Monday, April 28, 2014

04/28 Sterling Revolt Quickie

*That the Donald Sterling Era in the NBA has reached a tipping point is obvious; that it is an end-game is not as clear. A few thoughts:

- I thought the players did as much as they could, given the timing -- I wouldn't discount the symbolic power of the shooting shirts left in a pile at midcourt, nor the inside-out tops. The name is shamed.

- It will be very interesting to see what happens back in L.A. for Game 5. Given that the players hold virtually all of the power on game night, there are a breadth of options available to them.

- I also think that as early as tonight, you will see every player in the league wearing black socks in solidarity.

- The power of the voices speaking out here is immensely important: LeBron. Magic. Jordan. That last one is very important: A fellow owner. Other owners will need to condemn Sterling, too.

- It's unclear what the league can do -- can they force Sterling to sell? The best new commissioner Adam Silver might be able to do (in what immediately became the only referendum on his leadership) is to suspend Sterling indefinitely, then work behind the scenes to pressure him to sell.

- In the absence of that, the outcome here for the Clippers is entirely unclear: Did Doc Rivers really imply that he could walk away from coaching the team over this?

- Would Chris Paul or Blake Griffin (or both... or every player on the roster) demand a trade? How on earth would any free agent choose the Clippers, given the existing ownership?

- Last point: Agree with many smart folks out there reminding us all that it's not on the players to force a change -- it's on the NBA owners.

*That was a hell of a win by my Wiz yesterday, in the absence of Nene and in a de facto "must-win" position. Not discounting chances of them losing 3 straight, but the Bulls also have to win 3 straight.

-- D.S.

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