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PRESS BOX: Cuban says Mavs better off without Howard

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Dallas Mavericks outspoken owner Mark Cuban told that Dwight Howard's decision to sign elsewhere is better for his team overall, because it allowed the Mavs to sign multiple free agents.

"I think we're in a better spot than we were at if we got just the one max-out deal," Cuban said Wednesday night from the Mavs' summer league game. "I think it'd be better shorter and longer term. I don't want to make that sound the wrong way. I think we'll be better this year because we added five good players or more."

Sans Howard, Dallas has secured point guard Jose Calderon, guard Monta Ellis, shooting guard Wayne Ellington and center Samuel Dalembert. The team is also reportedly close to finalizing deals with guard Devin Harris and center/forward Brandan Wright, who are part of Cuban's stated two-year plan to rebuild the Mavs for another title run.


Penn State University's board of trustees authorized roughly $60 million in payments to settle most of the abuse claims brought forth during the Jerry Sandusky trial, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The settlement covers about 25 of the approximately 30 claims made by men who say they were abused by Sandusky, a former Nittany Lions assistant coach. The fate of the remaining claims is unclear, the report said, including at least one civil lawsuit against the school.

Convicted last year, Sandusky is serving a 30-to-60-year prison sentence for sexually abusing 10 boys over more than a decade. The scandal brought down the university and destroyed the legacy of longtime head coach Joe Paterno, who was fired as a result, and died in January 2012.

---Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron decided to pass on Thursday when asked about fellow QB Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and their recent experience as roommates at the Manning Passing Academy.

Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner as a redshirt freshman, made news last weekend when he left the Manning camp in Louisiana early after saying he overslept. Media reports suggested that he might be hung over. There also was a report that McCarron and Manziel were seen together at a bar.

"I can't answer on Johnny Manziel's part. My name's AJ," McCarron said when asked about Manziel's explanation. "Everything that has to do with him, he's his own man. I'm not going to speak on another man's business. That's how I was raised -- if it doesn't have anything to do with you, don't speak of it. "


In light of looming suspensions for players involved with MLB's latest drug investigation, MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner told the New York Daily News that the Players' Association may not support those cases where overwhelming evidence exists.

While not naming specific players, Weiner told the paper that the union would attempt to forge a compromise for those players.

"I can tell you, if we have a case where there really is overwhelming evidence that a player committed a violation of the program, our fight is going to be that they make a deal," Weiner told the Daily News. "We're not interested in having players with overwhelming evidence that they violated the [drug] program out there. Most of the players aren't interested in that. We'd like to have a clean program."

---Pitcher Derek Lowe has retired from baseball after a 17-year big-league career.

Lowe, 40, was released by the Texas Rangers in late May after posting a 9.00 ERA in 13 innings, including three home runs, and he hasn't found another job.

Lowe went 176-157 and saved 86 games in 2,671 1/3 innings with seven different teams. He was part of the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, and started the decisive Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, as well as the clinching Game 4 of World Series sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals.


The Los Angeles Kings signed captain Dustin Brown to an eight-year contract extension that puts the right wing under contract through the 2021-22 season.

Brown's deal is worth $47 million and includes an annual salary of $5.875 million, according to multiple reports. The 28-year-old had one year remaining on his previous contract.

Brown, a first-round pick in 2003, has played his entire nine-year career with the Kings, scoring 388 points to go with 452 penalty minutes in 641 regular-season games. In 50 postseason games, he has 31 points and a plus-8 rating. Brown was the first player in franchise history to hoist the Stanley Cup following the team's victory over the New Jersey Devils in 2012.


Southern Mississippi hired South Florida associate athletic director Bill McGillis as its athletic director on Thursday.

McGillis replaces Jeff Hammond, whose contract was not renewed after it expired on June 30.

The 50-year-old McGillis' experience also includes five years as AD at Evansville from 2002 to 2007 and stops at Houston and New Mexico.

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