Clippers CEO: If Sterling remains owner then Doc Rivers, players, sponsors all ready to bolt

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This is why the NBA will force Donald Sterling out as Clippers owner one way or another before the start of next season — he is poisonous to the Clippers and the NBA’s business model right now.

League appointed interim Clippers CEO Dick Parsons took the stand Tuesday in the California Probate Case between Donald and Shelly Sterling over the Sterling Family Trust — which owns the Los Angeles Clippers. The bottom line is if Shelly wins this case the sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion will go forward, if Donald wins he will dissolve the Trust and be in position to block the sale (although the league will yank his franchise anyway).

Parsons painted a bleak picture of the Clippers future, starting with team president and coach Doc Rivers wanting out, reports the Associated Press.

“Doc is troubled by this maybe more so than anybody else,” Parsons said. “If Mr. Sterling continues as owner, he does not want to continue as coach.”

While the Sterling saga became national news during the playoffs Rivers uncomfortably stood in front of his players and worked to deflect the storm. He wasn’t having fun doing it, but he wanted to do what was best for the team. If he bolts, things could get ugly, and Parsons talked about it on the stand. Arash Markazi of ESPN tweeted this out of the courtroom.

And it wouldn’t just be Doc Rivers running for the exits if Sterling stays, noted Kim Baldonado of NBC Los Angeles and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN

This sums up the NBA’s problem with the Clippers and Sterling.

If you just said to yourself, “What if Sterling wins this case, this was a private recording made public?” know that your question is moot.

If by mid-September Shelly Sterling has not won this case and the sale to Steve Ballmer has not gone through, expect the league to take the steps to vote Donald Sterling out as owner and sell the team. Likely for less money.

It’s just bad business to have him as the owner when the season starts.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.