published Thursday, June 5th, 2014

5-at-10: Sterling settles, Kaepernick signs, Finals predictions and June 5 is alive

Gang, still have a spot or three for the mailbag — and with our annual Panhandle trip on the horizon, well, the quicker the better.

From the "Talks too much" studios, pass the sunscreen and a Co-Cola, it's about to be gone time.

  • photo
    Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling, right, sits with his wife, Rochelle, during a Clippers NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles in this 2010 file photo.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Sterling sells

And with that, it's done.

Donald Sterling withdraws his lawsuit and his racist rants recorded on tape becomes a curious meter in modern sports.

Let's consider the tangents and follow the timeline:

Sterling rants. Public outcry demands action and players talk boycott. The NBA reacts by suspending him forever and saying they are going to force the Sterlings to sell the Clippers. Lawsuits are filed; threats are made. Mrs. Sterling holds an auction as owners ponder the thought of blackballing a fellow owner for being a world-class jerk (not a criminal, mind you), which as Mark Cuban said, is a slippery slope.

So Steve Ballmer, who has $20 billion and more dollars than sense, bids $2 billion for the Clippers — easily more than twice the expected value of a team that has been a perennial loser and does not have its own building and more than $500 million than the expected ceiling — and the pieces start to fall into place.

Sterling removed his lawsuit on Wednesday and the sale will be easily approved by the league. Which begs the question, are there any losers in this deal?

V. Whoseherbra maybe. But other than that, if Sterling was the instigator here, his punishment was selling a team he bought for $12 million for $2 billion. Ouch-standing indeed.


NBA Finals advance

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    Miami Heat small forward LeBron James smiles as he speaks during a news conference before NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. The Heat host the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Spurs are deeper and better inside.

The Heat have the best player on the planet.

The Spurs have a wealth of experience.

The Heat have the immediate memory of beating this team a year ago.

The Spurs have the best power forward ever.

The Heat have the best small forward ever.

So where do we go? We go where history leads us. The NBA is a star-driven league, since the birth of the modern era in the early 1980s, the team with the best player is more times than not the best team.

Sure, you can excuse some Detroit titles — both the Bad Boys back-to-back and the outlier in the early 2000s — but other than that, the champ has been led by the King of the Hill.

That King lives in Miami. Period.

Heat in 6.

Thoughts? (And we'll throw out some cool odds in Vegas on this series around noon.)


Kaepernick signs

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    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) throws a pass during his NFL wild-card playoff football against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

According to CBSsports, Colin Kaepernick is now the second-highest paid player in the NFL.

Yes. Colin Kaepernick, who signed a six-year, $126 million extension Wednesday with $61 million guaranteed.


Kaepernick, who is 21-8 as a starter, now flips the script in San Francisco. The 49ers were built with depth and with better pieces at more places than every other team in the league. They used that model to get to a Super Bowl two years ago and to push the Seahawks to the brink in last year's NFC title game.

Now, with Kaepernick getting a reported $21 million per year — or more than Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck combined — after this upcoming season, the 49ers will have to bid adieu to at least three quality starters for the $20 million raise they are giving Kaepernick.

It's the future crossroad decision for every team that has a young QB that has been a good deal through the scaled rookie contract. Wilson and Luck will assuredly get similar deals, and those deals will hinder those cap-situations for those teams.

Still, we're not sold on whether Kaepernick will ever be a top-10 QB in this league. Does he have the talent and a lofty ceiling? Sure. But, Kaepernick has a great deal of improving to do.

And the question remains is he the franchise guy that can carry a franchise like Brees, Rodgers, Manning? That's the money he's getting. It's the model — Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan also are being paid like franchise guys.


This and that

  • photo
    Tampa Bay Rays special advisor Don Zimmer leaning against the batting cage before a baseball game in this 2007 file photo.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— God's speed Don Zimmer, who, as has been noted by several, really has a Forrest Gump-type of legacy in baseball.

— The Kings topped the Rangers in an entertaining Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. We will watch more of Game 2.

— After a 2-0 loss Wednesday to Seattle, the Braves are now 0-6 against the American League this year. So there's that.

