Morning Shootaround — May 14



VIDEO: Daily Zap for games played May 13

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Late mistakes irk Paul in Game 5 loss | Report: LeBron may sit out next season if Sterlings still with Clips | Report: Stockton among Jazz’s list of coaching candidates | Report: Bucks’ sale to be official Thursday

No. 1: Late miscues irk Paul more than controversial call — If you somehow missed Game 5 of the Clippers-Thunder series, do yourself a favor and go watch the recap (we’ll wait). OKC climbed out of a seemingly insurmountable late hole to stun L.A. 105-104 with a controversial call down the stretch serving as this morning’s main NBA talking point. What that call might overshadow, though, are some uncharacteristic miscues from Chris Paul down the stretch that might have enabled OKC to get the win. Our Jeff Caplan was on hand at last night’s game and has more on that:

Game 5 will be remembered for the call, the officials’ curious explanation following the replay review and Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers‘ scorching rant of the entire surreal sequence. It will all be replayed and dissected on a continuous loop.For Chris Paul, the call that didn’t go the Clippers’ way with 11.3 seconds left to another unfathomable finish in this heart-stopping Western Conference semifinal series, isn’t what will eat at him for hours on end; isn’t wasn’t what left him in a near-catatonic state in the postgame interview room.

Despite early foul trouble in a game in which the whistles blew early and often, Paul engineered a spectacular game for 47 minutes before he so unexpectedly came unglued in the final 49 seconds. Two turnovers, about what he’s averaged in each game in these playoffs, and inexplicably making contact with Russell Westbrook‘s shooting arm from behind the arc with 6.4 seconds left played a leading role in the Clippers’ collapse, a seven-point lead, and a series lead, dashed in 49.2 seconds.

With 6.4 seconds showing on the clock, Westbrook, dynamite throughout the game with 38 points and six assists, and the only reason OKC had a chance at all, made all three free throws to put OKC ahead 105-104.

After a timeout to move the ball into the frontcourt, Barnes inbounded to Paul, guarded by Thabo Sefolosha. A screen set Paul free around the right side as he darted toward the lane with designs of feeding a rolling Blake Griffin. But the Thunder’s Jackson dropped off Crawford, got a hand close enough to the ball to avoid a foul while disrupting Paul’s dribble. Paul lost it in the lane and time expired.

Stunned and angry, the Clippers were beside themselves as the buzzer punctuated the finality of an incredible Game 5 that moved the Thunder win from a third West finals appearances in four seasons.

“We lost and it’s on me,” Paul said. “We had a chance to win and the last play, we didn’t get a shot off and that’s just dumb. I’m supposed to be the leader of the team.

“It’s just bad, real bad.”


VIDEO: Chris Paul talks after the Clippers’ Game 5 defeat

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No. 2: Report: LeBron may boycott season if Sterlings remain in power — Ex-Miami Heat swingman Roger Mason Jr. hasn’t played in an NBA game since Jan. 26 … and hasn’t been on the Heat since Feb. 18 (as he was dealt to the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 20 in a salary-cap saving move). He was waived by Sacramento two days after it acquired him and although he obviously hasn’t been active on the court, he remains a key figure in the NBPA (he’s its vice president) and is close with Heat players such as James Jones and superstar LeBron James. In a recent segment on “Jim Rome” on Showtime, Mason Jr. says he doesn’t think James will play next season if disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling is still in the team’s picture when 2014-15 tips off. Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report has more:

The veteran guard and Miami resident has remained in touch, and in tune, with team and league matters, however. He’s frequently visiting the Heat locker room, when he hasn’t been traveling the country in his role as vice president of the NBA players association, and he’s remained close to several Heat players. That includes James Jones, another member of the players association’s executive council, and LeBron James, who has been one of the most outspoken players during the Donald Sterling scandal.

First, James said there was no place for Donald Sterling in the league.

Then, Saturday, he made it clear that Shelly, Sterling’s wife, doesn’t belong in it, either.

And while James has consistently expressed strong support for the actions new commissioner Adam Silver has already taken, including a lifetime ban of Sterling, the four-time MVP hasn’t been all that specific about what he’ll do if the forced sale of the Clippers runs into snags.

During the open-forum segment on Jim Rome on Showtime—which airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on the pay cable network—Mason, Jr. seemed to speak for him.

Rome asked what would happen if Sterling is still in the Clippers picture when next season starts.

