Steve Ballmer Officially Becomes New Los Angeles Clippers Owner

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Anthony Riccobono
Displayed with permission from International Business Times

After months of legal disputes, the Los Angeles Clippers have a new owner, as former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer officially took control of the team Tuesday. The sale of the team by Shelly Sterling on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust was confirmed by a California court.

“The transaction in which Steve Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers closed today following the entry of an order by a California court confirming the authority of Shelly Sterling, on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust, to sell the team,” the NBA said in a statement.

“The NBA Board of Governors previously approved the sale and Ballmer is now the Clippers governor.”

The deal is reportedly worth $2 billion. The Clippers were put up for sale following the release of racist comments made by then-owner Donald Sterling in April. Days later, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling from the league, and fined him $2.5 million.

Kevin Durant Won’t Play In 2014 FIBA World Cup

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“This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country. I know that I owe it to my USA Basketball teammates to be totally invested in the experience. After going through training camp with USAB, I realized I could not fulfill my responsibilities from both a time and energy standpoint. I need to take a step back and take some time away, both mentally and physically in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA season. I will be rooting for USAB and look forward to future opportunities with them.”

Kevin Durant

Love Trade To Cavaliers Poses Big Hurdle For Bulls

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K.C. Johnson
Chicago Tribune
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

The Chicago Bulls have a new Big Three with which to contend.

Yahoo Sports reported the Timberwolves and Cavaliers have an agreement in place for All-Star forward Kevin Love to join LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland. The Cavaliers, long considered the front-runner to land Love, can’t trade Andrew Wiggins until Aug. 23 but will send the No. 1 overall pick, last year’s No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and a protected first-round pick in 2015 to Minnesota.

Having battled the Heat’s Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh until injuries forced him to miss the last three postseasons, Derrick Rose addressed the possibility of the Cavaliers acquiring Love last week.

“For us, I don’t think it will change anything,” Rose said. “We know that no matter who we play that we have a legit chance to beat anyone in the league. But we also know it’s not going to be easy at all because guys are getting better and guys are going to different teams. That’s why we’re in the NBA and why we love this game, for the challenge.”

The Bulls’ only formal offer to the Timberwolves came before the NBA draft in June when they possessed assets in Carlos Boozer’s expiring contract, two first-round picks and close to $4 million in non-guaranteed deals that they later lost.

Once free agency began, the Bulls’ attention turned to landing Carmelo Anthony and then the plan they succeeded on: filling the roster with depth in Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott, Aaron Brooks and the re-signing of Kirk Hinrich. The Bulls still plan to add a wing and big man via veteran’s minimum exceptions before training camp begins.

The Bulls maintained a dialogue with the Timberwolves throughout the offseason. But when the Cavaliers signaled a willingness to deal Wiggins, management concluded any offer to beat Cleveland’s would necessitate gutting the team it had assembled this offseason.

“We wanted to create a deeper team,” general manager Gar Forman said at Gasol’s and Mirotic’s introduction July 18. “We wanted to increase our skill level and ability to shoot from the perimeter. And of course Derrick’s health was a big part of this offseason. It’s been terrific watching Derrick play the last month or two. He looks good.

“We have a chance to have as deep and as good a frontline as there is in the NBA. Pau is a proven veteran, a professional with championship experience. Nikola and Doug can really shoot it.”

Let the rivalry begin.

Tim Hardaway ‘Ecstatic’ To Join Stan Van Gundy’s Staff With Detroit Pistons

1997 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 4: Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat

Barry Jackson
The Miami Herald
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

Tim Hardaway, who combined with Alonzo Mourning to help lead the Miami Heat to four consecutive Atlantic Division titles and was at the epicenter of the compelling Heat-Knicks rivalry during that era, said Thursday he is leaving his job as a Heat scout to become an assistant coach on Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Detroit.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said by telephone. “It’s something I wanted to do. It’s all about teaching. I’m good at teaching and understanding players.”

And he was comfortable with Van Gundy, who was an assistant coach during Hardaway’s time with the Heat. “Stan and I have great rapport,” Hardaway said. “(Heat president) Pat Riley said it’s a great thing for me and he’s happy for me.”

Hardaway — who will join Brendan Malone, Bob Beyer, Charles Klask and former Heat forward Malik Allen on Van Gundy’s staff — said a coaching job on Erik Spoelstra’s staff wasn’t realistic because “there are guys before me here and I didn’t want to take anything from them.”

The Heat acquired Hardaway from Golden State in a midseason trade in 1995-96, and Hardaway and Mourning — over the next 5 { seasons — led the Heat to its most success as a franchise up to that point, though kidney disease sidelined Mourning for most of Hardaway’s final season with the team.

Hardaway, 47, was first-team All-NBA in 1996-97 and fourth in MVP balloting. The Heat traded Hardaway to Dallas for a second-round pick in August 2001, and he later finished out his career with Denver and Indiana.

He worked as a scout and community and corporate liaison for the Heat for the past three years, and he was given more scouting duties than ever before this past season.

