Forbes: 12 NBA owners among 400 richest Americans (Prokhorov not included)


Pity poor Paul Allen. He only came in at No. 20 on the Forbes list of the 400 Richest Americans.

But at least he’ll have something to hold over the heads of the other owners when they convene next month for the Board of Governors meeting in New York (then again, Allen– worth 15 billion– may not attend. He usually sends someone in his place).

The only owner who can flex muscles with him is Mikhail Prokhorov of the Brooklyn Nets, with $13.2 billion (ranked 58th worldwide by Forbes).

Anyhow, Allen was ranked No. 1 among American NBA owners, with Orlando’s Rich DeVos checking in at No. 67, one spot ahead of Heat owner Micky Arison, who has been tweeting pictures from the Mediterranean all summer as he travels aboard one of his cruise ships.

Stan Kroenke of the Denver Nuggets is in a tie for No. 92 at $$4B, the Dolan family (Knicks) are at No. 132 – $3B), Tom Gores ($2.5B) of the Detroit Pistons is on the list at No. 179, Mark Cuban ($2.3B) is at #206, Herb Simon of the Indiana Pacers is at No. 218 (($2.2B), Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers are in a tie for 250th place ($1.9B), Glen Taylor of the Minnesota Timberwolves ($1.7B) is 285th, Tom Benson of the New Orleans Hornets is at No. 360 ($1.2B)

One prospective NBA owner who can’t seem to find the right deal is Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, who is ranked No. 3 (worth $41 billion) behind only Warren Buffett ($44 billion) and Bill Gates ($68 billion). Ellison has tried to buy the Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Hornets, to no avail.

If Ellison ever does succeed in purchasing an NBA team, he would likely want to move it to San Jose, Calif.

Other notable names on the list are Phil Knight of Nike (23rd; $13.1B) and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook (36th, $9.4B),

For the entire Forbes 400 list, click here. 

Exclusive: Magic are ready to trade Howard


I’ve already told you that Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando, and now I have another piece of info to report.

A plugged-in league source tells that the feeling is mutual, and Orlando is prepared to trade him sooner rather than later.

The source said that when Magic team president traveled to Michigan last weekend to speak in person with owner Rich DeVos, the conclusion was reached that not only was it time for Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith to go, but Howard, too.

That means the Magic will be proactive in soliciting deals once next week’s draft lottery results are in, clearing up the lay of the land in terms of which teams can offer the most value in return.

The source spoke to on condition of anonymity.

The latest news comes in the wake of this site’s report that Howard wants out of Orlando, and our subsequent report addressing possible landing zones for the NBA’s best center., meanwhile, was reporting that the Magic were considering hiring Shaquille O’Neal as general manager and finding a way for the Boston Celtics to release Doc Rivers from the remaining four years of his five-year contract as ways to entice Howard to remain.

O’Neal released a statement today saying he has no interest in the job.

I entertained a few questions about Howard earlier today in a live chat session. Click over the give it a read.

I also discussed the Howard situation on XTRA910 radio in Phoenix. Click here to listen to the interview.



Tonight’s best game: Orlando at Miami


heat small logoIn-state rivals clash Sunday when the Orlando Magic take their big one to Miami to play the Heat’s big three.

Miami has been a monster at home, going 18-2 and winning its last 12 at American Airlines Arena, allowing just 89.3 points during the streak.

The Magic are 13-9 on the road and have won four of their last five behind a hot-shooting Jameer Nelson (27-of-44 from the floor in his last four games).

Dwight Howard, the NBA’s leading rebounder (15.0), has tortured Miami on the glass, averaging 21.3 boards against the Heat this season – his highest against any opponent.

In Tuesday’s 104-98 home win over the Heat, Howard grabbed 25 boards and scored 24 points.

The Magic’s recent strong play hasn’t hidden their carelessness with the ball from coach Stan Van Gundy.

“We don’t value the ball much,” said Van Gundy. “We just throw it around and don’t really think it matters … You’re not going to magic small logowin a playoff series like that, you’re just not.”

Orlando had 24 turnovers against Miami and 20 more Friday in a 86-70 win over New Jersey.

The Heat eked out an 84-78 win at Philadelphia on Friday after almost blowing a 29-point lead.  Dwyane Wade had one of his poorest games in months, shooting 6-of-16 on his way to just 12 points.

