Avisail Garcia robs Chris Davis of game-tying HR with incredible catch

Holy cow! Chicago White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia made perhaps the defensive play of the year on Saturday, robbing Baltimore’s Chris Davis of a game-tying home run with a sensational leaping catch in the ninth inning.

After blowing a two-run lead and Jeff Samardzija’s chance at a victory in the top of the eighth inning, the White Sox had regained the lead in the bottom half on pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck’s RBI double. That set the stage for what momentarily felt like heartbreak again for White Sox fans, as Davis teed off against closer David Robertson.

As the baseball soared off the bat, everybody in the ballpark and watching at home anticipated the baseball landing in or perhaps clearing the Orioles bullpen in right field. Even those not watching would have anticipated the same thing based on the sound of the bat, the initial silence of Hawk Harrelson, and then his disgruntled tone as he finally described the action. 

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However, if you focus in on Garcia the whole way, you can see he had the baseball measured, and was just hoping to have enough space to make the play. He did, and with a perfectly timed leap snatched the ball out of the air to record a thrilling second out. One batter later, Robertson recorded the final out, striking out Matt Wieters to lock up the 3-2 victory. 

As Harrelson and broadcast partner Steve Stone later noted after calming down from the shear joy of Garcia’s perhaps game-saving catch, it’s a play an outfielder 6-foot-2 or under would have struggled to make. Even if the outfielder’s name is Mike Trout, it would have required a Superman like effort to gain that much air while timing it all so perfectly. 

(MLB.TV)

Fortunately for the White Sox, Garcia is 6-foot-4. But it still wasn’t easy for him physically. He just made it look easy. 

By the way, if you thought Garcia got some height on the first jump, check out his celebration. 

(MLB.TV)

You go, Avisail!  

It’s not often you see a player celebrate his own defensive play like that, but in this case it was certainly warranted. 

Of course, one person who was even happier and certainly very much appreciative of Garcia’s effort was Robertson. After the game, he decided it was appropriate to give Garcia the game ball.


Garcia was also a contributor at the plate, driving in Chicago’s first run with a single in the first inning. But it’s his defense that commands the headlines on this Fourth of July, as his leaping catch prevented some unwanted fireworks in Chicago. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Kris Bryant homers twice, drives in six in big Cubs win

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew’s daily wrap up. We’ll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

After a quiet June, it seems Kris Bryant may be getting ready to get hot again in July.

In the Cubs 7-2 victory against the Miami Marlins on Saturday, Bryant launched his first two home runs since June 22 — when he homered twice off Clayton Kershaw — and did so in each of the first two innings.

In the first inning, Bryant connected for a two-run homer off Miami starter Jarred Cosart that may have clipped the new left field videoboard. One inning later, Bryant unloaded against Cosart for a grand slam, which broke the game wide open and gave him a career-high six RBIs.

The Cubs wouldn’t need any more offense the rest of the game, and wouldn’t get any either. After Bryant’s slam, they couldn’t muster another hit against Miami’s bullpen.

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Veteran left-hander Clayton Richard picked up the win for Chicago in his Cubs debut. That was interesting for a couple reasons. First, Richard was only acquired in a minor trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. Second, he became the 2,000th player to suit up for the Cubs during a regular season game.

He celebrated the opportunity and the milestone with a quality outing, holding Miami to two runs over 6 1/3 innings.

ZACK GREINKE EXTENDS SCORELESS STREAK TO 27 2/3 INNINGS

If you’re looking for the National League’s starting pitcher in the All-Star game, look no further than Zack Greinke.

The Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander has been outstanding all season long, but he’s taken his game to another level over this past four starts by posting 27 2/3 scoreless innings. That’s a career best for Greinke, but he still has a ways to go to equal Orel Hershiser’s all-time (and franchise) record of 59 consecutive scoreless innings

Greinke was good for seven scoreless in the Dodgers 4-3 win against the New York Mets on Saturday. Greinke allowed just four hits while striking out four. He finished strong, retiring the last 11 batters he faced, and left in good position with his Dodgers leading by four. However, the Mets made things interesting against the Los Angeles bullpen before ultimately falling short.