“If it’s not handled by…the start of next season, I don’t see how we’re playing basketball,” Mason said. “I was just in the locker room with LeBron…At the end of the day, you know we have leaders. We have player reps, we’ve got executive committee members…Leaders of the teams, they’re all saying the same thing, ‘If this man is still in place, we ain’t playing.’”

Rome continued.

“So, your guy LeBron, you think he would not play if Sterling were still in there when the [next] season started?”

Mason replied that he was “just in the locker room three or four days ago. LeBron and I talked about it. He ain’t playing if Sterling is still an owner.”

What about Shelly Sterling?

“No Sterling deserves to be an owner of that franchise any longer,” Mason said. “And I’ve gone down the line from LeBron to the other guys in the league that I’ve talked to and they all feel the same way. There’s no place for that family in the NBA.”

James wasn’t available for comment Tuesday, as the Heat did not practice after flying back from Brooklyn with a 3-1 advantage in their second-round series.

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No. 3: Report: Stockton on Jazz’s long list of coaching candidates — Utah Jazz legend John Stockton saw his former backcourt running mate in Salt Lake City, Jeff Hornacek, thrive as the coach of the Phoenix Suns last season. So could Stockton be bound for the sidelines (in a very familiar place, mind you) before we know it? According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Stockton is among the 20 (yes, 20) candidates the Jazz have on their list to fill the coaching role that came open once Utah decided not to bring Tyrone Corbin back for 2014-15:

The Utah Jazz, as part of a broad coaching search expected to feature some 20 candidates, plan to reach out to Jazz legend John Stockton to gauge whether he has any interest in the position, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com that Jazz officials intend to at least pose the question to the Hall of Fame guard about his willingness to move into coaching, while mindful of Stockton’s lack of previous coaching experience and the fact that he has long loathed the sort of spotlight associated with the job.

Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey declined comment Tuesday night about Stockton or any other prospective candidates when reached by ESPN.com.

Sources say the Jazz are likely to sit down with a handful of potential candidates this week at the league’s annual pre-draft camp in Chicago as part of an introductory round of interviews. In April, Jazz team president Randy Rigby told 1280 AM in Utah that the team’s “exhaustive” search to find a successor to Corbin would eventually feature more than 20 candidates.

Since Corbin’s dismissal in April, San Antonio Spurs assistant and former University of Utah coach Jim Boylen has been widely mentioned as the leading candidate to take over, given his longstanding ties to Lindsey after they worked together in Houston and the fact that no less an authority than Spurs coach Gregg Popovich brought Boylen in as his top assistant this season to replace two top aides who got head-coaching jobs, Atlanta’s Mike Budenholzer and Philadelphia’s Brett Brown.

Other candidates who have been mentioned include Chicago Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin, current Jazz assistant Brad Jones, former Missouri coach and veteran NBA assistant Quin Snyder (who worked with Lindsey in San Antonio), and European coaching legend Ettore Messina. ESPN.com reported last month that the Jazz are regarded around the league as one of the few teams that would give bona fide consideration to breaking the NBA’s European barrier and hiring a head coach who wasn’t reared in the United States, with both Lindsey and Jazz assistant general manager Justin Zanik known to be Messina fans.

In Stockton’s case, asking where he stands on coaching, if nothing else, is a natural due-diligence strategy for the Jazz, who already have employed Karl Malone as a development coach and welcomed Sloan back to the organization last season in an advisory capacity.

The assumption in coaching circles is that Stockton, who was fiercely private as a player and has remained so in retirement, would balk at the media demands on coaches as much as anything about the job.

***

No. 4: Report: Bucks’ sale to be OK’d on Thursday — All the talk of late in NBA circles regarding the sale of teams centers on what will happen next with the L.A. Clippers, disgraced owner Donald Sterling and a team some think could sell for $1 billion or more. But while that banter is going on, the actual sale of another team — the Milwaukee Bucks — seems to be progressing smoothly. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com has more on the sale, which is expected to take place Thursday:

The $550 million sale of the Milwaukee Bucks to hedge fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry is expected to be finalized by the NBA on Thursday, a source involved in the process told ESPN.com.

In the wake of the Donald Sterling scandal, there was a push within the league to have an extra thorough vetting of the new owners, sources said. That process, however, is complete and the league’s Board of Governors will approve the transaction that was initially signed last month.

Edens and Lasry are hoping to forge a public-private funding deal to replace the aging Bradley Center similar to the agreement just finalized in Sacramento for the Kings. In that deal, the Kings new $477 million arena is getting $254 million from the team and $223 from government funding. However, there are already opposition groups in Wisconsin lining up against public funding for the Bucks.