A game against the Magic may be just what the doctor ordered. Wade is averaging 29.3 points on 58 percent shooting against Orlando this season.

After Howard agreed to stay one more year with Orlando, Magic owner Rich DeVos admitted the time is now for his team. “Now we have to get it done. We have to get better. If we don’t, you couldn’t blame him for going someplace else.”

Beating the Heat (32-11) at home would be a good place to start.

Biyombo outplays Howard as Magic lose to lowly Bobcats


If you are Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos, what are you thinking as you wake up this morning?

For one thing, you’ve got to be grateful to be walking the earth for another day, still having your wits about you.

But on the other hand, your team just had its most embarrassing loss of the season, your coach sounds apoplectic, your superstar’s intentions are unclear, and there is no way in hell you can convince yourself that your team is capable of winning that NBA championship that has eluded you throughout your ownership of the Magic.

Not after blowing a 20-point lead and losing on the road 100-84 against the Charlotte Bobcats, the worst team in the NBA.

Then again, when you’ve been around for 85 years, you come to learn when it is time to shake off a bad day. And maybe that is what Mr. Devos is doing this particular Wednesday, looking forward to the next four games — all tough ones against the Bulls, Pacers, Heat and Spurs — to use as the measuring stick for what will be the biggest decision the franchise has made since it low-balled Shaquille O’Neal in the summer of 1996 and lost him to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The trade deadline is now eight days away, and the Orlando Magic are going through one of the icier portions of what has been an up-and-down, hot-and-cold season.

“We will not play 48 minutes. We just will not,” Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said after his tam blew a 20-point lead.

From Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer: “Rookie Bismack Biyombo – he of the near-triple double – summed up a 100-84 victory over the Orlando Magic this way: “Anything is possible when you work hard.’’ Which seemingly speaks both to Biyombo’s arrival (he finished with 10 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks) and the possible departure of power forward Boris Diaw. For the first time in 384 games, pre-dating the trade to Charlotte, Diaw did not play Tuesday. Whether Diaw ever plays again here seems in question. Diaw’s agent has asked that if his client is not traded by the Mar. 15 deadline, that the Bobcats consider a buyout that would free Diaw to play elsewhere. What’s undeniable is the energy and resolve that fueled a Bobcats team that had lost 31 of 35 games. They overcame a 20-point first-half deficit. They outscored the Magic – a team that had beaten them 13 of 14 previous times – 28-13 in the fourth quarter. And most impressively, rookie Biyombo played Orlando’s Dwight Howard, the NBA’s premier center, to a standoff. Howard finished with 15 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks. “He’s one of the hardest-working guys I’ve ever seen and he’s tough,’’ said Bobcats coach Paul Silas of Biyombo. “Before he came, he could hardly make a shot. Now he’s turning around and making them.’’ Silas spent the second half in the locker room after being ejected by referee Tony Brown. Silas’s son, lead assistant Stephen Silas, took over and drew high praise from the players for his rotation and play-calling.“Steve knows this game in-and-out,’’ said small forward Corey Maggette, who led the Bobcats with 29 points. “We executed just how Steve told us to do: Be patient, don’t get rattled.’’ And recognize a glaring mismatch. Shooting guard Gerald Henderson scored eight of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, continuously abusing J.J. Redick, also a former Duke star. Henderson made 4-of-6 shots in the fourth quarter, either physically overwhelming Redick or fading for jump shots.”

Resolution will come on way or another in the next eight days, with general manager Otis Smith saying he is actively involved in trade discussions with a handful of teams that would be willing to take Howard on as a rental.

Still, the decision will ultimately belong to Mr. DeVos, whose coach was flabbergasted by the beating his team absorbed.

From Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “We went up 20 points and everybody got selfish,” Van Gundy said. “We quit playing the way we played to get the lead.” Van Gundy said he felt fine after the stunning loss. He experienced mild chest pains Monday night in Toronto during the game, but kept coaching. Van Gundy, 52, continued to have pain and was sent to the emergency room at Mount Sinai Hospital as a precaution. He was cleared after tests determined he did not suffer a heart attack and left the hospital about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. Van Gundy hopped on a mid-morning flight for the Magic’s game in Charlotte. He said he was concerned “like anybody else in their 50s would be. I thought, ‘Man, I’m 52.’ It gives you some perspective.” Doctors told him he had an irregular heartbeat, but he said it runs in the family. ”The doctors asked me how my pain level was, from 1 to 10. I said it was a one,” he said. “It was never that much pain. I didn’t feel like I was having a heart attack. But it’s good they checked me out.”

