04.21.10

Further Adventures in Malfeasance: Sterling Continues To Define NBA Ownership Down

Posted in Basketball, Greedy Motherfuckers at 12:47 pm by

Recently, the business relationship between James Bond villain new Nets owner and absolutely legit Russian nickel-mine oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov and Zimbabwe nation-destroyer Robert Mugabe occasioned some head-scratching on the part of NBA fans wondering what it takes to be rejected as an owner for a NBA team. Or at least it occasioned head-scratching on my part, which head-scratching I characteristically performed in public, in this space.

But while I suspect that everyone knows the answer — namely, that the only thing that can prevent anyone from becoming a NBA owner is not having enough money to buy a team — it’s interesting, too, to see just how little the NBA cares to discipline the nightmare owners it already has. The venal embarrassments represented by Jersey’s Bruce Ratner and Oklahoma City’s Clay Bennett and Long Island’s New York’s James Dolan are pretty bad, but Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling  (above) is really the gold standard, here. It’s not just that Sterling has turned what should be one of the NBA’s most valuable franchises into an implausibly long-running laughingstock, although the way in which he has screwed over management and alternately disrespected and really disrespected his players is admittedly impressive. And it’s not just that Sterling himself is a human embarrassment so profound that even a James Dolan/Jerry Jones Master-Blaster pairing pales in comparison.

It’s not just any of those things, and it’s not even the embarrassing picture of Sterling as a man and manager that they create when taken altogether. It’s the fact that Sterling is a malfeasance machine and lawsuit-magnet of such monumental proportions that seemingly any high-net-worth dirtbag in Los Angeles would be an improvement. Which is obviously saying quite a bit. But while Robert Evans, for instance, would be embarrassing, it’s highly unlikely that Evans would just decide not to honor the contract of the coach/GM he just fired without explanation, right? Sterling, on the other hand

Dunleavy resigned as coach Feb. 4, with the team announcing he would stay as GM. As GM, Dunleavy lasted until March 8 before he was fired, at which point, without announcement, the Clippers cut off his pay.

Dunleavy was owed $1.35 million for the balance of this season and $5.4 million for next season, a total of $6.75 million…

[Dunleavy lawyer Miles] Clements said Clippers officials at first said they would like to negotiate a settlement, then dropped the request. “Their attorney [Platt] didn’t identify an issue,” Clements said. “He said, ˜I’ll get back to you in a couple of weeks.’

“I asked, ˜Will Mike be paid in the meantime?’

“He said he didn’t know. I said, ˜OK, I guess I know where we’re at.’ “

Thanks to Brendan Flynn for the link. And good luck to James Dolan in topping this one. I give him about a week.

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