The bidding is open — the Oklahoma City Arena where the Thunder play will be changing out its title sponsor. Gone will be Ford, in will be…
We don’t know.
But the Oklahoman tells us Ford is coming off. Ford bought the naming rights before the Thunder came to town, but a clause in the deal allows the Thunder to terminate the deal. Ford was paying less than $500,000 a year before, but with an NBA team there the figure should likely be in the $3 million range.
The Thunder gave Ford — specifically Oklahoma Ford dealers — a chance to come in at a new price, but that was too rich for their blood right now.
So who are likely bidders? What national corporations are based out of OKC?
As Tom Ziller first noted, Sonic Drive-In, the fastfood chain is. Talk about really rubbing salt in the wounds in Seattle — first you steal their Sonics and change their name to the Thunder, then you force the team to play in Sonic Stadium? Ouch.
A couple years ago, Knicks owner James Dolan said there was no scenario Isiah Thomas would return to the Knicks.
But Dolan also said a few months ago he’d keep Phil Jackson for the duration of Jackson’s five-year contract.
With Dolan effectively firing Jackson today, could Thomas become the Knicks’ next president?
Marc Berman of the New York Post:
The Post also learned Liberty president Isiah Thomas would not be considered for Jackson’s successor.
It’s sad that this needs to be reported. It’s even sadder that, even if this the Knicks’ plans right now, there are no assurances Dolan holds steady.
Dumping Jackson is a reason to celebrate. But as long as Dolan owns the team, it must be a reserved celebration.
At least the Knicks’ next step won’t include Thomas. Probably.
TORONTO (AP) — With rumors swirling about the Knicks chasing Raptors president Masai Ujiri, the Raptors have promoted Bobby Webster to general manager.
Webster, 32 years old assistant the youngest GM in the NBA, replaces Jeff Weltman, who left Toronto in May to become president of the Orlando Magic.
A former staffer at the NBA league office in New York, Webster joined the Raptors in 2013 and was named assistant GM in 2016.
He’ll help decide what to offer All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who opted out of the final year of his contract last month after Cleveland swept Toronto in the second round of the playoffs.
Forwards Serge Ibaka, P.J. Tucker and Patrick Patterson are all unrestricted free agents.
Also Wednesday, Toronto promoted Dan Tolzman to assistant general manager.
The Raptors have posted consecutive 50-win seasons and made four straight playoff appearances.
NEW YORK (AP) — Former NBA point guard Jason Williams will miss six to eight months after suffering a knee injury in the opening game of the Big3.
Corey Maggette, also injured in the opening week of Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league of former NBA players, had surgery for a leg injury. There is no timetable for his return.
The injuries were announced Wednesday during a conference call with Cube and Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz, who also detailed a couple rules changes starting with this weekend’s game in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Games will be played to 50 points, instead of 60, with halftime coming when the first team reaches 25 points. Cube said that would help the four games per day move more quickly.
Phil Jackson’s exit is already opening doors for the Knicks.
No position differs more in the triangle from modern spread NBA offenses than point guard. But without Jackson demanding his point guard fit such a narrow profile, New York can pursue greater talents – like Jeff Teague.
Ian Begley of ESPN:
With Phil Jackson out and the triangle de-emphasized, the Knicks, under general manager Steve Mills, have interest in free agent point guard Jeff Teague, league sources told ESPN. League sources say the interest in Teague is mutual.
The Knicks aren’t as desperate at point guard after drafting Frank Ntilikina, but Ntilikina probably isn’t ready to run an offense full-time yet. Teague could be a stopgap – which might be necessary considering New York can’t easily pivot into rebuilding with Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee locked up.
Teague’s future with the Pacers appears uncertain with Paul George on the trade block. A key part of Larry Bird’s retooling last summer, Teague and Indiana might be headed in different directions now.
The Knicks make as much sense as anywhere for Teague – now that Jackson is gone.