Shelly Sterling

Pacific Notes: Clarkson, Sterling, Thompson

Jordan Clarkson credits his D-League assignments during the first part of this past season for helping him emerge as a breakout performer at the NBA level as the season wore on, he tells Brian Kotloff of The Lakers guaranteed the point guard’s minimum salary for the coming season when they kept him on the roster through this past Saturday.

“I’m focused on always working on my game,” Clarkson said to Kotloff. “Early in the year, I wasn’t getting much time with the Lakers. Sometimes I would ask Coach [Byron Scott] to just go let me play. I love to hoop and you can never get better just by sitting on the bench. Going to play in those [D-Fenders] games definitely helped me to work on stuff that I could transfer over when I got time in the [NBA]. The game is a little different between the levels, but it helped slow the game down for me and it sped up my process of becoming a good player in [the NBA].”

The Lakers have a geographic edge with their D-League affiliate, since the D-Fenders play their home games in the same facility where the Lakers practice. See more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling has filed for divorce from his wife, Shelly, and he’s also filed a petition for an accounting and distribution of the proceeds of the $2 billion new owner Steve Ballmer paid to purchase the team last year, reports Dan Woike of the Orange County Register. Half of that money is frozen in escrow pending Donald Sterling’s $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA, Woike notes. Shelly Sterling controls the family trust into which the other half of Ballmer’s payment went, so Donald Sterling, who’s estranged from his wife, hasn’t seen any money from the sale yet, notes Ramona Shelburne of (Twitter links). Shelly Sterling said she’s paid $600MM in taxes and fees on the sale proceeds so far, Shelburne adds.
  • Jason Thompson is a better fit with Warriors tempo, a proficient rebounder, and an upgrade defensively over David Lee, whose role he inherits, as SB Nation’s Tom Ziller argues in a look at Golden State’s trade with the Sixers. Thompson’s presence is particularly valuable for the Warriors given his success guarding LaMarcus Aldridge and, to a lesser degree, Blake Griffin, as Ziller examines.

Clippers Rumors: Rivers, Sterling, Raduljica

The Clippers have pulled off a trade, reached a new deal with coach/executive Doc Rivers, and waived two players, and they reportedly met with Ekpe Udoh as they eye fellow free agent Chris Douglas-Roberts. That’s all within the space of the last three days. There’s a long holiday weekend ahead for some, but the Clippers certainly aren’t easing into it. Here’s the latest on the team:

  • Few knock the coaching credentials of Rivers, but his roster-building skills as an executive are another matter. Plenty of executives around the league question Rivers’ acquisition of Jared Dudley last year and his surrender of a first-round pick in the deal to rid the Clippers of Dudley this week, as Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher writes. “If [former Timberwolves GM] David Kahn made those deals, they’d have been burning crosses on his lawn,” one NBA executive told Bucher.
  • Shelly Sterling didn’t know who Steve Ballmer was when he called her this spring to express interest in buying the Clippers, as she tells Linda Deutsch of The Associated Press.  Still, she negotiated him up from an initial offer of $1.9 billion to the $2 billion price he wound up paying and obtained a promise from Ballmer that he would never move the team to Seattle, as Deutsch details.
  • Rival teams called the Bucks to talk about trading for Miroslav Raduljica last season, according to Shams Charania of RealGM. That seems to suggest there will be NBA suitors for the center whose three-day tenure with the Clippers just ended, though that’s just my speculation.

Steve Ballmer Formally Becomes Clippers Owner

The sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has formally taken place and the NBA’s Board of Governors has already given its official approval of the transfer, the league announced (hat tip to Dan Woike of the Orange County Register on Twitter). The news appears to bring an end to a saga that began when recordings of racially charged remarks from longtime Clippers owner Donald Sterling surfaced shortly after the playoffs began, though Sterling still has lawsuits pending against the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver. Ballmer is buying the team for a record price of $2 billion.

“I am humbled and honored to be the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers,” Ballmer said in a statement that the Clippers released on their website. “Clipper fans are so amazing. They have remained fiercely loyal to our franchise through some extraordinary times. I will be hard core in giving the team, our great coach, staff and players the support they need to do their best work on the court. And we will do whatever necessary to provide our fans and their families with the best game-night experience in the NBA.”

Attorneys for Sterling had anticipated that a California judge could at any time issue a final order that affirmed that Sterling’s wife, Shelly, had the authority to strike a deal with Ballmer to sell the team, as she did in May. The judge had ruled in his preliminary decision that the sale could go through even if Donald Sterling were to appeal.

The Board of Governors interviewed Ballmer on July 15th, and voted unanimously last week to approve him as owner, according to Ramona Shelburne of (All Twitter links). That gave Ballmer the opportunity to close on the sale whenever he became comfortable with the legal situation surrounding it, Shelburne writes. Ballmer had asked for a written order from a judge affirming Shelly Sterling’s right to sell as part of his original purchase agreement with her, and Ballmer has received that order, Shelburne also tweets. The judge has yet to issue a final order in the case, but Ballmer is apparently satisfied with the written order he has in hand, Shelburne adds (on Twitter).

Donald Sterling’s battle to hang on to ownership of the team cast doubt on the willingness of Doc Rivers to continue as coach and president of basketball operations, but Rivers, in the team’s statement, expressed his commitment to the club in the wake of today’s news

“This is an amazing new day in Clippers history,” Rivers said. “I couldn’t be more excited to work together with Steve as we continue to build a first-class, championship organization. I am already inspired by Steve’s passion for the game, his love of competition and desire to win the right way and I know our players and fans are going to be inspired as well.”

Clippers players Chris Paul and Matt Barnes as late as last month were publicly discussing the notion that they would boycott until Donald Sterling was removed as owner. Still, Silver won widespread praise for the lifetime ban and $2.5MM fine he imposed on the embattled owner in April. That maneuver nonetheless didn’t wrest control of the team from Donald Sterling, who originally purchased the franchise in 1981.

Shelly Sterling reportedly negotiated the right to retain up to 10% of the team that would be controlled by a charitable foundation on which she would serve as chair as part of her deal with Ballmer, but it’s not clear whether she exercised that right.

And-Ones: Gay, Clippers, Monroe, Rogers

It’s been a rough week for Team USA following the gruesome injury sustained by Paul George and the subsequent withdrawal of Kevin Durant. However, help is on the way in the form of Kings forward Rudy Gay, writes Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Gay was a reserve on USA’s 2010 title squad and joins Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward this time around as the team’s only true small forwards. At tonight’s Hall of Fame ceremony, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told’s David Aldridge that a repeat gold medal performance this summer would be the “sweetest win because of the circumstances.” (via Marc Stein on Twitter).

Here is what else is happening around the league on Friday night:

  • The official transfer of the Clippers could happen at any moment, as attorneys for Donald Sterling claimed in a request for a stay of a probate court decision that affirms Shelly Sterling’s right to sell the team to Steve Ballmer, reports Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times. The judge in the probate trial signed the final statement of decision Thursday, clearing the way for Donald Sterling to file the request, as Fenno explains. The sale may proceed once the judge issues a final order, which could come at any time, Fenno adds.
  • There is a very good likelihood that Greg Monroe is in a Pistons uniform next season according to David Mayo of (via Twitter), who puts the chances at 85 to 90 percent. With the sign-and-trade market for Monroe now essentially non-existent, Mayo believes the sides will either come to an agreement on a longer-term deal or that Monroe will sign his one-year qualifying offer. Monroe would become an unrestricted free agent next summer if he chooses the latter route.
  • The Wizards have added Roy Rogers as an assistant coach, the team announced on their website today. Rogers has six years experience as an NBA assistant under his belt, previously working with the Nets (twice), the Celtics and the Pistons. Prior to reaching the NBA ranks, Rogers coached in the D-League for four years after a seven-year playing career. He joins fellow assistant David Atkins, hired in July, as a newcomer on the staff of head coach Randy Wittman.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Judge Rules In Favor Of Shelly Sterling

5:20pm: NBA Executive Vice President Mike Bass issued a statement on today’s ruling (via Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports on Twitter):

We are pleased that the court has affirmed Shelly Sterling’s right to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer.  We look forward to the transaction closing as soon as possible.”

4:45pm: The judge in the trial between Donald and Shelly Sterling ruled in favor of the embattled owner’s wife today, saying she had “reasonable” belief Donald authorized her to sell the Clippers and that her testimony was “far and away” more credible than Donald’s, tweets Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times.  Most importantly, the judge also made a ruling under 1310(b) of California Probate Code, according to Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles (on Twitter), and that essentially makes the decision “appeal-proof“.

The move seemingly seals the deal for former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to officially complete his purchase of the Clippers.  If this is indeed the end of the Sterling saga, it will be a great relief to the league office as well as many members of the Clippers.  Matt Barnes was the latest Clipper to raise the specter of a boycott if Donald Sterling remains, as we noted earlier.  Coach/president Doc Rivers and star guard Chris Paul were also among those who have been considering drastic measures if Sterling was not ousted by the start of the 2014/15 campaign.

