This week, another team of NBA officials showed up in Sacramento, to meet with Mayor Kevin Johnson and the sponsors he lined up to generate another $9 million in sponsorships if the Kings stay in town.
Basically, the NBA is saying, “show us the money.” This isn’t a pledge drive, the NBA wants to see the cash.
Which is valid and within their rights. But as Tom Ziller notes at Sactown Royalty, it raises an interesting question.
Well, it’d be well within the NBA’s right if the NBA ran the Sacramento Kings. Which begs the question: is the NBA running the Sacramento Kings?
Note the continued absence of the Maloof family in all of this… But collecting local sponsor money is usually a task left for the team. In fact, I cannot think of any instance in which the NBA would collect local sponsor money for a team that doesn’t deal with an NBA takeover of a team (hello, New Orleans) and a situation where the local owners have become so poisonous that the NBA would rather take the time and bear the expense to basically do the owners’ job for them.
What has become maybe the most disconcerting part of this entire disconcerting process is how removed from the reality of the situation the Maloof brothers have become. They are still talking about filing for relocation, when it is becoming more clear by the day they do not have the votes to get approval for a move. While there has been a real passion and commitment from fans to keep the Kings in Sacramento — while the business community and mayor have stepped up — they have seemed at best disinterested and at most annoyed. Like they expected a rubber stamp to move the franchise to Anaheim and when that hasn’t come they don’t know what to do.
They could get behind the mayor, tell the fans they will give it an honest chance and champion plans for a new building in downtown Sacramento. But they’re not.
And there are real questions whether the people of Sacramento would accept that, whether they trust them or not. The fact the NBA sent in an outside team to collect the new sponsorship money tells you all you need to know about where the Maloofs stand with Sacramento. That the other owners may well not back a move tells you all you need to know about their standing with other owners.
They seem unwilling to sell the franchise, but there are questions about how effective an owner they can be after they may have poisoned the well in Sacramento.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.
On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.
But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.
Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:
Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.
Stephen Curry might be back sooner than expected. It’s been one week since he suffered the sprained MCL in his right knee that led the Warriors to rule him out for at least two weeks, but head coach Steve Kerr said Saturday that there’s at least an outside chance he could play Tuesday in Game 2 of Golden State’s second-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Via ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:
Obviously, the smart money is on Curry not playing this early in his timetable. But the fact that it’s even on the table would seem to indicate that, barring a setback, he’ll be back for at least some of the series, which tips off Sunday.