In a unique part of the sales contract, the NBA has the right to buy the Bucks back from Edens and Lasry for $575 million if a new arena isn’t finalized by 2017, when the Bucks’ current lease is up. This was a provision installed by Kohl to ensure the new owners would not have the option to move the team if arena funding doesn’t come through.

Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also reports that, overall, the sale of the team has gone smoothly:

A source with knowledge of the sale process said Monday the sale of the Milwaukee Bucks to New York investors Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens “is moving quickly.”

“It’s possible there will be news later this week,” the source said.

Former senator Herb Kohl is selling the team he has owned since 1985 to Lasry and Edens for $550 million, which includes assumed debt. In addition, Lasry and Edens have committed $100 million toward the cost of a new arena, as has Kohl.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in mid-April that he anticipated it would take about a month for the sale to be formally approved by NBA owners. It appears his timetable was right on target.

Both Lasry and Edens were in Milwaukee May 2 to meet with top business leaders, including Timothy Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, and Ted Kellner, a prominent businessman and one of the driving forces behind an MMAC arena committee. The meeting was held to get Edens and Lasry up to speed on the efforts to build a new arena and start the process of attracting local investors in the franchise.

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings gives new coach Stan Van Gundy a vote of support on Twitter … Mark Cuban says the L.A. Clippers will sell for ‘far north’ of $1 billion … Speaking of money, Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov spent $180 million on his roster this season, which has worked out to roughly $36 million per playoff win … The Warriors, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, are making one last push for Steve Kerr to be their coach … A good look at just how hard it will be for the Lakers to lure Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau to Los Angeles … The Knicks are looking to buy a first-round pick in the 2014 Draft

ICYMI(s) of the night: Everyone this morning is talking about the controversial call in last night’s Thunder-Clippers game. That gets some attention around here, but so does the masterful performance in the paint by Marcin Gortat against the Pacers last night … 


VIDEO: Relive the late call in last night’s Clippers-Thunder game


VIDEO: Marcin Gortat dominates the Pacers

 

26 Comments

  1. alyce says:

    There are bigger, broader, more important issues in this world however, it is clear that racism is a poison that need not be. I understand the stance being posed by the African American community regarding Donald Sterling and it appears that Lebron James’ name is being bandied about because of his current “superstar” status. Players have signed contracts which they are obligated to fulfill, including endorsements. I doubt they would walk away from millions of dollars and void those strictly to boycott a whole season. They would be removed and where else could they go? It’s all they know. Reality check time. Bury every shot when you play the Clippers and treat them like they were the owner, in other words prove the anger and release your beast in the court. The Sterlings of this world are all dieing.

  2. Rod says:

    Why does LaBron have to stick his nose in everybody else’s business?

    This whole Sterling thing smacks of entrapment, extortion, blackmail or who knows what all it will come down to? Let the matter run its course and lay off the threats. If LaBron is so principled (Questionable) let him show his mettle and BOYCOTT NOW.

  3. Mark Young says:

    what Lebron said after losing to the Mavs is true. I was happy he lost, but i had to work my stupid job the next day. It doesn’t make him a bad person for being defensive.

  4. Mark Young says:

    If you take Sterling’s side your a racist. Why pick on Lebron Sterling is dating another women other than his wife and throwing around racist statements.

  5. Dan says:

    The Best Thing For The Jazz Is To Get Stockton IF NOT THEN WE WILL LOSE

  6. DarrellDarrellson says:

    This is Lebron realizing he can copy the great Bill Russell by striking for race and also emulate MJ by taking time off from the game and coming back.

  7. rob perrella says:

