Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four

Donald Sterling in court calls wife “pig,” promises to sue NBA “until I die”


Donald Sterling on the witness stand and in court makes for great theater.

“Make no mistake today, I will never, ever, sell this team. Until I die, I will be suing the NBA,” Sterling shouted during a heated portion of questioning by opposing lawyers….

Soon after, Judge Michael Levanas called an end to the day’s testimony, and Donald Sterling was heard saying to his wife, “Get away from me, you pig!” And then adding, “Shelly, how could you lie?”

(Via the Los Angeles Times reporters in the courtroom Wednesday.)

Whether any of that actually helps his case — having the judge rule his wife and her attorneys did not follow the rules of the joint Sterling Family Trust in having him declared incapacitated and making her the sole trustee of a trust that owns the Clippers — is certainly debatable.

But it is entertaining.

Sterling was on the witness stand for a second day in probate court in a case that will determine whether he is re-instated as a trustee of theTrust, or if the doctors followed the proper steps to have him declared incapacitated. If he is re-instated he will kill the sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Baller, something set up by his wife who is the current lone trustee. The NBA backs that sale.

As he was in his first day of testimony, Donald Sterling was in rare form (actually, not that rare for him).

“She deceived me. I trusted her. I believed in her,” Sterling said earlier. “I never thought that a woman wouldn’t stand by her husband.”

(This from the man who has had multiple public mistresses in recent years, including the one who leaked the tape of prejudiced comments that got him banned from the NBA in the first place.)

Shelly Sterling took the stand later in the day and apparently came off as sympathetic to her husband and his condition (doctors have testified that he is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s).

“He’s been getting more forgetful. He’s slurring his words. He’s agitated a lot. He gets mad for no particular reason,” she said of his condition. “He’s just not the same person that he used to be.”

On the CNN interview Donald Sterling gave to Anderson Cooper, Shelly Sterling said, “I couldn’t believe it and I started crying. I felt so bad. I couldn’t believe that was him.”

That reaction caused Donald to snap at Shelly after the court session ended and call her a pig.

The hearing is supposed to continue one to two more days.

While these were the dramatic parts, what may have mattered more to the judge was Sterling’s lawyer trying to pick apart the testimony of a neurologist who had been one of the doctors who ruled Sterling incapacitated. Donald’s attorneys tried to say Shelly’s attorneys held too much sway over the doctor. Courtroom observers thought the neurologist held her ground.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.