— Dabo Swinney joined us on Press Row on Wednesday. Good times, and here's the Q&A in today's TFP.

— UTC continued to hand out raises. Jim Foster, the coach of the XX basketball Mocs got a $20,000 bump after a successful first season with UTC. Here's TFP ace Mean Gene Henley's report.


Today's question

Today is June 5 and hosts an eclectic bunch of birthdays that generate a slew of questions from us. Let's explore:

  • photo
    This image released by Universal Pictures shows Denzel Washington, left, and Mark Wahlberg in a scene from "2 Guns."
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Today DJ Mustard turns 24. If you were a DJ what would your handle be?

Ron Livingston is 47. If you are asking, "Who is Ron Livingston?" well that's understandable. He's the guy that played Peter Gibbons in "Office Space" and could be part of a couple of potential Rushmores/top-five lists next week. Livingston could very well be a movie one-hit wonder — shocked that Office Space did not lead to more comedy roles — and he could be on the Rushmore of smartest actors. Dude graduated from Yale with degrees in theater and English.

Mark Wahlberg is 43 today. Sweet buckets, Marky Mark is worth $200 million. Is there a bigger surprise success story in modern-day Hollywood?

Kenny G is 58 today. In the week that we lost Ann B. Davis, it's worth noting. Also, who is on the Jordan of musical instrument dominance Rushmore? Like Kenny G and his sax could be there. We know Zamfir, the master of the pan flute, is in contention. Yo-Yo Whosehispants too.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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jomo11 said...

RIP Don Zimmer

June 5, 2014 at 10:52 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

In honor of Don Zimmer, how about DJ Zip ?


June 5, 2014 at 11:15 a.m.
Stewwie said...

So Sterling has agreed to bow out. Makes me think there's some sort of under-the-table deal from the NBA of some kind. I highly doubt the NBA will ever get that $2.5 million. So maybe they'll agree to not pursue that (not that it really matters anyway). Or maybe Sterling can secretly attend NBA games again after some time (albeit in a private luxury box). Either way, glad to see that the owners' vote never happened over this. Would have been a terrible precedent for all of sports.

Kaep is getting a deal much higher than what I think he's worth. But I do think he's a top 10 QB right now. Who are your top 10 and where does Kaep fall? Top 15 at least?

My top 10 (in no order) are Peyton, Eli, Brees, Rodgers, Brady, Kaep, Wilson, Big Ben, Luck, and Flacco. Next 5 are Newton, Stafford, Romo, Rivers, and Ryan.

This Finals is tough to pick. Both teams are playing really well, but I think the Spurs will be hungrier. Spurs in 7.

June 5, 2014 at 11:34 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

The final minute of regulation in last night's Stanley Cup game was unbelievable.

Mark Wahlberg also has landed Jenny McCarthy, who is now on the other side of 40. So there's that.

Jordan-esque musical instrument dominance ... I submit Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman on guitar. And Charlie Daniels on the fiddle.

I recommend Tim Kurkjian's piece on Zim on as great reading, and Press Row's chat with Dabo yesterday was really good. Glad to see Dabo almost get into the spirit of Rapid Fire at the end. Would have been great if he could talked about the best insult he's heard. I do agree with him that an early signing period would ease a lot of the nonsense (though it might put some recruiting cottage industry folks out of business). Kid signs early, and other schools don't spend time and resources trying to get him to flip - and recruiting "gurus" and "analysts" don't hound the kid, either. I'm all for letting a 16 or 17 year old fella be a 16 or 17 year old boy and wonder if that phone is ringing from a sweet young thing or one of his buddies and not some guy with a recruiting blog asking for his top five schools. Coaches then can focus on other kids who haven't committed/signed. And if the coach gets fired, well, just like with other sports, his recruiting can open back up, if he so chooses.

You know I skew a little Boston centric in my picks, so my best power forward of all time is Kevin McHale (edging out Elgin Baylor) and the best small forward of all time is Larry Joe Bird. But Duncan and James aren't bad.

June 5, 2014 at 1:01 p.m.
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