Scottie Pippen testifies in financial malpractice suit

Lisa Donovan of the Chicago Sun-Times reports:

During his high-flying NBA years, former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen’s life was consumed by the basketball court, and money matters were entrusted to a big-league financial guru and attorneys.

But on Tuesday, Pippen took the witness stand in a downtown Chicago courtroom and talked about how lousy financial advice led to a bad $1.35 million investment in a Gulfstream jet and a $3.25 million investment in a real estate development deal in the 1700 block of West 119th Street that eventually went bankrupt…

Pippen already has sued Lunn, who filed for bankruptcy amid lawsuits alleging he looted other clients’ investments, loaned their money to friends and associates, and lied about it. The NBA star settled for $1.5 million.

But now Pippen is seeking $8 million from the law firm that worked with Lunn on the jet deal, claiming the firm failed to make sure an inspection was done on the aircraft before Pippen sank more than a $1 million to buy a partial share of the 25-year-old jet, which ended up needing an estimated $1 million engine overhaul months after the deal closed, according to Pippen’s attorneys.

Amare Stoudemire does not plan to exercise player option

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports:

Amar'e Stoudemire does not plan to exercise player option

Phoenix Suns All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire said today that there is “no chance” he will play for his $17.7 million contract option with Phoenix next season but remains hopeful that scheduled upcoming negotiations will result in a contract extension to remain with the Phoenix Suns.

Stoudemire, speaking at his youth basketball camp in Gilbert, said he does not want to leave the Suns.

Asked if there was a chance of picking up his option on the last year of his current contract, Stoudemire said, “There’s no chance of that at all.”

Mo Evans exercises option to stay with Hawks

Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:

Mo Evans exercises option to stay with Hawks

Mo Evans studied this summer’s NBA free-agent market, considered the $2.5 million he would get for returning to the Hawks, and chose the money in hand.

Evans said he exercised his 2010-11 contract option with the Hawks on Tuesday. Evans, who also made $2.5 million in 2009-10, said he didn’t like his chances of securing a long-term contract as a free agent.

“There are not a lot of teams out there giving away contracts,” Evans said. “I’m satisfied with my deal even though it’s undervalued. I’m still going to go out and do my job.”

Grant Hill exercises option to stay with Suns

Grant Hill exercises option to stay with Suns

Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill has exercised the one-year player option on his contract and will return to Phoenix for the 2010-11 season, the club announced today.

“We’re thrilled that Grant has decided to exercise his option and return to the Suns next season,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr.  “He is a critical part of our success, both because of his skill as a player and also his leadership and professionalism that help guide our team.  Grant sums up what the Phoenix Suns are all about.”

The 6-8, 225-pound forward is coming off a 2009-10 regular season in which he averaged 11.3 points and 5.5 rebounds, his highest rebounding average since 2002-03 and his most total rebounds (445) in a single season since 1999-00.  In the playoffs, Hill averaged 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds, second-most on the squad, in the Suns’ run to the 2010 Western Conference Finals, the deepest postseason run of Hill’s career.

“The decision to stay in Phoenix was easy,” said Hill.  “Our team’s success on the court last season was the result of the efforts of a great group of guys and I’m looking forward to building on that with them and being a part of this team next season.”

NBA approves sale of Washington Wizards to Lincoln Holdings

The NBA Board of Governors has unanimously approved the sale of the Washington Wizards to Lincoln Holdings, an enterprise controlled by Ted Leonsis.

“We are pleased that the NBA’s Board of Governors has approved Ted Leonsis’s purchase of majority ownership of the Wizards from the Pollin family,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “The transaction signifies the end of an era and a passing of the torch into very capable hands.  We have long admired what Ted has done with the Washington Capitals in terms of sales, marketing and outreach in the community, and we look forward to him bringing those skills to bear for the Wizards.”

Cavaliers appear to want Tom Izzo

The AP reports:

The Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in hiring Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo to replace Mike Brown, whom they fired as coach last month, according to the Spartans’ athletic director, Mark Hollis.

“If I was anywhere but at Michigan State, I would be interested in Tom, too, because he’s the best coach in college basketball,” Hollis said in a telephone interview, adding that there was “not a contract offer on the table” from the Cavaliers.

Multiple news media outlets have reported on the Cavaliers’ interest in Izzo.

Nate Robinson a Finals spark for Celtics

Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Nate Robinson providing spark for Celtics in Finals

On Sunday night in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, a 103-94 Celtics win, Nate Robinson caught fire again, giving his team seven points in just six minutes during a tight fourth quarter.

He started the fourth with the score tied, 72-72, and replaced point guard Rajon Rondo, who had played all 36 minutes to that point and was “exhausted,” according to Celtics Coach Doc Rivers.

“Yeah, I needed it,” Rondo said of a breather.

At the 8-minute, 59-second mark, Robinson pulled up for a three-pointer at the top of the key that gave the Celtics the lead, 81-80. A steal by fellow Celtics guard Tony Allen on the other end led to a fast-break Robinson layup on the break 24 seconds later.

A few minutes later, he was fouled by Lakers center Andrew Bynum and converted two free throws.