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

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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.

Rumor: Raptors trying to trade up in draft for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
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The Raptors have major problems in the playoffs annually.

Is a coaching change enough to fix them?

Toronto already fired Dwane Casey and promoted assistant Nick Nurse after a highly successful regular season. Perhaps, major roster turnover could follow.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander projects to be a late lottery pick. The Raptors have no selections in this draft. So, acquiring one high enough to pick the Kentucky point guard would take plenty.

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are stars. Toronto’s bench is stocked with solid young players. O.G. Anunoby is very promising.

So, the Raptors have pieces to move. The only question how much they’d package for a draft pick.

Toronto already has Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright at point guard. But Lowry is 32, and VanVleet will be a restricted free agent this summer. If they really believe in Gilgeous-Alexander, the Raptors should try to get him.

All that said, this is the time of year rumors – both credible and not – fly. So, it’s worth remaining skeptical while still considering the validity of what reputable reporters like Stein convey.

Luka Doncic, Donte DiVincenzo, Jerome Robinson among NBA draft invitees

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Of course DeAndre Ayton will attend Thursday’s NBA draft. The Suns will likely draft him No. 1 overall.

But what about more marginal first-round prospects?

The NBA’s draft invite list is an important tool in judging their stock. The league wants to avoid players sitting in agony until their names are called. So, the NBA works to invite only the prospects most likely to get picked high in the draft.

The full list of invited players (which the league notes is subject to change):

Luka Doncic will go high in the draft, and though how high is still uncertain, his inclusion on this list says nothing about his stock. It just speaks to whether we’ll see him Thursday night. His attendance will depend at least on when Real Madrid’s season ends, though the NBA is apparently confident enough to list him.

Jerome Robinson has climbed draft boards since the season ended. He must be impressing in workouts and interviews.

Donte DiVincenzo is a bit of a surprise selection, as he’s not widely viewed as a first-round lock. Perhaps, the league is looking to capitalize on his popularity stemming from a breakout NCAA tournament championship game.

This will only reinforce the idea Chandler Hutchinson received a promise. Otherwise, he’s a surprise invitee.

Among the top players not attending: Kevin Huerter (Maryland), Jacob Evans (Cincinnati), Troy Brown (Oregon) and Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech). Though they could go higher than players listed here, that says something about Huerter’s Evans’, Browns’ and Okogie’s stock, too.

Report: Rudy Gay opting out of Spurs contract

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Kawhi Leonard reportedly wants to leave the Spurs, but he’s at their whims.

This doesn’t mean Rudy Gay will depart San Antonio, but he’s taking control of his future.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Gay’s option-year salary was $8,826,300.

I doubt Gay, who turns 32 this summer, will draw such a high starting salary on his next contract – though I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. He could likely get a multi-year deal with a higher total value.

Or he could chase a ring elsewhere.

Remember, Gay gave up money to leave the Kings last summer. No matter how much the Leonard situation should make us rethink the Spurs’ culture, San Antonio probably isn’t “basketball hell.” Still, the Spurs clearly don’t look as appealing as they once did, and Gay has shown how much he values team quality.

Gay is coming off a nice season, and San Antonio might try to re-sign him. Danny Green has a $10 million player option for next season, which will swing whether the Spurs have the flexibility for a bigger move this summer.

Report: LeBron James’ camp likes Collin Sexton

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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In 2014, LeBron James tweeted his fondness for Connecticut point guard Shabazz Napier. The Heat traded up to get Napier in the draft, but LeBron left for the Cavaliers that summer, anyway.

Could history repeat itself, this time in Cleveland?

LeBron has already talked up Oklahoma point guard Trae Young, but maybe LeBron and his camp want the Cavs to take a different point guard – Alabama’s Collin Sexton – with the No. 8 pick.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, via Jordan Zirm of ESPN Cleveland:

The Cavaliers should take the best prospect available. Worrying about what LeBron might want makes a mistake only more likely.

LeBron might stay in Cleveland, but as 2014 showed, it won’t be because of a draft pick. If he stays, it very well could be by opting into the final year of his contract. His player-option salary ($35,607,968) is slightly higher than his projected max salary as a free agent (about $35.35 million). If LeBron opts in, the best chance of keeping him long-term is building a better team around him.

That means taking the best prospect at No. 8 or trading the pick for someone who can help LeBron win now. If the top prospect is Sexton, that’s fine. But the Cavs are fare more likely to appease LeBron by getting the pick right in the long run rather than choosing the prospect he wants now.