The NBA came down swiftly and severely on Clippers owner Donald Sterling, for racially insensitive remarks he was heard saying in a recorded private conversation.
The lifetime ban and hefty fine were only the beginning, as the league is also moving toward forcing Sterling out of his ownership stake entirely — something he is more than likely to fight, at least initially to a certain extent.
But Sterling reportedly has health concerns that are far more serious than the ultimate fate of his NBA franchise.
Both the the New York Post and ESPNLosAngeles.com have confirmed that Sterling is battling cancer. Here is the Post’s report (in a very NY Post tone) :
Disgraced racist Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is battling cancer — surprising those around him by beating the final buzzer for as long as he has, sources told The Post on Thursday.
“They thought he would die two years ago,” one source said of Sterling, who on Tuesday was banned for life from the NBA for his now-infamous recorded racist rant. …
Another source said Sterling, 80, was specifically suffering from prostate cancer.
The tone of the piece is unnecessarily spiteful, but with confirmation from other outlets the reporting seems to be solid.
We wouldn’t wish the scourge of cancer on anyone.
That doesn’t change the fact Sterling will have nothing more to do with the Clippers or the NBA. His health issues, while unfortunate, are completely separate from his history of making remarks and taking actions which have proven to be racist in nature. They may affect his willingness to go through a long, litigious battle with the league over the punishment that’s been meted out, but that much remains to be seen.
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.
There were a couple of good ones, however.
Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.
One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.
The NBA, at the Pacers’ request, is investigating whether the Lakers tampered by making impressible contact with Paul George.
Bob Kravitz of WTHR
In fact, there’s word that other small- and mid-market team officials have reached out to the Pacers and told them, “Good for you. Fight the good fight.”
Small-market teams whine too much about the disadvantages they face, but tampering isn’t really a market-size issue. Remember, under Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers were known as the only team that didn’t tamper.
The Lakers have advantages because George is from the area, and Los Angeles offers immense marketability. That’d be true whether or not they contacted George or his agent before he officially became a free agent.
I understand the desire to take down the big, bad Lakers – especially now that they appear poised to become truly big and bad again. But it’s hard to find a team that can cast a stone at them from anywhere other than a glass house.
The power dynamics within the Clippers are shifting, and the ground apparently hasn’t settled yet.
Doc Rivers has been stripped of his presidency. Jerry West became a consultant. Lawrence Frank now holds the most prestigious title in the front office, and newly hired Michael Winger will report to him. Also falling under Frank in the organizational chart? Trent Redden.
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:
Longtime Cleveland Cavaliers executive Trent Redden will join the LA Clippers’ front-office staff as assistant general manager, league sources said on Monday.
Redden was ousted in Cleveland with David Griffin. He’ll help the Clippers simply by providing another capable executive. They’ve long needed to add front-office employees (and pay for them).
But Redden also exacerbates the issue of Frank’s underlings having far more front-office experience than him. As the Clippers try to establish their new setup, we’ll see whether that creates complications.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr has missed significant time the last two seasons due to complications from back surgery.
Could those issues derail his career?
Kerr, via Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“I fully expect to coach all year,” Kerr says in a no-nonsense tone. “That’s my expectation. And for many years to come.”
On the most basic level, it’d be good if Kerr feels well enough to coach. The headaches sound miserable, regardless of his job.
But it’d also be ideal if the NBA didn’t lose one of its best coaches just as he’s getting started. The 51-year-old Kerr might wind up the greatest coach of all time. Obviously that’s a long way off, but he has that potential – health permitting.