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With Terps gone, UConn could be candidate for ACC

With Terps gone, UConn could be candidate for ACC

STORRS, Conn. (AP) The latest round of conference musical chairs has left Connecticut once again looking for a seat.

The Big Ten's recruitment of Rutgers from the Big East and Maryland from the Atlantic Coast Conference has led to renewed speculation the Huskies might jump to the ACC to replace the Terrapins.

Connecticut, like Rutgers, has been looking for a landing spot since Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced their departures from the Big East last year. UConn president Susan Herbst has long hinted that an invitation to join that ACC is something the school would welcome. She and athletic director Warde Manuel have said that while they are committed to working with the Big East, they will do what is in the best interests of the university.

But Manuel told reporters Monday that it was too soon to comment on the latest moves, and neither he nor Herbst responded Tuesday to repeated messages seeking comment. Manuel is in the Virgin Islands this week, where the men's basketball team just competed in the Paradise Jam, and the women will begin to play the same tournament on Thursday.

Football coach Paul Pasqualoni, who also coached at Syracuse, said he has become resigned to the idea that change in life is inevitable. He was asked Tuesday if he would welcome a move that would renew regional rivalries with Syracuse and Boston College.

``I want what's best for the University of Connecticut and the state of Connecticut,'' he said. ``I want the same thing that everybody else in Connecticut wants, really. I think the people in the state of Connecticut, they can rest assured that the people in charge will do what's best.''

There have been stumbling blocks to any possible UConn move to the ACC in the past. Gene DeFilippo, Boston College's former athletic director, last year acknowledged that he blocked a planned invitation for the Huskies.

``We didn't want them in,'' DeFilippo told the Boston Globe last October. ``It was a matter of turf. We wanted to be the New England team.''

That type of animosity is nothing new between the schools. The state of Connecticut, in fact, led a 2003 lawsuit over the departure of Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami to the ACC from the Big East.

But DeFilippo has been replaced at Boston College by Brad Bates, a man Manuel says is a close and longtime friend. Both played football at Michigan and were athletic directors in the Mid-American Conference before taking their respective jobs in the last year. Even before Bates was hired, Boston College this summer welcomed UConn as the newest member of the region's premier hockey conference, Hockey East.

But that doesn't mean UConn is a no-brainer to join BC in the ACC. Louisville - and to a lesser extent South Florida - have also been mentioned as potential targets for the league, and there has been no indication that the conference will act quickly to replace Maryland.

UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma put it this way to reporters in Texas on Sunday, after the Huskies beat Texas A&M.

``You can desire to get invited to a lot of parties in Connecticut, but if you don't get an invite, you ain't going,'' he said. ``I think everybody knows right now that every school in the country, every league in the country - you go to meetings, you look each other in the eye, you tell each other the truth and you go on from there with the understanding that it could change tomorrow.''

As for the student-athletes, a lot of this won't affect them long term. They're going to play where they are told to play. But senior tight end Ryan Griffin is into it, regardless, and said they are watching the shuffle intently. They are concerned about the future of the program they have helped build. They don't want to be left behind in a fading Big East.

``With all this movement, it's kind of up in the air right now, with the conferences and stuff,'' he said. ``Hopefully I can come back here as an alumni and enjoy some football games - Big 10, ACC, the Big East in San Diego, who knows.''

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Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says

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Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says

After already making significant changes to their roster, the Wizards may not be done this offseason, as they have been in talks with the San Antonio Spurs about a potential trade for superstar Kawhi Leonard, according to a new report by ESPN

Read this from Adrian Wojnarowski:

Still, the bidding war among Boston, Philadelphia and the Lakers never materialized. The Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, Toronto and Washington are among teams who've talked with San Antonio, league sources said.

The Wizards certainly make sense as a Leonard suitor. They are in the East, meaning the Spurs could trade Leonard to them and not have to worry about facing him as often. Plus, they have a solid group of tradeable assets and ones that seem to fit the Spurs model.

Otto Porter is a versatile, young player under team control who plays an unselfish style and would likely embrace playing in a small market. He also has a salary ($26M in 2018-19) that isn't far off from Leonard's ($21M in 2018-19), so the money could be easily matched.

The Wizards also have Tomas Satoransky and Kelly Oubre, Jr., two young and up-and-coming players. Plus, they have draft picks, though ones that are unlikely to convey as lottery selections.

The Spurs have reportedly been more interested in getting players that can help now rather than draft picks to rebuild. That makes sense, as they still won 47 games last year despite Leonard only playing in nine of them due to injury.

The question in any Wizards and Spurs talks would be whether they would want one of Washington's All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal. It would be tough to imagine the Wizards parting with either guy for Leonard, who carries some risk not only because of his quadriceps injury but also because he can opt out of his contract and leave after next season.

Just because the Wizards have talked to the Spurs doesn't mean they are serious contenders for Leonard, but it does show they are serious about improving their roster this summer. If they got Leonard and didn't part with Wall and Beal, that would be some team.

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Orioles reportedly have deal in place to trade Manny Machado to Dodgers

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Orioles reportedly have deal in place to trade Manny Machado to Dodgers

When Manny Machado returns from the 2018 MLB All-Star Break, he will not be donning a Baltimore Orioles uniform. 

The All-Star shortstop is expected to be traded from Baltimore to the Los Angeles Dodgers, barring any last-minute changes, according to multiple media reports. 

That being said, the Machado trade talks remain fluid and both the Phillies and Brewers are still trying to work a trade for the 26-year-old third baseman, according to Jon Heyman. The Diamondbacks are also reportedly trying to lure the four-time All-Star to the desert, while the Yankees decided to pull out of the Machado sweepstakes just prior to the All-Star festivities in Washington, D.C. 

While the details of the trade have yet to be revealed, the Dodgers will reportedly include top outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz in the Machado trade, according to Heyman.

According to Jim Bowden, when regular-season play returns, Machado will be in the National League, although which team he plays for is still up in the air.

With the Orioles sitting a historically awful 39.5 games out of first place at the All-Star Break, trading Machado is the first major step toward a complete overhaul. The Orioles drafted Machado out of Brito High School in Miami, Fla., with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. Since then, Machado has drawn comparisons to iconic third basemen Brooks Robinson and Alex Rodriguez, despite being moved to shortstop full-time this past season, and is widely considered one of the three best position players in professional baseball.

Machado is currently batting .315 with 24 home runs and 65 RBIs.

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