If you can only be sure of three things they should be death, taxes, and that Donald Sterling was going to fight the idea that he was mentally incapacitated (and the sale of “his” Clippers to Steve Ballmer).
Donald’s wife Shelly, who owns half of the Clippers through the Sterling Family Trust, reportedly had Donald declared mentally incapacitated under the terms of the trust (which had contingencies for such things). With that done she reached an agreement to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. The league has been informed of the sale and is awaiting the paperwork.
Donald Sterling will fight it all, that’s how he’s wired, starting with the suggestion he is mentally incapacitated. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN received and email from Donald Sterling’s attorney.
Notice he says “incompetent” as opposed to her attorney’s wording of “incapacitated,” arguing over the minutia of those kinds of definitions and how it applies to a broader document is what lawyers do. Whether or not Donald Sterling is by definition incapacitated depends on the terms in the trust, plus what was found on the neurological exams. We cannot judge Sterling’s mental state from the edited snippets of the CNN interview with Anderson Cooper we saw. There have been reports Sterling was suffering from some form of dementia (as well as prostate cancer) but the only evidence is with the doctors (who are the only people qualified to judge the evidence).
Whether what Shelly Sterling did will hold up in court remains to be seen.
Which is why the league has said it is awaiting all the details and paperwork of the sale to Ballmer and for now is still moving ahead with plans for a June 3 Board of Governors meeting on the issue. At that meeting other 29 NBA owners would conduct a hearing then vote on whether to strip Sterling of his ownership of the franchise in response to the backlash that followed his prejudiced comments on a recording released to TMZ, plus later in a CNN interview. The NBA has filed official charges against Donald Sterling, as required by its constitution, and he has responded through his attorney.
Bottom line: This is all headed to the courts. As expected. But know that sources say the NBA worked with Shelly Sterling to make sure all her ducks were in a row on this — the league would prefer the voluntary sale to them taking over the team.
Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.
There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.
Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.
Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.
The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.