Mark Cuban says he doesn’t care whether fans attends Clippers games, open to dissenting in Donald Sterling vote

35 Comments

Mark Cuban has warned about the slippery slope of removing Donald Sterling as owner of the Clippers. As Cuban explained, he found Sterling’s words abhorrent, such severe punishment for a private conversation that was possibly illegally recorded doesn’t exactly thrill the Mavericks owner.

Cuban also said he might have to be a hypocrite in the June 3 vote, indicating he’d vote against Sterling anyway.

First of all, that vote might not happen. If the sale of the team to Steve Ballmer gets approved first – it’s trending that way – there would be no need to remove Sterling as owner. The team would already be Ballmer’s.

But if the vote happens, Cuban is a real wildcard.

Cuban on opposition to a potential vote against removing Sterling, as transcribed by Mike Matvey of the New York Daily News:

“F— ’em. I don’t care if nobody shows up to games. If I think the ethical thing to do is to vote against 29 other guys, I will,” Cuban said on SiriusXM Radio

I’m convinced Adam Silver has the necessary votes to remove Sterling. I can’t imagine him going down this road with out the assurance of 22 owners to support him.

I’m not convinced every owner would vote to remove Sterling, though. That’s not because they support what Sterling said, but because they don’t want to lower the barriers to them someday losing their own team.

However, I’ve always believed the final vote would be unanimous. All it would take is Silver telling the dissenters their votes would be leaked. Why take that public backlash for a losing cause?

Maybe Cuban is just crazy enough to do it.

More likely, he won’t have to make that choice – but it would be interesting if the vote actually occurs and he’s confronted with the decision.

By the way, the players union should remember Cuban’s quote during the next Collective Bargaining Agreement impasse. If NBA owners don’t care about revenue – good luck making money without fans in a huge market – why should the players sacrifice salary to make the league profitable?

Rumor: Paul George told former Pacers teammates he wanted to join the Lakers

AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
Leave a comment

Paul George to the Lakers is a capital-T thing.

George is from Southern California, and he keeps indicating his dissatisfaction with the Pacers. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2018. Even Lakers president Magic Johnson is talking about George.

Where do rumors like this originate?

Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News:

A SoCal native, he’s been talking about playing for his hometown team, the Lakers, for a long time. He’s never made his long-term intentions a secret within the Pacers’ locker room, according to former teammates. He wants to wear the purple and gold.

Did George say he dreamed of playing for the Lakers growing up? Did he say it’d be cool to join his boyhood favorite team if the situation presented itself? Or did he say he wanted to get the heck out of Indiana to join the Lakers as soon as possible?

There are so many ways his comments to teammates could get misconstrued as they get passed down in the game of telephone.

But the Lakers threat – to whatever degree it’s real – looms, and it’ll impact how the Pacers handle their offseason.

Jazz call deactivating Jeff Withey, who was accused of domestic violence, ‘strategic basketball-related decision’

Harry How/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jazz Center Jeff Withey was accused of domestic violence in a police report filed by his ex-fiancée.

Withey played a small role in Utah’s first two playoff games, but once the accusation over an alleged 2016 incident became public, he hasn’t seen the court. Withey received a DNP-CD in Game 3 against the Clippers, and the Jazz deactivated the center for Game 4 last night.

Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News:

The team called it a “strategic basketball-related decision.”

Withey was always going to see a reduced role with Rudy Gobert returning from injury.

Though Gobert didn’t play in Game 3, the Jazz had two injured players – Gobert and Alec Burks on the inactive list – so Withey was active but never played. But Withey was active for Game 1, which Gobert started healthy before injuring his knee 11 seconds in.

Therefore, deactivating Withey in Game 4 for Joel Bolomboy, a little-used second-round rookie who has yet to play in the postseason, is a curious choice for basketball reasons. It’s almost as if that wasn’t the reason.

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

1 Comment

The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

1 Comment

Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.