Author: Kurt Helin

Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

It’s not Donald Sterling’s best day: NBA counter-sues him on antitrust case


It’s not a good day to be Donald Sterling.

The Clippers have been sold to Steve Ballmer and as many lawyers as Sterling hires, no matter how much money he throws at the problem, no matter how much dirt he digs up or how much he bullies everyone involved, that sale will not be undone. No judge is going to step in and overturn it now. The deed is done.

Not only is the team sold, but also everyone is celebrating that it happened and you are out.

Then, as the cherry on the sundae, the NBA has counter-sued Sterling on his $1 billion antitrust suit against the league and Commissioner Adam Silver, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The NBA filed a counterclaim against Donald Sterling and the Sterling Family Trust in federal court Monday, saying the Clippers owner caused “devastating and incalculable harm” to the league.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in response to Sterling’s June antitrust lawsuit against the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver, the counterclaim seeks to recover damages related to the owner’s recorded comments denigrating blacks.

Both the league constitution and a document Sterling signed in July 2005 say that Sterling has to indemnify the league against losses and litigation based on his actions, according to the suit. The league says it spent money investigating Sterling as well as defending the lawsuit he filed against the league and it wants its money back for that.

This move is pretty standard, almost all lawsuits of this size and nature have a countersuit to provide leverage.

Sterling is a bitter man and likely is going to try to make this as ugly and messy as he can for the league (and he might have some success there), but as far as the league is concerned he is now a sideshow. He is out. Ballmer is in and the Clippers are moving on without Donald.

This is all separate from the fraud lawsuit that Sterling filed against the league and his wife Shelly.

Celtics’ Olynyk confirms minor wrist injury, jokes “it’s not career-ending”

Kelly Olynyk
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The Boston Celtics are really high on young big man Kelly Olynyk — so much so there were rumors he was off the table in trade talks with teams this summer.

So when you combine that with a slow part of the summer and sprinkle in the hyper-attentive Boston Celtics fans (and their occasional hyper-active imaginations) and the reports that Olynyk left Team Canada due to a wrist injury started to become a little thing.

Olynyk wants you to know it’s not any kind of thing. He spoke with Chris Forsberg of and a youth camp the player attended.

Olynyk was coy on the injury, but downplayed concerns. He wasn’t wearing a brace and didn’t seem cautious while distributing high-5s to the kids as they bounded off a bus in front of Canobie (one of them attaching themselves to Olynyk’s leg and seemingly unwilling to let go).

“It’ll be all right,” Olynyk said of his wrist. Told how even minor injuries tend to become big stories in these parts, he playfully added, “It’s not career-ending.”

Olynyk said his return was simply precautionary. Canada didn’t qualify for the World Cup so that team is not playing much longer anyway.

The rookie out of Gonzaga averaged 20 minutes a game, scoring 8.7 points (on a quality true shooting percentage of .546) plus pulled down 5.2 rebounds a game. He showed a lot of promise, doing most of his damage close to the basket but also hitting 35 percent from three.

That’s why Boston sees him as part of the future. And why fans were a little concerned about the wrist.

Report: New Clipper owner Ballmer to talk contract extension with Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers already is just one of a handful of coaches with the power position to have say over players and personnel too. Gregg Popovich has it (although that’s a unique relationship with R.C. Buford). Stan Van Gundy has it. But the list is short.

Often when a new owner comes in the coach and team president should feel nervous about their job security — owners want the people they trust in the positions of power.

It’s going to be the opposite for Rivers with new Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

In the wake of owner Steve Ballmer gaining governorship control of the Los Angeles Clippers, discussions on a contract extension for Doc Rivers are expected to commence soon, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Ballmer and Rivers had been eager to forge a long-term partnership, and a California court confirming the authority of Shelly Sterling to sell the franchise on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust has cleared the way to work toward a new deal.

Rivers already was making $7 million a year, making him one of the highest paid coaches in the NBA. He’d be happy to extend that, I imagine.

