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The Sports Report: Two Lakers test positive for the novel coronavirus

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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Two players on the Lakers tested positive for the coronavirus, the team confirmed Thursday. Both players are asymptomatic, in quarantine and under the care of team doctors, the Lakers said in a statement.

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“All players and members of the Lakers staff are being asked to continue to observe self-quarantine and shelter at home guidelines, closely monitor their health, consult with their personal physicians and maintain constant communication with the team,” the statement read.

The Lakers encouraged players to get tested, and made it available on a voluntary basis, after four Brooklyn Nets tested positive for the virus Tuesday. Only injured All-Star Kevin Durant said publicly he had contracted the virus. Durant and two of his teammates who tested positive have not experienced any symptoms.

Read more NBA

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RAMS

The Rams cut running back Todd Gurley on Thursday, less than two years after lavishing him with one of the biggest contracts for a running back in NFL history.

It was an unceremonious move for a player who was the NFL’s 2015 offensive rookie of the year, the 2017 offensive player of the year, and a key component for a Rams team that made it to the playoffs in coach Sean McVay’s first season in 2017 and the Super Bowl in 2018.

Gurley seemed to take it in stride.

“Damn I got fired on my day off,” he tweeted with a laughing-so-hard-it’s-making-you cry emoji, adding the hashtag “QuarantineAndChill”

Gurley, 25, was not the only player cut by the Rams as they sought to ease the weight of their massive financial commitments to Gurley, receiver Brandin Cooks, defensive lineman Aaron Donald and quarterback Jared Goff — and to prepare for what is expected to be a record-breaking deal for cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Veteran linebacker Clay Matthews, who signed with the Rams last year after 10 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, also was released in a cost-cutting move.

At the start of training camp in 2018, Gurley signed a $60-mllion contract that included $45 million in guarantees. He had a salary-cap number of $17.3 million for the upcoming season and was due about $10.5 million in injury guarantees Friday, according to overthecap.com.

By releasing Gurley before June 1, the Rams will have a $20.15-million dead-cap hit. They will spread that over two years. They will save about $10 million in each with him not on the roster.

Matthews’ departure saves the Rams $3.75 million.

Read more NFL

Bill Plaschke: Rams needed to sign Todd Gurley to a big deal in 2018; they needed to cut him in 2020

Saints coach Sean Payton says he tested positive for the coronavirus

Chargers safety Adrian Phillips reportedly agrees to a contract with Patriots

MLS

Major League Soccer announced Thursday that it will suspend its season another four weeks, to May 10, a delay that figures to push the MLS Cup into December.

In a one-paragraph statement, MLS, which a week ago announced a 30-day halt to the season, said that break was being lengthened “in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance to postpone events involving more than 50 people over the next eight weeks.” The CDC directive is part of a nationwide effort to stall the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

BASEBALL

After the Dodgers and several other teams agreed to continue paying weekly spring training stipends to minor leaguers even after spring training had been called off, Major League Baseball announced Thursday that all minor leaguers would receive allowances owed through April 8, in a lump-sum payment.

Furthermore, the league said in a statement that it would work with teams to develop “an industry-wide plan for minor league player compensation from April 9 through the beginning of the coming season.” The minor league season was scheduled to start April 9.

The money is critical for minor leaguers, who are not paid during the offseason. The current minimum minor league salaries range from $290 per week in rookie leagues, where the season lasts three months, to $500 per week in triple-A, where the season lasts five months.

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

Nothing.

BORN ON THIS DAY

1945: Former Lakers coach Pat Riley

1948: Hockey player Bobby Orr

1954: Former King Charlie Simmer

1967: Basketball player Mookie Blaylock

1967: Canoeist Nikolay Bukhalov

1980: Basketball player Jamal Crawford

1993: Tennis player Sloane Stephens

DIED ON THIS DAY

1937: Golfer Harry Vardon, 66

1997: Boxer Tony Zale, 80

AND FINALLY

Some of Bobby Orr‘s best plays. Watch it here.

Until next time...
That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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Go beyond the scoreboard

Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
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