NBA Players Association Vice President and former Heat guard Roger Mason Jr., said LeBron James is prepared to lead an NBA player boycott of the 2014-15 season if the Donald Sterling ownership issue is not resolved by the start of next season.
Mason's comments air on Jim Rome's Showtime program at 9 p.m. Wednesday.
“What if [Donald Sterling] is still there. I mean, he’s not going down without a fight. What if he’s still there when next season starts?” Rome asked Mason.
“If it’s not handled by… the start of next season, I don’t see how we’re playing basketball,” Mason said. “I was just in the locker room with LeBron… At the end of the day, you know we have leaders. We have player reps, we’ve got executive committee members… Leaders of the teams, they’re all saying the same thing, ‘If this man is still in place, we ain’t playing’.”
Rome followed up: “So your guy LeBron, you think he would not play if Sterling were still in there when the [next] season started?”
“I was just in the locker room three or four days ago. LeBron and I talked about it,” Mason said. “He ain’t playing if Sterling is still an owner.”
Rome asked about Sterling’s wife Shelly Sterling. “What if he’s not there, but his wife is,” Rome asked.
“No Sterling deserves to be an owner of that franchise any longer,” Mason said. “And I’ve gone down the line from LeBron to the other guys in the league that I’ve talked to and they all feel the same way. There’s no place for that family in the NBA.”
James, asked last week if he would boycott games to start next season if Sterling is still in place, indicated there was no need to consider that at this point.
DOLPHINS TUESDAY MOVES
### The Dolphins signed undrafted Tulane running back Orleans Darkwa, who ran for 863 yards (4.6 per carry) and 12 touchdowns last season. The 6-0 Darkwa ran for 2953 yards in his career.
He will compete with Daniel Thomas, Marcus Thigpen, Mike Gilislee, Cameron Marshall and undrafted Oklahoma rookie Damien Williams for what likely will be two roster spots.
Miami also signed defensive end Gannon Conway, a former walk-on at Arizona State who had 3.5 sacks last season.
The Dolphins made one other move Tuesday, releasing punter Matt Szymanski.
Postscripts and reaction on the Heat’s riveting 102-96 win at Brooklyn that left Miami with a 3-1 lead in this Eastern Conference semifinal:
### This was LeBron at his magnificent best (49 points, 16 for 24 from the field, 14 for 19 from the line), and until the final couple of minutes, it felt like LeBron back in Cleveland, doing everything without much support.
But then Chris Bosh did what he has done a bunch of times this season --- hitting a clutch three to put the Heat up for good 97-94 with 57 seconds remaining. "I work on that shot tirelessly," Bosh said.
Keep in mind that among all NBA players who attempted at least 40 shots in the “clutch” this season, Bosh’s clutch shooting percentage (54 percent) was third-highest in the league. And his 15 "clutch" threes this season tied with Paul Pierce for third-most in the league.
The NBA defines "clutch" as the final five minutes of a game with a margin of five points or fewer.
Bosh had missed two threes in the previous minute before hitting the game-winner in the corner. Bosh’s overall numbers were modest (12 points, five rebounds) but he had three blocks and was active defensively.
“That last one was right in his wheelhouse, the corner one,” Erik Spoelstra said. “Our three-point shooters, we want them having a free mind, and he is one of our best ones.”
On Bosh's go-ahead shot, James passed to Mario Chalmers, who whipped it to Bosh in the corner.
### James tied his career playoff high (set in Cleveland) but failed to hit 50 when he missed the second of two free throws with one second left, which James admits disappointed him. He did it playing every minute of the second half, and playing the final few minutes with five fouls.
"I was in attack mode early getting to the paint. That's huge for our team, because it puts us all in attack mode and helps us set our halfcourt defense," LeBron said. "I see a lot in a game that I'm not sure everyone sees. I'm happy to give that to my teammates.I found some creases early in the game."
Besides the 49 points, James -- working with five fouls -- deftly defended two key late misses by Joe Johnson. "I take pride in my defense just as much as my offense," he said. "Defensively is where we won the game; it wasn't offense."
### What others had to say about LeBron:
Jason Kidd: “He didn’t settle tonight. A lot of his shots were in the paint.”
Shane Battier: “It’s hard to lose when he’s that aggressive.”
Dwyane Wade: "He's unreal. All everyone had to do tonight was just chip in."
