Update on the latest sports
Brand shoots 67 to take U.S. Open lead
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Richard Bland has taken the lead in the second round of the U.S. Open.
The 48-year-old Englishman became the European Tour’s oldest first-time winner last month and continued his good play at Torrey Pines. Bland opened with a 1-under 70 and reeled off six birdies to shoot 67 under a marine layer in the second round. He’s at 5 under and leads by one over Russell Henley, who shared the first-round lead with Louis Oosthuizen (LOO’-ee OOST’-hay-vihn). Bland won for the first time in 478 career starts at The Belfry last month after shooting a final-round 66.
Celtics’ send Kemba Walker, 16th pick to Thunder for Horford
UNDATED (AP) — The Celtics are bringing Al Horford back, trading point guard Kemba Walker to Oklahoma City for the five-time All-Star on Friday in Brad Stevens’ first major move since he moved from the Boston bench to the front office.
Boston will also send the No. 16 overall draft pick and a 2025 second-rounder to the Thunder and receive 7-footer Moses Brown and a 2023 second-round pick in return.
Oklahoma City now holds 19 first-round draft picks over the next seven years.
Horford returns to Boston and gives the Celtics the frontcourt presence they’ve lacked since he left two seasons ago. The 6-foot-9 was forward was a member of the NBA All-Defensive team with the Celtics in 2017-18 while also posting the best assist numbers of his career.
Walker is guaranteed more than $73 million over the next two seasons. But after helping the Celtics reach the Eastern Conference finals in the NBA bubble last season, he was limited by knee injuries to 43 games in 2021. He missed the last two games of the first-round playoff loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
In other NBA news:
— Dirk Nowitzki (noh-VIHT’-skee) is joining the Dallas Mavericks as an adviser in the wake of the abrupt departures of general manager Donnie Nelson and coach Rick Carlisle. The franchise leader in nearly every category says he considers Nelson and Carlisle mentors and wanted to do what he could to help the Mavericks find their replacements. Nowitzki, who turns 43 on Saturday, retired two years ago. The 7-foot German set an NBA record by spending all 21 seasons with the Mavericks. Nowitzki led Dallas to the 2011 championship and developed a strong bond with owner Mark Cuban.
— Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown has a new job this summer. He’s the coach of the Nigerian Olympic men’s team and opens training camp in preparation for the Tokyo Games this weekend in Oakland, California. Brown wasn’t initially sure he wanted the job when it was offered about 18 months ago. He’s only seen his commitment grow since, to the point where he’s taken on even more than a coaching role for the Nigerian program.
Top seeds 76ers, Jazz facing elimination
UNDATED (AP) — The NBA’s top playoff seeds, Philadelphia and Utah, are on the brink of being eliminated.
The 76ers have blown leads of 18 and 26 points in back-to-back losses to the Atlanta Hawks, who now lead the Eastern Conference semifinal series 3-2. Atlanta, the No. 5 seed, can clinch the series at home Friday night after storming back for an improbable 109-106 win on Wednesday in Philadelphia.
The Clippers can win their semifinal series Friday at home against the Jazz, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Los Angeles took a 3-2 lead with a 119-111 Wednesday night despite playing without Kawhi Leonard, who was held out with a knee injury.
Pressure on Vegas with semifinal series shifting to Montreal
MONTREAL (AP) — The pressure is on the Golden Knights as they visit Montreal for the next two games in their Stanley Cup semifinal series, after splitting the first two in Las Vegas.
Vegas went into the series as a heavy favorite and easily won the opener. Then they were shut down at home by Carey Price and the Canadiens in Game 2.
It’s now up to coach Peter DeBoer and the Golden Knights to adjust to Montreal’s defense. The Canadiens are 9-1 this postseason when scoring first. They are 0-3 when allowing the first goal.
