 total in the finals was the best in the 16-woman all-around field by nearly 2 points. Smith is one of the few holdovers from the 2016 Olympic cycle, serving as an alternate for the ‘‘Final Five’’ team that won half of the available medals in Rio de Janeiro last fall. Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian, and Laurie Hernandez are taking breaks or have moved on, leaving Smith as the standard bearer for new national team coordinator Valeri Liukin . . . Newly minted national champion Yul Moldauer will headline the US men's gymnastics world championship team. Two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak and 2016 bronze medalist Alex Naddour both overcame injuries to make the six-man squad that will compete in Montreal in October. They will be joined by Donnell Whittenburg, an alternate on the 2016 Olympic team and a two-time world championship team member, Eddie Penev and Marvin Kimble.



MLB umpires stop protest

Major League Baseball umpires have ended their protest of what they called ‘‘abusive player behavior’’ after commissioner Rob Manfred offered to meet with their union’s governing board. Most umpires wore white wristbands during Saturday’s games after Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler was fined but not suspended for his recent verbal tirade against ump Angel Hernandez. Kinsler said Tuesday that Hernandez was a bad umpire and ‘‘just needs to go away.’’ . . . Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza added another trophy in her breakthrough summer, beating Simona Halep, 6-1, 6-0, for her first Western & Southern Open title in Mason, Ohio. Muguruza denied Halep a chance to move to No. 1 in the next WTA rankings. On the men’s side, Grigor Dimitrov won his first ATP Masters title, beating Nick Kyrgios, 6-3, 7-5 . . . Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah, 34, signed off on track racing in Britain by winning the 3,000 meters at the Diamond League meet in Birmingham. Farah, who will focus on marathon running, won in 7 minutes, 38.64 seconds . . . Will Power held off Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden on to win the IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., for the second straight year. Power’s third win of the season gave his championship run a serious boost with three races left in the season.