Whether they keep Howard or trade him, the Magic will continue to keep looking up in the standings at two teams that are better than them.

One of those teams is the Miami Heat, who had their full starting lineup intact — for most of the game, anyway, as they put a 30-point beating on the visiting New Jersey Nets.

From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: “With center Brook Lopez sidelined, and with point guard Deron Williams having taken care of a week’s worth of his scoring allotment with Sunday’s 57-point performance in Charlotte, the Nets were kind enough to simply get out of the way in what turned into a 108-78 Heat rout. “The reality is tonight is we faced a team that probably, naturally, was a little bit deflated coming into this game,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “To lose Lopez again probably was tough. And, at the same time, [they were] facing a team that was very motivated coming off our disappointing road trip.” After losses to the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers, the Heat returned home whole — at least for a half — with (Chris) Bosh back after missing the three-game western swing in the wake of the death of his grandmother. Spoelstra praised his team’s ability to “own it” when it came to accepting the failures of the previous two games. ”In the last two games, we did not play the way we’re capable of,” Spoelstra said. “And our guys owned it and sought out to make amends for that.” In their totality, the Heat simply were too much for an opponent looking ahead to the draft lottery, the possible acquisition of Dwight Howard either through trade or free agency, and next season’s move to Brooklyn. Of course, the Nets looked so bad that at one point in the fourth quarter, a fan blurted, “Dwight Howard is never going to play for you bums!” And that was before Eddy Curry got in and dunked on them.”

Curry’s old team, the New York Knicks, are struggling through a post-Linsanity dip (combined with a Boston Celtics surge) that is solidifying their grip on the No. 8 seed in the East.

They made a nice second-half comeback on the road against the Dallas Mavericks, but Dirk Nowitzki scored nine points in a late 14-0 run.

From Frank Isola of the New York Daily News: “The Knicks’ comeback came with Carmelo Anthony on the bench. The Mavs’ comeback came with Anthony on the floor. A bizarre and ultimately frustrating fourth quarter for the Knicks was a 12-minute exercise in futility for Mike D’Antoni’s best player. Somehow, Melo was invisible even when he was visible.
“It was just one of those nights,” Anthony said. “It gets frustrating out there when things aren’t going your way.”
The Knicks overcame a 19-point third-quarter deficit only to collapse in every way imaginable over the last four minutes. Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks had no trouble involving their star forward, Dirk Nowitzki, and rode the NBA Finals MVP to a 95-85 victory. The loss was the Knicks’ second straight and they are 18-20 entering Wednesday night’s game in San Antonio. Moreover, they are 2-4 since Anthony returned to the lineup. His partnership with Jeremy Lin is officially off to a slow start. In fact, Anthony admitted that it’s been difficult for him to adjust to no longer having the ball to make plays. “Any time you go from having the ball and me distributing and now just waiting for it to come to me . . . that’s part of the adjustment for myself,” said Anthony, who scored six points, none in the second half.

The Knicks are now 2 1/2 games behind the Boston Celtics, who got seven of Paul Pierce’s 30 points in overtime of a 97-92 victory over Houston. Boston has won five straight since the All-Star break, including two in a row in overtime. Houston has lost four in a row.

Kevin Garnett grabbed 13 rebounds, giving him a career total of 13,100 — one more than Shaquille O’Neal.

From Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald: “The Celts, who have won five straight and the last two in overtime, are about to put their tired joints to an endurance test with their first game of the season against the division-leading Sixers tonight in Philadelphia. The C’s, at 20-17, are percentage points behind the 22-17 Sixers. Their past troubles considered, the Celtics are grinding out the kind of wins that would have routinely eluded them three weeks ago. “It was a grind game, it was probably one of the ugliest games we’ve played in awhile,” said Rajon Rondo, who didn’t score beyond the first quarter last night in his nine-point, 12-assist follow-up to Sunday’s epic triple-double against the Knicks. Instead, Rondo was a reflection of last night’s ugliness, including the open transition layup he missed with 30 seconds left in regulation, setting the stage for Goran Dragic’s game-tying baseline jumper with three seconds left for an 84-84 deadlock. “No excuses,” said Rondo. “There were a lot of things going on on that play, and it didn’t work out. It was a recipe for disaster.” But Rondo, like everyone else, appears to be developing an immunity to these problems.”