“It’s going to be hard, going to be sad (to leave the Heat),” he said. “There will always be a big place in my heart for the Heat, Micky Arison, Pat Riley. It’s bittersweet.”

Hardaway — whose son Tim Jr. plays for the Knicks — also used the word “bittersweet” to describe Friday’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, which he will attend in Springfield, Mass.

Mourning and Mitch Richmond, Hardaway’s close friends and former teammates, will be inducted Friday, and Hardaway — who was a finalist — hoped to be inducted as well. (Richmond and Hardaway played together in Golden State.)

“You have to wait your turn,” Hardaway said. “You’ve got to be optimistic (about being inducted eventually).”

Why It’s Time For The Boston Celtics To Trade Rajon Rondo




CineSport’s Noah Coslov and Boston.com’s Adam Kaufman discuss why it’s time to trade Rajon Rondo, what they can get in return and why the Celtics can’t land an elite free agent.

Becky Hammon Humbled by Opportunity To Join San Antonio Spurs Coaching Staff




The San Antonio Spurs hired WNBA star Becky Hammon, making her the first full-time, paid female assistant on an NBA coaching staff.

Hammon spoke at a press conference on Tuesday.

Spurs Hire WNBA Star Becky Hammon As Assistant Coach

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Blake Schuster
Chicago Tribune
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

Becky Hammon, who plays for the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars, joined the staff of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on Tuesday.

“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff,” Popovich said in a statement. “Having observed her working with our team this past season, I’m confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs.”

Contract terms were not disclosed.

“On behalf of the WNBA, I want to congratulate Becky on today’s announcement,” WNBA President Laurel J. Richie said. “Voted one of the WNBA’s Top 15 Greatest Players, Becky is a true leader both on and off the court. Her great knowledge of and passion for the game will be an asset to the San Antonio Spurs when she assumes her role as an assistant coach following her retirement from the WNBA.”

Hammon is not the first woman assistant coach in the NBA. Lisa Boyer, now associate head women’s basketball coach at South Carolina, was a volunteer assistant on coach John Lucas’ staff with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2001-02.

In late July, Hammon announced the 2014 season would be her last in the WNBA. However, with the Stars sitting comfortably in the Western Conference playoff picture, Hammon’s last game is still undetermined. Her final regular-season game will take place at All-State Arena against the Chicago Sky on Aug. 17.

The six-time WNBA All-Star ranks as the Stars’ all-time leader in assists (1,112) and three-pointers (493), amassing 5,809 points to date (seventh most in WNBA history).

Ray Allen In No Hurry To Make Decision On His Future

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Don Amore
The Hartford Courant
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

EAST GRANBY, Conn. — Ray Allen could play one more year in the NBA. He is wanted, and he knows it.

Or he could retire with no regrets, all business finished. All the years of solid play and diligent work at conditioning have put him, at 39, in this rare position — to script his own ending, and take his time doing it.

“I’m not in any rush [to make a decision],” Allen said during a break in the Citi Ray Allen Basketball ProCamp at East Granby High on Saturday morning. “I’ve played 18 years, and the way I look at my career, I’m content with everything that I’ve done. I just want to take this summer and see how it goes.”

Allen, an All-American who scored 1,922 points at UConn, is back in Connecticut doing his usual summer round of good works, including hosting this camp for 200 boys and girls in grades 1 through 12. Last week, his Ray of Hope Foundation provided a new computer lab for Ponus Ridge Middle School in Norwalk, something he has done for other schools across the state. On Monday, he will host his annual golf tournament, benefiting his foundation, at the TPC in Cromwell.

And next Friday he will appear in the Jim Calhoun Charity All-Star Classic at Mohegan Sun, which raises money for cardiac research at UConn.

Meanwhile, as the memory of the Miami Heat’s loss to the Spurs in the NBA Finals fades, Allen, who averaged 26 minutes and 9.6 points off the bench and made 37.5 percent of his three-point shots last season, is taking calls from LeBron James and others hoping to lure him to Cleveland, where he would rejoin James.

“To continue playing, really, the only argument is I can because I’m in great shape,” Allen said. “But just because you can doesn’t mean you have to. Many people over these last couple of weeks have lobbied for me to continue to play. … My argument for not playing is, I have done a significant amount in my career and I appreciate everything that has come my way and as I’ve gotten older, I’m 39, there are so many things in life I want to be able to do to affect change — like being around kids full time, which I enjoy.

“So at this point I just feel so good about where I am.”

Allen has played for the Bucks, SuperSonics, Celtics and Heat during his long career, and he holds the NBA records for three-pointers made in both the regular season (2,973) and postseason (385), hitting 40 percent across the board. He played on championship teams with Boston in 2008 and Miami in 2013, when he made a crucial three-pointer in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. It’s a Hall of Fame body of work, whether Allen takes another three or not.

“I don’t want to go into a situation where I don’t understand the coaching, don’t understand the direction of the team,” Allen said. “My family is very important in making the decision. Right now, there is nothing that I need to do. If I ultimately decide this will be it for me, I’m content with that.”