The Canadiens could be without their coach Friday night for Game 3. The team says interim coach Dominique Ducharme has been sent home and is isolating following irregularities in COVID-19 testing. His pregame news conference was canceled. The team said Ducharme, who received his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine on June 9, would undergo further tests before the game.
Ducharme was promoted to interim head coach from assistant after the firing of Claude Julien on Feb. 24.
British player gets entry-level deal with Coyotes
UNDATED (AP) — Ice Hockey UK says the Arizona Coyotes and British forward Liam Kirk have agreed to terms on an entry-level contract three years after he became the first player born and trained in England to be drafted. The Coyotes have yet to announce it.
The 21-year-old Kirk was the joint top goal scorer at the recent world championship in Latvia, where he had seven goals in as many games for Britain. The left winger says “It has always been my dream to play in the NHL so to get this deal with the Coyotes is fantastic.”
The Coyotes selected the 6-foot left winger in the seventh round of the 2018 NHL draft.
NFL holding its inaugural General Manager Forum next week
UNDATED (AP) — The NFL is holding its inaugural General Manager Forum next week in an effort to increase minority hiring in front offices.
The forum named after Ozzie Newsome will be held virtually on Monday ahead of the fourth annual Quarterback Coaching Summit. There are only four Black GMs and three Black head coaches in a 32-team league where about 70% of the players are minorities. Newsome, Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, New York Giants owner John Mara, Buffalo Bills owner Kim Pegula and Black College Football Hall of Fame co-founder James “Shack” Harris will speak during some of the sessions on Monday.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-TOKYO OLYMPICS
Top medical adviser says no fans would be safest for Tokyo Olympics
TOKYO (AP) — The top medical adviser to the Japanese government says the safest way to hold the Tokyo Olympics is without any fans.
Fans from abroad have already been banned and organizers are to announce early next week if some local fans should be allowed. The Olympics open in just five weeks on July 23.
Dr. Shigeru Omi issued his suggestions in a report to the government and organizers, apparently putting him at odds with organizers and the International Olympic Committee. Reports suggest organizers want to allow up to 10,000 fans in some venues.
Ticket sales were to account for $800 million in income. Much of it will be lost and government entities will have to make up the shortfall.
NCAA memo: Emmert tells schools to act on NIL or he will
NCAA President Mark Emmert says he will seek temporary rules as early as July to ensure all athletes can be compensated for their celebrity. In a memo obtained by The Associated Press, Emmert urged member schools to pass legislation that would make it permissible for the first time for college athletes to earn money off their names, images and likenesses. A host of state laws are looming and congressional efforts for a national law have stalled. The NCAA Division I Council meets Tuesday and Wednesday and could act on an NIL proposal.
2026 OLYMPICS-NEW SPORT
Ski mountaineering set to join Olympics at 2026 Winter Games
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A new sport is set to be given an Olympic debut at the 2026 Winter Games. Ski mountaineering has been proposed by the IOC executive board as the eighth sport on the 2026 program in Milan-Cortina.
The sport involves skiing and hiking up and down mountain terrain. The plan is for five new medal events in sprint and individual races for men and women, and a mixed gender relay.
The same events were staged at the 2020 Youth Winter Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland, where Italian athletes won three of the 15 medals.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF-EXPANSION
Commissioners dig into CFP expansion plan, now seek feedback
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — College Football Playoff expansion took another step forward as the full group of commissioners who manage the postseason system spent about six hours over two days digging into a proposed plan for a 12-team format.
There is no announced timeline and the earliest expansion would be possible is likely 2023 if there are no big snags.
Last week, the CFP unveiled a plan to expand from four to 12 teams. Six spots would be reserved for the highest-ranked conference champions and and the other six would be at-large spots. The plan calls for first-round games played on campuses and quarterfinal and semifinal games played in bowls.
The detailed proposal was developed over two years by four members of the CFP management committee: Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick and Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson.
This week’s meeting was the first chance for the entire 11-person management committee to discuss the proposal in person.