NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Banged-up Parker iffy for Game 5 — Around February during the season, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gave All-Star point guard Tony Parker significant time off to rest his myriad of injuries. That was done so that Parker would be healthy and ready to hold up for what San Antonio hoped would be a repeat run to The Finals. Parker, though, is suffering through a troublesome ankle injury and his status for tonight’s Game 5 against the Mavericks in San Antonio is unknown, writes Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News:
Tony Parker is listed as day-to-day in advance of Game 5 after being diagnosed with a Grade 1 sprain of his left ankle, suffered in the first half of the Spurs’ 93-89 victory at Dallas on Monday.
“We’ll see how he is (Wednesday),” Popovich said.
The injury is not believed to have required an MRI or x-ray. Grade I sprains are the least severe among three classifications.
Parker finished with 10 points on 5-for-14 shooting in Game 4. He still played 14 minutes in the second half, returning late to hit an important jumper that gave the Spurs an 87-84 lead with 1:37 remaining. The Spurs’ victory knotted the series at 2-2 entering Wednesday’s game at the AT&T Center.
Parker had been uneven even before the injury, averaging just 3.3 in the second half of the first three games. He is averaging 15.5 points and 4.5 assists in the series.
No. 2: Removing Sterling as Clips’ owner may not be easy — If you missed it somehow yesterday, Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been essentially exiled from the NBA by Commissioner Adam Silver. Sterling has been served with a lifetime ban from both his team and the NBA at large and fined $2.5 million. Lastly, the NBA is going to enact a provision in the league’s constitution that allows the other owners to remove Sterling from his position as Clippers owner, but as our David Aldridge points out, removing Sterling may not be an easy task:
There is no doubt that Silver already knew he has the 3/4ths majority vote needed to try and force Sterling to sell the team in his back pocket before he took the stage in New York. There’s “no way,” a senior team executive said Tuesday, that an owner would side with Sterling, knowing the vote would surely be made public within minutes of it being taken.
One owner said Tuesday afternoon he hopes the vote will be taken “hopefully before [the] July scheduled meeting” of the Board of Governors, but if not, it will definitely be addressed at that July meeting.
But the NBA will still, apparently, be looking to remove Sterling under Article 13 of its constitution, which only covers actions such as willfully violating the league’s constitution or bylaws, failure to pay dues, being found guilty of attempting to fix games, amassing huge gambling debts, or disbanding the team during a season.
Did Sterling “willfully violate the constitution or bylaws” by what he said?
And Sterling will surely not go gently into that good night.
It is certainly possible, many league observers believe, that Donald Sterling could cede operational control of the team to his estranged wife, Shelly, who has been as avid a fan of the team as he has. However, the status of their relationship is, at best, in question, given the fact that the recording that brought Sterling down was between him and his girlfriend. The Sterlings are not divorced.
The Clippers’ players were, as you could understand, relieved — though one Tuesday afternoon still wondered and worried how long Sterling would remain owner.
It will not be an easy process.
Removal of an owner under the NBA’s constitution and bylaws falls under Section 14, “Procedure For Termination.” The procedure begins with a charge filed against the owner, in this case, Sterling, by another owner or by Silver. The league must present Sterling with the charges within three days of filing them against him. He then has up to five days to respond after receiving the charge. A special meeting of the Board of Governors would then be called not more than 10 days after Sterling officially answered the charges.
If Sterling ignored the charges or otherwise didn’t answer them, or if he failed to attend the special meeting, he would be viewed as admitting the charges were true, according to the language in Section 14.
Assuming Sterling attended the special meeting, he would have the right to be represented by counsel. According to the language in Section 14, “strict rules of evidence would not apply”; whether that would allow the league to use the contents of the tape as evidence is unclear.
A vote of 3/4ths of the owners, or 23 of 30, would be considered a yes vote for terminating Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers.
If that happened, a simple majority of owners would then be needed to transfer ownership of the team from Sterling to the NBA, which would then be allowed — at least, according to Section 14 — to liquidate whatever assets were necessary to pay off any existing debts. (As the Clippers are believed to be a relatively healthy team financially, this shouldn’t be a major issue.)
