In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin reports the NBA Kings were “one of three teams fined by the league Tuesday for ‘tampering’ with a player under contract with another team.” New Kings coach Michael Malone during his introductory news conference June 3 said Clippers G Chris Paul "would look good in a Kings uniform" in response to a question. The Rockets and Hawks “also were fined” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/12). Meanwhile, Voisin notes Kings Managing Partner Vivek Ranadive has “plenty of options” for a GM, though for “such an unconventional thinker, he boxed himself in to a certain extent with his hasty hiring” of Malone. Hiring the top basketball exec is “the crucial decision for the franchise -- the choice will reveal much about the new ownership.” Ranadive's “deliberate search for a general manager is downright refreshing,” and some “might even say mature” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/12).
CHIMING IN: A Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL editorial states the Grizzlies’ new ownership group “decided they could get by without signing the franchise’s all-time winningest coach to a new contract.” But the team allowing coach Lionel Hollins’ contract to expire “is a bit baffling” because owners usually do not “abandon a coach who led his team to the NBA playoffs in three consecutive years.” Still, the owners have “a right to make the decisions they think are best for the success of their business.” For the “sake of the taxpayers,” Grizzlies CEO & Managing Partner Jason Levien and his bosses “need to replace one winner with another winner” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 6/12).
A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME: In Chicago, Paul Sullivan reports Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein suspended Triple-A Iowa Cubs 3B Ian Stewart “without pay for tweeting the Cubs are letting him ‘rot’ and ‘might as well release me.’” Stewart yesterday “eventually tweeted an apology.” Epstein said that the club is “jumping through ‘legal hoops’ to finalize the suspension, which ... was due to a violation of the ‘loyalty clause’ of the MLB contract.” The Cubs “haven’t announced the length of the suspension” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/12).
ROCK THE VOTE: In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck writes the Orioles are “well represented in the voting for this year's starting American League lineup." The latest vote totals show 1B Chris Davis was “holding a huge lead” over Tigers 1B Prince Fielder, while CF Adam Jones was “the top vote-getter among outfielders and J.J. Hardy had moved into the lead at shortstop.” The big vote totals are to some extent a "sign that the rest of the country has taken notice of the Orioles after last year's playoff run and this year's team-wide offensive surge." But it is "really about the revitalization of the club's fan base and a big effort by the team to get everyone” to "Vote Orange” (Baltimore SUN, 6/12).