In Brief: Kerr Spurns Knicks, Agrees to Coach Warriors
Oakland, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors are taking another chance on a television analyst and former NBA guard who has never been a head coach at any level.
The Warriors won the bidding war with the New York Knicks for Steve Kerr on Wednesday, hiring him away from the TNT broadcast table to be their coach. Kerr agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal with the Warriors, said his agent, Mike Tannenbaum.
Kerr had been in talks with the Knicks about becoming their next coach since Phil Jackson took over as team president in March. He won three titles playing for Jackson in Chicago and another two under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.
Kerr also spent three seasons as general manager of the Phoenix Suns before stepping down in June 2010. He replaces Mark Jackson, who was fired by the Warriors on May 6 after three seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances.
Kerr said last month that he has wanted to coach since going back to his job at TNT. And while the lure of building a contender with his mentor at Madison Square Garden looked appealing, the chance to coach a Western Conference contender in his home state proved to be too much.
Pistons Make Van Gundy Hiring Official
Auburn Hills, Mich. — The Detroit Pistons are counting on Stan Van Gundy to bring some much-needed stability to a struggling franchise.
They’re certainly giving him plenty of authority.
The Pistons officially announced Van Gundy’s hiring Wednesday as their new coach and president of basketball operations. The team will introduce Van Gundy at a news conference today. Detroit went 29-53 last season, missing the playoffs for a fifth straight year. That was the end of Joe Dumars’ tenure as team president. Coach Maurice Cheeks was fired in February.
Van Gundy agreed to a $35 million, five-year contract — a commitment from the team that suggests he’ll have plenty of time to turn Detroit’s fortunes around. Dumars stepped down after 15 seasons in the front office, and toward the end of his tenure, the Pistons seemed increasingly adrift as they hired coach after coach with little success.
Van Gundy is 371-208 in seven-plus seasons as a coach with Miami and Orlando. He reached the NBA finals in 2009 with the Magic.
Federer Loses in Rome
Rome — Roger Federer’s focus appeared to drift away from the Foro Italico. And that was understandable.
After all, the 17-time Grand Slam winner was playing for the first time since the birth of his second set of twins last week.
Federer let a lead to slip away and was beaten 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) Wednesday in the second round of the Italian Open by 47th-ranked Jeremy Chardy of France.
When Federer’s boys, Leo and Lenny, were born, the fourth-ranked Swiss player withdrew from last week’s Madrid Open. He decided to come to Rome only a few days ago.
“This one is totally OK if it doesn’t hurt,” Federer said. “I tried everything. I can’t do more than that on the court.”
Later, top-ranked Rafael Nadal also faced stiff resistance from his French opponent before ultimately wearing down 30th-ranked Gilles Simon for a 7-6 (1), 6-7 (4), 6-2 win that lasted 3 hours, 18 minutes — opening his bid for an eighth Rome title.
Also, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray eliminated Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-2, 7-5.
Browns Limiting Access to Johnny Football
Berea, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns are limiting media access to Johnny Manziel’s appearance this weekend at the team’s rookie minicamp.
Hoping to avoid a media circus around Manziel, the Browns are allowing only local media members — and some select national outlets — to be at the Texas A&M quarterback’s first practices as an NFL player. The Browns selected Manziel in the first round of last week’s draft.
Since drafting Manziel, the team has been inundated with requests to interview college football’s biggest star.
Reporters and photographers will only watch the first 15 minutes when players do stretching exercises and individual drills. Also, first-year coach Mike Pettine has decided to close Sunday’s practice.
Oprah’s Network Plans Series on Sam
New York — The Oprah Winfrey Network said it plans to produce a documentary series following the life of Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.
The series will take an up-close look at the man recently drafted by the St. Louis Rams in a groundbreaking moment in professional sports. Cameras will follow the former University of Missouri football player as he works to earn a spot on the Rams while under a media microscope.
Sam said it would be great if his story can lead others to accept who they are and go for their dreams.
OWN did not specify a premiere date for the as-yet-untitled series or how many episodes it will be.
Sevilla Wins Europa League Final
Turin, Italy — Sevilla goalkeeper Beto saved two Benfica penalty kicks in the shootout Wednesday to win the Europa League, yet another international title for Spain.
Sevilla substitute Kevin Gameiro scored the decisive kick to seal a 4-2 shootout win. The teams played a 0-0 draw through extra time.
Benfica dominated regulation time, but was denied a goal by key blocks from Sevilla defenders. The Portuguese club stretched its streak of losses in European competition finals to eight since its last title 52 years ago.