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.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.
His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)
The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.
While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”
Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”
We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.
Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.