Multiple parties deny report of new Heat television deal

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June 21, 3:23 pm: There have been multiple denials that there are any talks going on between the Heat and Fox Sports.

One source reached out to PBT saying there have been no discussions as suggested in the Forbes article (seen below). Later came this official statement from Fox Sports.

“There’s no truth to that report whatsoever,” said Chris Bellitti, Vice President of Communications for the Fox Sports Network. “We are in the middle of a long-term deal with the Heat that has several years remaining.”

If the Heat still have LeBron James, and maybe a ring or two, when the deal is up it certainly will drive up the price of a deal. But that is then.

June 20, 11:39 pm: Miami has been a key reason for a spike in NBA television ratings the past couple years — love them or hate them, you tune in to watch them.

Now they are about to reap the benefits of that, according to Forbes.

The Miami Heat are involved in discussions for a blockbuster cable television deal that experts say are being enhanced by the long-term contract the team has with reigning league MVP LeBron James and its run towards a second NBA title.

Sources familiar with the negotiations, but who do not have permission to speak about them publicly, peg the value of the long-term deal between $80 million to $100 a year with Fox Sports Florida. Although the Heat’s new deal will only be about half the amount Los Angeles Lakers are going to get from Time Warner Cable, it will still generate at least over four times the revenue the team currently rakes in.

The Heat actually draw a higher percentage of local viewers than the Lakers, but the Lakers television market is more than triple the size of Miami (which is just the 14th largest NBA market). However, the basic idea is the same — the team is a draw and both teams have some competition in the local cable markets.

Under the terms of the new NBA revenue sharing deal (put together with the new CBA) Heat owner Micky Arison is going go be coughing up some of that money for smaller markets. They must revenue share part of local television deal with smaller markets.

But they still pull in more money. And that is why big contracts like the one LeBron and everyone else makes can pay for themselves.

Victor Oladipo’s practice dunk better than anything he – or maybe anyone – did in dunk contest (video)

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Victor Oladipo has grown into far more than just a dunker.

In fact, in Saturday’s dunk contest, he didn’t look like a dunker at all.

The Pacers star missed all three attempts of his first dunk, and a Black Panther mask was by far the biggest draw of his second. Oladipo was eliminated after the first round.

Maybe Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t the only eliminated dunker who left something in his bag. This Oladipo dunk – 180 degrees, throwing ball off the backboard with his left hand while in mid-air, dunking with his right hand – while preparing in Los Angeles was awesome.

Larry Nance Jr. had the contest’s best dunk. This would have rivaled it.

Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.

A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.

Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.

In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.

 

Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game

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Kevin Durant spent his rookie season in Seattle, before the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. He has said Seattle fans deserved to see him grow up in the NBA after supporting his promising start.

They’ll get their chance.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

The Kings and Golden State Warriors have scheduled a preseason game next season in Seattle, according to multiple league sources.

The Oct. 6 meeting between Northern California teams will be the first NBA game in the Key Arena since the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City after the 2007-08 season and became the Thunder.

This game will be loaded with storylines. Not only Durant, but the Kings considered moving to Seattle a few years ago. And of course, the return of NBA basketball to Seattle.

At some point, Seattle will get its own team again. For now, this preseason game creates intrigue there.

Report: Kawhi Leonard cleared medically, seeking second opinion

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.

What’s going on?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.

Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.

The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.

At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).

But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.

Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.