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Sports briefs for June 30, 2013

By BDN Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

Cavs’ forward Speights opts out of contract

Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Mareese Speights opted out of the final year of his contract on Sunday electing to become an unrestricted free agent.

The 6-10, 255-pound Speights was obtained in a midseason deal with the Memphis Grizzlies and averaged 10.2 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Cavaliers. The five-year veteran was set to make $4.5 million next season.

Speights was expected to opt out after the Cavaliers selected Anthony Bennett with the first pick in the draft on Thursday.

Cubs’ Sweeney sidelined 4-6 weeks

Cubs outfielder Ryan Sweeney is expected to be out four to six weeks after he suffered a fractured rib in the Cubs’ 5-3 win in 11 innings over the Mariners on Saturday night in Seattle, the team said Sunday.

The injury occurred when Sweeney ran into the outfield wall in Safeco Field while making a catch. After the cracked rib was discovered, the Cubs placed him on the 15-day disabled list Sunday.

Sweeney became the starting center fielder for the Cubs when David DeJesus went on the DL after also colliding with a wall. The 28-year-old Sweeney seized the opportunity, batting .295 with four home runs, 15 RBIs, 10 doubles and two triples this season.

Howard to meet with Rockets on Monday

Center Dwight Howard is scheduled to meet with Houston Rockets representative in Los Angeles when free agency begins at 12:01 a.m. Monday, according to ESPN.

The group meeting with Howard includes Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, coach Kevin McHale, owner Les Alexander, former star center Hakeem Olajuwon, and current Rockets James Harden and Chandler Parsons.

ESPN The Magazine also reported that Howard plans to meet with the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers can offer Howard the most years and money — a max deal of $118 million for five seasons. Other teams can offer up to four years and $88 million.

Howard averaged 17.1 points and an NBA-best 12.4 rebounds per game this season.

Astros’ Maxwell goes on concussion DL

The Houston Astros placed outfielder Justin Maxwell on the seven-day concussion disabled list and recalled outfielder-infielder Jimmy Paredes from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday.

Maxwell fell hard while making a diving catch in right field last week in Minute Maid Park during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals and has experienced persistent headaches and post-concussion symptoms.

The 29-year-old Maxwell is hitting .235 with one home run and six RBI in 28 games this season for the Astros. He had returned after missing May and part of June with a non-displaced fracture in his left hand, which was hit by a pitch.

Braun to begin swinging bat Tuesday

Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun has been on the disabled list for two weeks with a right hand injury, but he is is scheduled to begin swinging the bat again Tuesday, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.

Braun had not performed any baseball activities while giving the injury time to heal.

Braun was batting .304 with nine home runs before being placed on the disabled list June 9.

His name has also been mentioned in connection with the Biogenesis case.

Angels’ Bourjos injured again

Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday after suffering a non-displaced fracture in his right wrist during the fourth inning of Saturday’s 7-2 win over the Houston Astros.

Bourjos, who was hit by a pitch from Houston’s Jordan Lyles, is expected to be out two weeks in a season interrupted by injuries.

“There’ll be a DL time, and we’ll see what the timeframe is,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Early indications are that it might be a shorter stint than we’d imagine because of where the fracture is. We’re following the lead of our medical staff every step of the way.”

Bourjos had just returned after missing four games because of a bruised left thumb that he hurt a week ago against Pittsburgh.

The unfortunate injuries have short-circuited a productive season for the 26-year-old. Bourjos is hitting .326 in 129 at-bats and has played well defensively.

Knicks acquire Bargnani from Toronto

The New York Knicks have reached agreement on a deal with the Toronto Raptors that will bring Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks, the New York Times reported.

According to the report, the Knicks will send the Raptors a package that will include Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, one first-round draft pick and one second-round draft pick.

The deal still needs league approval.

A few days ago, it appeared the Los Angeles Clippers were the team involved in a deal that would get them Bargnani, but now it’s the Knicks.

The 7-foot Bargani, the first overall pick in the 2006 draft, averaged 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 35 games for Toronto last season. He hit 39.9 percent of his field-goal attempts.

Bargnani is owed close to $23 million over the next two years, and has played in only 66 games over the last two seasons due to injury.

Novak averaged 6.6 points and hit 42.5 percent of his three-point shots last season. Camby, 39, averaged 1.8 points last season.

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