Sacramento mayor on Kings: “more likely they’re going to be in Anaheim”

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The timing is questionable. The move may leave them the third wheel in the Southern California market. They are moving to a better building than the one they are in, but it is 18 years old.

But it looks more and more like the Kings will be moving to Anaheim.

We told you already that Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson met with the Maloof Brothers that owned the Kings. Johnson’s comment to the media Thursday sounded defeated according to tweets from Scott Howard Cooper of NBA.com.

Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson at news conference discussing potential Kings move: It is “more likely they’re going to be in Anaheim.”

KJ gets points for frankness. “I don’t think Sacramento can influence the outcome of their decision.” Meaning Maloof family. He’s right.

This seems to be gaining momentum despite efforts by Sacramento fans to keep the team. But this is a real risk for the Maloofs — particularly with a lockout looming and likely — something Howard-Cooper pointed out in an article.

Issue No. 1: To put hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, perhaps the entire family fortune centered on a Las Vegas casino and a basketball franchise, and move during a lockout would be more than risky. It would be reckless. What owner could possibly think it makes sense to declare a new home soon after the regular season, spend time promoting the team there … and then not play, possibly for weeks, possibly for months?

Issue No. 2: The Kings are bad now and will be bad next season. They could be better, depending on the health of Tyreke Evans, the maturity of DeMarcus Cousins and the 2011 lottery pick. But it’s hard to imagine spending big for a free agent or taking on weighty contracts in a trade. They’re 4 ½ games behind the Clippers now, even after Sacramento’s 105-99 victory Monday, but the Clippers are in much better position for a big jump in 2011-12.

The market in Southern California is a real issue. Yes it is larger, yes Orange County is always looking to define itself against Los Angeles and there could be a bump of support. The Ducks got that at first (but now they are 26th in the NHL in attendance, 23rd in percentage of the building filled). Well, there might be support until the lockout. And so long as they don’t name the team the Los Angeles Kings of Anaheim.

I’m based out of Southern California, near the Orange County border. Know two things: 1) Orange County is still Lakers country. The team’s decades of success, especially in the absence of any NFL team in the region, has made them the kings of all sports; 2) There is a real excitement and buzz around the Clippers thanks to Blake Griffin and their success this season.

The Kings will be the third wheel in this market right off the bat. Make no mistake.

I understand the need to move, but the wise play might be to let the lockout play out and give the officials and people of Sacramento another year to see if a stadium can get done there. Where the Kings are the kings of the market.

Report: Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo staying in NBA draft

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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When De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk declared for the NBA draft, they jumped in with both feet, hiring agents.

A third Kentucky freshman, Bam Adebayo, took a more cautious approach – until now.

Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports:

Adebayo is a borderline first-round pick.

He’s a ferocious dunker. All his best skills – motor, explosiveness, physicality – come together to produce slams.

But Adebayo is an underwhelming shot-blocker and rebounder, and those same tools should translate. That speaks’ to his focus.

He has a center’s game. But at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-1.5 wingspan, does he have a center’s size? Adebayo can’t step away from the basket or handle the ball, so if he can’t bang with NBA centers, he’s in trouble.

NBA: James Harden should have been called for offensive foul late in Rockets’ Game 4 win over Thunder

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The Rockets were trying to protect a two-point lead as they inbounded with 7.8 seconds left in Game 4 against the Thunder on Sunday, and James Harden wanted the ball. So, the Houston star pushed off Alex Abrines.

The play still turned chaotic – Russell Westbrook tipping the inbound pass and Eric Gordon recovering the loose ball – but it never should have gotten that far. Harden should have been called for an offensive foul, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Harden (HOU) pushes off Abrines (OKC) to create space during the inbound.

A correct call would have given Oklahoma City the ball down two with 7.8 seconds left and a real chance to tie or take the lead.

Instead, the Thunder had to intentionally foul Gordon, who hit two free throws to effectively ice a 113-109 Rockets win. Houston now leads the first-round series, 3-1.

NBA: LeBron James got away with travelling before go-ahead 3-pointer in Cavaliers’ Game 4 win over Pacers

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The Cavaliers outscored the Pacers by just 16 points in their first-round series – tied for the narrowest margin ever in a four-game sweep. (The Warriors also outscored the Washington Bullets while sweeping the 1975 Finals.)

So, each Cleveland-Indiana game was close, including Sunday’s Game 4, which the Cavs won 106-102.

LeBron James hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 left to put the Cavaliers up 103-102, and they added a few free throws after intentional fouls to produce the final margin. But LeBron travelled with 1:14 left while making his move to get that 3-pointer, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

James (CLE) moves his pivot foot at the start of his dribble.

A correct call would’ve ended Cleveland’s possession and given Indiana the ball with a two-point lead. Instead, the Pacers had only one possession before they had to begin intentionally fouling.

Would Indiana have won if the travel were called? Probably, though the odds would have been only slightly better than a coin flip.

Would the Pacers have won the series if the travel were called? Probably not. No team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit, and even a Game 4 win was far from guaranteed with a travel call. But they might have at least felt better about not getting swept.

Raptors’ Norman Powell had a couple monster dunks Monday (VIDEO)

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“Give all praise to Norman Powell with his energy, his athleticism, his passion, just everything he brought to us this series.”

That was Kyle Lowry talking about what his Raptor Norman Powell, who put up a career playoff best 25 points in the Raptors’ Game 5 win. Powell played good defense on Khris Middleton and drained some deep threes to help Toronto pull away in this one. Lowry was so impressed after the game at a press conference he told the media to ask Powell questions, not him.

Oh, and Powell threw down some huge dunks, too. Just check out the video.