Rockets to trade Howard for James

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The Minnesota Timberwolves reached an agreement Wednesday to trade point guard Mike James to the Houston Rockets for power forward Juwan Howard.

The deal was first reported by KRIV in Houston and the Houston Chronicle. Both teams declined comment.

James’ agent, Bill Duffy, said he was told the deal would probably be completed today.

James, 31, averaged 10.1 points and 3.6 assists last season. Howard, 34, averaged 9.7 points and 5.7 rebounds.


Kurt Rambis is believed to no longer be a candidate for the head coaching job in Sacramento and will remain a Lakers assistant coach. The Kings’ coaching position is as unclear as it was a month ago, with no consensus candidate emerging.

-- Mike Bresnahan


Nadal keeps winning; Hewitt is upset

French Open champion Rafael Nadal made a successful transition to grass, defeating Juan Martin del Potro, 6-4, 6-4, in the second round at Queen’s Club in London.

Defending champion Lleyton Hewitt was upset by qualifier Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2), and third-seeded Fernando Gonzalez edged Janko Tipsarevic, 7-6 (7), 4-6, 7-6 (7).

James Blake advanced to the quarterfinals at the Gerry Weber Open by beating teenager Evgeny Korolev, 7-5, 6-1, at Halle, Germany.... Maria Sharapova and Jelena Jankovic advanced to the third round at the DFS Classic in Birmingham, England. Sharapova beat Lilia Osterloh, 6-4, 6-0, and Jankovic defeated Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-4, 6-1.... Agnes Szavay upset top-seeded Francesca Schiavone, 6-1, 6-1, in the second round of the Barcelona KIA Open in Spain.


NFL to allow Nolan, Del Rio to wear suits

The NFL will allow coaches Mike Nolan of the San Francisco 49ers and Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars to wear suits at each of their eight home games this season.

Five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jessie Armstead signed a one-day contract so he could retire as a New York Giant. Armstead, 36, played nine seasons for the Giants, helping them reach the Super Bowl in 2000.


U.S. moves up in latest FIFA rankings

The United States moved up 13 spots to 16th in the June FIFA rankings following a strong start in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

World Cup champion Italy remained No. 1 for the third straight month.

Juan Riquelme, Rodigo Palacio and Pablo Ledesma scored goals to lead Boca Juniors of Argentina to a 3-0 victory over visiting Gremio of Brazilin the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final at Buenos Aires. The teams play again next Wednesday.

The Calgary Flames hired Mike Keenan as their new head coach, the Canadian Press reported. Current Flames coach Jim Playfair is expected to remain with the organization.

Jordan Cameron, who redshirted in basketball at Brigham Young last season, is transferring to USC to play football, BYU basketball Coach Dave Rose said. Cameron, a 6-foot-5, 220-pounder, was a standout receiver at Newbury Park High.

Long Beach State infielder Danny Espinosa, who played on the U.S. baseball team that won the gold medal at last year’s FISU World Championships in Havana, was among nine players chosen to fill out USA Baseball’s national team.

Tickets for the X Games, scheduled Aug. 2-5 at the Home Depot Center in Carson and Staples Center in Los Angeles, go on sale today at 10 a.m. and can be purchased via Ticketmaster or at venue box offices. Event details: