Are Larry Ellison, San Francisco next for Warriors?

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Larry Ellison.

Just had to get that out there. If you are mentioning the announcement that the Golden State Warriors are for sale and potential next owners — not to mention what that will mean for the franchise —  you have to start with Ellison. Because he’s said he’s interested and he’s ridiculously rich. Think about it this way, the Blazers are owned by Microsoft’s Paul Allen, who Forbes estimates is worth about $13.5 billion, the Nets have Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov coming in worth about $13.4 billion.

Larry Ellison is worth more than them. Combined. Try $28 billion. If he really wants to buy the Warriors — or the entire NBA — nobody is outbidding him.

But there are a number of other bidders for the Warriors, as Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News breaks down. The one name he throws out is Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24 Hour Fitness.

Kawakami says all of these new bidders have one thing in common, wanting to move the team to San Francisco.

According to my sources, almost all of the major parties interested in the Warriors are looking to possibly move the team to San Francisco, in a newly built (privately financed) arena in Giants’ parking lot adjacent to AT&T Park.

That includes Ellison, I’m told, though I believe he’d want to own the Warriors wherever they play-his company’s name, after all, is on the current arena.

With a bigger sponsorship base and a new luxury downtown arena, the Warriors would almost certainly have a higher revenue stream if they were located in San Francisco.

I’ve heard that the Giants could be involved in several of these forming groups, either as a background partner (remember, they’re also minority owners of Comcast Bay Area) or larger player in the purchase.

The financial model is one you’re seeing in more and more cities — build two arenas near each other (or an arena and a second major concert/event venue) and use the foot traffic those drive to sell retail, restaurant and even housing space nearby. Putting a new home for the Warriors near AT&T Park fits that bill.

Ellison, by the way, could probably afford to build a new privately financed arena with the money that falls between the seat cushions in his couch.

Who knows what the team will look like by the time it gets there, or is sold. Expect that Don Nelson will be gone, because any new owner will be sane. But name players like Monta Ellis or Andris Biedrins (although moving the latter will be hard with Isiah Thomas out of the league, nobody sane is taking on that contract). The team makeup could take a hit.

But people in the Bay Area will make that sacrifice to get a new owner. They’d pretty much sacrifice Joe Barry Carroll to the gods if they thought this would speed the process along.

Rumor: Paul George told former Pacers teammates he wanted to join the Lakers

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Paul George to the Lakers is a capital-T thing.

George is from Southern California, and he keeps indicating his dissatisfaction with the Pacers. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2018. Even Lakers president Magic Johnson is talking about George.

Where do rumors like this originate?

Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News:

A SoCal native, he’s been talking about playing for his hometown team, the Lakers, for a long time. He’s never made his long-term intentions a secret within the Pacers’ locker room, according to former teammates. He wants to wear the purple and gold.

Did George say he dreamed of playing for the Lakers growing up? Did he say it’d be cool to join his boyhood favorite team if the situation presented itself? Or did he say he wanted to get the heck out of Indiana to join the Lakers as soon as possible?

There are so many ways his comments to teammates could get misconstrued as they get passed down in the game of telephone.

But the Lakers threat – to whatever degree it’s real – looms, and it’ll impact how the Pacers handle their offseason.

Jazz call deactivating Jeff Withey, who was accused of domestic violence, ‘strategic basketball-related decision’

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Jazz Center Jeff Withey was accused of domestic violence in a police report filed by his ex-fiancée.

Withey played a small role in Utah’s first two playoff games, but once the accusation over an alleged 2016 incident became public, he hasn’t seen the court. Withey received a DNP-CD in Game 3 against the Clippers, and the Jazz deactivated the center for Game 4 last night.

Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News:

The team called it a “strategic basketball-related decision.”

Withey was always going to see a reduced role with Rudy Gobert returning from injury.

Though Gobert didn’t play in Game 3, the Jazz had two injured players – Gobert and Alec Burks on the inactive list – so Withey was active but never played. But Withey was active for Game 1, which Gobert started healthy before injuring his knee 11 seconds in.

Therefore, deactivating Withey in Game 4 for Joel Bolomboy, a little-used second-round rookie who has yet to play in the postseason, is a curious choice for basketball reasons. It’s almost as if that wasn’t the reason.

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

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The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

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Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.