The death of the Cal Expo plan is bad news — very bad news — if you’re a Kings fan living in Sacramento.
Look at what NBA Commissioner David Stern told the Sacramento Bee Friday.
“No one is packing up and backing up the trucks,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said Thursday, referring to the latest failed arena deal involving a three-way land swap, “but we just don’t have any new ideas. There were several good ones reduced to the convergence plan, and everyone got behind it except for one enterprise (Cal Expo). Cal Expo exhausted us. If something comes up that’s workable, we would be all for it. But we don’t see anything workable right now.”
That sounds a lot like cover if the Maloofs (the brothers who own the Kings) do decide to leave town. “Hey, we tried, we really did, but you need a new building and you can’t get one there.”
There are NBA ready buildings in Anaheim and Kansas City. Other cities such as Las Vegas are looking into building one. The options are out there.
It’s not fair to the fans of Kings — that is a strong and loyal fan base. They filled the building when the team was good and have not deserted them in years and years of rough times. There is a real excitement in the city around the team becoming good again.
And it could be gone. A Seattle Sonics fan writing to TrueHoop summed it perfectly, “The NBA does. not. care.”
The NBA is a business, and don’t ever forget it. Basketball is simply the product being sold. Right now it needs to be sold to the people and corporations that can buy luxury suites and the high-end premiere ticket packages. That is where the revenue is, that is the goose laying the golden egg. If you don’t have an arena with those things — and a market of people who will buy them — then the league is gone. History and memory be damned.
Sacramento fans, maybe Mayor Kevin Johnson can pull something out. But David Stern just provided cover fire for the Maloofs. And that is a very bad sign.
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.
After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.
So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?
Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.
The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.
Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.