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Lester Defends Self Against Red Sox Fans Criticisms

Lester Defends Self Against Red Sox Fans Criticisms

Robert Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images(CHICAGO, Ill) -- Jon Lester officially signed with the Chicago Cubs Saturday, for six-years, $155 million.

In doing so, he chose not to re-join his former team, the Boston Red Sox; a fact that did not sit well with many of the Fenway Faithful. 

Some fans took to Twitter to voice their displeasure at the perception that Lester only followed the money.

One fan named Peter wrote, "Does money change a man's mind about family? If so, don't call us family. Have respect for you but money was your #1 priority." 

This did not sit well with Lester who took the time to respond with, "It does not, and I'm sorry you feel that way Peter but that couldn't be further from the truth," Lester replied.

Some fans made things a little more personal as another accused, "Red Sox org. and Red Sox Nation supported you unconditionally while you battled cancer, not the Cubs. Your values are messed up."

Lester defended his decision and took the high road.

"I know they did, and I love them for it. Sorry you feel that way but I'd like to think my values are some of my best qualities," Lester said.

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Dwight Howard Back on the Court for the Rockets

Dwight Howard Back on the Court for the Rockets

Bob Levey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After an 11 game absence, Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard will make his return to the court Saturday night against the Denver Nuggets.

Howard was out of action after dealing with knee soreness. While the injury wasn't considered too serious, the team felt it was best to hold him out until he felt healthy enough to play at his All-Star level.

He underwent platelet-rich plasma therapy to help restore the cartilage in his knee, and is feeling like his old self again.

"I'm just thankful to be back out there," Howard said. "Nobody wants to sit on the bench in a suit and watch his team play. You want to get out there in the action. But I'm happy to be back out there, thankful. I thank God for just allowing me to be able to play again. I'm just happy to play again. That's the big thing."

The Rockets haven't missed a beat without Howard. The team sits at 17-5 heading into Saturday, which is the third-best record in the NBA.

The 29-year-old Howard is averaging 18.8 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.

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Broncos Reward Cornerback Chris Harris with Contract Extension

Broncos Reward Cornerback Chris Harris with Contract Extension

Rob Carr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Denver Broncos have playmakers all over their defense, and they're doing their best to keep the group together as they agreed on a new contract with cornerback Chris Harris.

The team announced they agreed on a five-year extension with Harris that will keep him in Denver through the 2019 season.

“Chris is a young, ascending player who has consistently performed at a high level during his first four years in the NFL,” Broncos general manager John Elway said. “He joined the Broncos as a college free agent and has worked tirelessly to become one of the league’s best at his position.

“It’s a priority for us to develop and reward our own players as we continue assembling the best possible team. Whether it’s on the field or in the community, we are proud to have Chris representing the Broncos for many years to come.”

Harris has been a productive player since day one for the team. He has 44 tackles this season and has nine interceptions dating back to 2012.

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Bulls Forward Doug McDermott Out Indefinitely with Knee Injury

Bulls Forward Doug McDermott Out Indefinitely with Knee Injury

Ingrim Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Chicago Bulls depth has taken a hit as rookie small forward Doug McDermott is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

"Doug McDermott will have an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee," the team said in a release. "The procedure will be performed by Chicago Bulls head team physician Dr. Brian Cole of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.  A timetable for his return will be determined after the procedure."

The Bulls acquired McDermott on draft night from the Denver Nuggets.

McDermott is one of the most prolific college scorers in NCAA history. He ranks fifth all-time in points scored with 3,150.

His rookie season has been a little bumpy. In 17 games this season, McDermott is averaging 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 11.6 minutes per game.

Despite McDermott's struggles, the Bulls are off to a great start this season. Heading into Saturday, the Bulls stand at 14-8, good for the fourth-best record in the NBA.

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Muschamp Rejoins Auburn as Defensive Coordinator

Muschamp Rejoins Auburn as Defensive Coordinator

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Will Muschamp didn't have to wait too long to find employment. The former Florida football coach has reached a deal to become the new defensive coordinator at Auburn, the school announced late Friday night.

The three-year deal is reportedly worth between $1.6 million and $1.8 million annually, making Muschamp the highest paid defensive coordinator in major college football.

"My family, Carol, Jackson, Whit, and I are excited about coming back to Auburn and I look forward to working with Coach Malzahn to win championships," Muschamp said in the statement.