    FOR LEBRON JAMES OR ANY PLAYER TO BOYCOTT THE 2014-2015 SEASON IS TRAGIC,MORONIC,PETTY AND SELFISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!YES, DONALD STERLING IS AN IDIOT AND HE HAS THE RIGHT TO BE KICKED OUT OF THE LEAGUE!BUT LET ME TELL EVERYONE WHAT LEBRON JAMES SAIDTHREE YEARS AGO WHEN THE MIAMI HEAT LOST TO THE DALLAS MAVERICKS.HE SAID “AT LEAST I DO NOT HAVE TO WAKE UP AT 5:00A.M. IN THE MORNING LIKE THE AVERAGE AMERICAN CITIZEN.”BASICALLY THIS GIFTED TALENTED PRIMA DONNA INSULTED EVERY PERSON OF EVERY COLOR,GENDER,AGE OR CREED WITH THAT STATEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SO HOW COME HE IS NOT CRITICIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!THIS IS NOT A DOUBLE STANDARD,IT’S A QUADRUPLE STANDARD.70 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY ARE HAVING A HARD TIME MAKING A LIVING!!!!!!THOSE LEBRON COMMERCIALS ARE SO PHONY IN LIGHT OF THE STATEMENT HE MADE THREE YEARS AGO IT’S SO PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!EVERYONE IS SUBJECT TO FAIIR CRITICISM REGARDLESS OF ETHNICITY,RELIGION,GENDER,ETC.I MYSELF AM PRIVILEGED TO BE A BROOKLYN NETS SEASON TICKET HOLDER.THE PEOPLE AROUND ME ARE WONDERFUL.IN GENERAL BOYCOTTS AND EMBARGO’S IN POLITICS NEVER WORK!!!!!!!!!!OF COURSE LEBRON COULD PLAY FOR MY TEAM ANYTIME.HIS PERFORMNACE IN GAME 4 WAS SPECIAL!!!!!!!!!BUT YET YOU CANNOT FORGIVE AND FORGET WHAT HE SAID ABOUT THE AVERAGE AMERICAN WAKING UP AT 5:00A.M. IN THE MORNING! WHAT I DO NOT LIKE ARE HIS COMMERCIALS BECAUSE THEY ARE PHONY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!YOU SAID WHAT YOU SAID AND YOU MEANT WHAT YOU SAID!OF COURSE WE HAVE A GUTLESS IGNORANT JOKER IN THE WHITE HOUSE NAMED BARACK OBAMA!BUT YET HE IS A HUGE UPGRADE OVER GEORGE BUSH JR.( WAR CRIMINAL )!!!!BUT TO ALL MY FELLOW NBA FANS WE ARE FORTUNATE TO BE IN THIS COUNTRY!JUST THINK ARE LEADER COUND BE DAVID CAMERON(GREAT BRITAIN) WHICH IS EVEN MORE EMBARRASING! BOYCOTTS ARE NOT THE ANSWER BECAUSE YOU WOULD BE HURTING THE AVERAGE FAN AND SPORTS IN GENERAL!…….OH BY THE THE WAY ….BROOKLYN NETS IN SEVEN(DOUBLE OVERTIME)!!!!!!

    YOURS TRULY,

    ROB PERRELLA (THE 12TH MAN OF COMEDY )!!!!!!!!!

    • Wade says:

      Amen to that. Now Duran said he will stop playing as long as Lebron is in the NBA. The NBA is all about expanding so they’re afraid of handling stars. In this league, owners are minorities. Stars player can say whatever and do whatever. If stars players don’t get what they want, they threaten to take away the potential money that the league might make.

  8. vincent says:

    this whole clippers thing has lost its fifteen minutes in the spotlight for me. Yes, sterling is made out to be a racist so he shouldnt have a team, but srsly? players are gonna give up millions of dollars just cuz of one idiot. . I think maybe it was the segment with chuck shaq etc. who talked about players dont really care who the owners are. the players play for themselves. And I’d give the benefit of a doubt to the wife and say she’s not racist so she shouldnt have to give up everything.

  9. Mike says:

    This only again shows the hypocricy of Americans, like the story of Lewinski and Clinton…and millions others. Lot of racism everywhere but a private phone published and suddenly huge problem, everybody is full of big words, banning whole family for life and Sterling is worse than devil. Now players to boycott even if Shelly Sterling stays in the ownership?? You got to be kiddin`me, with all respect to all players.

  10. Jack says:

    Where is the fine Doc Rivers should get ??? Every other coach or player who cries about the refs calls gets fined… Why is there a double standard for doc rivers ??? Total B.S. …

  11. I8A4RE says:

    Good riddance Lebron , none of your business if Shelley sterling keeps her half of team. Has she said anything racist or is it because she’s white?

    • Dam says:

      Lebrons allowed to play/not play hes his own person you cant tell him what to do. Sorry. Keep on hatin.

  12. Ernuz Gavriel says:

    The game 5 between the Thunder and the Clippers was decided by the referee. No foul should be called on Westbrook last 3 point attempt, old referees make the league bad, should be retired now. Does the league wanted another of Heat and Thunder finals? I believed this year finals is a repeat of last year Heat – Spurs finals. The Duncan and co. will get the championship this time.

