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NBA free agency roundup: Heat to meet with LeBron James after agreeing to deals with Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts 07.08.14 at 9:43 am ET
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Tuesday marked the four-year anniversary of The Decision, the day LeBron James announced he was “taking my talents to South Beach” to join the Heat.

Now Miami is desperately trying to hang on to the superstar that has led the team to four straight NBA Finals.

James, currently a free agent, is set to meet with Heat president Pat Riley “in the next two or three days,” according to The Associated Press. But luring him back in may not be quite as easy. James is reportedly giving serious thought to returning to Cleveland, where his career began in 2003, which could alter the decisions made by fellow Miami free agents Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

According to ESPN, Bosh is “seriously considering” the Rockets’ maximum contract offer of four years, $88 million. Bosh reportedly planned to wait on James’ decision before making his choice, but apparently the longevity of the process is giving him some doubts.

The Heat, however, are doing whatever they can to remain competitive, and give James more talent to potentially play with next season. The team announced Monday that it intends to sign free agents Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts when deals can be formalized later this week.

McRoberts’ agent, Mike Conley Sr., said the sides agreed to a four-year deal that starts around $5.3 million next season. Yahoo! Sports reported that Granger agreed to a two-year deal worth about $2 million annually.

— If any free agent is enjoying their time on the market, it’s Nets forward Paul Pierce. On Monday, the former Celtic tried his own luck at the World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas.

Pierce told pokernews.com on Monday that poker provides “mental welfare” and teaches him patience on the court.

“In poker, you have to have lots of patience,” he said. “On the court, you have to make the right decisions at the right time.”

— Former Suns forward Channing Frye reportedly agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal with the Magic on Monday. Frye, 31, opted out of the $6.8 million left on the final year of his contract with Phoenix to become an unrestricted free agent.

Read More: LeBron James, Paul Pierce,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James reportedly considers return to Cavaliers 07.07.14 at 7:55 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: White Sox at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Indians, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA summer league, Pacers vs. Celtics, 3 p.m. (CSNNE, NBA TV)
NBA summer league: Rockets vs. Magic, 5 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA summer league: Thunder vs. Nets, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
Cycling: Tour de France, 8 a.m. (NBCSN)


— Four years after he left his hometown team and was viewed as a traitor in Cleveland, LeBron James reportedly is considering a return to the Cavaliers.

According to an ESPN report, James’ agent, Rich Paul, met last week with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert — who famously lashed out at James after the superstar decided to take his talents to South Beach in 2010 — and the team is hoping to meet with James this week.

The Cavaliers signed guard Kyrie Irving to a five-year contract extension last week and can entice James with first-overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins as well. Cleveland also could have three first-round draft picks in 2015.

Earlier reports indicated James will not accept less than a max contract that pays him $20.7 million. The Cavaliers currently could not afford that deal, but they could waive and trade players to clear up cap space.

Before Cavs fans get too excited, it should be noted that James’ agent reportedly also talked with representatives of the Lakers, Mavericks and Rockets, and James is expected to meet with Heat president Pat Riley in the next few days.

MASHUP POLL: Where will LeBron James end up signing this offseason?

  • Heat (51%, 211 Votes)
  • Cavaliers (30%, 123 Votes)
  • Lakers (6%, 26 Votes)
  • Somewhere else (5%, 19 Votes)
  • Rockets (3%, 13 Votes)
  • Clippers (3%, 11 Votes)
  • Suns (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Mavericks (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 411

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Meanwhile, the Rockets are said to be intensifying their efforts to land Chris Bosh, should Miami’s Big Three go their separate ways.

“They appreciate what they’ve done in Miami those four years together, and they want to make sure they have a chance to have that same success the next four [years],” Henry Thomas, agent for Bosh and Dwyane Wade, told ESPN.com on Sunday. “With Dwyane, he’s been there his entire career, so he’s in a unique situation. Chris has made it known how he’s felt about being in Miami these four years.”

