Author: Kurt Helin

Greg Oden formally charged with felony battery, not guilty plea entered


This part of the court proceedings is a bit of a formality, but the felony battery charges against former NBA No. 1 pick Greg Oden became official before a judge Wednesday morning in Indianapolis.

A not guilty plea was entered (standard at this point in any criminal case, it can be changed later after plea bargain negotiations) and a trial date of Oct. 22 was set, according to the Associated Press.

Oden has been charged with one count of battery resulting in serious bodily injury — a felony that can come with one to six years in jail — as well charges of domestic battery and battery resulting in bodily injury, both misdemeanors.

Oden admitted to the arresting officers that he did this, according to the original police report.

The officer noticed “blood, swelling to the nose, lacerations to the forehead and nose area” of the victim’s face. Police also saw blood on the sofa and floor. A flower pot was also knocked over during the disturbance. …

“Things got out of control and I started to go after the victim,” police quoted Oden in the report…. “I was wrong and I know what has to happen,” Oden told officers. He said he and the woman had dated for approximately two years and broke up about two months ago.

It’s a minor point in comparison, but Oden is a free agent right now and it’s hard to see a team taking the PR hit and bringing him for training camp in at this point. Oden played last season with the Heat but by the time the games really mattered he had fallen far out of the rotation. On a team that could have used some size.

Highlights of LeBron James’ homecoming event in Akron

Bryce Traylor, Corey Oswald

It was impressive — 30,000 people turned out in Akron to welcome LeBron James back to Ohio and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This felt different and lacked the backlash of the big “welcome to Miami” pep rally when LeBron and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami. For one, there were no brash “not three, not four, etc..” statements, there were not the same pyrotechnics (literally and figuratively). LeBron has been careful to tamp down expectations this time around (if I can win just one title for northeast Ohio…). Secondly, people love the coming home story in a way they never accepted that he and some fellow players decided to make their own destiny in a sunny, sexy location.

All is forgiven in Ohio. And it’s safe to say he’s going to bring home a title or two.

Court of Appeals shoots down Donald Sterling’s effort to overturn Clippers sale

Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling threw a Hail Mary Tuesday, hoping an appeals court would step in and overturn the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer.

Turns out, Donald Sterling is no Doug Flutie.

We tried to tell you before that when Donald Sterling and his attorneys filed a writ of mandate trying to stop the sale of the Clippers it would fail. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN confirms that it has indeed fallen well short.

No judge was ever going to step in and undo a completed $2 billion sale.

Sterling also asked the Appellate Court to overturn the lower court’s ruling that cleared the way for the sale. That was rejected.

As we’ve been saying, Donald Sterling is out of the Clippers and out of the NBA. He is not getting back in the club. Ever. His wife Shelly on the other hand

Donald is still a rich, bitter, old man with his attorneys on speed dial so you can expect a lot of continued niceness lawsuits over the coming years — he is already suing the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver on anti-trust grounds (and the league is counter-suing) plus he is suing the league for fraud. He’s got the money to try and make things uncomfortable and ugly for the NBA, and he might even have some level of success at that.

But he’s lost what he really wanted. He loved being the owner of the Clippers — he didn’t love the Clippers, but rather the perks and attention that came with owning them — and that is gone forever.

The NBA schedule is out, here are some highlights

Miami Heat Victory Parade And Rally

It’s here. The NBA schedule is out.

There are 1,230 NBA regular season games each year total, we’re not going to list them all here. Like you’d read that anyway. Here are a few highlights to check out.

• The season starts Oct. 28 with a double-header on TNT. First Dallas goes to San Antonio and watches the Spurs raise banner No. 5. The second game is the Rockets at the Los Angeles Lakers, with the return of Kobe Bryant. It’s Dwight Howard back in Los Angeles and that’s still a draw (and a lot of boos in LA).

• LeBron James wanted to go home and that’s where he starts — the Cavaliers will open the season Oct. 30 at home hosting the New York Knicks. The Cavs second game is the Bulls on Halloween night.

• Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks open the season with a brutal back-to-back, hosting the return of Derrick Rose to the NBA on the 29th then facing the Cleveland on the 30th. Welcome to coaching in the NBA Derek Fisher.

• Fun opening week game on TNT — Clippers host the Thunder on Thursday night Oct. 30. Also on Oct. 31 the Cavaliers and Bulls face off in what should be the first of four regular season games between the top two teams in the East.

• The Lakers and Clippers play each other for the first time on Oct. 31.

• There is a third game on Oct. 28 not getting nationally broadcast, but it’s the start of the season for Anthony Davis and a real potential playoff team in the Pelicans, opening up at home against the Magic. By the end of the season Davis could be the third best player  in the NBA.

• Christmas Day — the day most casual fans start watching the NBA — will feature five games. LeBron will make his return to Miami that day with a game between the Cavaliers and Heat, one of the ABC marquee games that day. The other ABC game features the Thunder at the Spurs. The day will open with the Wizards traveling to face the Knicks, it also will include Lakers at the Bulls, and it will close out with the Warriors going to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers.

• Both match ups between the defending champion Spurs and LeBron’s Cavaliers will be nationally televised: Nov. 19, on ESPN and March 12, on TNT.

• The battle between Manhattan and Brooklyn starts Nov. 7 when the Knicks travel to the Nets (and bring a lot of their fans with them).

• Kevin Love will make his return to be booed in Minnesota on Jan. 31. But I sure it will be polite booing.

• Andrew Wiggins reportedly will make his NBA debut Oct. 29 when the Timberwolves travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies.

• The NBA will play two regular season games overseas, both on Nov. 12 — the Rockets and Timberwolves in Mexico City, and the Knicks and Bucks (coached by Jason Kidd) in London.

• Martin Luther King Day will see four games: The Pistons at the Hawks, the Mavericks at the Grizzlies, he Bulls at the Cavaliers in a good one, and finally the Lakers at the Suns.

• The Nets and Raptors had a great playoff series last year, they face off in Toronto on Dec. 17.

• Want to watch LeBron put up a lot of points in Madison Square Garden? Dec. 4 the Cavs travel to the Knicks.

• Pau Gasol, the new Chicago Bull, makes his return to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers Jan. 29.

• On March 31 we get a Finals rematch of last year with the Spurs in Miami. That lacks a little luster now.

• To close out, we have this observation from John Schuhmann of

NBA All-Star Break extended to one week, most teams off 8 or 9 days

2015 All-Star logo

NBA players, particularly the ones that get into the All-Star Game, have asked for this for a while — a longer mid-season break to rest their bodies and recharge for the home stretch and the playoffs.

They got it.

As has been rumored, there will be a week-long All-Star break around the mid-season game in New York this year with a break from Feb. 12-19, the NBA revealed when it released the schedule Wednesday afternoon. Most teams and players will have a little more than that, eight or nine days off around the Feb. 15 All-Star Game in New York.

If you think that means things will be quiet around the NBA guess again — that is the time of the trade deadline. That’s what everybody really wants to talk about in February anyway, now there just won’t be any of those pesky games to get in the way of trade rumors.

The longer break is something a lot of coaches and players wanted. NBA players union president Chris Paul specifically had talked about.

Players voted in by fans or picked by coaches complained they really didn’t get time off — they would play Wednesday or Thursday, fly to the city of the game, have mandatory events Friday, Saturday and the game Sunday, then fly back Monday for a Tuesday game (or at least practice). More than the physical side of it, there was a feeling there was no mental break.

Now everybody gets a week to let the bumps and bruises of the season heal for a week, preparing for the stretch drive.

The league is considering this an experiment — they will try it for a year and go from there.

This is something the players have wanted, but if you think the owners aren’t going to bring it up and ask for a little something back during the next CBA negotiations you haven’t been paying attention.