Players to watch in the NCAA men’s hockey tournament

It’s tournament time in college hockey. Chris Peters gets you ready for the opening regional rounds (March 23-25) with a full preview and a look at some of the more exciting players to watch, many of whom project as future impact NHLers. – NHL

No asterisk: Hornets grind Griz for 61-point win

The Hornets beat the Grizzlies by 61 points for the largest margin of victory in the NBA since 1998. Kemba Walker led the way for Charlotte with 46 points in only 28 minutes. – NBA

Lowe’s 10 things: The Cavs look unstoppable again

This week’s highlights include evolutionary Anthony Davis crossovers, tanky jumpers, the ginormous Sixers and more. – TOP

Reid says he’ll no longer protest during anthem

Eric Reid, who said last week that his protesting during the national anthem is why he remains a free agent, says he intends to “take a different approach” to his activism and doesn’t plan to protest in the upcoming season. – NFL

LeBron, Cavs show Raptors they won’t go down easily

LeBron James — who else? — led the way as Cleveland stormed back to beat Eastern Conference-leading Toronto in a potential playoff preview. – NBA

The Accolade Index: Ranking every NHL team’s success in the cap era

Success in the salary-cap era is all about the most effective management of cap space. According to our new Accolade Index, the Penguins have enjoyed the most success since 2005-06, in all its various forms. We rank every team here. – NHL

Sorry, haters: The Yankees are loaded — and there’s more talent on the way

From top-flight starting pitching prospects to a speedster you have to see to believe, the Evil Empire is stacked down on the farm. – TOP

Report: Panthers bidding reaches $2.5 billion

Bidding for the Panthers has reportedly reached $ 2.5 billion, pushing Fanatics owner Michael Rubin — and potential minority partners Stephen Curry and Sean Combs — to the sideline for now. – NFL

Ranking the ultimate lineups in NCAA men’s hockey history

With the 2018 tournament upon us, we look at the legacy of college hockey’s top programs — some involved in this year’s bracket, some in a down cycle — and rank the ultimate lineups for them, based on the players’ success at the NHL level. – NHL

NFL’s highest-paid players at every position — and who’s up next

Kirk Cousins set a benchmark for quarterbacks, but Aaron Rodgers is primed to raise the bar even higher. Bill Barnwell breaks down the biggest contract numbers by position and forecasts who is in line for bigger paydays. – TOP

Korver excused from Cavs after brother’s death

Cavaliers guard Kyle Korver is excused from Wednesday’s game against the Raptors to be with his family after his brother Kirk died Tuesday, the team said in a statement. – NBA

Kiper: Sam Darnold’s pro day actually counts. Here’s why.

The USC quarterback is throwing in front of NFL teams on Wednesday, with a chance to show that he should be the No. 1 overall pick in April. Here’s what people in the league will be watching. – NFL

Ryan Getzlaf on chasing another Cup, how parenthood complicates hockey

As Anaheim’s elder statesman, Ryan Getzlaf has weathered plenty of storms on and off the ice. The center tells Greg Wyshynski why bouncing back from a tough start prepared Anaheim to “win now,” and how he balances being both a Duck and a dad. – NHL

The dominant 20 athletes of the past two decades

In celebration of ESPN The Magazine’s 20th anniversary, Peter Keating’s crunched the numbers to find the most dominant athletes of our time. – TOP

Trae Young: ‘I am ready to get to work.’

The Oklahoma guard always dreamed of making the NCAA tournament, but now he’s moving on to his next big goal — the NBA. – NBA

Insiders predict free-agency impact: Most improved team after first wave

The Bears added Allen Robinson as a target for Mitchell Trubisky, but they’re not the only team to make splashy moves on the market. Our Insiders weigh in on which team stands apart after the initial surge. – NFL

Power Rankings: The Farewell Tour edition

Could this be Zdeno Chara’s swan song in Boston? Is Roberto Luongo long for the Panthers? Are the Sedin twins’ days numbered in Vancouver? This week’s rankings feature a player — or coach — who could depart from each team after this season. – NHL

Rondo: Allen just wants ‘attention’ with book

Rajon Rondo, who is brought up negatively in Ray Allen’s book, says his former teammate just wants attention. – NBA

Barnwell’s NFL free-agency and trade grades: Patriots acquire Cordarrelle Patterson

New England has a new kick returner. Plus: Sheldon Richardson to the Vikings. Dontari Poe to the Panthers. And Kirk Cousins to the Vikings. Bill Barnwell evaluates every big move of the offseason. – NFL

What separates each coach?

