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NBA, Players Reach Deal For A New Labor Agreement

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The NBA’s most profitable period will continue for at least six more years, thanks to a tentative deal between the league and its players on a new Collective Bargaining deal that will take effect this summer.

It took more than a year of bargaining, with the intensity and expectation increasing in recent days, and the handshake agreement was reached in the early hours of Saturday morning — shortly after the league intended to notify the NBAPA of its intention to opt out of the current CBA on June 30.

Instead, an agreement was reached, at least in theory. “The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have reached a tentative agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is subject to ratification by players and team governors,” the league said shortly before 3 a.m. Eastern.

Technically, it will be a seven-year agreement, but either party can opt out a year early, meaning labor peace will last only until the 2028-29 season. It will also usher in the age of an in-season tournament, which Commissioner Adam Silver has long desired.

Teams will be issued an 80-game schedule for next season in August unless something changes. Among those 80 games will be four “tournament” games that will score in regular-season standings. All teams will ultimately have two more games added to their schedule to complete the full 82-game slate; the two teams that reach the tournament final will play an 83rd game that will not count in the standings.

NBA

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have reached a tentative agreement.

According to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press, among other details:

  • Players will generally have to appear in at least 65 games to be eligible for top individual awards such as Most Valuable Player.
  • The maximum value of contract extensions will increase.
  • Teams will now have access to a third two-way contract, potentially increasing roster sizes from 17 to 18.

The individual spoke anonymously because neither the league nor the National Basketball Players Association made any public statements.

Once achieved, a second luxury tax level will prevent teams from using their midlevel exception to sign players, according to the CBA. Given how some teams wanted the so-called “upper spending limit,” which would have essentially installed an absolute ceiling on what can be spent each season and helped balance the playing field between teams willing to pay massive tax bills — such as the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors — and those who aren’t, that was a clear compromise.

“Once again, the players fail… “Teams in the middle and lower tiers don’t spend because they don’t want to,” Golden State’s Draymond Green said on Twitter. “They want to fail. To increase their spending power to grow it. They keep removing the center. And this is why we hurried into a deal?”

CJ McCollum, a guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, said he welcomes feedback from all players but added, “You can’t make everyone happy.” That is not feasible.

“You have to be able to do what’s best for the collective,” McCollum said following the Pelicans’ victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night. “There are 450 players and 450 different points of view, including mine.”… It comes down to having a happy medium in certain areas.”

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The new CBA will not reinstate the policy that allowed high school players to join the NBA draft.

The new CBA will not reinstate the policy that allowed high school players to join the NBA draft. It’s been discussed and on the agenda for months, but the regulation isn’t going away anytime soon — at least not for the next CBA.

“We also appreciate that there is a lot of benefit to having veterans who can bring those 18-year-olds along,” NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio said during an NBPA news conference during All-Star weekend in February. “And so, to be quite honest, anything that we would even consider would have to include a component that would allow veterans to be a part of it as well.”

Silver stated after a Wednesday two-day Board of Governors meeting that he was optimistic about reaching an agreement by the weekend — a clear positive sign. The current CBA, which went into effect on July 1, 2017, included a mutual choice for either the NBA or the NBPA to opt out after six seasons or on June 30, 2018.

The agreement reached on Saturday does not end the process, but it is a significant move forward.

The owners must decide what the negotiators have hammered out, and the players must vote to accept the deal. The document is then written — the most current CBA/NBA was around 600 pages long, with nearly 5,000 paragraphs and 200,000 words. Much of it will be the same, and much of it will need to be revised.

And, even though these talks lasted more than a year, this is the second straight CBA that has been negotiated without the dysfunction that preceded the talks in 2011 — when the league ended up locking out players for 161 days and had to shorten the 2011-12 season from 82 to 66 games.

There was no appetite for a strike, not after the NBA’s revenue surpassed $10 billion for the first time and basketball-related income surpassed $8.9 billion, another milestone. According to Silver, the NBA is on track to sell out more games than ever before this season.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Zack Wheeler And Phillies Reach $126 Million, 3-Year Deal For 2025-27

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Philadelphia — Ace Zack Wheeler and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed on a $126 million, three-year contract for 2025-27, with the fourth-highest average salary in baseball history of $42 million.

The Phillies have set an 11 a.m. EST press conference at their spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida.

