Month: April 2024

Clippers Rumors: Rivers, Sterling, Miller

The Clippers picked up a significant on-court victory Tuesday, beating the Warriors, but Adam Silver’s punishment of owner Donald Sterling is probably a significant off-court victory, too. The team would have become a pariah for players and agents, likely scuttling a squad that’s been building toward contention the past several years. Still, there’s no guarantee a key figure will be back, as we examine amid the latest on the Clippers:

  • Doc Rivers on Tuesday night still wouldn’t commit to returning to the team next season, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports notes.
  • There’s a strong chance that Sterling will sue the NBA on antitrust grounds, a source tells Michael McCann of SI.com, who outlines the legal ramifications of Silver’s decision.
  • Silver spoke with Sterling before announcing the punishment, but neither Sterling nor anyone on his behalf gave the league assurances that he won’t sue, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
  • Sterling will have the chance to defend himself in a hearing before the NBA’s Board of Governors before the owners vote to strip the team from him, as Berger writes in the same piece. TNT’s David Aldridge seconds that in a piece for NBA.com that also lays out the timeline for the NBA’s probable ouster of the Clippers owner.
  • Rivers doubts that the Clippers can remain in the Sterling family, an idea that union vice president Roger Mason Jr. opposes, but Shelly Sterling, the wife of Donald Sterling, wants son-in-law Eric Miller to take over the team, Spears writes in a separate piece.

Bulls Likely To Attempt To Trade Carlos Boozer

Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf opposes the idea of using the amnesty provision to remove Carlos Boozer from the team’s books, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com hears, adding that sources tell him that Chicago will make a strong push to trade Boozer instead. Boozer is set to enter the final year of his contract next season, but his $16.8MM salary and his growing anger at coach Tom Thibodeau seem to make him a poor fit for the Bulls, who have their eyes set on a free agent prize this summer.

The Knicks are “undeniably nervous” about the chances that Carmelo Anthony will sign with the team this summer, Stein writes. The ESPN.com scribe echoes last week’s report from Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that put the Bulls at the front of the list of Anthony’s preferred suitors. Chicago would have to move a significant amount of salary off its payroll to make a competitive offer to Anthony, since the Bulls’ commitments for 2014/15 already exceed even the new, higher salary cap projection for next season. Amnestying Boozer would be the simplest way to wipe a hefty chunk of money off Chicago’s cap figure, but unless a team claims him off waivers, Reinsdorf would still have to pay Boozer his salary, even though it wouldn’t count toward the cap. That’s why Deveney says there’s never been a question that the Bulls would prefer to trade Boozer (Twitter link).

The amnesty period runs through July 16th, giving the Bulls ample time to find a trade partner before the option of circling back and amnestying Boozer anyway disappears. Still, it will probably be difficult to find a team willing to make a trade that would give Chicago cap flexibility in return for a 32-year-old Boozer who rarely played in the fourth quarter this season, particularly given his inflated salary. He may have some value as an expiring contract, but any team that acquires him via trade would be unable to amnesty him. A sign-and-trade with the Knicks involving ‘Melo is one possibility, but Knicks president Phil Jackson might be reluctant to play along and accommodate Chicago’s poaching of New York’s star.

If the Bulls do amnesty Boozer, Stein suggests there’s a chance that agent Rob Pelinka, the rep for Boozer as well as Kobe Bryant, will encourage the Lakers to submit an amnesty waiver claim. That would almost certainly be a partial waiver claim if it were to happen, meaning the Lakers would pay a portion of Boozer’s salary while Reinsdorf would be on the hook for the rest. Stein points to Chicago’s likely pursuit of Pau Gasol this summer, and perhaps there’s a sign-and-trade possibility to be had involving Gasol and Boozer, though that’s just my speculation.

And-Ones: Boylen, Silver, Diogu

You can find tonight’s miscellaneous notes worth passing along below:

  • While it’s anyone’s guess as to who the next head coach of the Jazz will be, it’ll be surprising if the team ultimately decides to hire Jim Boylen, as Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News explains.
  • Following Adam Silver’s decisive ruling over Donald Sterling, J.A. Adande of ESPN wonders how much this enhances Silver’s credibility with the players and how it’ll factor in during the next round of collective bargaining.
  • Ike Diogu has signed on with Leones de Ponce of the Puerto Rican league, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Earlier this month, the Knicks mulled signing the 6’8 forward to a deal that would have extended into next season.
  • Emerson College has become a breeding ground for front office positions around the NBA, details Liam Boylan-Pett of SB Nation. Thunder GM Sam Presti and Magic GM Rob Hennigan are among the school’s most recent notable alumni.

