NBA News Wire

NBA roundup: Balmer may be among bidders for Clippers

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Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has put in a $1.8 billion bid for the Los Angeles Clippers, Forbes reported Thursday.

Reports indicated that Shelly Sterling set a Wednesday deadline on bids. Ballmer was once part of an unsuccessful bid to acquire the Sacramento Kings and move the team to Seattle. He retired as Microsoft CEO four months ago and has a reported net worth of $20 billion.

Forbes also reported that Sterling has thus far received offers between $1 billion and $2 billion. Donald Sterling bought the Clippers in 1981 for $12.5 million. NBA owners are voting June 3 to force the Sterlings to sell the team due to racist comments.

—Former Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro is a serious candidate for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ vacancy, reported Thursday.

Sources told that Del Negro, who is also being considered for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ job, was spotted last week interviewing with Timberwolves president and part-owner Flip Saunders. Del Negro was fired by Clippers’ after a first-round exit in 2013 despite winning 57 games during the regular season. Del Negro has a career mark of 210-184 before being replaced in Chicago and Los Angeles by Tom Thibodeau and Doc Rivers, respectively.

The Timberwolves also interviewed former NBA head coaches Lionel Hollins and Scott Skiles. ESPN analyst George Karl has also publicly expressed interest in the job.

— Guard Lance Stephenson and center Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers were fined in separate incidents for violating the NBA’s anti-flopping rules during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the league announced Thursday.

Stephenson was fined $10,000 for his second violation of the playoffs which occurred with 8:23 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Pacers’ 93-90 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Hibbert was fined $5,000 for his first violation, which occurred with 5:18 left in the fourth quarter.

— Veteran point guard Darren Collison will decline a player option for 2014-15 with the Los Angeles Clippers and become an unrestricted free agent in July.

The option year would have paid Collison $1.9 million, but the 26-year-old could still return to the team on a new deal. He is good friends with starting point guard Chris Paul and played collegiately at UCLA.

Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry, Eric Bledsoe, a restricted free agent for Phoenix Suns acquired from the Clippers in 2013, and Isaiah Thomas of the Sacramento Kings headline the free agent point guard crop that is heavy with off-the-bench options similar to Collison (Mario Chalmers, Nate Robinson, Greivis Vasquez and Shaun Livingston).

— Mexico and the United Kingdom will host regular-season NBA games as part of its expanded Global Games schedule for the 2014-15 season.

The Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves — who played the San Antonio Spurs in Mexico last season — will play at Mexico City Arena on Nov. 12 as part of NBA Global Games Mexico City 2014. NBA Global Games London 2015 pits the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks at The O2 on Jan. 15.

These games follow preseason Global Games in October with five teams — the Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings, and Spurs — playing a series of games in Brazil, China, Germany and Turkey.