National Basketball Association
NBA News Wire
  • Thursday, July 31, 2014
    Nuggets sign first-round picks Nurkic, Harris
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Denver Nuggets signed first-round draft picks center Jusuf Nurkic and guard Gary Harris, the team announced Thursday.

    • The Nuggets acquired the rights to both players in a draft-night trade with the Chicago Bulls on June 26. Nurkic was the 16th overall pick, while Harris was taken at No. 19.

      The 7-foot, 280-pound Nurkic averaged 11.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 28 games for Cedevita Zagreb of the Adriatic League in 2013-14. He recently led Bosnia and Herzegovina to the title at the FIBA Under-20 European Championships Division B.

      Nurkic, 19, averaged 21.4 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.63 blocks in eight games and was named MVP of the tournament.

      The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Harris averaged 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a sophomore at Michigan State in 2013-14. He was an All-Big Ten selection and received honorable mention in the Associated Press All-America voting.

      Harris, 19, started 67 of 69 games in his college career and became just the third player in Michigan State history to score 1,000 points in two seasons.

      Harris averaged a team-leading 18.6 points for the Nuggets at the 2014 Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He scored 33 points in his summer league debut.

  • Thursday, July 31, 2014
    Spurs' Ginobili to miss FIBA World Cup
    By The Sports Xchange

    San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili is still suffering from an injury to his right fibula and it will keep him out of the FIBA World Cup in Spain, the Argentine Basketball Federation announced Thursday.

    • The stress fracture has bothered Ginobili since the playoffs.

      The 37-year-old Ginobili played through the injury while helping the Spurs beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

      The San Antonio Express-News reported earlier this week that the Spurs sent Ginobili a letter informing him they would not extend the 12-year veteran permission to play in Spain because of the lingering issue.

      The World Cup games will start on Aug. 30.

  • Thursday, July 31, 2014
    Report: Love deal to Cavs looks probable
    By The Sports Xchange

    Kevin Love looks increasingly likely to join LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    • The Minnesota Timberwolves, who are shopping Love, are only engaged in talks with the Cavaliers, according to an ESPN.com report Wednesday night.

      Cleveland was long considered the top contender to acquire Love in a trade. However, swingman Andrew Wiggins, reported as a key piece in the proposed deal, cannot be traded until Aug. 23 -- 30 days after the Cavs signed him to a contract. Wiggins was the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft.

      Love, a power forward, told the Timberwolves he plans to opt out of his contract at the end of next season.

      Earlier reports indicated the Bulls were interested in acquiring Love, but ESPN.com wrote that Chicago couldn't offer as much value to Minnesota in a deal as the Timberwolves could get from Cleveland.

      The Golden State Warriors, another team discussed as a possible landing spot for Love, won't part with shooting guard Klay Thompson as part of the deal, ESPN.com reported.

      Love, 25, averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists last season. The point and assist figures were career highs for Love, who was a first-round pick out of UCLA in 2008.

  • Thursday, July 31, 2014
    Riley expects Heat to compete among elite
    By The Sports Xchange

    Miami Heat president Pat Riley was surprised that LeBron James left but is moving on and expects the team to be competitive going forward.

    • "I went into it with the notion he was coming back, so I was selling that to players," Riley said during a conference call. "I let him know that. He never said, 'Don't do that.'"

      James announced earlier this month that he was leaving Miami after four seasons to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Heat won two NBA titles and reached the NBA Finals each of the four years that the superstar forward was part of the team.

      James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade opted out of the final two years of their contracts after the Heat lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals to enter free agency. Wade and Bosh decided to return next season after James signed a two-year, $42 million contract with the Cavs.

      Riley said James and his agent never misled the Heat into thinking he would return, but he didn't have any indication that the four-time MVP would depart.

      In addition to re-signing Wade and Bosh, the Heat have signed Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger since the season ended. Riley also is bringing back Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen.

      "No doubt we lost a great player," Riley said. "I don't get hurt. ... The hurt didn't last long. We picked up the phone and went to work. Sometimes, things happen that you don't like, but you have to move on. I feel really good about where we are right now at this moment. I feel we are up to the challenge and will be as competitive as anyone in the Eastern Conference."

      The 69-year-old Riley is energized to keep the Heat among the NBA's elite without James.