### James’ 49 points set a Heat playoff high, topping Wade’s 46 in a 2010 first-round game against Boston.
“He was fantastic. He did what was needed,” Spoelstra said. “That’s what makes him the best player in the world. He reads the game as well as anybody that’s played this game. He did it within the offense. It can’t be one-on-five against this team, as talented as he is.”
### Spoelstra said before the six minute timeout, he offered to take LeBron out in the fourth quarter to give him a very brief rest. “I kind of said it, I didn’t really mean it,” Spoelstra cracked. LeBron, naturally, declined.
### When Mario Chalmers left temporarily with his fifth foul and 6:38 left, Spoelstra wisely opted for James Jones instead of Norris Cole. The Heat was outscored by 19 points in Cole’s 15 minutes.
### Chalmers was effective when he was on the floor (a plus 20 in his 29 minutes), with eight points, seven assists and just one turnover.
### Allen, remarkably, led the Heat in rebounding for the second time in this series with seven. He also had nine points, including the four clutch free throws late.
### Wade had some dreadful fourth quarter moments (an airball jumper, two turnovers).
“I had those two turnovers, and I said I’m going to do something to help this team win.”
He did, grabbing a key offensive rebound of a James miss with the Heat nursing a three-point lead and 12 seconds left. Ray Allen then hit the first two of his four free-throws over the final 10 seconds.
“It’s just us playing together so many times,” Wade said of the Heat’s poised play in the final two minutes. “You’ve got to win them ugly and you’ve got to win them cute. Tonight, it was ugly. All we wanted to do was get one of these games, and we did it tonight.”
Wade tried to get to the basket but lacked his usual explosiveness at the rim. He was efficient with his shot (7 for 13), blocked two shots and closed with 15 points.
### James requested more minutes for James Jones, and Spoelstra obliged, though not until late in the second quarter. Jones missed both his shots, but Miami was plus five in his 13 minutes.
“I want those guys super aggressive,” James said of Jones, Shane Battier and Rashard Lewis. “They have the green light.”
### The Heat became the first team to win at least one road team in 14 consecutive playoff series.
### Miami has won 10 straight playoff games after a loss.
### The Nets shot 5 for 22 on threes after making 15 of 25 in Game 3. Johnson shot 5 for 15 from the field, Deron Williams 5 for 14.
"We did a great job of making them take tough shots," Wade said.
After Paul Pierce's basket with 4:24 left, the Nets didn't hit another shot from the field until seven seconds remained, which left Miami with a three-point lead.
### Game 5 in Miami on Wednesday will start at 7 p.m.
DOLPHINS, MARLINS, CANES CHATTER
### The agent for UM defensive lineman Shayon Green said Green agreed orally to a contract with the Dolphins over the weekend, but something came up (the agent refused to divulge what) and now it’s uncertain if he will join the Dolphins.
### Among those invited to try out for the Dolphins during their rookie minicamp May 23-25: Texas kicker Anthony Fera, who made 20 of 22 field goals last season and 45 of 46 extra points. He was 5 for 6 on field goals of 40-plus yards and 1 for 1 from 50 yards. If he impresses, he could be kept to challenge Caleb Sturgis, who very likely will be Miami's kicker again this season.
### UM likes the new MLS stadium site proposed by Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez ---- on a boat slip between Museum Park and AmericanAirlines Arena --- and it “appears to be big enough” for a 40,000-seat stadium if David Beckham decides to build one that large to accommodate UM football (which is still undecided), deputy mayor Chip Iglesias tells us.
The stadium would “need to go into Bicentennial Park somewhat” even if it’s a 25,000-seat stadium, Iglesias said.
UM, still awaiting word from Beckham’s group on the viability, believes the parking situation would be better there than the PortMiami site.
The odds still favor UM remaining at Sun Life, because of multiple factors --- including the high cost to Beckham of building a stadium with 40,000 seats, plus the fact UM has 18 years left on its Sun Life lease and might not be able to get out of it. But UM said it won’t make a decision until it gets clarity from Beckham’s group.
### Marlins people fear Jose Fernandez will require season-ending Tommy John elbow surgery, with final word due in the next day or so. Fernandez is expected to get more than one opinion. Recovery time is typically a year or longer.
Kevin Slowey or Brad Hand figures to take his spot in the rotation initially, but longterm options include Brian Flynn (3-3, 3.69 in Triple A), Andrew Heaney (3-2, 2.35 in Double A), Anthony DeSclafani (3-4, 4.19 in Double A) and Justin Nicolino (2-2, 3.11 in Double A).