The Sweet 16 coaches are a blend of the familiar (Jim Boeheim, Coach K, John Calipari) and some surprises (Loyola-Chicago’s Porter Moser). – TOP

NBA Power Rankings: Which red-hot team just jumped past the Warriors?

Toronto’s 11-game run may be over, but Portland and Utah have kept their impressive winning streaks alive out West. – NBA

Which bubble team will miss the playoffs, but doesn’t deserve to?

Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg are having stellar seasons for the Stars, but they’re looking up at the Kings and Colorado in the wild-card standings. Here’s why the Blues, Panthers, Devils, Hurricanes could also unfairly miss out on the playoff dance. – NHL

With so many top seeds eliminated, it’s time to reseed the Sweet 16

Let’s try this again. It’s not exactly the 16 teams we expected, but it’s time to take a good look and put them in the proper order. – TOP

Biggest remaining need for all 32 NFL teams

Who will protect Tom Brady’s blind side? Will the Packers add a cornerback? Here are the top questions remaining for every team after a furious first week of free agency. – NFL

Jets’ Kulikov to miss 8 weeks after back surgery

Dmitry Kulikov was hurt while taking a shot during Winnipeg’s 3-2 victory over New Jersey on March 8. After the inflammation went down, it was decided the nine-year veteran’s best option was to fix the problem through surgery. – NHL

Unlikely hero Poole basks in buzzer-beating 3

Down by two with 3.6 seconds left, Michigan found an improbable hero in freshman Jordan Poole, who had played only 10 minutes Saturday night before his 30-footer at the buzzer stunned Houston and sent the Wolverines into the Sweet 16. – TOP

Pelton mail: Can we predict the next Victor Oladipo?

Kevin Pelton answers questions on the next Victor Oladipo, the Warriors’ bench and NBA draft projections. – NBA

NFL free-agency reset: Best remaining players, teams still in the QB market, more

Who are the high-end players still on the market? Here are the top 10, plus more on the new benchmark set for contracts and teams that still will be looking to draft quarterbacks in April. – NFL

Durant out 2 weeks as MRI shows rib fracture

Kevin Durant will be sidelined at least two weeks after an MRI revealed Friday that the forward has an incomplete rib-cartilage fracture, the Warriors announced. – NBA

Which team is the Duke Blue Devils of the NHL?

Is Sidney Crosby the NHL’s version of Duke villains Christian Laettner and Grayson Allen? Or are the Blackhawks and their bandwagon fans hockey’s Blue Devils? Pittsburgh and Chicago get the calls and the glory — and have guys opposing fans love to hate. – NHL

Texans make a splash in free agency, find right fit in Tyrann Mathieu

After Houston’s secondary took a step back in 2017, free agency delivered the playmaking defender the Texans needed in the form of Tyrann Mathieu. – NFL

UMBC, Virginia and the night the impossible happened

Sure, it could happen. A No. 16 could beat a No. 1. But would it ever really, actually, truly happen? Yes, it finally did, in the most improbable, do-you-believe-that-just happened upset in NCAA tournament history. – TOP

Should the NHL expand its postseason field?

More than half of the NHL’s 31 teams qualify for the playoffs under the current format. GMs are game to add more. Would a one-off wild-card round add drama? Or could “play-in” games cheapen the glorious war of attrition that is waged through four rounds? – NHL

LeBron: Not playing with Love ‘challenging’

After Cleveland’s third defeat in the past four games, LeBron James said Thursday the Cavaliers are missing the contributions of several of their injured players, specifically fellow All-Star Kevin Love. – NBA

Everything you need to know about Friday’s first-round games

Reigning champ North Carolina and trendy favorite Michigan State begin their tournament runs, while New Mexico State, Butler and Murray State look to become this year’s Cinderellas. – TOP

Reid: I’m still unsigned because of protests

Free-agent safety Eric Reid, who played the past five seasons with the 49ers, says that his kneeling during the national anthem has kept him from securing any offers from other teams. – NFL

How far will the top NBA draft prospects go in the tourney?