      "This process didn't take anything out of me," he said. "That chain has been broken prematurely, but we're going to try to make it a generational (team) again. We were always looking at 2016 to be a (major) player (in free agency)."

      Riley acknowledged that once James committed to Cleveland he tried to go after free agent Carmelo Anthony, who ended up re-signing with the New York Knicks.

      "That dance card has already been punched. We were a little bit late to that party," Riley said.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Report: LeBron, Cavs will play at Miami on Christmas
    By The Sports Xchange

    The NBA understands how to maximize a story line.

    • LeBron James' first return to face the Heat in Miami as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers will occur on Christmas Day, according to the Miami Herald.

      The league's 2014-15 schedule is not finalized, but the Herald reported that an internal draft shows the Cavaliers-Heat game would be telecast on ABC on Christmas, likely at 2:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. ET.

      James spent four years in Miami, leading the Heat to the NBA Finals every season and winning two title, but returning to Cleveland this summer as a free agent.

      According to the Herald, the full NBA schedule will be announced in mid-August.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    NBA roundup: Suns-Bledsoe stalemate continues
    By The Sports Xchange

    Restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe and the Phoenix Suns are no closer to a contract, and the gap between the sides could be expanding.

    • The Suns offered Bledsoe a four-year, $48 million contract, but he is holding out for something closer to the $80 million maximum-level payday. CSN Northwest reported Wednesday that the player-team "relationship is on the express lane to being ruined."

      Bledsoe averaged career highs of 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds last season despite missing time with a knee injury that required surgery.

      The Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly have interest in Bledsoe. Because the Suns extended him a qualifying offer, the team retains refusal rights to match any offer sheet that might be executed.

      ---Change is coming to the NBA draft lottery, but the team most likely to be impacted if proposed adjustments are implemented is tapping the brakes.

      A major overhaul will be voted on by the NBA Board of Governors in October that would balance the odds of landing the top pick to almost every team entered in the lottery process. At present, that comprises the 14 teams with the worst regular-season record.

      ESPN reported the 76ers are strongly opposing that change. Philadelphia unloaded many of its assets last season and posted a 19-63 record but still wound up drafting third overall behind the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks. The season included a 26-game losing streak, but it was the Bucks who posted the worst record in the league.

      To prevent teams from tanking as a means for improving chances at the highest picks in the next draft, commissioner Adam Silver is on board with giving the four or five worst teams equal chances at the No. 1 overall pick and only slightly reducing the probability any team that finishes with the fifth-worst through 14th-worst final record can also score the first pick.

      ---The Sacramento Kings sign forward/center Eric Moreland to a contract. Terms were not disclosed.

      Moreland was a two-time Pac-12 All-Defensive honorable mention player for Oregon State who led all players during the NBA Summer League with 16 blocks while averaging 3.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 2.7 blocks in coming off the bench playing as a reserve.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Kings sign F/C Eric Moreland
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Sacramento Kings sign forward/center Eric Moreland to a contract Thursday. Terms were not disclosed.

    • Moreland was a two-time Pac-12 All-Defensive honorable mention player for Oregon State who led all players during the NBA Summer League with 16 blocks while averaging 3.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 2.7 blocks in coming off the bench playing as a reserve.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Suns, Bledsoe gap widening?
    By The Sports Xchange

    Restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe and the Phoenix Suns are no closer to a contract, and the gap between the sides could be expanding.

    • The Suns offered Bledsoe a four-year, $48 million contract, but he is holding out for something closer to the $80 million maximum-level payday.

      CSN Northwest reported Wednesday that the player-team "relationship is on the express lane to being ruined."

      Coach Jeff Hornacek referred to Bledsoe as a cornerstone and top-10 player in the offseason, but multiple point guards were added to the roster.

      "We'll continue to work as hard as we can within that restricted free-agency system established by the collective bargaining agreement," Suns president Lon Babby told the Arizona Republic. "We continue to hope and expect that he will remain in a Suns uniform."

      With Bledsoe and All-Star point guard Goran Dragic on the court together last season, the Suns were 23-11. They added restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas via sign-and-trade deal with the Sacramento Kings and drafted Tyler Ennis in the first round. All are point guards by trade.

