August 15, 2013

(AP) – The Montreal Alouettes signed quarterback Troy Smith to a two-year deal Wednesday.

The 29-year-old Smith won the Heisman Trophy with Ohio State in 2006, leading the Buckeyes to a spot in the BCS national championship game. Smith spent three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, and was with the San Francisco 49ers in 2010. He played for Omaha in the UFL in 2011.

“We’ve been in discussions for well over three months and have been patiently waiting for Troy to finish his commitments at Ohio State,” Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said. “We’ll have to fast track Troy in order to get him over the learning curve of the CFL and caught up to speed over the next several weeks.

“He’s here to learn and grasp the game for future competition.”

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Category: Sports

August 15, 2013

(AP) -- Forward Elias Harris has agreed to a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers announced the deal Wednesday.

Harris spent the past four years at Gonzaga, averaging 14.6 points and 7.4 rebounds last season while earning all-conference honors for the second time.

After going undrafted, Harris was a versatile contributor for the Lakers during summer league play in Las Vegas last month. He averaged 10.2 points and 5.6 rebounds while starting five games.

The 6-foot-8 Harris is from Speyer, a city in southwest Germany. He played for the German national team in the 2010 world championships and the 2009 European championships.

Lakers center Chris Kaman also has played for the German national team.

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Category: Sports

August 15, 2013

By ANNE M. PETERSON

AP Sports Writer

 

Goodbye, Rose Garden. Hello, Moda Center.

The Portland Trail Blazers announced a 10-year agreement with insurance provider Moda Health on Tuesday to rename the Rose Garden.

Blazers President Chris McGowan said a new logo should be unveiled within about a month, and the team hopes much of the new signage will be up by the season's home opener on Nov. 2 against San Antonio.

At the request of team owner Paul Allen, the new logo will incorporate a rose as a tribute to the fans and the city. Allen originally named the arena the Rose Garden.

''The Rose Garden is not going away. It's going to be a part of our history and heritage,'' McGowan said. ''The Moda Center is going to take us into the future.''

Moda Health, founded in 1955 and based in Portland, offers medical, dental, pharmacy and vision plans to 2 million members in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Formerly known as ODS, the company changed its name in May.

Williams Johnson, president of Moda Health, would not disclose terms of the deal. The partnership also will include other enhancements to the Rose Quarter district.

In April, Allen told reporters he was ''attached' to the Rose Garden, which was opened in 1995. The building is owned by Allen's company, Vulcan Inc.

''I understand people's investments in a particular name. I tried to pick a name, the Rose Garden, that was something like the Boston Garden or Madison Square Garden, there was something in those names that appealed to me as having some permanence,'' he said at the time. ''We'll see what happens.''

Asked what he would tell fans similarly attached to the Rose Garden name, McGowan said: ''Hopefully, they'll understand that this is what organizations do to go to another level.''

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August 08, 2013

By TIM REYNOLDS

AP Basketball Writer

 

Greg Oden has taken his physical, done a bit of house hunting in South Florida and signed on the dotted line.

Nearly four years after he last played, he’s officially back in the NBA.

The former No. 1 overall pick signed his contract with the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat on Wednesday, the last in a series of formalities that needed to be completed before the team could finally announce the move. Oden announced late last week that he was accepting Miami’s offer, one that will pay him about $1 million this coming year and includes a $1.1 million player option for the 2014-15 season.

“I am very excited and happy to be here,” Oden said. “I’m thankful to the Miami Heat organization for bringing me in and I'm ready to get to work.”

Heat President Pat Riley said Wednesday that the team will take a cautious approach with Oden, who has been through the cartilage-repair procedure known as microfracture surgery three times.

“It’s a great challenge for him,” Riley said in a statement released through the team. “We know all about his past injuries, but we feel that there is a huge upside and the possibility of him helping us. We will continue his program and then we will tackle basketball issues after that.”

Riley said the team spent “many months” getting to know Oden, evaluating him both on and off the court before coming to the realization that the time for his comeback may be now. And when he decided to accept Miami’s offer – there were about a half-dozen serious suitors in all for the 7-footer – Oden said he was won over in part by how the Heat will not have the expectations for him to play big minutes right away.

Oden’s last NBA appearance was Dec. 5, 2009, for Portland against Houston. He went up to defend a layup attempt by the Rockets’ Aaron Brooks, fracturing his left kneecap on the play and doing so without even making contact with anyone. Oden collapsed to the floor in obvious agony, was wheeled off the floor after a delay, taken for surgery and the Blazers quickly announced that his season was over.

At the time, no one knew that the following three seasons were basically over as well.

Oden’s health issues started overshadowing his NBA career before it even started. What would have been his rookie season coming out of Ohio State was lost after he had microfracture surgery during the summer of 2007 to repair cartilage problems in his right knee.

In February 2009, he chipped his left kneecap and missed about a month. And when he broke that kneecap 10 months later, he was playing like an All-Star – matching a career-high with 24 points against Chicago a couple weeks before that injury, and setting a career-best with a 20-rebound game against Miami on Dec. 1, 2009.

Four days later, he was gone, and NBA fans haven’t seen him play since.

Another microfracture surgery awaited him in November 2010, and a third one was needed early last year. The Blazers waived him in March 2012, and nearly a year and a half later, he’s getting another shot.

“Congrats Greg,” Heat managing general partner Micky Arison wrote in a tweet. “The journey continues.”

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