So much for a pleasant, drama-free Texas Rangers media luncheon on Thursday afternoon. That's when Texas general manager Jon Daniels ducked out of the banquet room at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel and took a call from Mike Moye, Josh Hamilton's agent. Moye informed the club that Hamilton had agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Angels. He's leaving the Rangers after five seasons -- and leaving the club without a chance to make a final pitch, something they hoped would be the case. "This wasn't like restricted free agency in the NFL with an offer sheet," Daniels said. "I never expected he was going to tell us to the dollar what they had and a chance to offer it. Our full expectation was that the phone call was going to be before he signed, certainly not after." (FOX Sports Southwest) Comment
Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer isn't nearly as entertained as about 140,000 Twitter followers. [Priefer] fired a brushback pitch at his activist punter after Chris Kluwe was fined for violating the NFL's uniform policy by taping "Vote Ray Guy" over the Pro Football Hall of Fame emblem on his jersey against Chicago. ... Priefer casually was asked at the end of his weekly news conference whether he would hide the Post-It notes from Kluwe this week to prevent a repeat of the stunt, and he used the question to take his punter to task. "Those distractions are getting old for me, to be quite honest with you," Priefer said Thursday, Dec. 13. "Do I think Ray Guy deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. But there's other ways of going about it." (Pioneer Press) Comment
The Bench Mob, they are not. The Thunder has had only minimal minutes to offer first- and second-year players since becoming a league heavyweight. But [Scott Brooks'] reluctance to award even those minutes to his younger players through the years, dating to D.J. White four seasons ago, continues to raise two popular questions: what does the Thunder have buried on its bench and why exactly aren't those players playing outside of garbage time? ... [Brooks] on Thursday spoke candidly about his philosophy regarding his rotations, providing details and insight into the decisions he's made since 2008. "I don't believe you play young players just to play them," Brooks told The Oklahoman. "I believe you play players that earn minutes." (The Oklahoman) Comment
Oh, my achin' back: Kobe Bryant, who suffered spasms during the Lakers' 116-107 loss to the Knicks, looks for sympathy from fans while wearing a heating pad during a play stoppage at Madison Square Garden. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
SI photographer Simon Bruty goes behind the scenes of the year's most important photos.
Antoine Vermette scores two as the Coyotes beat the Avalanche
Kings score six in shutout of Canadiens