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Bulls to adhere to NBA rules about resting players, tanking

UNDATED (AP) — Bulls executive vice president John Paxson says the team will no longer rest Robin Lopez or Justin Holliday after receiving a reminder from the league office about player rest and tanking.

Paxson says the league communicated with the team after the All-Star break about those two players and their diminishing roles. Lopez has missed the last six games and Holliday five of the last six.

Paxson told the Chicago Tribune that the league determined that their situations fall into the 'player rest' policy." He says the team will adhere to their recommendations.

The Bulls have the eighth-worst record in the NBA at 21-42. There are five teams tied with 20 wins right behind them, and Chicago would clearly increase their chances of getting a better draft pick in the NBA lottery if they are able to lose a few games.

In other NBA news:

— Kawhi Leonard plans on returning this season and says he wants to remain with the Spurs for life. Leonard made the remarks during an impromptu, four-minute press conference Wednesday morning following Spurs practice. Leonard has missed all but nine games this season with right quadriceps tendinopathy, which initially flared up late in the offseason. He won't travel with the team on the three-game road trip to Golden State, Oklahoma City and Houston, but says a return is imminent.

— Kevin Love says he's been overwhelmed by the flurry of positive responses a day after opening up about his struggles with mental health issues. The Cleveland Cavaliers forward says he's received more than 4,000 messages after writing an essay for The Player's Tribune in which he addressed such things as his panic attack during a game this season, and how he's spent most of his life afraid to accept there was something wrong with him.

— Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is denying a 2011 allegation of sexual assault after a weekly alternative newspaper in Oregon published details of a case that prosecutors didn't pursue, saying they didn't believe there was evidence to support the claim. The woman claimed Cuban reached inside her pants while they were taking a picture in a Portland nightclub. In an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday, Cuban wrote, "It didn't happen."


AP Sources: Eagles get Michael Bennett from Seattle

UNDATED (AP) — The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles have acquired three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett from the Seattle Seahawks, according to three people familiar with the trade. They tell the Associated Press that Seattle will get wide receiver Marcus Johnson and a fifth-round pick, while Philadelphia also receives a seventh-round pick. The deal won't be officially announced until the NFL's league year opens next Wednesday.

Bennett had 8 ½ sacks last season and 54 in his nine-year career. The 32-year-old Bennett has three years remaining on his contract, with a base salary of just $1.65 million in 2018. That number jumps to $6 million in 2019 and $7.5 million in 2020.

In other NFL news:

— The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have exercised one-year team options on tackle Demar Dotson, safety Chris Conte and defensive back Josh Robinson for next season. The 32-year-old Dotson is entering his 10th season with the Bucs. He started 11 games at right tackle before sitting out the final five weeks of 2017 with a knee injury. Conte started 14 of 16 games he played last season, his third with Tampa Bay. Robinson is a reserve cornerback who was the club's special teams captain last season.

— A person familiar with the settlement tells The Associated Press that Jerry Jones has agreed to pay the NFL more than $2 million in legal fees resulting from two disputes the Dallas Cowboys owner had with the league. Commissioner Roger Goodell held an appeal hearing with Jones on Monday. That came a few days after Goodell assessed the financial penalties for Jones' lawsuit to overturn the suspension of Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott, and for a lawsuit Jones threatened to stop Goodell's newly approved contract.

— The Detroit Lions have hired Steve Gregory as a defensive assistant coach. Gregory began his coaching career in 2015 as a special teams quality control coach at Syracuse, where he played wide receiver and cornerback from 2002-05. Gregory played eight seasons as a defensive back in the NFL for the San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots. New Detroit coach Matt Patricia was on New England's staff when Gregory played for the Patriots.


Mariners bring back 44-year-old Ichiro Suzuki

UNDATED (AP) — The Seattle Mariners are bringing back Ichiro Suzuki.

Seattle finalized a one-year deal with 44-year-old Japanese star on Wednesday after several outfielders got hurt. Suzuki underwent a physical in Seattle on Monday.

Suzuki spent the first 11 major league season with the Mariners, earning 2001 AL Rookie of the Year and MVP, winning a pair of batting titles and becoming a 10-time All-Star. He was traded to the New York Yankees midway through 2012, played parts of three seasons with the Yankees, then spent three seasons with Miami.

He has a .312 average and 3,080 hits. Suzuki appeared in 136 games last year and hit .255 with a .318 on-base percentage.

In other baseball news:

— Tim Lincecum (LIHN'-sih-kuhm) has passed the physical he needed to finalize his $1 million, one-year contract with the Texas Rangers. Texas general manager Jon Daniels says the 33-year-old right-hander will be a reliever and could be the Rangers' closer as he attempts to pitch in the big leagues for the first time since 2016. Lincecum says that after wearing No. 55 for his entire major league career, he'll switch to 44, the number his late brother wore as an amateur.