What are the odds the NCAA tournament breaks well for NBA fans hoping to see the best draft prospects? Here’s how far each player in the lottery of our recent 2018 mock draft is projected to go and the possible matchups in which prospects could face off. – NBA

Why the Jets should be the envy of the NHL

After years of patient development, the Jets look like one of the NHL’s top teams in 2017-18. Here’s the blueprint on how they got here, and what comes next. – NHL

Winners, losers and biggest questions from NFL free agency Day 1

The Cardinals let Tyrann Mathieu walk and are reportedly bringing in Mike Glennon to back up Sam Bradford, raising the question: What’s going on in Arizona? Here are some winners (and losers) from the second wave. – NFL

ESPN’s Final Four and national title picks

Before the season started, none of our experts picked Virginia to get to the Final Four. Well, that has changed. A majority of them, though, picked Michigan State to win it all. That hasn’t changed. – TOP

Foot surgery sidelines Habs’ Weber 6 months

Montreal’s Shea Weber, who hasn’t played since Dec. 16, is expected to be sidelined six months after having surgery on his left foot. – NHL

Eagles re-sign LB Nigel Bradham to 5-year deal

The Philadelphia Eagles have a new deal with LB Nigel Bradham, agreeing to a five-year, $ 40 million contract, a source told ESPN. – TOP

LeBron on 14th triple-double: I’m like fine wine

LeBron James said the fact that he was able to notch his career-best 14th triple-double of the season at age 33 is a credit to him getting “better with age,” not to the faster pace of today’s NBA. – NBA

NHL experts predict: Which No. 1 seed is most vulnerable, next household name

Our writers tackle the pressing questions as the regular season winds down, including whether division leaders Nashville or Vegas could lose in the first round, who will be the postseason’s breakout star and which teams should spend big in free agency. – NHL

Julius Randle is changing the narrative of his future

The Lakers’ big man has heard the loud chatter about how he represents salary-cap space this summer, but he’s quietly put in the hard work to make himself into the kind of player the Lakers might need to keep around. – NBA

Winners, biggest surprises from wild (unofficial) NFL free agency kickoff

The Packers went from free-agency bystanders to major players on the eve of this year’s market opening, agreeing to sign two of the biggest names: Jimmy Graham and Muhammad Wilkerson. Here are more highlights from a busy day. – NFL

Best of the Big Dance: Mascots, upsets, last shots and Lipscomb

Lipscomb, a welcome newbie. This is what the NCAA tournament is all about. There are Lumberjacks and Red Raiders battling. There’ll be upsets and buzzer-beaters. Here’s the best of the sports world’s best weekends. – TOP

Roberto Luongo on Parkland: ‘We need to keep talking about this’

Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo is also a parent who lives Parkland, Florida. Two weeks after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Luongo has another message: “I want the [students] to keep fighting. And I want everyone to pay attention.” – NHL

Jags WR Robinson intends to sign with Bears

Jaguars receiver and free-agent-to-be Allen Robinson intends to sign with the Bears on a three-year, $ 42 million deal when free agency opens Wednesday, he told ESPN. – TOP

Sources: Smart has tendon injury in thumb

Celtics guard Marcus Smart has a tendon injury in his thumb, and the team is trying to determine if he will miss time. – NBA

Source: Ex-Chiefs WR Wilson to join Dolphins

The Dolphins will replace Jarvis Landry with wide receive Albert Wilson, who intends to sign with Miami, a source confirmed to ESPN. – NFL

Lowe: These Raptors might be real, and only getting better

Toronto’s new approach looks and feels better. But, asks Zach Lowe, will it work in the playoffs? – NBA

Can Alex Ovechkin top Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record of 894 goals?

The Capitals superstar scored his 600th goal at age 32 and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. But he has a long way to go to reach the Great One. Our experts weigh in on whether Ovechkin will break the sport’s most famous record. – NHL

Source: Watkins, Hitchens to sign with Chiefs

When free agency opens Wednesday, former Rams WR Sammy Watkins and former Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens intend to sign with the Chiefs, a sources confirmed to ESPN. – TOP

Source: Brees agrees to re-sign with Saints

Drew Brees and the Saints have agreed to a new two-year deal worth $ 50 million, with $ 27 million guaranteed, a source confirmed to ESPN, keeping the future Hall of Famer off the free-agent market as expected. – NFL

Which team will go further in the playoffs, the Capitals or Jets?

Washington and Winnipeg are in different places in their life spans as championship contenders. The Jets are building toward a title with a young core, while Alex Ovechkin and Co. are using an industrial-strength tire jack to keep their Cup window open. – NHL

Bold predictions: ACC watches Final Four, SEC done early and more

Looking for a few spots to take some chances on that bracket? Well, don’t advance any of the nine ACC teams to the Final Four or any of the SEC teams to the second weekend. Oh, and get ready for one last show from Trae Young. – TOP

LeBron: Nothing certain about injury-hit Cavs

LeBron James said that for the Cavaliers, who have gone 6-6 since overhauling their roster at the trade deadline, “It’s next man up, but sometimes you just fall short.” – NBA