— Hornets rookie P.J. Hairston punched a high school player during a pickup game at a YMCA in Durham, N.C., another black eye for the former North Carolina star who spent last season in the NBA D-League after having eligibility issues with the Tar Heels.

Hairston’s agent, Juan Morrow, insisted that the player was being overly aggressive with the 6-foot-6, 230-pound Hairston and threw the first punch, “and P.J. swung back.”

However, the player — North Durham High School rising senior Kentrell Barkley — told a different story.

“We were playing open gym and I was running up the court and he hit me in the forehead with his fist,” the 6-foot-5, 195-pound Barkley told ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman. “I walked up to him and asked him what happened and then he hit me again in the neck.”

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Read More: jeff samardzija, LeBron James, P.J. Hairston,
NBA free agency roundup: Cavs reportedly meet with LeBron James’ agent; Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki reach agreement 07.04.14 at 9:46 am ET
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LeBron James may be missing Cleveland after all.

According to The Associated Press, James’ agent, Rich Paul, met with Cavaliers officials this week to discuss the free agent’s possible return to the team that drafted him in 2003.

James reportedly was not at the meeting as he continued his family vacation. It is unknown whether or not Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was present.

James recently opted out of the final two years of his contract with Miami after leading the Heat to four straight NBA Finals. James spent seven seasons in Cleveland before leaving for Miami in 2010.

— The Mavericks, on the other hand, likely will have their franchise player locked up for at least three more seasons.

Dallas reportedly agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract with Dirk Nowitzki that can’t be made official until the signing period begins next Thursday.

Nowitzki’s new contract is a significant pay cut compared to the four-year, $80 million deal he just completed, which likely was done in hopes of getting more pieces around the German forward.

Nowitzki put off finalizing the deal until after the Mavericks met with Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday.

— The Knicks apparently haven’t given up on retaining Carmelo Anthony.

The team reportedly traveled to Los Angeles on Thursday night to meet with the free agent and offered him the maximum contract allowable. The meeting included team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills.

Anthony was in Los Angeles Thursday to meet with the Lakers, and has already met with Chicago, Houston and Dallas. The Knicks, however, can offer him the largest contract at nearly $130 million over five years.

— The Kings have reportedly agreed to a three-year, $16 million contract with point guard Darren Collison.

Collison opted out of the final year of his contract with the Clippers that would have paid him $1.9 million next season. He may start for Sacramento next season if the Kings lose Isaiah Thomas to free agency.

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James,
NBA free agency roundup: Cavs give Kyrie Irving new deal; LeBron James reportedly seeking max salary 07.01.14 at 9:35 am ET
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The Cavaliers were the first team to make a splash at the start of free agency, but they did so by securing one of their own.

Cleveland agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension with Kyrie Irving just a couple of hours after the free agent market opened. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert announced the agreement via Twitter early Tuesday morning. Gilbert didn’t provide the terms of the deal, but multiple outlets have reported that Irving was given a maximum deal worth $90 million.

— Another player seeking max money is also the most prominent name on the market ‘€” LeBron James.

According to an ESPN.com report, James wants no less than the maximum salary number for next season, which is projected to be about $20.7 million.

James took a pay cut to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami in 2010, but now that burden may fall on his teammates to keep the band together.

— The Bulls are expected to make a pitch to Carmelo Anthony. The selling point: the talented roster that is expected to have Derrick Rose back next season.

“What we’re selling is our team,” coach Tom Thibodeau said Monday. “I’m sure free agents are aware of our team, the guys that we do have and our players will be available to talk. We think we have a lot to offer. We have great depth. We have great tradition. And we’re positioned well to go forward. So we think we do have a lot to sell.”

— Two mainstays who won’t be returning to their longtime teams are Jameer Nelson and Chauncey Billups.

The Magic waived Nelson on Monday, sparing them the $8 million they would’ve owed the point guard next season.

“I appreciate the opportunity the Orlando Magic has afforded me and my family over the past 10 years,” Nelson, Orlando’s longest-tenured player, said in a statement. “All good things must come to an end, however, and it’s time to move on. I look forward to continuing my career as an NBA player and will never take for granted my time in Orlando.”

The Pistons announced Monday that they won’t pick up the team option on Billups. Coach Stan Van Gundy said the decision was a hard one and noted Billups “will always be a valued member of the Detroit Pistons family.”

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Jameer Nelson, Kyrie Irving
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: FIFA investigates biting incident involving Uruguay’s Luis Suarez 06.25.14 at 8:16 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-AM)
MLB: Cardinals at Rockies, 3 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Reds at Cubs, 7 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Tigers at Rangers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College baseball: World Series, Virginia vs. Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
World Cup soccer: Argentina vs. Nigeria, noon (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran, noon (ESPN2)
World Cup soccer: France vs. Ecuador, 4 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Honduras vs. Switzerland, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN), 11:30 a.m. (ESPNews), 2 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Uruguay forward Luis Suarez tried to brush off accusations that he bit an Italian opponent in Tuesday’s World Cup game, but soccer’s governing body announced that it will investigate the incident, and a lengthy suspension seems likely.

Suarez — who plays in the English Premier League for Liverpool (owned by Fenway Sports Group, in case you were wondering if this year could get any worse for John Henry and friends) — twice before has been suspended for biting. The most recent incident was in 2013, when he chomped down on Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, an incident for which he received a seven-game ban.

According to reports out of Brazil, FIFA asked the Uruguayan team to present its evidence by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Uruguay next plays Saturday in the Round of 16 against Colombia.

MASHUP POLL: How should Luis Suarez be suspended for his latest bite?

  • Substantial suspension (more than 7 games) (93%, 127 Votes)
  • Short suspension (a few games) (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Same suspension as last time (7 games) (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Fine but no suspension (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 136

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Video clearly shows Suarez leaning in to Giorgio Chiellini‘s shoulder with his mouth after the two jostled for position in front of the goal, away from the play. Chiellini responded by swinging his arm at Suarez, and both players flopped to the ground in supposed agony. Chiellini attempted to show the referee tooth marks on his shoulder, but no foul or card was given.

“These are things that happen on the pitch. We were both in the area, he thrust his shoulder into me,” Suarez told the media in Spanish after the game. “These things happen on the pitch, and we don’t have to give them so much [importance].”

The Italians weren’t as willing to let it go.

“I didn’t see Suarez biting him but I saw the bite marks on his shoulder, but the referee’s assistants were so busy they didn’t see anything,” Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said. “It’s a shame. It’s a real shame that it turned out like this.”

— In other World Cup news, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced there will be a viewing party Thursday on City Hall Plaza for the United States’ noontime game against Germany. The New England Revolution street team, including team mascot Slyde, will be on hand for the event.

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Read More: LeBron James, Luis Suarez, Ray Allen,
Report: LeBron James tells Heat he’s opting out of contract 06.24.14 at 9:37 am ET
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LeBron James‘ agent informed the Heat that the player will exercise the early termination option in his contract and become a free agent, according to a report from ESPN’s Chris Broussard.

James, who had until June 30 to opt out of his deal for the final two years of the contract he signed in 2010, was due to make $20 million next season.

The move is not entirely surprising, and it does not mean James will leave Miami. He could be willing to negotiate a new deal in an effort to clear up money to lure another free agent such as Carmelo Anthony to the team.

However, there undoubtedly will be rumors about a possible new home for the four-time NBA MVP. There has long been speculation that he might consider a return to his hometown Cavaliers, or make a move to Los Angeles to join Kobe Bryant with the Lakers.

Read More: LeBron James,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Heat president Pat Riley challenges Big Three to show ‘guts,’ return for another run together 06.20.14 at 7:57 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Athletics, 10:05 p.m. (NESN: WEEI-AM)
MLB: Pirates at Cubs, 4 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Orioles at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
College baseball: World Series, Vanderbilt vs. Texas, 3 p.m. (ESPNU)
College baseball: World Series, Virginia vs. Mississippi, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
World Cup soccer: Italy vs. Costa Rica, noon (ESPN, Univision)
World Cup soccer: Switzerland vs. France, 3 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Honduras vs. Ecuador, 6 p.m. (ESPN, Univision)


— Heat president Pat Riley made the first move in his attempt to keep the team’s three stars together, challenging the players to return to Miami in an effort to win another NBA championship after falling short this season.

