Latest On Donald Sterling

July 22 at 10:32pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

As the struggle between Donald Sterling and his wife Shelly regarding the sale of the Clippers continued in probate court today, we passed along earlier that Doc Rivers – according to the testimony of team interim CEO Dick Parsons – would no longer want to be part of the franchise if Donald remained as the team’s owner. Parsons also testified that while the Clippers have retained a majority of their sponsors throughout this ordeal, there are several of them who would only want to continue their business relationship with the team if Sterling is ousted, noted Ramona Shelburne of

There were a few more notable tidbits we’ve rounded up this evening, and you can find them below:

  • Pierce O’Donnell, a lawyer for Shelly Sterling, didn’t elaborate on the details of a meeting between Steve Ballmer, Donald, and a group of lawyers at Sterling’s Beverly Hills home on Monday. “Nothing really happened of any moment…It was pleasant. Mr. Sterling was a gentleman. But nothing came of it” (report from David Leon Moore of USA Today). Bobby Samini, an attorney for Donald, commented that he doesn’t expect a settlement to be reached. 
  • Donald alleges corporate fraud in a lawsuit he filed today in Superior Court against his wife Shelly and the NBA, tweeted Shelburne. According to Donald’s lawyer, Bobby Samini, it could be years before a ruling is handed down, says Arash Markazi of (Twitter links).
  • In a piece for ESPN Los Angeles, Shelburne and Markazi relay Samini’s statement regarding Donald’s new lawsuit, which alleges that Donald became the sole shareholder of the Clippers once he revoked the family trust. “The new lawsuit states the seller of the team is not Donald and it’s not Shelly — the seller of the team is corporation that owns the team, and that’s LAC Basketball Club Inc…When Donald bought the team, the shares of the corporation are only in Donald’s name. They were only issued to Donald, so Donald owns the shares of the corporation. He’s the sole shareholder. He put the shares up into the trust in 1989, and when we revoked the trust, the shares go back down to him.”
  • Bank of America expert Anwar Zakkour, who helped negotiate the team’s sale agreement between Shelly and Steve Ballmer, testified that “none of us believed we could get $2 billion” when the sale process began. Zakkour also said he heard Shelly mention the phrase “Plan B” when she had spoken with her attorneys (Twitter links via Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times).
  • According to Zakkour, the Clippers were initially valued between $1 billion and $1.3 billion, and that the $2 billion offer was “nirvana,” tweeted Shelburne.
  • Dean Bonham, testifying on Donald’s side, said that the Clippers could find another $2 billion bid to buy the team if the judge were to block the sale to Ballmer, noted Moore in the aforementioned USA Today report.

Rashard Lewis To Have Knee Surgery

July 22 at 10:21pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

10:21pm: Lewis’ injury was discovered during a team physical, and It’s uncertain if the Mavs will look to void his contract at this point, writes Spears.

7:09pm: Tim MacMahon of tweeted that it was unclear how long Lewis would be sidelined. Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram added that it’s not known yet when Lewis will have the surgery or if he’ll be recovered enough to participate in training camp this fall (Twitter links).

5:43pm: Mavericks forward Rashard Lewis will have knee surgery soon, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. Though it isn’t clear how serious the procedure will be, Lewis’ agent, Colin Bryant may have implied that the 6’10 forward could still be able to return at some point this season. Rashard discovered he needs a medical procedure on his right knee to ensure he functions at a high level this season…We look forward to (Lewis) getting this behind him as soon as possible so he can continue his stellar NBA career” (All Twitter links). 

The 34-year-old forward was a key rotation player for the Heat in this past year’s NBA playoffs, logging eight starts and 17.7 MPG in 18 total games en route to a Finals appearance. Lewis signed a one-year deal reportedly worth the veteran’s minimum with Dallas last week.

Rockets To Sign Nick Johnson

July 22 at 9:50pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

9:50pm: The three-year deal will be fully guaranteed, a source tells Shams Charania of (Twitter link). The Rockets are already above the salary cap, and considering that the bi-annual and minimum salary exceptions can only cover a deal of up to two years, it’s a near certainty that they’re using a portion of the mid-level exception to sign Johnson for three years.

8:25pm: The Rockets are expected to sign rookie guard Nick Johnson to a three-year deal with a team option in the third year, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The nephew of Hall-of-Famer Dennis Johnson was selected with the 42nd overall pick in last month’s draft.

Johnson recently played for the Rockets’ summer league team in Orlando and Las Vegas. In Orlando, the 6’3 guard produced 15.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 5.0 APG while shooting 44.6% from the field in 29.4 MPG through five games; in Las Vegas, Johnson’s numbers dipped to 12.5/4.4/2.3/0.384 in eight games despite a slight increase in minutes (30.3).

The University of Arizona standout played a total of three seasons in college, increasing his scoring, rebounding, free throw shooting percentage, and free throws attempted averages every year. In his final season as a Wildcat, Johnson notched 16.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.9 free throws attempted per game, and 33.1 MPG in 38 contests while shooting 43.2% from the field and 36.7% from long distance.

