When asked about having spoken to a Las Vegas group trying to get an arena built last week, Joe Maloof said he didn’t know anything about it.
Maybe not, but the Maloof brothers and owners of the Sacramento Kings are apparently keeping their options open about whether the team stays in Sacramento.
The Maloofs met with a former minority owner of the Seattle Sonics recently, according to a report in Sports Illustrated.
While sources indicate the Kings were exploring whether Seattle was a viable option to which they could move their franchise, George Maloof, who attended the meeting that took place about a month ago, said it was only an exploratory meeting to discern exactly what the Sonics went through in their failed pursuit of an arena.
“One of our minority partners asked us if we were ever in Seattle to meet with folks in Seattle to see what they went through,” Maloof told SI.com from Las Vegas. “It had nothing to do with us moving the team. It was more of a meeting to understand what their experience was as it relates to what we could do in Sacramento because it’s very difficult to build arenas anywhere. That was basically the meeting.”
However, sources said the Maloofs, frustrated by the hurdles they are facing in getting a publicly funded arena in a bankrupt state with a worsening economy, are exploring their options for moving the team.
Seattle is not going to happen, at least not soon. If getting an arena built there was easily doable it would have been done before the Sonics left town.
Las Vegas faces almost as many political hurdles, as the plan there calls for use of tax increment to help finance the deal. Convincing city fathers and mothers to find a use of tax dollars to help build an arena is a difficult task, at best. The Maloofs are actually farther down the line in Sacramento than anywhere.
But they are apparently keeping their options open.
NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.
Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.
Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.
A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”
Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.
DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.
But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.
DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:
“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.
“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”
This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.
Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.
Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.
I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.