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PRESS BOX: Alford's UCLA contract has $10.6 million buyout

The SportsXchange

UCLA basketball fans should get used to the sight of Steve Alford pacing the court for at least three years, thanks to a large mutual buyout should either side sever ties early, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

Alford's contract contains a $10.6 million buyout provision should either side decide to end their relationship before April 30, 2016, more than four times his annual pay. After that, the amount shrinks each year, to $7.8 million, $5.2 million in 2017 and 2018, respectively, then $2.6 million after years five and six of the seven-year, $18.2 million deal, the paper said.

The deal likely binds the two parties into at least a three-year marriage, as Alford replaces Ben Howland.

NBA

In the span of one weekend, the Los Angeles Lakers watched center Dwight Howard shun their advances to join the Houston Rockets, and released 14-year veteran Metta World Peace through the amnesty provision. Both moves will become official this week.

Kobe Bryant, the team's remaining superstar and most popular player, weighed in on those decisions via Twitter.

"I wish d12 the best honestly," Bryant tweeted regarding why he stopped following Howard immediately after Howard announced he was joining the Rockets. "I just find it hard to follow players that wanna kick my teams ass #thatsjustme."

Bryant disagreed with the team's decision to cut Metta World Peace to save about $30 million in salary and luxury tax savings.

OTHER

Chase That Golden Thunder, the bat-retrieving dog of the New York Yankees' Double-A team, died Monday at age 13.

The lovable canine had delighted fans since his 2002 debut with the Trenton Thunder and has received worldwide recognition over his loyal years of service at Waterfront/ARM & HAMMER Park. The pup has been seen on CNN, Japanese television, ESPN, FOX and the YES Network as well as numerous local television stations.

Chase died three days after the team held a celebration his contributions during a retirement ceremony.

---Anderson Silva isn't ready for a rematch with new UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, and UFC president Dana White seems content to bide his time before booking Weidman-Silva II.

"This is going to be the biggest fight in UFC history," White told the Los Angeles Times.

Some consideration was given to anchoring the Dec. 28 UFC card in Las Vegas with the rematch of Saturday's surprising upset in which Weidman knocked out Silva to end his unblemished 16-0 record and 10 match run as UFC middleweight champ. White said he's weighing options with the late December card already listing women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey as the main event. If that fight shifts to the Super Bowl weekend event on FOX, it could be replaced by Weidman's first title defense.
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