Mavs To Meet With Jameer Nelson

July 22 at 8:36pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

Free agent point guard Jameer Nelson is scheduled for a face-to-face visit with the Mavericks on Thursday, sources tell ESPN’s Marc Stein, who adds that Dallas is still equipped with its $2.732MM room exception and hopes to ultimately complete a deal with the former All-Star. On the topic of their search for one more veteran point guard this summer, Stein also reminds that the Mavs met with Mo Williams at some point this month (All Twitter links).

As we recently passed along, Williams hasn’t been the team’s top priority with their room exception, and Tim MacMahon of even suggested that Nelson was possibly a higher target on their list. If the Mavs reach an agreement with Nelson, it would certainly factor into Williams’ interest in joining the team; the addition of Nelson to a current point guard rotation that includes Devin Harris, Raymond Felton, and Gal Mekel would create a logjam. Although Williams can productively contribute as an off-guard, it’s difficult to imagine him taking less money to join the Mavs when there are more lucrative offers reportedly on the table.

Nelson put up 12.1 PPG and 7.0 APG in 32.0 MPG over 68 games and 68 starts last season, although he didn’t shoot particularly well from the field overall (39.4%). Nonetheless, those numbers are mostly better than Harris’ (7.9/4.5/20.5/40/37.8) and Felton’s (9.7/5.6/31.0/65/39.5) last season. Nelson was also the superior three point shooter compared to the other two, hitting from deep on a 34.8% clip; Harris shot 30.7% while Felton connected on 31.8%.

And-Ones: Mavericks, Williams, Bzdelik

July 22 at 8:28pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

Last season, D.J. Augustin, Glen Davis, Danny Granger, and Caron Butler were just a handful of rotation-worthy players who were able to land on playoff-bound teams after being waived during the regular season. Keeping this in mind, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said on the “Fitzsimmons and Friedo Show” on 103.3 ESPN in Dallas that his team could hold off on using its $2.732MM exception this summer, waiting to see who could become available if notable players are released from their respective teams during the regular season (hat tip to Tim MacMahon of

Here are more miscellaneous news and notes to pass along tonight:

  • While there has been mutual interest between Dallas and free agent guard Mo Williams, the 31-year-old guard has fielded offers that are more lucrative than the Mavs’ $2.732MM exception, says MacMahon. A source also tells MacMahon that Williams hasn’t even been Dallas’ top target with that exception.
  • Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger is in advanced talks to hire former Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik to be an assistant on his coaching staff, hears Marc Stein of ESPN (Twitter link). Bzdelik is expected to sign a contract tomorrow, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports.
  • Free agent swingman Dahntay Jones will audition for 15-20 teams in Las Vegas next week, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.
  • Hornets big man Al Jefferson told Kennedy that he’s thrilled with his team’s offseason moves. “I told (management) how I felt when the season went over well. They did everything they said they were going to do [this summer]. I think (we’ve gotten) better.”
  • Evan Turner‘s agent, David Falk, told A. Sherrod Blakely of that Turner had seriously considered two other teams before opting to join the Celtics; while Falk acknowledged the Timberwolves as a potential suitor, he declined to identify the second team. We noted that Minnesota was Boston’s primary competition in their pursuit of the former second-overall pick.
  • The Pistons are not currently considering the possibility of moving from the Palace of Auburn Hills, reports Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News. Mark Barnhill, senior partner at Platinum Equity, made a statement reflecting the views of Pistons owner Tom Gores in light of the Ilitch family’s plans to build a $650MM entertainment district in downtown, which will in part house the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. “We have a beautiful arena, and we have invested tens of millions of dollars over the past three years to modernize and improve that facility…At the same time, we would never close the door on alternatives if they made good sense for our fans, for our team, for our business and for Michigan.”

Nets To Sign Markel Brown

July 22 at 7:27pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

The Nets will sign Markel Brown, league sources tell Tim Bontemps of the New York Post (via Twitter). Brown was selected 44th overall by the Timberwolves last month before Brooklyn acquired his draft rights via trade.

It was somewhat of surprise that the Oklahoma State shooting guard went so highly in last month’s draft, since Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress ranked him as the 55th best prospect and Chad Ford of had him down at No. 61. He averaged 17.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 35.3 minutes per game this past season as part of a backcourt tandem with point guard Marcus Smart, this year’s sixth overall pick.

Brown will face stiff competition to make the Nets opening night roster, especially if his deal isn’t fully guaranteed for this coming season. Brooklyn agreed to a deal No. 60 pick Cory Jefferson earlier tonight and also possesses the rights to Xavier Thames, the 59th overall selection. The Nets signed highly touted European draft-and-stash prospect Bojan Bogdanovic this afternoon, so it’s shaping up as a battle between this year’s second-rounders, camp invitee Michael Jenkins and any players the club adds from here for no more than two open roster spots.

Cavs Acquire Three In Swap With Jazz

July 22 at 7:21pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

7:21pm: The Cavaliers have officially announced the deal, per team press release.

