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NBA COAST TO COAST

Donald Sterling unloads when asked for his opinion

Clippers owner blasts commissioner for not taking a harder line against the players' union.

January 15, 2011|By Mark Heisler
  • Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends a game against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center.
Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends a game against the Utah Jazz at Staples… (Kirby Lee / US Presswire )

Sterling is asked for opinion, unloads

More tough love from Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling:

If you can't tell from the results, Sterling is a demanding boss who can target bigger game than Baron Davis. …

Like Commissioner David Stern, the boss of bosses.

Three sources describe an exchange in an owners meeting in Las Vegas a year or so ago:

Sterling: You don't want to hear what I have to say.

Stern. Yes, we do.

Sterling. No you don't.

Stern: Yes, we do.

Sterling: OK, I would fire you. You're great at marketing, but you're not tough enough with the union.

Sterling doesn't head a cabal — and no one would follow in any case — but many owners are as mad, with better reason.

Sterling has made at least $75 million in 10 seasons in Staples Center, probably closer to twice that.

Dirk comes back,

but in another loss

Dirk Nowitzki, who sat out 31 games in 12 seasons, just sat out nine because of a sprained right knee, and Dallas was 2-7.

At eight games, Coach Rick Carlisle tired of the subject, noting, "There aren't going to be any Dirk updates.

"We'll let you know when he's going to play. I would welcome another question on another topic."

OK, can we abandon ship?

When Nowitzki left, the Mavericks was 24-5, No. 2 in the West, four games ahead of the Lakers.

He returned Saturday at Memphis — for 15 minutes before being ejected as they lost again, falling three games behind the Lakers.

Don't hold your

breath, Anaheim

Gee, when was the last time a Sacramento Kings-to-Anaheim rumors surfaced?

Oh, right, the last time it rained there.

No, it's not happening.

Yes, it's conceivable ... but not now ... and only if Joe and Gavin Maloof give up on the new arena they've sought for years.

If this is a bad time in their history, not to mention the nation's, to go to the voters, the mayor — former NBA star Kevin Johnson — is behind the Kings.

After years of speculation they'd leave, the Maloofs remain loyal to Sacramento and it's not sheer altruism.

The NBA considers their model — lone fish in the pond — ideal, having seen it thrive in Portland, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, and there.

Etc.

That's Amare: As the New York Knicks pursued Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire noted, "We don't really need much." ... Besides him, he means. Oh, and his teammates. ... When they were 3-8, Stoudemire said Phoenix's Alvin Gentry was the only coach who ever taught him defense. Last week Amare called Mike D'Antoni an offensive "genius," noting, "The difference is we're starting to figure out how to play defense and buy into it." ... Yes, they'd better land Chris Paul in 2012. Now you know the talk is real, if overheated to the temperature of the sun: This is a CAA production with Anthony's new agent, Leon Rose, roping in another client, Detroit's unhappy Richard Hamilton and his otherwise untradeable contract, and assuring the New Jersey Nets that Anthony will come. ... With Anthony, Hamilton and Chauncey Billups, they could be Nos. 5-8 next season, after which the Nets and Knicks will rumble over Paul. ... Unfortunately, the Knicks are farther down the road and Rose/CAA may be as happy, or happier, with CP3 downtown.

— Mark Heisler

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