NBA free agents will be able to sign their new contracts next Thursday, six days later than originally planned. The delay will allow attorneys for the league and players' union to finish drafting a written version of the new six-year collective bargaining agreement.
Signings will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern time on July 28.
Teams have been negotiating with free agents for more than three weeks, and many have reached tentative agreements. Yesterday, forward Mark Madsen, who was being pursued by Washington and Utah, agreed to a five-year deal to stay with Minnesota.
Free agents still on the market include a number of guards: Miami's Damon Jones, Phoenix's Joe Johnson, the Los Angeles Clippers' Marko Jaric, Portland's Damon Stoudamire, Minnesota's Latrell Sprewell and Atlanta's Tyronn Lue.
Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Sarunas Jasekevicius, the former Euroleague MVP who played at Maryland, has reportedly narrowed his choices to Utah, Indiana and Cleveland.
Under one provision of the new collective bargaining agreement, teams will have a one-time chance ending in October to waive a player under contract and be relieved of any luxury tax liability for that player. . . .
Ronny Turiaf, the Lakers' second-round draft pick last month, will undergo heart surgery on Tuesday to correct a life-threatening, enlarged aortic root, team spokesman John Black said. . . .
Former Orlando Magic head coach Johnny Davis was hired yesterday as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
* BOXING: Bernard Hopkins's appeal of the split decision on July 16 that cost him his undisputed middleweight championship to Jermain Taylor was denied, Taylor's promoter said. Taylor defeated Hopkins in their bout in Las Vegas with two judges awarding the fight to the challenger and one to Hopkins. Hopkins appealed the decision to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, but David Itskowitch said Friday that the panel had denied Hopkins's plea.
* HOCKEY: The Philadelphia Flyers have bought out the contracts of forwards John LeClair and Tony Amonte.
LeClair, 36, spent 10 years with the Flyers. He entered the lockout due $9 million in the final year of a five-year contract, and was to make $6.84 million after the league-wide 24 percent pay cut.
Amonte, a 14-year veteran who started the lockout at about $5.82 million, was due $4.26 million.
* TENNIS: Rafael Nadal moved up to No. 2 in the world rankings after beating Finland's Jarkko Nieminen, 6-2, 7-5, in the semifinals of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, Germany. Nadal has won 33 straight matches on clay.
The win lifted the 19-year-old Spaniard into the final against Gaston Gaudio, who advanced when Russia's Nikolay Davydenko pulled out of their semifinal with the flu while trailing, 6-3, 2-1.
Nadal will pass Australia's Lleyton Hewitt in the rankings when they are updated tomorrow. . . .
Unseeded Robby Ginepri, who upset top seed Andy Roddick on Friday, rallied from a one-set deficit again to beat 10th-seeded Karol Beck, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3, at the RCA Championships in Indianapolis. Ginepri will play in today's final against fellow American Taylor Dent, the fourth seed who topped seventh-seeded Greg Rusedski, 6-4, 6-4, in the other semifinal. . . .
In Amersfoort, the Netherlands, Fernando Gonzalez of Chile overpowered Spain's David Sanchez, 6-2, 6-1, to move into the final of the Priority Telecom Open. Gonzalez will face Argentina's Agustin Calleri, who beat Ivo Minar of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-4.
* AQUATICS: In Montreal, Olympic champion Hu Jia won the 10-meter platform title at the World Swimming Championships, giving China its fourth diving gold medal.
Hu rallied to win on his last dive, finishing with 698.01 points.
Cuba's Jose Antonio Guerra was second, earning his country's first diving medal in the world championships, and Gleb Galperin of Russia took the bronze.
The Chinese have won medals in eight diving events, with two left. China leads the medal standings with four golds and 10 total medals.
David Meca of Spain won the gold medal in the men's 25-kilometer open water swimming race.
* SOCCER: Italian soccer powerhouse Inter Milan canceled its upcoming English tour over concerns about safety after the recent terrorist attacks in London.
* LEGAL: Former Florida A&M football coach Billy Joe has filed a public-records lawsuit against the school, seeking access to documents that could explain why he was fired last month.
-- From News Services