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Off the WIre

by Frankie Frisco | May 25, 2021 at 2:08 a.m.

FOOTBALL

Finley to transfer to Auburn

Former LSU quarterback TJ Finley is transferring to SEC Western Division rival Auburn. Finley announced his decision Monday with a video posted on social media. Finley started five games last season as a freshman. The former three-star recruit passed for 941 yards with 5 touchdowns against 5 interceptions. It's unclear whether he'll have a chance to compete with Bo Nix for the starting job. Nix started every game for Auburn his first two seasons under Gus Malzahn, who was replaced by Bryan Harsin. Nix is currently backed up by Grant Loy and freshman Dematrius Davis.

Jones: Ready to leave Falcons

Wide receiver Julio Jones said he's ready to leave the Atlanta Falcons. The 32-year-old star told FS1 "Undisputed" host Shannon Sharpe via telephone that "I'm outta there" in a brief interview. Falcons General Manager Terry Fontenot has been reportedly entertaining trade offers for Jones since last month. When asked where he wants to play, Jones replied, "Right now, I wanna win." It was unclear if Jones knew he was live on TV. An assistant to Jimmy Sexton, Jones' agent, told The Associated Press that Sexton was unavailable. A message was left seeking comment from Fox Sports.

A&M WR off to Indiana

The Indiana Hoosiers announced Monday that Texas A&M wide receiver Camron Buckley is transferring into the program. Buckley graduated from Texas A&M in December and will be eligible immediately. The 6-2, 190-pound Texan played in 39 games, making four starts, and caught 62 passes for 877 yards and 4 touchdowns during his career there. He missed all of last season with an injury. Buckley's best season was 2018 when he had 34 receptions for 474 yards and 1 touchdown. He is the eighth player to transfer to Indiana since the end of last season.

Rodgers misses first OTA

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers wasn't present for the first day of organized team activities Monday, according to a person familiar with the situation. These OTA sessions are voluntary, but Rodgers generally has participated in them in the past. ESPN first reported Rodgers wasn't with the team Monday. Rodgers' decision not to participate this time comes amid reports that the reigning MVP wants out of Green Bay, where he has spent his entire NFL career. ESPN reported in the hours before the draft that the three-time MVP doesn't want to return to the Packers. Later that week, Packers CEO Mark Murphy wrote in a column posted on the Packers' website that the team "is very much aware" of Rodgers' concerns and that "this is an issue that we have been working on for several months."

BASKETBALL

NBA Africa formed

The NBA announced Monday that it has formed NBA Africa, which will oversee all league business on the continent, including the Basketball Africa League. At least five former NBA players -- Junior Bridgeman, Grant Hill, Joakim Noah, Congo native Dikembe Mutombo and South Sudan native Luol Deng -- are investors in the venture. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum will be on the board of directors. Silver said the current enterprise value of NBA Africa is "nearly $1 billion," though amounts of the league and individual investments were not disclosed. The league said some of its primary areas of focus with the venture are to grow the BAL and to launch additional NBA academies in Africa. "The growth and development is something we're all enormously proud of," Silver said. There are at least 55 players currently in the NBA who were either born in Africa or have a parent from there. The NBA has played three summer exhibitions in Africa in recent years and there are hopes for more, but there are no firm plans yet to bring preseason or regular-season games to the continent.

Clarkson wins Sixth Man award

Utah's Jordan Clarkson, the only player to come off the bench and score 40 points in a game this season, was announced Monday as the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year. And his closest competition was from a teammate: Utah's Joe Ingles was second, marking the first time the top two finishers for this award came from the same franchise. It's the first time a Jazz player has won the award. Clarkson finished with 65 of the 100 first-place votes cast from a global panel of reporters who cover the league and appeared on all but five of the ballots. Ingles got 34 of the remaining 35 first-place votes. New York's Derrick Rose, the other first-place vote-getter, was third, while Dallas teammates Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. were fourth and fifth, respectively. Clarkson averaged a career-high 18.4 points this season, coming off the bench in 67 of his 68 appearances.

HOCKEY

Maple Leafs go up 2-1

Morgan Rielly scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, Jack Campbell made 27 saves, and the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series. William Nylander scored his third goal in as many games for Toronto, which hasn't won a playoff series since 2004 and can go up 3-1 in Game 4 back at the Bell Centre tonight. Nick Suzuki had the lone goal for Montreal, and Carey Price stopped 27 shots.

Islanders stun Penguins

New York's Josh Bailey took advantage of a sloppy giveaway by Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry, sending the puck into the wide-open net 51 seconds into the second overtime to give the Islanders a 3-2 victory in Game 5 on Monday night. Jarry ventured out of the Pittsburgh net to handle a loose puck and instead fed it right to Bailey, who gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series with the easiest of his three goals of the playoffs. Game 6 is in New York on Wednesday. Ilya Sorokin stopped 48 shots -- a franchise playoff record for a rookie goaltender -- and kept the Islanders in the game during a regulation the Penguins controlled from nearly start to finish. Anthony Beauvillier scored in the first period on a brilliant rush and Jordan Eberle beat an out-of-position Jarry midway through the third period to pull New York even. Evgeni Malkin scored his first postseason goal in more than two years for the Penguins. Bryan Rust added his second of the series. Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby picked up an assist on Rust's tally to move past Hall of Famer Brett Hull and into seventh-place on the NHL's career playoff scoring list.

Knight carries Panthers

Spencer Knight stopped 36 shots, Mackenzie Weegar had a goal and an assist, and the Florida Panthers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 on Monday night in Game 5 of their Central Division playoff series. The Lightning still lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 and host Game 6 on Wednesday night. But Knight -- the third different goalie to start for Florida in this series -- stymied the reigning Stanley Cup champions. Mason Marchment and Patric Hornqvist scored for the Panthers, and Frank Vatrano added an empty-netter with 14.6 seconds left. Aleksander Barkov had a pair of assists. Ross Colton had Tampa Bay's goal, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 34 shots.

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