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The Sports Report: Russell Westbrook exercises his option to remain with Lakers

Russell Westbrook
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Dan Woike: Russell Westbrook will exercise his player option and stay under contract for another season, guaranteeing a $47-million salary, sources told The Times.

Westbrook needed to make a decision whether to opt in or become an unrestricted free agent by Wednesday. The move was widely expected.

Westbrook posted a video of himself singing the chorus to Beyonce’s “Break My Soul,” repeatedly singing “You won’t break my soul” Tuesday morning.

After being acquired by the Lakers last offseason, Westbrook struggled, averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists, all numbers below the standards he’s set for himself. The Lakers failed to make the playoffs.

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The Lakers enter free agency Wednesday with just the taxpayer mid-level (worth about $6 million) and minimum contracts to fill out their roster around LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Westbrook.

New coach Darvin Ham said he viewed Westbrook as a key piece of the team’s immediate future during Ham’s introductory news conference.

“Russ and I had some really, really great one-on-one convos, man, and the biggest word I think came out of that, those discussions, was sacrifice. That was the biggest word, sacrifice,” Ham said. “We’re going to sacrifice whatever we got to do. And it’s not just Russ. It’s going to be sacrifices that LeBron has to make, that AD has to make, on down the line to the rest of our roster. Again, we have to start on the defensive end in terms of what his role is going to be.

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CLIPPERS

From Andrew Greif: The Clippers and center Ivica Zubac have agreed to terms on a three-year, $33-million deal that has no options, according to people familiar with the negotiations but not authorized to speak publicly.

The team held an option that it declined so Zubac could be signed to a longer-term contract.

Zubac, who is 25 and entering his seventh NBA season, has career-best averages of 10.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 blocks in 76 games.

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DODGERS

From Jack Harris: On Monday afternoon, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts thought there was a possible path for Clayton Kershaw to start next month’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.

By the end of Tuesday night, however, those hopes took a serious beating in the left-hander’s worst start of the season.

After giving up six runs in four innings in the Dodgers’ 7-4 defeat to the Colorado Rockies, Kershaw didn’t try to look for positives or put an upbeat spin on his 77-pitch outing.

“[I’m] going to just not overthink it,” he sighed, “and just say I sucked today.”

In 25 starts in the Rockies’ home ballpark, Kershaw has a 4.81 career ERA — almost a full run higher than any other venue he’s pitched in more than once.

However, the high-altitude ballpark was the least of his worries on a night he had as many walks as strikeouts (four each), seemed to lack feel or command of most of his arsenal, and gave up his most earned runs since June 2017.

“I don’t think I would have pitched well anywhere today,” he said.

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Freddie Freeman says situation with agents remains ‘fluid,’ is happy to be a Dodger

ANGELS

From Sarah Valenzuela: The Angels might be done talking about their brawl with the Seattle Mariners, but that fight isn’t done haunting them.

On Tuesday, before the Angels lost to the Chicago White Sox 11-4, the team announced that reliever Archie Bradley was being put on the 15-day injured list because of a right elbow fracture.

The last time he pitched was Saturday. On Sunday, however, while trying to get to the growing fight between the Angels and Mariners, he tripped on the dugout railing and fell on his arm.

“That’s about the only time we could see that he would have injured himself,” athletic trainer Mike Frostad said.

Frostad explained that the radial head in Bradley’s elbow is what’s fractured. He will be shut down from throwing for at least four weeks, but his return to the team might not be for “a couple of months.”

“It’s bone, and bone has to heal, so it’s gonna take time,” Frostad said.

TENNIS

Serena Williams began — and ended — her comeback at Wimbledon after 364 days out of singles competition looking very much like someone who hadn’t competed in just that long. She missed shots, shook her head, rolled her eyes.

In between, there were moments where Williams played very much like someone whose strokes and will have carried her to 23 Grand Slam event titles. She hit blistering serves and strokes, celebrated with arms aloft.

Returning to the site of her last singles match, which she had to stop after less than a set because of an injury on June 29, 2021, and seven of her major championships, the 40-year-old Williams came within two points of victory. But she could not finish the job against an opponent making her Wimbledon debut and bowed out with a 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (10-7) loss to 115th-ranked Harmony Tan of France.

“It’s definitely better than last year,” Williams said. “That’s a start.”

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Rafael Nadal wins opening match at Wimbledon in four sets

LAFC

Carlos Vela re-signed with LAFC on Tuesday, extending his tenure with the Major League Soccer leaders through the 2023 season.