Muschamp, who was 28-21 in four seasons with the Gators, will be making his third stint with the Tigers. He was the defensive coordinator in 2006 and 2007 for Tommy Tuberville and was also a graduate assistant in 1995 and '96. 

Despite a disappointing end to his tenure at Florida, Muschamp was named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2012 after leading the Gators to an 11-2 record. During his time, the Florida defense was among the nation's best in multiple categories, including opponents yards per game and third-down percentage.

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Young’s Late Three Helps Lakers Beat Spurs in OT

Young’s Late Three Helps Lakers Beat Spurs in OT

Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO) -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young hit a monster three with 7.4 seconds remaining in overtime to help give the Lakers (7-16) a 112-110 win over San Antonio on Friday. Young finished with a game-high 29 points while Kobe Bryant added 22 points and nine rebounds.

"I'm so happy it ended up in my hands," Young said. "I wanted to shoot that bad, especially being on the floor watching Kobe and playing for the Lakers; nothing like those types of shots."

San Antonio (16-7) rallied from down 11 points in the fourth quarter to tie the game and send it into overtime, but Young's shot was too much to overcome. With the shot clock about to expire, and Manu Ginobili in his face, Young let go a 30-foot prayer that found the net for a 112-110 lead. The Spurs had a chance to tie but Ginobili's three-point attempt was off the mark and time expired before another they could get another shot off.

"The last 3, Manu was everything but inside his jersey, and he had to adjust his shot in the air and kind of shoot around Manu's hands, and it goes in," Duncan said. "If you put a team in a situation like that, things like that can happen. We put the blame on ourselves for the 48, 50 minutes before it gets to that point."

The Spurs also had a chance to win it in regulation, holding possession with less than two seconds remaining. However, Duncan missed a 17-foot, turn-around jumper that forced the extra session. Duncan finished with 19 points and 18 rebounds for San Antonio.

Bryant's 22 points leaves him eight shy of tying Michael Jordan for third on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

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Stanton Diagnosed with Sprain, Will Not Require Surgery

Stanton Diagnosed with Sprain, Will Not Require Surgery

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(TEMPE, Ariz.) -- The Arizona Cardinals got some good news on Friday when it was announced that quarterback Drew Stanton suffered only a sprain of his knee in Thursday night's win over St. Louis. Stanton was injured in the third quarter of Arizona's 12-6 win and was eventually carted off the field.

"It's just going to be rest and rehab," said Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians. "It's very good news that he's not going to need surgery."

There is no official timetable for Stanton's return, though Arians did not rule out a possible return this season. Stanton is the second quarterback being used this year after Carson Palmer tore his ACL earlier in the year.

Arizona (11-3) will host NFC West rival Seattle in Week 16 with a possible division crown at stake. If Stanton is unable to play, the Cardinals will most likely turn to third-year quarterback Ryan Lindley. The former San Diego State quarterback was 4-for-10 on Thursday with 30 passing yards in absence of Stanton.

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Knicks Snap Skid with Win Over Boston

Knicks Snap Skid with Win Over Boston

Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images(BOSTON, Mass.) -- The New York Knicks finally snapped a 10-game losing streak on Friday night, defeating the Boston Celtics 101-95 on the road. It was the first win for New York (5-20) since beating Philadelphia back on Nov. 22 at Madison Square Garden.

"It's always hard when you're climbing uphill, then you get that one game like today. It's kind of like relief," Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said. "It gives you a chance to feel what winning a basketball game is like."

Anthony cause some headlines, before leading his team with 22 points, when rumors swirled that the forward would be willing to waive his no-trade clause if the right situation presented itself. The 30-year-old told reporters before the game that those were just rumors. Anthony shot 9-for-20 in the win, pulling down five rebounds and blocking three shots.

New York opened the game shooting well, holding a 26-19 lead after the first quarter, while their defense helped set the tone. The Knicks held Boston (7-14) to just 7-of-22 from three-point land and forced 17 total turnovers.

