Dethroned Kings lock coach out of the dressing room
After winning two Stanley Cups in four years, the defending champion Los Angeles Kings failed to make the playoffs and finished the season with the players estranged from the coach, Darryl Sutter. The New York Post reported that after a February road game, the Kings players locked the dressing room to delay the entrance of Sutter, whom they expected to deliver another tirade they did not want to hear. By the time arena personnel unlocked the door, the players had escaped. Kings general manager Dean Lombardi confirmed the essence of the story, saying, “There was a little scuffle in Tampa.” But he said he was not concerned, that “the players need to take over the room, emotionally, and if you want to say, ‘Coach, stay out, I’ve got this one,’ . . . I’ve got no problem with that.”
Between the Lines: Sutter is due for some anger management training. This is taking Tuning Out the Coach to a new level.
Bubba Watson is the least liked by fellow golfers
In an ESPN poll of 103 anonymous PGA peers, Bubba Watson, two-time Masters champion, turned out to be the least popular player. He’s faulted for being aloof and temperamental and for talking too much about his “homemade swing that I came up with.” He had a meltdown at a tournament last year, and in 2013 he was caught on camera berating his caddie. Rather than claim that people were merely jealous of his success, Watson took the poll seriously. “I take it as I need to improve as a man,” he said. “I’ve had some mess-ups on the tour.” The good news is they’ll probably like him more now, after he finished tied for 38th in this year’s Masters — 19 shots behind the winner, Jordan Spieth.
Angels owner threatens not paying Hamilton’s salary
Outfielder Josh Hamilton, 34, is out of baseball after he admitted a relapse with substance abuse, and the LA Angels are threatening to not pay the $83 million remaining on the 5-year, $125 million contract he signed in 2012. Owner Arte Moreno claims the contract allows the Angels to void it in case of a substance abuse problem. But the Major League Baseball Players Association contends otherwise, pointing out that many others have had addiction problems without their contracts being voided.
Russell Wilson considers two-sport career
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is considering playing baseball as well as football, a feat accomplished by Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson. “I never want to kill the dream of playing two sports,” Wilson said on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. Wilson, 26, played two seasons of baseball for North Carolina State, and he played in the Colorado Rockies’ farm system in 2010 and 2011, prior to being drafted in the NFL’s third round. Wilson hit .229 in Class A but impressed with his foot speed. The Texas Rangers acquired his rights in 2013, and he was with them for parts of spring training the past two years. Rangers scout Chris Kemp said, “I watched the guy a bunch, and I thought he was athletic enough to play any position.”
Between the Lines: Looks like a ploy for more money from the ‘Hawks. But it’s possible a major-league team might hire him part-time, perhaps for pinch running or late-inning defense.
Westbrook technical ‘rescinded’ to help him to playoffs
A technical foul called against Russell Westbrook was “rescinded” by the NBA office when it was learned that the Oklahoma City guard was over the 15-tech limit and would have to be suspended a game for his 16th. Had the suspension stood, he would have missed Monday night’s game against Portland, which was critical to the Thunder’s playoff hopes. Westbrook was assessed the foul during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 116-104 loss to Indianapolis. With Westbrook scoring 36 points, the Thunder defeated Portland 101-90 to stay in the playoff race entering the last game of the regular season.