The NBA is limited in the scope of the punishment it can hand Donald Sterling – we’ll soon know what the league is doing – but the Clippers’ sponsors don’t face the same restrictions.
We don’t know what each sponsor’s contract stipulates, but it appears at least two have distanced themselves from the Clippers to varying degrees:
I’d guess the Clippers and each of their sponsors have similar, if not the same, langue on the sponsors ending their payments. If so, I expect more to follow CarMax and State Farm out the door. It’s bad business to be associated with Sterling, even if the allegations against him have not yet been proven true.
Updates: Virgin America has followed.
If there’s a way to persuade Sterling – and his fellow owners – to act, it’s through their wallets.
As we’ve repeatedly said, getting Sterling to sell the team will not be easy. However, if he’s making less money from the team and a potential buyer could make more by bringing back the sponsors, that would push the needle in the direction of a sale. As much as he enjoys the fame of owning an NBA team, he’s also notoriously cheap. There’s no telling how he’d balance those two priorities if they butted heads.
And if the Clippers are losing opportunities to make money, the league is losing opportunities to make money. That affects every owner.
None of this will change what the NBA can do about Sterling, but it might change what the league will do and it might change what Sterling will do.
In 2011, the Trail Blazers surprisingly fired Rich Cho after only season as general manager.
Cho – since hired and fired by the Hornets – seems to be holding a grudge.
John Canzano of The Oregonian:
That’s a sentiment many people hold toward their former employer. Few say so publicly. That Cho did indicates just how strongly he feels.
Under owner Paul Allen, the Trail Blazers have run through numerous executives. It’s part of the culture in Portland, and it leaves a lot of outgoing people bitter.
Current general manager Neil Olshey ought to be mindful of that.
Josh Allen, a quarterback from Wyoming, could be the No. 1 pick in tonight’s NFL draft. But his recently unearthed high school tweets – which include using the n-word with an ‘a’ at the end – are the sports story of the day.
And there’s an NBA tie.
Via Ryan Young of Yahoo Sports:
I hate LeBron!!!!! #LeBronSucks
— Josh Allen (@JoshAllenQB) June 7, 2011
Damian Lillard went down this same road with LeBron James, and they got past it.
But it would be a little more awkward if the Cleveland Browns – who have the Nos. 1 and 4 picks – take Allen. Then, Allen will face more scrutiny over this tweet – the most innocuous of the bunch.
The Jazz blew a 25-point second-half lead in Game 5 last night, extending their series with the Thunder. Up 3-2, the Jazz are still in control. They can close out in Game 6 tomorrow in Utah. Blow that, and they must return to Oklahoma City for Game 7 Sunday.
But Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell is making it abundantly clear he doesn’t plan to do that.
Gabe Ikard of The Franchise 107.7:
Jake Edmonds of KUTV:
A confident proclamation that rallies his team or youthful exuberance run amok?
The narrative will be decided after Game 6. That’s just how this is done.
From the moment Robert Pera opted to retain control of the Grizzlies and end a prolonged ownership saga, it seemed interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff would remain Memphis’ coach.
Lo and behold…
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Bickerstaff did a decent job before the Grizzlies started tanking. But that was a small a sample, and his prior work as Rockets interim coach was uninspiring.
To be fair to Bickerstaff, those were both difficult situations. He’s an experienced assistant who might be ready for this challenge.
To be less fair to Bickerstaff, this looks like Memphis taking the cheap route. The Grizzlies didn’t appear to conduct much of a coaching search, if any. Nor has Bickerstaff been mentioned with other openings. It probably won’t cost as much to hire him as it would a more-established option.
Memphis seems to be operating under the belief that a healthy Mike Conley and Marc Gasol will right the ship next season. And they might. But given the age and injury history of those two, I wouldn’t assume they stay healthy and productive all season. Even if they do, they’d have to carry an underwhelming supporting cast – with limited room for upgrade this summer – in a deep Western Conference.
The Grizzlies want Bickerstaff, who’d be a first-time non-interim head coach, leading that team trying to win now? That doesn’t seem like the right risk-reward balance – at least until considering his salary, and even then.