Clips fire coach
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers have enjoyed their greatest successes with Vinny Del Negro (NAY'-groh) as head coach. It wasn't enough.
The Clippers have fired Del Negro, whose .557 winning percentage is the best since the franchise moved from Buffalo to San Diego in 1978. The team went 128-102 in three years under Del Negro and reached the playoffs the last two seasons.
This season, the Clippers won a franchise-record 56 games, had a 17-game winning streak and won the club's first Pacific Division title before losing to the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference quarterfinals.
The only other coach to lead the franchise to consecutive winning seasons was Jack Ramsey with the Buffalo Braves from 1973-74 through 1975-76. Del Negro is the only coach in club history to post a .600 winning percentage in a season, doing it in his last two years.
Thunder matches Durant's $1 million relief pledge
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder are giving $1 million for tornado relief, matching a $1 million pledge by star player Kevin Durant. The Thunder say they're giving $1 million to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other disaster relief organizations helping after Monday's deadly tornado in suburban Oklahoma City.
The NBA and its players' union are combining to donate another $1 million to the recovery cause.
Magic have that lucky feeling
NEW YORK (AP) — The Orlando Magic hope their woeful season is worth something when they participate in tonight's NBA draft lottery, which will be completed within the hour. The Magic have a 25% chance of snagging the top pick in the June 27th draft after finishing a league-worst 20-62. Charlotte has the second-best chance at 19.9 percent, followed by Cleveland, Phoenix and New Orleans.
Jordan wants Hornets back
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Bobcats owner Michael Jordan has announced he's changing his team's name to the Charlotte Hornets, saying he's optimistic the NBA board of governors will approve the name change when they convene in July.
Charlotte will remain the Bobcats next season, but if all goes as planned Jordan anticipates his team will become the Hornets for the start of the 2014-15 season.
The Hornets resided in Charlotte from 1988-2002 before then-owner George Shinn relocated the team to New Orleans.
New Niners stadium to host Super Bowl 50
BOSTON (AP) —The San Francisco 49ers are big winners of Super Bowl 50 -- two and a-half years before it will be played.
NFL owners chose the Niners' new stadium being built in Santa Clara as site of Super Bowl 50 to be held in February 2016. The Santa Clara stadium is due to open in 2014.
San Francisco beat out South Florida, which was stymied in its bid to stage an 11th Super Bowl when the Florida Legislature did not support financing to renovate Sun Life Stadium.
The 2017 Super Bowl will be held in Houston, which also beat out Miami for that game.
In other NFL news:
__Owners have approved a $200 million loan for construction of a new $1 billion stadium in Atlanta.
__ The league and Microsoft announced a deal in which Xbox will provide fans new viewing innovations, including the ability to interact with live games, Skype video chat with other fans, and other enhancements.
— Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will miss at least three weeks of offseason workouts after a procedure to remove a cyst from his back. The Cowboys say Romo will be ready for training camp in July.
Mattheus, Vogelsong DL'd...Howard returns...Danks hopes to pitch this week
UNDATED (AP) — Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus (MATH'-yooz) has landed on the disabled list following his bout with a locker. Matheus broke his right pitching hand punching the locker after allowing five runs in one inning of Washington's 13-4 loss to the Padres in San Diego on Sunday.
The Nationals also sent outfielder Eury Perez to Triple-A Syracuse and recalled lefty Fernando Abad and right-hander Yunesky Maya.
Also in the majors, the Giants expect to be without starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong for the next two months. Vogelsong broke his pitching hand while at the plate during Monday's 8-0 win over Washington.
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is back in the lineup after missing two games with a sore left knee. Howard receiving a cortisone injection Sunday to alleviate inflammation and changes in the meniscus.
White Sox starting pitcher John Danks hopes to make his first start in over a year later this week. Danks has been recovering from shoulder surgery since last August and was optimistic following a bullpen session on Tuesday.
The Indians have placed first baseman Nick Swisher on the paternity list. He'll miss one to three days after his wife, JoAnna, gave birth to their first child, a girl.
And The Chicago White Sox have confirmed a Sports Business Journal report that chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has recommended a family succession plan that includes selling its interest in the franchise. Reinsdorf told the publication the plan he has recommended to his sons calls for the family relinquishing its stake in the White Sox while maintaining control of the NBA's Chicago Bulls.
Golf bigs ban anchored putting stroke
UNDATED (AP) — Golf's governing bodies have outlawed the putting stroke used by four of the last six major champions, effective in 2016.
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club and U.S. Golf Association have ruled that golfers no longer will be able to anchor the club against their bodies to create the effect of a hinge. Masters champion Adam Scott used a long putter he pressed against his chest. British Open champion Ernie Els and U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson used a belly putter, as did Keegan Bradley in the 2011 PGA Championship.
The two bodies have urged the PGA Tour to follow along so the 600-year-old sport is still played under one set of rules. The Tour and PGA of America oppose the rule.
Yanks, Man City teaming up
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees are going into the soccer business.
The Yankees are partnering with Manchester City to own Major League Soccer's 20th team, which will be called New York City Football Club and plans to start play in the 2015 season.
Manchester City will be the majority owner.
Layoffs at ESPN
NEW YORK (AP) — ESPN is downsizing.
The sports media giant would not say how many jobs are being eliminated, but they include unfilled positions. It says it is "smartly" managing its costs.
ESPN has about 7,000 employees worldwide, with about 4,000 at its headquarters in Bristol, Conn.
Murray withdraws from French Open
LONDON (AP) — U.S. Open champ Andy Murray has withdrawn from the French Open after seeking medical advice on his back injury.
The second-ranked Briton was forced to pull out of the Italian Open during his second-round match last Wednesday because of a lower back problem.
The French Open starts Sunday.