Tribune News Service

Sports Budget for Saturday, November 21, 2020

Updated at 11 p.m. EST (0400 UTC)

This budget is now available at http://www.TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^Amanda Stevens takes up the fight against ALS: 'She's been an absolute warrior'<

FBN-ERICSTEVENS-WIFE-SPORTSPLUS:LA — Inside the unassuming home a few blocks from the beach in San Pedro, the nursery is almost finished.

A white crib has been assembled. There's a changing table, dresser and bassinet. The closet is filled with gifted onesies for the baby girl due in early January. A rocking chair is on the way.

Each day brings Eric and Amanda Stevens closer to meeting their daughter, but also pushes them toward a harsh reality.

"One year ago, I didn't know how I could go on another day," Amanda wrote this summer on Facebook. "I felt broken devastated, depressed and defeated. I was told that the one person I was supposed to spend the rest of the my life with was only going to live a couple more years."

2100 by Nathan Fenno in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Hornets will sign Gordon Hayward, waive Nic Batum for salary cap space<

BKN-HORNETS-HAYWARD:CH — The Charlotte Hornets need stars, and to add one they will lop off the biggest salary on the roster.

Free-agent forward Gordon Hayward has come to terms with the Hornets on a 4-year, $120 million deal. Per an NBA source, the Hornets will create enough cap space to sign Hayward by waiving Nic Batum. The Hornets will then use the NBA's stretch provision to spread cap implications of Batum's $27 million salary over three years.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the Hornets' agreement with Hayward on Saturday afternoon.

Hayward enters his 11th NBA season with career averages of 15.3 points and 4.4 rebounds.

700 by Rick Bonnell in Charlotte, N.C. MOVED


^The alternative plans Clemson offered FSU to play the game this weekend<

FBC-CLEMSON-FSU-AD:CS — The Clemson football team was in Tallahassee Saturday morning all set to face Florida State.

Several members of the staff, including some equipment managers, trainers and members of Clemson's social media team, were already at Doak Campbell Stadium preparing for the noon kickoff when the decision was made that the game would not be played.

Clemson AD Dan Radakovich told The State Saturday morning that FSU did not want to play due to a Clemson player testing positive on Friday when the ACC administered its third-party tests.

The player was isolated and arrangements were being made for him to return to Clemson when the game was postponed, according to Radakovich.

300 by Matt Connolly in Tallahassee, Fla. MOVED


^Hawks to sign point guard Rajon Rondo<

BKN-HAWKS-RONDO:AT — The Hawks are signing Rajon Rondo to a two-year, $15 million contract, the AJC has confirmed.

Rondo, 34, will bring a veteran presence and playoff experience to a young Hawks team trying to qualify for the postseason this year. He will also fill a hole on the Hawks' roster as a secondary playmaker and ball-handler behind Trae Young. That was one of three major problems Atlanta had to solve entering the 2020 season — improved 3-point percentage (which the Danilo Gallinari signing addresses), improved team defense (which the Kris Dunn signing addresses) and preventing the offense from stalling when Young goes to the bench, something the Rondo signing can help with.

400 by Sarah K. Spencer in Atlanta. MOVED


^Winners and losers from Theo Epstein's sudden departure from the Cubs<

BBN-CUBS-EPSTEIN-WINNERS-LOSERS:TB — Theo Epstein's resignation as Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations stunned more than the baseball world.

Epstein's departure with one year remaining on his contract affected the entire Chicago sports landscape this week. Here's a look at the winners and losers from Epstein's decision, which was announced Tuesday.

700 by Mark Gonzales in Chicago. MOVED



^History suggests Rams-Bucs will provide must-see TV Monday night<

FBN-RAMS-BUCS-HISTORY:PT — They are neither division nor geographic rivals. On average, they meet only about once every other season. Their demographics, culture, even time zones place their cities on literal opposite ends of the nation's spectrum.

But when it comes to creating instant classics, the Rams and Bucs have forged a kinship like few others in the NFL.

"We've had some great games against those guys," former Bucs linebacker Richard "Batman" Wood said. "Tough games."

The franchises will meet for the 26th time Monday night, and history suggests at least a 50% chance of a doozy. Thirteen of their previous 25 encounters have been decided by seven or fewer points, including six by a field goal or less.