“We have a tremendous opportunity here for long-term success,” Riley said Thursday at a press conference in Miami. “Don’t think we’re not going to get beat again, so just get a grip, everybody. That’s my message. It’s my message to the players, also.”

Added Riley: “You’ve got to stay together, if you’ve got the guts. You don’t find the first door and run out of it if you have an opportunity. This is four years now into this era, this team. Four finals — it’s only been done three other times before — and two championships. From day one to the end, it was like a Broadway show. It sort of ran out of steam. And we need to retool. We don’t need to rebuild.”

Point guard Norris Cole is the only Heat player locked into guaranteed contract for next season. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can opt out of their contracts. Riley said he’s ready to work with whatever options present themselves.

“We’re prepared,” Riley said. “We’ve got the main-themed book all written up and it’s dependent on whatever the scenario we’re presented on July 1. We’ve got a lot of room for flexibility. There’s a tremendous amount of flexibility depending on what happens. So we’re ready.”

One rumor has the Heat interested in potential free agent Carmelo Anthony, but that would require financial sacrifices from Miami’s stars.

“That’s a pipe dream,” Riley said of adding Anthony to his three stars. “But everybody thought 2010 [when James and Bosh signed] was a pipe dream, too. I don’t harbor that thought. I’m being realistic right now. Dealing with what we have in front of us right now. That’s not where we’re headed. That’s a possibility, but that’s not what we’re thinking about today.”

— A judge in Los Angeles on Thursday denied Shelly Sterling‘s emergency motion for protection against her estranged husband, saying Donald Sterling‘s angry voice mails were not serious enough to warrant action.

“The court does not feel that the statements set forth in the ‘€¦ petition rise to the level of great and irreparable injury to a part as called for in the Code of Civil Procedure,” Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas wrote in his decision.

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Donald Sterling, LeBron James, Pat Riley
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Masahiro Tanaka continues red-hot start for Yankees 06.18.14 at 8:13 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Twins at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN: WEEI-AM)
MLB: Cubs at Marlins, 12:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Giants at White Sox, 2 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Angels at Indians, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Minor League Baseball: Pawtucket at Rochester, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College baseball: World Series, Texas vs. UC Irvine, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
World Cup soccer: Australia vs. Netherlands, noon (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Spain vs. Chile, 3 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Cameroon vs. Croatia, 6 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)


— Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is showing no signs of slowing down, as the Japanese right-hander silenced the first-place Blue Jays in leading New York to a 3-1 victory Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Tanaka, who took over the major league lead in wins with 11 (against one loss) and lowered his league-leading ERA to 1.99, allowed one run over six innings and struck out 10 Jays for his fifth double-digit strikeout game of the season.

Toronto’s lone run came on a Jose Reyes homer on the first pitch of the game.

“I think the leadoff homer probably hurt them more than it helped them,” Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said. “It just made him mad, really, and when he gets mad he really battles and he doesn’t give in, doesn’t give them any pitches to hit.”

Tanaka said he didn’t think he pitched that well.

“Overall I think my stuff wasn’t really there tonight,” he said through a translator. “All I was trying to do was to hang in there and try to keep the ball down as much as possible.”

Gardner hit a two-run home run in the third inning to give Tanaka all the offense he needed.

“I told him after his last start that I was going to start leaving my glove in the dugout and just run out to left field,” Gardner said. “All you need to do is get him a couple of runs and we’€™ll get the win, and that’€™s what happened tonight.”

Said manager Joe Girardi: “It’s hard to say that his start isn’t as good as anyone who has pitched.”

