Mavericks, Stars playing overlapping Game 7s tonight....Bucks cancel Deer District Game 7 watch party after shooting....UNC AD Bubba Cunningham receives extension to '27

Mavericks, Stars to play overlapping Game 7s

The Mavericks and Stars tonight will both play Game 7 of their respective playoff series "not only on the same night but at overlapping times." The Mavs face the Suns at the Footprint Center at 8:00pm ET, while at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Flames and Stars will meet at 9:30pm. For about one hour, the Mavs and Stars will "play side by side" and fans will have "decisions to make.” The two franchises have played "seven seventh games," but they have "never even happened in the same year” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/14).

The NBA and Stanley Cup Playoffs this weekend have "seven winner-take all matchups on the docket.” Five was the previous record, which happened the weekend of May 3, 2014 with "five NBA Game 7s." This time around, the NHL “joins in on the action with five games," while the NBA has a "two-game slate" (ESPN, 5/15).

Bucks cancel Game 7 watch party after shooting

The Bucks “elected to cancel” the Deer District celebration for their Eastern Conference semifinal Game 7 against the Celtics today following a "series of shootings Friday night." The Deer District "reached capacity of 11,000 fans" for the Game 6 watch party on the plaza in front of Fiserv Forum, but many “were sent scrambling when gunshots sounded just after the game.” Three people, including a teenage girl, were "shot in the area around Fiserv Forum." A 19-year-old "has been arrested in connection with that shooting" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/14).

UNC AD Cunningham receives extension to '27

Univ. of North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham’s new five-year contract runs through June ‘27, with a “bump in base salary and an increase that more than doubles his longevity incentives,” for a total compensation of "more than $1.25 million yearly in annual retention pay." Cunningham, who has been in his role since ‘11, has a "new salary of $814,868, a raise of nearly $75,000" from what he previously earned annually. His old contract was to "expire at the end of June 2023," and university documents show his "new deal was agreed on March 1." He will “pick up $441,636 per year in longevity incentives” across the course of the new contract. Cunningham’s previous deal “covered six years,” from July ‘17-June '23, paying him "$740,440 in annual salary and $200,000 once a year as a longevity incentive" (Burlington TIMES-NEWS, 5/14).

Illinois AD Whitman expected to get extension

Univ. of Illinois AD Josh Whitman is expected to “receive a four-year contract extension" that will "bump his salary past $1 million.” If approved by UI trustees at their meeting this week, the latest extension “will keep Whitman at Illinois through the 2027-28 academic year" after an “initial three-year extension” in ‘19. The terms of Whitman’s extension will “push his base salary to $975,000” for ‘22-23 with the "new terms starting in one week.” The amended contract also “calls for $50,000 annual raises” through ‘27-28, with Whitman’s salary “reaching $1.225 million by the end of the deal." Whitman also is in line to “receive additional retention incentive compensation” of $200,000 on June 30 of '24, ‘26 and ‘28 should he “remain continuously employed” in his role (Champaign NEWS-GAZETTE, 5/13).

Caesars opens mobile sports betting lounge at IMS

Caesars Sportsbook opened the "first mobile sports betting lounge” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for yesterday's GMR Grand Prix. The mobile Caesars Sportsbook Lounge is located at Pagoda Plaza. Fans who download the Caesars Sportsbook app and make a first-time deposit of $20 will “receive $106 in free bets" along with "entry into the lounge.” App users in the lounge “will have access to complimentary food and drink, live entertainment and racing games." Caesars Sportsbook “will be a sponsor for all remaining IMS races" in ‘22. Sports betting was legalized in Indiana on Sept. 1, 2019 (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/13).

CFL suspends training camps after CBA talks fall off

CFL training camps were “supposed to open across the league” today, but after talks on a new CBA collapsed Saturday afternoon, players from seven CFL teams have been "told to stay away from the field.” The CBA that had been in place “expired at midnight.” A proposal by the CFL was “turned down” by the CFLPA yesterday afternoon, leaving “what happens next in doubt.” Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks players will “join the work stoppage as soon" as Alberta's "provincial labour laws allow" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 5/15). The move comes after the two sides “met for roughly 16 hours into the night” Friday, then “returned to the bargaining table” Saturday morning. It is unclear if, or when, the league and union “will meet again” (, 5/14).

Anaheim urged to reject Angel Stadium deal

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The California Department of Housing and Community Development on Friday “urged the Anaheim Council to reject a revised development agreement for the Angel Stadium property," potentially “setting the stage for a new showdown between the agency and the city." The agency said that the revised agreement -- which “cut the promised number of affordable housing units in the proposed Angel Stadium development by about 80%” -- shows the city and Angels Owner Art Moreno’s development company “don’t take our enforcement and affordable housing seriously.” The Anaheim Planning Commission "approved the revised agreement" last week. The City Council is “expected to approve the revised agreement next month” (L.A. TIMES, 5/13).

