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Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team (Yahoo Sports)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Bucks owner Herb Kohl has reached a deal to sell the franchise to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for about $550 million.

Kohl announced the deal Wednesday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center hours before the team was to play its final game of a dismal season. The deal is subject to approval by the NBA and its Board of Governors.

Kohl is a former U.S. senator who has owned the team since 1985. Efforts to find new investors ramped up this year, and made it a priority to find owners or investors who will keep the franchise in Milwaukee.

It appears the Bucks won’t be going anywhere after Lasry and Edens committed another $100 million to help build a new arena. Kohl also announced he would also donate $100 million to help fund a new arena.

”Milwaukee fans deserve a winning team,” Edens said.

Kohl has spoken for years about the need to upgrade or replace the Bradley Center, the team’s downtown home which opened in 1988.

”We should be shouting from the rooftops because this is a game-changer for this entire debate,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

Edens said he hopes to get a plan for a new arena in a year, and have it built in a couple years. He said he thought about $400 million could be a benchmark for building the facility.

With the worst record in the NBA, Milwaukee is in position for a high draft pick.

The Bucks were sold to Kohl for $18 million in 1985. Kohl, 79, is a Milwaukee native whose family owned a chain of department stores.

Lasry is chairman and chief executive officer of Avenue Capital Group, while Edens is co-founder and a chairman of the board at Fortress Investment Group. Both are based in New York.

In Madison, Gov. Scott Walker said he was pleased with the deal that will keep the team in Wisconsin, and that he will work with the new ownership team to see how he can help the team ”flourish in the state.”

”I think it’s a big deal,” he told reporters when asked about the sale. Walker said he appreciated Kohl’s purchasing of the team and keeping it in Wisconsin. ”My hat’s off to him and the many years he’s committed to the Bucks.”

The Bucks were an NBA-worst 15-66 entering Wednesday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. Milwaukee has already set a franchise record for futility.

The team was beset by injuries from training camp in coach Larry Drew’s first season. Center Larry Sanders and guard O.J. Mayo are among the veterans who have been sidelined for long spurts.

Brandon Knight has emerged as a scoring point guard, while 18-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo had a promising first year after being drafted in the first round last year.

Associated Press writer Scott Bauer in Madison contributed to this report.

Boston Marathon organizers confident of safe race (Yahoo Sports)

BOSTON (AP) — The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while organizers sought to assure the city and runners of a safe race next week.

The actions of the man, whose mother said he had a mental disorder, rattled nerves as Boston prepared for the annual race, but authorities said they did not consider it a security breach. Officials also expressed confidence in heightened security measures for Monday’s event while acknowledging the challenge of protecting an estimated 1 million spectators and 36,000 runners across 26.2 miles and eight Massachusetts communities.

Security plans include thousands of uniformed police, hundreds of plainclothes officers and about 100 strategically positioned video cameras that will monitor the crowds. Police also strongly discouraged spectators from bringing backpacks.

”I believe this will be the safest place on the planet on April 21,” said Dave McGillivray, the long-time race director for the Boston Athletic Association.

Boston police detonated the suspicious backpack Tuesday night, along with a second backpack that was later found to have been left behind by a journalist covering the day’s remembrances, Police Commissioner William Evans said.

Neither bag was determined to have explosives.

The 25-year-old suspect, Kevin ”Kayvon” Edson, was arraigned Wednesday on several charges including threatening battery and possession of a hoax device. Bail was set at $100,000 and a judge ordered that Edson be evaluated at a state psychiatric hospital.

Evans said that Boylston Street, where the finish line is located and where twin bombs killed three people and injured more than 260 others last year, was not in lockdown when Edson walked down the street barefoot in the pouring rain, wearing a black veil and paint on his face. Along with the rice cooker, a robot mask was also found in the backpack, officials said.

”That individual, like anyone, had the right to basically walk up the street,” Evans said. Because he was acting suspiciously, however, police quickly intervened, he said.

According to a police report read aloud in court Wednesday, Edson told an officer: ”I knew what I was doing, it was conceived in my head. It’s symbolism, come on. The performance got the best of me.”

Joie Edson said her son had battled bipolar disorder for many years and that his mental state had recently deteriorated. His lawyer, public defender Shannon Lopez, said he was diagnosed with mental illness at 19 and that a doctor said Edson showed signs of being off his medication recently.

The finish line will not be closed to the public until the morning of the race, Evans said, but police planned to increase visibility in the area over the next several days.

In seeking to discourage spectators from bringing backpacks, police said those carrying them are likely to have them searched.

”This year, we can all understand that someone is going to feel anxious, nervous, to stand next to someone with a backpack,” said Kurt Schwartz, the state’s undersecretary of public safety. ”Why do that this year?”

Spectators were advised to tell a police officer or call 911 if they see anything they consider suspicious along the route.

Evans said undercover officers with special training will be working the crowds looking for suspicious packages or anyone ”who might be up to no good.” He also said police plan to limit the size of the crowds on Boylston Street, and if they appear to be getting too large, people will be asked to move to other locations to view the race. But he added that police do not want to create undue anxiety, either.