Final free-agent offers for Kirk Cousins, and fallback plans for each team

The free-agent quarterback is about to get paid. By which team, and for how much? We formulated offers from his final four and figured out backup plans (and draft needs) for every QB-needy team. – NFL

The top challengers for the Predators, Lightning

A conference’s No. 1 seed has not reached the Stanley Cup Final since the Blackhawks did it in 2013. Who will be the toughest outs for the current leaders in Nashville and Tampa Bay? – NHL

Sherman opts for three-year deal with Niners

Four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman, released Friday by the Seahawks, has agreed to a three-year deal with the 49ers that he says is worth up to $ 39.15 million. – TOP

Sources: Kawhi could return for Spurs on Thu.

Kawhi Leonard could be available for the San Antonio Spurs as early as Thursday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, sources tell ESPN’s Lisa Salters. A leg injury has kept Leonard out of all but nine games so far this season. – NBA

John Lynch, 49ers players welcome Richard Sherman on social media

The cornerback was a longtime nemesis, especially when San Francisco and Seattle were at their peaks. But now? Some 49ers roll out the welcome mat. – NFL

How the Cavaliers and Isaiah lost each other

Isaiah Thomas’ tenure in Cleveland was a disaster, and it was doomed from the start because of his hip injury, his personality and an imperfect fit on the floor for the championship-or-bust Cavs. – NBA

College free agents who could make an NHL impact

The NCAA hockey season is winding down, which means a handful of impact college players will be free agents, eligible to sign with NHL teams. Chris Peters looks at the top options and where they might fit in the pros. – NHL

In signing Richard Sherman, 49ers send message they’re ready to win now

Richard Sherman wanted to go to a contender, and the cornerback’s joining the 49ers shows he believes they fill the bill — and they believe it, too. – NFL

Toughest questions facing the selection committee

It’s almost time for the NCAA tournament selection committee’s big moment. But it will have a tougher time with this year’s bracket thanks to sticky issues such as Oklahoma’s tumble and weighing the credentials of potential No. 1 seeds. – TOP

Lonzo on Murray’s antics: ‘It’s a punk move’

Luke Walton and Lonzo Ball were both irked by Nuggets guard Jamal Murray in Denver’s win over the Lakers on Friday, with Walton saying Murray was acting “disrespectful” at the end of the game. – NBA

Caps sign GM MacLellan to contract extension

The Washington Capitals have re-signed general manager Brian MacLellan to a contract extension. MacLellan is in the fourth year of his original four-year deal when he was promoted from assistant GM to replace George McPhee. – NHL

Bubble Watch: Who is locked and who still has work to do?

Some teams are comfortable. Some aren’t sure things for the NCAA tournament, but should still feel good about themselves. And some have work to do in the final hours before Selection Sunday. – TOP

Reports: Raiders agree to 3-year deal with Ellis

Defensive tackle Justin Ellis has agreed to a three-year contract to remain with the Oakland Raiders, according to multiple reports. Ellis has started 41 of the 60 games he has played in during four seasons with the Raiders. – NFL

NBA MVP Rankings: Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard on the rise

Is James Harden running away with the MVP? There are new names in the discussion that keep The Beard from being anywhere close to unanimous. – NBA

Stars C Hanzal set for season-ending surgery

Stars center Martin Hanzal is set for back surgery that will end an injury-plagued season in which he has already missed 29 games. – NHL

Sources: CB Sherman to meet with 49ers

Four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman, released Friday by the Seahawks, is scheduled to meet Saturday with 49ers officials, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. – NFL

Ultimate guide to Saturday’s conference title games

Saturday will see the ACC, Big 12, Big East and Pac-12 among the conferences crowning champs. Top-10 teams will play all over the place. Here’s what you need to know. – TOP

NHL enters esports market with tournament

The NHL revealed its first venture into esports on Friday: the 2018 NHL Gaming World Championship, a global EA Sports “NHL 18” tournament that will culminate in a championship round held in Las Vegas in June. – NHL

Shiffrin again wins overall World Cup ski title

With five World Cup races still to go, Mikaela Shiffrin clinched her second straight overall title with a third-place finish in Germany that gave her an insurmountable 603-point lead. – TOP

Celts’ Brown: Have headache but OK after fall

After appearing to land on his head and neck after a third-quarter dunk, Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown was able to walk to the locker room on his own Thursday night in Minnesota. He later tweeted he was fine. – NBA

Source: Broncos’ Talib to Rams for draft pick

The Broncos are sending Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib to the Rams for a 2018 fifth-round draft pick. – NFL

