SBD/January 7, 2011/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Baylor (l) alleges frugality from Sterling (r) made signing players a tough prospect

ESPN.com's J.A. Adande reported the "one consistent theme that emerges from the latest filings" in former Clippers VP/Basketball Operations Elgin Baylor's wrongful termination lawsuit against the team is that "getting owner Donald Sterling to spend money on players is a daunting prospect." The filings, Baylor's "response to the Clippers' motions for summary judgment," also include a declaration from former Clippers GM & coach Mike Dunleavy. Dunleavy said Sterling "always told me to give him a great player and he’d pay for him, but there were several players I wanted to sign and we didn’t because Sterling refused to spend the money." He added, "The Clippers' biggest concern was making a profit." Baylor: "Because of the Clippers unwillingness to fairly compensate African-American players we lost a lot of good talent" (ESPN.com, 1/6).

STAR SEARCH: In N.Y., Belson & Klein note the Stars lead the NHL's Pacific Division "despite turmoil off the ice." The NHL has been "helping run the team since the beginning of this season" because Owner Tom Hicks "ran into financial trouble." NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said a sale of the Stars is not imminent because no one has been "willing to pay fair value for the club." Belson & Klein note one potential bidder is Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban, who owns half of American Airlines Center, where both teams play. Cuban in an e-mail said, "If it gets me control of the arena, I would consider" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/7).

THE OREGON TRAIL: In Portland, Geoffrey Arnold notes the Timbers are "confident they can reach" their self-imposed cap of 12,000 season tickets sold for the club's inaugural MLS season in '11. The team already has "sold more than 10,000 season tickets," in addition to selling out all PGE Park suites, while renovations to the facility "remain on schedule." Timbers Owner Merritt Paulson "emphasized that the 10,000 number is for full season tickets, not partials." He added, "We haven't even started selling half-season tickets or any partial season tickets. We're going to assess things down the line and make a decision later" (Portland OREGONIAN, 1/7).

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