”We are not going to scare people and make it look like it’s an armed camp,” he said.

The bombs at last year’s marathon were made from pressure cookers hidden in backpacks, authorities said. Lawyers for the surviving bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, were in federal court on Wednesday arguing that the government should not be allowed to monitor prison visits from the defendant’s two sisters.

Associated Press writers Paige Sutherland, Philip Marcelo and Denise Lavoie contributed to this report.

Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson (Yahoo Sports)

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Jets and former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson have agreed to terms on a deal.

Johnson met with the Jets all day Tuesday and stayed in town to watch the Knicks-Nets game in Brooklyn Tuesday night before signing Wednesday. The team announced the move, but didn’t release terms.

Johnson was officially released by the Titans on April 7, three days after being told by the team of its decision. The former 2,000-yard rusher will team with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell to give coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg a versatile and deep backfield.

Johnson, who turns 29 in September, is only the sixth player to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons. But Johnson finished with 1,077 yards – the second-lowest total of his career – last season.

Tanaka cools Cubs’ bats in Yankees’ 3-0 win (Yahoo Sports)

NEW YORK (AP) — Masahiro Tanaka allowed two bunt hits in eight dominant innings on a frigid Monday, Carlos Beltran homered for the third straight game and New York welcomed the Chicago Cubs to the current Yankee Stadium with a 3-0 victory in the opener of Monday’s day-night doubleheader.

The 25-year-old Japanese right-hander struck out 10 for his second straight start, this time while wearing three-quarter sleeves on a 43-degree day that felt much colder because of a brisk wind. Tanaka (2-0) gave up a replay-aided hit to Junior Lake in the second inning and Anthony Rizzo pushed a bunt toward a vacated third base with a shifted infield leading off the seventh.

Tanaka threw 107 pitches, and Shawn Kelley allowed a single to Rizzo as he finished the three-hitter for his fourth save.

Dean Anna had a sacrifice fly and Jacoby Ellsbury added an RBI tap-out against Jason Hammel (2-1) in Chicago’s first regular-season game in the ballpark, which opened in 2009.

The Cubs have yet to win in the Bronx. They were swept in the 1932 and ’38 World Series and lost all three-games in 2005, their only interleague series in New York.

With Tuesday’s rainout postponing Jackie Robinson Day festivities, the Yankees planned to unveil a plaque honoring Nelson Mandela before the nightcap. Players from both teams were to wear No. 42, and Michael Pineda was set to make his first start for New York since he was spotted with a mysterious brown substance on his hand Thursday against Boston. Travis Wood was slated to start for Chicago.

After an overnight storm, the grounds crew used blowers to melt the ice on the tarp before removing the covering from the infield. Snow still covered the grass in right field while the Cubs took batting practice, and many players wore ski caps.

But it wasn’t too cold for Beltran. He connected on a 1-1 changeup from Hammel with one out in the first. Anna started again at shortstop for Derek Jeter and drove in his run with a fly to left field in the fourth. Jeter missed three games with a tight quadriceps but manager Joe Girardi said the captain would start the second game.

The Yankees added a run in the fifth when Junior Lake lost Brett Gardner’s liner to left in the sun for a double. After Gardner advanced on Beltran’s groundout, Ellsbury’s bat made contact with catcher John Baker’s glove before dunking a ball in front of the mound. Catcher’s interference was called but under rule 6.08 (c), the Yankees had the choice to reject the interference call – it would have put runners at the corners – and take the play as it unfolded on the field – with Gardner scoring and Ellsbury tagged out by Hammel.

Tanaka gave up six runs – five earned – in his first two starts combined, all before the third inning was over. This time he was sharp from the start. He allowed just his second walk of the season and has 28 strikeouts in 22 innings and a 2.05 ERA.

Lake bunted toward the third base side and Tanaka fielded it cleanly. Initially, first base umpire Manny Gonzalez called Lake out but Cubs manager Rick Renteria requested a challenge and the call was overturned.

Hammel was nearly as good. He yielded five hits and three runs, striking out five.

NOTES: Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira (right hamstring) is working out in Tampa, Fla. He is eligible to come off the DL Sunday. … The Cubs have played in 122 ballparks. … The Yankees swept two exhibition games from the Cubs at the new stadium before opening day in ’09. … Renteria asked for a second review on a close play at first base in the seventh but the out call stood.

UCLA’s Anderson and LaVine declare for NBA draft (Yahoo Sports)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — UCLA guards Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine are leaving early for the NBA draft.

Anderson, a sophomore from Fairview, N.J., and LaVine, a freshman from Seattle, each said Wednesday that they will forego their remaining eligibility with the Bruins to start pro careers.

Anderson averaged 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists this season, closer to a triple-double than any player in the nation.

LaVine averaged 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists while earning Pac-12 all-freshman honors.

They helped lead the Bruins to a 28-9 record, a Pac-12 tournament title and the school’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 2008.

Besides Anderson and LaVine, the Bruins are losing fifth-year seniors David and Travis Wear.

First-year coach Steve Alford says he’s happy for Anderson and LaVine.

The NBA draft is June 26.