Las Vegas mayor says public financing is the only way for city to get arena, NBA team

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Thumbnail image for LasVegasSign.jpgHere’s the deal Las Vegas: If you want an NBA team, you’re going to have to pay for it.

That’s what Mayor Oscar Goldman essentially said this week. The only way an arena is getting built is with public financing, the Las Vegas Sun reports him saying. And he is saying a new arena is something the city needs.

“There are no free lunches,” the mayor said, when told it was difficult to find much support for public financing. “With that kind of attitude, that kind of philosophy, we’ll never have an arena. End of story.”

“We’ll never have a professional team here, end of story. I mean, that’s it. We can’t make up our own rules. We have to live in the real world. And the real world says that there has to be some kind of public financing,” he said. “And if people don’t like it, then they can live here without a team. I don’t want to live in a city without a team. I think a team makes a city a great city.”

Without a new arena, the city could also lose things like the very lucrative National Finals Rodeo, Goodman said.

One group of Vegas investors has said it has a deal to buy an NBA team if they can get approval of public, tax increment financing. While most executives at Summer League doubted that, the fact remains that if a new, state-of-the-art arena gets built it will be a magnet that will draw some low-revenue team to the bright lights of Vegas.

In some cities, there is a stomach for public financing of these projects. Oklahoma City residents voted to increase their sales tax to help pay for an arena. More power to them. But in most cities, that will not fly. Las Vegas appears to be more like the later. Residents see more pressing things for city money to be spent on, even if that is tax increment money.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.