      "I think the misconception is that if you have four point guards, it seems like a lot if you only play one of them at a time," Babby said. "We took a step back last season whenever one of them was hurt or couldn't play, and it took a toll on Goran by the end of the season.

      "What we ultimately decided is: This is the strength of our team. Let's bolster it instead of going in a different direction."

      Bledsoe averaged career highs of 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds last season despite missing time with a knee injury that required surgery.

      The Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly have interest in Bledsoe. Because the Suns extended him a qualifying offer, the team retains refusal rights to match any offer sheet that might be executed.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Report: 76ers oppose lottery changes
    By The Sports Xchange

    Change is coming to the NBA draft lottery, but the team most likely to be impacted if proposed adjustments are implemented is tapping the brakes.

    • A major overhaul will be voted on by the NBA Board of Governors in October that would bring balanced odds of landing the top pick to almost every team entered in the lottery process. At present, that comprises the 14 teams with the worst regular-season record.

      ESPN reported the 76ers are strongly opposing that change.

      Philadelphia unloaded many of its assets last season and posted a 19-63 record, but still wound up drafting third overall behind the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks. The season included a 26-game losing streak, but it was the Bucks who posted the worst record in the league.

      To prevent teams from tanking as a means for improving chances at the highest picks in the next draft, commissioner Adam Silver is on board with giving the four or five worst teams equal chances at the No. 1 overall pick and only slightly reducing the probability any team that finishes with the fifth-worst through 14th-worst final record can also score the first pick.

      Philadelphia owned two lottery picks in June, drafting Kansas center Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. Neither player is expected to be a major contributor as a rookie.

      Because the 76ers went full bore toward a rebuild last season, the front office is pushing the NBA to put off any sweeping change to the draft or lottery system for another year in the name of strategic planning fairness.

      In turn, Silver could choose to shrug off the concerns of the 76ers, who helped spur the major alterations by employing the very strategy the NBA is decrying.

  • Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    Scott takes on big challenge as Lakers coach
    By The Sports Xchange

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The stars were aligned Tuesday morning at Los Angeles Lakers headquarters. None beamed brighter than Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

    • With the Lakers formally introducing Byron Scott as their new head coach, Johnson, who frequently clashed the past few years with Lakers brass, couldn't contain his giddiness.

      "I'm so happy because Coach Scott is a very disciplined man and he's going to instill that in this team," said Johnson, who sat front row with former Lakers giants Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes. "That's what we need right now. We need somebody who can come in and really help these guys understand that if we're going to win and be successful, it starts at the defensive end. And then also, we have to rebound because you can't do anything without defense and rebounding."

      Those were foreign concepts under the most recent Lakers coach, offensive-minded Mike D'Antoni. The Lakers were atrocious defensively, finishing 29th of 30 teams in the NBA in points allowed (109.2 per game). Only the woeful Philadelphia 76ers were worse.

      The Lakers were 25th in rebounding, averaging 41 per game while allowing the opposition to grab 49 boards per game. And, just to throw more salt in their wounds, the Lakers finished 27-55, the worst record since the club moved to the City of Angels.

      Expectations aren't high for the 2014-15 season, either. The roster experienced only minor upgrades with the addition of point guard Jeremy Lin, aging forward Carlos Boozer and the team's first-round draft pick, power forward Julius Randle.

      Questions also remain on how effective guard Kobe Bryant, who played in only six games after injuries derailed his season, can be again. Ditto for point guard Steve Nash, who spent an injury-plagued season watching from the sideline almost as much time as Bryant.

      The Lakers are hurting from their failure to land any major free agents during the offseason despite a concerted effort to attract forward Carmelo Anthony, among others.

      Even so, Scott, who was part of three NBA titles with the 1980s Showtime Lakers, likes the makeup of the current roster, particularly if Bryant can return anywhere close to form. With an emphasis on defense, Scott said it won't take long for the Lakers to become a contender again.

      "The one thing I told Mitch and Jim (in) our last meetings was I thought they put a roster together that we will be very competitive," said Scott, referring to Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and owner Jim Buss. "The main thing I have to do is establish ourselves as a defensive basketball team."

      The Lakers defended the search that took months to produce Scott's hiring as coach.

