Nationals

Lawson signs 4-year extension with Nuggets

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Lawson signs 4-year extension with Nuggets

DENVER (AP) Ty Lawson has signed a four-year, $48 million extension with the Denver Nuggets. The deal eliminates a distraction that's been hanging over the team and its star point guard for weeks.

``It Looks like im going to be a nugget for another 4 yrs..Thanks to the Kronke family, Masai, nuggets fans and everybody 4 believing In me'' Lawson tweeted before the team flew to Philadelphia on Tuesday for its season opener Wednesday night.

A team spokesman told The Associated Press after the team's arrival in Philadelphia that Lawson had signed his extension. The Denver Post reported the deal was worth $48 million.

Lawson averaged 16.4 points and almost seven assists last season, his first as a starter. Since jumping from to the NBA in 2009 after leading North Carolina to the NCAA championship, he's averaged 12 points and 4.8 assists.

``We felt Ty was ready to take on a lot of responsibility last season and he proved he could handle it,'' team vice president Masai Ujiri said in a statement Tuesday night. ``He is maturing as a leader on the court and in the locker room, so it was an easy decision for us to sign him to an extension.''

Easy decision but difficult negotiation.

Ujiri first spoke of an extension for Lawson on the day after the season ended in the spring, but the issue dragged on and on.

Lawson had said in recent days that the contract impasse was weighing on him, and coach George Karl lamented that the business of basketball wasn't the right energy to have in the days leading up to the regular season.

Without a deal by Wednesday, Lawson would have been eligible for restricted free agency next year, and another team could have front-loaded an offer that would have made it difficult for Denver to match.

More importantly, without a new deal, the star of the team would have been making $2.55 million this season, less than eight of his teammates, including backup big man JaVale McGee, who inked a deal in the offseason that will pay him some $10 million this season.

Now Lawson is the second-highest paid player on the team behind Andre Iguodala, who will make about $14 million in 2012-13.

``This new contract is a reflection of his hard work and dedication throughout the past three seasons with our organization,'' Nuggets president Josh Kroenke said. ``Ty is a dynamic player, a wonderful person, and someone we expect to lead us into the future.''

Karl has said Lawson must become more consistent on the floor and embrace more of a leadership role like he did - at times - during Denver's seven-game playoff loss to the Los Angeles Lakers last spring.

``I think so much of leadership is your daily attitude, daily energy and daily approach. I'm not a big believer that leadership comes from your mouth. I think it comes from your actions,'' Karl said. ``Ty is usually very good at that when we get 5-on-5 oriented.

``Some of the other stuff, I think Ty understands what he has to do this year. I think he's ready. After Game 1 of the Laker series, he was one of the top two or three guys on the court in most of the games. That's the type of consistency we need him to bring every game. He's got to understand it's an 82-game schedule and who you beat isn't as important as how many you win. Ty sometimes gets caught up in the spotlight game, but not every game.''

Recently, Lawson said Karl didn't wait for training camp to start harping on him about being more of a leader. He said Karl was ``texting me all summer.'' He saved the 20 or so texts, and they were all like this one, Lawson said:

``Leadershp, what are you doing? are you leading right now. I'm asleep, it's 12.''

It's not really anything new from Karl.

``When I first got to the team, I don't think it was my role. He wanted me to be a leader then,'' Lawson said. ``But what do you want me to say to Carmelo and Kenyon? I'm a rookie. Now I'm in more of a position to be a leader.''

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AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed.

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Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter:http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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Trea Turner goes 4 for 4 to help Nationals beat Orioles

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USA TODAY Sports

Trea Turner goes 4 for 4 to help Nationals beat Orioles

WASHINGTON -- Presented with identical opportunities to ring up a big inning, the Washington Nationals took full advantage and Baltimore Orioles squandered the chance.

That goes a long way toward explaining why the Nationals are a contender and the Orioles own the worst record in the big leagues.

Trea Turner went 4 for 4 with a homer , Anthony Rendon drove in three runs and Washington extended its recent domination of the Orioles with a 9-7 victory Tuesday night.

The game was essentially decided in the fifth inning, which began with Baltimore leading 4-1.

In the top half, the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs and scored only one run -- when Manny Machado hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Washington loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half and batted around, scoring four runs on four hits and a pair of walks. Adam Eaton contributed a two-run single, Rendon hit a sacrifice fly and Bryce Harper chased starter David Hess with an RBI double.

