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SBD/July 16, 2014/FranchisesPrint All
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver yesterday said he cannot say with certainty that neither Donald nor Shelly Sterling will own the Clippers at the start of next season. Silver at the conclusion of the league's BOG meeting in Las Vegas said, “I can't say with certainty because it's in the hands of the probate court right now, and Donald is in the process of suing us for lots of money. I can say with certainty we are doing everything in our power to move Donald out as an owner in the NBA, and as I said, if the probate ruling doesn't go in our favor, we'll recommence our procedures under termination. The only reason I say I can't say it with certainty, it's possible some court would step in and stop us. I think it's highly, highly unlikely because we are absolutely acting within our rights” (John Lombardo, Staff Writer). NBA.com's Steve Aschburner reported the league has "monitored the probate trial, to the point of having a lawyer in the courtroom reporting back regularly." Silver indicated that he believes "once the judge hears all the testimony, a ruling could follow quickly." However, "no end date currently is known." Silver said that people he has talked to "have been patient." Silver: "They understand it’s very difficult to say anything with certainty in a situation like this." He did admit that the league "had been open ... early in the process" to lessening Sterling's lifetime ban. Aschburner noted that would have been considered "to expedite the Clippers sale," but there was "no follow-through." Silver: “I never received any proposals" (NBA.com, 7/15).
IMPACT ON FREE AGENCY: In Boston, Gary Washburn reports free agency "has been difficult" for Clippers coach Doc Rivers, as he is the "lone representative for the organization" as the ownership status remains unresolved. It appears Rivers "enjoys being the front man" for the club, but he "desires a resolution to the Sterling issue." Rivers: "That’s hurt us some. You go in and talk to free agents, most of the teams are bringing in their owner. I go in looking (casual) by myself. I don’t know what affect that’s had but that’s not been great for us. The good news is even though there’s a lot of stuff with the court case, we’ve worked as a group. We haven’t stopped working” (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/16).
Royals Chair & Owner David Glass yesterday sat for a Q&A with Andy McCullough of the K.C. STAR to speak about the state of the league and his club, which is in second place in the AL Central at the All-Star break. Glass said of the team, "It's the inconsistency that has surprised me. But we're in a good position." Excerpts from the Q&A are below.
Q: If GM Dayton Moore wanted to make a maneuver that added salary, is there the financial flexibility available to do so?
Glass: Small-market teams are always limited. We’ve been willing, when we believed we had an opportunity to, to stretch and go beyond what logically made sense. ... Our objective has always been to try to break even. I guess you’ll have a year where you might make a little. But you might have years where you lose money. Over a period of time, we’d like to come close to breaking even, at least. And you try to fit it into that framework. But if you have an opportunity to win, you consider doing almost anything.
Q: Does this year carry more weight than others to you?
Glass: We’ll have a better team next year than we’ll have this year. Based on our opportunities. To that extent, it’s not a make or break year. Where it is critically important to make the playoffs this year is because we haven’t made the playoffs in a really long time. I look at this a lot from my position as a fan. I’m impatient. I want us in the playoffs.
Q: What would it mean to you for this team to reach the playoffs?
Glass: Kansas City deserves a winner. It’s a great baseball town.
Q: There’s a perception ... that you are complacent as an owner. Is that perception frustrating to you?
Glass: I’m not so much interested in what the perception is about me. And anyone who knows me knows that I’m not just committed to winning. I’m obsessed with winning. ... But what I want is for the fans to be really proud of this team. I want Kansas City to own this team. It’s great that you’ve got all these kids that came through the farm system. The fans have been exposed to them for a good deal of time now, and they can relate to them. It’s not like you go out and buy a lot of free agents, and you bring them in, and try to get the chemistry to make it work.
Q: Do you envision the club becoming more competitive for free agents and spending more if the club continues to win?
Glass: I would prefer that we develop really outstanding players at every position.
Brewers C Jonathan Lucroy yesterday at the MLB All-Star Game explained that he "did not actually approve at all of a political 'attack-style' ad trumpeting his All-Star case" over Cardinals C Yadier Molina, according to Derrick Goold of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Lucroy said, “The whole political attack thing was something that I was not a part of. I did not know that they were going to do that. I’ve never been that guy. If I knew that was going to be directed at the Cardinals ... I would have told them, ‘No.’” The Brewers' marketing department wanted to film Lucroy "shaking his head in the dugout" and "tape him saying his name and that he approved of the message, borrowing directly from political ads." However, Lucroy said that he was "not told the concept of the ad." In the ad, which was "clearly a satire," a voiceover "suggests that Molina is a skilled catcher but that he is a St. Louis Cardinal, and with sounds of screams and babies crying in the background the narrator asks whether the world really wants another St. Louis Cardinal in the All-Star Game." At that point in the spot Lucroy "appears in the ad shaking his head." Lucroy: “I understand if [Molina] was put off by it. I want to set it straight: I didn’t know.” Meanwhile, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and other team officials "expressed surprise in the ad’s tone and surprise that Milwaukee would be so pointed with its campaign." Lucroy was not voted by fans to the NLteam, but he "won the player and coaches vote" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/16).
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver yesterday said that the league’s BOG “approved a slate of minority investors” in the Bucks. Silver added that he “did not know immediately” if Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was one of the investors. Silver said that Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens at the meeting “gave a report on the plans for a new arena.” Silver: “I know Wes has told me that he's had discussions with Aaron Rodgers. I don't know exactly what the state of those discussions is with Aaron.” Silver added, “But I know that Wes Edens and his partner Marc Lasry are very focused on local ownership.” In Milwaukee, Charles Gardner cites a source as saying that local businessman Ted Kellner wss “one of the local investors” approved (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/16).
HEAT WAVE: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, in his first comments since LeBron James decided to return to the Cavaliers, said that he had “no ill feelings” toward James. Spoelstra said that the Heat were “in panic-mode for about ‘two or three’ hours after the decision.” In Ft. Lauderdale, Shandel Richardson notes Spoelstra met with team President Pat Riley and GM Andy Elisburg to “discuss their options.” Spoelstra “described it as a scene from the movie Jerry Maguire, with each making countless phone calls to agents and players on their cell phones.” Richardson notes there was panic initially because execs “received no response on the phones.” They could “finally relax” once F Chris Bosh returned a call (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 7/16).
MEMPHIS BELLES: YAHOO SPORTS’ Adrian Wojnarowski cited sources who said that the Grizzlies have “narrowed candidates for a front-office job that could lead to becoming the franchise's future” GM. Sources said that Pacers VP/Basketball Operations Peter Dinwiddie and former Knicks and Raptors GM Glen Grunwald have “advanced to the final stages” and will soon meet with Grizzlies Owner Robert Pera. Sources noted that Nets Assistant GM Bobby Marks “recently removed his name from consideration” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/15).
ENGINE TROUBLE: In Detroit, Drew Sharp writes the Pistons organization, an “egregiously flawed franchise,” is “still fooling itself into believing that it’s potentially just a couple of pieces away from returning to the playoffs.” However, the Pistons have “effectively flatlined.” A little “hard honesty is the best remedy for the Pistons’ ills.” They should just “acknowledge that they’re going to be pretty bad next season” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/16). Also in Detroit, John Niyo writes the Pistons "probably lost ground” during free agency (DETROIT NEWS, 7/16).