      "From the beginning, although we went through a long process where we interviewed a lot of candidates, we thought early on that Byron was the leader and right choice from the beginning," Kupchak said. "Our feeling was let's create a roster, let's get through the draft (and) make sure we had the right coach.

      "We could have hired a coach a month and a half ago, but at that point now we'd be doing things different. We chose to create a roster, and our gut instinct on Byron was that he was the right coach, and obviously we feel that way today."

      Scott said the wait didn't bother him. He said he began to get weary from Lakers fans asking him. A trip to the Caribbean, where he learned he was picked as the franchise's 25th coach, was the answer.

      "I just felt they would make the right decision and the best decision," Scott said of the Buss family. "And I'm a little arrogant when it comes to that because I thought I was the best decision and the right decision. So the waiting didn't really bother me. The only thing that bothered me was the questions I got asked every day from fans. And that really didn't bother me, but it takes a toll after a while. But the wait didn't bother me at all."

      Johnson can't wait to be a sounding board for his old backcourt mate.

      "I told him, 'I'm here,'" said Johnson, who was on the outs with Lakers management with his sometimes harsh criticism of Buss, D'Antoni and former coach Mike Brown. "And whether I need to come to practice, whatever, whatever he needs me to do. That's why we're all here. We want to support him, and we want the Lakers to win. It messes up my year whole year when the Lakers are not successful. Last couple of years have been so bad for me personally."

      Scott said he would do everything in his power to bring the Lakers back to prominence. That will take at least a few years, but he isn't deterred.

      "This organization is all about championships. Period," Scott said. "We don't look at Western Conference finals, Western Conference championships, we look at (NBA) championships. We know we have some work ahead of us, but I'm excited. Just thrilled to death. I'm eager, and just ready to get to work. I know it's going to be a challenge, but I look forward to it. I love challenges anyway, so this is going to be fun."

      It might be fun now to talk about those challenges, but when play begin this fall, it probably won't be the joyride Scott envisioned. The Lakers are unlikely to make the playoffs, and they will have their work cut out to avoid another losing season.

      The stars must be aligned properly in the Lakers' universe for the team to enjoy a quick turnaround, no matter how much magic Scott has.

  • Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    NBA roundup: Woman named union chief
    By The Sports Xchange

    Michele Roberts was elected executive director of the NBA Players Association nearly 18 months after Billy Hunter was ousted.

    • NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed the move late Monday. Roberts is the first woman to be the union's executive director.

      Roberts and Silver will become the key figures in a major upcoming labor negotiation in 2017, when salary cap structure, media and television contracts, draft age requirements and a possible in-season tournament are priority topics expected to make the docket.

      Hunter was fired in February 2013 after an independent audit questioned his business and hiring practices. The report accused him of nepotism and of abusing union resources for personal gain.

      ---Forty-year-old Steve Nash appears to be leaning toward next season to be his last in the NBA.

      The veteran point guard has battled injuries the past two years with the Los Angeles Lakers, missing 66 games last season and 32 in 2012-13. He averaged 6.8 points and 5.7 assists in the games he did play last year.

      "I think this is my last season," Nash told Sport TV. "But I still love to play. I love to practice and work on my game. I’m going to spend hopefully many, many years living this life without basketball. So it’ll be nice to play one more year."

      ---Chris Wallace was named general manager of the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday after assuming the title on an interim basis in May.

      Owner Robert Pera announced that Wallace signed a multiyear contract, but exact terms and financial details were not provided by the team.

      The Grizzlies also hired Ed Stefanski to become executive vice president of player personnel. Stefanski will serve under Wallace and oversee player personnel and scouting.

      ---The Dallas Mavericks signed power forward Ivan Johnson on Tuesday to undisclosed contract terms.

      Johnson played for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls in the Chinese Basketball Association last season. He joined the Mavericks' summer league team this month and averaged 7.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in five games. The 30-year-old Johnson started his NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks in 2011-13, averaging 6.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 125 regular-season games.

  • Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    Grizzlies appoint Wallace, Stefanski to front office roles
    By The Sports Xchange

    Chris Wallace was named general manager of the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday after assuming the title on an interim basis in May.

    • Owner Robert Pera announced that Wallace signed a multiyear contract, but exact terms and financial details were not provided by the team.

      The Grizzlies also reached agreement with Ed Stefanski to become executive vice president of player personnel, Yahoo Sports reported. Stefanski will serve under Wallace and oversee player personnel and scouting.

      "We are very pleased to announce Chris Wallace as our general manager," Pera said. "Chris has been at the forefront and a stable presence throughout some of the Grizzlies' greatest successes. His strong bonds and experience, not only within the organization and NBA but also within the Memphis and Mid-South communities, make him the ideal fit to lead our basketball operations. We believe Chris' skills and expertise to be vital in our continued success of our franchise."

      Wallace joined the Grizzlies in 2007. He previously was the Boston Celtics' general manager and also worked as a scout for the Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers.

      "I am honored to remain in Memphis. I love the city and the community," Wallace said. “Robert Pera is strongly committed to the success of the Grizzlies, and I am excited to continue working in tandem with Robert, our front office and our coaching staff in helping realize his vision for the franchise."

      Stefanski most recently was executive vice president of basketball operations for the Toronto Raptors. He also has served as the general manager of the New Jersey Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers.

  • Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    Michele Roberts named NBPA exec. director
    By The Sports Xchange

    Michele Roberts was elected executive director of the NBA Players Association nearly 18 months after Billy Hunter was ousted.

    • NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed the move late Monday. Roberts is the first woman to be the union's executive director.

      "Let's be clear: I'm sure there were people that noticed I was a girl," Roberts said in an interview session with reporters after the vote. "Having said that, I frankly wanted to address that question up front whenever I spoke with any of the members of the executive committee and the union. My sense was, the only thing people cared about was my resolve."

      Roberts and Silver will become the key figures in a major upcoming labor negotiation in 2017, when salary cap structure, media and television contracts, draft age requirements and a possible in-season tournament are priority topics expected to make the docket.

      A profile on her law firm's website lists Roberts as a 1977 Wesleyan University graduate who got her law degree from the University of California-Berkeley in 1980.

      Roberts was a public defender before moving into private practice.

      After word of Roberts' election surfaced, Silver released a statement that read, "On behalf of the NBA, I would like to congratulate Michele Roberts on her appointment as the NBPA's new Executive Director and look forward to working with her and the NBPA Executive Committee to ensure the continued health and growth of our game. The partnership between our players and teams is the backbone of the league, and we are eager to continue working with the Players Association to build this relationship. I also want to thank Ron Klempner for his service as interim Executive Director over the past 18 months."

      Hunter was fired in February 2013 after an independent audit questioned his business and hiring practices. The report accused him of nepotism and of abusing union resources for personal gain.

      In 2017, players or the league can opt out of the collective bargaining agreement to seek a revised deal. That is largely expected with players pushing for changes to max salary structure and new rights as it pertains to ownership and workplace environment in light of the ongoing Los Angeles Clippers saga.

  • Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    Report: Clippers' Griffin has small back fracture
    By The Sports Xchange

    Last week, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin passed on playing for the U.S. national team this summer.

    • On Monday, a possible reason emerged.

      According to ESPNLosAngeles.com, Griffin is nursing a small fracture in his back. The website reported that Griffin should be healed before the start of the 2014-15 NBA season, but that doctors advised him to rest during the offseason.

      The U.S. team will compete in the FIBA World Cup of basketball in August. Griffin's spot was taken by Washington Wizards guard John Wall.

      Griffin was one of 19 players originally selected.

      "I appreciate the invitation to play for Team USA this summer," Griffin said in a statement last week. "It is a special opportunity anytime you have a chance to represent your country, and I was honored to be included. However, right now I want to focus and dedicate 100 percent of my energy on improving and preparing for the upcoming season with the Clippers."

      Griffin, 25, averaged 24.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 80 starts last season. In the playoffs, he produced 23.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

      Team USA will be missing another power forward, as Kevin Love also will sit out amid rumors that the Minnesota Timberwolves will trade him.

  • Monday, July 28, 2014
    Lakers announce hiring of Scott
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Monday that they signed Byron Scott to a multi-year contract to be their head coach.

    • ESPN reported Saturday that the Lakers and Scott agreed on a four-year, $17 million deal, and Scott said in a television interview over the weekend that he was the new Lakers coach. But the Lakers said then that a deal had not yet been finalized.

      It finally became official Monday.

