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Friday’s Sports In Brief

July 30, 2022 GMT

NBA

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers are being investigated by the NBA for possible tampering in offseason free-agency moves involving James Harden, P.J. Tucker and Danuel House, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Friday night.

The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said the team is cooperating with the investigation.

Harden signed a deal worth slightly over $68 million, paying him about $33 million this season with a $35 million player option for the 2023-24 season. Harden, though, will make about $14.5 million less this coming season than he could have earned under his previous deal. Harden had a $47.4 million option for this coming season that he declined last month, saying he wanted to give the 76ers flexibility to improve their roster and compete for a championship.

ESPN reported Friday there are questions involving Harden and the Sixers having “a handshake agreement in place on a future contract.”

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Tucker signed a $30 million, three-year contract and House signed for $8.4 million over two years. The Sixers were able to sign Tucker to the full mid-level exception and sign House to the bi-annual exception because Harden declined his option.

NFL

The wait for a decision on potential discipline for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson following accusations of sexual misconduct will continue into another week.

Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that retired judge Sue L. Robinson would not issue a ruling Friday on Watson’s disciplinary hearing that concluded a month ago. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.

Watson was accused of sexual harassment and assault by 24 massage therapists in Texas and has settled 20 of the civil lawsuits filed against him. Four lawsuits remain pending and the attorney representing the women has said he hopes to take them to trial sometime next spring.

Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints stemming from the allegations.

Watson, who played for four seasons with Houston before being traded to Cleveland in March, has been practicing with the Browns while Robinson has spent weeks trying to determine whether the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.

HOUSTON (AP) — Before the Houston Texans started camp this week, they received a special message from a member of the team that couldn’t be there.

Rookie receiver John Metchie III, who announced earlier that he’d likely miss the season after being diagnosed with leukemia, addressed the Texans in a video before they started preparations for the season.

Coach Lovie Smith, who was promoted from defensive coordinator this offseason after David Culley was fired, said he normally opens camp with a speech to the team. But this year he thought it was more important for the guys to hear from Metchie first.

Metchie said Sunday that he was recently diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia. The second-round pick from Alabama said he was taking time off from football to focus on his health and recovery.

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Smith didn’t provide specifics about what the 22-year-old Metchie shared with the team but said that teammates and coaches alike were moved by his words.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge became the first big leaguer with 40 homers this season, smashed a grand slam for No. 41 and robbed a home run in right field as the New York Yankees rallied to beat the Kansas City Royals 11-5.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa lined a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning as New York completed its major league-leading 29th comeback victory.

A free agent at the end of the season, Judge is on pace for 66 home runs, which would top Roger Maris’ club record of 61 in 1961. Judge, Maris and Babe Ruth in 1928 are the only Yankees with at least 40 homers by the end of July, per MLB.com.

Judge was lavished with “MVP!” chants throughout the night, none louder than after his slam in the eighth cemented yet another Yankees rally. He also had a single and finished with six RBIs.

Judge and Anthony Rizzo homered early on a rainy night in the Bronx, but Kansas City came back against Gerrit Cole, with Whit Merrifield’s two-run single in the fifth ending a scoreless drought of 31 2/3 innings for the Royals. Salvador Perez followed Merrifield with a go-ahead, three-run homer in his return from the injured list for a 5-3 lead.

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New York erased it by batting around during a messy eighth inning that followed a 23-minute rain delay.

HOUSTON (AP) — Justin Verlander pitched one-run ball into the eighth inning and won his MLB-leading 14th game, Aledmys Díaz hit two homers and Yordan Alvarez slugged his 30th home run of the season as the Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 11-1.

Verlander (14-3) allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings and allowed five hits with five strikeouts and outdueled Seattle’s Robbie Ray, last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner.

Verlander held Seattle scoreless until Jesse Winker and Julio Rodríguez doubled in the seventh inning.

Verlander allowed just three earned runs in four starts and 26 2/3 innings in July. The 39-year-old right-hander, in his first season back from Tommy John surgery has allowed one earned run or less in six straight starts.

HOUSTON (AP) — The Seattle Mariners acquired the top starting pitcher on the trade market, getting All-Star Luis Castillo from the payroll-paring Cincinnati Reds for four minor league prospects.

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Seattle has not been to the playoffs since 2001, the longest postseason drought in the four major North American professional sports.

At 54-46, the Mariners are in the second of three AL wild-card spots, a half-game in front of Tampa Bay (53-46) and three games ahead of Cleveland (50-48).

Seattle won its final 14 games before the All-Star break, one short of the longest winning streak in team history and the best run by any club heading into the break since 1933. But the Mariners are 3-5 since, following an 11-1 loss at Houston on Friday night.

Cincinnati obtained infielders Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo, and right-handers Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore. Marte was the Mariners’ top-rated prospect, Arroyo was third and Stoudt fifth.

GOLF

DETROIT (AP) — Taylor Pendrith of Canada shot a 7-under 65 to take a one-shot lead over Tony Finau into the weekend in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Pendrith and Finau shared the first-round lead at 8 under and will be in the final group Saturday, pairing a 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie with a 32-year-old veteran coming off his third career victory.

Rookie Lee Hodges (66) was three shots back.

PGA Tour rookie of the year front-runner Cameron Young tied a Detroit Golf Club record with a 63 for a share of fourth place — five shots back — with Russell Henley (65) and Stewart Cink (66).

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Rookie Sahith Theegala (67) was another shot back in a pack that includes defending FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay, who bounced back from an opening-round 70 with a 65.

BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) — Henrik Stenson had a happy return to golf after being removed as European Ryder Cup captain, making eight birdies in his LIV Golf Invitational debut at Bedminster for a 7-under 64 to share the 18-hole lead with Patrick Reed.

Phil Mickelson’s return to the area wasn’t entirely happy. As he was teeing off at Trump National Bedminster, a spectator yelled out, “Do it for the Saudi royal family!”

The rest of his day did not get much better, particularly the end. He missed a 12-foot birdie putt on his final hole, then ran the 3-footer for par some 6 feet by the hole. His bogey-bogey finish gave him a 75.

Former President Donald Trump, who played the pro-am on Thursday at his home course, returned to watch the first round.