  13. skrutz says:

    Something people seemed to gloss over:

    “Mason Jr. says he doesn’t think James will play next season”

    ie, Lebron didn’t say it publicly, so quite complaining. He may yet come out and say it, confirm or deny. What if he gets others to join? Would you guys call him a baby or whatever then?

  14. Matt says:

    I hope LeBron doesn’t sit out, that would be a stupid career move for him. He’s a great player but he doesn’t make decisions for the NBA or the owners. The NBA is the NBA, LeBron is not the NBA. If he sits somebody else will step up and become the best player in the league, Kevin Durant possibly. If they both sit out other people will step up. NBA is not run by the players and should not be. I love LeBron but he seems to think he is the NBA. I wasn’t around long for Jordans era but I don’t remember him making rules. He retired early the game went on. If you’re going to sit out LeBron just retire there’s no place in the league for a man that thinks he has the power when he doesn’t. And Roger Mason Jr don’t speak for LeBron, he’s a big boy and can speak for himself if he so chooses, he’s made that clear.

    • JamaalPaul says:

      Amen to that! Thank you for finally saying that. Lebron plays my favorite type of basketball, but his off-the-court antics is very tiring. He is payed to be a basketball player, not a media spokesperson nor a critic. He needs to shut up and play.

  15. sophie1150 says:

    LeBron, I have always admired you but not now. You played into the hands of the media. You made a very foolish statement now stick to it and enjoy laying around next season. Shelly Sterling has nothing to do with you and I hope she retains her 50%. How about we cancel contracts of all NBA racist players or better yet, ban them for life. If anyone has been treated badly, its the Native American Indian. Next season when you have time on your hands, walk the Trail of Tears.

    • dave says:

      The statement didn’t come directly from LeBron. Its someone else saying “LeBron said ….”.

      Its just a rumor at this point.

  16. nelo says:

    LeBron has every right to feel infuriated about the Sterling incident. But he doesn’t seem to be that sensitive and socially responsible when signing multimillion endorsement deals with companies that are known to heavilly relly on sweatshops for manufacturing their products, paying their employees as low as a dollar for a 16-hour long workday and accommodating them in the worst slums imaginable. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical?

  17. dave says:

    I think this whole Sterling fiasco is blown out of proportion. I don’t understand the lifetime ban.

    On the otherhand, the guy is 80 years old. He’s got one foot in the grave, and the other on a banana peel.

    He should just let it go and get out of the spotlight. Do good stuff with his time, and forget the NBA, because the NBA is becoming a joke.

  18. Michelle Johnson says:

    The Clippers just fumbled, Me team after Miami Heat, and all know this, yet OKC need and I’m sure honored to have Westbrook, as LA Clippers-Chris Paul, when you have one so explosive as Westbrook, and Paul, almost always in control, not good at guarding each other, hence, the reason for the switches. Both teams need this outstanding guards, Durant and rest of crew-need to catch up with Westbrook, and Paul’s crew need to react quicker( these guys as good as they are need consistent help, not I’m showing up today, and that’s it, be careful, fishing is coming for someone. Man up, shoot your best shot, and leave it on the floor, we love all you guys, wish we were there, take care you, just do you, no distractions, please, it’s Win or go Home, Man up

  19. see ya says:

    GOOD! let lebaby sit out. getting tired of him anyways. guess he doesnt realize they have a much longer fight on their hands. if i were sterling i would be sueing ppl left and right for slander and illegally recording him without his consent. this just goes to show how big his ego is. he thinks he is the only thing in the nba that matters so he thinks boycotting will get the fans that love the game to boycott with him. if he doesnt want to play, they can pay me all that money to play a game. the owner can be as racist as he wants to be, cuz ill still be taking money and living it up. they need to quit acting like he came out and said all of this publicly. need to shut down the witch hunt that is lead and i have seen enough to believe started by magic johnson.

    • skrutz says:

      First of all, Lebron never technically said that. Mason Jr. said that he said it, in private (somewhat, at least) and I imagine he might not be happy with that (because people like you get their panties in a knot).

      Also, these recordings sound like they WEREN’T illegal, just weren’t supposed to be released. Nevermind that he openly and willingly went on Anderson Cooper and confirmed his terrible views.

  20. Faba says:

    clippers played better basketball than okc i feel bad for paul to give the game away in the las minute

  21. Joseph says:

    Something more to pick on LeBron. If that issue is not resolved and he still plays, they will get after him. That’s what you get for expressing your opinion. Would you ask any other player, would they say the same, do the right thing?
    If LeBron would pull it off, big hole for the NBA.