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Earlier this year, on April 25, TMZ released an audio tape of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist comments during an argument with V. Stiviano. Newly appointed Commissioner Adam Silver took severe action in response to Sterling’s rant, banning him from the NBA for life, imposing a $2.5 million fine and asking the other NBA owners to vote Sterling out his ownership interest in the Clippers.
At the time, Silver confidently claimed that he had the full support of the NBA owners in voting Sterling out of the league and divesting him of his ownership. However, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spoke out about the consequences of divesting an NBA owner of his team for comments made in private. Nevertheless, the owners publicly supported Silver and held the threat of voting Sterling out of the league over Sterling’s head as he and his wife, Shelly Sterling, battled each other in court over the validity of Shelly’s sale of the team to Steve Ballmer, the new owner of the Clippers.
Now, Atlanta Hawks majority owner Bruce Levenson will reportedly sell his interest in his team after turning over to the league office an email he wrote in 2012 where he made racially insensitive comments about African-Americans. Wojnarowski reports that, as early as Friday, many NBA owners knew that an NBA owner was in trouble with the league office for doing something along the lines of Sterling’s racist rant, and wondered until the league’s announcement on Sunday whether they were the ones in trouble.
Fortunately for Commissioner Silver, Levenson has agreed to sell his interest in the Hawks, rather than drag the league through a legal battle. However, this latest issue leaves the door open for more NBA owners to be sanctioned or forced out of the league for past indiscretions. The next owner may not agree to amicably walk away from the NBA, and instead fight the league the way Sterling did.
This is the consequence of forcing Sterling out of the league and will be an ongoing issue for NBA owners. Like Cuban said months ago, it is now a slippery-slope.
At different points throughout the offseason, sharpshooter Ray Allen has been linked to teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers, but has still not announced whether he will return for his 19th NBA season or retire.
At age 39, Allen is still one of the best shooters in the NBA, and is capable of helping out a contender in need of additional shooting and veteran experience. As Sam Smith points out, Allen could fill a big need for the Bulls, who compared to the other teams connected to Allen this offseason are light at the shooting guard position.
Allen, who had a down year last season in Miami for his standards, is known for keeping himself in great shape and likely has enough left in the tank to be a difference maker in Chicago. Still, the Bulls have some steep competition for Allen’s services as his former teammate LeBron James is recruiting him to join the Cavaliers while former coach Doc Rivers is recruiting him to join the Clippers. Allen may opt to wait to pick a team at some point during the season to keep himself fresh for a playoff run with a contender. Or, Allen may opt to call it a career. Until he makes his decision, half of the NBA will keep recruiting the veteran shooting guard.
The Miami HEAT continue their offseason rebuild in the wake of LeBron James taking his talents home to Cleveland this offseason. With most of the roster already set, the HEAT are looking to round out their roster by adding a backup big man. Jackson reports that the HEAT met with free agent center Ryan Hollins on Friday, and are still considering making him an offer.
Hollins, age 29, spent the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, who recently signed free agent center Ekpe Udoh to backup DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Hawes in the front-court. For his career, Hollins averages 3.8 points and 1.5 rebounds in 12 minutes per game. At 7’0, Hollins has good size for a center, but is a poor rebounder and picks up personal fouls rather quickly. However, at his best, Hollins is an athletic shot-blocker and hustle player with good athleticism and mobility. Hollins should never looked to as a full-time answer at center, but has value in limited minutes off the bench.
Jackson also reports that the HEAT are considering other front-court players like Nazr Mohammed, Andray Blatche and Emeka Okafor (who is still recovering from a severe neck injury).
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