The win snapped the longest losing streak for the Knicks since 2005-06 when they also dropped 10 in a row.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 12/12/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 12/12/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA: Chicago Bulls 115 (14-8) - Portland Trail Blazers 106 (17-6)

Washington Wizards 104 (16-6) - Los Angeles Clippers 96 (16-6)

Atlanta Hawks 87 (16-6) - Orlando Magic 81 (9-16) 

New York Knicks 101 (5-20) - Boston Celtics 95 (7-14)

Brooklyn Nets 88 (9-12) - Philadelphia 76ers 70 (2-20)

Toronto Raptors 106 (17-6) - Indiana Pacers 94 (7-16) 

Memphis Grizzlies 113 (18-4) - Charlotte Hornets 107 (6-16) - Double Overtime

Oklahoma City Thunder 111 (10-13) - Minnesota Timberwolves 92 (5-17)

New Orleans Pelicans 119 (11-11) - Cleveland Cavaliers 114 (13-9) 

Detroit Pistons 105 (4-19) - Phoenix Suns 103 (12-12)

Miami Heat 100 (11-12) - Utah Jazz 95 (6-17)

Los Angeles Lakers 112 (7-16) - San Antonio Spurs 110 (16-7) - Overtime

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (19-6-3, 41pts) - Calgary Flames 1 (17-12-2, 36pts) 

Florida Panthers 3 (12-8-7, 31pts) - Detroit Red Wings 2 (17-6-7, 41pts)

Montreal Canadiens 6 (19-10-2, 40pts) - Los Angeles Kings 2 (15-10-5, 35pts)

Anaheim Ducks 4 (20-6-5, 45pts) - Edmonton Oilers 2 (7-18-5, 19pts)

Top 25 Men's Basketball: (14) Iowa State 90 (7-1) - Iowa 75 (8-3)

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Adrian Peterson Appeal Denied

Adrian Peterson Appeal Denied

Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Independent arbitrator Harold Henderson upheld Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's suspension appeal on Friday.

Henderson, a former NFL executive, was appointed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the case and found that the facts against Peterson's child-abuse case held up in court.

"The player entered a plea which effectively admitted guilt to a criminal charge of child abuse, after inflicting serious injuries to his four-year old son in the course of administering discipline.  No direct evidence of the beating was entered in the record here, but numerous court documents, investigative reports, photographs and news reports, all accepted into evidence without objection, make it clear that Mr. Peterson’s conduct was egregious and aggravated as those terms are used in the Policy, and merits substantial discipline.  His public comments do not reflect remorse or appreciation for the seriousness of his actions and their impact on his family, community, fans and the NFL, although at the close of the hearing he said he has learned from his mistake, he regrets that it happened and it will never happen again.  I reject the argument that placement in Commissioner Exempt status is discipline," Henderson said in a statement on Friday.

Peterson was suspended by the NFL on Nov. 18 for violating the league's personal conduct policy rule.

"I conclude that the player has not demonstrated that the process and procedures surrounding his discipline were not fair and consistent; he was afforded all the protections and rights to which he is entitled, and I find no basis to vacate or reduce the discipline."

Peterson will not be eligible to apply for reinstatement until April 15, 2015, but is expected to appeal the decision in federal court, ESPN reports.

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ESPN: Wisconsin Set to Hire Pittsburgh’s Paul Chryst as Head Football Coach

ESPN: Wisconsin Set to Hire Pittsburgh’s Paul Chryst as Head Football Coach

David Stluka/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Wisconsin Badgers are turning to a familiar face as ESPN reports that the school has hired Pittsburgh's Paul Chryst as their new head football coach.

Chryst played quarterback for the school from 1986-1988. He was also an assistant at Wisconsin from 2002-2011 and would replace the recently departed Gary Andersen. Andersen stepped down earlier this week to join Oregon State as their head football coach.

In three seasons at Pitt, Chryst went 19-19 after replacing Todd Graham.

"It is our practice not to comment on the personnel searches of other institutions," Pittsburgh said in a statement, according to the Journal Sentinel. "Paul Chryst is the University of Pittsburgh's head coach, has been recruiting all week on behalf of the program and will begin preparations for Pitt's bowl game this weekend."

This past season, Wisconsin finished 10-3, first in the Big-Ten West, and will play Auburn in the Outback Bowl on January 1.

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Kentucky Center Alex Poythress Out for Season with Torn ACL

Kentucky Center Alex Poythress Out for Season with Torn ACL

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images(LEXINGTON, Ky.) -- The top ranked Kentucky Wildcats have plenty of depth, but they're platoon system has taken a big hit as junior forward Alex Poythress tore his ACL during practice on Thursday and will miss the rest of the season.

