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

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

June 5th, 2014 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

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.

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/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.

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NBA Finals advance

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/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.)

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Kaepernick signs

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/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.

Wow.

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.

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This and that

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/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.

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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:

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Denzel Washington, left, and Mark Wahlberg in a scene from "2 Guns."

Photo by Associated Press/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.