When the Donald Sterling situation, um, hit the fan last playoffs, Rivers did his best to stand in front of the team and deflect as much of the storm as he could off the players. He shouldered as much as could be asked, and it wore on him and the team.

This sale is a parting of the clouds. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are happy. Rivers has a real contender on his hands and a team with a very underrated offseason pickup in Spencer Hawes (remember in the playoffs last year Glen Davis was the first big off the bench, Hawes is lightyears ahead of him).

For a few years now the Clippers have been doing things right off the court in spite of their owner (because he stepped back and let others make the decisions on the basketball side). Ballmer is smart not to fix what isn’t broken. Keep Rivers in the big chair.

NBA suspends Suns’ P.J. Tucker three games for super extreme DUI

P.J. Tucker

The NBA’s standard policy is a two-game suspension for players found guilty of driving under the influence.

The Suns P.J. Tucker earned three games without pay for his super extreme DUI, the league announced Tuesday. That suspension starts opening night of the 2014-15 season.

What is the legal definition of a “super extreme DUI” in Arizona? I don’t know, but I do know that a blood alcohol level of .222 qualifies. As it should. That’s what Tucker tested for when he was arrested back in May in Arizona. Fortunately nobody was injured and there was no accident.

“I am truly sorry and I take full responsibility for my actions,” Tucker said in a statement released by the Suns this summer. “No excuses. It is now my responsibility to examine my life and make the changes necessary to ensure this never happens again. That process has begun and will continue with the love and support of my family, friends and, of course, the amazing Phoenix Suns.”

I think there is a conversation to be had about whether the league comes down hard enough with suspensions on people convicted of a DUI period. Is two games out of 82 enough? Three?

Tucker reached a new three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Suns this summer.

Statements from Clippers’ players on sale of team, Steve Ballmer on sale price of Clippers


If you are trying to envision the mood around the Clippers and the NBA since the sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion became official today, well, picture the “ding dong the witch is dead” seen from the Wizard of Oz. Just with taller people doing the singing and dancing.

(Not that Donald Sterling will not still be a nuisance with his lawsuits, but his days of owning the team are over, no judge is going to undo that sale.)

While the sale was expected the reactions still have been pouring in, so we’re bringing you some of them.

Chris Paul: “I am very excited about Mr. Ballmer’s purchase of the Clippers. I’ve had a chance to meet him and his excitement for the game of basketball and our team is going to be great for the league, the city of Los Angeles and Clipper fans everywhere.

Blake Griffin: “Today is a great day for the Clipper organization and fans everywhere. I look forward to having Mr. Ballmer as an owner and continuing our pursuit of a championship.”

DeAndre Jordan: “I cannot wait to play this season knowing Mr. Ballmer is our owner. Today was a great day for the Clippers.”

Jamal Crawford: “Living in the Seattle area, I am very familiar with Mr. Ballmer. He will bring so many great things to the Clippers and the NBA. I am excited to get started.”

As for Steve Ballmer himself, the man who owns the team, he again shot down any notion that he would move the team to Seattle. Ballmer was part of the group that tried to buy the Kings and move them to Seattle, but this is different. As he noted previously, he just paid a premium for a team that would lose half its value overnight if moved.

Ballmer also had an interesting perspective on that $2 billion sale price that had everyone doing a double take (including other owners), speaking with Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

“I feel like I paid a price I’m excited about. It obviously was a price that was negotiated and I feel very good about it. It’s not a cheap price, but when you’re used to looking at tech companies with huge risk, no earnings and huge multiples, this doesn’t look like the craziest thing I’ve ever acquired. It’s my own personal money, and you’re just as careful with your own money as you are with your shareholders money. And compared to some of the public traded companies, there are great companies out there like Amazon with absolutely no earnings and a huge market caps and lots of risk. There’s much less risk. There’s real earnings in this business. There’s real upside opportunity. So compared to the things I looked at in tech, this was a reasonable purchase and it’s one I’m really excited about.”