Phil Mickelson drops out of PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson has “dropped out” of next weekend’s PGA Championship at Southern Hills, continuing his “sabbatical from golf.” The announcement is “somewhat of a surprise” as Mickelson is the reigning PGA champ. However, following the publication of controversial comments related to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf and the PGA Tour in February, Mickelson has “remained out of the public’s eye.” That furlough will now "replace what should have been a ceremonial victory lap” at Southern Hills. Mickelson’s decision to skip the tournament is the "first time a PGA champion has not defended his title” since ’08 (, 5/13).

Russia looking to exchange Griner for arms dealer

Russia is "looking to exchange" WNBA Phoenix Mercury C Brittney Griner in a "prisoner swap for notorious convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout," according to multiple reports by Russian state media. U.S. authorities said that Bout “flooded fierce conflicts in Africa and the Middle East with weapons." He was arrested during a sting operation in Thailand in ’08, extradited to the U.S. and sentenced to 25 years for "conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens, delivery of anti-aircraft missiles and providing aid to a terrorist organization." Since Bout’s ’12 conviction, he has been “at the top of Russia’s prisoner exchange wish list” (, 5/13). 

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said it is an “absolutely unimaginable situation" for Griner. Engelbert: “Our thoughts are with her. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not working on this in some way. It was a really positive development for her case to be transferred into the part of the State Department that’s called the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs. When you get this designation of being detained, not under the best conditions, they’ve shown success at getting people out. She does have the legal process to go through. We don’t have a lot of diplomatic options here” (, 5/15).

Marlins celebrate 25th anniversary of first WS title

The Marlins "celebrated the 25th anniversary of the franchise’s first World Series team" yesterday at loanDepot park. Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who played on the '97 World Series Champion Marlins team, was "in the opposing dugout," while 13 other members of the ‘97 team “were in attendance.” The group “converged on the field pregame for a group photo before the official ceremony began." They were “introduced one by one” by former Marlins public address announcer Jay Rokeach with loanDepot park’s "multicolor-capable LED lights flashing in teal as each player emerged from the home dugout" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/15). The club during this weekend's series against the Brewers “displayed the old Florida Marlins logo,” and “turned an auxiliary scoreboard into a replica of the old 'Teal Tower' scoreboard in Hard Rock Stadium," the Marlins' original home (PALM BEACH POST, 5/15).

Alpine skiing World Cup adding four U.S. stops

The Alpine skiing World Cup will have "four stops in the U.S. next season," set to be the "most in 26 years." The men’s tour “will visit Palisades Tahoe, California and Aspen, Colorado" after February’s world championships in France. Those are “in addition to the traditional stops in Killington, Vermont (women) and Beaver Creek, Colorado (men) in the autumn." The last World Cup races in Palisades Tahoe and Aspen were in ‘17 and the last time the World Cup “visited four different U.S. venues in one season” was in ‘96-97 (, 5/14).

Speed Reads....

Former Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino is “quietly putting together a group to hopefully buy the Nationals if and when the Lerner family decides to put the team up for sale” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/14).

The Professional Football Writers of America voted the Patriots PR staff as the winner of the ‘22 Pete Rozelle Award. This is the first time in franchise history the team has won the award, which is “given to the NFL club public relations staff that consistently strives for excellence in its dealings and relationships with the media” (, 5/13).

The Hurricanes yesterday set a new franchise record for attendance with 19,513 at PNC Arena for their Stanley Cup Playoffs round 1 clinching win over the Bruins (, 5/14).

Americans have bet “more than $125B billion on sports with legal gambling outlets in the four years since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for all 50 states to offer it” (AP, 5/13).

Quick Hits....

“The start of spring training was a mess. We were going to get a cookie jar and put a buck in every time we said 'Indians' or 'Tribe,' but we couldn't find a big enough cookie jar" -- Guardians radio play-by-play announcer Tom Hamilton, on getting used to saying the team’s new name on air (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/15).

Weekend Hot Reads:

Under the header, "The Disarray and ‘Stone Age’ Dysfunction of the Las Vegas Raiders," the N.Y. TIMES' Belson, Vrentas & Draper noted the Raiders have been "rocked by a mass exodus of front office leaders" amid "financial irregularities and dire management blunders like overpaying taxes and underpaying certain employees for years." More than a dozen former employees in interviews "described numerous problems large and small," including "lax controls over how money was spent and how people were paid and even the bungling of the payment of its taxes over several years." Employees who raised concerns over the team’s operations were "often ignored or pushed out and given settlements and nondisclosure agreements to keep them quiet" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/14).


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Today's Back Pages....

The Weekend Rap offers today's back page sports covers from some of North America's major metropolitan tabloids:

N.Y. Post  N.Y. Daily News Newsday Boston Herald Chicago Sun-Times Philadelphia Daily News