1350 by Joey Knight in Tampa, Fla. MOVED


^Dan Wiederer: Can Bears' strong culture — 'Persistence over resistance' — rescue another wayward season?<

FBN-WIEDERER-COLUMN:TB — In the aftermath of yet another disheartening setback Monday night, Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy again clung to the most reliable life raft he has. Culture. Team unity. Resolve.

"Persistence over resistance," Nagy preached.

And a little while later

"We're fighters," he said. "Just keep fighting and staying together, and eventually something here will hopefully change."

Reflexively, the city of Chicago dropped its head and sighed, preparing for another dark December in which another year's playoff shot will fizzle away.

1150 by Dan Wiederer in Chicago. MOVED


^Gerry Dulac: Steelers-Jaguars has brought some odd moments<

FBN-DULAC-COLUMN:PG — It might not matter the Steelers are on a nine-game winning streak, are the NFL's only unbeaten team and have won the past three meetings with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Nor might it matter the Jaguars have lost eight in a row after a season-opening victory against the Indianapolis Colts, have allowed the most points in the AFC and will use a quarterback making only his second NFL start.

If history is any indication, none of that will matter Sunday when the Steelers go to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars — the worst thing to stink in that northern Florida city since the paper mills shut down.

950 by Gerry Dulac in Pittsburgh. MOVED


^Point guard Fred VanVleet re-signs with Raptors<

^BKN-RAPTORS-VANVLEET:NY—<Point guard Fred VanVleet will not sign with the Knicks

Instead, the Raptors' star guard agreed to a four-year, $85 million deal that will keep him in Toronto. VanVleet has become one of the league's premier guards over the past two seasons, culminating with a breakout 2019-20 campaign boasting averages of nearly 18 points, six assists and two steals per game. He is one of the league's aggressive long-range shooters, averaging a 39% clip on seven 3-point attempts per game, many coming from distances comparable to Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry and Trae Young.

150 by Kristian Winfield. MOVED


^Crowder and Jones out, Bradley and Harkless in as Heat reset roster in NBA free agency<

^BKN-HEAT-MOVES:FL—<The Miami Heat maneuvered through the first 24 hours of NBA free agency with a sense of immediacy, but also with an eye toward the future.

The approach left the Heat with the additions of veterans Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless, but also with the losses of rotation players Jae Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr.

Along the way, the Heat retained Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard and Udonis Haslem.

Each of the free-agency agreements reached by the Heat are limited to a single guaranteed season, most with a second-year team option added.

700 by Ira Winderman. MOVED


^Hawks to sign defensive-minded guard Kris Dunn<

BKN-HAWKS-DUNN:AT — Free agency officially started 6 p.m. Friday, but by Saturday morning, the Hawks already had added two players who will significantly improve their roster as they aim to make the playoffs in the 2020-21 season.

On Friday night, they added Danilo Gallinari, an experienced veteran whose 3-point shooting will shore up the offense (they were the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA last season at 33.3%). On Saturday morning, they agreed to terms with Chicago Bulls guard Kris Dunn, the AJC has confirmed, who is sure to give them a boost on defense.

500 by Sarah K. Spencer in Atlanta. MOVED

^Looking for another title, new Sixers center Dwight Howard tweets, 'Let's bring a chip to Philly'<

BKN-76ERS-HOWARD:PH — Dwight Howard is officially a 76er.

The team announced Saturday that he signed a one-year guaranteed veteran minimum deal of $2.56 million.

Free agency began at 6 p.m. Friday. Most deals that have been agreed upon can't be signed until 12:01 p.m. Sunday. However, Howard was able to sign his earlier because it is for a minimum salary.

This move reunites Howard with Daryl Morey, the new Sixers president of basketball operations. As the general manager of the Houston Rockets, Morey signed Howard to a three-year, $70 million free-agent contract in July 2013.

300 by Keith Pompey in Philadelphia. MOVED


^Knicks agree to deal with guard Elfrid Payton<

BKN-KNICKS-PAYTON:NY — The Knicks are bringing back a familiar face. But it isn't Carmelo Anthony.