Curry hurts ankle, won’t travel on 2-game trip

All-Star guard Stephen Curry exited early in the first quarter of Golden State’s 110-107 victory over the Spurs on Thursday night after tweaking his right ankle. He was set to stay behind for the Warriors’ two-game weekend trip. – NBA

Stanley Cup Playoffs Watch Daily: Playoff chances, tragic numbers and more

Which teams have the best shot at locking up a playoff spot? Who’s earning a better shot at the No. 1 overall pick? Here are the latest projections for both, along with critical matchups to watch today and much more. – NHL

Sources: Sherman likely to be released Friday

Four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman, coming off a ruptured right Achilles that ended his 2017 season in November, is likely to be released Friday by the Seahawks, a source confirmed to ESPN. – TOP

2018 NFL free agency: Intel on more than 175 noteworthy players

The NFL’s free-agency frenzy is here, so buckle up and prepare for the whirlwind of signings by boning up on the most intriguing players available. – NFL

NHL, NHLPA struggle to get players to consider life after hockey

The Core Development Program, founded in October 2016, aims to facilitate the transition for active players to careers, and to give guidance on how to manage post-playing life. The critical part that’s missing right now? Getting players to participate. – NHL

Lowe’s 10 things: Houston’s sharp edges, Lillard’s ice and the new old Iggy

This week’s highlights include a brand-new superstar, shots of entitlement and Dame’s dominance. – TOP

Rockets have a path to NBA streak record but eye a bigger prize

Houston’s 17-game winning streak is the longest of 2017-18, but these Rockets don’t want anything associated with the regular season to be a focal point. – NBA

Best-case/worst-case free-agency scenarios for every NFL team

Here’s a closer look at best- and worst-case scenarios for every team with free agency set to kick off at 4 p.m. ET on March 14. – NFL

LeBron: My play’s at ‘probably an all-time high’

In his 15th season, LeBron James said his level of play could be at “an all-time high” after he scored 39 points to lead the Cavs to a 113-108 victory over the Nuggets on Wednesday. – NBA

GM Francis ousted as Hurricanes seek change

Ron Francis, who had spent the past four years as general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, will remain with the organization after being removed from the GM role by the team on Wednesday. The move was made by new owner Tom Dundon. – NHL

Yanks’ Judge makes ruling: Done with Derby

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge said he’s probably “one and done” when it comes to the Home Run Derby, which he won during All-Star weekend last season. – TOP

Thoroughbred ‘Gronk’ closer to Derby berth

A horse named Gronkowski, after Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, won the Kentucky Derby conditions stakes in London on Wednesday, earning 20 qualification points toward earning a berth in May’s Kentucky Derby. – NFL

Chris Bosh’s search for that feeling he once had as an NBA star

Chris Bosh opens up about how he’s struggled without basketball in his life, how he’s coped with the pain and how he hopes to get one more shot in the NBA. – NBA

Power Rankings: Everyone is No. 1 at something edition

The message we want to send this week: No matter its record, every team — from No. 1 Nashville to No. 31 Ottawa — is good at something. So in these rankings, we look at what each team (or a specific player) does best statistically. – NHL

Sources: Pitt firing Stallings after 0-19 ACC run

Following an 8-24 season in which the Panthers did not win an ACC game, Pittsburgh is dismissing coach Kevin Stallings, sources told ESPN. – TOP

Mega-guide to free agency: Players to know in every category

The frenzy starts next week. Are you ready? Here’s everything to know about the top players who could hit the open market, from guys primed for big paydays to those looking for prove-it deals and more. – NFL

Mavs’ Cuban denies sexual assault allegation

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is denying a 2011 allegation of sexual assault after a newspaper in Oregon published details of a case that prosecutors didn’t pursue. – NBA

NHL experts predict: Playoff dark horses, Penguins vs. Flyers, Carter Hutton’s future

Our writers tackle some pressing questions for the stretch run. Could the Kings or Stars make a Predators-esque wild-card run to the Cup final? Will the Penguins or Flyers finish higher in the standings? And where will Carter Hutton play next season? – NHL

32 predictions for every team’s top free agent

Will the Jaguars re-sign Allen Robinson, or will the wide receiver suit up elsewhere in 2018? NFL Nation reporters take their best guesses on what happens with every team’s biggest free agent. – NFL

Report: Memphis may fire Tubby, bring in Penny

With declining attendance and recruitment sagging, Memphis is reportedly looking at firing coach Tubby Smith and bringing in Penny Hardaway. The four-time All-Star — and ex-Tigers star — coaches at a local high school and runs an AAU program. – TOP