"They did a lot better job cashing in their bases loaded, nobody out situation than we did," Orioles manager Buck Showalter conceded.

For the game, Baltimore was 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. The Nationals were 5 for 10.

"This team is starting to become relentless," manager Dave Martinez said. "They kept pounding and pounding and pounding, had a couple of big innings there and scored some runs."

The Nationals trailed 6-5 before getting six hits in a four-run seventh. Rendon delivered a two-run double off Tanner Scott (0-1) that made it 7-6, and Turner capped his four-hit night with a double.

Both teams noted that more than a couple of Washington's hits were bloopers and seeing-eye grounders, but the Nationals certainly weren't about to apologize.

"I feel like all year we've been hitting balls right at people," Turner said, "so it's nice to get a bunch of those in one game and come out with a win."

Washington has won six straight over its neighboring interleague rival, including four games this season by a combined 20-8.

Pitching in his second big league game, Nationals starter Jefry Rodriguez gave up five runs, four hits and four walks in five innings.

Justin Miller (5-0) pitched two innings of relief, newcomer Kelvin Herrera worked a perfect eighth and Sean Doolittle gave up a solo home run to Joey Rickard while earning his 19th save.

Jace Peterson and Trey Mancini each hit two-run homers for the Orioles, who have lost 16 of 19.

This one can be blamed on an all-too-telling fifth inning.

"It's just one of those things where if they got hits they seemed to have found holes," Showalter said. "They hit some balls hard, too."

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Need to Know: Redskins QB Alex Smith understands that expectations will be high immediately

Need to Know: Redskins QB Alex Smith understands that expectations will be high immediately

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 20, 36 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Emptying the notebook from the offseason practices

—Last week I wrote that Gruden expects Alex Smith to be ready to win in Week 1. Smith understands those expectations and plans to meet them. “No, I don’t think you can rely on the fact that, ‘Oh, it’s the first year here.’ Nobody cares,” he said when asked about his transition into the new offense. “It’s not like in the fall, you guys are going to be like, ‘Ah, well, this is his first year here. We’ll give him a break.’ It just doesn’t work that way.” Of course, Smith is right. If the Redskins are 1-3 in October, nobody is going to cut them any slack if their veteran quarterback who got a contract with $71 million guaranteed is struggling with the new offense. 

—I didn’t count reps during the practices that were open to the media, but it seemed that they were giving DL Jonathan Allen a light workload. “I think he did a great job of rehabbing in the offseason,” said defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. “We were kind of a little bit hesitant early on when he was here just taking reps and stuff but looks like he’s just keeps on progressing from where he kind of left off last year and the sky’s the limit for him.” The Redskins essentially will be adding two first-round picks to their D-line with Allen’s return and the addition of Daron Payne in the first round this year. I would look for Allen to get a full workload when training camp starts. 

—There are questions about Kevin Hogan making the 53-man roster as the third quarterback. Jay Gruden had some rather tepid praise for him last week. “He’s done good,” he said. “I like Kevin. He’s a smart kid and he’s got some deceiving escape ability to him. He can run a little bit. We saw one today, he popped out of there for about a 20-yard gain. I like where he’s at.” But near the end of that practice, Hogan threw a red zone pass right into the arms of rookie CB Greg Stroman. If we see much more of that, the Redskins may keep a sixth wide receiver or tenth offensive lineman rather than a third quarterback. 

—When he is asked about the performance of undrafted rookies, Gruden usually declines to praise specific players so when he does pick out individuals it’s worth paying some attention. On Wednesday he said that WR Cam Simms and CB Danny Johnson “stood out” at their respective positions. Looking at it right now, there don’t appear to be roster spots available for either of them. But one or two undrafted players break through and make the roster every year and Simms and Johnson are two to watch. 

— “In the second year, we expect major strides for all first-year guys. I’ve said it before. So just understanding pro football, what it’s all about in your first year, you have the four preseason games and 16 regular season games,” Gruden said when asked about RB Samaje Perine. “It’s a grind, mentally. It’s all-day football, not like college where you only get 20 hours a week, so I think he understands the grind and our system a lot better.” The answer obviously applies to all of the 2017 draft picks. In particular, they will be counting on next steps from OLB Ryan Anderson, CB Fabian Moreau, WR Robert Davis, and CB Joshua Holsey. History tells us that some will take big steps, others will not.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline  

Former Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington was born on this date in 1978.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 36
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 50
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 73

The Redskins last played a game 171 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 81 days. 

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