Just two days after they declined his contract option, the Knicks agreed to re-sign point guard Elfrid Payton on a reported one-year, $5 million deal. Payton was New York's starting point guard last season and was effective when he wasn't injured, averaging 10 points and 7.2 assists in 45 games.

Still, Payton, 26, continued to demonstrate fallibilities with his defense and jumper. He also failed to play more than 63 games for the fourth straight season because of injuries. On Thursday, the Knicks declined Payton's $8 million team option and sent him into free agency.

250 by Stefan Bondy in New York. MOVED


^Nets agree to deal with veteran forward Jeff Green<

BKN-NETS-GREEN:NY — The Nets continue to build a roster in Kevin Durant's vision, agreeing to terms with veteran forward Jeff Green. Durant and Green have a relationship dating back to their days as teammates on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Nets' acquisition of Green addresses a key need for a floor-spacing, versatile two-way player at the four. He has played this role on a number of potential contenders, including last season's Houston Rockets and the 2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers.

"This is deeper than basketball, me and Jeff," Durant said after facing Green as an opponent following Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals.

400 by Kristian Winfield in New York. MOVED


^Lakers bringing back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on a three-year contract<

BKN-LAKERS-CALDWELLPOPE:LA — The Lakers agreed to re-sign guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a three-year contract, keeping one of their most valuable players from this year's championship run in purple and gold.

The deal is worth $40 million, according to people with knowledge of the agreement not authorized to speak publicly.

Caldwell-Pope is represented by Rich Paul and Klutch Sports, the agency that also represents LeBron James, Anthony Davis and new Laker Montrezl Harrell.

For Caldwell-Pope, who has been with the Lakers since 2017, it ends a string of short-term deals, rewarding him with a raise and compensating him as a valuable starter on a championship team.

200 by Dan Woike in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Cavaliers ironman Tristan Thompson headed to Celtics<

^BKN-CELTICS-THOMPSON-CAVS:AK—<Tristan Thompson was more than just the Cavaliers' ironman.

The nine-year veteran center became their leader after the second departure of LeBron James, willing to shepherd a young team through the perils of rebuilding.

In six of his final nine games as a Cav, Thompson came off the bench, drawing praise from his new coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

But above all, Thompson was an anchor during the Cavs' run to the 2016 NBA championship and four consecutive Finals appearances, content to do the dirty work while the Big Three of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love dominated the headlines.

700 by Marla Ridenour. MOVED

^Knicks agree to deal with Nerlens Noel, yet another ex-Kentucky Wildcat<

BKN-KNICKS-NOEL:NY — The Knicks keep filling up the roster with Kentucky players.

Nerlens Noel became the latest product of John Calipari's program to join New York, agreeing Saturday night to a one-year, $5 million deal.

Noel, a 26-year-old center, hasn't lived up to his hype as a sixth overall pick in 2013, but recently settled into a role as an efficient finisher around the rim and a solid defensive backup center. He averaged 7.4 points and 1.5 blocks in 18.5 minutes last season with the Thunder.

300 by Stefan Bondy in New York. MOVED



^Ohio State holds on to beat Indiana, 42-35<

FBC-INDIANA-OHIOSTATE:OH — Ohio State's 28-point lead had almost disappeared.

Its passing game, which had been almost flawless all season, was faltering.

The Buckeyes' defense, stout in the first half, was collapsing.

No. 9 Indiana was within reach of its first victory over Ohio State since 1988.

A regular-season that looked like it might not have any major challenges for the No. 3 Buckeyes suddenly had one when Indiana closed to within a touchdown in the fourth quarter on Saturday.

But Ohio State survived, 42-35, at an empty Ohio Stadium.

600 by Bill Rabinowitz in Columbus, Ohio. MOVED


^Florida slogs through road win against Vanderbilt<

^FBC-FLORIDA-VANDERBILT:OS—<Two of the best teams in Florida football history previously barely escaped Vanderbilt with a win.

Time will tell whether Dan Mullen's 2020 squad reaches the heights of the school's 1996 and 2006 squads, two of the program's three national title teams.

But Saturday in Nashville the struggle was real once again for the Gators.

