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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
LOS ANGELES ó The Los Angeles Lakers have reached an agreement in principle with former Cleveland coach Mike Brown to succeed Phil Jackson, the team said Wednesday.
ěWeíve met with Mike and are very impressed with him,î said a statement issued by the Lakers. ěIn addition, we have an outline for an agreement in place and hope to sign a contract within the next few days.î
Brown will get a four-year deal worth roughly $18 million, a person with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the Lakers hadnít yet formally hired Brown.
With a strong interview last weekend, Brown jumped to the front of the line of candidates for the daunting challenge of succeeding the 11-time NBA champion Jackson with one of the NBAís iconic franchises. Brown will be the 22nd coach of the Lakers, whose 16 NBA titles trail only the Boston Celticsí 17 in league history.
Rather than promoting one of Jacksonís assistant coaches, the Lakers are changing course after an abrupt end to their two-year title reign and the long-anticipated departure of Jackson, the coach with the most championship rings in NBA history.
OAKLAND, Calif. ó Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry had surgery on his right ankle but is expected to be ready by training camp in the fall.
The Warriors said Wednesday the surgery was performed by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte. Curry missed eight games last season because of multiple sprains on his right ankle. He still averaged 18.6 points, 5.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game.
NEW YORK ó The NBA players’ association filed an unfair labor charge against the league with the National Labor Relations Board, a move it hopes could block a lockout.
NFL LOCKOUT
MINNEAPOLIS ó NFL coaches are teaming up with the players in their legal fight to end the owner-imposed lockout.
The NFL Coaches Association filed a brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday expressing support for the players and saying that the lockout is putting their jobs in jeopardy.
“Owners and fans increasingly demand immediate success, and coaches whose teams cannot fulfill such severe expectations face likely dismissal, which means the uprooting of families, economic dislocation, and a significantly less promising career path,” lawyers for the NFLCA wrote.
No individual coaches were identified in the brief, which said that the eight new coaches hired this year face particularly daunting odds of success if the lockout is not lifted soon. The NFL grants new coaches two extra summer minicamps to get players familiar with the new staff, and the elimination of those camps puts them at a competitive disadvantage heading into the season.
BAYNE UPDATE
CHARLOTTE ó Roush Fenway Racing will hold Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne out of racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the fifth consecutive week he’ll miss because of an inflammatory condition.
Team officials said that Bayne has been testing, but decided to hold him out of racing 900 miles over two days at Charlotte.
The Nationwide Series race on Saturday is 300 miles, and Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race on the NASCAR schedule.
Bayne will now make his return in next week’s Nationwide race at Chicagoland Speedway. His next Sprint Cup race will be June 18 at Michigan.
DODGERS
LOS ANGELES ó The family of a Giants fan who was brutally beaten at Dodger Stadium sued the team and owner Frank McCourt, claiming security cutbacks were to blame for the attack.
BOXING
WASHINGTON ó Sen. John McCain and Rep. Peter King, who lost their last attempt to win a presidential pardon for the first black heavyweight champion, are looking for a rematch.
The two GOP lawmakers reintroduced a congressional resolution urging President Barack Obama to pardon Jack Johnson, who was imprisoned nearly a century ago because of his romantic ties with a white woman.
MIKITA
CHICAGO ó Chicago Blackhawks Hall of Famer Stan Mikita announced that he has been diagnosed with early-stage oral cancer.
The 71-year-old Mikita had 541 goals and 926 assists in 21 NHL seasons, all with Chicago.
He won the Stanley Cup in 1961 and the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP in 1967 and 1968. Mikita is also the first player to win the Art Ross, Hart and Lady Byng trophies in the same season in 1966-67. The nine-time All-Star had his No. 21 retired by the team in 1980.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
COLUMBIA, Mo. ó The Missouri football program is holding a drive to collect donations for storm victims in Joplin, partnering with a local restaurant to fill a semi truck with items.
Once the items are collectedon Saturday, coaches and players will deliver the donations.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. ó The Liberty Bowl will have a chance at an even bigger TV audience on New Year’s Eve with the game being broadcast on ABC instead of ESPN.
COLLEGE HOOPS
RICHMOND, Va. ó Virginia Commonwealth plans to increase student fees so it can give $733,000 more to the basketball program, including for coaches’ raises.
Head coach Shaka Smart was given a $1.2 million contract after taking the Rams to the NCAA Final Four this past season.
SOCCER
MANCHESTER, England ó David Beckham made a one-off return to the Manchester United team to mark the end of best friend Gary Neville’s career in a friendly against Juventus.
The Los Angeles Galaxy gave their star midfielder permission to miss the MLS match against the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday to return to Old Trafford.

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