Vela and LAFC finally announced the long-rumored new deal for the 2019 MLS most valuable player during preparations for their match against FC Dallas on Wednesday night.

“For me, Carlos has been the best player in this league for a good part of his time here, and we are eager to see what else he brings to this team and the city,” LAFC general manager John Thorrington said. “We believe Carlos will help us deliver on our ambition to win championships here in L.A.”

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THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1906 — Alex Smith shoots a record 295 to beat brother Willie in the U.S. Open. Alex shoots a 295 at Onwentsia Club Ill.

1933 — Primo Carnera knocks out Jack Sharkey in the sixth round at the Long Island City Bowl to win the world heavyweight title.

1947 — Betty Jameson wins the U.S. Women’s Open by six strokes over amateurs Sally Sessions and Rolly Riley.

1952 — Louise Suggs beats Betty Jameson and Marlene Bauer by seven strokes to win the U.S. Women’s Open.

1956 — Charles Dumas becomes the first high jumper to clear 7 feet, jumping 7 feet, 5/8 inches in the U.S. Olympic trials at Los Angeles.

1957 — Jackie Pung loses the U.S. Women’s Open when she turns in an incorrect scorecard. Betsy Rawls is declared the winner.

1958 — Brazil, led by Pele, beats Sweden 5-2 in Stockholm to become the first team to win the World Cup outside its continent. The 17-year-old, coming off a hat-trick in Brazil’s 5-2 semifinal victory over France, scores twice in the final. Pele’s first and memorable goal comes in the 55th minute to put Brazil ahead 3-1. Pele controls the ball in the penalty area with his thigh, flips it over the head of the defender and smashes it past a helpless Kalle Svensson. Pele seals the win with a headed goal in stoppage time.

1969 — Donna Caponi beats Peggy Wilson by one stroke to win the U.S. Women’s Open.

1986 — Argentina withstands West Germany’s comeback to win the World Cup, 3-2 in Mexico City’s Aztec stadium. Argentina takes a 2-0 lead on Jorge Valdano’s goal 10 minutes into the second half. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Rudi Voller score goals seven minutes apart to tie the game in the 81st minute. Four minutes later Jorge Burruchaga scores the game-winner after getting a superb pass from Diego Maradona.

1990 — Dave Stewart of the Oakland A’s pitches the first of two no-hitters on this day, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 5-0. Fernando Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Dodgers duplicates Stewart’s feat, throwing a 6-0 no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s the first time in major league history that two no-hitters are pitched in the two leagues on the same day.

1991 — Britain’s Nick Brown scores a big upset at Wimbledon, beating 10th-seeded Goran Ivanisevic 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 in the second round. Brown, at 591 the lowest-ranked player in the men’s championship, posts the biggest upset, based on comparative rankings, since the ATP began compiling world rankings in 1973.

1994 — Martina Navratilova sets a Wimbledon record, playing her 266th career match. Navratilova passes Billie Jean King’s record of 265 when she and Manon Bollegraf beat Ingelisa Driehuis and Maja Muric 6-4, 6-2 in a doubles quarterfinal.

2001 — Russian swimmer Roman Sludnov becomes the first person to swim the 100-meter breaststroke in under a minute, breaking a world record for the second time in two days at the national championships in Moscow. Sludnov finishes in 00:59.97.

2004 — Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks becomes the fourth pitcher to record 4,000 strikeouts when he strikes out San Diego’s Jeff Cirillo in the eighth inning of the Padres’ 3-2 win.

2007 — After 16 years in Europe, the NFL shuts down its developmental league.

2008 — Two weeks away from her 20th birthday, Inbee Park becomes the youngest winner of the U.S. Women’s Open by closing with a 2-under 71. Her four-shot victory over Helen Alfredsson, who shot 75, is the largest in the Women’s Open since Karrie Webb won by eight shots at Pine Needles in 2001.

2009 — Indoor tennis at Wimbledon. The new retractable roof over Centre Court is closed after rain halts play during a fourth-round match with Amelie Mauresmo leading top-ranked Dinara Safina, 6-4, 1-4.

2012 — The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency files formal charges against Lance Armstrong, accusing the seven-time Tour de France winner of using performance-enhancing drugs throughout the best years of his career.

2014 — Bernhard Langer beats Jeff Sluman with a birdie on the second playoff hole to win the Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel GC.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Fernando Valenzuela pitches a no-hitter. Watch and listen 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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