Andersen gives up 5 goals outdoors vs. Caps

Frederik Andersen was pulled in the second period of the Stadium Series outdoor game against the Capitals at the U.S. Naval Academy after allowing five goals in the Maple Leafs’ loss Saturday. – NHL

Lester trying ‘Jordan-to-Pippen bounce’ throw

In an unorthodox attempt to solve his well-documented throwing problem, Cubs pitcher Jon Lester is experimenting with bouncing throws to first base, calling it the “Jordan-to-Pippen bounce.” – TOP

Kobe’s ‘Dear Basketball’ wins Academy Award

Retired Lakers star Kobe Bryant added another award to his trophy cabinet Sunday night, when his animated short film “Dear Basketball” won an Oscar. – NBA

Police seek suspended Raider Smith in DV case

Suspended Oakland Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith is being sought by San Francisco police in relation to an alleged domestic violence incident Saturday night in San Francisco. – NFL

What NHL award should exist but doesn’t?

The NHL needs to add some new end-of-season hardware. How about a Breakthrough Player Award that rewards late bloomers like William Karlsson, a Selke spinoff for the best defensive winger or a Bobby Orr Trophy for the top-scoring defenseman? – NHL

NBA Power Rankings: The West just got wild

Between the Rockets’ 15-game winning streak and the torrid runs from the Pelicans and Blazers, the Western Conference landscape is changing right before our eyes. – NBA

2018 QB situations for all 32 NFL teams: Depth charts, outlooks, more

While some teams are unquestionably set at QB, others are searching, hoping or waiting for stability at the most important position. – NFL

How MLB’s best young superstars can get even better in 2018

Here’s a scary thought: Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa could reach another level this season. Which other stars have room to grow? – TOP

Which team deserves to win draft lottery, get Dahlin?

Teams have fallen for Rasmus Dahlin, a 17-year-old Swedish defenseman who could change a franchise’s fortunes. Which one will get the chance to draft him? While the Sabres and Red Wings are worthy, our writers say another Original Six team will win out. – NHL

A season full of twists, and what it will mean for March

What’s the best way to get ready for Champ Week? Take a look back at the season’s surprises and how they’ve shaped what might come next. – TOP

Pelton mail: Does NBA favor shooters over LeBron-style drivers?

Kevin Pelton answers questions on LeBron’s gripe, shot-making against the Cavs, the first-place Raptors and improving 3-point shooters. – NBA

Source: Landry informs Dolphins he’ll sign tag

Jarvis Landry has informed the Miami Dolphins that he’ll sign the franchise tag the team placed on him last month, a source tells ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Friday, a source told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that the wide receiver could sign as early as next week. – NFL

Western Conference playoff reset: Cup contenders, wild-card watch, more

The NHL trade deadline has come and gone. Which teams in the West are the top contenders for the Stanley Cup? Who’s the underdog that could make a run? Which teams are looking ahead to the draft — and hoping for some lottery luck? – NHL

Ejections, tweets mark Wolves’ loss to Jazz

Friday’s Timberwolves-Jazz game featured three ejections, including one in which Minnesota guard Jeff Teague lowered his shoulder to send Utah’s Ricky Rubio tumbling onto the floor. – NBA

Bubble Watch: Final tests before Champ Week

Bonzie Colson’s return makes Notre Dame a very interesting bubble test case, and if the Big 12 finishes strong, it’s looking at a record tourney haul. – TOP

Sources: Finalists for Cousins down to 4 teams

The expected suitors for free agent Kirk Cousins, one of the league’s most productive quarterbacks over the past three years, are the Broncos, Cardinals, Vikings and Jets, sources tell ESPN. – NFL

Lowe: Ten things I like and don’t like, including the brilliant Brow

This week’s highlights include an emerging MVP candidate, a retro-Laker and Rookie of the Year talk. – NBA

How the Blackhawks build their next Stanley Cup contender

After a decade of dominance that had fans bringing up another D-word (dynasty), the Blackhawks are bringing up the rear in the Central Division in 2017-18. Here’s how they can get back on track. – NHL

McShay’s guide to NFL combine drills: Everything you need to know

The drills at the NFL combine boil down to two questions: Do the measurables mesh with the film? And which players trigger red flags with their results? From the 40-yard dash to the bench press, here are the numbers to know for each drill. – NFL

Miller: I’ll never forget Arizona fans’ standing O

Arizona coach Sean Miller received two separate standing ovations before his team’s game against Stanford on Thursday and said afterward that the experience was “very emotional and something I’ll never, ever forget.” – TOP

Silver warns tanking teams will be punished

Any evidence that an NBA team’s coach or players intentionally lost a game will be “met with the swiftest and harshest response possible from the league office,” according to a memo by commissioner Adam Silver obtained by USA Today Sports. – NBA

NHL experts predict: Where Tavares, Karlsson will land; who improved the most?

