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In Brief


Rockets trade guard Francis to Grizzlies

Oft-injured guard Steve Francis was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday for a conditional second-round NBA Draft pick in 2011.

The Grizzlies also will receive a second-round pick for 2009 and cash. That pick originally belonged to Memphis; it was acquired by the Rockets during last year’s draft, part of the deal that brought forward Donte Greene to Houston. Greene was later traded to Sacramento as part of the trade that brought Ron Artest to the Rockets.

The 6-foot-3-inch Francis has not played this season, though he remained a fan favorite from his previous stint with the team from 1999-2004. He was an All-Star three straight seasons (2002-04) and led the Rockets to the playoffs in 2004, where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.

Also: The Phoenix Suns signed Dee Brown, ending their search for another backup point guard.

Brown appeared in 17 games, the last 11 as a starter, with the Washington Wizards before being released two weeks ago to make room on the roster for trade acquisitions Mike James and Javaris Crittendon.

To launch his newest sneaker, LeBron James and 20,000 fans will turn Quicken Loans Arena into an indoor winter wonderland tonight.

When the Cleveland Cavaliers face the Washington Wizards, James will be wearing a “chalk” version of his signature Nike shoe, a tribute to his pregame ritual of tossing and blowing hand rosin into the air before he takes the court.

Nike will provide packets of confetti for fans to throw along with James, who began the routine a few years ago.


Armstrong, girlfriend expecting baby in June

Lance Armstrong might be busy baby-sitting between two major races next year.

Armstrong, who won the Tour de France seven consecutive years after overcoming testicular cancer, and his girlfriend, Anna Hansen, are expecting a baby in June.

He is scheduled to compete in the Giro d’Italia, which runs from May 9-31, and the Tour de France, which begins July 4.

“Anna and I are thrilled to confirm that we are expecting in June and our families are ecstatic and grateful,” Armstrong said in a statement.

Rae Bazzarre, a spokeswoman for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that the baby was conceived naturally. Armstrong had three children with his ex-wife, Kristin, using in vitro fertilization with sperm he had banked before undergoing chemotherapy.

Also: The San Diego Padres agreed to terms on a one-year deal with infielder Luis Rodriguez.

The switch-hitting Rodriguez batted .287 with 12 RBIs and 22 runs scored in 64 games in his first season with San Diego. Signed by Minnesota as an undrafted free agent in 1997, Rodriguez has a career average of .257 with six home runs and 50 RBIs over parts of four major league seasons.

San Diego also reached minor league deals with pitchers Kevin Correia, Chris Britton and Oneli Perez, and catcher Eliezer Alfonzo.

The New York Yankees have reached an agreement with catcher Kevin Cash on a minor league contract.

Cash batted .225 with three home runs and 15 RBIs in 61 games with the Boston Red Sox last season.

UNLV’s football team received commitments from safety Alex DeGiacomo (6 foot 1 inch, 190 pounds) of El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., and wide receiver Brandon Babineaux (6-4, 190) of Folsom (Calif.) High School.

DeGiacomo also visited Kansas State and might be an early signee, meaning he would be eligible for spring practices. Babineaux was all-league two years in a row.

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