One problem the Los Angeles Lakers cannot seem to shake is their inability to win on the road.

General manager Mitch Kupchak is just as busy as Smith, his counterpart in Orlando, in looking at potential deals that can re-elevate his team into the upper echelon of its conference.

The Lakers dropped an 88-85 decision to the Detroit Pistons, making them 6-13 away from the Staples Center, where they are 17-2.

From Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times: “Whatever gratitude they earned with their victory against Miami was whisked away with an 88-85 overtime loss at the Palace. Bryant couldn’t find his shot, Metta World Peace returned to Earth and the Lakers’ reserves uncorked their worst game yet. … Bryant blamed his woeful eight-for-26 shooting night on fatigue related to the whiplash injury and concussion he suffered in the All-Star game. He played with incredible efficiency in his first three games after a hard foul from Dwyane Wade that also caused a broken nose. But he disintegrated Tuesday after ditching the clear mask he had been wearing for a black mask with smaller dimensions. He missed five of his first six shots and traded the black mask for an equally small clear version. Nothing helped. His one solid moment, a 19-footer that sent the game to overtime with the score tied at 78-78, was quickly forgotten after he missed all three of his overtime attempts. He finished with 22 points. ”Everybody just kind of played tired,” Bryant said. “I definitely was a little tired. I should have stayed in bed like I’ve been doing instead of coming to shoot-around [Tuesday] morning.”

In Tuesday night’s only other game, Josh Smith had 27 points and nine rebounds, leading the Hawks to their third straight victory, 101-96 over Indiana. Smith scored 13 points in the first quarter, 11 in the third, and fell three points shy of his season high. He will go up against a more worthy opponent tonight as the Hawks visit the Heat.


Magic beat Heat after Orlando owner speaks on Dwight Howard


It is very rare to see the Miami Heat lose.

It is even more rare to hear Rich DeVos speak.

Both happened last night in Orlando, where the Dwight Howard trade situation again took center stage in what has been a circus of a season for the Magic.

In a nutshell, DeVos doesn’t want to trade Howard, and the Orlando owner revealed that he has told Howard the grass is not always greener on the other side — although he did not rule out a deal if circumstances warrant it.

So what did Howard do? After ignoring the gaggle of reporters doing a rare pre-game Q & A with the octogenarian owner, Howard went out and dropped  his sixth 20-20 game of the season on the Heat as his teammates were dropping 17 bombs on Miami from 3-point range.

The result was a 102-89 victory by Orlando that represented Miami’s first loss to a team other than Milwaukee since Friday the 13th of January, back when they completed an 0-3 Western road trip — a span of 13 games in which Miami had won 11 times.

Howard had 25 points and 24 rebounds (17 on the offensive end), and Ryan Anderson scored 27 with five of Orlando’s flurry of 3-pointers.

From Tim Povtak of FoxSportsFlorida: “Games like this can cement people,” DeVos said quietly after the game, in hallway outside the locker room, in the arena named after the company he built. “Dwight is in a good place now. When you’re young, sometimes you don’t always realize it.” Howard, playing more inspired than ever, lifted the Magic with 25 points, 24 rebounds and on-the-mark free-throw shooting. He dominated the Heat, who had won nine of their previous 10 games and were looking everything like the championship team they are predicted to be. Until they came to Orlando. (LeBron) James struggled in the second half and missed all eight of his shots. He finished with 17 points. Dwyane Wade had a game-high 33 points, but he never threatened the Magic. While most everyone is predicting Howard’s imminent departure, urging the Magic to trade him for something — anything — before he can leave as a free agent this summer, DeVos still is hoping and still believes he can convince him to stay. DeVos has reason for being an optimist. He has lived almost 15 years after his heart transplant in 1997. He wants to win as much as Howard does. He promised him recently that he is keeping the team in the family for exactly that reason, and he’ll spend whatever it takes to build a winner around Howard. “We talk about that. We want to win, too. Everyone wants to win a championship. I want a ring for our players,” DeVos said. “But you can’t change anything until he says he’s going to stay. Then you can do a lot of things.” DeVos put the percentages of Howard staying at “50-50.” Howard, meanwhile, smiled at the mention of his owner after the game. DeVos doesn’t come very often. His home is in Michigan, and he doesn’t travel very well anymore. This was the fourth game he has seen in person this season. “We talk every time he comes,” Howard said.

