Sports News-July 2, 2013

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As the Los Angeles Lakers finalized the pitch they will make to Dwight Howard this afternoon, the free-agent center met with his hometown team, the Atlanta Hawks, yesterday afternoon and met with the Golden State Warriors last night, sources told ESPN.  Hawks general manager Danny Ferry and new coach Mike Budenholzer met with Howard in Los Angeles.  The Warriors are considered a long shot in the Howard sweepstakes as they would need to do a sign-and-trade with the Lakers to be able to sign Howard to a maximum four-year, $88 million contract, something sources have previously told ESPN the Lakers are not inclined to do.  Howard will meet with a Mavericks contingent led by team owner Mark Cuban and star Dirk Nowitzki this morning.  While the Mavs do not have young stars like Houston or Golden State do, they are seen as a wild card in this race because they were on Howard's initial list of preferred teams last season in Orlando, and because of the close relationship between Cuban and Howard's agent, Dan Fegan.

Bryce Harper homered on his first swing since coming off the disabled list and his Washington Nationals teammates quickly joined in, beating the slumping Milwaukee Brewers 10-5 last night.  After missing 31 games with bursitis in his left knee, the most lingering fallout from his collision with the Dodger Stadium wall, Harper energized the Nationals and sparked their second rout in two days.  After toying with .500 for the entire month of June, Washington moved two games above the break-even mark for the first time since late May.  Jayson Werth had five RBIs, and even pitcher Jordan Zimmermann was an offensive juggernaut with a team-high three hits, including a double to start a five-run third inning and a single to open a two-run fourth.

Greg Oden will likely choose from a group of suitors that includes the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies, a source close to Oden told ESPN.  The source told ESPN that the Cavaliers and Spurs appear to be the best fits at this time.  Oden, 25, has battled numerous knee injuries and hasn't played in an NBA game since Dec. 5, 2009.  He is coming off his third microfracture knee surgery in February 2012.  Oden was the top overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft out of Ohio State, chosen by the Portland Trail Blazers one spot ahead of Kevin Durant.  Oden has averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 82 career games and has been working out in both Columbus and Indianapolis this past off season.  The source told ESPN that he is optimistic he can return for the 2013-14 season opener.

With a new hire and raises for the two assistants coming back for a second season, Nebraska men's basketball coach Tim Miles is getting close to the $720,000 he was promised according to the Omaha World Herald.  The university's three full-time assistants will make a combined $636,000.  Newcomer Kenya Hunter, hired from Georgetown three weeks ago, will make $230,000, according to salary information obtained by the newspaper.  Returning assistants Chris Harriman and Craig Smith will make $206,000 and $200,000 respectively.  Nebraska's director of basketball operations, Jayden Olson, will be paid $87,550.  The season before Miles was hired, the Huskers paid its three assistants a combined $481,650.  Nebraska currently has two scholarships available for the Class of 2014, with no oral commitments yet.

Braxton Deets, formerly of Norfolk, has qualified for the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship.  After making it through a local qualifier in Omaha, he competed against 39 golfers at the Long Drive Region Six Finals in St. Louis, Missouri last Saturday.  Deets, on the final ball of the nine round competition, hit a drive that went 367 yards.  That drive punched his ticket to the World Finals and was the longest drive of the day.  Deets will be in competition next at the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship starting September 23rd in Mesquite, Nevada.  The week-long event will send the top eight to the Championship Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 30th.

Local Schedule:  Nfk Golden Girls 18's at Wayne (SB DH-6:30); West Point 16's at Kellys 18's (SB DH-6:30); New Orleans at Omaha Storm Chasers (Bsbl-7:05).

Local Scores:  Omaha Central Four Aces Eagles 5-0 Nfk Seniors 4-4 (Bsbl DH); Pierce Pacers 4-11 Nfk Golden Girls 18's 3-14 (SB DH); Omaha Storm Chasers 2 New Orleans 1 (12 Inn.) (Bsbl). 

      Final            Toronto              8    Detroit                  3
      Final            N-Y  Yankees    10    Minnesota              4
      Final            Tampa  Bay        12    Houston                  0
      Final            Washington      10    Milwaukee              5
      Final            N-Y  Mets            5    Arizona                  4,  13  Innings
      Final            Miami                  4    San  Diego              0
      Final            Cincinnati        8    San  Francisco      1,  5 1/2  Innings

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