Shelly Sterling: NBA is sexist

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Following Donald Sterling’s CNN interview, Shelly Sterling appeared on the Today show with Savannah Guthrie Tuesday. It did not go as poorly as her husband’s interview, but it was certainly not endearing. Let’s go point by point using key excerpts from Scott Stump’s transcription from Today.com:

“I’m very angry. And I’m very hurt. And I even cried listening to that, because I just feel bad,” she told Guthrie in a sit-down that aired Tuesday on TODAY. “And then I feel bad. Why am I the victim when he’s the perpetrator? If somebody killed somebody, does the wife have to stand trial too?”

False equivalency. In the United States, no, collective punishment is not allowed in criminal court.

But Shelly is not standing trial!

The NBA is in the process of removing the owner of one of its teams, and if the league’s interpretation of its rules is correct, it can remove all owners of that team. This is not a court of law. This is a private business exercising its right to operate.

Shelly goes on to discuss Donald’s comments on Magic Johnson (which Adam Silver apologized for on behalf of the NBA).

“I never understood what he was talking about,” Shelly told Guthrie after watching the interview. “And why would he bring Magic Johnson into the issue about what’s happening now? I mean, that’s why I felt pity because he couldn’t get all the dots together. He couldn’t connect the dots.”

“He’s not the man I know, or I knew,” she said. “There’s something wrong. I really think, personally, he has dementia.

“I don’t think it happened overnight. I think it’s been happening, but nobody really knew the reason. I mean, he gets crazy, and yells, and screams, and hollers one moment. The next moment he’ll…talk about something else. I mean it’s like nothing makes sense.”

Guthrie noted that while dementia may make people delusional or nonsensical, it doesn’t necessarily make them say racist things.

“I don’t make excuses for anybody,” she said, admitting that she doesn’t know much about dementia.

Anderson Cooper, who interviewed Donald, said he saw no signs of dementia during their interview. Cooper said Sterling repeatedly referred to previous questions when there were more points he wanted to make before jumping back to the current question. To be fair, Cooper is not trained to diagnose dementia and an hour-or-so-long sample is not necessarily representative.

And Shelly’s answer at least explains how she can both condemn her husband’s statements on the recording and scream he’s not racist.

My question for Shelly, though: When did she first believe Donald had dementia?

Was it before or after he was sued in 2003 for allegedly saying “That’s because of all the blacks in this building, they smell, they’re not clean. And it’s because of all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day”?

Was it before or after he was sued in 1996 for allegedly ordering one of his employees to find him “someone who will, you know, let me put it in or who [will] suck on it”?

Was it before or after he allegedly said, “I wanna know why you think you can coach these niggers” to Rollie Massimino in 1983?

Sterling believes the NBA’s attempts to push her out amount to sexism.

“I really think so,” she said. “Would an owner’s wife say the same thing, and would the owner be asked to leave the NBA? Or would they just say, ‘Well, she’s only the wife.”’

If an owner’s wife said the same things, of course an owner would not be asked to leave the NBA. But if a woman had controlling interest in a team and her husband said the same things, she would not be asked to leave the NBA.

Is there some institutional sexism occurring because a disproportionate number of NBA owners are men? Perhaps, and that’s worth exploring.

This case gets clouded, though, due the perception Shelly and Donald are working together.

Still, Sterling agrees with the NBA’s decision to force her husband to sell the team.

“I think I agree with what…their decision is,” she said. “I don’t agree what their decision is for me. I wholly feel that I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Well, there are the times you allegedly posed as a health inspector to investigate the race of your husband’s tenants. There is also the time you allegedly called a tenant a “black m—f.”  And the time you allegedly called Latinos “filthy.”

Even the fans and team members, she said, have her back.

“Well, I went to the game about two days ago,” she said. “I was sitting up in the box. All the fans right below me were high-fiving me, saying, ‘Go girl. Don’t give up.’ I talked to some of the players. They hugged me.”

Shelly’s supporters included Doc Rivers, and then he learned more about her. If these high-fiving fans and hugging players – should they actually exist – learn more, they might change their tune, too.

Lakers make 14% of their free throws, win

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Jordan Clarkson‘s free throw rattled around the rim before falling out late in the first quarter. The Los Angeles crowd groaned. The Lakers missed their first five free throws, and the visiting Pacers led by seven.

It appeared to be one of those nights.

And it was. The Lakers shot just 2-for-14 (14%) on free throws Friday. But they still won, 99-86.

That’s the worst free-throw percentage with at least eight attempts by any team and the worst free-throw percentage regardless of attempts by a winning team in the Basketball-Reference database, which dates back to 1963-64.

Here’s the “leaderboard,” winners in purple and losers in gold:

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The Lakers are shooting an NBA-worst 69% on free throws, but last night took the cake. The offenders:

Knicks’ Jeff Hornacek brushes off concerns about job security

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We saw this pattern earlier this season with the Lakers. Young team gets off to a better-than-expected start, shows real promise, but as things move toward the middle of the season they take a step back. As happens with young, developing teams, they are up and down. However, major market media and an impatient fan base wants to blame someone, so the coach is suddenly discussed as having “lost the locker room” and that his job was in jeopardy (a coach not hired by the current GM). Even though in Luke Walton’s case, it wasn’t (and isn’t).

