These are not heady times for the city of Sacramento. There is a lame — and lame duck — governor presiding over a nearly bankrupt state in the capital, while the economic downturn hit the city hard all around that capital.
But the Sacramento Kings provide a sliver of hope — his name is Tyreke Evans. The city could use that hope. In a small market like Sacramento you can’t afford to blow chances like this, they come along too rarely.
And so you have a big shakeup in the Kings front office — out is 11-year Team President John Thomas. In his place the already-hands-on owners will be taking an even more active role: Joe Maloof is now CEO, Gavin Maloof is team’s president, and Matina Kolokotronis is the one that will actually do all the work (heading business operations). At Fanhouse, Sam Amick breaks down the why.
(Thomas) was an old-guard business executive in a new NBA frontier, one where leaving money on the table is no longer an option and creativity in marketing and branding is not only desired but expected. Especially in a small market locale like Sacramento…
All the while, the Maloofs saw their organization losing value by the day. Arco Arena, where a sellout was once a near-guarantee every time out, was the least-populated building for home games in the NBA last season and is 29th this season. The perceived mismanagement on the business side was compounded by the losing, as the Kings haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006 and had a franchise-low 17 wins last season.
This season the Kings have been marketing like mad, and promoting Tyreke Evans at every turn. As they should have been.
Ultimately success off the court will be tied to success on it, but if that comes the fans of Sacramento will rally to the team again. For many years that was one of the loudest buildings in the league, a place with a real home court advantage. There is hope that those days are on their way back.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.