NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Chris Grant did all they could to sidestep repeated questions about their interest in Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo, who has been approached by NBA teams in the past – but perhaps not this tenaciously.
A person familiar with Cleveland’s pursuit of Izzo told the Associated Press that Gilbert, a Michigan State graduate, and the coach have discussed terms of a possible contract that would pay Izzo up to $6 million a year for four or five seasons. Use of one of Gilbert’s jets has not been discussed.
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer first reported Monday that Gilbert and Izzo talked about the framework of a long-term deal, worth about $6 million a season for up to five years. Izzo makes more than $3 million a season and is under contract through 2016.
The Cavaliers fired Mike Brown less than two weeks following their second-round loss to the Boston Celtics. Brown, named the NBA’s coach of the year in 2009, led the Cavs to 127 regular-season wins the past two seasons but couldn’t get James and the team back to the NBA finals.
Gilbert adamantly denied that James, the two-time MVP now on free agency’s doorstep, has been running Cleveland’s franchise, including the firing of Brown, departure of former GM Danny Ferry and on player personnel moves.
• Hill will return: The Phoenix Suns say 16-year veteran forward Grant Hill has exercised the one-year player option on his contract and will return to the team next season.
• Hornets introduce new coach: The New Orleans Hornets unveiled Monty Williams as their new coach. A former first-round draft choice out of Notre Dame by the New York Knicks, Williams played nine NBA seasons.
UCLA slugs its way
to NCAA crown
Softball: Andrea Harrison hit a grand slam, Megan Langenfeld homered for the third time in two games and UCLA put on a record-setting offensive show in Oklahoma City to beat Arizona 15-9 and win its 11th Women’s College World Series title.
Julie Burney and Samantha Camuso also homered for the Bruins (50-11) as a matchup of college softball’s two most successful programs turned into a home run derby.
Stacie Chambers went deep twice and Lini Koria hit a solo shot for Arizona (52-14) as the teams combined to set a World Series record with seven homers in the game.
Yankees Stadium fight has big ratings
Boxing: The first fight at Yankee Stadium in more than three decades generated the highest rating of the year for HBO.
The main event that saw Miguel Cotto defeat Yuri Foreman for the junior middleweight title, along with Vanes Martirosyan’s win over Joe Greene on the undercard, generated a 3.9 rating.
Wanting out, Crayton returns to practice
NFL: Patrick Crayton was back on the field catching passes for the Dallas Cowboys, not worrying if that is where he’ll be when the season begins.
Crayton had skipped the first three weeks of voluntary offseason workouts before participating after the Cowboys drafted Dez Bryant. The receiver indicated during a radio interview while away that he wanted to be released, but Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has made it clear it’s not in the team’s immediate plans.
• Kroenke plans to maintain franchises: Stan Kroenke said he plans to keep ownership of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and NBA’s Denver Nuggets in his family if he gains full control of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams. The billionaire owns 40 percent of the Rams and is trying to acquire the rest, but NFL rules prohibit owners from also owning clubs in the NBA, NHL or Major League Baseball.
Big 3 team raises millions for charity
Golf: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player harnessed their star power to raise just more than $15.1 million for the “Big 3 for Mountain Mission Kids” fundraiser at a public event in Bristol, Va.
It’s the biggest single day in fundraising in PGA history.
Johnson’s alleged stalker trial begins
Miscellany: A man accused of stalking gymnast Shawn Johnson harbored a dangerous obsession to marry the Olympic gold-medalist, a prosecutor claimed.
Robert O’Ryan, 36, sat quietly as prosecutor Wendy Segall described how he drove from Jacksonville, Fla., to Los Angeles last March in an attempt to meet Johnson.