On the other side, Matt Harvey admittedly struggled getting into a rhythm with his extra day of rest. In five innings, he allowed three runs on seven hits and five walks. That’s the very definition of laboring, and it’s a concern if the Mets go with a six-man rotation for any length of time.

YANKEES MAKE IT BACK-TO-BACK WALK-OFF WINS

After entering the month of July without a single walk-off win this season, the New York Yankees made it two straight in Saturday’s 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Rays.

On Friday, catcher Brian McCann provided the heroics, launched a three-run homer in the 12th inning. On Saturday, it was the Rays doing the heavy lifting for New York thanks to a costly throwing error by reliever Brad Boxberger.

After Mark Teixeira started the ninth inning with a double and Chris Young drew a walk, rookie Ramon Flores dropped a sacrifice bunt attempt that Boxberger fielded and then threw wide to first base. As the ball skipped away, pinch-runner Jose Pirela raced around from second to score the winner.

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The victory was thrilling, but also somewhat bittersweet for New York. Starter Michael Pineda was excellent, shutting out the Rays on five hits over seven innings. He struck out 10. Unfortunately, closer Dellin Betances was unable to lock down the four-out save. In the ninth, he served up a game-tying home run to Steven Souza Jr. Souza had entered the game in an 0-for-25 slump with 15 strikeouts.

A win is a win, which extended the Yankees lead in the AL East to two full games over the Baltimore Orioles. A loss is also a loss for the Rays, giving them seven straight. They’ve gone from first place to three games back this week.

KENDALL GRAVEMAN OUTDUELS KING FELIX

As is seemingly the case every year, the Oakland A’s have another outstanding young pitcher in Kendall Graveman that very few people are talking about.

The 25-year-old right-hander was sent to the minor leagues earlier this season for a minor tuneup. Since returning on May 23, he’s posted eight quality starts in nine outings and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of them. More recently, he’s pitched at least seven innings in six straight without allowing more than two runs.

That hot streak continued on Saturday, as Graveman tossed seven scoreless frames to outduel King Felix Hernandez in Oakland’s 2-0 victory against the Seattle Mariners.

Hernandez himself pitched seven innings, but was a bit shaky at times. Though Oakland only scored twice, Hernandez allowed a season-high 10 hits. He had a particularly tough time dealing with leadoff man Billy Burns. Burns reached twice, scored twice and stole a bag. Ben Zobrist was responsible for knocking Burns home both times, with a single in the first and sacrifice fly in the seventh.

With the win, Oakland moved to within one-half game of Seattle in the standings. The A’s currently occupy the cellar in the AL West. Also of note, it’s the first time Oakland has defeated Hernandez at O.co Coliseum in 13 starts.

Want to see more from Saturday’s slate of games? Check out our scoreboard.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Daily Dime: Going with Carlos Martinez, Joey Votto, Troy Tulowitzki and even Mike Trout

Here are 10 DFS recommendations for Saturday but be sure to double-check the weather and lineups before first pitch approaches.

Carlos Martinez, SP, vs. SD (Despaigne), $10000 at FanDuel: His control could still use some improvement, but Martinez has a 25.9 K% combined with a 2.20 GB/FB ratio this season. He also sports a 10.4 SwStr%, so he’s become an elite pitcher, thanks mostly to his newfound ability to get left handers out. The Cardinals are one of the most favored teams Saturday (-185), while the Padres’ .668 OPS against RHP has been the fifth worst in all of baseball this season.

Joey Votto, 1B, vs. Mil (Nelson), $3400: He has nine homers over 127 at bats with a .406 OBP and a .504 SLG at home this year. In fact, he has more walks (31) than strikeouts (30) at GAB. Jimmy Nelson has allowed a .308 BAA with a 1.76 WHIP when facing LHB.

