Donald T. Sterling, Rochelle

Thursday And-1 Links: Updates on Donald/Shelly Sterling saga, plus stuff that doesn’t make you ill

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Shelly Sterling went to court Wednesday trying to get a judge to force her husband Donald from harassing psychologists and attorneys that stripped him of his power in the Donald Sterling Trust. The judge told them all to tone the rhetoric down. Judges get annoyed by lawyers looking to try the case through the press.

Here is what really matters: Donald Sterling got his own doctors to do their own tests and according to his attorney (via Ramona Shelburne) they found out he is capable of administering the trust. (The Sterling Family Trust owns the Clippers and Shelly had Donald declared incapacitated, then as the only trustee she agreed to sell the team to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.) Basically, on July 7-10 a probate judge decides whose doctors are right (with a third set of doctors involved?). If she wins the team is sold. If he wins the other owners go back to Plan A, vote him out and then the team is sold. Same outcome either way.

• Still, you should listen to the Donald Sterling voicemails to the doctors who stripped him of his trusteeship. He’s a bully and it shows here.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN wrote the best post yet on the Sterling saga, with all the history. Best thing you’ll read today. It’s brilliant.

• You know how during the NBA Finals Charles Barkley liked to rant about the Heat players forming their own super team? He tried to do the same thing.

• For what I think is the 100th time, Dirk Nowitzki says he is re-signing with the Mavericks.

• Andrew Bogut spoke with Steve Kerr and is excited about what he hears. Also, Bogut not yet 100 percent healthy.

• At his press conference Thursday, Pat Riley made it sound like the Heat plan to bring back Long Beach State’s own James Ennis from Australia  and have him as part of the team next season. I heard that from other sources during the Finals. He’s athletic and a good fit for their bench.

• Manu Ginobili was excited to see his wife after winning the title.

 • By the way, he is coming back next season to the Spurs.

• Patty Mills used to play Australian Rules Football, and he was good at it.

• The brother of the Greek Freak, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, is working out for teams. He’s not his brother but he might develop, worth a second round pick.

• Memphis acquired a 2015 second-round pick from the Nuggets.

• Vlade Divac wants to get back in the NBA in a front office role.

• Nerlens Noel has been sued for child support.

League executives, players wince watching this Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
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Over the last few days, we’ve written in more detail about Kobe Bryant‘s shooting troubles. He’s jacking up threes his fastest pace ever, he can’t create space to get off clean shots, he’s hitting 31.1 percent overall and 19.5 percent from three. There are flashes of vintage Kobe, but they are fleeting (and mostly because poor shot choices are falling). Byron Scott is still in Kobe’s corner, saying they just need to get the veteran better looks.

However, talk to people around the league about Kobe and you hear some variation of the phrase “hard to watch.” After 20 seasons, more than 55,000 minutes on the court, and coming off two major injuries, Kobe clearly is not the same player everyone admired for so long.

Over at the Los Angeles Times Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner got a number of sources to wince about Kobe for a story — except nobody wanted their name attached to attacking a legend of the game.

“Man, I don’t want to see Kobe go out like this, looking this bad and not able to do what he once could do,” said a retired guard who faced Bryant. “He doesn’t have anything else to prove to anybody. He was one of the greatest. I know he’s owed that $25 million, but he should just walk away now. He ain’t got it anymore.”

“He’s one of the few players in NBA history to have gotten everything possible out of his body. Now his body has nothing left to give,” (an Eastern Conference executive) said. “But that’s life in the NBA, in professional sports. At some point, the body just can’t do it anymore and Kobe’s body can’t do it anymore.”

One West scout said Bryant looked “disinterested” at times. A current player in the West went a step further.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him play and it’s disgusting,” he said. “He’s one of the best of all time. But he really hasn’t played that much in the last two or three years. He’s got nothing left. It’s sad to watch because he used to be so great, and I mean great.”

Kobe is not going to walk away mid-season, and nobody wants an injury to force him out of the game.

But it’s hard to see how anything is going to dramatically change. Kobe may shoot a little better than his current but it’s not likely going to change in a meaningful way. Which will just make things hard to watch for a full season.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.