More Clippers/Sterling Fallout

There are more noteworthy quotes to pass along tonight regarding the reaction to Donald Sterling’s punishment, and what this could mean for the future of the Clippers organization, and we’ll continue to relay the latest below:

  • Based on what he’s heard out of Seattle and other cities, the NBA is only looking to find a new owner for the Clippers, not move them, tweets ESPN LA’s Arash Markazi.
  • Rochelle Sterling – wife of Donald Sterling – is in attendance at tonight’s Clippers-Warriors game but is watching from a suite, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA. Earlier today, league commissioner Adam Silver told the media that no decision has been made regarding Donald Sterling’s family: “This ruling applies specifically to Donald Sterling and Donald Sterling only” (Associated Press). In the same piece, it’s said that top Clipper executives aren’t likely to be shuffled in the short term, particularly while the team is still competing in the playoffs.
  • Former boxing star Oscar De La Hoya has emerged as another potential investor that would like to join Mayweather in his attempt to purchase the team, reports Bob Velin of USA Today.

Earlier updates: 

  • Mayweather Promotions chief executive Leonard Ellerbe and Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer are among the investors that Floyd Mayweather Jr. alluded to when speaking of his interest in buying the Clippers, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.
  • NBPA vice president Roger Mason Jr. tells Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News that in addition to Donald Sterling’s ban, he expects Sterling’s family to be stripped of team ownership (Twitter link).
  • Clippers head coach and senior VP of basketball operations Doc Rivers says that Commissioner Adam Silver was fantastic today and made the right decision, adding: “we’re all in a better place because of this.” He later said that he couldn’t remember the last time he actually spoke with Donald Sterling (All Twitter links via Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe).
  • Rivers said he didn’t hear Sterling say anything racist before this incident and joined the organization “on good faith.” When asked about his future with the Clippers, Rivers had this to say:  “I haven’t thought about leaving or staying…(but) Adam’s decision, if there was one, made mine easier” (All Twitter links from Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News).
  • “Is this over? No, it’s not over. But it’s the start of a healing process we need,” said Rivers, according to a tweet by Scott-Howard Cooper of NBA.com.
  • When asked if he would still work for Sterling, Rivers replied “I don’t know If I am.” He also told reporters that the locker room was silent when he delivered the news of Sterling’s punishment to the players (Twitter links via Arash Markazi of ESPN LA). 
  • Entertainment mogul David Geffen – who made an attempt to buy the Clippers several years ago – is still reportedly interested in making a bid, a source tells Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal.
  • Boxing megastar Floyd Mayweather Jr. tells Bob Velin of USA Today that he and some other investors would be interested in purchasing the team as well:  “I can’t come in here talking about Mayweather only (acquiring) 3% or 4% (of the team)…”I (have) to get a solid percentage…But do we want to buy the Clippers? Yes we do. We’re very, very interested in buying the Clippers.”

Eastern Notes: Kerr, Bobcats, Bulls

Here are a few links to pass along out of the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • As he continues to consider accepting the Knicks’ head coaching job, Steve Kerr is currently doing his own research on the organization to make sure there are no red flags, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
  • Josh McRoberts – who can opt out of his contract this summer – said his preference is to keep playing for Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford for many years, but money will likely be the biggest factor, opines Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
  • Bonnell also writes that swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts seems the best fit to re-sign among the team’s soon-to-be free agents.
  • With the Bulls now eliminated from playoff contention, the team will presumably turn their attention toward addressing the future of Tom Thibodeau, opines Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio (Twitter link).
  • Derrick Rose began taking some contact on his surgically repaired right knee on Monday, reports K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. He’s still expected to begin next season at full strength.
  • In addition to evaluating how certain prospects may transition into the NBA, the Pistons – equipped with their own D-League team in Grand Rapids starting next season – will also be scouring this year’s draft pool for prospects to develop in the NBDL, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

Reaction To NBA’s Punishment Of Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling told Jim Gray of Fox News that he has no intention of selling the Clippers, as Gray reported shortly before Adam Silver delivered the news that the Clippers owner is banned for life from the NBA (video link). It doesn’t appear as though the decision will be in his hands, however, as Silver interprets the NBA’s constitution to hold that a three-fourths majority of owners can strip the team from Sterling. Owners across the league have begun issuing statements in support of Silver, and one member of the Board of Governors tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports that Silver has the votes necessary for the ouster (Twitter link). Here’s more reaction to the commissioner’s decision:

  • NBPA president Chris Paul had this to say before tonight’s playoff game: “In response to today’s ruling by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver, my teammates and I are in agreement with his decision…We appreciate the strong leadership from Commissioner Silver and he has our full support” (Twitter links via ESPN LA’s Arash Markazi).
  • According to the NBA constitution, Sterling has 30 days to pay his $2.5MM fine, tweets Ken Berger of CBS Sports. If Sterling fails to comply, that in itself will be grounds for his dismissal by the Board of Governors.
  • Getting the votes necessary to take the team away from Sterling isn’t the issue, as Glen Taylor, chairman of the Board of Governors, tells Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). The legal fallout from such an action is the greater concern, Taylor says, adding that he’ll vote to oust Sterling.

