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NBA Rumors: Boozer Likely Out in Chicago

Taj Gibson is told he’ll start next season, meaning Carlos Boozer is out in Chicago … Serge Ibaka is day-to-day … Grant Hill, Yao Ming interested in buying the Clippers

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Boozer Likely Out in Chicago

While general manager Gar Forman has remained poker-faced about the future of Carlos Boozer in a Bulls uniform, several sources indicated that reserve power forward Taj Gibson was told by his coaching staff to start preparing this offseason to be a starter come tip-off 2014-15.

And Gibson has.

With about a week left of rehabbing a badly sprained left ankle that occurred in the Game 5 playoff loss to the Wizards last month, Gibson confirmed that he has been told “to get my body and mind right to be a starter.’’

via Joe Cowley of the Chicago-Sun Times

This report from the Chicago-Sun Times confirms the widely held belief that power forward Carlos Boozer will not be with the Chicago Bulls next season. Boozer is owed $16,800,000 next season, whereas Gibson is set to make less than half of that at $8,000,000. Both power forwards played close to 30 minutes a game this season, but Gibson scored more efficiently, provided better defense and at age 28 has more upside than Boozer, who is 32.

Rumors have suggested that Boozer could be amnestied as part of a bigger plan for the Bulls to sign a major free agent, like Carmelo Anthony. However, the recent rumor that Kevin Love may be traded around the upcoming draft has opened up the potential of using Boozer’s expiring contract as a piece in a potential move for Love, or in other potential trades.

Complicating the issue is the possibility of the Bulls negotiating a deal to bring over international prospect Nikola Mirotic for next season. Mirotic is a skilled forward who can stretch the floor and potentially back up Gibson next season.

Serge Ibaka Upgraded to Day-to-Day

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka has a strong possibility of playing in Sunday’s Game 3 of the Western Conference finals after the team upgraded him to day-to-day, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Ibaka went through a battery of tests on Thursday and his calf responded well.

via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports

Serge Ibaka suffered a Grade 2 strain of the plantaris in Game 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers on May 15. The Oklahoma City Thunder originally announced that the injury would sideline Ibaka for the remainder of the playoffs. Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs were skeptical about the diagnosis, and now it seems they were right to be.

On Friday, general manager Sam Presti said, “I think it’s important, when you look at this, to recognize that we’re not saying that he’s playing, but what we’re really trying to indicate is that the information is telling us that we can’t rule him out.”

If Ibaka is able to provide something close to his normal production, the Thunder may have a chance of turning this series around. The Thunder won all four regular season games against the Spurs with Ibaka, but have given up 123.4 points per 100 possessions in the first two games of this series.

If Ibaka is unable to provide his usual defensive presence, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will need to be at their best for the Thunder to have a shot against the Spurs, who have looked almost unbeatable in Games 1 and 2.

Grant Hill and Yao Ming Looking to Buy the Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers are not yet for sale, but two former NBA All-Stars are among the various parties assembling ownership groups to potentially buy the franchise, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com on Friday that Grant Hill and Yao Ming are working separately to line up investors to lodge bids for the Clippers when the team is ultimately made available.

via Marc Stein of ESPN

Early Friday, TMZ reported that banned owner of the Los Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling agreed to grant his wife, Shelly Sterling, authority to negotiate a forced sale of the franchise. It is still unclear whether Shelly Sterling will back off her demand to maintain a minority ownership stake in the team, however, this development is another major step toward a resolution for the league as it signals that Donald Sterling realizes there is no future in the league for him.

Since Adam Silver’s press conference, where he announced that he would start proceedings to sell the team to new owners, numerous notable names have surfaced as potential buyers. Two of the newest names to add to the list are former NBA All-Stars Grant Hill and Yao Ming. Hill retired last season after a 19-year career, and Ming has been out of the league since 2011. Ming was reportedly interested in buying the Milwaukee Bucks when they were put up for sale, but backed out when the sale was made contingent on keeping the team in Milwaukee.

Hill, Ming and the other bidders may have to wait a while, however, as the league is pushing forward with a hearing set for June 3 and is sticking to the formal removal proceedings. However, the timeline for the sale may move up considerably if Shelly Sterling agrees to sell 100% of the franchise. Early indications are that the Clippers may generate a bidding war that could lead to a selling price close to $2 billion.

 

Jesse Blancarte is a Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders. He is also an Attorney and a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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