Author: Kurt Helin

Los Angeles Clippers v New York Knicks

Report: Jazz close to deal with Toure Murry


Toure Murry barely got on the court last season with the Knicks, but in his limited minutes he showed potential. He had a couple strong games late in the season scoring in double digits, he paired will with Iman Shumpert and generally looked like a big guard who maybe could develop into a rotation player.

Looks like the Jazz may be the team to find that out.

Nothing is finalized but there is this from Marc Stein of ESPN.

The Jazz are a team who brought in Quin Snyder as coach to develop all their young talent — Gordon Hayward, Dante Exum, Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, among others. It’s not a bad gamble to throw Murry into the mix and see if he can become part of the rotation.

At that price, it’s a good gamble.

Thabo Sefolosha pulls out of Swiss national team to focus on season with Hawks

Oklahoma City Thunder v San Antonio Spurs - Game Two
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Thabo Sefolosha was the Thunder’s reliable “3 and D” guy, until his three point shot became unreliable. The guy who had shot better than 40 percent the two previous seasons in Oklahoma City shot 31.6 percent from three last year and found himself a free agent without much demand.

He’s looking for a bounce back year with the Hawks, likely coming off the bench behind Kyle Korver.

Along those lines, he’s decided to drop out of playing for the Swiss national team, which is in the midst of qualifying for EuroBasket, reports volksblatt (via the great Sportando).

Sefolosha did not play in the first Swiss game, an upset of Russia. He says he dropping out because of the injury risk and wanting to focus on the next NBA season.

If he bounces back next season to anywhere close to where he was a couple seasons ago the Hawks picked up a value at three years, $12 million. If not he’s going to bounce around in a lot of trades. It’s on him now.

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

Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

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.