We should all be thankful the Donald Sterling era is gone. Oh, he’ll keep trying to be a nuisance by suing the league because he can, but his days of involvement with the NBA are gone.
Steve Ballmer is the owner of the Clippers. We don’t know what kind of owner the former Microsoft CEO will be, but he can’t be worse that the historically bad Sterling.
How Sterling’s demise as an owner started, with a recording of him making bigoted statements in a private conversation leaked to TMZ and made public, ended up impacting the end of the Clippers last season. They ended up angry and in the middle of a national media firestorm all while trying to work their way through the playoffs. Nobody was going to beat the Thunder with that hanging over their heads.
Matt Barnes is back in his native Sacramento and spoke with News10’s Sean Cunningham about how the team dealt with that.
“Everyone thought they had the answer on what to do and what we should do,” Barnes said. “Doc brought us in and talked to us the morning after it happened. We all got to air out our feelings, but we decided as a team for Doc to be the only one answering questions and for us to concentrate on basketball, and I think that relieved a little bit of the pressure.”
(You should read the entire post to read what Barnes said about a family tragedy he went through this summer.)
The Clippers are serious title contenders this year. At the end of last season I thought they we’re the third best team in the NBA, problem is the two above them were both in the West. That said, the Clippers should be better.
Los Angeles is improved because they have Spencer Hawes as their first big off the bench, who is a massive upgrade over Glen Davis and Ryan Hollins who were the backups last year. Los Angeles will have DeAndre Jordan in a contract year. Also, this is their second year in Doc Rivers’ system.
But most of all, they won’t have Sterling as a distraction at the key part of the season.
Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.
There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.
If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.
First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.
Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.
Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.
Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.