NEW YORK (AP)Boston’s Marcus Smart is the first guard in over a quarter-century to win the NBA defensive player of the year award.
NBA officials announced the award on Monday. The last guard to win this honor was Seattle’s Gary Payton in 1995-96.
Smart helped the Celtics lead the NBA in defensive rating and scoring defense (104.6) while holding opponents to a league-low field-goal percentage (.434) and 3-point percentage (.339). The 28-year-old ranked seventh in the NBA in steals per game (1.68) and tied for sixth in total steals (119).
Smart received 257 total points and earned 37 first-place votes from a panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges finished second with 202 points and 22 first-place votes.
CLEVELAND (AP) – The Cleveland Browns have spoken to an NFL investigator looking into claims by former coach Hue Jackson, who said the team intentionally lost games – tanked – in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Jackson, now coaching at Grambling State, was fired by Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam eight games into the 2018 season with a 3-36-1 record.
In February, Jackson indicated in a series of posts on social media that the team paid him bonuses incentivizing him to lose and that he was set up to fail. Jackson later softened those claims.
The Browns went 1-15 in 2016 and 0-16 in 2017.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The NFL’s Washington Commanders denied several allegations of financial impropriety in a letter sent Monday to the U.S Federal Trade Commission.
The 19-page letter – including testimony, emails and other documents – came as a response to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform asking the FTC to look into the team’s business practices. There are more than 80 pages of signed affidavits, emails and text message exchanges laid out as the team’s evidence.
The committee last week told the FTC it found evidence of deceptive business practices over the span of more than a decade, including withholding ticket revenue from visiting teams and refundable deposits from fans. The NFL said it engaged Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White ”to review the most serious matters raised by the committee.”
CLEVELAND (AP) – Browns two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward has agreed to a five-year, $100.5 million contract extension with the team, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Monday.
Ward’s deal includes $71.25 million guaranteed, said the person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the 24-year-old has not yet signed the contract.
With a yearly average of $20.1 million, Ward will be the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback.
– By AP Sports Writer Tom Withers.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) – Baltimore Ravens executive Bob Eller is retiring after 38 years in the NFL.
The Ravens announced Monday that Eller, the team’s senior vice president of operations, will retire June 1. He’s spent 35 years with the Ravens and Cleveland Browns.
Eller began working for Cleveland in 1987. When the team moved to Baltimore, he facilitated many of the start-up functions for the Ravens.
Since the Ravens’ inception, he has directed the day-to-day operations of the team.
CHICAGO (AP) – Jake Arrieta, a key pitcher on the Chicago Cubs’ 2016 World Series championship team, has decided to retire.
Arrieta made the announcement during a Barstool Sports podcast.
The 36-year-old Arrieta went 5-14 with a 7.39 ERA in 24 starts for the Cubs and San Diego Padres last season. He finishes his career with a 115-93 record and 3.98 ERA in 285 games, 279 starts, over 12 years in the majors.
Arrieta won the NL Cy Young Award with Chicago in 2015 and helped the Cubs win the 2016 World Series for their first championship since 1908.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Infielder Jed Lowrie and relievers A.J. Puk and Lou Trivino were among six players added to the COVID-19 injured list by the Oakand Athletics before their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.
Reliever Kirby Snead, infielder Chad Pinder and catcher Austin Allen also were put on the COVID-19 IL and joined outfielder Scott Piscotty, placed on the list on Friday.
Pitcher Sam Selman and infielders Nick Allen and Christian Lopes were added to the A’s active roster as substitute players.
BOSTON (AP) – Reigning Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Boston Marathon women’s division by winning a seesaw sprint down Boylston Street.
Evans Chebet of Kenya won the men’s division as the race returned to its traditional Patriots’ Day spot in the schedule for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
American Daniel Romanchuk won his second career men’s wheelchair title. Switzerland’s Manuela Schar won her second straight Boston crown and fourth overall.
Fans waved Ukrainian flags in support of the runners. Forty-four Ukrainian citizens had registered for the race; only 11 started and all finished.
SEATTLE (AP) – The expansion Seattle Kraken are adding some additional star power to their ownership group.
The Kraken announced Monday that Grammy winner Macklemore and former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch are joining the minority investor group.
The two are taking small stakes in the franchise but bringing big ideas about community engagement and outreach to go along with their financial commitment. One of the original members of Seattle’s ownership group was Hollywood film maker Jerry Bruckheimer.
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) – Ash Barty has signed on to play in an international golf exhibition just weeks after retiring from tennis while ranked No. 1 in the world.
The 25-year-old Australian has been included in Ernie Els’ Rest of the World team for the Icons Series event at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey, on June 30 and July 1.
Barty decided to quit tennis last month. She won the Australian Open in January for her third Grand Slam singles championship after titles at Wimbledon last year and the French Open in 2019.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) – Cristiano Ronaldo took to social media on Monday to say one of his newborn twins has died.
”It is with our deepest sadness we have to announce that our baby boy has passed away,” the Manchester United striker wrote in a post also signed by his partner, Georgina Rodriguez.
”It is the greatest pain that any parents can feel.”
Ronaldo announced last year that the couple was expecting twins.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – San Jose’s Matias Almeyda was fired Monday in Major League Soccer’s first coaching change since the season’s start after the Earthquakes went winless in their first seven matches.
Alex Covelo will become interim coach after serving as head coach for Earthquakes II in MLS Next Pro. His first game will be against Bay Cities in the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday.
Former forward Chris Wondolowski was appointed interim assistant coach along with Steve Ralston and Luciano Fusco.
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) – Colombia coach Reinaldo Rueda was sacked on Monday after failing to qualify the team for the World Cup in Qatar.
The Colombian Football Federation in a statement said Rueda’s assistants also left their positions.
The federation said it will begin searching for a successor to 65-year-old Rueda, who had the job for 15 months.
Colombia finished South American World Cup qualifying in sixth position, one point behind Peru, which faces a qualifying playoff against an Asian team.
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