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CLEVELAND (AP) - LeBron James is a free agent after declining his player option for next season with the NBA champion Cavaliers.
The move was expected by James, who said last week he intends to remain with Cleveland. The 31-year-old star has been a free agent the past three summers, electing each time to sign one-year contracts with a player option. It's not yet known if he'll sign another short-term deal or a multiyear package.
James was scheduled to make $24 million next season.
He was named Finals MVP after he helped the Cavs overcome a 3-1 deficit and beat the Golden State Warriors. The three-time champion averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists in the series. James posted a triple-double in Game 7 as the Cavs ended Cleveland's 52-year championship drought.
He's in his second stint with the Cavs after leaving as a free agent in 2010.
SEATTLE (AP) - Sean Rodriguez doubled in consecutive at-bats and drove in four runs, David Freese hit a solo home run and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Seattle Mariners 8-1 on Wednesday night to split a brief two-game interleague series.
Rodriguez was responsible for breaking the game open in the fifth inning with a three-run double into the left-field corner off Seattle reliever Donn Roach. Rodriguez doubled an inning earlier off starter Wade Miley (6-4) to score Starling Marte.
Freese got it all started with a solo home run on the first pitch of the second inning. It was a three-run inning for Pittsburgh, capped by a two-run double from Josh Harrison.
All that offense backed a strong start from rookie right-hander Jameson Taillon (2-1), who pitched six innings, giving up just one run and six hits.
CINCINNATI (AP) - Anthony Rizzo legged out his first inside-the-park homer on Wednesday -and the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-2 for a three-game sweep that got them back on solid footing after a rough week.
The Cubs went 1-6 last week, hurt by an injury-depleted lineup and a balky bullpen. With thousands of Cubs fans in the stands at Great American Ball Park for each game, they pulled off an invigorating sweep.
The NL Central leaders won the opener 11-8 as Kris Bryant became the first major leaguer with three homers and two doubles in a game. They won 7-2 in 15 innings Tuesday night in a game that featured Javier Baez's grand slam and three relievers playing left field alternately.
There was more wackiness in the finale.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Seth Jones to a $32.4 million, six-year contract.
Jones will count $5.4 million against the salary cap through the 2020-21 NHL season. He was a pending restricted free agent.
General manager Jarmo Kekalainen says reaching a long-term agreement with Jones was an offseason priority.
Agent Pat Brisson confirmed the terms of the contract, which includes a modified no-trade clause in years five and six.
Jones was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft to the Nashville Predators. The Blue Jackets acquired him in a January trade that sent center Ryan Johansen to Nashville.
In three NHL seasons, the 21-year-old Jones has 17 goals and 66 assists for 83 points. Kekalainen says Jones was just beginning to tap into his potential.