Blazers sign veteran guard Mo Williams
NBA: The Portland Trail Blazers have signed veteran free-agent guard Mo Williams.
Williams has played 10 seasons in the NBA with stops in Milwaukee, Cleveland, the Clippers and Utah, averaging 13.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5 assists. Last season with the Jazz, the 6-foot-1 Williams averaged 12.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 6.2 assists but he was hampered by surgery on his right thumb that sidelined him for two months.
He will wear No. 7, Brandon Roy’s former number, for the Blazers.
The Jazz, 22-24 with Williams in the lineup, finished 43-39 and just out of the final Western Conference playoff spot. Many of the players on that team were free agents, including Al Jefferson, who was signed to a three-year, $40.5 million deal by the Charlotte Bobcats, and Paul Millsap, who signed a two-year, $19 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks.
Terms of Williams’ deal with the Trail Blazers was not released.
Williams, who will be 31 in December, expressed a desire to return to the Jazz at season’s end.
“I was drafted here,” Williams, a second-round pick by Utah in 2003 acquired in a trade last summer, said then. “This organization gave me a shot when I first came in the league, when I was a young pup. Now I’m at a point in my career where stability is key. … It will be disappointing (if I’m not back), but I’m going into my 11th year and I understand the business side of it. I understand the youth movement.”
Struggling Mercury fire Gaines as coach
WNBA: The Phoenix Mercury fired coach and general manager Corey Gaines after a five-year run that included a WNBA title but a disappointing 2013 season.
Former University of Arizona coach Russ Pennell will serve as interim coach and President and CEO Amber Cox will be interim GM.
Phoenix went into this season with high expectations after adding No. 1 overall draft pick Brittney Griner to a roster that featured star players Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor and Candice Dupree.
Phoenix won eight of nine games after a slow start to the season, but has lost seven of nine to fall 7 1/2 games behind Minnesota in the Western Conference at 10-11.
Pennell served as Arizona’s interim coach in 2008-09 after Lute Olsen retired and spent four seasons at Grand Canyon University, where he went 72-44.
NCAA getting out of jersey-selling
Colleges: The NCAA is getting out of the memorabilia business.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said it would stop the practice immediately after reports this week that team jerseys and other items linked to individual schools could be found on its own website by searching for specific player names.
“I think seeing the NCAA sell those kinds of goods is a mistake,” Emmert said during a conference call with reporters. “It’s not what the NCAA is about. So we’re not going to be doing that any longer.”
The NCAA is being sued by former players and a handful of current college players in federal court over the use of athlete images and likenesses. And just this past week, ESPN reported that the NCAA is investigating Heisman Trophy-winner Johnny Manziel for allegedly being paid to sign memorabilia, which if true could jeopardize eligibility as a violation of NCAA amateurism rules.
Emmert said the commercial site won’t be completely removed because there is still a market for generic NCAA apparel. He said the NCAA had hired another company to run the site, ShopNCAASports.com.
Mark Lewis, the NCAA’s executive vice president for championships and alliances, also released a statement, saying university merchandise would not be offered, either.
“In the coming days, the store’s website will be shut down temporarily and reopen in a few weeks as a marketplace for NCAA championship merchandise only,” Lewis said.
Stewart undergoes 2nd surgery on leg
Miscellany: Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart underwent a second surgery on his broken right leg in North Carolina and remains hospitalized under observation.
The surgery was to insert a metal rod inside the tibia. Stewart broke both the tibia and fibula in his right leg Monday night in a sprint car race in Iowa. He underwent a first surgery in Iowa to clean and stabilize the injury.
Stewart is out indefinitely and Max Papis will drive his No. 14 Chevrolet this weekend at Watkins Glen International.
• IAAF wants four-year sanctions: The IAAF is determined to re-introduce four-year sanctions for serious drug violations and will be pushing the World Anti-Doping Agency to do the same to strengthen the deterrent against cheaters. In a vote by acclamation at the IAAF congress Thursday, member federations backed the leaders in seeking tougher WADA sanctions.
• Morton wins third stage of Tour of Utah: Australia’s Lachlan Morton won the third stage of the Tour of Utah to take a 22-second lead over Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet in the overall standings. Morton, riding for Garmin-Sharp, completed the 119.5-mile stage from Richfield to Payson in 4 hours, 20 minutes, 21 seconds.
• Oracle Team forfeits: America’s Cup champion Oracle Team USA has forfeited its overall championships from the first two seasons of the America’s Cup World Series after it was determined that its yachts were modified without the permission of the Measurement Committee.