The Seattle Kings? Microsoft’s Ballmer’s move highlights Sacramento’s paranoia

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In the end, this story is really more about the state of mind in Sacramento than it is about reality in Seattle.

Recently, Steve Ballmer — one of the guys in on the ground floor of Microsoft, the man who was the company’s spokesman for many years — sold off some of his shares of Microsoft stock and put a lot of cash in his pocket. And by a lot of cash, we mean a billion dollars. Yes, with a “B.”

Ballmer is a big basketball fan, he was one of the guys trying to get Key Arena renovated in a way that would have kept the Sonics in Seattle.

Meanwhile the Kings can’t get a new arena is Sacramento built. Ergo… this report from NCWN:

Ballmer has never been shy about his love for professional basketball, and led an effort to renovate Key Arena before the Sonics left for Oklahoma City.  
Is he now interested in the Sacramento Kings?

”I don’t put much stock in it,” said Bob Graswich, a spokesperson for the Sacramento Mayor’s Office. “We know there are guys out there like Mr. Ballmer. We know those guys can write a check, but will they?”

Not that Ballmer couldn’t, but there really is nothing here to base this on other than the paranoia that is running through Sacramento now that plans for a new arena fell through. It didn’t help that David Stern said the NBA league office was washing its hands of the Sacramento arena situation.

But on the ground in Sacramento, there is worry. They took the Kings out of Kansas City in 1985, and now there is a beautiful new NBA ready building in KC. There is talk of building a new arena in Las Vegas (although that faces monumental hurdles). There is Seattle and… look, a lot of places would like an NBA team.

The article drips with that concern — Sacramento has one big pro sports team and they feel like they could lose it. Rightfully, because they could lose it.

But not to Ballmer in Seattle. Probably.

Sixers to retire Moses Malone’s number next season

Darryl Dawkins, Moses Malone

Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.

There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?

LeBron James with two-handed halfcourt bounce pass for assist (VIDEO)

LeBron James
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Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:

Kobe gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game —  but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.

In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.

Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.

That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.

Rumor: Nets testing trade waters for Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter Jr.
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If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.

First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.

Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.

Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.