The Suns have little interest in sending restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe away in a sign-and-trade, and Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby is confident in the team’s two-point guard look, writes Bob Young of the Arizona Republic. The four-year, $48MM offer the Suns reportedly have out to Bledsoe is for significantly more than what the team and agent Rich Paul spoke about last fall in extension talks, Young adds. There’s more from Young’s piece amid the latest on the Suns and the rest of the Pacific Division:
- New Suns acquisition Isaiah Thomas told Young that he felt as though the Kings were looking to replace him at every turn. “I felt very disrespected,” Thomas said. “Every year it was somebody new. I felt I did a good enough job to show them I was a starting point guard or a guy who could play a big role with their team. But they thought differently.
- Differing opinions on the relative values of David Lee and Kevin Love, a reluctance to take on Kevin Martin, and a reticence to give up Harrison Barnes on top of it all have the Warriors holding out in talks with Minnesota, as Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group explains. That’s in addition to Golden State’s decision to keep Klay Thompson‘s name out of the discussion.
- Attorneys for Donald Sterling made it clear Tuesday that he wants the NBA to vote to terminate his ownership of the Clippers so he can move forward with his antitrust suit against the league, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. The judge in the probate trial between Sterling and his wife can rule that Shelly Sterling’s sale of the team to Steve Ballmer would go forward even if Donald Sterling appeals, but such a ruling would be difficult to come by, Shelburne adds (on Twitter).
- The Kings are among several teams that Dan Fegan, the agent for Omri Casspi, has spoken to, as Casspi tells Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Casspi, whom the Pelicans are likely to waive this month, added that he has interest in returning to Sacramento, where he played his first two NBA seasons.
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 ESPNLosAngeles.com.
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 ESPNLosAngeles.com (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.
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 ESPNLosAngeles.com. 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.
One year after joining the Hornets (née Bobcats) as a free agent, Al Jefferson is happy with the moves the club has made this summer, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. “We just need to continue to build off of what we what we did last year,” Jefferson said. “We know that if we play defense and focus on defense, we will have a chance to win. That’s one of the things that I did last year that I’ve never done before, just really buying in to the defensive end. I believe us finishing sixth in the NBA in defense was the reason why we had the success we had. We just have to continue to build off that.” More from around the NBA..
- The Spurs didn’t just win the championship, they won the offseason too, writes J.A. Adande of ESPN.com. The Spurs didn’t make the most eye-grabbing move of the summer – the Cavs, of course, grabbed that honor – but they did retain four key components of their title run: Tim Duncan, coach Gregg Popovich, Patrick Mills, and Boris Diaw.
- Embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling met with Steve Ballmer and Shelly Sterling, sources tell Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. No settlement was reached, but the two men had what a source described as a “friendly” conversation about the pending sale. This was the first face-to-face meeting between the two men since the sale, which Sterling continues to fight in court.
- A couple of NBA scouts told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) that they’d love to see URI rising sophomore E.C. Matthews at the Adidas Nations camp. Matthews averaged 14.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 2.3 APG in 32.5 minutes per contest last season under coach Dan Hurley.
The Cavs aren’t dangling Andrew Wiggins in trade talks with the Wolves about Kevin Love, at least for the time being, a source tells Bob Finnan of The News-Herald, who was the first to report last week that Cleveland was open to the idea of parting with Wiggins. So, while no one involved would guarantee Finnan that Wiggins wouldn’t wind up in a Love deal, it sounds like that idea is on the backburner for now. Here’s more from around the Association:
- Testimony has resumed today in the probate trial between Clippers owners Donald and Shelly Sterling after the judge made a pair of decisions Friday that appear to help Shelly Sterling’s case, as USA Today’s David Leon Moore details. The judge has the power to allow Shelly Sterling to go forward with her sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer, if he rules in her favor, even if Donald Sterling decides to appeal, according to Moore.
- A member of the players association’s executive committee told TNT’s David Aldridge that the union will discuss the idea of taking action should the Sterlings continue to own the Clippers at the start of next season, as Aldridge writes in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com.
- Thunder assistant coach Brian Keefe, whom Knicks head coach Derek Fisher has reportedly lured to serve as a Knicks assistant, was the member of the Oklahoma City staff whom Kevin Durant trusted the most, Aldridge notes in the same piece.