      "After an extensive and thorough search, we're proud to welcome Byron back to the Lakers family as our next head coach," said Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak in a statement released by the team. "Byron has proven himself at the highest levels of the game as both a player and a coach in his almost 30 years of NBA experience. His leadership skills and track record for success make him the ideal person to lead this franchise forward."

      Scott, who spent 11 of his 14 years as an NBA player with the Lakers, has 416 wins over 13 seasons as an NBA head coach with the New Jersey Nets (2000-2004), New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (2004-2009) and Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-2013). Scott began his coaching career as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings for two seasons beginning in 1998. He was the NBA coach of the year in 2008.

      "I am ecstatic to once again be a Laker and to have the opportunity to work alongside Mitch and the Buss family," said Scott in a statement. "I know first-hand what it takes to bring a championship to this city, and as someone who both grew up in L.A. and played the majority of my career here, I know how passionate and dedicated our fans are. I will give everything I have to fulfill the championship expectations that our supporters have for us, and that we have for ourselves."

      Scott, 53, was an on-air talent for a variety of studio programming last season, his only full season away from the game as a coach or player since he entered the NBA in 1983.

  • Monday, July 28, 2014
    Judge rules in favor of Clippers sale
    By The Sports Xchange

    A California judge ruled on Monday that the record $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer can move forward, siding in favor of Shelly Sterling on all three counts in a probate court trial against Donald Sterling.

    • Donald Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly, burst into tears when the ruling was announced.

      "I can't believe it's over. I feel good," she said.

      "This is going to be a good thing for the city, for the league for my family and for all of us," she said outside the courthouse. "Come see the Clippers next year."

      Donald Sterling was not in court to hear the ruling. Bobby Samini, the attorney for Donald Sterling, said he spoke to his client 10 minutes after the decision was announced.

      "He didn't take it too hard," Samini said, according to ESPN.com. "He just said, 'Keep fighting.'"

      In the tentative ruling, Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas handed down an "oral tentative statement decision" that affirmed Shelly Sterling had the authority to reach an agreement in May to sell the team to Ballmer. The ruling included the step of granting Shelly Sterling's request for an order under section 1310(b) of California's probate code, allowing the sale to be completed even if Donald Sterling continues the battle through the appellate court.

      Levanas made the announcement shortly after two hours of closing arguments between lawyers, and sided with the position from interim Clippers chief executive Richard Parsons that a continued ownership by Donald Sterling would result in a "death spiral" for the franchise.

      "We are pleased that the court has affirmed Shelly Sterling's right to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer," the NBA said in a statement. "We look forward to the transaction closing as soon as possible."

      Shelly Sterling negotiated the sale of the team after her 80-year-old billionaire husband was banned for life by the NBA for making racist remarks.

      Ballmer had set an Aug. 15 deadline to complete the deal, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league would move to strip the Sterlings' ownership of the Clippers if the sale is not complete by Sept. 15.

      The judge said he would review objections before issuing a written ruling.

      "(Shelly Sterling's) testimony was far and away more credible than Donald," Levanas said, according to USA Today. "Donald's answers were often evasive and, in one instance, were inconsistent with his previous testimony."

      Levanas said the evidence showed that Shelly Sterling followed provisions of the Sterling Family Trust in having Donald Sterling examined by two doctors, who both found he was mentally incapacitated, and subsequently removed as co-trustee.

      Donald Sterling has two other suits pending in the matter. In one, he contends his wife and Ballmer violated corporate law, and the other seeks more than $1 billion in damages from the NBA.

      Shelly Sterling was asked after the ruling if she thought her husband would drop his other lawsuits.

      "I'm sure he will," she said.

      NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling from the league for life and fined him $2.5 million in April after an audio recording of racist comments by Sterling were leaked to TMZ.com.

  • Monday, July 28, 2014
    Lakers re-sign F Johnson
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Los Angeles Lakers re-signed free agent forward Wesley Johnson, the team announced Monday.

    • Terms of the agreement were not released, but the Los Angeles Times reported the deal was expected to be for one year at the $981,084 minimum.

      "I'm happy to welcome Wesley back to our team and am excited to see him develop further after taking such great strides last season," general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. "Wesley possesses elite athleticism, and has the potential to develop into an excellent defender."