Robinson Cano, 2B, at Oak (Graveman), $2700: He’s 7-for-14 with two doubles and a homer over his past three games, so I’m going to continue to go with someone with such a strong track record at such a cheap price.

Adrian Beltre, 3B, vs. Tex (Santiago), $2600: Speaking of bargains with strong track records, Beltre hasn’t had an OPS lower than .879 over his previous five seasons before this one, and yet he’s not priced as a top-25 third baseman here. He also owns a career 1.335 OPS over 20 at bats versus Hector Santiago.

Ryan Raburn, OF, at Pit (Locke), $2400: It’s back to the well with Raburn, who’s batting .313/.402/.563 versus southpaws this season. He also usually hits cleanup against them, while Jeff Locke has a 1.57 WHIP when facing righties this year.

Alex Gordon, OF, vs. Min (Pelfrey), $2400: It’s not ideal where Gordon has been hitting in Kansas City’s lineup, but he owns a .392 OBP against RHP this season and a 1.212 OPS against Mike Pelfrey during his career.

Carlos Ruiz, C, at ATL (Wood), $2300: Cameron Rupp might very well be taking over the Phillies’ main catching job, but Ruiz is batting .333/.400/.476 against lefties this season, so he’s a bargain here assuming he’s back in Philadelphia’s lineup. Ruiz is also 6-for-9 with a walk and five RBI with no strikeouts against Travis Wood during his career.

Troy Tulowitzki, SS, at Ari (Corbin), $3700: He’s been a disappointment this year and typically is much better at home, but Tulowitzki has hit .424/.435/.661 against lefties this season, and he’ll be facing a southpaw Saturday who will be making his first start since 2013. Chase Field is also a great hitter’s park, and shortstop remains a really thin position, so this seems like a no brainer.

Mike Trout, OF, at Tex (Rodriguez), $5100: Just to let you know, Trout is really good at baseball, but he also owns a 1.036 OPS against LHP this season. To be clear, if you used the lineup listed so far with some big names, there would still be $400 available on FanDuel.

Manny Machado, 3B, at CHW (Samardzija), $4100: He’s 5-for-6 with two homers during his career versus Jeff Samardzija, which is both a small sample size yet pretty impressive nevertheless.

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Anibal Sanchez dominates Blue Jays, but Tigers lose Miguel Cabrera to injury

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew’s daily wrap up. We’ll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

Detroit Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez nearly carved out a rare place in the history books on Friday night. The 31-year-old from Maracay, Venezuela came up five outs short of pitching his second career no-hitter in Detroit’s 8-6 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Yes, that score is deceiving. We’ll get to that in a moment. 

As for Sanchez, he was looking to become the 28th pitcher in MLB history to throw multiple no-hitters. He also pitched a no-hitter for the then Florida Marlins on Sept. 6, 2006 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The near nine-year stretch between no-hitters would have been the second longest between a pitcher’s first and second. 

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It takes a special performance just to notch to one no-hitter. That’s why there have only been 289 of them in the league’s history. Sanchez was close to that level on Friday, allowing just two baserunners on a pair of walks through the first seven innings. He just didn’t have enough to cross the finish line. 

Sanchez ended up allowing four runs on three hits in the inning. That’s because manager Brad Ausmus elected to stick with Sanchez despite his 110 pitches and the clear fact he was wearing out. It nearly proved costly as the Blue Jays offense caught fire and plated six in the innings. Joakim Soria silenced them in the ninth for his 21st save. 

The results were good, but the news isn’t all good for Detroit. First baseman Miguel Cabrera was forced to leave the game in the fourth inning with a strained left calf. He’s set to undergo an MRI and there’s concern his absence could be lengthy. 

YANKEES PICK UP FIRST WALKOFF WIN IN 2015

The New York Yankees took their fans on a roller coaster ride Friday night, but made sure everyone went home happy with their first walk-off win since Derek Jeter’s final home game last September.

Brian McCann played the role of hero, launching a three-run home run off Tampa Bay reliever Steve Geltz in the 12th to set off fireworks and wrap up the 7-5 victory. 

The Yankees needed another big swing just to get to that spot though. Trailing by three runs in the eighth, Mark Teixeira launched a game-tying three-run homer off Kevin Jepsen. That wiped out an excellent start from Tampa’s Chris Archer, who tossed 6 2/3 scoreless with eight strikeouts.  

The resilient Rays pulled back ahead in the 12th on RBI singles from Kevin Kiermaier and Rene Rivera, but New York would not denied. Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez and Teixeira all reached to set up McCann’s big swing. 

ROYALS ALSO NOTCH FIRST WALKOFF WIN

The Yankees and Kansas City were the only two teams with a walkoff win entering play on Friday. That all changed in a matter of minutes. 

Thanks to the speed of Lorenzo Cain and a well-placed ground ball by Jarrod Dyson, the Royals celebrated a 3-2, 10-inning victory against the visiting Minnesota Twins. 

Cain led off the 10th with a double and went to third with one out on a wild pitch. Dyson then hit a chopper to first baseman Joe Mauer. Mauer fired home, but the tag was a split-second late as a headfirst sliding Cain got the plate with his left hand. 

With the win, Kansas City snapped a season-high four-game losing streak and moved to 4 1/2 games ahead of Minnesota in the AL Central. Wade Davis earned the win on the hill with a scoreless 10th inning. His season ERA was lowered to 0.26.  

 

 

CARDINALS LOSE FOURTH STRAIGHT AT HOME

It turns out the St. Louis Cardinals aren’t unbeatable after all.  After being swept in a quick two-game series by the Chicago White Sox, the Cardinals have now lost two straight to San Diego Padres, running their losing streak to four.

On Friday, they fell 2-1 despite a strong effort from right-hander Michael Wacha. Wacha allowed just one run over seven outstanding innings. Closer Trevor Rosenthal, who had allowed just two earned runs all season, cracked in the ninth however, allowing a run on a Yangervis Solarte tripled and Jedd Gyorko single. That run would be the difference. 

For San Diego, Andrew Cashner was on point, holding St. Louis to one run over six innings. Three Padres relievers combined to allowed just one, with Craig Kimbrel picking up his 21st save. Gyorko was the offensive hero, as he knocked in both of San Diego’s runs. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Free-agent roundup: Day 2 brings Wade resolution and Aldridge adjustments

In case you missed these reports …

• The biggest news of the day found Miami Heat icon Dwyane Wade, a surprise free agent after opting out of his contract Monday, coming back to the club at one year for $20 million. That’s a hefty price for a 33-year-old guard without much three-point prowess, but Wade has sacrificed max-level money several times in the past for the good of the franchise. This deal also allows the Heat to avoid the public relations nightmare of offering the best player in franchise history (adjusted for seasons played, at least) a relatively low salary while still keeping them in play to add free agent Kevin Durant next summer.

If that’s not enough, Yahoo’s own Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Heat have worked their way into this summer’s multi-team pursuit of power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

• Meanwhile, the only difference between Wade and Monta Ellis is more wins, three championship rings, and three years and $24 million. Marc Stein and Chris Broussard of ESPN.com reported that the Indiana Pacers and Ellis have agreed to terms on a four-year, $44-million deal to bring athleticism and scoring punch to a squad looking to get faster and more versatile. Woj had previously reported that Ellis and the Pacers were in serious negotiations. Our Dan Devine likes the fit quite a bit, particularly because Indiana seems prepared to cover for the explosive scorer’s clear weaknesses as a defender.

• The Dallas Mavericks will replace Ellis with Wesley Matthews, added on a four-year contract at a dollar value that will not be finalized until they hear back from targets Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan. Matthews apparently turned down a more lucrative $64-million offer from the Sacramento Kings but opted to play for the considerably more stable Mavericks. Matthews probably owes agent Jeff Austin a meal of his choice, because there were no assurances that the market would be there for an admittedly excellent player still rehabbing from a torn Achilles tendon.

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 13: Greg Monroe #10 of the Detroit Pistons handles the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Quicken Loans Arena on April 13, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)• Those small-market teams get all the breaks. Despite heavy interest from the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, erstwhile Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe will join the Milwaukee Bucks on a three-season, $50-million max-level contract with a player option after the second year. Our Kelly Dwyer thinks that the Bucks could be “a perfect fit” for Monroe, who should add options to a limited offense.

• News we largely assumed to be true is now official — Tim Duncan will return to the San Antonio Spurs for at least one more season. Although he is technically a free agent, Duncan joined the franchise’s pitch meeting with Aldridge and has been a part of any Spurs-related projections and analysis this offseason. The 39-year-old legend was the team’s most consistent player in an epic first-round loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and should occupy a major role for the title contender again in 2014-15.

• Knicks fans clamoring for an early free-agent bounty will have to settle for a move more akin to a consolation prize. Veteran shooting guard Arron Afflalo will join the team for two years at $16 million with a player option after one, reasonable terms for a solid, if unspectacular, all-around player. Ramona Shelbure of ESPN.com was the first to report the deal.

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The Knicks are also potentially on the brink of landing center Robin Lopez, another quality player who will nonetheless not inspire visions of the rebirth of Walt Frazier and Willis Reed. Phil Jackson has yet to make any moves that will convince Knicks fans that he can lead them back to contention, but the reality is that a franchise as dysfunctional as this one is not in a position to do anything of the sort. Minor victories still count.

Several more Wednesday’s deals are worthy of attention.

Suns clear cap space, break up Morris twins

One day after the San Antonio Spurs dumped center Tiago Splitter to free up cap space to sign top available free agent LaMarcus Aldridge, the Phoenix Suns rid themselves of roughly $8.4 million in 2015-16 salary in the hopes of making the same move. As reported by Woj, the Suns have dealt forward Marcus Morris, veteran wing Danny Granger, and young wing Reggie Bullock to the Detroit Pistons for a 2020 second-round pick. That’s about as close as a team can get to trading three players for nothing concrete, but the Suns need the flexibility to make this offseason a tremendous success.

Their pursuit of that goal has required them to give up Morris, a solid young player capable of contributing at both forward spots. He averaged 10.4 ppg in 2014-15 and has shot at least 35 percent from long range in three of his first four seasons, which should give Stan Van Gundy some flexibility and options as the Pistons remake the frontcourt with Greg Monroe gone to Milwaukee. Morris will also average only $5 million in salary over the next four seasons, so he will remain affordable well into the future.

The worry for the Suns is what happens if Aldridge picks another destination, and not just because they just got rid of a capable player for the mere possibility of adding the four-time All-Star. Morris signed his contract extension as part of a 2-for-1 deal with his twin brother Markieff Morris totaling $52 million over four seasons — the Morrises literally get their paychecks direct-deposited into the same bank account. (They are also currently facing matching felony assault charges.) When they agreed to those terms, the twins likely thought they’d play together for a long while. Not suprisingly, Markieff was not very excited by the news of Thursday’s trade:


If Aldridge picks Phoenix, then Markieff is expendable and the Suns can trade him to the Dallas Mavericks as part of a sign-and-trade to complete the addition of new center Tyson Chandler. If Aldridge goes elsewhere, though, then the Suns must find a way to please Markieff (the superior twin) or find a suitable replacement in a market with rapidly dwindling options. It’s clear why Phoenix made this trade, but it’s definitely a risk.

Blazers continue to press forward, add underrated Ed Davis

No matter what their assistant coaches say, the Portland Trail Blazers are still technically in the mix to bring back Aldridge. Nevertheless, general manager Neil Olshey should be commended for proceeding in a way that will ensure the franchise and its freshly extended point guard do not fall too far into irrelevance. Olshey’s latest move involves bringing in 26-year-old big man Ed Davis at $20 million over three years, terms reported by Woj. Davis will either slide into the starting lineup to replace Aldridge or serve as a very capable backup big man.