7:16pm: Out of the three players heading to Cleveland, Minnesota actually had some interest in Murphy after he was waived by the Bulls last season, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

7:03pm: The pick that Utah will receive in the deal will be a 2015 second rounder from Cleveland, tweets Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune.

6:21pm: According to one Cavs source, Cleveland likes Lucas, Thomas, and Murphy and doesn’t necessarily view them as stepping stones to a bigger deal, tweets Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.

6:00pm: The Jazz are expected to trade the non-guaranteed contracts of John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas, and Erik Murphy to the Cavaliers for Carrick Felix, a future second rounder, and $1MM, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Felix’s contract is guaranteed for $816K in 2014/15, whereas Lucas III, Thomas, and Murphy combined for roughly $3.3MM in non-guaranteed deals for the upcoming season. Wojnarowski adds that Cleveland had been looking to make this type of deal recently in order to help facilitate a trade for Timberwolves star Kevin Love (Twitter links).

Minnesota has been determined to unload Kevin Martin and J.J. Barea in a deal involving Love, says Wojnarowski, who also notes that the Cavs would have to find a third team in order to make it work. Nonetheless, whether Lucas, Thomas, and Murphy’s contracts are used to bring the former UCLA big man to Ohio or are included in a separate trade, this deal at the very least has given Cleveland some “buying power” (Twitter links).

Cavaliers To Sign Joe Harris

July 22 at 6:55pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

7:20pm: The deal will reportedly be for $2.7MM over three seasons, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.

6:55pm: The Cavaliers will sign second-round pick Joe Harris to a three-year rookie deal, a source tells Shams Charania of (Twitter link). The deal will be guaranteed over two seasons with a team option in the third year, Charania adds. Since the arrangement stretches over three years, the Cavs will use cap space to complete the transaction, as neither the minimum-salary exception nor the room exception allows for a contract that long.

The small forward from the University of Virginia was the 38th best prospect in the rankings that Chad Ford of compiles but just 49th with Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. He had a slightly reduced role this past season as a senior after notching 16.3 points per game in his junior year. He put up just 12.0 PPG this time around, but he maintained 40.0% three-point shooting, so he shapes up as a long-distance threat for Cleveland.

Harris spoke to Zach Links of Hoops Rumors prior to the draft, crediting Virginia coach and highly touted NBA coaching prospect Tony Bennett for helping him improve defensively.

Nets To Sign Cory Jefferson

July 22 at 5:53pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

Rookie forward Cory Jefferson announced his contract signing with the Nets through his personal Instagram account (hat tip to Tim Bontemps of the New York Post via Twitter). The Nets traded for Jefferson’s rights on draft night after the former Baylor forward was selected 60th overall by the Spurs. The terms of the deal aren’t immediately clear.

The 6’9″ Jefferson put up 13.7 points and 8.2 rebounds in 29.0 minutes per game this past season as a senior for the Bears, numbers striking similar to what he produced in his junior year, when he first emerged as a standout. He was the 66th-best prospect in both Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings and the listing that Chad Ford of compiles.

The last two 60th overall picks to follow through and sign NBA contracts were Isaiah Thomas and Robert Sacre, so Jefferson will look to duplicate their success.

Doc Rivers Wants Out If Donald Sterling Stays

July 22 at 5:04pm CDT By Chuck Myron

5:04pm: Parsons emphasized that he’d “try” to convince Rivers and the players to go through with this season if Sterling remained as the team owner, tweets Markazi.

4:47pm: Doc Rivers has told Clippers CEO Dick Parsons that he doesn’t think he’d want to continue as coach of the team if Donald Sterling were to remain as owner, as Parsons said today under oath during testimony in the Sterling probate trial, tweets Arash Markazi of Presumably that also applies to Rivers’ role in charge of the team’s player personnel as president of basketball operations. His departure would have the club in a “death spiral,” Parsons testified, according to Markazi (on Twitter).

“If Doc were to leave that would be a disaster,” Parsons said on the stand, as Markazi tweets. “Doc is the guy that leads the effort.”

Parsons, whom the league appointed in May to serve as a caretaker for the Clippers, also expressed concern that players would seek to leave the team, Markazi notes (Twitter link). The league has pursued a variety of avenues to wrest the team from Sterling, whom commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life this spring after a recording of racially charged statements emerged. Sterling has nonetheless lingered as he pursues legal action against the league and resists the sale of the team.

The trial is taking place to determine whether Shelly Sterling had the right to take control of the Sterling family trust that legally owns the Clippers and negotiate a deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The $2 billion that Ballmer agreed to put up for the franchise would be tough to match should the judge rule that Shelly Sterling acted outside of her rights, as Parsons testified, according to Markazi (Twitter link).

“In my opinion its going to be tough to get this price again,” Parsons said in testimony. “If Steve goes away I don’t know how you get to this number again.”

Rivers took weeks during the immediate wake of the Sterling scandal to dismiss the notion that he’d walk away from the Clippers, finally saying that he had no plans to leave and pointing to the two years remaining on his contract. Still, the possibility of next season starting with Donald Sterling in place as owner of the Clippers is one that Silver wouldn’t dismiss in remarks last week.