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Zack Wheeler And Phillies Reach $126 Million, 3-Year Deal For 2025-27

Wheeler will earn $23.5 million this year in the final season of a $118 million, five-year contract, one of the greatest free agent contracts in Phillies history.

The new contract for the 33-year-old right-hander increases his annual salary to $42 million. He receives a hotel suite on road trips and agrees to make a $100,000 charitable donation each year.

Wheeler’s average trails only Los Angeles Dodgers two-way star Shohei Ohtani ($70 million), Texas ace Max Scherzer ($43.33 million), and Houston pitcher Justin Verlander ($43.33 million), the latter two of whom signed contracts with the New York Mets.

ESPN was the first to report the new contract’s amount.

Wheeler has led the NL in strikeouts and innings over the last four seasons after losing time with ailments with the Mets from 2013 to 2019. He also leads all pitchers in wins above replacement (WAR) while with the Phillies with 19.3, according to FanGraphs.

After missing the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to Tommy John surgery, Wheeler has made 90 starts over the last three seasons.

wheeler

Zack Wheeler And Phillies Reach $126 Million, 3-Year Deal For 2025-27

The NL Cy Young Award runner-up in 2021, Wheeler also won a Gold Glove last season.

The Phillies, who have reached the NL Championship Series in each of the last two years, now have their top two starters anchoring the rotation for the foreseeable future. Philadelphia signed fellow right-hander Aaron Nola to a seven-year, $172 million contract.

In 11 postseason games, Wheeler’s ERA is 2.42.

wheeler

Zack Wheeler And Phillies Reach $126 Million, 3-Year Deal For 2025-27

The Phillies have continued to spend money in their pursuit of their first World Series championship since 2008. Team owner John Middleton has been open about spending money to recruit free agents such as Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, and Kyle Schwarber while also signing hefty deals with Nola, Wheeler, and catcher J.T Realmuto.

Wheeler has an 87-63 record and a 3.45 ERA in 227 career starts, dating back to his Mets debut in 2013.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Chris Mortensen, Longtime NFL Insider For ESPN, Dies At 72

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The network reported that Chris Mortensen, an award-winning journalist and longtime NFL insider for ESPN, died. He was 72.

Mortensen worked for ESPN for three decades, appearing on “Sunday NFL Countdown,” analyzing the NFL Draft, and contributing to “SportsCenter.”

“Mort was highly regarded as an industry pioneer and greatly adored as a helpful, hardworking coworker. He covered the NFL with exceptional skill and passion and remained at the top of his game for decades. “Colleagues and fans will sorely miss him, and our hearts and thoughts are with his family,” ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement.

mortensen

Chris Mortensen, Longtime NFL Insider For ESPN, Dies At 72

Mortensen joined ESPN in 1991 and rapidly became known as one of the most trusted football insiders. He formerly worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, covering the Atlanta Braves and Falcons from 1983 to 1990. While at the newspaper, he received the 1987 George Polk Award for a 110-page article titled “Ignoring the Rules” regarding amateur sports and collegiate players.

He disclosed in January 2016 that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer. Mortensen returned to ESPN after declaring that his cancer treatments were successful.

In September 2023, Mortensen said he would leave ESPN “to focus on my health, family, and faith.”

Mortensen joined ESPN in 1991 and spent years shaping the network’s NFL coverage as it expanded to year-round coverage. He appeared on numerous network shows and also wrote for ESPN.com.

In 2016, the Professional Football Writers of America honoured him with the Dick McCann Award. It was renamed the Bill Nunn Jr. Award in 2021 and is given annually during the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies to a reporter who has made a long and notable commitment to game coverage.

Mortensen previously worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1983 until 1989. He covered the Atlanta Falcons from 1985 to 1986 and the league from 1985 to 1989. He departed for The National in 1989, where he worked for over two years.

He was an NFL columnist for The Sporting News and a contributor to Sport magazine. He also consulted on CBS’s “The NFL Today” in 1990.

mortensen

Chris Mortensen, Longtime NFL Insider For ESPN, Dies At 72

“I join the millions of hearts across the country, including those in journalism and the sports community, in mourning Chris Mortensen.” “I’m grateful to have had the privilege of knowing Chris through his incredible work beginning at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and, like so many others, being blessed by his professional excellence and personal grace over the many years that have followed,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement.

