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Sports news briefs
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• Magic GM: Howard has indeed reissued trade request: ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Magic general manager Rob Hennigan says that Dwight Howard told him in a face-to-face meeting last week that he would like to be traded, and that his preference is to be dealt to the Brooklyn Nets.

Hennigan said Monday that Howard singling out one team complicates any potential trade scenarios, but he has not committed to honoring that demand and said he will keep communication lines open between both the All-Star and his agent.

The new Magic GM says Howard never claimed in the meeting in California the Magic blackmailed him to give up the early termination clause in his current deal. Howard asked to be traded last season, then opted-in for 2012-2013 — forgoing becoming a free agent this summer.

Hennigan says Howard is “progressing well” after back surgery.

• Celtics president Ainge determined to keep Big 3: ALLISON, Mass. (AP) — Celtics president Danny Ainge is determined to keep the team’s Big Three in Boston next season.

Ainge said Monday he is hoping to keep intact the aging trio of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, who brought the Celtics their first NBA championship in 22 years in 2008.

Pierce is already under contract and Garnett has reportedly agreed to a new three-year deal that can’t be finalized until July 11 — the first day free agents can officially sign.

What’s left for Ainge is to convince Allen, a free agent, to stay. The veteran shooting guard, who just had ankle surgery, is reportedly being courted by Miami and Memphis, but the Celtics are in position to offer Allen more money than either the Heat or Grizzlies.

• Reports: Hawks agree to deal Joe Johnson to Nets: The Associated Press — Multiple media outlets are reporting the Hawks and Nets have agreed to a trade that would send All-Star guard Joe Johnson from Atlanta to Brooklyn.

ESPN was first to report the teams had agreed to the deal. All the reports cited unidentified sources.

The Nets would send guards Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar and DeShawn Stevenson and forwards Jordan Williams and Johan Petro to the Hawks, along with a draft pick Brooklyn received from Houston. The selection only belongs to the Nets if it is not a lottery pick.

Johnson has four years and $90 million left on his contract.

The Nets are also trying to re-sign free agent point guard Deron Williams.

The franchise is set to play its first season in a newly built arena in New York after moving from New Jersey.


• Cano gets Bautista, Fielder, Trumbo for HR derby: NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano has asked Jose Bautista, Prince Fielder and Mark Trumbo to join him on the AL side for the All-Star home run derby.

Cano announced the invitations Monday, a day after rosters were announced for the All-Star game July 10 in Kansas City.

Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp said Sunday he invited Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez and Giancarlo Stanton to join him on the NL side. Kemp is on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring. He is unlikely to play in the game, but is the NL captain for the derby and wants to take part.

• LHP Willis announces retirement through Orioles: SEATTLE (AP) — Left-hander Dontrelle Willis has decided to retire following a rocky stretch with Baltimore’s top farm club.

Willis, an Alameda native, was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2003 with the Marlins and quickly became one of baseball’s most popular players. But the big left-hander has struggled since he won 22 games seven years ago.

Willis agreed to a minor league deal with the Orioles this spring. He made just four appearances for Triple-A Norfolk, going 0-3 with an 8.53 ERA.

Baltimore also announced a roster move before Monday’s series opener in Seattle. The Orioles recalled right-hander Steve Johnson from Triple-A Norfolk.

Johnson was 3-5 with a 2.73 ERA in 14 games, nine starts, for Norfolk. His father, Dave, pitched for the Orioles from 1989-91.

• Jim Palmer puts Cy Young Awards up for auction: BALTIMORE (AP) — Jim Palmer says he no longer needs trophies as mementos of his Hall of Fame career, so the former Baltimore Orioles ace has put his three Cy Young Awards and two of his four Gold Gloves up for auction.

The 66-year-old Palmer, who currently works as a TV analyst for the Orioles, did not say he was financially hurting. He says he intends to use the money for the education of his grandchildren and provide for his autistic stepson. A portion of the profits will also be given to the autism project of Palm Beach County.

Palme, who pitched for 19 seasons, says, “Whether I have the awards or not, it’s not going to take those memories away. At this juncture in my life ... my priorities have changed.”


• Big Sky officially welcomes S. Utah, N. Dakota: CEDAR CITY, Utah (AP) — Big Sky Commissioner Doug Fullerton officially welcomed Southern Utah University into the conference Monday.

Fullerton made the announcement before a sellout crowd at the Cedar City, Utah, campus.

Fullerton said the changing landscape in collegiate sports as well as the school’s mission, location and level of competition all played a role in the move. He said the university will help establish the Big Sky as one of the most stable conferences in the country.

North Dakota also joins the Big Sky as a full member, while UC Davis and Cal Poly join as football affiliate members. All four were previously in the Great West Conference.

The additions give the Big Sky 11 full members and 13 football-playing schools.

• Stanford RB Gaffney to play pro baseball: STANFORD (AP) — Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney will give up his final year of eligibility in football to pursue a professional baseball career.

Gaffney ran for 449 yards and scored seven touchdowns as a junior last season for the Cardinal.

He played outfield for three seasons at Stanford and batted .301 with eight homers. He was a 24th round selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates in June’s draft and batted .245 with two home runs, 17 RBI and 48 runs scored in 54 games this past season.

Gaffney will return to Stanford to complete his degree in sociology.