Part of the reason the Wildcats have been so successful this season is the use of two units, almost like hockey, and Poythress was a big part of that.

"When you're coaching other people's children and these children have high aspirations and unlimited potential -- not only to do things for themselves but for other people -- I can't begin to tell you the feeling when someone gets hurt," coach John Calipari said in a release. "My own son, Brad, tore his ACL last year. All I can tell you is I was physically sick when it happened to him. I feel exactly the same way now that it's happened to Alex."

In 20.3 minutes per game, Poythress was averaging 5.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game.

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QB Drew Stanton Hurt in Cardinals 12-6 Win over the Rams

QB Drew Stanton Hurt in Cardinals 12-6 Win over the Rams

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) -- The Arizona Cardinals now hold the best record in the NFL after their 12-6 win over the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night, but it came at a price. Quarterback Drew Stanton had to leave the game with a right knee injury.

The Cardinals had to turn to Ryan Lindley to fill in for Stanton, who was filling in for the injured Carson Palmer. Lindley wound up completing 4 of 10 passes for 30 yards.

"[He's] been in this stadium and played against these guys," Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said of Lindley. "And it was not a time to put Logan [Thomas] out there. He's going to be a good player someday, but he's not ready for this yet, and Ryan was more than ready and really liked his poise and confidence."

The team has used four quarterbacks this season despite their impressive record.

With both teams without their starting quarterbacks, neither team was able to score a touchdown.

Now at 11 wins, the Cardinals have tied their franchise record for most wins in a single season while the Rams clinched their 10th straight year without a winning season.

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Alvarez Will Coach Wisconsin in Outback Bowl

Alvarez Will Coach Wisconsin in Outback Bowl

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Current Wisconsin director of athletics and former head coach Barry Alvarez will coach the football team when it takes on Auburn in the Outback Bowl Jan. 1, the school announced Thursday.Wisconsin was left without a coach for the Bowl game when head coach Gary Andersen decided Wednesday to leave the school and become Oregon State's head coach.Alvarez coached the Badgers from 1990-2005 during which he became the winningest coach in school history (118-74-4).“A number of the seniors met with me on Wednesday after our team meeting and asked if I would consider coaching the team,” Alvarez said. “I told them I would have to sleep on it. After thinking it over and meeting with some of the seniors again this morning I have decided to coach. I feel this gives our assistants an opportunity to concentrate on getting the team ready for a very good opponent in Auburn. My goal is to make sure our players, especially the seniors playing their last game, have a memorable experience and we do everything we can to prepare to win the game.”This isn't the first time Alvarez coached a Bowl game while serving as A.D. In 2013, he coached the Badgers in the Rose Bowl after former head coach Bret Bielema left to coach Arkansas. Alvarez and the Badgers lost that game to Stanford, 20-14.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 12/11/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 12/11/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NHL: Chicago Blackhawks 3 (20-8-1; 41pts) – Boston Bruins 2 (15-13-1; 31pts)

Buffalo Sabres 4 (11-16-2; 24pts) – Calgary Flames 3 (17-11-2; 36pts)

Philadelphia Flyers 4 (10-13-5; 25pts) – New Jersey Devils 1 (11-14-5; 27pts)

Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (11-15-2; 24pts) – Washington Capitals 2 (13-10-5; 31pts) OT

Los Angeles Kings 5 (15-9-5; 35pts) – Ottawa Senators 3 (11-12-5; 27pts)

Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (19-8-3; 41pts) – Carolina Hurricanes 1 (8-17-3; 19pts)

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Report: Twins Sign P Ervin Santana to a 4-Year, $55 Million Contract

Report: Twins Sign P Ervin Santana to a 4-Year, $55 Million Contract

iStockphoto(SAN DIEGO) -- The Minnesota Twins and free agent pitcher Ervin Santana agreed to a four-year, $55 million contract, according to ESPN. The deal includes an option for the 2019 season. If the Twins don’t utilize the option, the right-hander will receive a $1 million buyout.

Last season with the Atlanta Braves, Santana went 14-10 with an ERA of 3.95. He struck out 179 batters in 196 innings of work. During his 10-year MLB career, the former All-Star owns a record of 119-100 and an ERA of 4.17.