The team would then likely be sold through the league and an investment bank, similar to the way the NBA bought and then sold the then-New Orleans Hornets. The league bought the team from then-owner George Shinn for $300 million, and sold it less than a year later to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson for $339 million.
Once the team’s debts were paid and the team was sold, all remaining money from the sale would go to Sterling. The league would be motivated to sell the team under these conditions for the highest possible price, lest it leave itself open to a charge by Sterling that he was forced to sell the team under duress, and for less than market value.
No. 3: Strange times with Warriors’ coaching staff— In this space yesterday, we informed you of a report regarding the firing of former Warriors assistant coach Darren Erman last month. Per that report, Erman was fired because he was caught secretly taping conversations that took place between other coaches. Yahoo! Sports reported yesterday that Erman had landed a job with the Boston Celtics’ front office, but Grantland.com’s always excellent Zach Lowe has more on some possible odd happenings between coach Mark Jackson, his assistants and even NBA legend and Warriors front-office official Jerry West:
The Warriors in the last six weeks demoted one assistant and fired another, and ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard today reported that the team fired Darren Erman after learning Erman had recorded at least one coaches’ meeting. Multiple league sources confirmed the gist of Broussard’s report, and that Erman was concerned Mark Jackson and other coaches loyal to Jackson were insulting Erman to other players behind Erman’s back.
The team had no choice but to fire Erman. However, the front office is fond of Erman and was upset at having to let him go, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. The Erman firing and demotion of Brian Scalabrine have raised tensions throughout the Warriors’ organization.
Jackson made a show of firing Scalabrine in front of players and other coaches, but he had no real grounds, and the front office made Jackson find a compromise, per a source familiar with the matter: demoting Scalabrine to the D-League. In addition, Jackson has asked that Jerry West, a high-level adviser in Golden State, not attend most practices and team activities, sources say.
The tension with Erman got weird. Midseason, the team moved Erman’s parking spot to a less convenient place, likely at the behest of Jackson or one of Jackson’s allies on the staff, per multiple sources familiar with the matter. They began changing his duties in strange ways.
The consensus around the league is that Jackson is very unlikely to return next season, barring a longer-than-expected playoff run from the Warriors. That is always subject to change, and the team has not made a final decision yet. They have not reached out directly to any potential replacements, per sources around the league. Jackson can still save his job, but the smart money is on Golden State having a new coach next season.
No. 4: Noah says he played with knee injury in first round — Bulls center Joakim Noah had a banner season, garnering All-Star honors, the Defensive Player of the Year Award and the unofficial title as the best “point-center” in the NBA. But after last night’s Game 5 loss to the Washington Wizards in the first round, Chicago’s season is over and he and his teammates are going home for the summer. Noah struggled mightily at times to stop Wizards big men Nene and Marcin Gortat, something that might be attributed to a knee injury that bothered him all series (and perhaps longer). Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com has more:
Joakim Noah revealed after Tuesday night’s Game 5 loss against the Washington Wizards that he has been dealing with a left knee injury. The Chicago Bulls’ All-Star center did not specify exactly what the injury was, or when he sustained it, but he did say he was going to have it looked at again by the team’s medical staff now that the season is over.
“My knee is bothering me,” Noah said. “My left knee. I’m not sure what it is, but I was able to play today. I think I was limited a little bit. But it’s no excuses. I’ll check it out, find out what’s wrong, take care of it. Now we got a lot of time to take care of it.”
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau admitted that Noah’s knee injury has been lingering for a while. He was noticeably laboring up and down the floor throughout the game and didn’t have much lift when he jumped.
“His knee has bothered him for a while,” Thibodeau said. “Probably the whole second half of the year. We will have it checked out and see where he is.”
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Warriors were reportedly set to boycott last night’s Game 5 in a show of solidarity with the Clips … Clippers reserve forward Hedo Turkoglu suffered a back contusion last night … The Bobcats may try to sign Magic players Arron Afflalo and/or Jameer Nelson this summer … Knicks GM Phil Jackson may be targeting his former center, Bill Cartwright, for a job on New York’s new coaching staff …
ICYMI(s) OF THE NIGHT: A wild finish in the OKC-Memphis game and the Clippers’ arrival for Game 5 last night. Not much else needs to be said …