Knicks will keep Chauncey Billups

The New York Knicks are bringing Chauncey Billups back for next season.

The Knicks announced Wednesday that they are keeping the veteran point guard, deciding his leadership outweighs the savings they would have earned by waiving him this week.

The Knicks would have been obligated to pay Billups, 35, only $3.7 million if they cut him within five days after the season ended. Instead, he will be on the books for $14.2 million next season, when he will run a team in its first full season with Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony together.

The Golden State Warriors parted ways with Coach Keith Smart, the first major fallout this off-season from a new ownership group that has promised sweeping changes to the perennially underachieving franchise.

Smart spent seven years as an assistant with Golden State before he replaced Don Nelson just before training camp.


Monterrey wins CONCACAF

A goal on the stroke of halftime by Chilean World Cup striker Humberto Suazo earned Monterrey of Mexico a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake in Sandy, Utah, and the championship of soccer's North and Central American and Caribbean (CONCACAF) region.

As CONCACAF champion, Monterrey will represent the area in the FIFA Club World Cup in December against the champions of Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and South America.

Real Salt Lake had put itself in a position to advance to the world tournament by holding Monterrey to a 2-2 tie in Mexico last week in the first leg of the final, and came into Wednesday night's decisive second game with a 37-game unbeaten streak at home.

Suazo's goal, scored from close range in the dying seconds of the first half at sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium, ended the Major League Soccer club's streak and its title hopes.

Grahame L. Jones

Two goals in an 11-minute span late in the game by Argentine forward Lionel Messi gave Barcelona a 2-0 victory over Real Madrid in an all-Spanish European Champions League semifinal first-leg game in Madrid.

Messi's goals, in the 76th and 87th minutes of an ill-tempered match, gave Barcelona a road victory over the nine-time European champion and a significant advantage ahead of the second leg in Barcelona on May 3.

The winner of the series will play the winner of the Manchester United-Schalke '04 series, which Manchester United leads, in the final in London on May 28.

Grahame L. Jones

College volleyball's top-ranked teams — USC and UC Irvine — will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in a semifinal of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament at the Galen Center.

Top-ranked USC is 22-2 overall. Irvine is 19-11. Long Beach State (15-13) meets UC Santa Barbara (15-14) in the other semifinal at 5 p.m.

Thursday night's winners play for the MPSF tournament title Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Galen Center. The conference champion earns an automatic berth to the NCAA Final Four.

UCLA forward Jasmine Dixon has been invited by USA Basketball to the World University Games Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 21-25. Dixon, from Long Beach, averaged 12.1 points as a junior last season. The World University Games are at Shenzhen, China, Aug. 12-23.

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