Chicago Bulls make hard free-agency pitch to Carmelo
CHICAGO — The Chicago Bulls are making the hard sell for Carmelo Anthony.
The Knicks superstar free agent arrived at a decked-out United Center on Tuesday in a limobus with coach Tom Thibodeau and two other people, a police SUV trailing behind.
Anthony walked past the Michael Jordan statue, waving to a small group of cheering fans as he went inside.
The Bulls believe they have a strong pitch and a simple selling point: Anthony can transform a playoff team into a championship contender.
They believe uniting Anthony with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, who arrived earlier at the arena, would put them in position to contend for their first title since Jordan and Scottie Pippen led the way to two three-peats in the 1990s. And they certainly made their feelings clear on Tuesday, turning the arena into one giant welcome mat.
Two giant digital images above the entrance on Madison Street showed Anthony in a Bulls No. 7 jersey dribbling next to a championship trophy, fans stopping to take pictures. Another image around the corner also showed him in a jersey dribbling.
Signs wrapping around corners of the building and stacked on top of each other read, “Carmelo Anthony and Chicago basketball” and “Melo” with a cropped Bulls logo.
Still, Anthony is a top target in NBA free agency and he is expected to visit other teams.
Bucks hire Jason Kidd after making deal with Nets
MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks hired Jason Kidd as coach on Tuesday after completing a deal with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Bucks sent the Nets two second-round picks for Kidd, who went 44-38 in his only season as Brooklyn coach.
Milwaukee fired Larry Drew on Monday after reaching the deal for Kidd. Drew went 15-67, the worst record in the league, in his only season guiding the Bucks.
“Jason is a determined leader, a tough-minded competitor and a great teammate,” Bucks owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry said in a statement.
Kidd became available after seeking greater power within the Nets, the organization he led to its greatest NBA success as a player. When that was denied, the team granted him permission to speak to other teams.
The Nets could move quickly to replace Kidd. General manager Billy King met with former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins on Monday and planned to talk to him again Tuesday.
Clark Kellogg leaving Pacers after 32 years
INDIANAPOLIS — Clark Kellogg is leaving the Indianapolis Pacers after being with the team 32 years as a player, broadcaster and most recently as vice president for player relations.
Kellogg was the first-round draft pick by the Pacers out of Ohio State in 1982 and he played five seasons before he was forced to retire because of a knee injury. He then worked as a radio and TV analyst for the Pacers until being named vice president for player relations in 2010.
Kellogg starred at Cleveland St. Joseph High School.
The team issued a release Tuesday with Kellogg saying it was time to move on, saying he did so with no regrets. He said he plans to continue his work as a college basketball analyst and commentator for CBS Sports.
Pacers President Larry Bird said Kellogg will be missed.
Flip Saunders names son Ryan to Wolves coaching staff
MINNEAPOLIS — Flip Saunders has always said he wants the Minnesota Timberwolves organization to feel like a family. Next season the coaching staff certainly will.
Saunders’ son, Ryan, officially joined the staff as an assistant on Tuesday. Ryan Saunders had spent the previous five seasons working in Washington, where he specialized in advance scouting and analytics.
Timberwolves GM Milt Newton, who worked with Ryan in Washington, says the younger Saunders was instrumental in the development of young playmakers John Wall and Bradley Beal. Newton says Saunders’ work in player development and analytics will be key in Minnesota.
Ryan Saunders joins Sam Mitchell, Sidney Lowe and David Adelman on the staff. Adelman, a promising and well-respected young assistant himself, is the only holdover from Rick Adelman’s coaching staff.
Nadal, Sharapova ousted at Wimbledon
LONDON — Rafael Nadal ran out of comebacks at Wimbledon, losing to a brash, big-serving, between-the-legs-hitting 19-year-old kid who might just be a future star.
Maria Sharapova, somehow, seemed on the verge of a turnaround despite a flurry of unforced errors, saving six match points before finally succumbing on the seventh with — what else? — a missed shot.
All in all, Tuesday was chock-full of significant events, and the most noteworthy winner had to be 144th-ranked Nick Kyrgios of Australia, who used 37 aces and a have-no-fear approach to beat Nadal 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3 for a quarterfinal berth.
No. 9 Angelique Kerber edged Sharapova 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4 Tuesday. Sharapova made 49 unforced errors, 38 more than Kerber. Still, the 2004 champion saved one match point at 5-2 in the final set, then five more at 5-4, before pushing a backhand long to end it.
Tom Watson offered another chance at St. Andrews
Tom Watson will get one more shot at St. Andrews in the British Open.
The R&A on Tuesday extended an exemption for the five-time Open champion. That will allow Watson to play the Old Course in 2015. Watson holds The Open record for winning on five links courses. But he has never won at St. Andrews, finishing runner-up to Seve Ballesteros in 1984.
Former champions are exempt until they are 60. The R&A created an extra exemption that allows former champions to play for five years if they finish in the top 10. Watson was runner-up at Turnberry in 2009 when he was 59.
Watson will be 65 next year. It will be the 40-year anniversary of his first Open title in 1975 at Carnoustie.
Birkdale, Carnoustie to stage British Opens again
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — The British Open will return to Royal Birkdale in 2017 and to Carnoustie in 2018.
Both have been part of the rotation for more than 60 years. The announcement Tuesday was more about when they next would stage golf’s oldest championship.
The Open will be at Royal Liverpool this year, followed by St. Andrews in 2015 and Royal Troon in 2016.
Padraig Harrington won the claret jug the previous time it was held at Royal Birkdale and Carnoustie. He defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff at Carnoustie in 2007, and a year later held off Greg Norman to win at Royal Birkdale.
It will be the 10th time The Open has gone to Royal Birkdale, and the eighth time at Carnoustie, reputed to be the toughest of the links courses.