National Sports Briefs: Heat tells Wade team wants him
MIAMI ó When Dwyane Wade checked his cell phone shortly after midnight Sunday, he got perhaps the most predictable text message of his life.
After all, it hardly classifies as stunning news that the Miami Heat want to keep him.
Wade said Heat president Pat Riley texted those sentiments very early Sunday, in what amounts to a largely ceremonial move. The Heat had to wait until 12:01 a.m. on July 12 to formally offer an extension to the reigning NBA scoring champion, and Wade said Riley didn’t wait too long before pressing the send button.
“It’s no rush,” Wade said. “We all know that.”
Wade will meet with Riley and Heat owner Micky Arison later this summer, and those talks will surely revolve around a three-year extension that will last through the 2013-14 season.
Wade set career bests last season in scoring average (30.2 per game), 3-point goals (88), steals (2.2 per game), blocks (1.3 per game) and games played (79).
He could opt out of his existing Heat contract after the coming season and become a free agent. The Heat can offer a three-year extension now, keeping him under contract through the 2013-14 season. If he opts out next summer, Wade could sign an entirely new deal that would stretch two years longer and likely be worth at least $45 million more.
– OKLAHOMA CITY ó The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed guard James Harden, center B.J. Mullens and forward Serge Ibaka.
POREC, Croatia ó The United States was ousted from the Davis Cup, and left to wonder how it might have gone had Andy Roddick been around to pelt opponents with his laser serve.
James Blake was unable to keep the Americans alive in the quarterfinals Sunday, losing to Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the opening match of reverse singles.
Cilic’s victory on indoor clay put Croatia ahead 3-1 in the best-of-five format, sending the country to its first semifinal since winning the Davis Cup in 2005. The final score was 3-2 after American doubles specialist Bob Bryan beat Roko Karanusic 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the concluding match.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. ó David Beckham said Los Angeles Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan was “unprofessional” for speaking out without confronting him first.
Beckham, who was making his first public appearance in Southern California since returning from his five-month loan with Italian club AC Milan, said he had not spoken to Donovan, who called him a bad captain and portrayed him as stingy in an upcoming book “The Beckham Experiment,” written by Grant Wahl.
“It’s unprofessional in my eyes. In every soccer player’s eyes throughout the world it would be unprofessional to speak out about a teammate especially in the press and not to your face,” Beckham said.
“But I’m going to turn it on a positive spin because that’s what this needs. But in 17 years, I have played with the biggest teams in the world and the biggest players and not once have I been criticized for my professionalism. It’s important to get this cleared up and I will be speaking to Landon either this evening or over the next couple of days.”
The Galaxy plays Chivas USA on Saturday, with Beckham returning to his first practice with the team today.
TORONTO ó Dario Franchitti has won the Honda Indy on the street course in Toronto.
It was the first race in Toronto for the IndyCar Series, and Franchitti, the pole-sitter, easily held off Penske drivers Ryan Briscoe and Will Power on a late restart for his third win.
The Target Chip Ganassi Racing star, seeking his second series championship in three years, also regained the points lead over teammate Scott Dixon. Penske and Ganassi drivers have won 16 of 18 races dating to last season.
Dixon was fourth, followed by Justin Wilson of Dale Coyne Racing, who won a week ago at Watkins Glen.
BETHLEHEM, Pa. ó Eun Hee Ji of South Korea made a 20-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole Sunday, finishing off an even-par 71 to claim the U.S. Women’s Open.
The 20-year-old Ji outlasted playing partner and third-round leader Cristie Kerr, who struggled from the outset and failed in her bid for a second Women’s Open title in three years.
– SILVIS, Ill. ó Steve Stricker followed one of his best performances with 36 solid holes to win by three strokes.
Stricker, who tied the course record Saturday, fired a 7-under 64 in the fourth round after starting the day with a third-round 68 to finish at 264 for the tournament. That was good enough to give him his second PGA Tour win this year and sixth in all, not to mention a heavy dose of momentum heading into the British Open to go with the $774,000 winnner’s check.
– BLAINE, Minn. ó Bernhard Langer chipped in for eagle on the 18th hole Sunday to win the 3M Championship, his second straight win on the Champions Tour.
His 7-under 65 gave him a 16-under 200 for the tournament, one shot better than Andy Bean.
BOSTON ó The National Hockey League is coming to Fenway Park.
The league is expected to announce at a news conference there Wednesday that the Boston Bruins will play the third annual Winter Classic at the home of the Boston Red Sox on Jan. 1. The opponent is expected to be the Philadelphia Flyers or the Washington Capitals.
In the NHL’s other two outdoor games on New Year’s Day, Pittsburgh played Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium in 2008 and Detroit played Chicago at Wrigley Field this year.