Donald Sterling, Rochelle Sterling

Shelly Sterling officially announces sale of Clippers to Steve Ballmer, both release statements

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It’s all official… except for the going to court thing.

Shelly Sterling released a statement through her attorney that she, acting as the lone trustee of the Sterling Family Trust that owns the Los Angeles Clippers, has agreed to sell the NBA franchise to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. She can act as the lone trustee after having her husband Donald Sterling, who has been the recognized primary owner of the team by the NBA for more than three decades, declared mentally incapacitated.

She and Ballmer also released statements.

“I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner,” Shelly Sterling said in her statement. “We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premiere NBA franchise. I am confident Steve will take the team to new levels of success.”

“I will be honored to have my name submitted to the NBA Board of Governors for approval as the next owner of the Los Angeles Clippers,” Ballmer said in his statement. “I love basketball. And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win – and win big – in Los Angeles.”

Ballmer’s $2 billion bid (which was reportedly originally $1.8 billion but apparently was upped in negotiations) was higher than what was offered by multiple other suitors. The powerhouse group led by David Geffen (which included Larry Ellison and Oprah Winfrey) reportedly offered $1.6 billion.

The NBA has yet to comment on any of this.

Reports had surfaced on Thursday that if a completed sale agreement — at a price the league liked with a new owner they were interested in — was sent to them in time they would cancel the NBA Board of Governors meeting scheduled for June 3. At that meeting the 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.

But does the league see this as a legal move by Shelly Sterling? If it has questions, would the league be better off rejecting this sale as not valid, going through with the June 3 hearing, voting to revoke the Sterling’s franchise rights, then selling the team again themselves (likely at the same price or higher)? That train of action would lead to another round of lawsuits.

Whatever happens this is headed to the courts.

Donald Sterling also has not as of yet released a statement on the proposed sale. In his 32-page response to the league’s official charges he was defiant, with his attorney allegedly saying they planned to fight the forced sale until “the bloody end.”

The smart money is on this entire process, starting with Donald being declared mentally incapacitated, it headed to the courts.

Meanwhile NBA fans — not to mention Clippers players — hope the sale goes through so this entire saga will just end.

Report: 76ers sat Jahlil Okafor because they were close to Trail Blazers trade

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 26: Jahlil Okafor #8 of the Philadelphia 76ers controls the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Wells Fargo Center on October 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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. The Thunder defeated the 76ers 103-97. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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The 76ers sat Jahlil Okafor for two games last week, openly acknowledging they were discussing trading him. Then, they played him in their final game before the All-Star break.

That prompted speculation that no deal fell through, but that Philadelphia was bluffing being close in order to drum up interest.

But maybe there actually was a near-trade.

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

On the surface, this makes sense. We know the Trail Blazers were interested in a cost-controlled center, because they traded for Jusuf Nurkic.

But that trade also makes Portland perfect cover if the 76ers are just trying to deflect from a gambit gone wrong. Not only were the Trail Blazers plausible trade partners, they already made their deal. So, there will be no questions about revisiting discussions.

Locker room drama? Player recruitment? Paul Millsap, does that go on All-Star weekend? “Rarely ever”

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 17:  Paul Millsap #4 of the Atlanta Hawks speaks with the media during media availability for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans on February 17, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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NEW ORLEANS — Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant spreading tension throughout the locker room. Players trying to convince Carmelo Anthony he should agree to a trade to their city. Players coming up and trying to recruit free agents to be this summer like the Hawks’ Paul Millsap.

It’s how some fans picture it is inside All-Star weekend locker rooms, all sorts of palace intrigue playing out like a soap opera.

“Rarely ever,” Millsap said of these kinds of things coming up. “For us, we get away from regular season basketball. It’s not about our respective teams, it’s about what’s going on now. You may share some stories, but we’re not talking about (regular season drama).”

Fans can be deeply invested in what happens during the regular season — heck, Eric Gordon heard boos from frustrated Pelicans fans before he won the Three-Point Contest Saturday.

But for the players, it’s a vacation. A chance to get away from all that drama.

“No, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter at all,” Millsap said of the regular season minutia that can dominate the league. “Once you get down here we’re all teammates. That’s how guys treat it. To get here, we’re enemies, but while we’re here everybody’s teammates and are fun to have in the locker room. It’s just a good time.”

They’re more likely to talk about the parties around town.

“Some,” Millsap said with a laugh. “But it’s just more general conversation, almost nothing about the season.”

Most of the recruitment comes in the summer, and most via text. Some players don’t like each other, just like nearly everyone reading this has someone at their office/job they don’t like working with (except me, all my bosses should be canonized they are such good people). Come the office Christmas Party, people put that aside and just get along. Same thing All-Star weekend for the players. Everyone just gets along and tries to enjoy the experience.

When play starts up again next week, the drama can return.

Draymond Green: ‘Shaqtin A Fool’ treats JaVale McGee unfairly

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) is greeted by forward JaVale McGee in the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Friday, Oct. 14, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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NEW ORLEANS — JaVale McGee has fired off at Shaquille O’Neal about “Shaqtin A Fool,” TNT’s blooper segment. Now, the oft-mocked Warriors center has someone else sticking up for him.

“I think JaVale is unfairly treated on Shaqtin,” Golden State forward Draymond Green said. “This year has given me a little different outlook on it.

“I just think there’s some stuff that goes on there about JaVale that really shouldn’t be on there. But, because it’s JaVale…”

That is true. McGee goofs that wouldn’t register if they were by other players make Shaqtin. But McGee still produce plenty of worthy candidates.

And it’s not as if Green is completely turned off.

“I like the show,” Green said. “It’s funny as hell to me. But that aspect of it has kind of given me a little different view.”

PBT Extra: Despite Russell Westbrook’s triple-double pace, James Harden is MVP frontrunner

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The NBA’s MVP race is down to two men. Sure, you can make a case for Kawhi Leonard or LeBron James, some even want to throw Isaiah Thomas in the mix, but the best any of them is going to do is down the ballot in the final three slots.

The top two are reserved for James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

In this PBT Extra, I discuss that while Westbrook is on pace for a historic season — averaging a triple-double of 31.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 10.1 assists a game — it is Harden who is lifting his team to higher heights, and that very well could win the beard the award.