Earvin Magic Johnson

Clippers, with Magic Johnson among the bidders, could sell for more than $1 billion

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Donald Sterling will soon be forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers if NBA commissioner Adam Silver gets his way.

The result will likely be a $1 billion windfall for Sterling, who bought the team $12 million in 1981.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Magic Johnson was previously reported to be interested, though he denied it.

Johnson’s denial left him an obvious semantic out – “they already have an owner.” Depending on interpretation of Silver’s punishment, the Clippers no longer have an owner. Surely, Johnson will interpret the situation however he pleases if he wants to bid on the team. Nothing is stopping him.

Especially not the commissioner.

“Magic Johnson knows he’s always welcome as an owner in this league,” Silver said.

It’s unclear how the unconventional sale would unfold, but Johnson fronted a group that bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion two years in a sealed-bid process. He’s successfully navigated these murky waters before.

There will certainly be other interested parties, too. The Clippers play in a huge market, even if the Lakers dominate it, and they have two of the NBA’s better and more-marketable players in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.

Earlier this year, Forbes listed the Clippers’ value at $575 million. So why the $1 billion estimates?

There are several mitigating factors, including some that will lower the final price, that should ultimately lift the franchise’s value near 10 digits. Among them:

  • The Clippers would sell for the price offered by the highest bidder, not the consensus price.
  • Forbes’ valuation includes Sterling as the team’s owner. The Clippers could be much more valuable with better ownership.
  • If bidders know Sterling does not have the option to take the team off the market, they could offer less than they would if Sterling’s hand wasn’t forced. (This would lower the final price.)
  • Buying the team now would bring a high amount of good publicity to the new owners.

Watch all 25 threes from Cleveland in Game 2 win

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Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.

Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.

In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.

Cavaliers threes shotchart

Report: Rockets to interview Mike D’Antoni, Frank Vogel for coaching vacancy

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Los Angeles Lakers gestures during the game against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on February 28, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 126-122.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.

The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.

Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.

Cavs set single-game three-point record in blowout win over Hawks

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On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.

Nope.

The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.

The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.

18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:

That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.

LeBron James whips one-handed pass, leads to open Kevin Love three (VIDEO)

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 2: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers fights for a loose ball against Al Horford #15 and Kyle Korver #26 of the Atlanta Hawks during the second half of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Hawks 104-93. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:

The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.