National Sports Briefs
DENVER ó Ty Lawson will join Zalgiris Kaunas of Lithuania, signing a deal that will allow the Denver Nuggets point guard to return to the NBA if the lockout ends.
Paulius Motiejunas, the general director of Zalgiris Kaunas, confirmed the deal Monday night.
Lawson will team up with Sonny Weems, a former Nuggets guard who signed with the international squad last month. Unlike Lawsonís deal, Weems agreed to a contract without an NBA opt-out clause. Weems played last season for Toronto.
The speedy Lawson averaged 11.7 points and 4.7 assists last season for the Nuggets.
The Denver Post first reported the story. Lawson told the paper, ěItís the best situation for me to go out there.î
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia ó San Antonio Spurs forward Danny Green has signed with Slovenian basketball league champion Union Olimpija.
The 24-year-old Green will be reunited with former college teammate Deon Thompson. The two helped North Carolina win the 2009 NCAA title.
Olimpija did not mention financial terms of the deal Monday or whether Green signed an out clause to return to the NBA after the lockout.
Green averaged 5.1 points in eight games last season for the Spurs.
NEW YORK ó The New Jersey Nets can accept their invitation to Kim Kardashian’s wedding.
A team official says the Nets have been granted permission to attend the reality star’s marriage to forward Kris Humphries on Saturday in California.
General manager Billy King and other members of the Nets’ basketball operations department are expected to attend the ceremony of their free agent forward, the official told The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the guest list was to remain private.
With players and their teams not supposed to be in contact during the lockout, they must check with the league about events where they would be together. Weddings are among the special cases the NBA has allowed, such as when Heat All-Star Chris Bosh got married earlier this summer.
WEST FARGO, N.D. ó Two-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart will race in North Dakota for a third time this summer.
Stewart races occasionally at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo. Operations there are handled by the father of Donny Schatz, who has won championships for Stewart on the World of Outlaws sprint car circuit.
Stewart raced a late-model at the dirt track in June and a sprint car earlier this month, and Stewart’s spokesman, Bill Klingbeil, tells The Forum newspaper that the racer nicknamed Smoke will return to the track on Wednesday.
WINNIPEG, Manitoba ó Rick Rypien was scheduled to fly to Winnipeg on Sunday night to have his knee checked out.
He left a message for a Jets official that morning asking whether there was ice he could skate on.
But he never boarded the flight.
Rypien had been dealing with depression for at least a decade, said Jets assistant general manager Craig Heisinger, who was the GM of the Manitoba Moose when Rypien played for the AHL team. The 27-year-old former Vancouver Canucks player was found dead in his Alberta home Monday.
Longtime friend and former teammate Jason Jaffray said Rypien seemed happy in the days before his death and was eager to join a new team in Winnipeg.
“Everyone knew he had some issues that he had to get taken care of last year, and he was definitely a new man when he came back and … he was definitely the happiest I’d even seen him,” Jaffray said Tuesday from his home in Olds, Alberta.
“We actually had joked around about bringing a Cup back to Winnipeg.”
The Jets and Canucks confirmed Rypien’s death in statements Monday night. Police in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, said they received a call Monday afternoon about a “sudden and non-suspicious” death.
There was no immediate word on the cause of death.
PITTSBURGH ó Sidney Crosby’s summer vacation is almost over. Still, there’s no telling when the Pittsburgh Penguins star will return to work.
General manager Ray Shero said Monday the former MVP is still dealing with concussion-like symptoms and it’s too soon to know if Crosby will be available when the Penguins open camp next month.
“There’s no expectation from me that he won’t be ready or he will be ready,” Shero said.
Crosby hasn’t played in a game since Jan. 5, missing the rest of the regular season and Pittsburgh’s first-round playoff loss to Tampa Bay as he slowly recovered from a concussion. He said in April he would be back for training camp, but with about a month to go before the team reports, Shero wouldn’t guarantee No. 87 will be in uniform.
The 24-year-old Crosby has spent the summer in Canada working out on his own.
MASON, Ohio ó Andy Roddick lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-1 in the first round of the Western & Southern Open.