Seattle groups lay out arena plan: it starts with finding team

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It’s a start. A good start.

Details of the NBA arena plan for Seattle were laid out by Seattle’s mayor and the money behind it, hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, in a press conference that sounded more like a pep rally. They bathed the plan in glowing terms as filled with private investment and risk free to the taxpayers.

But the truth is that it has a long way to go. It has a lot of moving parts and any number of things can kill it. That it starts with Hansen taking on the challenge of buying an NBA team.

The Associated Press explains it this way:

Hansen submitted a proposal to (Seattle) on Thursday that calls for $290 million in private investment, plus the cost of acquiring an NBA franchise, to help construct a facility that would cost between $450 million and $500 million.

According to a letter submitted by the Seattle native to the city, the remaining construction and development costs would be financed by the city and King County using taxes and revenues generated by the new facility and rent charged to the teams playing in the arena. City officials are adamant that there will be no new public taxes needed for the building.

Basically it works like this: The city will go through the process — environmental impact reports and the like — and get everything in place. Then all Hansen has to do is buy an NBA team and recruit an NHL team to play in the building. Once he does that, he will put his money in, the city will put its money in and construction will start.

The NBA is not going to expand, so Hansen would have to buy an existing team and move it. That is where Sacramento rumors come in, as there have been rumblings that a new investor (at the least) could come in there and the team almost moved to Anaheim last summer. The league has a team for sale but doesn’t want it moved out of New Orleans. Yet. And other teams do come on the market — it’s usually just not that easy to move them

But Seattle has a start on getting the Sonics back. It’s a long, long road but the first steps have been taken.

Warriors pose for photos with Jahlil Okafor’s dad’s ‘FREE JAH’ shirt

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.

When both join forces…

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.

It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

Harry How/Getty Images
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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.