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Read More: Brett Gardner, jim mcmahon, LeBron James, Masahiro Tanaka
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Pete Rose, guest manager for Conn. minor league team, still seeks ‘second chance’ 06.17.14 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Twins at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN: WEEI-AM)
MLB: Royals at Tigers, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Marlins, 7 p.m. (WGN)
College baseball: World Series, Texas Tech vs. Mississippi, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: World Series, TCU vs. Virginia, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
World Cup soccer: Belgium vs. Algeria, noon (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Brazil vs. Mexico, 3 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Russia vs. South Korea, 6 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)


Pete Rose served as manager for the day for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League on Monday night — 25 years since he was last involved with Major League Baseball as manager of the Reds — and MLB’s all-time hits leader discussed his gambling-related ban and his desire to get into the Hall of Fame.

“I’ve waited 25 years, but I’ve done so because I was the one who screwed up,” Rose said (via ESPN.com). “And if I were given a second chance, I would be the happiest guy in the world.”

Added Rose (via the Hartford Courant): “I didn’t come here to impress baseball or anybody else. I would never use anybody to try to get me reinstated. You guys have created that more than I have.”

The 73-year-old Rose, who spends 4 1/2 hours per day 20 days a month signing autographs in a store on the Las Vegas strip, generated excitement at the Connecticut ballpark, drawing a crowd of 4,573 for the Bluefish’s 2-0 victory over the Lancaster Barnstormers.

“I know there’s a lot of people who want to give me a second chance because they wouldn’t be stopping and paying for my autograph if they didn’t think so,” Rose said.

The Barnstormers are managed by another man with a checkered past: former Red Sox player and manager Butch Hobson, who voiced support for Rose.

“More than 4,000 hits, who’s going to come close to that? Nobody ever,” Hobson said. “I tried to play like Pete Rose. ‘€¦ Every day, he gave everything he’s got. He had a football mentality, which I love.”

— Even before the Heat got blown out of the NBA Finals by the Spurs, the season was not an enjoyable one — at least according to forward Chris Bosh.

“I don’t think anybody really enjoyed this season like in years past,” Bosh told The Associated Press late Sunday night. “There no, like, genuine joy all the time. It seemed like work. It was a job the whole year. Winning was just a relief. Losing was a cloud over us sometimes, and then we’d break out of it — and then go right back. But we got here. We had a chance. They were just better.”

Added Bosh: “I see why people were saying three-peating is hard. I get it now. I get it. There’s just so many other things you have to fight. The human psyche, the human condition. We’re all human. And it was a long, tough season.”

There has been talk that the Heat will look to reconfigure their lineup, but Bosh said the Big Three of him, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade want to return for a fifth season as teammates.

“We want to stay together, man,” Bosh said. “I’ll say that. It’s a great organization, great team and great city. And to have a chance, that’s all you can ask for.”

James, who can opt out of his deal, refused to make any snap decisions following the disappointing ending to the season.

“I will deal with my summer when I get to that point,” James said. “Me and my team will sit down and deal with it. I love Miami. My family loves it. But obviously right now that’s not even what I’m thinking about.”

— An estimated 300,000 fans turned out in Los Angeles on Monday for the Kings’ Stanley Cup championship parade. The convoy of double-decker buses drove to Staples Center, where the team held a rally celebrating its second title in three seasons (after none in its first 43 years of existence).

“I’m honored and ecstatic to add another ring to my finger,” said playoff MVP Justin Williams, who won his third Cup. “And I’m proud to be a part of some guys’ first ones. Now let’s add to it next year.”

Alec Martinez scored the Cup-clinching goal in double overtime of Game 5 on Friday night, after the Kings had played seven-game series in each of the first three rounds.

