Author: Kurt Helin

Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves

Report: Minnesota still in no rush to trade Kevin Love, not to Cleveland or anyone


Everybody thought Flip Saunders was under pressure to pull the trigger on a Kevin Love trade at the NBA Draft — from Love’s agent/camp to other teams there was a lot of work, which led to a lot of hype.

Saunders decided to wait.

Now out of Cleveland — where it just has been assumed for days that LeBron James returning was a done deal and fans have moved on to the next steps in their heads — comes the belief that once LeBron makes his (obvious to them) announcement a Kevin Love trade to Cleveland will follow closely behind.

But again, Saunders is going to be patent, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

A trade for Love would have to center around Andrew Wiggins, but the Timberwolves want more established players as well (remember they have wanted guys more like Taj Gibson and Klay Thompson). It’s not a simple deal.

Since the draft the plan in Minnesota has followed this logic: Once teams get strike one on LeBron and Carmelo Anthony, then get strike two on second wave of guys (maybe Chris Bosh, certainly Pau Gasol and Luol Deng) they will get desperate. That’s when teams will start to make better trade offers for Love.

Do the Warriors see Bosh added to the Rockets (or Anthony to the Lakers) and decide they need to make a big move and throw Klay Thompson in a deal after all? Maybe not the Warriors, maybe not that specific scenario, but the Timberwolves see something in that mold playing out and can sit back and wait for someone to make a better offer. they are not rushed.

This is what Masai Ujiri did in the Carmelo Anthony situation in Denver — wait and wait and wait until somebody gets desperate and makes a big offer (in this case it was James Dolan over the head of then Knicks’ GM Donnie Walsh). Saunders takes heart in that, and if he has to wait until the deadline he will.

Which could leave some frustrated people in Cleveland and other cities as he waits.

Donald Sterling in court calls wife “pig,” promises to sue NBA “until I die”

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four

Donald Sterling on the witness stand and in court makes for great theater.

“Make no mistake today, I will never, ever, sell this team. Until I die, I will be suing the NBA,” Sterling shouted during a heated portion of questioning by opposing lawyers….

Soon after, Judge Michael Levanas called an end to the day’s testimony, and Donald Sterling was heard saying to his wife, “Get away from me, you pig!” And then adding, “Shelly, how could you lie?”

(Via the Los Angeles Times reporters in the courtroom Wednesday.)

Whether any of that actually helps his case — having the judge rule his wife and her attorneys did not follow the rules of the joint Sterling Family Trust in having him declared incapacitated and making her the sole trustee of a trust that owns the Clippers — is certainly debatable.

But it is entertaining.

Sterling was on the witness stand for a second day in probate court in a case that will determine whether he is re-instated as a trustee of theTrust, or if the doctors followed the proper steps to have him declared incapacitated. If he is re-instated he will kill the sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Baller, something set up by his wife who is the current lone trustee. The NBA backs that sale.

As he was in his first day of testimony, Donald Sterling was in rare form (actually, not that rare for him).

“She deceived me. I trusted her. I believed in her,” Sterling said earlier. “I never thought that a woman wouldn’t stand by her husband.”

(This from the man who has had multiple public mistresses in recent years, including the one who leaked the tape of prejudiced comments that got him banned from the NBA in the first place.)

Shelly Sterling took the stand later in the day and apparently came off as sympathetic to her husband and his condition (doctors have testified that he is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s).

“He’s been getting more forgetful. He’s slurring his words. He’s agitated a lot. He gets mad for no particular reason,” she said of his condition. “He’s just not the same person that he used to be.”

On the CNN interview Donald Sterling gave to Anderson Cooper, Shelly Sterling said, “I couldn’t believe it and I started crying. I felt so bad. I couldn’t believe that was him.”

That reaction caused Donald to snap at Shelly after the court session ended and call her a pig.

The hearing is supposed to continue one to two more days.

While these were the dramatic parts, what may have mattered more to the judge was Sterling’s lawyer trying to pick apart the testimony of a neurologist who had been one of the doctors who ruled Sterling incapacitated. Donald’s attorneys tried to say Shelly’s attorneys held too much sway over the doctor. Courtroom observers thought the neurologist held her ground.