Now that the dust has settled from the trade deadline, our writers tackle some lingering questions. Will John Tavares remain an Islander? Could Erik Karlsson end up in Vegas? And which team most improved its Stanley Cup chances? – NHL

Redskins don’t plan to tag QB Cousins again

Redskins senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams said he doesn’t expect the team to use the franchise tag on QB Kirk Cousins for the third straight season. – NFL

Arizona board to talk Miller’s contract Thursday

The Arizona board of regents has called a special meeting for Thursday afternoon to receive legal advice and discuss the Arizona men’s basketball program and the contract of coach Sean Miller. – TOP

Spurs lose Aldridge to sprained right ankle

Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge missed the rest of the team’s home loss to the Pelicans after suffering a sprained right ankle in the first quarter Wednesday night. – NBA

Power Rankings: Who’s closer to the Cup edition

The NHL trade deadline has passed. The contenders, pretenders and lottery fodder are clear at this point. In this week’s rankings, we look whether teams have crept closer to winning the Stanley Cup or have fallen further from it. – NHL

Harden, Rockets cross up Clippers for 14th straight win

Houston showed off its offensive diversity in a 34-12 first quarter, highlighted by a James Harden crossover and 3-pointer for the ages. – TOP

Steelers hopeful for new Bell deal by March 6

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said he is optimistic that the team “can find common ground” with star running back Le’Veon Bell on a new contract and hopes a deal is reached by March 6, the last day for designating a franchise player. – NFL

How Steph Curry leads like no other NBA superstar

Whether the two-time MVP is dealing with teammates, fans or the President of the United States, his leadership qualities remain the same. – NBA

Father knows best — just ask Madison Bowey

When Madison Bowey made his NHL debut, his dad missed the game because of a travel issue. But Will Bowey has been there every other step of the way. The Capitals rookie and his dad dish on shared role model Willie O’Ree and finding camaraderie with Ovi. – NHL

Sources: U.S.-led 2026 WC bid in peril

Support for the U.S.-led bid to host the 2026 World Cup is divided, with some estimates of voting totals having Morocco ahead in the two-bid race. – TOP

Rating how active every team will be in free agency

Which teams will be the most aggressive when the market opens in two weeks? NFL Nation reporters break down what to expect from all 32 teams, including the Browns, who have lots of money to spend. – NFL

NHL trade deadline: The trades, the grades and what’s next

The 2018 NHL trade deadline has come and gone, but the trade details are still trickling in. Our team of reporters are keeping track of all the deals and the latest talk between teams. – NHL

QB Confidence Index: Rating all 32 NFL quarterback situations

Carson Wentz and Aaron Rodgers ended the 2017 season on IR, but the Eagles and Packers still love their 2018 QB depth charts. Other teams don’t feel the same. Let’s go 1-32 headed into the offseason. – TOP

George: OKC’s Big 3 not getting calls from refs

Thunder forward Paul George said he, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony are “officiated differently” than other star players in the NBA. – NBA

Sources: NFL to seek millions from Jerry Jones

The NFL is expected to seek millions of dollars from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as reimbursement for legal fees related to RB Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension and Jones’ threatened litigation over commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract, sources told ESPN. – NFL

Point scores winner as Lightning beat Leafs

Brayden Point scored the deciding goal in a shootout for the second consecutive game, lifting Tampa Bay to a 4-3 victory over Toronto.

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These Rockets might really be the Warriors’ biggest threat yet

What makes the Rockets better than Golden State’s previous challengers? Kevin Pelton examines why Houston might be a problem. – NBA

NHL trade deadline winners and losers

The Rangers might have raised the white flag on this season, but their prospect haul gives them prime resources for a rebuild. The Jets swooped in to nab Paul Stastny, while the Capitals, Sabres, Mike Green and Max Pacioretty didn’t fare quite as well. – NHL

Why did the Jaguars pay up for Blake Bortles?

Jacksonville’s decision to give its quarterback a three-year, $ 54 million deal is a product of a questionable decision the organization made last year. And it has huge ramifications. – TOP

NFL Insiders predict free agency: Will Le’Veon Bell be a Steeler in 2019?