UF erased two early deficits and eventually pulled away from winless Vanderbilt for a 38-17 win behind another nice day from Kyle Trask and Kadarius Toney. Trask finished with 383 passing yards and three touchdowns while Toney had 191 all-purpose yards.

450 by Edgar Thompson. MOVED


^Matt Baker: Want something to blame for the Florida State-Clemson postponement? Blame the virus.<

^FBC-BAKER-COLUMN:PT—<The specific circumstances of Saturday's last-minute Florida State-Clemson postponement were still being untangled when the typical college football trash talk began.

The No. 4 Tigers had been reckless with a positive coronavirus case. It was their fault.

The Seminoles were five-touchdown underdogs and didn't want to get embarrassed by Clemson (again). It was their fault.

That's how it works around this sport. There's a winner and loser in everything, even games that get called off three hours and change before kickoff.

Forget the message-board spin, and how players from both sides said they were ready and willing to go.

The truth is that the Tigers and Seminoles both were losers in an unfortunate situation. The pandemic remains undefeated.

650 by Matt Baker. MOVED


^UCLA's bid for a storybook ending falls short in loss to No. 11 Oregon<

^FBC-UCLA-OREGON:LA—<What was shaping up as a possible storybook Saturday for Chase Griffin came with a sad ending.

Making his first college start, the UCLA redshirt freshman quarterback led his short-handed team to the brink of an upset over No. 11 Oregon before the Ducks rallied for a 38-35 victory at Autzen Stadium.

Running back Demetric Felton Jr. kept the Bruins within striking distance when he ran for a 12-yard touchdown to pull them within 38-35. UCLA forced Oregon to punt after a four-play drive, getting the ball back at its 19-yard line with 77 seconds left in the game.

400 by Ben Bolch. MOVED


^UCF rally falls short during loss to No. 7 Cincinnati<

FBC-CINCINNATI-UCF:OS — It was a battle of immovable object versus unstoppable force in the Bounce House Saturday.

Cincinnati's vaunted defense against UCF's explosive offense, a perfect match made for national television.

For a while, the two college football heavyweights traded blows, but in the end, the Knights simply ran out of gas, falling 36-33 to the No. 7 Bearcats in front of a limited but spirited crowd.

UCF (5-3, 4-3 AAC) couldn't slow down Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder, who found the end zone four times. Ridder finished with a season-high 338 passing yards, including seven plays of 20-plus yards in the game.

550 by Matt Murschel in Orlando, Fla. MOVED


^New quarterback, same result: Penn State falls to 0-5 after loss to Iowa<

^FBC-IOWA-PENNSTATE:PG—<Iowa crushed Penn State's hopes of ringing the victory bell for the first time in 329 days in a 41-21 loss at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, giving the Nittany Lions their first 0-5 start in program history.

The game got off to a slightly hopeful start for Penn State. Yes, the Nittany Lions failed to score on their opening drive for the fourth consecutive week, but there was a bit of promise shown in the series.

Quarterback Will Levis, in his first start of the season, completed a nice throw to Parker Washington on third-and-12 for an early first down, but the possession ended quietly three plays later with a punt following an incomplete pass to running back Devyn Ford.

800 by Nubyjas Wilborn. MOVED

^Alabama hands Kentucky its worst loss in the Mark Stoops era<

^FBC-KENTUCKY-ALABAMA:LX—<Self-inflicted wounds piled up to derail a promising start for Kentucky in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and those coupled with a listless second-half showing added up to another big victory for the nation's No. 1 team and the Cats' worst loss under head coach Mark Stoops.

Alabama defeated UK, 63-3, behind an exemplary showing by standout receiver DeVonta Smith, who during the game set a league record for career touchdown receptions (now 33). He racked up 144 yards and caught two touchdowns for the Crimson Tide, who improved to 7-0 three weeks following their most recent game.

Before Saturday, Kentucky's largest margin of defeat under Stoops was a 59-17 loss to Georgia in 2013, his first season at the helm. It was the program's worst loss to an opponent from the Southeastern Conference's West Division in school history.

650 by Josh Moore. MOVED


^Shannon Ryan: Feeling disrespected, No. 19 Northwestern shuts down No. 10 Wisconsin in a 17-7 victory: 'We woke up the country'<

FBC-RYAN-COLUMN:TB — Motivation has been plentiful through the years for Northwestern, which has a keen radar for often undeserved disrespect thrown its way.