“It’s been a pretty incredible experience these last few years,” Martinez said. “It’s just as good as the first time. Maybe even better.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 17, 1943, which future Hall of Famer slugged pinch-hit home runs in both games of the Red Sox’ doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I know it’s been 14 shutout innings here at Fenway. Whether he feels the energy here in this ballpark or is comfortable on our mound, that’s clearly the case. When a guy possess that type of arm and that repertoire, as long as he throws strikes, he’s going to have the ability to get some of the best hitters in the game.” — Red Sox manager John Farrell, on Rubby De La Rosa, after the young right-hander pitched seven shutout innings in Monday’s 1-0 victory over the Twins

STAT OF THE DAY: 32 — Seconds it took the United States to score its first goal — by Clint Dempsey — in Monday’s 2-1 victory over Ghana at the World Cup

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain lays out for a catch against the Tigers in Monday’s 11-8 victory, Kansas City’s eighth straight win.

From “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” NBA players read mean tweets about themselves.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Player/manager Joe Cronin

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Barry Manilow was born on this day in 1943.

Read More: Butch Hobson, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Pete Rose
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Dwyane Wade insists Heat ‘have no reason not to be proud’ after being routed out of NBA Finals 06.16.14 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Twins at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN: WEEI-AM)
MLB: Mets at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College baseball: World Series, Texas vs. Louisville, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: World Series, UC Irvine vs. Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
World Cup soccer: Ghana vs, United States, 6 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Germany vs. Portugal, noon (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Iran vs. Nigeria, 3 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)


— Heading into Sunday night’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Heat star LeBron James looked at a 3-1 series deficit no team had ever overcome in Finals history and said, “Why not us?”

The answer came swiftly: Because the Heat’s supporting cast was not up to the challenge.

San Antonio roared back from an early 16-point deficit and routed the Heat for the third straight game, 104-87, clinching its fifth title and denying the Heat a three-peat.

“They played exquisite basketball this series and in particular these last three games and they are the better team. There’s no other way to say it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

James recorded 31 points and 10 rebounds, including 17 points in the first quarter. Miami raced out to a 22-6 lead but was trailing by halftime, 47-40.

Ray Allen started in place of the slumping Mario Chalmers and scored five points on 1-of-8 shooting with four turnovers.

Chris Bosh — who before the game insisted, “We’re not going down. We’re going to win this game” — finished with 13 points on 6-of-14 shooting. He was 0-for-5 on 3-pointers.

Dwyane Wade shot 4-for-12 and finished with 11 points and three turnovers. He shot 7-for-25 in the last two games as the Heat’s fourth consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals ended badly.

“We’d love to be 4-for-4,” Wade said, “but we have no reason not be proud of each other.”

Said James: “We went to four straight Finals in four years. We’€™re not discrediting what we were able to accomplish in these four years. We lost one, we won two, and we lost another one. [We will] take 50 percent in four years in championships any day. Obviously, you want to win all of them, but that’€™s just the nature of the game. You win some,  you lose some. You’€™ve just got to come back the next year and be better as an individual, as a team, and go from there.”

The Spurs, meanwhile, celebrated their first title since 2007 and made amends for last season’s collapse vs. the Heat in the Finals.

“It makes last year OK,” Tim Duncan said.

— Mets starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka tried to play with a “severe upset stomach” Sunday — delaying the start of the game before taking the mound — but he lasted just one inning before leaving the game.

Matsuzaka, who is not aware of what he might have eaten that caused his issues, said he’s hoping to pitch in relief Monday.

“I’m fine physically,” he said through his translator (via the New York Daily News). “I’d definitely like to help the bullpen.”

Manager Terry Collins might take the former Red Sox hurler up on that offer.

“We’re going to talk about possibly [Monday] if he’s feeling good,” Collins said. “If he feels all right [Monday] we could use him for a couple of innings.”

— Former Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent, who was convicted of intoxication manslaughter in the death of teammate and friend Jerry Brown, was released from jail Sunday, one month before his six-month sentence was to end.

Brent, 26, had been sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation. He had faced up to 20 years in prison.

Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, asked for leniency for Brent, saying at the trial, “You can’t go on in life holding a grudge.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 16, 1978, which Red Sox player announced he was quitting the team, directing his anger at manager Don Zimmer and general manager Haywood Sullivan, only to return the following day?

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Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Dwyane Wade, Josh Brent, LeBron James