Santana will need to pass a physical before the deal is finalized. 

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ESPN: Red Sox Trade Yoenis Cespedes to Tigers for Rick Porcello

ESPN: Red Sox Trade Yoenis Cespedes to Tigers for Rick Porcello

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Winter Meetings have been a hotbed of baseball activity and it continued Thursday morning as ESPN reports that the Boston Red Sox have agreed to send outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Detroit Tigers for starting pitcher Rick Porcello.

In the deal, the Red Sox will also send pitcher Alex Wilson and another minor league pitcher.

Cespedes' time in Boston was brief. He played 51 games for the Red Sox after he was the centerpiece of the deal that sent starting pitcher Jon Lester to the Oakland Athletics.

Since coming to Major League Baseball in 2012, Cespedes has lived up to the billing as a power hitting outfielder who plays good defense. In 2014, the 29-year-old Cespedes hit .260 with 22 home runs and 100 RBIs.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox continue to revamp their starting rotation. Still just 25 years old, Porcello went 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA in 31 starts for the Tigers in 2014.

Porcello will be a free agent following the 2015 season.

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Dodgers Trade Outfielder Matt Kemp to the Padres

Dodgers Trade Outfielder Matt Kemp to the Padres

Christian Pederson/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have dominated the annual Winter Meetings. And early Thursday morning, the team agreed to send former All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres.

ESPN reports that the Padres will acquire Kemp as well as catcher Tim Federowicz in exchange for catcher Yasmani Grandal, pitcher Joe Wieland, and pitcher Zach Eflin.

The Dodgers will also reportedly send the Padres around $31 million to cover the remaining $107 million on Kemp's current contract.

Kemp had been with the Dodgers for his entire nine-year career and was seen as the face of the franchise up until recently. In 2014, Kemp played in 150 games while hitting .287 with 25 home runs and 89 RBIs. In 2011, Kemp finished second behind Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers in the MVP voting in the National League.

The trade does help alleviate a logjam out in the Dodgers outfield. Along with Carl Crawford, Andre Either, and Yasiel Puig, the deal also helps clear the way for top hitting prospect Joc Pederson to earn playing time.

This past season, the Padres ranked last in baseball in runs scored, batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage.

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Dodgers Trade Dee Gordon to the Marlins, Acquire Howie Kendrick from Angels

Dodgers Trade Dee Gordon to the Marlins, Acquire Howie Kendrick from Angels

BananaStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the middle of a complete overhaul as they've traded second baseman Dee Gordon to the Miami Marlins while also acquiring second baseman Howie Kendrick via trade from the Los Angeles Angels.

In return for Gordon, the Dodgers received pitcher Andrew Heaney, infielder Enrique Hernandez, reliever Chris Hatcher, and minor leaguer Austin Barnes from the Marlins. The Marlins will acquire Gordon, pitcher Dan Haren, and infielder Miguel Rojas.

The 26-year-old Gordon was an All-Star in 2014 after batting .289 with 92 runs scored, 176 hits, and a National League-leading 64 stolen bases.

In order to get Kendrick, the Dodgers had to depart with the recently acquired Heaney and ship him to the Angels.

"We feel like within the totality of the moves, we made ourselves a better team," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. "Adding Howie Kendrick we felt like fit us really well: right-handed bat, tremendous hitter, really good defender, and then the young players we got should help us in 2015 and beyond."

The 31-year-old Kendrick had spent his entire nine-year career with the Angels. This past season, he hit .293 with seven home runs, 75 RBIs, and scored 85 runs.

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ESPN: Red Sox Trade for SP Wade Miley

ESPN: Red Sox Trade for SP Wade Miley

BananaStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- The Boston Red Sox traded pitchers Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, and an unnamed minor-leaguer to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for left-hander Wade Miley, according to ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes.

The 28-year-old Miley has pitched four seasons for the Diamondbacks, compiling a 38-35 record with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.323 WHIP.

Miley is expected to be slotted behind Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly in the Sox starting rotation, and is under team control for the next three seasons.

Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks receive De La Rosa, 25, and the 24-year-old Webster. Both of whom were originally acquired by the Red Sox in the 2012 deal with the Dodgers that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto to Los Angeles.

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