“I considered Chris a personal hero, and it is difficult to imagine sports journalism without him.” His ability to face life’s challenges with tenacity and drive was always truly inspiring, and his immense influence on so many people, including myself, will continue via this work and unwavering friendships.”

Mortensen, a Torrance, California native, attended El Camino College. He spent two years in the Army before starting his journalism career at the South Bay (Calif.) Daily Breeze in 1969.

mortensen

Chris Mortensen, Longtime NFL Insider For ESPN, Dies At 72

“A completely awful day. “Mort was one of the greatest reporters in sports history, and an even better man,” wrote ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter on social media. “Mort was the absolute finest. He will always be missed and remembered.”

He is survived by his wife, Micki, and their son Alex.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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F1 Champion Max Verstappen Wins Season-Opening Bahrain Grand Prix Amid Red Bull Turmoil

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – The continuing turbulence surrounding Red Bull had little influence on their three-time reigning world champion, Max Verstappen, who led the field by 22 seconds in the season-opening Formula One race on Saturday.

Verstappen started the Bahrain Grand Prix on pole and was never truly pushed on his route to a dominant one-two victory for Red Bull alongside teammate Sergio Perez. Christian Horner, the embattled team principal, was joined before the race and during the podium celebration by his former pop star wife, Geri Halliwell.

“Today went even better than expected,” Verstappen stated. “It was a lot of fun.”

Carlos Sainz Jr. finished third for Ferrari, fighting hard with teammate Charles Leclerc.

verstappen

F1 Champion Max Verstappen Wins Season-Opening Bahrain Grand Prix Amid Red Bull Turmoil

Verstappen is already on track to match his near-perfect record from 2023, when he won 19 of 22 races, as the longest F1 season in history begins with 24 races.

Verstappen’s ninth consecutive victory, dating back to September last year, came in Bahrain. Last season, he achieved a Formula One record by winning ten straight races.

The F1 paddock has firmly focused on Horner, with Verstappen claiming on Saturday that his boss was “probably a little bit distracted.”

“Obviously, it’s not been pleasant, some of the unwanted attention, but the focus is now very much on the cars,” Horner told reporters. “My focus has very much been on what’s going on on track and the result today, I think, demonstrates where the whole team’s focus is and we move onwards.”

verstappen

F1 Champion Max Verstappen Wins Season-Opening Bahrain Grand Prix Amid Red Bull Turmoil

Horner arrived on race day with Halliwell, better known as Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls, and they celebrated together as Verstappen was presented with his trophy. The race came after FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem told the Financial Times that Horner’s controversy was “damaging the sport.”

On Wednesday, the club’s parent corporation dropped a complaint against Horner for alleged misconduct toward a team employee. A day later, during practice in Bahrain, a file purportedly containing evidence against Horner was emailed to over 200 persons in the F1 paddock, including Liberty Media, F1, the FIA, the other nine team principals, and several media agencies.

The Associated Press did not verify the files’ legitimacy; the file originated from a generic email address.

In another indicator that Red Bull is substantially faster than any other team, Perez surged from sixth to second on the grid and encountered little opposition afterwards.

Sainz’s third place was his first podium finish since the October United States Grand Prix, as George Russell’s Mercedes challenge faded.

After qualifying second, Leclerc stated that Ferrari had taken a “step forward” compared to its disastrous 2023. However, the Italian team needed help to reduce the gap with Red Bull on race day.

Leclerc’s challenge to Verstappen ended as the Dutchman took the inside line at the opening corner. Russell, Perez, and Ferrari teammate Sainz overtook Leclerc in rapid succession.

verstappen

F1 Champion Max Verstappen Wins Season-Opening Bahrain Grand Prix Amid Red Bull Turmoil

Sainz, in particular, fought closely with his teammate and then repeated the effort after Leclerc briefly regained the lead at the pit stop. It was Sainz’s first race after being confirmed that he would lose his Ferrari spot to Lewis Hamilton in 2025.

Leclerc’s day went from bad to worse when he protested to Ferrari that the car was pulling rapidly to the right under braking in a “dangerous” manner, leaving him unable to maintain his position. However, he recovered to pass Russell and finish fourth.

Russell finished fifth, Lando Norris sixth for McLaren, and seven-time winner Lewis Hamilton seventh following an unremarkable race in the second Mercedes. McLaren’s Oscar Piastri finished ninth, ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.

SOURCE – (AP)

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