Capitals

NBA vows to sanction Spurs for resting regulars

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NBA vows to sanction Spurs for resting regulars

MIAMI (AP) The San Antonio Spurs will be punished by the NBA for their decision to send four top players home and not make them available to play in Miami against the Heat on Thursday night.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said the decision to rest Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green - the core of the Spurs - was in the team's best interest. The league wasn't happy about it, and Commissioner David Stern promised that San Antonio would be penalized.

``I apologize to all NBA fans,'' Stern said. ``This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.''

Stern's statement was released roughly the same time as tip-off in Miami for a nationally televised game.

Before the game, Popovich said he decided to sit his core when he saw how challenging this particular part of the schedule was for his team. Thursday's matchup ended a six-games-in-nine-nights swing for the Spurs, who won their first five on the trip.

``Everybody has to make decisions about their schedule, about players playing and back-to-backs and trips and that sort of thing,'' Popovich said before the game. ``In our case, this month we've had 11 away games, after tonight. We've had an eight-day trip and a 10-day trip, and we're ending it with four (games) in five nights here. I think it'd be unwise to be playing our guys in that kind of a situation, given their history.''

It's not unlike other moves Popovich has made before; in fact, not only did he give Duncan, Parker and Ginobili time off together toward the end of last season, which was condensed by a lockout, he actually flew home to San Antonio with them and took a two-game, pre-playoff sabbatical.

This time, when Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Green flew home - reportedly on a Southwest Airlines flight on Thursday from Orlando, where the team played one night earlier - Popovich stayed with the Spurs for the trip to Miami.

Duncan is in his 16th NBA season, Parker his 12th and Ginobili his 11th. Green is a kid compared to those guys - 25 years old and a veteran of only 110 NBA games - but Popovich said he chose to rest him as well because Green has played a lot.

Green leads the Spurs with 496 minutes played this season, which was 44th-most in the NBA entering Thursday's games. The Spurs aren't expected to practice Friday, then they face Memphis on Saturday in San Antonio.

``Perhaps it'll give us an opportunity to stay on the court with Memphis on Saturday night,'' Popovich said. ``Historically, when you're on a long road trip, that first game when you come home is really tough. And Memphis is one of the best teams in the league. They're of much more concern to us than playing four games in five nights. It's pretty logical.''

Given Stern's statement, it's also logical to think that the Spurs could know their penalty by Saturday as well.

Popovich also said facing the Heat had nothing to do with his decision.

``I've gotten letters from those people before when I've done it and I understand their perspective totally,'' Popovich said. ``If I was taking my 6-year-old son or daughter to the game, I'd want him or her to see everybody. And if they weren't there, I'd be disappointed. So I understand that perspective. Hopefully, people in that position will understand my perspective, what my priority is - the basketball team and what's best for it.''

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Popovich's move didn't affect Miami's preparation.

``Each organization has a big-picture view of what they are trying to get accomplished and I think the league respects that,'' Spoelstra said.

Popovich had Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, Tiago Splitter, Nando De Colo and Patty Mills in his starting lineup. Besides the four players sent home, Stephen Jackson and Kawhi Leonard are injured, meaning the Spurs had only four substitutes available.

``Obviously,'' Bonner said, ``we're a little short-handed.''

The Heat had one lineup move as well. With Shane Battier out with a sprained right knee, Spoelstra moved Rashard Lewis into Miami's starting lineup alongside LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers.

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Capitals deal Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik ahead of the draft

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals deal Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik ahead of the draft

DALLAS—The Capitals have dealt backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer and veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round pick, the team announced shortly before the NHL Draft kicked off Friday at American Airlines Center.

After the moves, the Caps had more than $21 million in space under the salary cap ceiling, according to www.capfriendly.com, and potentially enough room to accommodate new contracts for John Carlson and other key free agents.

GM Brian MacLellan was widely expected to deal Grubauer, a 26-year-old who wanted the opportunity to be a No. 1. As a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who was also coming off a strong season, Grubauer was due a significant raise.

“We would like to thank Brooks and Philipp for all of their contributions to our organization,” MacLellan said in a statement. “Philipp has been a consummate professional and a great teammate and we wish him all the best.”

Trading Orpik, on the other hand, was a bit unexpected, particularly considering how much the 37-year-old’s rugged play and leadership meant to the Caps during their run to the Stanley Cup.

By dealing Orpik, MacLellan shed his $5.5 million cap hit for next season—an important development given the Caps’ tight salary cap situation and the number of key players who need new contracts. Carlson, Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek are unrestricted free agents, while Tom Wilson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Travis Boyd and Madison Bowey are restricted free agents.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Avalanche are expected to help Orpik land a preferred spot, whether via trade or buyout. By taking on Orpik in the deal, Friedman reported, the Avs only had to give up one pick.

“Brooks,” MacLellan continued, “was a great leader and a tremendous role model for our young players in his four years with our organization. This was a difficult move, but the one we felt we needed to make in order to give some flexibility moving forward.”

Will moving out Grubauer and eliminating Orpik’s cap charge allow MacLellan to ink Carlson, who's set to become the top defenseman on the free agent market? That’s unclear, but it will sure help the Caps’ cause. Carlson is expected to command an extension in the eight-year, $8 million per neighborhood. 

Dealing Orpik also opens up a spot for a young and inexpensive defenseman such as Christian Djoos or Madison Bowey to take on a bigger role in 2018-19.

Without Grubauer, the Caps are likely to turn to Pheonix Copley, who is due to earn the NHL minimum of $650,000 next season, as their backup next season. And if Copley starts the year in Washington, that allows 2015 first round pick Ilya Samsonov to take the reins in Hershey.

The second round pick the Caps received in exchange for Grubauer and Orpik is the 47th overall selection.

MacLellan is expected to speak to reporters following the first round later Friday night. The Caps currently hold the 31st overall pick.

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Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

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USA Today Sports

Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

It’s happening.

When the 2018 All-Star Weekend comes to Washington, D.C. in the middle of July, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will compete in the 2018 Home Run Derby, but only on one condition: He has to be a member of the 2018 National League All-Star Team.

Though Harper is having a down year, only hitting .213 thus far, he leads the NL in home runs with 19.

In the June 18 update of All-Star game voting, Harper sat second among all outfielders with just north of 1,000,000 votes.

That means he’s not only going to make the All-Star team, but he’ll likely start in the outfield.

Harper, a five-time All-Star, competed in the Home Run Derby once before. He was the runner-up to Yoenis Cespedes in 2013, losing by just one long ball, 9-8.

The 2018 Home Run Derby will take place on July 16 at Nationals Park.

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