      A four-year NBA veteran, Johnson had his best professional season last year with the Lakers, averaging career-highs in points per game (9.1), rebounds (4.4), steals (1.1), blocks (1.0), field goal percentage (.425) and 3-point field goal percentage (.369) while appearing in a team-high 79 games.

      Originally selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Johnson has appeared in 273 career games (210 starts), averaging 8.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 24.7 minutes per game as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves (2010-2012), Phoenix Suns (2012-13) and Lakers (2013-14).

  • Sunday, July 27, 2014
    NBA roundup: Lakers, Scott still working on deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    Byron Scott said in a television interview that he is the new coach of the Los Angeles Lakers but the team insisted that an agreement has not yet been reached.

    • ESPN reported Saturday that the Lakers and Scott agreed on a four-year, $17 million deal. The Lakers hold a team option on the final year of the deal.

      "It feels fantastic," Scott told KCBS-TV on Saturday night. "This is a dream come true. I always wanted to coach the Lakers, especially when I got to coaching. It's so unreal. I have to thank (general manager) Mitch (Kupchak), Jeanie and Jim Buss to give me this opportunity."

      However, the Lakers said nothing is set.

      "There is no done deal," a source told the Los Angeles Times.

      Lakers owner Jim Buss reportedly made Scott a verbal offer on Thursday and Scott and his representatives were reviewing it.

      ---Cleveland Cavaliers star forward LeBron James is switching back to wearing jersey No. 23.

      James wore that number in high school and during his first stint with the Cavaliers. He changed to No. 6 during his four-year stint with the Miami Heat, where he won two NBA titles.

      James announced on Instagram that he is switching back to his original number.

      ---Because several frontcourt candidates withdrew from consideration for the U.S. national team, USA Basketball invited Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap to its training camp this week in Las Vegas.

      At first USA Basketball said it would not add any players to the roster despite the withdrawal of Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge. But officials changed their minds and announced they added Millsap, who can play multiple positions.

      Millsap's addition means 19 players will be competing for a spot on the final roster of 12 that will play in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain beginning Aug. 30.

  • Sunday, July 27, 2014
    Millsap invited to USA camp
    By The Sports Xchange

    Because several frontcourt candidates withdrew from consideration for the U.S. national team, USA Basketball invited Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap to its training camp this week in Las Vegas.

    • At first USA Basketball said it would not add any players to the roster despite the withdrawal of Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge. But officials changed their minds and Sunday announced they added Millsap, who can play multiple positions.

      "Paul has prior experience at the National Team level having participated in the 2009 National Team mini-camp and offers us veteran inside player who possesses attributes that can be beneficial for us," said chairman Jerry Colangelo in a release.

      Millsap's addition means 19 players will be competing for a spot on the final roster of 12 that will play in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain beginning August 30.

  • Sunday, July 27, 2014
    Lakers: No deal in place for Scott
    By The Sports Xchange

    Byron Scott said in a television interview that he is the new coach of the Los Angeles Lakers but the team insisted that an agreement has not yet been reached.

    • ESPN reported Saturday that the Lakers and Scott agreed on a four-year, $17 million deal. The Lakers hold a team option on the final year of the deal.

      "It feels fantastic," Scott told KCBS-TV on Saturday night. "This is a dream come true. I always wanted to coach the Lakers, especially when I got to coaching. It's so unreal. I have to thank (general manager) Mitch (Kupchak), Jeanie and Jim Buss to give me this opportunity."

      However, the Lakers said nothing is set.

      "There is no done deal," a source told the Los Angeles Times.

      Lakers owner Jim Buss reportedly made Scott a verbal offer on Thursday and Scott and his representatives were reviewing it.

      Scott, who has coached the New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers, played a key role as a player in helping the Lakers win three of their five NBA championships in the 1980s.

      The Lakers have been without a coach since Mike D'Antoni resigned at the end of the regular season. Scott interviewed for the job three times, but the team decided to wait until after the draft in June and free agency this month before making a hire.

      Lakers star Kobe Bryant has endorsed hiring Scott. The two were Lakers teammates in 1996 when Bryant was a rookie. As a coach, Scott is 937-416 in the regular season and 33-24 in the playoffs with the Nets (2000-04), Hornets (2004-09) and Cavaliers (2010-13).