- A source tells Frank Isola of the New York Daily News that Knicks GM Steve Mills recently pulled his name from contention for the union’s executive director vacancy. Mills re-emerged as a candidate this spring after having been the apparent front-runner last summer prior to taking the Knicks job.
- The final two seasons of the four-year contract between Devin Harris and the Mavs are a little more lucrative than previously reported. He’ll make nearly $4.728MM in year three and nearly $4.903MM in the final season, which is partially guaranteed for almost $1.34MM, as Mark Deeks of ShamSports details on his Mavs salary page.
Ten-year NBA veteran Dahntay Jones is set to work out for the Knicks and Sixers this week, and in addition to a reported meeting with the Clippers earlier this month, he also worked out for that team, too, as Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports. The shooting guard and Mark Bartelstein client is close with former Nuggets teammate Carmelo Anthony, though New York’s addition of Jones would only add to a logjam at the two-guard that Knicks GM Steve Mills has already publicly acknowledged.
The Knicks are apparently discussing trades involving J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to clear up that position, as we noted Sunday. New York also worked out Jones this past February, seemingly the closest brush that the now 33-year-old had with the NBA last season after the Bulls waived him early in the preseason. Still, that was before the arrival of Knicks team president Phil Jackson, and what attracts the team to Jones now is his competitiveness and leadership, according to Isola.
The Knicks, now as they were in February, are limited to the minimum salary, and the Clippers are similarly hamstrung. The Sixers have ample cap room to use on Jones, but it’s nonetheless unlikely that he’ll warrant any better than a guaranteed minimum-salary contract. He’s averaged 5.6 points in 16.3 minutes per game over his career, and put up 3.4 PPG in 13.0 MPG in 2012/13, his last NBA season.
SATURDAY: The signing is official, the team announced.
THURSDAY: Glen Davis is on his way back to the Clippers, a source tells Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). It’s a minimum-salary deal, Turner adds in a second tweet, which is somewhat surprising, since he turned down that same amount from the Clippers when he declined his player option last month. L.A. already committed its mid-level and biannual exceptions, but they could have given Davis 20% more than the minimum through his Non-Bird rights.
Davis joined the Clippers in February shortly after securing his release from the Magic, but he saw just 13.4 minutes per game, which would have represented a career low if extrapolated over an entire season. He wasn’t particularly efficient in those minutes, either, compiling a 10.3 PER, which also would have been a career-worst mark. He had a more prominent role with the Magic, where he put up 12.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in 30.1 minutes per contest with a 13.7 PER in the first half of the season.
The 28-year-old John Hamilton client might have looked for a place where he could return to a larger role, and Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers might have opted against re-signing a player who fell flat for the team last season. Still, their relationship seems to have proven too much of a draw. Rivers coached Davis to a championship on the Celtics in 2008, serving as coach and mentor for the first four years of Big Baby’s career. The Clippers appeared to be the only team with which Davis had serious talks.
Davis, a seven-year veteran, will receive $1,227,985 in the deal, but only $915,243 will count against the cap. That leaves just $1,149,228 of breathing room against the hard cap created when the Clippers used their mid-level and biannual exceptions on Spencer Hawes and Jordan Farmar, respectively. The only way the Clippers can fit multiple additional signees on the roster is if they’re both making the minimum salary. The crunch helps explain why they didn’t give Davis 20% more than the minimum as his Non-Bird rights would have allowed.
The Kings don’t believe any of their power forwards is a solution at the position, and they’ve tried to move one this summer in a quest for an upgrade that’s sparked revitalized talks with the Pistons involving Josh Smith, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee details. Here’s more from the Western Conference:
- The Lakers have renounced the rights to Wesley Johnson, Xavier Henry, and Kent Bazemore, Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times reveals (all on Twitter). The maneuvers will accommodate the re-signings of Nick Young, Henry, and Johnson, all of whom have agreed to new deals. Pincus expects Young to be renounced before re-signing as well.
- The Times scribe suspects that the Lakers are using part or all of the room exception to sign Ryan Kelly, considering the cap room that will be eaten up by Young’s contract, and a “reasonable” market of suitors for the power forward (all via Twitter).
- Steve Ballmer agreed to extend his deal to purchase the Clippers until August 15th, but Linda Deutsch of The Associated Press reports that Ballmer’s lawyer told a judge in the Donald and Shelly Sterling legal proceedings that the agreement will be off if there is no ruling prior to that date. Ballmer’s potential withdrawal would further cloud the team’s status, as commissioner Adam Silver recently cautioned that Sterling could still own the Clippers at the beginning of next season.