Despite years of success, the narrative has refused to shift. Too slow. Too academic. Not enough talent. Not enough athleticism.

The No. 19 Wildcats hope their 17-7 victory Saturday against No. 10 Wisconsin at Ryan Field in Evanston will help them shut down those stereotypes for good. The win puts Northwestern (5-0) alone atop the Big Ten West.

850 by Shannon Ryan in Evanston, Ill. MOVED


^Kansas State left searching for answers after 45-0 loss to Iowa State<

^FBC-KANSASSTATE-IOWASTATE:WI—<Chris Klieman didn't spend much time talking about football when he addressed Kansas State players following a humiliating 45-0 loss against Iowa State on Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.

Who could blame him?

There wasn't much to say about that topic. The Cyclones were better than the Wildcats in every way possible, amassing a whopping 539 yards while also handing K-State its first shutout in five years.

Instead, Klieman, K-State's head coach, talked about things like "leadership" and "character" and "resolve" and "holding teammates accountable."

850 by Kellis Robinett. MOVED


^Michael Cunningham: JT Daniels saves Georgia in his Bulldogs debut<

^FBC-CUNNINGHAM-COLUMN:AT—<Quarterback JT Daniels was fantastic in his Georgia debut Saturday night. That's no surprise. Every good program wanted him when he was a recruit. Daniels looked the part while giving UGA's offense a needed shot in the arm.

The surprising thing was the Bulldogs needed Daniels to be great. They found their quarterback at the same time their vaunted defense lost its way. COVID-19 and attrition left Mississippi State with 49 players and the visiting Bulldogs nearly beat the home Dawgs with half a roster.

They didn't do it because Daniels was too good.

1000 by Michael Cunningham. MOVED

^Saturday's games<

TNS expects coverage from the following games featuring teams in the AP top 25:

No. 20 USC at Utah, 10:30 p.m.


^Orlando City earns wild playoff win over NYCFC in penalty kicks<

SOC-NYCFC-ORLANDOCITY:OS — Orlando City centerback Rodrigo Schlegel eagerly tugged on the goalkeeper gloves, his face scrunched up in concentration as he jogged toward the goal during the final minutes of the first MLS playoff match in club history.

Behind him, the Wall roared in support as the 23-year-old shouldered the jersey and expectations of star goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

During the first penalty kick taken by Nicolas Acevedo, Schlegel didn't even jump. During the second shot, however, he threw his body airborne, flinging out both gloves to block away the potential go-ahead attempt.

Schlegel's reaction was immediate, joyous, launching himself skyward with both fists clenched.

1200 by Julia Poe in Orlando, Fla. MOVED



^Steve Hummer: Just what 2020 needed: A Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. fight<

^BOX-HUMMER-COLUMN:AT—<More than 15 years ago Mike Tyson had what we assumed was his last stand in the ring. He had moved up from the heavyweight to the galoot division, fighting a 270-pound slab of Irish back bacon named Kevin McBride.

As with most boxing farewells, this one went poorly for the once-great champion. McBride deployed the fallen-tree strategy, leaning on Tyson until he collapsed beneath the weight, sitting on the canvas, supported by the ring ropes at the end of the sixth round. Tyson then opted out, declining to come out for the seventh.

Now we know that Tyson didn't retire, he was just saving himself for a bigger fight in 2020.

850 by Steve Hummer. MOVED


^Austin Cindric is fresh off Xfinity championship, ready for his next steps in NASCAR<

CAR-NASCAR-CINDRIC-QA:CH — Austin Cindric is still basking in the glow of winning a NASCAR championship a few weeks after securing his first Xfinity series title. He capped a regular-season championship and career-best year with a win at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 7.

Cindric, a Mooresville native, has since returned home with a trophy for Team Penske and is settling into a quieter offseason.

In an exclusive interview with the Charlotte Observer, Cindric shares why his mother should get more credit, what it means to win a championship for the Penske organization and how he's disproving the myth that only short people can drive race cars. (He's 6-3.)

2950 by Alex Andrejev in Charlotte, N.C. MOVED



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