Pacers get $33 million to stay in. Would you stay in Indy for that?

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Thumbnail image for Pacers_logo.gifDoes your city have an extra $33 million laying around?

Indianapolis does, apparently. Monday the city and the Pacers announced a new deal where the city will pour $10 million a year to cover operations at the Canseco Field House, plus put in another $3 million in the next few years in upgrades and renovations to the building.

In return, the Pacers promise not to leave, according to the Indianapolis Star. Or, they have to pay the money back if they do go. If they stay through 2019, they pay nothing back.

Canseco, like a lot of arenas, is taking a hit in this economy. Fewer tickets sold, less popcorn sold, fewer events coming through… you get the idea. And Canseco has been taking it on the chin.

The Pacers are one of those teams saying they are losing big money, about $30 million a year recently. They have an estimated $150 million in debt.

That said, owner Herb Simon and his brother bought the Pacers in 1983 for $10.5 million. A projected sale price was about $250 million. Even after the debt (which a new owner would take on some of) he clears a roughly $90 million profit. I could live on that.

Simon had pushed for years for the city to take on some of the operations cost of Canseco. He got his way.

But it brings up a debate that speaks to political preferences and how you view a sports team in a city.

Is it a citywide asset? Is a sports tea more than just entertainment, is it a part of the fabric of the city and an economic engine for people who work at an arena, who run bars nearby, who handle a number of ancillary businesses? That’s how the mayor of Indianapolis sees it.

“The mayor has said we need to protect the taxpayer and we need to protect the tax base,” said Robert Vane, deputy chief of staff and communications director for Mayor Greg Ballard. “This agreement does both.”

Or is a sports team a multimillion-dollar business? Owned by billionaires. Is this a cash-strapped city helping out a billionaire to make sure he doesn’t lose money on a poorly-managed investment? Considering the profit he turns if he sells the team tomorrow, it’s safe to consider it a business. And a good one.

PBT Extra: How big a threat are Pelicans to Warriors?

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Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and the New Orleans Pelicans were the surprise of the first round of the NBA playoffs. We knew they were good, but they looked dominant on both ends sweeping the three-seed Portland Trail Blazers right out of the postseason (and into a somber period of reflection).

New Orleans looked like the best team in the West in the first round and now they take all that momentum to Golden State where… let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

In this PBT Extra I discuss how the Pelicans have found an identity, but the matchups against Warriors are dramatically more challenging than what they saw in Portland. And that’s before Stephen Curry returns to the fold.

The Pelicans are a great story, but the pecking order in the West is real for good reason.

Nuggets’ Mason Plumlee undergoes surgery to fix core-muscle injury

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DENVER — Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee underwent surgery to fix a core-muscle injury.

The team said Plumlee had the procedure performed Thursday morning by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia.

Plumlee is expected to return to basketball activities this summer and be ready for training camp in the fall. He averaged 7.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists for a Nuggets team that narrowly missed out on the postseason.

The 28-year-old Plumlee was acquired by Denver as part of a deal in February 2017 that sent center Jusuf Nurkic to Portland. Plumlee signed a three-year, $41 million deal with the Nuggets last September.

 

PBT Extra: Spurs many off-season questions start with Kawhi Leonard

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San Antonio has a lot of roster questions heading into this summer. When Danny Green opts out at $10 million a year, how much do they offer to bring back a key wing defender? What about Tony Parker, an unrestricted free agent? Will Manu Ginobili come back at age 78 41 for another season?

But at the top of the list: Can the Spurs relationship with Kawhi Leonard be repaired?

If so, do they trust his health enough to offer him the $219 million designated veteran max extension?

If not, do they test the trade market (likely we will know the answer to that around the draft, well before July 1)?

I get into all of it in this latest PBT Extra.

NBA makes it official: LeBron did goaltend on Oladipo’s final shot

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Ultimately, this is moot. Nothing changes — not the critical last Pacers possession, not the fact LeBron James drained a three afterwards (and may well have anyway). All it provides is a little validation for frustrated Pacers fans and players.

Yes, LeBron did goaltend on Victor Oladipo‘s shot with 5.1 seconds remaining in what was then a tie game between the Pacers and Cavaliers. The NBA confirmed it in its Last Two Minute Report on Game 5 in that series. From the report.

“(Above the rim view) shows that James (CLE) blocks Oladipo’s (IND) shot attempt after it makes contact with the backboard.”

Oladipo called it goaltending. However, the officials didn’t call goaltending on the play, therefore it was not reviewable. Often on bang-bang plays like this one an official will call goaltending just to give themselves the chance to review it, but this crew did not (and that is a tough call to make accurately in real time).

From there, LeBron went on to hit the dramatic game-winning three that gave Cleveland the win and a 3-2 series lead.

The report also concluded that it was Thaddeus Young who knocked the ball out of bounds on the baseline with 27.6 seconds left, knocking the ball out of LeBron’s hands. The ball bounced on the line — and was therefore out, but the official didn’t call it — then bounced back up, hit LeBron on the arm and went clearly out of bounds. The referee called the second bounce after it hit LeBron. From the report:

“(Video) shows that Young (IND) deflects the ball away from James (CLE) and it lands out of bounds, but there is no whistle. The ball then bounces and hits James’ arm and lands out of bounds again, which is called. Possession of the ball is incorrectly awarded to the Pacers.”

One other note to Pacers fans: The goaltending call is not why Indiana lost. Oladipo shot 2-of-15 on the night. Darren Collison had a very an off night, was not aggressive, and was 1-of-5 shooting. There are a myriad of plays and decisions that go into a game, one blown call is not why the Pacers lost.

The question is can they regroup at home, get more secondary playmaking and buckets from someone other Oladipo, and can their defense force a Game 7? It can, but they have to put the end of Game 5 behind them first.