Rockets are close to acquiring Artest from Kings

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The Houston Rockets are close to an agreement to acquire Ron Artest from the Sacramento Kings, two people familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press.

The Rockets will give up guard Bobby Jackson, who played for the Kings from 2000 to 2005, and another player -- probably rookie forward Donte Greene, according to two NBA people who confirmed the deal but spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.

The Houston Chronicle first reported details of the trade on its website Tuesday night.

Artest’s long-anticipated move out of Sacramento probably can’t be announced yet because Greene, acquired by the Rockets on draft night last month, signed a contract with Houston on July 14. A player can’t be traded within 30 days of signing a contract, according to league rules.


The Rockets said that General Manager Daryl Morey was out of the country and unavailable for comment. The Kings confirmed that the teams had spoken about Artest.

The Charlotte Bobcats have come to terms with restricted free agent Emeka Okafor, their top rebounder and shot blocker, on a six-year, $72-million deal.


Donaghy is sentenced to 15 months in prison

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy said he had brought shame on his profession as a federal judge sentenced him to 15 months in prison for a gambling scandal that still has the league on the defensive.

U.S. District Judge Carol Amon sentenced Donaghy to prison time plus three years of supervised release, saying he had let the sport down by taking thousands of dollars from a professional gambler in exchange for inside tips on games -- including ones he officiated.

Donaghy could have received a 33-month sentence. He must surrender to prison Sept. 23.



Favre applies to NFL for reinstatement

Brett Favre has sent his reinstatement paperwork to the NFL and is awaiting approval from Commissioner Roger Goodell, a league spokesman confirmed.

Once Favre is granted reinstatement -- a step considered a formality, but one that wouldn’t be forthcoming until today at the earliest -- the Packers will have 24 hours to release the quarterback or return him to their active roster.

If Goodell reinstates Favre today, his return to the practice field for the Packers would probably come Friday. The team does not have a scheduled public practice Thursday.


Pittsburgh Steelers punter Daniel Sepulveda tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee for the second time in three years and is expected to sit out the season.

Sepulveda tore the ligament Monday, the first day of practice.

Former USC All-American defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, the New Orleans Saints’ top draft pick last spring, ended his holdout and agreed to a five-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed.



Tackle backs out of UCLA commitment

Donovan Edwards, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound offensive tackle who played the last two seasons at Diablo Valley College, has announced he will attend California instead of UCLA. He had verbally committed to the Bruins in June.

-- Chris Foster



Federer beats Ginepri in Cincinnati Masters

Roger Federer defeated Robby Ginepri, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 6-0, in his first match of the Cincinnati Masters at Mason, Ohio.

Sixth-seeded Andy Roddick withdrew just before his match with Philipp Kohlschreiber was to begin, citing neck and shoulder pain.

Roddick asked for the public address microphone and told spectators that he didn’t think he could get through his match, so he withdrew to allow another player to compete. Woong-Sun Jun took Roddick’s place and lost to Kohlschreiber, 6-2, 6-2.


Ai Sugiyama defeated 16th-seeded Nicole Vaidisova, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, in a first-round match of the Rogers Cup at Montreal.

Jill Craybas defeated Sharon Fichman, 6-4, 6-3, and is the only American remaining in the $1.34-million hard-court tournament.


NASCAR apologizes for tire problems


NASCAR apologized for the tire fiasco that marred its prestigious race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and vowed to avoid a repeat.

A durability issue with the tires Goodyear brought to Indy forced NASCAR to call cautions every 10 to 12 laps Sunday to slow the action in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and force teams to change their tires before they failed.

The longest run under the green flag was 13 laps, and Jimmie Johnson earned the victory at the end of a seven-lap sprint to the finish in the second-slowest race in the 15 years NASCAR has competed at the Brickyard.

Bobby Boswell and Corey Ashe scored in the second half and the host Houston Dynamo beat Pachuca, 2-0, in a SuperLiga semifinal soccer game.


Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia set a world record in the women’s pole vault, 16 feet 6 1/2 inches, at the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.

Isinbayeva, the reigning Olympic and world champion, had set the previous mark of 16-6 in Rome on July 11.

Asafa Powell ran his fastest 100 meters this season, winning the race in 9.82 seconds.

Nevada’s athletic commission and attorney general filed a complaint against UFC fighter James “The Sandman” Irvin, alleging he tested positive for two unapproved painkillers after his July 19 fight with Anderson Silva.


A urine test conducted the night of the fight in Las Vegas showed methadone and oxymorphone in Irvin’s system, the complaint said.

The Nevada commission said that Irvin has 20 days to respond to the complaint in writing and to request a hearing before the commission.


Gibson, former catcher with Boston Red Sox


Russ Gibson, a catcher on the Boston Red Sox team that went to the 1967 World Series, died Sunday after a long illness, the club said. He was 69.