Thursday, October 2, 2003

Ex-Bearcat Johnson signs with Suns


Enquirer news services

PHOENIX - The Phoenix Suns signed free agent guard DerMarr Johnson on Wednesday.

Johnson, a first-round draft pick out of Cincinnati by Atlanta in 2000, spent three seasons with the Hawks. He did not play last season after cracking four vertebrae in his neck in a September traffic accident.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and one assist in 150 games with Atlanta.

TIMBERWOLVES: Forward Kevin Garnett signed a five-year contract extension.

Team owner Glen Taylor had said that if the two sides could not reach an agreement before the season started Oct. 29, he would prefer to halt negotiations until after the season.

Garnett will make $28 million in 2003-04, the final year of a six-year, $126 million deal. Neither side would discuss terms of the new deal, but it is believed to have a higher per-season average than the $21 million of Garnett's current contract.

LAKERS: Bryon Russell signed Wednesday.

Russell averaged 4.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 70 games with the Washington Wizards last season.

Russell, a 6-foot-7 forward-guard, has career averages of 8.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

TRAIL BLAZERS: Guard Damon Stoudamire was reinstated to the team Wednesday, having served a nearly three-month suspension for his arrest on drug charges.

The team also said he won't have to pay a $250,000 fine.

Instead, Stoudamire said he would donate $100,000 to an early-childhood education program in the Portland area. He also said he voluntarily entered a drug treatment program and had been clean for 90 days.

CELTICS: Free agent guard Mateen Cleaves joined Boston's training camp roster.

Cleaves helped Michigan State win the 2000 NCAA championship and played in 17 games for the Sacramento Kings last season.


CYCLONES: Goaltender Randy Petruk was assigned to the Cyclones by the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes. Last season, Petruk split time between the ECHL's Florida Everblades and the American Hockey League's Lowell Lock Monsters. In six games with the Everblades, Petruk had a 3-2-1 record with an 87.9 save percentage and a 3.78 goals-against average. In 30 games with Lowell, Petruk had a goals-against average of 3.07 with a 91.7 save percentage.

Petruk played with the International Hockey League version of the Cyclones from 1999-2001.


AMERICAN EXPRESS CHAMPIONSHIP: The World Golf Championships could go a long way toward identifying the best player of the year.

Tiger Woods, Mike Weir, Davis Love III and Jim Furyk return from long layoffs to compete in the American Express Championship, a $6 million tournament that serves as the starting line for what should be a fascinating finish to the season.

At stake, along with $1.05 million for the winner, is a chance for a half-dozen players to state their cases as PGA Tour player of the year.

Until this year, about all that mattered at the American Express Championship was the prestige of the trophy and the size of the check. Woods already had wrapped up the big awards.

Now he is only one of the contenders.

Weir has won three times, including the Masters, and is fifth on the money list. Furyk won the U.S. Open, another PGA Tour event and is rarely out of the top 10.

Play starts today at the Capital City Club north of Atlanta, a relatively new course that some players say could be one of the toughest tests of the year.

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