Last week, Clippers interim CEO Dick Parsons testified that if Sterling stayed and Rivers were to leave, it would spell doom for the franchise.

If Doc were to leave, that would be a disaster,” Parsons said, according to’s Ramona Shelburne. “Doc is the father figure of the team. Chris [Paul] is the on-court captain of the team. But Doc is really the guy who leads the effort. He’s the coach, the grown-up, he’s a man of character and ability — not just in a basketball sense, but in the ability to connect with people and gain their trust. The team believes in him and admires and loves him. If he were to bail, with all the other circumstances, it would accelerate the death spiral.”

Today’s clean sweep ruling should be the final step towards making Ballmer’s $2 billion purchase official, but Donald Sterling has a long history of dragging things out in court.  The NBA certainly hopes that this will be the end of what has been a bizarre and ugly series of events for the league.

Latest On Donald Sterling

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.

And-Ones: Jefferson, Spurs, Sterling

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  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  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.

And-Ones: Love, Wiggins, Sterlings, Durant

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
  • 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.

Latest On Donald Sterling

After no-showing at a probate trial hearing involving the pending sale of the Clippers yesterday, Donald Sterling arrived in court this afternoon to testify. There are a handful of noteworthy items to pass along from some who are covering the trial today, and you can find them below:

  • Ramona Shelburne of (via Twitter) says that this case is scheduled through Thursday afternoon, and although there’s no guarantee that a ruling would be made by then, the judge clearly understands the time frame of the sale. As Linda Deutsch of the Associated Press notes, the NBA owners are expected to vote to approve Shelly Sterling’s agreement with Steve Ballmer on July 15th, which is also the day that Ballmer’s offer to buy the team is set to expire.
  • Donald claims that he can get between $2.5 to $5 billion if he sold the Clippers, tweets Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.

Earlier updates:

  • Donald had initially agreed to the sale of the team because he thought that the league would then waive the fine and lifetime ban levied against him, according to Shelburne and Arash Markazi of (Twitter links).
  • Donald’s wife Shelly had been authorized to negotiate the sale because Donald thought that she would ultimately keep her portion of the team, tweets Shelburne.
  • The NBA has no plans of rescinding Donald’s lifetime ban, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.
  • Another reason why Donald is fighting the sale is that he believes he can get the same deal that the Lakers got with Time Warner and radio stations, per Shelburne (via Twitter).
  • Donald said that he was in the process of negotiating a TV deal with FOX at the time he was banned, says Shelburne (Twitter link).

And-Ones: Sterling, Parker, Crawford

Attorneys for Donald Sterling will argue that wife Shelly Sterling exerted undue influence on one of the two doctors who examined Donald and declared him mentally incompetent, as Ramona Shelburne of details. Donald’s mental competency is no longer on trial. Instead, the probate trial between the Sterlings will center on whether Shelly followed the rules of the Sterling family trust, according to Shelburne. Those rules required that two mental health experts submit letters to the effect that Donald was mentally incompetent before allowing Shelly to take full control of the trust, Shelburne writes. Shelly agreed to sell the Clippers in May to Steve Ballmer, claiming that she fully controlled the trust, but Donald is fighting the sale. Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Spurs kept Tony Parker through Monday, unsurprisingly, but doing so means his $3.5MM partial guarantee is now a fully guaranteed $12.5MM salary for 2014/15.
  • Jamal Crawford of the Clippers had his $1.5MM partial guarantee bumped to a full guarantee of $5.45MM when he remained on the roster through Monday.
  • Kosta Koufos remains on the Grizzlies, so his $500K partial guarantee is now a $3MM full guarantee.
  • Parker’s teammate Austin Daye is also still with the Spurs, so his $250K partial guarantee is a fully guaranteed minimum salary.
  • The Hornets kept Jeffery Taylor around, so his minimum salary went from non-guaranteed to fully guaranteed.
  • It appears as though the Magic are officially under the cap, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). That means Orlando loses access to a $6,077,280 trade exception it could have reaped from last week’s Arron Afflalo deal.
  • The Hawks didn’t give big man Gustavo Ayon a qualifying offer by Monday’s deadline, making him an unrestricted free agent, notes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). There weren’t reports of qualifying offers to James Southerland of the Pelicans, Adonis Thomas of the Sixers and Bernard James of the Mavs, so presumably they’re all unrestricted free agents as well.
  • The Wolves hired Ryan Saunders as an assistant coach, the team announced (on Twitter). Saunders, the son of Wolves head coach/executive Flip Saunders, had served the last five seasons as a Wizards assistant.