Davis had the best season of his career with the Lakers in 2014-15, averaging 8.3 points and 7.6 rebounds over 23.3 minutes per game with a PER of 20.0. Davis is a limited offensive player — 71.4 of his field goal attempts came inside of three feet — but he finishes well and brings defensive activity to a Blazers squad that will need to replace the presence of unrestricted free agent Robin Lopez. New additions Davis, Mason Plumlee, and Al-Farouq Aminu should give the Blazers a versatile and energetic frontcourt, albeit one that will sorely miss the scoring of Aldridge.

Then comes Dudley: Wizards bring in new stretch four

Ernie Grunfeld wasted little time in finding a replacement for the departing Paul Pierce, although it’s hard to say that they got someone to mimic his production. As reported by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, the Washington Wizards have obtained veteran wing Jared Dudley from the Milwaukee Bucks for a future second-round pick.

Jared Dudley defends the man he's replacing. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)At 29, Dudley is still relatively young and has proven his value as a career 39.6 percent three-point shooter and willing defender. Expect him to play 20 to 25 minutes per game at small forward and as a stretch four, although a breakout campaign from Otto Porter could minimize his role a bit. Dudley recently opted into the final year of his contract and will make roughly $4.25 million before becoming a free agent next summer.

While Dudley represents good value for Washington, he is pretty emphatically does not bring Pierce’s reputation as a clutch performer. Unless the Wizards add another vet such as David West, they will have to depend on improvement and maturity from guards John Wall and Bradley Beal to compensate for Pierce’s leadership and mettle.

Pistons go big for Baynes

Sometimes it pays to be associated with a championship organization. The loss of Greg Monroe pushed Detroit to act quickly in adding another big man, and they did just that by agreeing to terms with San Antonio Spurs reserve Aron Baynes on a three-year contract that could pay up to $20 million, according to a report from Stein. The 28-year-old New Zealander put forth solid playoff performances to help San Antonio to the 2014 title and averaged a career-high 16.0 minutes per game and PER of 15.9 in 2014-15, although he is probably best known as a designated fouler during Gregg Popovich’s Hack-A-Shaq flights of fancy.

This is a pretty serious payout for a player who has contributed only intermittently for an organization with a long history of maximizing the effectiveness of its role players. For the sake of comparison, Memphis Grizzlies addition Brandan Wright has a more established record of more impressive personal success and is set to sign for $18 million over three years. Of course, the Pistons are trying to trudge their way back to respectability and may have to overpay players like Baynes to build out a more complete roster. Value is never determined in a vacuum.

Elsewhere

• The Brooklyn Nets have added Shane Larkin as a backup point guard at $3 million over two seasons, including a player option for the second. Larkin tried his best on a poor New York Knicks team in 2014-15 before losing playing time to upstart rookie Langston Galloway. Larkin figures to serve as a backup to Deron Williams and most crucially will not have to find a new apartment.

• Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that the Indiana Pacers will re-sign big man Lavoy Allen for three years at $12 million. With Roy Hibbert almost certainly leaving Indianapolis, the 6-9 Allen could build on his 2014-15 mark of 17.0 minutes per game as the Pacers embrace smaller, more versatile lineups.

• The Atlanta Hawks have agreed to a multi-year deal with 7-3 center Walter Tavares, the 43rd pick in the 2014 draft. The Cape Verde native spent last season with Gran Canaria in Spain and is considered quite raw, although his height and 7-9 wingspan provide considerable hope that he can become a contributor. It would not be surprising to see the 23-year-old Tavares spend some time in the D-League next season.

• The Sacramento Kings have added 26-year-old wing James Anderson on a multi-year deal. A first-round pick of the Spurs in 2010, the 6-6 Anderson spent 2013-14 with the Philadelphia 76ers before playing last season for Žalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania. Expect him to occupy a spot at the end of the bench.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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