NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, Wimbledon, Poker + Free Plays for Wednesday, July 4, 2010

Antonio Esfandiari takes down WSOP One Drop top prize

Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari has won the richest event ever in poker, the $1 million buy-in event at the 2012 WSOP, the Big One for One Drop. On the 85th and final hand, Esfandiari held on to win with three fives vs. Sam Trickett’s flush draw when neither player got help on the turn or river. The $18,346,673 first prize was the richest ever in poker, shattering the previous record of $12,100,000 won by Jamie Gold in the 2006 WSOP main event.

Williams to stay with the Nets

Deron Williams will stay with the Brooklyn Nets, making the announcement on twitter. The All-Star point guard agreed to a five-year deal worth approximately $98.75 million choosing Brooklyn over his hometown Dallas Mavericks. Williams will join Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace in opening the Nets new crib, the Barclay’s Center. The Nets are also negotiating to acquire Dwight Howard from the Magic.

The Phoenix Suns have agreed to extend a 4-year maximum offer sheet worth $58 million to New Orleans Hornets restricted free agent guard Eric Gordon. The official offer cannot be extended until July 11th and the Hornets will have three days to match it which they say they will. The oft-injured Gordon has a career average of 18.2 points, 3.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game with the Clippers and Hornets and is a candidate to make the U.S. National Team that will compete in the 2012 London Olympics. Gordon was the key piece in the deal that brought Chris Paul to the Clippers.

Goodell upholds Bountygate suspensions

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld his Bountygate suspensions of the former and current Saints …. Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith.

In a letter to the players Goodell wrote in part: “Throughout this entire process, including your appeals, and despite repeated invitations and encouragement to do so, none of you has offered any evidence that would warrant reconsideration of your suspensions. Instead, you elected not to participate meaningfully in the appeal process …”

“Although you claimed to have been ‘wrongfully accused with insufficient evidence,’ your lawyers elected not to ask a single question of the principal investigators, both of whom were present at the hearing (as your lawyers had requested); you elected not to testify or to make any substantive statement, written or oral, in support of your appeal; you elected not to call a single witness to support your appeal; and you elected not to introduce a single exhibit addressing the merits of your appeal. Instead, your lawyers raised a series of jurisdictional and procedural objections that generally ignore the CBA, in particular its provisions governing ‘conduct detrimental’ determinations …”

Goodell informed the players that they still have an opportunity to reduce their suspensions.

“While this decision constitutes my final and binding determination under the CBA, I of course retain the inherent authority to reduce a suspension should facts be brought to my attention warranting the exercise of that discretion,” Goodell wrote. “The record confirms that each of you was given multiple chances to meet with me to present your side of the story. You are each still welcome to do so.”

Jagr on the move to Dallas

Jaromir Jagr is on the move again after signing a one-year deal with the Dallas Stars for $4.5 million dollars. Jagr played with the Philadelphia Flyers last year scoring 19 goals and 35 assists good for 54 points in 73 games. He’s eighth on the all-time NHL scoring list with 665 goals and 988 assists for 1653 points in 1346 games. Jagr also played three years in Russia before returning to the NHL in 2011.

MLB Diamond Dust

The 183 runs scored on Tuesday were the most scored on any day this year. The Pirates have won six of their last seven games and are eight games over .500 for the first time in 20 years. Tampa Bay has beaten the Yankee nine straight times at Tropicana Field. The Astros have lost eight straight road games getting outscored 52-19. The Colorado Rockies are just 7-19 in their L26 games. The over is 8-1 in the Brewers L9 home games. The over is 10-3 in the Angels L13 games. The under is 12-3-1 in the A’s L16 games. The under is 8-2 in the mariners L10 games.

Serena through to the semis

In Tuesday’s action at Wimbledon, Serena Williams eliminated defending champion Petra Kvitova 6-3, 7-5 to reach her eighth Wimbledon semifinal. Serena is an early -180 favorite over Victoria Azarenka (+140) in one of Thursday’s semifinal matchups. German Angelique Kerber is a -155 favorite over Pole Agnieszka Radwa?ska (+120) in the other woman’s semi.

The last American standing on the Men’s side has fallen as Mardy Fish was beaten in four set by fifth-seeded Joe Willie Tsonga. The 10th-seeded Fish was looking to gain back-to-back Wimbledon quarterfinals. With Fish eliminated, American men are guaranteed to to extend their winless run in Grand Slam events to 35, twice the previous winless streak. The last American man to win a Grand Slam event was Andy Roddick in the 2003 U.S. Open.

Free Plays

(MLB) Mets (Young) +115 over Philadelphia (Lee) 1:05 PM EST

(MLB) BoSox (Cook)/Oakland (Griffin) Under 7.5 -115 4:05 PM EST

(MLB) Anaheim Angels (Santana) -120 Cleveland (Lowe) 4:05 PM EST

(MLB) ChiSox (Axelrod) +105 Texas (Feldman) 7:05 PM EST