Once again we went looking for Brian Windhorst‘s take on the Heat’s first non cheese-related hiccup, and once again we were disappointed to see he did not attend the game. What a shame. ESPN hired the guy because he had covered nearly every single one of James’ games since high school, and now they’ve shelved him.

Maybe Skip Bayless should yell about that today. Or about selling your soul to the Evil Empire.

OK, rant over.

Now lets’s have a look around the NBA for a rundown of what else went down last night:

  • Linsanity, Part III. The most popular player in New York outside of Eli Manning and Derek Jeter had 23 points — two on his first NBA dunk  – and a career-high 10 assists in the Knicks’ 107-93 win over the Washington Wizards. ”Just one of those in-a-moment things,” Lin said of the dunk, on which he drove through three defenders. For more on Lin, check out the Q & A he did via e-mail with Beijing-based SheridanHoops columnist Guan Weijia.
  • The much-anticipated matchup of Chris Paul vs. Kyrie Irving did not happen after Irving was scratched because of a concussion. Ramon Sessions had a season-high 24 points with 13 assists and Antawn Jamison scored 27 to lead the Cavaliers to a 99-92 win over the Clippers. Daniel Gibson scored 17 and made a big 3-pointer down the stretch after missing five games with a neck infection. Anderson Varejao added 15 rebounds while battling Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan under the boards to prevent the Clips from extending their road winning streak to five.
  • Remember when the Trail Blazers were next to impossible to beat at home? No more. Portland lost its second in a row at the Rose Garden as Chase Budinger scored a season-high 22 points for the Rockets in a 103-96 victory. Courtney Lee added 16 as the Houston reserves accounted for 66 points. Houston has won two in a row on its six-game road trip. The Rockets also signed 6-foot-10 center/forward Greg Smith, who was averaging 16.8 points and 8.3 rebounds with the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
  • Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points, Vince Carter added 17 and Shawn Marion and Rodrigue Beaubois had 13 apiece  for the Mavericks, who beat Denver for the first time in their last five meetings, 105-95. Both teams (along with the Rockets) are now 15-11, and it looking more and more like there will be one or two above-.500 teams that will miss the Western Conference playoffs.
  • NBA commissioner David Stern was in the house as Josh Smith had 28 points and 12 rebounds in the Hawks’ 97-87 victory over Indiana that snapped Atlanta’s three-game home losing streak. The Hawks, who had fallen behind by big margins in each game on the homestand, built a 21-point lead in the first half and moved within a half-game of the Pacers in the Eastern Conference standings.
  • Tony Parker scored 37 points as San Antonio silenced the buzz in Philly with a 100-90 victory over the Sixers. Philadelphia is now 4-2 during a seven-game stretch that coach Doug Collins termed “Death Row” because of the quality of their opponents. The Sixers shot just 11 free throws, making seven. The Spurs were 21-of-26 from the line.
  • Quincy Pondexter (nerdiest NBA name ever?) scored a career-best 17 points as the Memphis Grizzlies snapped a three-game losing streak with an 85-80 victory over Minnesota as Kevin Love sat out the second game of his two-game suspension. If you missed it yesterday, I made the case that Love should be given serious consideration in the MVP debate. 
  • Derrick Rose played 22 minutes and finished with six points, six assists and five rebounds after sitting out the previous game because of back spasms. Chicago, which now leads the league in point differential (+9.7), won its fourth in a row.
  • Carlos Delfino made six of eight 3-pointers and scored a season-high 25 points against his former team as Milwaukee won on the road for only the fourth time all season, 105-99 in Toronto. Jose Calderon had 15 assists for the Raptors, improving his average to 8.5 — fifth-best in the NBA. Of the top five leaders in dropping dimes, three are not American citizens.
  • Greg Monroe had 20 points and 12 rebounds and the Pistons won their season-high third straight game with a 99-92 victory over the New Jersey Nets. Tweet your condolences to Gary Bloom, a faithful follower who is treating me to one of his Nets season tickets later this season.