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DIGEST: James will announce decision Thursday

LeBron James' dramatic and historic free agency will have a fitting conclusion — on TV.

ESPN reported Tuesday night that James will announce his future NBA plans during a one-hour special on its network at 6 p.m. PDT Thursday. ESPN’s Chris Broussard said James’ “representatives” contacted the network and asked for the unusual arrangement.

It is not known which team James will join or where the announcement will take place.

The two-time MVP and marquee name in a stellar free-agent class also featuring Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, recently met with six teams — the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets.

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• The Clippers have reached an agreement in principle with Vinny Del Negro to become the team’s head coach.

Del Negro was fired by the Chicago Bulls in May after going 82-82 in two seasons and making two postseason appearances. Mike Dunleavy quit as Clippers coach midway through last season and his assistant, Kim Hughes, finished the season as interim coach.

SPORTS AND COURTS

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Fired in March for his antics on and off the court, former Seton Hall basketball coach Bobby Gonzalez has been arrested on charges of shoplifting from a New Jersey mall.

Gonzalez, 47, reported to Millburn police headquarters on Monday. He faces charges of criminal mischief, along with shoplifting. He is accused of taking a satchel worth roughly $1,400 from the Polo Ralph Lauren store in the Short Hills Mall on June 29.

He plans to plead not guilty, said defense attorney Gerald Krovatin, who also is representing Gonzalez in a lawsuit over his dismissal. He called the accusations a miscommunication and a series of misunderstandings.

• Virginia Beach police said they know who was responsible for shooting another man following Michael Vick's birthday celebration outside a nightclub last month, but the shooter will not be charged "at this time" because the victim has not cooperated with investigators. The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback was not the shooter and there are no suspects other than the shooter, police said.

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NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown is asking a San Francisco appellate court to overturn a federal judge’s decision to dismiss his lawsuit against video game maker Electronic Arts. He argues U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper was erroneous when ruling in September that Electronic Arts was protected by First Amendment rights when it created a character similar to Brown for its Madden NFL video games.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

USC released top recruit Seantrel Henderson from his national letter of intent, the latest blow to a school reeling from an NCAA scandal.

Henderson, a 330-pound offensive tackle from St. Paul, Minn., was one of the coveted members of coach Lane Kiffin’s first recruiting class. Henderson had made a televised announcement saying he picked USC over Ohio State, Notre Dame and Florida, but he did not formally commit as the possibility of NCAA sanctions loomed over the Trojans.

Also, junior defensive end Malik Jackson, from Los Angeles, announced he will transfer to Tennessee.

GOLF

San Diego State sophomore Christine Wong will begin play at the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open on Thursday in Oakmont, Pa. For the first two rounds, Wong will play alongside Becky Brewerton of Wales and Joo-Mi Kim of Korea.

David Toms has withdrawn from the British Open to rest an ailing right shoulder, and Anthony Kim formally pulled out as he recovers from thumb surgery. They were replaced in the field at St. Andrews by Ricky Barnes and Davis Love III.

Tiger Woods said he’s flying home to Florida rather than heading to Scotland to prepare for the British Open because he wants to see his children. Woods is playing this week at an Irish charity golf tournament in Adare, where he shot a 3-under 69 Tuesday.

WATER POLO

San Diego State’s Aztec Aquaplex again has been selected to host the NCAA Women’s Water Polo National Championship, in May of 2012. The announcement comes after SDSU played host to the same event this year.

NHL

The St. Louis Blues signed goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a four-year contract.

• Restricted free agent forward Boyd Gordon signed a one-year, $800,000 contract with the Washington Capitals.

COLLEGES

Frank Crumley was named Georgia's interim athletic director.

However, university President Michael Adams said he wants to look outside the university first for a full-time replacement for Damon Evans, who resigned after a DUI arrest last week.

Crumley had worked as Evans' top assistant — executive associate athletic director for finance — since 2007.

TENNIS

Nicolas Mahut, the loser in the record-setting three-day match at Wimbledon, returned to the court and advanced with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 victory against Alejandro Falla.

The first-round match at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, R.I., lasted 83 minutes — far shorter than the Frenchman’s record 11-hour, 5-minute loss to John Isner at Wimbledon last month.

SOCCER

Justin Braun scored twice to lead Chivas USA into the semifinals of US Open Cup with a 3-1 win over the host Houston Dynamo on Tuesday night. Chivas will face the winner of today’s game between the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy.

Braun scored in the 5th minute when he took a Mariano Trujillo free kick from 40 yards out in the left side of the box and booted it in from six yards.

WNBA

Diana Taurasi scored 30 points and Candice Dupree had a season-high 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Phoenix Mercury to a 98-89 victory over the host Los Angeles Sparks.

COMPILED FROM UNION-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICES

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