Donald Sterling’s attorney: Mental health exam compromised when doctor went to drinks with Sterling after

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The fight for the Clippers gets real next Monday — attorneys for Donald T. Sterling and his wife Shelly will face off in California probate court in a multi-day hearing.

At stake is whether the Clippers can be sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion in a deal set up by Shelly Sterling. The Clippers are owned by the Sterling Family Trust of which Donald and Shelly each own half, but she had him declared “mentally incapacitated” by the terms of the trust, leaving her as the sole trustee, so she set up the sale.

Donald goes to court next week arguing Shelly did not follow the proper procedure in the trust and that the test was flawed, therefore he should be re-instated as a trustee. Then he can block the sale.

Donald’s attorney Bobby Samini says the test is compromised because the doctor, Donald and others went out to drinks right after it together, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.

Donald Sterling will argue that the findings of one of the doctors who examined him to determine his mental capacity was compromised because the doctor went out for dinner and drinks with him, his estranged wife Shelly Sterling and a family friend after his examination, his attorney Bobby Samini told ESPN.com on Monday night….

Samini said Monday night that when the doctor in question is cross-examined during the four-day trial that is set to begin July 7, he would ask whether “any part of your professional evaluation would take into consideration the conversation you had with him at the Polo Lounge.”

The focus of the trial is not going to be whether Donald is mentally competent or not, the judge didn’t want to go down that road, Shelburne reports. Rather both attorneys agreed to focus the case on whether Shelly followed the proper legal steps in having Donald declared incapacitated, and with that whether the exam is valid.

None of this saves Donald Sterling from the wrath of the NBA. In the wake of the huge backlash racist comments he made on a leaked tape, Donald is toxic to the NBA’s business and the other owners — led by commissioner Adam Silver — want him gone.

If Sterling wins in California probate court, the NBA will return to its Plan A and just have the other owners vote him out and have the league sell his team (he would still get the profits). Remember that these are NBA franchises and people who damage the brand can be kicked out in much the same way other members could vote out someone of a country club or a fraternity. Sterling joined the private club, he has to play by its rules.

That is a messier process for the NBA, and the league likes Ballmer and wants him in the club. A sale is a much easier process as far as the league is concerned.

It all falls to the probate court now. And if you can have drinks with a guy you just gave a mental exam to.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.