Warriors investor Mark Stevens will "likely be forced to sell his shares" in the team before the start of the '19-20 NBA season after the league levied a one-year ban for his incident with the Raptors' Kyle Lowry on Wednesday, according to sources cited by NBC News' Dylan Byers (TWITTER.com, 6/6). In San Jose, Mark Medina notes the Warriors, after Stevens' suspension was announced, "have not said if they will force Stevens to sell his shares in the team." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Thursday "had nothing to offer on that front" (MERCURYNEWS, 6/6). USA TODAY's Jeff Zillgitt notes Silver did "not think a lifetime ban was required nor did he feel it was necessary to take steps to force Stevens to divest his shares of the Warriors." Silver does "not have the power to remove an owner." That "requires 75% of the league's 30 governors (one from each team) to force an owner to sell." It is "not known if the Warriors' ownership structures allows Golden State to force Stevens to sell his shares" (USA TODAY, 6/7). Lowry yesterday before Stevens' ban was announced "intimated that he wanted to see Stevens’ ownership stake revoked." Lowry said, "He’s not a good look for the ownership group that they have. I know Joe Lacob. Those guys are great guys, the ownership that they have, I know they’re unbelievable guys. With a guy like that showing his true class, he shouldn’t be a part of our league." The Warriors in a statement said Stevens’ behavior "did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organization" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/7).
THE END IS NEAR? The GLOBE & MAIL's Cathal Kelly writes regardless of Stevens' suspension, it is "hard to see how he can continue as an investor after this" (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/7). In S.F., Ann Killion in a front-page piece writes, "The Warriors hold themselves to high standards. How can Stevens remain a part owner of this team?" NBA players, "trying to do their job and provide global entertainment at the same time, do not deserve to be under attack." Killon: "Not from average fans. Not from rap stars. And certainly not from billionaire owners" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/7). USA TODAY's Dan Wolken writes Stevens' one-year ban "isn't enough." It "shouldn’t be enough for the Warriors, who have held themselves up as a model NBA organization but will come out of this series looking like clownish hypocrites if they don’t actively pressure Stevens to sell his stake in the team" (USATODAY.com, 6/6). SI.com's Rohan Nadkarni wrote the Warriors "quietly shoving Stevens out the door in a few months wouldn’t really be impactful." The NBA "should not only publicly pressure Stevens to sell, it should shame him so thoroughly and demand he donates a portion (if not all) of the proceeds to a charity of Lowry’s choice" (SI.com, 6/6). THE ATHLETIC's Tim Kawakami wondered if Stevens "ever returns to a position with the Warriors after crossing the line so recklessly in the NBA Finals, how can anybody trust the Warriors organization to accurately judge a single other employee or ownership member?" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/6).
PLAYERS' OPINION: ESPN's Brian Windhorst said the players want Stevens to be "forced to sell his shares to the team," and they "don't ever want to see him on the sidelines again." They "don't want him to be involved in the NBA." Windhorst: "This is always sensitive, and the NBA is extraordinarily sensitive in paying attention to it right now because the players have never had more power or flexed their muscles more" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/7).
TRYING TO MOVE ON: YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Busbee writes what Stevens "doesn't deserve is to have his investment ripped out of his hands for a galactically stupid but ultimately minor act during a single game." Running the "outrage motor to redline at every transgression ... obliterates the distinction between momentary jackassery and truly disgusting patterns of behavior." Steven's actions, "while classless, aren't even in the same galaxy as, say, Donald Sterling" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/7). ESPN's Scott Van Pelt said the calls for a life ban are "ridiculous." Van Pelt: "We are really bad at figuring out punishment on the fly these days. It goes like this: 'What's the worst punishment there can be? Okay, well it has to be that.'" He added there is "zero room for any punishment that satisfies other than the equivalent of the death penalty. Somebody screws up and the mob wants blood" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/7). ESPN's Dan Le Batard also said a life ban "sounds excessive" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN, 6/6).