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.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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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 Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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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.

Ouch.

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.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

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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.

Take a look back at just how great Shaq was with the Lakers (VIDEO)

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Shaquille O’Neal was as dominant a force as the NBA has ever seen.

His peak years came with the Lakers, when paired with Kobe Bryant one the court — and Phil Jackson manipulating both of them — they won three titles (and arguably would have had more if they stayed together). Those Lakers teams were one of the NBA’s great teams.

Friday night, the Lakers unveil Shaq’s statue at Staples Center. Take a look back at some of Shaq’s Lakers highlights.