Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers

One kink in Sacramento arena plan: $85 million from Maloofs

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There is a real momentum in Sacramento to get a deal done and get an arena built — one that appears ready to clear the final hurdles. The Kings would stay in Sacramento.

But if one thing were to derail that train, it could be the brothers who helped create the problem in the first place — the Maloof brothers. The owners of the Kings.

They have said in the past they would pitch in to help get a new arena built, but they have not been part of these arena negotiations (the NBA has handled that directly). Now it is coming time to write a check, reports the Sacramento Bee.

The city seeks a contribution of about $85 million from the Maloof family, which owns the Kings, multiple sources said. But it’s not clear if the NBA – which is negotiating on the team’s behalf – will agree, and negotiations are far from complete.

Why is that a cause for concern? Well, Tom Ziller at SBNation explains it well.

The Maloofs already owe the city roughly $70 million for a loan executed in the late 1990s when the Kings had threatened to leave Sacramento under previous ownership. The Maloofs are also believed to owe at least $100 million to the league’s credit facility. For the second consecutive season, the Kings have the NBA’s smallest payroll. Sacramento barely exceeded the league’s minimum payroll level last year.

In the last couple years the Maloof have sold off their beer distributorship that was very profitable and given up majority control in the Palms Casino that they built in Las Vegas.

The city of Sacramento, arena operator AEG and everyone else is ready to pitch in and do their parts. Given one last chance to get an arena done and keep the Kings in Sacramento, the city has rallied behind mayor Kevin Johnson and done a tremendous job.

Let’s hope it’s not the Maloofs that end that dream.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: