National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

College Football Playoff trophy unveiled

IRVING, Texas (AP) A rising gold football-shaped trophy will be the prize for the national champion in the new College Football Playoff.

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock unveiled the more than 2-foot-high trophy Monday. Made from 24-karat gold, bronze and stainless steel, the bottom of the trophy is shaped like a football and rises to form an actual-sized ball at the top. There are four laces, reflective of the four teams that will make it to the playoffs.

When addressing the cost of the trophy, Hancock called it a "priceless one-of-a-kind piece of art."

The trophy, which weighs about 35 pounds, is designed to be hoisted from its foot-high bronze base that weighs another 30 pounds. Hancock took a selfie with the trophy sitting in its base, but said the first hoisting will be reserved for the winner of the first national championship game Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas.

"It can be lifted out of the base and hoisted in quite an inspirational manner," Hancock said.

The trophy will be taken to different locations before the season, including Los Angeles this week, and showcased at several college football games during the season.

Top college hoops recruit to pursue pro opportunities overseas

DALLAS (AP) Prized SMU recruit Emmanuel Mudiay will pursue professional basketball opportunities overseas instead of playing for the Mustangs.

Coach Larry Brown said Monday that the decision by the 6-foot-5 McDonald's All-American point guard was based on a "hardship issue" and not any academic issues for the incoming freshman.

The coach says Mudiay had already been admitted into SMU.

In a statement, Brown said Mudiay "really wants to alleviate some of the challenges his family faces and recognizes he has an opportunity to help them now."

Mudiay averaged 16 points, six rebounds and four assists a game as a senior last season at Dallas Prime Prep Academy. He was considered by most as the nation's top high-school point guard in the class of 2014.

Starting pitchers named for MLB All-Star Game

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Seattle's Felix Hernandez will start Tuesday night's All-Star game for the American League and Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals will open for the National League.

Hernandez, the first Venezuela pitcher to start for the All-Stars, is 11-2 with a 2.12 ERA. He is the second Seattle pitcher to start an All-Star game following Randy Johnson in 1995 and 1997.

"Just throw zeros out there and get my team to win, that's all I got to do," Hernandez said.

NL manager Mike Matheny of the Cardinals chose the ace of his own staff. Wainwright is 12-4 with a 1.83 ERA and three complete games in 19 starts. It will be the 11th All-Star start by a Cardinals pitcher.

"Aside from having the ability to win two World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals, I think this has to be one of the highlights of my baseball career to this point," Wainwright said. "One of the coolest things I can say I did is to start a big league All-Star game."

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, a 14-time All-Star who is playing his final season, will lead off for the AL.

"It's a rare and unique opportunity," AL manager John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox said. "At the same time we are able to celebrate a player who is not only a champion, but a guy that sets the bar that I think all players should aspire to. The way he has handled himself with class, with performance - no doubt a Hall of Famer."

Wainwright is enticed by pitching to Jeter.

"I have been in the big leagues for nine years. I've never faced him," Wainwright said. "I'm very excited about it, just to say I faced the best. And he is undoubtedly one of the best to ever play his position, one of the greatest Yankees of all time."

The Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout bats second and plays left, followed by Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano, Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Toronto right fielder Jose Bautista, Baltimore designated hitter Nelson Cruz, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson and Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez.

Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen leads off for the NL, followed by Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig, Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Miami's Giancarlo Stanton will be the DH and bat fifth. He will be followed by Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramirez, Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley, Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy and Brewers left fielder Carlos Gomez.

Mickelson confident heading into British Open

HOYLAKE, England (AP) Phil Mickelson rolled long putts across the practice green in front of the Royal Liverpool clubhouse, some of them going in, most of them the right distance. He chirped to the caddie of Brandt Snedeker about their money game, a Mickelson tradition at the majors.

Lefty was in good spirits Monday at the British Open, except for having to return the claret jug.

Even that allowed him to reflect on a year of keeping golf's oldest trophy, and the confidence he finally has when he plays links golf.

"It's a different feeling for me coming over here now having won this tournament," Mickelson said. "The way I felt was, `Am I ever going to break through and play well on links golf and win an Open Championship?' Now I know that I can. I know that I've done it, and it takes a lot of pressure off me."

Confidence in links golf? Yes.

In his game? That takes a little more work.

Not even Mickelson would have imagined when he left Muirfield last summer with the claret jug that he would not have another tournament anywhere in the world. This is the longest he has gone without winning in five years.

And except for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January, where he was runner-up, Mickelson hasn't been particularly close.

He has missed three cuts. He withdrew twice after narrowly making the cut because of injuries in San Diego and San Antonio. At the Masters, where he is a three-time champion, Mickelson missed the cut for the first time in 17 years. His lone top 10 on the PGA Tour was last August at The Barclays, a tie for sixth when he closed with a 65.

So why the smile?

"Normally, I would be discourage or frustrated, but I'm just not," Mickelson said. "I feel like I've had some good breakthroughs in some areas. I haven't had the results. I know I haven't played well. But the parts feel a lot better than the whole right now. And I don't know when it will all click together. I don't know if it will be this week. I don't know if it will be in three weeks or a month or what, but it should be soon."

He's running out of time.

Mickelson is No. 12 in the Ryder Cup standings. He has qualified for every team since 1995 - two years after Jordan Spieth was born. He has reached the FedEx Cup finale for the top 30 at the Tour Championship every year since it began in 2007. With only three starts before the playoffs begin, Mickelson is at No. 97.

Then again, it's easy for Mickelson not to be overly concerned.

He is 44 and has been on tour for half of his life, compiling 42 victories on the PGA Tour and five majors, including that claret jug.

It's at least been a good year for the jug.

He has taken it to golf clubs and corporate outings, shared it with friends and people he had never met. He has let his caddie, Jim Mackay, take it to pose for pictures.

Mickelson had only one rule.

"One of the things I stressed is that we have to treat the claret jug with reverence and respect that it deserves, and only put good stuff in it," he said. "No bad stuff was allowed. And each person that I brought it to had a different definition of what the good stuff was."

One definition was a bottle of 1990 Romanee Conti, which can range in price from $16,000 to about $35,000.

"Now, I didn't know what this was when I drank it," Mickelson said. "I just knew that it was really good. And that was the best bottle that was ever put in there."

Like fine wine, Mickelson can only hope he gets better with age.

Even though he had to overcome arthritis in the middle of the 2010 season, and only eight players older than he is right now have won majors, Mickelson doesn't see that as an obstacle. Sure, he has to work a little harder, train a little better, stretch a little more.

"But I feel better than I have in a long time," he said.

Padraig Harrington is the last player to repeat as Open champion. Tiger Woods repeated at Royal Liverpool in 2006. Tom Watson won back-to-back some 30 years ago. Winning majors is difficult enough. Winning the same one two years in a row is even harder.

Monday was the first full day of practice for most players, while some took the day off. Woods didn't show up at the course after practicing both days on the weekend. Some players from the Scottish Open weren't at Hoylake. Others, like Spieth, arrived Monday morning on a charter from the John Deere Classic and went on to play.

Mickelson closed with a 65 at Royal Aberdeen to tie for 11th in the Scottish Open. He won the Scottish Open a year ago, and believes the lag putting into a crossing wind, along with seeing the ball react on links courses is a big benefit.

Plus, he's never been so enthusiast about golf's oldest championship, mainly because his name is on the trophy.

Man. United signs $1.3 billion deal with Adidas

Manchester United landed the richest uniform deal in soccer, a $1.3 billion, 10-year agreement with Adidas that replaces its Nike sponsorship.

The contract, worth an average of $128 million a year beginning in 2015, was announced after Nike decided against tripling the cost of its existing 13-year agreement.

The arrangement with Adidas underlines the durability of United's brand considering the team is coming off its worst Premier League season.

Adidas currently pays about $50 million a season to Chelsea and Real Madrid, and United could make far more from the German sportswear firm than the $1.3 billion, which is described as a "minimum guarantee."

Nike has one more season as the team's uniform maker. It recently unveiled jerseys featuring a gold Chevrolet logo for the start of the American automaker's $559 million, seven-year jersey sponsorship deal with the team.

Adidas last held the United contract between 1980 and 1992. That was just before the club ended its 26-year wait for an English title in 1993, ushering in a period of dominance under Alex Ferguson.

But United is rebuilding again after going from a 20th English title before Ferguson retired in 2013 to a seventh-place finish under David Moyes. He was fired before the end of the season.

Louis van Gaal is now tasked with returning United to the Champions League in 2015, fresh from leading the Netherlands to a third-place finish at the World Cup.

Van Gaal once coached Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Ajax. He takes charge at United this week and begins a tour of the United States on Friday. Van Gaal's first match with United is July 23, an exhibition against the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl.

"I don't need a holiday," the 62-year-old coach said on United's website. "It's great to have such an exciting challenge. To work daily with young people is something that I don't need time off to rest for."

Goetze scores late to give Germany the World Cup

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Mario Goetze produced the piece of individual skill that Lionel Messi couldn't muster.

With two quick, deft touches, Goetze ended Germany's 24-year wait for another World Cup title with an extra-time winner against Argentina on Sunday - denying Messi the one title he needs to forever take his place among the game's all-time greats.

It was the moment of brilliance that ensured Germany's 1-0 victory in a tight and tense final.

Goetze, who wasn't born when West Germany beat Argentina in the 1990 final, controlled a cross with his chest in the 113th minute and in one fluid motion volleyed the ball past goalkeeper Sergio Romero and inside the far post from five yards out.

It delivered Germany its fourth World Cup title, equal second with Italy on the list of all-time champions and just behind Brazil's five.

"It's an unbelievable feeling. I don't know how to describe it. You just shoot that goal in, you don't really know what's happening," Goetze said. "And then at the end of the match, having a party with the team, the whole country ... it is for us, a dream come true."

At the final whistle, Germany players fell into a pile in a mid-pitch celebration. Messi walked past them with his hands on his hips - still in the shadow of his compatriot Diego Maradona, who led his country to the 1986 title.

The 22-year-old Goetze went on as a substitute for Miroslav Klose near the end of regulation time and his fresh legs made the difference.

Andre Schuerrle broke down the left flank, sending his cross into the area, and the Bayern Munich midfielder did the rest with a clinical finish. The goal echoed that of Andres Iniesta four years ago, when the midfielder scored in similar fashion but from the other side of the area to give Spain a 1-0 extra-time win over the Netherlands.

It went entirely to script, according to Germany coach Joachim Loew.

"I said to Mario Goetze, `OK, show to the world that you're better than Messi and you can decide the World Cup. You have all the possibilities to do that,'" Loew said. "I had a good feeling with him."

Germany became the first European team to win a World Cup in the Americas, and the victory ends a string of near misses since winning its last major title at the 1996 European Championship. The team lost the 2002 World Cup final to Brazil, the Euro 2008 final to Spain and was eliminated in the semifinals in both 2006 and 2010.

Argentina had not been back in the final since that 1990 loss, and has now been beaten by Germany in the last three World Cups.

"This was our chance, and we felt that way. We couldn't do it. We have to lift our heads and suffer the pain," Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano said. "Obviously, the pain is tremendous."

It is Germany's first World Cup title as a unified nation, having won as West Germany in 1954, 1974 and 1990.

The Germans faced Argentina in both the 1986 and 1990 finals, during Maradona's heyday. This time, they were up against Messi, the four-time world player of the year who has set a slew of scoring records in leading Barcelona to every major club title and is widely considered the best player since Maradona.

But in the biggest game of his career, Messi came up short.

He had one good chance to score when he was sent free in the area just after the halftime break, but sent his shot wide. It was a difficult angle, but still the type of chance he so often converts for Barcelona.

Messi threatened intermittently throughout the match, but was effectively smothered by the German defense. His free kick in the 120th minute went well high.

Messi, who scored four goals in the group stage but none in the knockout rounds, then had to trudge alone up the stairs of the Maracana Stadium to accept the Golden Ball award for the tournament's best player, shaking hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel along the way.

"At this moment I don't care about this prize - only lifting the trophy matters," Messi said. "I'm hurt for losing the way we did. ... I think we deserved a little better, we had chances. As well as they controlled the ball, we still had the clearest chances." After Messi received his award, the German team made its way up the stairs for captain Philipp Lahm to raise the hallowed 18-carat gold trophy.

Until Goetze's winning goal, the game was more notable for top-class defending than creative attacking, but both teams had their share of chances.

Gonzalo Higuain fired wide when gifted a chance in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, and later had a goal ruled out for offside.

Germany defender Benedikt Hoewedes hit the post just before halftime with a header.

Germany had entered the game as the favorite after its 7-1 semifinal drubbing of Brazil. But Argentina proved to be an entirely different proposition.

"I'm very proud of the team. They played a great game against a great team," Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said. "I salute the players, they made the country proud."

After Germany's last win in 1990, then-coach Franz Beckenbauer predicted that a unified Germany would be "unbeatable" in the future. It took 24 years to prove him right but with young players like Goetze, the next wait may not be as long.

"We, I think, deserve this trophy," Goetze said.

Bosh 'excited' to lead Heat sans LeBron

Half a world away, Chris Bosh could not escape the frenzy of last week.

An offer from the Houston Rockets was waiting. His longtime Miami teammate LeBron James was leaving. For a few moments, Bosh found himself wondering if his days with the Heat were over.

Then he looked at his family, and everything stopped.

"We've built a life in South Florida and we're comfortable," Bosh said Sunday. "So I had to do what's best now for myself and my family."

With that, his decision became very easy. Bosh will sign a $118 million, five-year deal to stay with the Heat, a formality only held up by the logistical challenge presented by him being in Ghana right now and with more exotic stops on a family vacation still to come before returning home.

When he finally puts pen to paper, the Heat locker room will essentially become his - and in an interview with The Associated Press, Bosh said that while it's a shock to realize James is no longer with Miami after four seasons, he's ready to have that voice.

"I can't lie to you: I'm excited. I'm excited for the challenge," Bosh said during a break from NBA Africa duties. "I want to step up to the challenge. I feel this is a chance to prove to myself and others that I can still do this.

"I want to see if I can do what's necessary to go in there and win every night. That's the challenge of being a leader. It excites me. It's been a long time and I feel like I'm a much better player and a leader now, so it'll be fun."

Bosh had that role in Toronto before coming to Miami, then was perceived as a No. 3 behind James and Dwyane Wade when they teamed up in 2010 to begin the "Big 3" era with the Heat.

Now, Bosh will be one of the league's highest-paid players over the next five seasons, and with that comes a responsibility role to lead.

"It's a very different process," Bosh said, "but I think I know how to do it."

The Heat called James' decision disappointing, and Bosh acknowledged that there was a "shock factor" when he heard, but Miami is moving on.

They've locked Bosh up, are closing in on a new deal with Wade and got a commitment Sunday from small forward Luol Deng on a two-year deal not long before point guard Mario Chalmers announced on Twitter that he's returning to the team. Plus, the Heat have deals pending with forwards Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger.

"Proud to say I'm back," Chalmers wrote.

Miami has been to the NBA Finals in each of Bosh's first four seasons there, the team's two-year run as champions coming to an end when the Heat lost in five games to San Antonio last month.

Bosh got over that loss fast.

"We weren't going to beat those guys," Bosh said. "They were clicking on all cylinders. ... You can accept losing to such a great team."

After that, free agency followed. Bosh, Wade and James met last month for lunch, one that created tons of speculation once word got out about the meal.

Bosh said much of what was reported was overblown, and that was the day he started thinking the run was over.

"It's not what everybody thought it was," Bosh said. "We were just talking and having lunch with each other. Did I expect to kind of figure things out? Yeah, for sure. But it wasn't that. We just enjoyed having lunch. That's when I could tell, there's a possibility that somebody could be in a different uniform next year."

Soon, the Rockets came calling. Their pitch: Come to Houston, join Dwight Howard and James Harden and keep contending for titles.

"I'd be lying if I sat here and said Houston wasn't enticing," Bosh said. "You look at their roster and you can kind of see why it makes sense for them to be interested in me, with the chance they have to be successful. They're going to be a good team regardless next year. It just seemed like I would be that final piece that they needed. It was a hard choice to turn down."

Bosh insists the Heat will be good next season. How good, that will largely be up to him.

"We have so much chemistry," Bosh said. "We'll just be continuing without LeBron. It's starting a different chapter. It's exciting. I think it should be motivation for everybody to step up to the plate. We're fortunate enough to have some of the same guys. We should be able to say, `Hey, we can come out here and compete no matter what happens."'

Hunter-Reay wins IndyCar race in Iowa

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) Ryan Hunter-Reay blew past the field with two laps to go and won the IndyCar race at Iowa Speedway on Saturday for his first victory since the Indianapolis 500.

It was the fifth straight win in Iowa for Andretti Autosport, and the second in three years for Hunter-Reay.

Hunter-Reay hadn't led a lap since Indianapolis, and he spent most of Saturday's race far from contention. But he got new tires on a late pit stop and stormed past Tony Kanaan for his third victory in 2014.

Josef Newgarden finished second, followed by Target Chip Ganassi teammates Kanaan and Scott Dixon. Ed Carpenter was fifth.

Helio Castroneves finished eighth, taking sole possession of the series points lead.

AP Source: LeBron James signs 2-year contract

CLEVELAND (AP) First, the Cavaliers got LeBron James' word. Then they got his signature.

James signed a two-year, $42.1 million contract with the Cavs on Saturday, a day after he announced he was returning to play in Cleveland and try to end the city's 50-year championship drought.

The deal provides flexibility for the NBA's biggest star with the league's maximum salary expected to rise in the future.

A person familiar with the negotiations said James' contract includes an option for the four-time league MVP to become a free agent next summer. However, it is strictly "a business deal," according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team is not providing any details about the agreement.

By only signing for two years, James can get another contract with the Cavs before the 2016-17 season, when a new television deal is expected to push the maximum salary higher. The max contract for next season is $20.7 million. Until this deal, James had never been the highest paid player on his team in 11 seasons as a pro.

The Cavs did not provide any terms of the contract in a release, citing league policy.

James announced he was returning to the Cavaliers on Friday, picking Cleveland over Miami and reversing the decision he made four years ago to sign as a free agent with the Heat.

In an essay in Sports Illustrated, James indicated he will finish his career in Cleveland, and the Cavaliers are confident the Akron, Ohio, native is committed to them long-term.

"We could not be happier to welcome LeBron James home," Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said. "Yesterday, LeBron, through his essay, told us he wasn't going anywhere except Cleveland and that `Cleveland is where he always believed he would finish his career.' These words and commitment put all of us, including LeBron, in the best position to build our franchise the right way and achieve the kind of goals we all know are possible. Expectations will be at the highest levels but no one should expect immediate and automatic success."

ESPN.com first reported the contract terms for James.

His decision to come back to his native Ohio was universally applauded. In the powerful essay on SI.com, the 29-year-old laid out his reasons for returning and said his relationship with Northeast Ohio "is bigger than basketball. I didn't realize that four years ago. I do now."

Griffin echoed those sentiments.

"LeBron's motivation to return home is clearly fueled by the kind of emotions and ideals that we can and should embrace," he said. "The contract and those details are secondary to his commitment to Northeast Ohio and the Cavaliers. It extends well beyond the boundaries of basketball and speak to his love and passion for his family, home, and our fans. He communicated his role and growth as a husband, father, teammate, community leader, and business person.

"This resonated in a special and personal way for all of us. LeBron put it well when he stated; `In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned.' We can't wait to get started and look forward to his leadership, on and off the court, for many years to come."

James spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Cavs, taking them to their first finals appearance in 2007. James is already the franchise leader in scoring (15,251 points), scoring average (27.8 PPG) field goals ((5,415), free throws made (3,650), steals (955) and minutes (22,119).

James is in Brazil to watch Sunday's World Cup final between Argentina and Germany.

AP Source: Anthony staying with Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) Carmelo Anthony is staying with the New York Knicks.

Anthony has decided to remain in New York, choosing the Knicks over a number of teams which could have given him a better chance for the championship he craves.

The All-Star forward met with Chicago, Houston, Dallas and the Lakers, but has informed the Knicks he will return, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.

The Knicks offered Anthony a maximum contract worth nearly $130 million over five years, about $35 million more than any of his other suitors under NBA rules, though it's unknown what the final terms of his deal will be.

Yahoo Sports and the Daily News of New York first reported Anthony's plans.

Anthony came to the Knicks in February 2011 after a trade with the Denver Nuggets. He led the NBA in scoring in 2012-13 and was second last year but is more interested in team success, so he spent the last two weeks considering other homes.

But the combination of the millions more the Knicks could offer and the chance to keep playing on basketball's biggest stage was too hard to pass up for Anthony, a New York native who spent months trying for a trade to his hometown 3 1/2 years ago.

He wanted the Big Apple then and still does now.

His decision came a day after LeBron James announced he was going to sign in Cleveland, leaving Anthony as the best free agent on the market.

The Knicks did not comment. An announcement is expected Sunday.

Not even the first playoff-less season of his 11-year career convinced Anthony to leave, though he may have seriously considered it given that his decision didn't come until the 12th day of free agency.

Instead, he's putting his faith in team President Phil Jackson and coach Derek Fisher, who will try to rebuild the Knicks after they went 37-45 last season.

That poor finish gave Anthony no choice but to look at other teams, given the Knicks' salary-cap restraints and the difficulty of making enough changes to make them a contender next season.

He traveled around the country to listen to pitches, before the Knicks went to Los Angeles on July 3, offering him the max contract.

That was one of what Jackson said was perhaps five different proposals the Knicks made. Anthony has said he was open to taking less than the max and Jackson has said he hoped the star would to give the team more flexibility in the future.

Anthony spent the first 7 1/2 seasons of his career in Denver but let the Nuggets know in the summer of 2010 that he wanted a trade to New York. He finally got it the following February, the Knicks sending four of their top six players to Denver to make the deal.

New York gave Anthony and his actress wife the bigger platform they sought, but it hasn't brought him any closer to a championship. The Knicks did win the Atlantic Division and reach the second round of the playoffs in 2013, when Anthony led the league in scoring, but they quickly fell backward this season.

That was no fault of Anthony, who averaged 27.4 points and 8.1 rebounds in 77 games. But he didn't have nearly enough help, and the Knicks probably can't provide it until next summer, when the contracts of Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani come off their books.

"There's no instantaneous winner that we think is going to happen to the Knicks right now, but we're going to be a lot better," Jackson said recently.

That was only going to happen if Anthony stayed, and the Knicks finally have word that he will.

---

AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report.

Orioles get only 5 hits in 3-0 loss to Yankees

BALTIMORE (AP) The Baltimore Orioles couldn't blame the early-evening shadows at Camden Yards for their hitting woes, nor could they cite their unfamiliarity with the opposing pitcher.

After getting handcuffed by a rookie making his second big league start, the Orioles had no excuses following their 3-0 defeat to the New York Yankees on Saturday.

All they could do was acknowledge that Shane Greene was very tough to hit.

Greene (2-0) allowed four hits in 7 1-3 innings, striking out nine - including Nelson Cruz three times - and walking two. The right-hander didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning and allowed only two runners past second base.

"We knew it coming in, that he would present a problem," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

It didn't matter that the Orioles had never seen Greene in person, or that the game started at 4:05 p.m.

"There's so much information. You watch every pitch they've thrown," Showalter said. "Four o'clock start, 1 o'clock start, 7 o'clock start, you're going to have success if you do what he did today."

After Greene left, the Orioles got one more hit off relievers David Huff, Shawn Kelley and David Robertson, the latter of whom worked a perfect ninth to secure his 23rd save.

The 3-4-5-6 hitters in the Baltimore lineup went 0 for 16 with 10 strikeouts. In addition to Cruz, Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy both struck out three times.

It was only the third loss in 12 games for the Orioles, who finished with five hits. Chris Tillman (7-5) gave up three runs, seven hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings.

"It's another one of those (performances) that kind of gets looked at but is not properly appreciated because of what the other guy was doing," Showalter said.

It was Greene's second win in six days with the Yankees, the first coming at Cleveland, where the 25-year-old allowed two runs in six innings.

After going a combined 12-10 in the minors last year, Greene was 5-2 with a 4.61 ERA this season against such teams as the Buffalo Bisons and Gwinnett Braves. Somehow, that translated into success against the Indians and AL East-leading Orioles.

"A dream come true," Greene said. "It means a lot that I got the opportunity and it means a lot that I can come up here and help the team win."

Brian McCann had three hits for the Yankees, who moved within four games of the Orioles in the AL East. New York is 3-5 against Baltimore this season.

The Yankees led 1-0 before chasing Tillman with a two-run seventh. Kelly Johnson led off with a single and advanced on a wild pitch before Derek Jeter hit a two-out RBI single to left.

That prompted the thousands of Yankees fans among the sellout crowd of 46,667 to chant "Derek Jeter! Derek Jeter!" - saluting the 40-year-old team captain who will retire after this season.

Jacoby Ellsbury greeted T.J. McFarland with a broken-bat RBI double, and the inning ended when Ellsbury was cut down at the plate trying to score on McCann's single to center.

Ellsbury was the second New York runner to be thrown out at home, although it hardly mattered as the Yankees improved to 10-32 when scoring three runs or fewer.

An RBI double by Mark Teixeira gave New York a 1-0 lead in the third, but Jeter was thrown out trying to score on the play.

That would be the Yankees' final hit until McCann singled with one out in the sixth.

Greene allowed only a walk through four innings and struck out the first two batters in the fifth before Manny Machado grounded a single to left. Ryan Flaherty also singled before Nick Hundley struck out.

New York got runners on the corners with two outs in the sixth before former Oriole Brian Roberts whiffed on a high fastball with the count 0-2.

In the bottom half, the Orioles got successive singles from Nick Markakis and Steve Pearce before Adam Jones hit into a double play and Cruz struck out.

NOTES: Chase Whitley will start for New York in Sunday night's series finale. Kevin Gausman will start for Baltimore. ... The Yankees designated RHP Matt Daley for assignment and activated LHP Jeff Francis, obtained in a trade with Oakland on Friday. ... Knowing Miguel Gonzalez wouldn't be needed before the All-Star break, Baltimore optioned the right-hander to Triple-A Norfolk and recalled C Steve Clevenger from the same club. Gonzalez will return July 22 to face the Angels, Showalter said. ... The sellout was Baltimore's second straight and seventh of the season.

Pau Gasol tweets he's joining Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls recovered quickly after losing out on Carmelo Anthony in free agency, landing Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol to bolster the team's offense.

Gasol announced on his verified Twitter account on Saturday evening that he reached agreement with the Bulls.

"It hasn't been easy," Gasol tweeted. "After meditating it a lot I've chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career."

The Spaniard is one of the NBA's most offensively gifted and versatile big men, and he has long been one of Kobe Bryant's favorite teammates with the Lakers. Gasol spent the last seven seasons in Los Angeles, teaming with Bryant to win two championships and reach another NBA Finals.

The exact terms of his agreement with the Bulls were not immediately clear. The Bulls and Lakers had reportedly been discussing sign-and-trade options earlier in the day Saturday, but no official announcement from either team had been made.

The 7-foot Gasol is a four-time All-Star and averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 60 games last season with Los Angeles, and he brings some sorely needed offensive punch to the Bulls frontcourt.

Even with Derrick Rose expected to be ready to start next season after missing most of the last two years with knee injuries, the Bulls were still very much in the hunt for some offensive help for one of the most hard-nosed defensive teams in the league.

With Rose out last season, Tom Thibodeau's group still managed to win 48 games and make the playoffs for the sixth straight season thanks largely to a defense led by Joakim Noah up front and Jimmy Butler on the perimeter. But scoring proved to be very difficult at times, and the Bulls lost to the Washington Wizards in five games of their first-round series.

That's why they were so hot after Anthony, perhaps the best pure scorer in the game. The Bulls felt he would be a perfect fit to be surrounded by a defensive-minded supporting cast. But as reports swirled that Anthony would remain with the Knicks, the Bulls didn't waste any time moving on.

Now Gasol will team with Noah, a very good passer in the high post, in a formidable frontcourt tandem.

It's also the end of an era for Gasol and the Lakers. His arrival in a trade from Memphis helped quell Bryant's dissatisfaction with the direction of the franchise after owner Jerry Buss decided to move Shaquille O'Neal and go forward with Bryant as the unquestioned face of the franchise.

He arrived in the middle of the 2007-08 season and helped the Lakers reach the finals after a three-season absence. They lost to the Boston Celtics that time, but rebounded to win the next two championships.

Gasol was the subject of trade rumors for much of his time in Los Angeles but always had the steadfast backing of Bryant. But Gasol just turned 34, battled foot injuries last season and clashed with coach Mike D'Antoni several times. D'Antoni is gone, but the Lakers are trying to preserve their long-term salary cap flexibility to make a run at another big star next summer, so bringing the aging big man back was not considered a high priority.

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Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

LeBron move makes Cavs a betting favorite in Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) LeBron James says it will take time to turn the Cleveland Cavaliers into a championship team. Oddsmakers in this gambling city aren't so sure.

The decision by James to return to Cleveland immediately turned the Cavaliers from also-rans into title contenders Friday, at least at the betting window. Most sports books listed Cleveland as 4-1 favorites to win the NBA championship next season, the same odds many posted for the San Antonio Spurs to successfully defend their title.

At the same time, the Miami Heat went as high as 100-1 to win the championship, up from 3-1 when odds first were posted for next season.

"As far as basketball is concerned this kid is the biggest odds and points mover since Michael Jordan," said Jimmy Vaccaro of the South Point hotel-casino sports book. "The only thing you can compare it to is when Peyton Manning was being courted around the country. That was the only time I saw things go as wacky as this."

At the Westgate Las Vegas sports book, oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said the Cavaliers were 60-1 picks to win the NBA title when betting opened last month. That price began dropping as speculation grew that James would return to Cleveland, with some bettors taking credence in a report by the basketball news site SheridanHoops.com earlier this week that James would definitely join the Cavaliers.

Now the Westgate Las Vegas has Cleveland and San Antonio as co-favorites at 4-1, with the Heat at 100-1.

"We took a lot of money at the higher odds, but it kind of slowed down when they got in the single digits," Sherman said. "Anytime people hear speculation from the media they'll come and support it."

James told Sports Illustrated he was going to Cleveland, and the Cavaliers would be a young team that would need some time to develop before contending for a title.

"I'm not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver," James said in the piece. "We're not ready right now. No way. Of course I want to win next year, but I'm realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010."

Vaccaro said that might be true if the Cavaliers were in the Western Conference, but that the path to the finals in the Eastern Conference is much easier. The addition of James to a team that already has substantial young talent makes the Cavaliers a contender in a weaker conference, he said.

"It's still apparent the Cavaliers won't be better than the Spurs individually or better than some other teams out west," Vaccaro said. "But it's a lot easier to get to the championship rounds. If they were in the Western Conference even with LeBron they would be a fifth or sixth pick."

Sherman agreed, saying the Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder would probably still be the favorites if they ended up meeting Cleveland in the NBA Finals. Still, he said, the impact of James on the odds can't be overestimated.

"A few years back when LeBron first left for Miami the Heat went from 25-1 to 5-2 to win it all," he said. "It's somewhat similar to that, even without the other two players."

AP Sources: Bosh agrees to max deal with Heat

Chris Bosh said countless times in recent weeks that he did not want to leave Miami.

Not even LeBron James' departure changed his mind.

And shortly after the Heat took a King-sized hit, their future started coming together.

Bosh is staying in Miami, agreeing Friday to a five-year contract that will be worth about $118 million, said two people familiar with the deal. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither side had confirmed it publicly.

Keeping Bosh addresses one of the Miami's top priorities after getting the news earlier in the day that James was leaving the Heat and returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There's still plenty of work for Heat President Pat Riley to do, however. But first, he and the team lauded what James meant to them over the last four seasons.

"While I am disappointed by LeBron's decision to leave Miami, no one can fault another person for wanting to return home," Riley said in a statement Friday night. "The last four years have been an incredible run for South Florida, Heat fans, our organization and for all of the players who were a part of it. LeBron is a fantastic leader, athlete, teammate and person, and we are all sorry to see him go."

Next up for the Heat: More than likely, it's a deal with Dwyane Wade, who has spent all 11 of his NBA seasons in Miami. Wade and Miami were negotiating a new contract Friday, a move that was expected from the very moment that the 2006 NBA Finals MVP opted out of a deal that would have paid him about $42 million over the next two seasons.

"I know where I'm going," Wade told The AP on Thursday, one day before James let the world that he was going elsewhere.

While Miami is working to get a Wade deal finalized, it's unclear when Bosh will actually sign his contract - though that won't hold up the Heat from making other moves. He's expected to be in Ghana until next week, which creates a logistical challenge.

Bosh is an All-Star who averaged 16.2 points on 52 percent shooting last season, and now figures to potentially get many more shots in the Heat offensive scheme. For his career, Bosh has averaged 19.2 points in 11 NBA seasons.

This much is certain: There's no shortage of openings on the Heat roster.

Miami has agreed to deals with Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger, which should get finalized once the Heat figure how to allocate their spending now that James is gone. Guard Norris Cole was the only holdover from last season with a guaranteed contract, while young center Justin Hamilton has a partially guaranteed deal and point guard Shabazz Napier came to the Heat on draft night.

Wade and Udonis Haslem, who also opted out with hopes it would help the team keep James, will almost certainly be back, and the team thinks highly of James Ennis, who played overseas last season. But that means a ton of slots in the locker room at AmericanAirlines Arena that is currently being renovated - a fitting metaphor if there ever was one - will be available between now and training camp.

Riley said the Heat mantra that he, managing general partner Micky Arison and coach Erik Spoelstra have cultivated will not be changing.

"Over the last 19 years, since Micky and I teamed together, the Miami Heat has always been a championship organization," Riley said. "We've won multiple championships and competed for many others. Micky, Erik and I remain committed to doing whatever it takes to win and compete for championships for many years to come. We've proven that we can do it and we'll do it again."

Arizona reinstates Trumbo, sends Kieschnick down

PHOENIX (AP) The Arizona Diamondbacks have reinstated outfielder Mark Trumbo from the 15-day disabled list and optioned outfielder Roger Kieschnick to Triple-A Reno.

Acquired in an offseason trade with the Los Angeles Angels, Trumbo was tied for the NL lead with seven home runs and was second with 19 RBIs when he went on the DL with a stress fracture in his left foot on April 22.

The 28-year-old hit a combined .458 with five homers and 12 RBIs in seven rehab games with Reno and the AZL D-backs.

Kieschnick hit .207 with a homer and two RBIs in 19 games for Arizona.

Dempsey back from World Cup, rejoins Sounders

TUKWILA, Wash. (AP) Clint Dempsey spent time with family, did a little fishing, let his broken nose heal and mostly ignored the World Cup.

After becoming the first American to score in three World Cups, Dempsey needed a break upon his return to the United States from Brazil. So until his appearance on the "Late Show with David Letterman" the other night, Dempsey was mostly away from the spotlight.

"I got away from the game. It's tough to watch the other teams still being in the competition and you are jealous because you still want to be part of things," Dempsey said Friday as he rejoined the Seattle Sounders. "I was texting with different friends and family what the scores were and stuff like that so I was still involved, just not watching the games on TV. It was good for me to get a little bit of downtime."

Dempsey hopes the U.S. loss to Belgium in the round of 16 isn't his last World Cup game. Dempsey said he wants to continue playing with the national team as long as possible, first focusing on staying with the team through the 2016 Copa America before worrying about the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Dempsey, who turned 31 in March, believes it's possible to still be in contention for a spot in Russia when he's 35.

"I want to play with the national team as long as possible. I am looking forward to push and be a part of Copa America for sure. And if you can still play at a high level and perform then, yes, you try and be one of those players that play at the international level for a long time," Dempsey said. "But you have to continue to perform. It's not about saying you want to do it and it's going to happen. You have to put in the work."

The U.S. captain noted there was an undercurrent with the American team of continuing the efforts to grow the game in the states. Dempsey said the team was well aware of the attention back home.

"You want to do well. You want to continue the growth of the game and the sport and you want to continue pushing the game in the right direction in the states, and you feel that responsibility as a player," Dempsey said.

He noted the changes that had to be made when striker Jozy Altidore went down with a hamstring injury in the first group game against Ghana. The injury forced Dempsey to play as a target forward at the top of the American attack, rather than a slightly withdrawn position where he could have seen more of the ball as a playmaker.

"Still I thought we were able to play well and get the job done," Dempsey said. "At the end of the day we just came up a little bit short in the Belgium game."

In the short term, Dempsey said he'll be ready for Sunday night's MLS game between the Sounders and rival Portland that's expected to draw another crowd of about 65,000 in Seattle. Seattle and Portland already played one wild match this season, a 4-4 draw in April where Dempsey recorded a hat trick with two late goals that rallied the Sounders for a point.

It'll be the second match this week between the Cascadia rivals after facing off in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday. Seattle beat Portland 3-1 in extra time to advance in the tournament.

"I'm back, I want to play," Dempsey said.

LeBron James says he's returning to Cavaliers

CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James is returning home to Ohio, reversing the decision he made four years ago that led to two NBA titles in Miami and crushed Cleveland Cavalier fans.

James told Sports Illustrated for a story published Friday that he was signing with the Cavaliers because his relationship with Northeast Ohio is "bigger than basketball."

"When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission," James said in the SI first-person story. "I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn't had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what's most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio."

He spent his first seven NBA seasons in Cleveland. In four years with the Heat, he went to the NBA Finals four times, winning two championships. And now heads back to Cleveland to see if he can finally deliver on his promise of winning a crown for that title-starved city.

For Cleveland, it's a new day.

For Miami, it's the end of a championship run.

"I am shocked & disappointed in today's news," Heat managing general partner Micky Arison wrote on Twitter. "However I will never forget what Lebron brought us for 4 years. Thanks for memories."

James said he will always call Miami his second home.

But the lure of his first one was simply too strong to ignore. James is from Akron, Ohio, not far from Cleveland.

"Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It's where I walked," James told SI. "It's where I ran. It's where I cried. It's where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I'm their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me.

"I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can."

He left Cleveland being called disloyal, a narcissist, a coward and a quitter - and that was all by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who wrote that infamous letter blasting James for choosing Miami.

And now James will play for Gilbert again.

"I am excited for the fans and people of Cleveland and Ohio. No fans and people deserve a winner more than them," Gilbert said on Twitter.

"I'm not having a press conference or a party," James told SI. "After this, it's time to get to work."

And with that, the "Big 3" era in Miami ends much sooner than the Heat expected.

James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade all exercised options in their contracts to become free agents this summer, but the thinking was that they would re-do their deals to give the team financial flexibility in an effort to make upgrades to the roster.

Instead, the game's biggest star is heading back to his roots. Bosh may now leave as well, with widespread reports that the Houston Rockets are preparing to give him a four-year contract offer worth about $88 million. And the Heat face a decidedly uncertain future, a stunning twist for a franchise that has won the last four Eastern Conference titles.

Wade and Bosh all opted out this summer, as did longtime Heat forward Udonis Haslem, and those were considered good signs in a plan to keep James.

Turns out, they were gambles that didn't pay off.

"I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB," James told SI. "We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to (Mario Chalmers). I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that's exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I've talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life.

"I also want to thank Micky Arison and Pat Riley for giving me an amazing four years," James added.

Bosh has made no decisions yet about what he'll do, a person familiar with his thinking told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the All-Star has not announced anything publicly.

James doesn't turn 30 until December, so it's safe to say that he just may be reaching his peak.

And the numbers he's put up in his first 11 NBA seasons already make him a lock to finish among the league's all-time greats.

He's already 27th all-time in scoring with 23,170 points, and could climb into the top 20 next season. Since he entered the league as the No. 1 overall pick by the Cavaliers in 2003, no one has logged more minutes, scored more points or had a better plus-minus ratio than James. His teams have outscored opponents by a staggering 3,743 points with him on the floor over that span; for comparison's sake, Dwight Howard is No. 2 on that list, with a plus-2,312 ratio.

Only Tony Parker and Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs have appeared in more regular-season wins over the last 11 years than James. And he just seems to keep getting better; this past season was his seventh straight year where he posted a career-best in field-goal percentage, shooting just under 57 percent.

"I'm ready to accept the challenge," James wrote. "I'm coming home."

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Tim Reynolds reported from Las Vegas and Tom Withers reported from Cleveland

Jackets sign Dubinsky to $35M deal for 6 years

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Brandon Dubinsky, the player seen as the face of the rising Columbus Blue Jackets, signed a six-year contract extension worth $35.1 million that will keep him with the club through the 2020-21 season.

Dubinsky was entering the last year of a contract with a $4.2-million cap hit. The new deal pays him $5.85 million per season.

He said it was a meeting of minds and not just on the contract terms.

"It's the commitment to winning," the 28-year-old center said at a news conference on Friday after the deal was announced. "(Management) has said they want to win here. I want to win. Our interests were aligned."

Dubinsky was acquired two years ago in the blockbuster deal with the New York Rangers for Rick Nash that also brought center Artem Anisimov, defenseman Tim Erixon and a first-round draft pick to the Blue Jackets. He has scored 18 goals with 52 assists and a +7 plus/minus rating in 105 games the past two seasons, including 16 goals and a career-high 34 assists a year ago while leading the franchise into the postseason for only the second time.

He was at his best in last season's six-game playoff series with division rival Pittsburgh, scoring a goal with five assists while frequently matched up against Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, who didn't score a goal in the series.

Dubinsky chalked up perhaps the biggest goal in franchise history in Game 4, scoring the tying goal with 22.5 seconds left in regulation when goalie Marc Andre-Fleury mishandled a puck behind the net. The Blue Jackets won in overtime - their first playoff victory ever at home - on Nick Foligno's goal.

"This is a well-earned contract for a player who is a leader on our team and plays at his best when it counts the most," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "He's a Blue Jacket. He plays like we want every Blue Jacket to play."

Dubinsky was tied for 10th in the NHL in short-handed points with two goals and two assists last season and ranked 13th in the league in hits with 234.

On a team that did not select a captain but rotated alternate captains, he was frequently the player most vocal after a lethargic loss and quickest to deflect the praise after a win. Most observers believe if the Blue Jackets finally do name a captain, it will be the fiery Dubinsky.

"It's going to be obvious who it is," Kekalainen said of the potential candidates.

Dubinsky, who said he relishes the simplicity of life in Columbus after his years in New York, said no one on the team is concerned about who has the C on his sweater.

"Everyone's always anxious to have a captain, but there's a lot of guys on this team who lead," he said.

Columbus has also discussed a contract extension with franchise goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner as the top netminder in the NHL. He can become a restricted free agent after next season.

Kekalainen is still negotiating with prized top-line center Ryan Johansen, a 21-year-old restricted free agent who is due a huge pay increase after a 63-point season (33 goals, 30 assists). If any team offers him a contract, the Blue Jackets would have to match it to retain him beyond next season.

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAP

Twins to sell self-serve beer at All-Star Game

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) It's BYOB at the home of the Minnesota Twins for this week's All Star Game.

As in, Be Your Own Bartender.

Just in time for the Home Run Derby, Target Field in Minneapolis put in two self-serve beer machines in the stands behind first and third base, letting thirsty fans pick a brew, pour and pay by the ounce. The pour-your-own stations are unique among the 100-plus stadiums and arenas in the four major professional sports in the United States - though not the first of their kind, a concessions consultant said.

They're not about boosting sales, cutting labor costs or shortening lines, said Delaware North Companies general manager Pete Spike, who provides concessions at Target Field. And it's too early to say whether the machines are the future of beer concessions - or even whether Target Field will add more.

For now, they're just something new.

"It's a novelty. That's one thing that parks have lost over the years," Spike said. "You used to be able to get ice cream in a special package you couldn't get anywhere else. Now, you can get it everywhere. This is merely something fun."

After an ID check - "Just because it's self-serve doesn't mean it's unmonitored," Twins spokesman Chris Iles said - fans buy a card pre-loaded with $10, $20 or $40. Then they hop in line for their beer of choice: Budweiser and Bud Light for 38 cents an ounce (a little over $6 for a pint), or Goose Island 312 Urban Pale Ale and Shock Top's Lemon Shandy for 40 cents per ounce. The self-pouring is monitored, too, to stop anyone who may be overserving themselves.

Grab a cup, tap the beer card and pour.

The Twins sold about 100 beer cards with just one machine running during its debut for a July 6 home game against the Yankees, Spike said.

Add a second station, a week of media coverage on the machines and an estimated 80,000 baseball fans between Monday's Home Run Derby and the All Star Game on Tuesday, and Spike expects a rush of thirsty fans.

Twins fan and beer drinker Jim Landry said he thinks too many steps make the new machines a hindrance rather than a convenience.

"I don't see the point," he said. "I'd rather go to a beer guy to get a beer."

Food service consultant Chris Bigelow isn't sold on the idea either. He heard about the beer stations - the only ones he's aware of at current pro sports venues - and remembered a similar self-serve beer concept at the Detroit Red Wings' home arena in the early `80s.

Fans had trouble properly pouring a beer, making the process messy and slow, and the idea was quickly scrapped, Bigelow said.

"They were wasting a lot of beer," he said. "They found that it was terrible."

Target Field's new machines have LCD screens with pouring instructions behind each set of taps, but Spike said they ran into a few hiccups with messy pours on a test run last week, especially after the machines sat idle.

The stations will stay at Target Field for the rest of the season, and plans for expansion or changes will depend on fan feedback.

Bigelow applauded Twins concessionaires for being creative, but doubts the machines will become the norm at stadiums.

"All I will say is good luck with that," he said. "Do I think it's going to replace normal beer equipment? Probably not."

AP source: Suns reach 3-year deal with Tucker

PHOENIX (AP) The Phoenix Suns have reached an agreement with forward P.J. Tucker on a three-year contract worth $16.5 million with the third year only partially guaranteed.

A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed the contract details on Thursday, requesting anonymity because the deal had not been officially announced.

Tucker was the top defender and acknowledged leader in the Suns' surprising turnaround last season. He was a restricted free agent and several teams had shown an interest in him.

Tucker's agreement was first reported by azcentral sports, which includes the Arizona Republic.

The person also confirmed that restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas visited the Suns on Thursday with more meetings set for Friday.

The Suns envision Thomas as a third point guard behind the double-point guard starting duo of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe.

Adding Thomas would create a crowd at point guard. The Suns also have Ish Smith, second-year pro Archie Goodwin and first-round draft pick Tyler Ennis at the position.

Thomas averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists last season with the Sacramento Kings, who are not expected to match any significant offer sheet he signs.

Phoenix, with a load of cap space and a talented young roster, made a long-shot run at LeBron James before turning its attention elsewhere.

The person emphasized that the talks with Thomas are unrelated to Bledsoe's situation.

Bledsoe is a restricted free agent but general manager Ryan McDonough has said the Suns would match any offer sheet he signs. The Suns are attempting to reach an agreement with Bledsoe before he inks any offer. Bledsoe's agent, Rich Paul, also represents James, and could be occupied by those negotiations.

Tucker was the heart of the energized Suns team that went 48-34 and just missed the playoffs in the tough Western Conference. Tucker, who played at Texas and helped recruit Kevin Durant to the Longhorns, was with Toronto as a rookie in 2006-07, then played in Israel, Ukraine, Greece, Italy and Germany before coming to the Suns in 2012.

The 6-foot-5 small forward started all but one game, averaging a career-high 9.4 points per game. He shot 39 percent from 3-point range, almost always from the corner.

Earlier, Phoenix lost forward Channing Frye, who agreed to a contract with the Orlando Magic.

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