Now that same pattern has come to New York and the Knicks with Jeff Hornacek. The Knicks started 17-14 and had fans prematurely thinking playoffs thanks to a home-heavy schedule. Reality has hit them the past month.

Hornacek tried to brush off questions about his job security in New York, speaking to Stefan Bondy of the New York Post.

Hornacek also believes he has the backing of GM Scott Perry and president Steve Mills, despite being inherited by them as Phil Jackson’s hire.

“We were talking about rebuilding and we got off to a good start because we had a lot of home games,” Hornacek said. “Scott and Steve, everybody’s still on the same page of trying to get our young guys opportunities. We’re still trying to win games. We still want to establish an identity where defensively we’re going to get after it all the time and we’re building toward that. It’s great to have their support…

“I think the expectations come from the players where all of a sudden you hear them talking about, ‘Oh we can make the playoffs.’ We never said that,” Hornacek said. “We said we want to get better and we want to grow. Part of our talk was you can’t worry about the results. You just got to go out there and if you do your best and try to improve the results will come. When you start thinking about win or lose all of a sudden your mentality becomes different. We got to get back to that.”

Is Hornacek the long-term answer in New York? I don’t know. However, finally unchained from the pseudo-triangle disaster Phil Jackson imposed, he has done a solid job this season, putting Kristaps Porzingis in better spots to lead this roster. The Knicks are projected to win around 38 games at this point (according to Cleaning the Glass), and they have about a 14 percent chance of making the playoffs still (according to fivethiryeight.com). Heading into the season, that would have been about anyone’s best-case scenario for this team.

Not that it matters when you’re coach of the Knicks — job security speculation comes with every paycheck. It just isn’t deserved in this case.

Steve Kerr has “regrets” over time as Suns GM with Mike D’Antoni as coach

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Saturday night, Steve Kerr and Mike D’Antoni will square off as the coaches of the two best teams in the NBA this season (the Warriors and Rockets), teams loaded with offensive talent that play fast — Kerr and D’Antoni have some of the same basic philosophies about the game. Right now they have a mutual admiration society going.

But remember when Kerr took over as the general manager of the “seven seconds or less” Suns? Then traded for Shaq, which was the first step in D’Antono going out the door to New York.

Kerr opened up about his regrets from that era to Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News.

“I have some regrets,” Kerr said. “I think we had a few differences that I probably didn’t handle very well as a GM that I could’ve probably handled better, especially given that we really like each other and have a lot of similar viewpoints on the game.”

The Suns were a contender, but not one that could get over the hump of the peak San Antonio Spurs of the mid-2000s (it was more than just the year Robert Horry hip-checked Steve Nash into the boards and A’mare Stoudemire got nailed for leaving the bench). Kerr felt the need to do something, so he traded Shawn Marion for an over-the-hill Shaquille O’Neal who did not at all fit the Suns’ style. That move ended an era, and the next summer D’Antoni signed in New York (with a front office that never gave him the pieces for his style of play).

“I should have let Mike know, ‘It’s okay, keep kicking [butt] and keep going, and we’ll make some moves that aren’t so radical that fit more with who we are as an organization,” Kerr said. “We swung for the fences, and it was not the right move to make as an organization. I didn’t envision that as GM. I didn’t have the macro view of what we needed to do….

“I needed to tell Mike, ‘It’s okay if we don’t win the championship,’” Kerr said. “We were so desperate to win. But not everybody can win. But what you can do is keep putting yourself in a position to get there. Then maybe the breaks fall your way.”

Kerr said he’s matured in the way he views the game and team building since then. That is evident in the way the Warriors have been built, with a big-picture view of everything that gets done — they win not only because they are loaded with talent but how that talent fits together. However, they are really an extension of the changes D’Antoni brought to the NBA in Phoenix, just with better defense and some ridiculous shooters.

After stints in New York and Los Angeles with rosters that were ill-suited for his style, D’Antoni is winning big again in Houston because James Harden was really a point guard and GM Daryl Morey has put the right pieces around him to play D’Antoni’s style.

But once again D’Antoni seems just short of a ring because a legendary team — and Steve Kerr — is in the way.

Reports: Jazz might trade Rodney Hood before deadline

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Rodney Hood has been a solid shooter for the Jazz this season, averaging 16.7 points per game and shooting 41.3 percent from three. Of course, you remember him better for this.

Hood is in the final year of his rookie contract, and with the rise of Donovan Mitchell it’s not exactly clear what Hood’s role would be for the Jazz going forward.

Which means Utah might trade Hood, according to multiple reports.

Hood isn’t going to net much in return because he’s in the final year of a contract and because he misses time with nagging injuries (he was out the end of Friday’s game against the Knicks with a lower leg contusion), but considering the number of teams who could use another shooter in the mix there will be interest. More than the big name deals — Kemba Walker, DeAndre Jordan — this is the kind of trade likely to get done at the deadline.