— Reliever Tyler Clippard has agreed to a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays and will report to big league spring training. The 33-year-old right-hander had been working out with major league free agents in Bradenton. He had said last week that he wanted a major league contract. Clippard was 2-8 with a 4.77 ERA in 76 games last season with the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros, who did not put him on any of their postseason rosters. He is 34-24 with a 3.11 ERA in 11 major league seasons.

— The spring training workout facility created for free agents by the players' association, will close Friday after three weeks. Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark announced the decision Wednesday after meeting with New York Mets players as part of his tour of the 30 team camps. Forty-one players have attended the camp, which opened Feb. 13 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.


NHLPA Player Poll shows respect, admiration for Crosby

TORONTO (AP) — Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is the most admired and appreciated player in the NHL, judging from the 2017-18 NHLPA Player Poll.

A survey of more than 500 players resulted in Crosby being voted the most difficult to play against, best role model, best team player, the player you'd want to win one game, and the player who would be a great coach upon retirement. Crosby finished second to Connor McDavid for which player to start a franchise with, and to Wayne Gretzky to the question of picking anyone all-time as a teammate. McDavid was voted the fastest skater, and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was voted the most underrated player.

Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks, who like Crosby has won the Stanley Cup three times, was voted the coach players would most like to play for.

The Montreal Canadiens' Bell Centre was voted the best rink to play in and the home of the best ice, while the Florida Panthers' BB&T Center was deemed to have the worst ice.

Players were asked more than 20 questions, with the NHL Players' Association choosing which to publish.


Kentucky's Vanderbilt 'day to day' with unspecified injury

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky says freshman forward Jarred Vanderbilt is being evaluated on a daily basis after sustaining an unspecified injury in practice.

Basketball spokesman Eric Lindsey said via text that the 6-foot-9, 214-pound Vanderbilt was injured Tuesday and his status for Southeastern Conference Tournament is "day-to-day." The fourth-seeded Wildcats play their first game in Friday's quarterfinals at the tournament in St. Louis.


Serena Williams set for 1st-round match at Indian Wells

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Serena Williams makes her return to the pro tour after a 14-month absence with a first-round match at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday. She will play Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan in a night match at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Williams has played just one Fed Cup doubles match while away from the WTA Tour. The former No. 1 is unseeded and therefore didn't receive a first-round bye.

The new mother, who gave birth to a daughter in September, will try to become the first woman to win three singles titles in the desert. Her other titles came in 1999 and 2001 before she boycotted the event for several years.

Williams, a winner of 23 Grand Slam titles, is in the same quarter of the draw as older sister Venus. They could face each other in the third round.


PGA Tour at Colonial will be called Fort Worth Invitational

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The longest-running PGA Tour event still being played at its original site has been renamed the Fort Worth Invitational for this year's event.

Colonial Country Club officials announced the name Wednesday, about 2 1/2 months before the first round May 24.

Local companies American Airlines, AT&T, XTO Energy and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway have signed on to support the 2018 tournament.

Dean and Deluca notified the PGA Tour and Colonial late last year that it may be unable to meet its financial obligations to remain title sponsor for the tournament. This 2018 tournament was supposed to be the third year of a six-year sponsorship deal for the upscale grocer.

The Colonial was first played in 1946.


Evian Masters increases prize money

PARIS (AP) — Evian Championship organizers will increase the prize money at the women's golf major to $4.1 million in 2019.

A first increase of $200,000 will be implemented this year, with an extra $250,000 added from 2019. Organizers say the increase is aimed at strengthening the event's position as the second-largest purse of the five majors in the women's Grand Slam, just behind the U.S. Women's Open.

The tournament will also move from its current September date to a July date from 2019.


Bettor sues harness-racing trainer for loss linked to doping

NEW YORK (AP) — An aggrieved harness-racing bettor has gone to court to recoup more than $31,000 in winnings he said he was cheated out of when a doped horse won a race in New Jersey two years ago.

Leading figures in harness racing said they had never before heard of such a lawsuit, which accuses the trainer of fraud and racketeering. The general practice is to reallocate the purse to other owners if a winning horse is later proved to have been doped, but not to pay back bettors.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey. It represents an effort by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to open the gates for more litigation by bettors, which the animal rights group hopes would dramatically curtail illegal horse doping.


Woody Durham, longtime voice of Tar Heel sports, dies at 76

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Woody Durham, the retired "Voice of the Tar Heels" who called North Carolina football and basketball games for four decades, has died. He was 76.

The university says Durham died Wednesday from complications of the neurocognitive disorder that had prevented him from public speaking.

Durham called UNC games from 1971 through 2011. He worked more than 1,800 games, including 23 bowls and 13 Final Fours. His voice became inextricably tied to some of the school's most unforgettable victories, notably national basketball championships in 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009.

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