- The Thunder have announced that their D-League affiliate will move from Bixby, Oklahoma to Oklahoma City next season, as first reported by Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. The change will make shuffling players between the Thunder and 66ers more convenient.
- The Jazz still have free agency moves to make in filling out their roster, reports Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (all Twitter links). Francisco Garcia is a possibility for Utah, who seek a shooting wing along with a third point guard brought in to sit behind the team’s developing backcourt.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Pau Gasol said he has no worries about the health of Derrick Rose and added that the Knicks had only long shot to sign him as part of an interview with Jesus Sanchez of Marca.com, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune translates (Twitter links). The Bulls are scheduled to introduce Gasol and Nikola Mirotic to fans in a press conference today after agreeing to deals with both this past weekend, and there’s more from Chicago amid the latest Central Division rumors:
- There appears to be mutual interest between the Bulls and point guard Aaron Brooks, as Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com details. Sam’s story reveals that Brooks is considering the team, while the headline and Sam’s tweet indicate that Chicago is eyeing the 29-year-old point guard.
- The Lakers’ winning bid for Carlos Boozer was $3.251MM, not just $3.25MM as previously reported, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders, giving the Bulls slightly more savings than previously thought. The Bulls will be on the hook for $13.549MM of the $16.8MM remaining on Boozer’s contract, which expires next summer, but it won’t count against the salary cap for Chicago.
- Ekpe Udoh has his sights set on joining a contender, and was close to a deal with the Clippers before they struck a deal with Glen Davis, USA Today’s Sam Amick reports (on Twitter). That wouldn’t appear to bode well for any chance the Bucks have of re-signing the big man, who became an unrestricted free agent when Milwaukee declined to make him a qualifying offer.
- The Cavs have interest in Greg Oden, but it’s not clear if they’ve spoken with him or have any plans to do so, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. Still, it appears that either the Cavs, LeBron James, or both have been in touch with the free agent center this summer, Amico writes.
- A lack of playing time with the Heat was one reason why James Jones decided to bolt for the Cavs, as Jones said in a radio appearance on The Ticket Morning Show in Miami, tweets Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald.
With the Bulls using their amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer on Tuesday, only seven NBA players remain amnesty-eligible as noted in our 2014 Amnesty Primer. But the five teams that haven’t used the provision will have to wait until next summer, as Wednesday marked the deadline for this offseason.
Boozer was snatched up by the Lakers earlier today for a manageable price of $3.25MM, though as ESPN’s Marc Stein reports (via Twitter), the Duke product had strong interest in the Rockets had he gone unclaimed and cleared waivers. Meanwhile, Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times speculates that Boozer’s presence might signal a more complimentary role for rookie Julius Randle unless the playoff-hungry Lakers consider June’s No. 7 pick a small forward (Twitter links are here).
Here’s more from around the league on Thursday night:
- DeJuan Blair‘s starting salary in his new deal with the Wizards is $2MM, Hoops Rumors has learned, so that leaves just $16K on the Eric Maynor trade exception the team reportedly used to absorb him via sign-and-trade from the Wizards. That effectively exhausts the Maynor exception, which expires this coming February 20th, since the remaining $16K wouldn’t be enough to absorb another player.
- Louis Williams left his exit interview with Hawks officials expecting to be traded, as he told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who writes in a subscription-only piece. The instinct was correct, as the Hawks shipped Williams to the Raptors late last month, but Williams said he harbors no ill feelings toward the Atlanta brass.
- Multiple reports have linked Mo Williams to Dallas in recent days, but a source tells Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com that the Mavericks are pursuing another free agent whom they would prefer to spend their room exception on.
- The Mavs‘ deal with Devin Harris, which became official earlier tonight, is for four years and $16.55MM, reports Dwain Harris of the Fort Worth Star Telegram (via Twitter). Meanwhile Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News has the yearly breakdown, reporting that Harris will make $3.878MM next season, followed by $4.053MM in 2015/16, $4.228MM in 2016/17 and $4.403MM in what is a partially guaranteed fourth year in 2017/18.
- Metta World Peace would love to play for the Lakers, Clippers or Knicks, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News hears, adding that it seems any conversation World Peace may have had about a return to the Lakers wasn’t too serious (Twitter link).
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.