Does Kobe Bryant want Byron Scott to coach the Lakers? “Yep.”

Cleveland Cavaliers coach Scott gives instructions to his team during their NBA basketball game against New York Knicks in New York

Byron Scott has been the front-runner to land the Lakers coaching job from Day 1 — he’s a Buss family favorite who lets the Lakers sell the “we’re going with someone from inside the family” line. (Remember Scott was a shooting guard on the Showtime Lakers and has the rings to prove it.)

The Lakers have left the coaching door open as part of their package to entice free agents, but Scott was always the guy standing in the doorway. Wednesday he got a big endorsement — Kobe Bryant.

Via Dave McMenamin of

Now, if this was 2006 Kobe and he had that kind of sway in the organization, Scott would be hired already. But the Lakers are looking at free agents that can lead them into the future (Carmelo Anthony remains dangling out there, even if there are now serious doubts) and if getting them the coach they want would help, that door is open.

Scott has coached more than 900 NBA games over all or part of 13 seasons, being named NBA coach of the year in 2008 (with Chris Paul and the Hornets) and having led the then New Jersey Nets to the NBA Finals in the Jason Kidd era. He’s an old school task master coach (the Pat Riley influence) but one who has been a player and gets that side of it. He struggled with his last job, three seasons in Cleveland trying to develop the Cavaliers talent and never winning more than 24 games.

As usual, in the end Kobe likely gets his way. And that means Scott coaching the Lakers. But that domino likely doesn’t fall until the Anthony one does.

By the way, Kobe said he’s like Anthony as a teammate. Shocking.

Gregg Popovich agrees to extension with Spurs, likely stays past Tim Duncan era

Gregg Popovich

A few years back Gregg Popovich used to joke that when Tim Duncan decided to stroll off into the sunset he was going to do the same — he joked he looked brilliant while coaching Duncan.

However, at the Finals this year Popovich hinted more than once that he was having too much fun and was not yet ready to walk away.

That became evident Wednesday when the Spurs announced a multi-year agreement to keep Popovich as coach, the team announced. The two-sentence press release was something Popovich himself might have written.

No details were released and coach salaries are not made public, but Popovich is believed to make $6 million a season. He also has player personnel power, something shared with GM R.C. Buford. It was rumored this would be a 4-5 year extension, but that is only rumor.

What this really says is that Popovich wants to be in place to help the Spurs transition from the Duncan/Tony Parker/Manu Ginobili era to the Kawhi Leonard era. (Parker could be part of that transition, he is just 32 years old.)

But that is then, next season the Spurs are bringing all the key pieces back from the team that just won the NBA title (plus have a mid-level exception to add more talent). They are the team to beat and nobody can get as much out of them as Popovich, the best coach in the game today and one of the greats to ever coach the game.

Report: Cavaliers want to swing Kevin Love trade if LeBron James comes to town

Kevin Love

This has been rumored for a while, but it still remains a long shot.

The Cleveland Cavaliers don’t just want LeBron James (who is meeting with Miami’s Pat Riley in Las Vegas on Wednesday), they want to land Kevin Love as well. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports tweeted this:

I’ll say up front I’m skeptical they can pull this off. (That is even if they get LeBron.)

What would a trade look like? There is no chance Minnesota would do it without top pick Andrew Wiggins being in the mix, and while I would do that the Cavaliers are rumored to be hesitant. It’s also going to take some of those future first round picks and some other young players of quality as well — Anthony Bennett and Tristan Thompson are not going to cut it.

Even that may not be enough — Boston has been trying to use a combination of young players and picks for some time now and had no success. Flip Saunders in Minnesota has wanted younger but more established players, guys such as Taj Gibson or his real target Klay Thompson.

Whether Wiggins could get him to change his mind depends on how highly Saunders had Wiggins rated.

And even then Saunders might try to use this as leverage to get Golden State to throw Thompson in their offer, or to pressure other suitors.

Kevin Love reportedly has told the Cavs he would not re-sign in Cleveland unless LeBron was there. Love will be a free agent next summer.

If you’re the Cavs and you get LeBron, you better swing for the fences to put a team around him — and do it smarter than they did last time around (aging Shaq and other questionable choices).