11:40 LRN Sportscast July 1

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Pelicans and forward Zion Williamson are close to reaching agreement on a contract extension that would keep the star in New Orleans for the next six seasons. The five-year deal would be worth as much as $231 million according to the report, an average of $46.2 million per season, and includes protections for both sides. In 85 career games, Williams has posted 25.7 points per game while shooting over 60 percent and was named to the 2020 All-Star team.

The Pels introduced rookies Dyson Daniels and EJ Liddell to the media on Thursday. Daniels, a 6-7 guard, brings a lot of versatility to the lineup and feels like he can contribute in a number of ways.

Cut 17 (20) “…here right now.”

A seismic shift in college sports as USC and UCLA are leaving the PAC-12 for the Big Ten starting with the 2024 season. NYU Sports Law professor and co-host of the Conduct Detrimental podcast, Dan Lust, says this probably spells the end of the so-called “Power 5.”

Cut 13 (11) “…to my schools.”

Lust says that he expects more dominoes to fall as other conferences scramble to remain viable against the SEC and Big Ten superpowers.

In other conference realignment news, the Southland Conference officially welcomed Texas A-and-M-Commerce as the league’s ninth member today, while the Sun Belt has added James Madison, Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss, expanding its membership to 14.

Former Louisiana Tech star and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson died last week from the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine, based on the results of an autopsy on the body of the 26-year old as reported by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore. Ferguson was found unresponsive in the late hours of June 21.