Allen’s former teammate, Kevin Ollie, is also in a good place, having coached UConn to the national championship in his second year at the helm and attracting offers to coach in the NBA. Ollie chose to stay in Storrs with a new five-year, $16 million contract.

“I knew he would be great, that he was going to be successful there,” Allen said. “It’s not even that he won a championship — we all revel in it, we’re all so proud of him and he’s brought bragging rights to the state — but more important, I’m proud of what he’s done for those young men. Everybody has alway respected him. When he became an assistant at UConn [in 2010], he started to get into the minds of the players. He got into their minds and started forcing them to be better.”

Ollie also had a long NBA career, and if he one day he decides to make the jump, Allen thinks he has what it takes to get into the minds of professionals, too.

“Kevin would make it work because he is adaptable,” Allen said. “He understands the nature of who the players are. He’s not one of these guys that’s a hard-liner, one way and this is how it’s going to be. He’s trying to find out what his guys want and what they need. So far, that’s what has made him successful.”

Allen pushes the youngsters with whom he works to put their electronics away, get off the couch, out of the house and get moving. He believes he has already begun his post-playing career as a “coach.”

“I am a coach,” he said. “I don’t have to have a title. I have five children that need guidance. One of them [Tierra] is 21, she goes to Quinnipiac University, and I feel I am always in her ear trying to guide her as she grows. Every camp I do, I’m always trying to figure out how I can help kids get better, so holding the actual title of coach, that doesn’t matter to me. In life, I’m a coach. I think we all are.”

Paul George Suffers Leg Injury




Paul George was stretchered off the court following a vicious lower right leg injury during Team USA’s intrasquad scrimmage. Coach K spoke afterwards and NBA players reached out via twitter.

Projecting USA Basketball’s Final Roster




New NBA Lottery Format Would Hit Sixers Hard

Philadelphia 76ers Announce Sam Hinkie as President of Basketball Operations and General Manager

Keith Pompey
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

Multiple NBA sources have confirmed that the 76ers are against a proposal that would balance out the draft lottery as early as next summer.

General manager Sam Hinkie could not be reached for comment.

League sources said Wednesday afternoon that the Sixers won’t get any sympathy from fellow franchises. That’s because for the second consecutive season, the Sixers are expected to field a roster below NBA standards in order to guarantee losses in hopes of a high draft pick.

This tactic, said one Eastern Conference executive, is having “a negative effect on the integrity of the NBA.” He believes the proposed new format, which could get a league vote in the fall, would go a long way to preventing teams from duplicating what the Sixers are doing.

Under the current format, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance of receiving the top pick in the current lottery. The squad with the second worst record has a 19.9 percent chance, while the third-worst team has a 15.6 chance of getting the No. 1 pick. The odds keep shrinking until the lottery team with the best record has a 0.5 percent chance of moving up.

Several aspects of the proposed format have yet to be finalized. But it would balance out the odds so all 14 lottery teams would have a chance to win the top pick.

The proposal would give at least the teams with the four worst records an equal 11 percent chance of winning the top pick. The next team would receive a 10 percent chance. The lottery team with the best record would have a 2 percent chance of finishing first.

The NBA Board of Governors could vote to pass this proposal during its preseason meeting in October. In turn, the Sixers would not benefit from another season of tanking.

The Sixers believe they are just taking advantage of a rule that has been in place.

However, a league source said teams believe the Sixers made a mockery of that rule by fielding a roster full of NBA Development League talent.

Last season, the Sixers ranked next to last in the NBA to the Bucks in overall attendance (15,655) and home attendance (13,869).

The Sixers finished 19-63 two seasons removed from being one win away from reaching the Eastern Conference finals.

There was a 13-game road losing streak. There were the back-to-back road losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors by a combined 88 points. And who can forget the 26-game losing streak that matched the record for consecutive losses by a U.S. pro sports team?

And there were the 28 players on the roster at one time or another. Six of those players were on 10-day contracts. Two others — Danny Granger and Earl Clark — never played a game. The final roster had eight players with at least one stint in the D-League during their careers.

Much of the same is expected for the upcoming season.

The Sixers have not made any free-agent acquisitions and are $30 million under the salary cap. They also acquired two first-rounders in center Joe Embiid and forward Dario Saric who might not see the court next season.

Embiid could miss the entire season with a fractured right foot. Saric signed a three-year contract last month to play in the Turkish League. The standout forward is expected to spend at least two years overseas.

The Sixers have also tried to trade power forward Thaddeus Young, arguably their best player.

So although the pieces seem to be in place for another dismal season, the Sixers might not benefit from it come draft night.

Jim Boeheim Praises Derrick Rose

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“That’s my biggest surprise coming in here. The one thing I was worried about is whether he would be able to step in after so much time (off). He looks, to me, as good as when we had him in the World Championship in ’10, when he was at full strength coming (into) an MVP year. He looks very, very good. Obviously, [when] he gets in some games it will be a little different, but it’s not like he hasn’t had success in games. He had a lot of success. He’s been the most impressive guy here.”

Jim Boeheim Praises Derrick Rose