The running back could be on his way out in Pittsburgh — but maybe not this season. Can the Steelers work out a long-term deal? Our NFL Insiders weigh in on the biggest topics of the offseason. – NFL

Tankathon: Who will win the best lottery odds?

Who is winning the race for lottery pingpong balls, and who needs to try harder? Where will the traded picks land? Every week we’ll guide you through the ugly basketball on the way to draft hope. – NBA

Trades we’d like to see on deadline day

The NHL trade deadline is at 3 p.m. ET. Deals our writers would like to see include a Mike Green reunion with the Capitals, the Golden Knights going all-in and an Erik Karlsson-to-Tampa Bay trade, which could create an NHL superteam. – NHL

How the NBA’s bottom-dwellers are putting on a tanking clinic

While 20 teams fight for playoff positioning, eight are in a wild — and painfully obvious — race to collect the best lottery odds possible. – TOP

NFLPA director: NBA could model ratings fix

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith is looking ahead to the next round of collective bargaining negotiations and wants the players to have a greater voice, including in the way the NFL presents itself to the public. – NFL

Rangers trade All-Star winger Nash to Bruins

The Bruins will acquire six-time All-Star forward Rick Nash after agreeing to a trade with the Rangers. – NHL

Westbrook on Pachulia: ‘He tried to hurt me’

A heated Russell Westbrook went off on Zaza Pachulia on Saturday night, accusing the Warriors center of intentionally falling on his leg and trying to hurt him late in the third quarter of a game Golden State won 112-80. – NBA

Jags keep Bortles on 3-year deal through ’20

The Jaguars are out of the quarterback market after re-signing Blake Bortles to a three-year extension. The $ 54 million deal could be worth up to $ 66.5 million with incentives and includes $ 26.5 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. – NFL

IT: Lakers trade result of Cavs in ‘panic mode’

Traded to Los Angeles after only 15 games in Cleveland, Isaiah Thomas told E:60 that the Cavaliers showed desperation in sending him away. – TOP

Here’s what the Senators should get for Erik Karlsson

Erik Karlsson loves Ottawa and the Senators, but the toxicity of the team’s current state might be too much for the 27-year-old to overcome. If the franchise-changing, puck-moving defenseman lands elsewhere, what should the Senators expect in return? – NHL

Sources: Sean Miller talked payment on wiretap

FBI wiretaps intercepted multiple conversations between Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller and sports agent Christian Dawkins in which Miller discussed a $ 100,000 payment to ensure star freshman Deandre Ayton signed with the Wildcats, sources told ESPN. – TOP

The reinvention of Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony has spent his 15-year career doing one thing more than anyone else in the NBA. But as the league moves on without the non-paint 2, Anthony is trying to learn how to move with it. – NBA

What are the Bills’ options with Tyrod Taylor and his looming bonus?

Taylor may not be Buffalo’s long-term answer at quarterback, but he still could be the team’s best choice for 2018. – NFL

Lowe’s 10 things: The future of the All-Star Game (and draft)

This week’s highlights include LeBron deciding to be unstoppable, a potent trick for sneaky guards, cranky Marc Gasol and more. – NBA

Olympians who could step into an NHL lineup right away

Could Jordan Greenway, who made an impact for Team USA whenever he was on the ice in Pyeongchang, join the Wild this season? He and Finnish winger Eeli Tolvanen, the Predators’ top 2017 draft pick, are among the Olympic standouts who look NHL-ready. – NHL

Report: NCAA teams, players ID’d in FBI probe

Players at basketball powers such as Duke, UNC, Kentucky, Michigan State and Kansas may have committed NCAA violations that were uncovered by an FBI investigation, according to Yahoo! Sports. – TOP

Jackson case inactive; cops think WR a victim

Tampa Police says the case involving DeSean Jackson’s wrecked vehicle being found abandoned with bullets and marijuana inside is inactive, and that they believe the wide receiver was a victim and had no role in the incident. – NFL

Power Rankings: A trade deadline to-do list for every team

Should the Golden Knights go for it all and keep James Neal? Could the Lightning land Erik Karlsson? Will the bullish Bruins snag another blueliner? This week, we prescribe what moves — or non-moves — every franchise should make by Monday’s deadline. – NHL

Years of mettle by Team USA led to this gold medal

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored a dazzling, triple-deke goal in the sixth round of a shootout thriller, and Maddie Rooney stuffed USA’s archrivals from Canada. – TOP

Tracking the MVP race: Who can catch Harden?

It’s the NBA’s most prestigious, least scientific honor. Where do the rankings stand with seven weeks left, and what can change? – NBA