Kurt Helin

Mavs bring back Jonathan Gibson to ease injured backcourt

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DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Mavericks have re-signed summer league standout Jonathan Gibson because of backcourt injuries. He had been cut just before the season began.

Forward Quincy Acy was waived Friday to make room.

Backup point guard J.J. Barea has a muscle tear in his lower left leg, and starter Deron Williams has been slowed by a calf problem. Dallas also is without guard Devin Harris because of a left foot injury.

Gibson was not drafted in 2010 and played last season in China. He averaged nearly 19 points in the summer league and was invited to preseason camp. He averaged 7.1 points and 3.0 assists in seven preseason games.

Acy averaged 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in six games.

Report: Donald Sterling settles lawsuit against NBA, his wife, over Clippers sale

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Donald Sterling is moving on from the NBA.

The NBA happily moved on from him in 2014 when Commissioner Adam Silver banned him for life following the release of racist comments recorded in a private conversation — a firestorm that allowed Silver to do what David Stern should have done years before. This was followed by his wife Shelly Sterling making a Machiavellian move to sell the team from the family trust without Donald’s consent. Steve Ballmer paid $2 billion for the Clippers and everyone moved on.

Except Donald, who sued the league, his wife, Ballmer pretty much anyone else he could think of. He did so in multiple lawsuits, some of which were dismissed. The final lawsuit is now settled, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Bobby Samini, Sterling’s attorney, confirmed the agreement in an email to The Times.

“Donald is pleased with the outcome and is looking forward to focusing on future endeavors,” Samini wrote….

Pierce O’Donnell, Shelly Sterling’s attorney, expressed relief that the saga is finished. “Donald’s quixotic legal challenge to the record-shattering $2-billion sale was doomed from the very outset,” O’Donnell wrote in an email.

Shelly is still a regular at Clipper games.

Ballmer has spent money in areas where Sterling would not, and structurally the organization has taken steps forward. Now they just hope that translates to the court.

PBT Extra: Lakers top list of NBA’s biggest early season surprises

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We’re a dozen games into the NBA season, and the things that caught us off-guard have moved past the “fluke” stage and into the “can they keep this up?” stage.

I discuss those things in this latest PBT Extra.

At the top of the list is the Lakers, who have seen Julius Randle take a big step forward, D'Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr. grow, and most surprisingly Lou Williams and Nick Young play some of their best ball. The Lakers have a good offense but can they sustain their middle-of-the-pack defense? We may find out the next few weeks as they head into the tough part of the schedule.

Other surprises include DeMar DeRozan leading the league in scoring, the Clippers’ defense, and more.

Will Celtics fans boo Kevin Durant? Steve Kerr hopes they do.

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Don’t make Kevin Durant mad. You wouldn’t like him when he’s mad…

Actually, Steve Kerr hopes Celtics fans do boo Durant tonight in the Boston Garden and make him mad.

Last summer Durant met with the Celtics — along with other teams — in the Hamptons, before settling on Golden State. Some Celtics fans — not to mention Jae Crowder — had unrealistically high expectations of what was to come out of this, and they plan to let Durant know he should have gone East, not West. Durant is going to get booed. Steve Kerr is all good with that as he told NESN.com.

“I know that the Celtics were one of the teams that were right in there with KD and had a real chance,” Kerr said Friday morning during the Warriors’ shoot-around at TD Garden. “So, maybe the fans will shower him with boos and motivate him. That would be great.”

Durant, for his part, was a little annoyed to be rehashing his summer but said nothing but nice things about Boston, as you can see in the video above via CSNNE.com.

“I met with them and they were really good. I was really impressed by it. It’s hard for me to say how close each team was. I’m not going to go into that, but they were very impressive….

“Do we really want to open this back up? I mean I got much respect for everybody on that team. I know AB (Avery Bradley), I know Isaiah (Thomas), Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder came (to the meeting) and we had a nice talk. Like I said, they were very impressive. The city of Boston is one of the best cities in the league and I really respect how they approach the game, how they play the game. That was it. I’m not going to go into depth on what was said (in the meeting) but it was pretty good.”

The game itself is a matchup of the best offense in the NBA in Golden State against the middle of the pack defense of Boston (which is a lot better than where the Celtics were a week or so ago). Crowder is expected to return from his ankle injury for this game, and Al Horford is a game-time decision after missing time due to a concussion. Boston is going to need both of them to keep Durant from frustrating Celtics fans again.

Michael Jordan says he sees a lot of himself in Russell Westbrook

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Nobody is playing harder, nobody brings a more fierce game to the arena every night than angry Russell Westbrook. In the wake of Kevin Durant‘s exit, stage left, Westbrook has been unleashed — 31.8 points, 9.8 assists, and 9.5 rebounds a game. He’s playing at an MVP level, carrying the Thunder to a 7-5 record on the back of a good defense and him as the offense.

Michael Jordan likes what he sees — and what he sees is a little of himself.

Jordan introduced Westbrook when the latter was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame this week, and the GOAT had some serious praise for Westbrook (hat tip Ball Don’t Lie):

“I am truly a fan of his. If you can ever say, being that we’re so many years apart, that when I watch him play, I see a lot of resemblance of his passion for the game of basketball [to] the way I played the game of basketball…

But the thing about him that very few basketball players have is his passion for the game of basketball. Every time I played the game of basketball, when I stepped onto that floor, I always felt like there was someone there that never saw me play the game of basketball, and that motivated me every single night. This kid has the same passion, and you can’t get that.”

Jordan said he tried to move up in the 2008 draft because he wanted Westbrook, but Presti would have no part of it (Charlotte ended up taking D.J. Augustin ninth, doing so in front of Brook Lopez, Serge Ibaka, Nicolas Batum, and others).

Comparing someone to himself is the highest praise from Jordan, and only a few (Kobe Bryant most recently) have gotten that. It’s fitting for Westbrook, because nobody plays with a bigger chip on their shoulder than Westbrook in today’s game, and that’s what he most has in common with MJ.

Westbrook, of course, wasn’t about to go down that road and said Jordan was the greatest ever.

More impressively, Westbrook talked about bigger issues in his acceptance speech.