It’s easy to go for the easy joke when talking about Donald Sterling, owner of the Clippers. Too easy. The snark almost writes itself. And we do love our snark in these parts.
But what’s genuinely amazing about interviews with him is how disconnected from the reality on the ground he seems to be. His lack of understanding of his reputation and the team’s reputation. How that influences free agents and others.
Sterling was at the Clippers unveiling of their new uniforms and got needled by Los Angeles Times sportswriter and curmudgeon T.J. Simers, who loves to have fun with those who don’t get it.
Like how they went after LeBron and ended up with Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes.
Or, as Sterling put it, “If I really called the shots we wouldn’t have signed Gomes and what’s the other guy’s name?
You know, they told me if we built a new practice facility we’d attract all the top players in the game,” Sterling adds. “I guess I should have doubled the size of this place.”
Sterling believes the Clippers should have had a better shot at LeBron and doesn’t really understand why he focused elsewhere. He brushes aside the idea that LeBron was impacted by the fact Sterling has been taken to court by former coach Mike Dunleavey, who is trying to collect money on his guaranteed contract. (Former general manager Elgin Baylor also in suing the Clippers.) Sterling said Dunleavy quit, which is different than the reality the rest of us live in where Sterling fired him.
The jokes are easy, but in reality it is all just sad. This is a franchise that has so much potential. It has potential on the court too, but you know even if everyone stays healthy there will be something to sabotage that success soon enough. And Sterling will just not understand why.
Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.
Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.
“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.
“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”
I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.
But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.
Drake introduces Raptors’ starters, and it’s a lot of fun (video)