Earlier updates:

  • Clippers president Andy Roeser will handle day-to-day operations for the Clippers in Sterling’s place, reports Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.
  • Any outcome short of Sterling selling the team wouldn’t have been enough for the league’s players, Mason said, as Mullen tweets. That suggests there will be extra pressure on the league’s owners to strip the team from Sterling, though it appears as though the owners will indeed vote Sterling out.
  • Sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe that Silver and the league, and not Sterling, would control the sale of the Clippers if the owners vote to take the team away from Sterling (Twitter link).
  • One Clippers player tells Chris Broussard of ESPN.com that everyone on the team is pleased with Silver’s punishment (via Twitter). The Clippers released a statement saying that they “wholeheartedly support and embrace” Silver’s decision, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com passes along (on Twitter). While that statement seems to have come out without Sterling’s involvement, it’s unclear who’s running the Clippers for now, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link).
  • Sterling can’t attend any games or practices, show up at any Clippers office or facility, or take part in any business involving the team or the league in accordance with his lifetime ban, according to The Associated Press.
  • Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, speaking on behalf of the player’s union, expressed satisfaction with the commissioner’s ruling, notes Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal (Twitter link).
  • Players were ready to boycott games if Silver didn’t act as they wanted him to, union vice president Roger Mason said, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports tweets. Mason added that the players want owners to swiftly vote on Sterling’s ouster, according to Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com (on Twitter).

Lowe’s Latest: Rivers, Jackson, Kerr

If Doc Rivers were to get out of his contract with the Clippers, he would immediately emerge as the front-runner for any head coaching opening in the league this summer, writes Zach Lowe of Grantland. One potential opportunity is the Warriors, who are embroiled in a tumultuous situation with head coach Mark Jackson. As Lowe chronicles, tension between Jackson and the organization has been brewing for quite a while.

Multiple league sources confirmed to Lowe the gist of a report from ESPN’s Chris Broussard that explained how former Warriors assistant Darren Erman had been fired for secretly recording coaches’ conversations. Those same sources added that Erman was concerned that Jackson and those loyal to Jackson were insulting him to other players behind his back. Lowe also says that Golden State’s front office is fond of Erman and was upset at having to let him go. Nonetheless, Brian Scalabrine‘s recent demotion and Erman’s firing has only added to the chaos in Golden State.

As we relayed from Lowe earlier, the consensus around the league is that Jackson will not return to the Warriors next year unless he leads them on a longer-than-expected playoff run. Though Jackson could still save his job, Lowe says that it’d be smart to bet that the team will have a new head coach next year.

Here’s more from Lowe’s latest column:

  • Golden State still hasn’t made a final decision on Jackson and has not reached out directly to any potential candidates, sources tell Lowe.
  • Scalabrine’s demotion was a compromise between the front office and Jackson, who initially made a show of firing him in front of other players and coaches even though he had no real grounds to do so.
  • Jackson reportedly asked Warriors adviser Jerry West not to attend most practices and team activities.
  • If the Warriors decided to replace Jackson, they would still consider other big names beyond Rivers, which is why — according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein — the Knicks tried to expedite their attempt to hire Steve Kerr this week. New York understands that two or three appealing opportunities could emerge after postseason eliminations, and that Kerr would be a potential candidate for some of those teams.
  • Front office and ownership sources around the league think there’s a decent chance the Clippers will be the first NBA franchise to sell for $1 billion, Lowe writes, echoing an earlier report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

And-Ones: Colangelo, Hoiberg, Warriors, Knicks

Grantland’s Zach Lowe examines the value of players making between $5MM and $10MM a year, several of whom are having a significant effect in the playoffs. Sources in NBA front offices tell Lowe that they’re reluctant to sign players who command such salaries because they fear the criticism of reporters conditioned to believe such “middle class” players aren’t worth the money. Still, acting union executive director Ron Klempner tells Lowe that he’s observed no drastic change in the league’s willingness to pay players at that rate. Here’s more from around the league:

  • Bryan Colangelo‘s name has been linked to the Pistons‘ front office vacancy on multiple occasions of late, and SportsNet’s Michael Grange hears that he’s indeed a leading candidate for the job. Tim Leiweke, CEO of the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment group that owns the Raptors, praised the former Toronto GM for his work with the team in an interview with Grange that’s included in the piece.
  • Fred Hoiberg would probably be ahead of Steve Kerr on the Warriors’ wish list if they were to seek a new head coach for next season, according to Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group. Hoiberg spoke this week on 1700 AM radio in Des Moines to express that while interest from NBA teams flatters him, he’s content as Iowa State’s head coach, as Nate Sandell of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities points out.
  • The Warriors aren’t pleased with Mark Jackson‘s depleted coaching staff, according to Kawakami, and if Jackson remains head coach, they’ll pressure him to upgrade it, Kawakami believes, pointing to the issue as a possible stumbling block for Jackson’s return next season.
  • The Knicks interviewed Bill Cartwright for an assistant coaching job, reports Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, who points to Cartwright’s ties to Kerr as further indication that Kerr will be the team’s next head coach.

Silver Bans Sterling For Life, Issues $2.5MM Fine

NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced a lifetime ban and a $2.5MM fine for Clippers owner Donald Sterling. The NBA’s investigation found that it was indeed Sterling expressing racially charged statements on a recording. Sterling has been fined the maximum amount allowable in the NBA’s constitution. Silver will urge the board of governors to force Sterling to sell the team, and the commissioner said he’ll “do everything in my power to ensure that happens.”

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles ClippersSterling admitted that it was his voice on the recording, Silver said, asserting that the NBA has the authority, with a vote of three quarters of the league’s owners, to force Sterling to sell. The effort to force him out will begin immediately, according to the commissioner, and he expects to receive the support from owners necessary to remove the longtime Clippers boss.

Silver believes the players will be satisfied with the decision, adding that he’s had multiple conversations with Kevin Johnson, who’s acting as the union’s voice during the Sterling saga. The NBA is not considering letting any of the Clippers out of their contracts, according to Silver.

The key response may come from Clippers coach and executive Doc Rivers, who’s expressed uncertainty about whether he’d return to the team if Sterling were to stay as owner. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports suggested earlier today that the Clippers players might follow his lead and ask for trades if Rivers were to leave.

Rumors have linked Magic Johnson to the team as a potential buyer, and Silver said today that Johnson is “always welcome as an owner in this league.” Johnson took to Twitter to express satisfaction with the NBA’s verdict.

The specter of a lawsuit from Sterling remains, and Silver said Sterling didn’t express remorse over his comments. Sterling, an attorney, is notoriously litigious, and there was speculation that the threat of a lawsuit would prompt Silver to opt for a light punishment.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images. Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, Chris Mannix of SI.com, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, and A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com provided detail via Twitter.

Clippers, Donald Sterling Rumors: Tuesday

With commissioner Adam Silver set to address Donald Sterling’s alleged racist comments in minutes, here’s the latest on the situation:

  • A source tells Chris Mannix of SI.com that Sterling’s punishment will be “severe,” and while many team officials expect an indefinite suspension, at least, there’s still significant doubt about the NBA’s ability to force Sterling to sell, given the threat that he’d try to sue (Twitter links).
  • Stuart Pfeifer, Ben Bolch and James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times detail the exodus of sponsors from the Clippers. That might give Silver the means to come down harder on Sterling, attorney Irwin Raij, a sports business attorney of Foley & Lardner in New York, tells the Times.
  • The Times report includes remarks from a Clippers player who wonders whether he could cite a “hostile work environment” as grounds to escape from his contract. The player declined to be identified because he said he and his teammates were told not to comment on the matter, Pfeifer, Bolch and Rainey write.
  • Billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso is interested in buying the Clippers if they become available, according to Pfeifer, Bolch and Rainey, while sources tell Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison may also have interest.
  • Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, whom the players union has asked to act as its voice in the Sterling saga, acknowledges says that the players believe he should no longer own the team, as Johnson writes on Facebook. The mayor nonetheless acknowledges the league might not have the power to strip the team from Sterling, though he calls for an indefinite suspension and the maximum possible fine.
  • Hawks owner Bruce Levenson would vote to oust Sterling or force him to sell the team, as he told 92.9 The Game, notes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Mavs owner Mark Cuban, meanwhile, is concerned about the “slippery slope” that might be created if the NBA were to remove an owner based his comments alone, notes Tim McMahon of ESPN.com.