  • Sunday, July 27, 2014
    James to wear No. 23
    By The Sports Xchange

    Cleveland Cavaliers star forward LeBron James is switching back to wearing jersey No. 23.

    • James wore that number in high school and during his first stint with the Cavaliers. He changed to No. 6 during his four-year stint with the Miami Heat, where he won two NBA titles.

      James announced on Instagram that he is switching back to his original number. Along with past photos of himself wearing No. 23, he also posted a message: "23 it is! It's only right I go back. 2•3=6 We still family 6. #HomeTeam #StriveForGreatness"

      James signed a free agent contract to return to Cleveland earlier this month.

  • Saturday, July 26, 2014
    Report: Lakers, Scott agree on 4-year deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Los Angeles Lakers and Byron Scott have agreed on a four-year, $17 million deal. The Lakers hold a team option on the final year of the deal.

    • ESPN first reported the deal Saturday night.

      Lakers owner Jim Buss made Scott a verbal offer on Thursday and Scott and his representatives were reviewing it.

      Scott, who has coached the New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers, played a key role as a player in helping the Lakers win three of their five NBA championships in the 1980s.

      The Lakers have been without a coach since Mike D'Antoni resigned at the end of the regular season. Scott interviewed for the job three times, but the team decided to wait until after the draft in June and free agency this month before making a hire.

      Lakers star Kobe Bryant has endorsed hiring Scott. The two were Lakers teammates in 1996 when Bryant was a rookie. As a coach, Scott is 937-416 in the regular season and 33-24 in the playoffs with the Nets (2000-04), Hornets (2004-09) and Cavaliers (2010-13).

  • Saturday, July 26, 2014
    Casspi to sign with Kings
    By The Sports Xchange

    Forward Omri Casspi will sign a one-year deal for league minimum with the Sacramento Kings.

    • Casspi cleared waivers and had indicated a desire to return to the team where he started his career in 2009.

      "My agent (Dan Fegan) is talking with a number of teams," Casspi told the Sacramento Bee recently, "and the Kings are one of them. Couldn't they use a stretch forward, who can hit a 3 and loves to run?"

      Casspi, recently was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans by the Houston Rockets in the deal that also involved Trevor Ariza and Omer Asik. The Pelicans waived Casspi.

      The 26-year-old native of Israel has averaged 7.7 points per game in his career. He will add depth to a Kings bench that already includes forwards Reggie Evans and Carl Landry.

  • Saturday, July 26, 2014
    NBA may extend All-Star break
    By The Sports Xchange

    The NBA is considering extending the All-Star break to seven days beginning this season, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

    • The NBA is using a week-long All-Star break as its model while it completes the schedule for this season.

      However, the league may decide to continue its traditional four-day break before officially releasing the schedule.

      One of the parameters of the week-long All-Star break is that each team would have to take on at least one additional back-to-back set of games.

      Cleveland Cavaliers star forward LeBron James is among several players who have lobbied for a longer break. Silver told ESPN radio in February that he met with James during the All-Star Weekend in New Orleans to discuss the issue.

      "One of the issues LeBron raised is a break during All-Star (Weekend)," Silver said. "(For) a guy like LeBron, All-Star Weekend is not a break for him in any way. He's going around the clock with a combination of things the league is asking him to do, personal commitments, and I think it makes sense if we can work in the schedule a few days so the All-Stars can get a break as well."

      Silver also said that such a change in the schedule would require negotiating with the NBA players union.

  • Saturday, July 26, 2014
    Love won't play in World Cup
    By The Sports Xchange

    Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love will not play for Team USA this summer.

    • The team begins training Monday for the FIBA World Cup.

      "The fact is we can only look to the players we have available," Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. "Our job is to get the job done with our very, very deep roster, and we're anxious to get things started."

      Love's absence is attributed to the ongoing trade saga involving the Timberwolves, according to the Associated Press.

      The Cleveland Cavaliers are considered the top contender to acquire Love in a deal. However, No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins, reported as a key piece in the proposed trade, cannot be traded until Aug. 23 -- 30 days after the Cavs signed him to a contract.

      Love has told the Timberwolves he plans to opt out of his contract at the end of next season.

      Earlier in the week, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin pulled out.

      The tournament is in Spain next month.