Report: Kings buyer who would keep team in Sacramento has made formal offer to Maloofs

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As we told you earlier, the sale of the Kings won’t be a done deal until it is actually a done deal — contracts signed, press conferences convened, a river of tears flowing through the streets of Sacramento, etc.

Shortly after the initial report of the deal being done came out, our own Aaron Bruski reported that it wasn’t quite a done deal just yet, and that the Maloofs want a bidding war.

And around we go. Just as we had an earlier report today that it was (once again) essentially done and that the team will in fact be sold to the Seattle ownership group, now comes one that says a legitimate buyer has surfaced who not only has made an offer for the team, but who would keep it in Sacramento.

From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24-Hour Fitness who finished second to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber in bidding for the Warriors, told CBSSports.com Friday he has interest in buying the Kings and keeping the franchise in Sacramento.

“Definitely, there’ve been conversations,” Mastrov said from his northern California office. “Definitely there’s interest in acquiring the team and keeping it in Sacramento.”

Mastrov met with the Maloofs recently, and two league sources speaking on condition of anonymity said he has made a formal offer.

So, where does this leave us?

Well, if the league is truly interested in keeping the Kings in Sacramento and the price offered was reasonable — and, as noted in this report, it wouldn’t have to be as high as a group planning on relocating due to the cost of a loan from the city not needing to be repaid in full at the time of the sale — then they could not-so-gently nudge the Maloofs in the direction of taking this offer.

If the price offered by the Seattle group includes additional dollars in order to overpay for the right to relocate a team out of one NBA market and into another, however, that could be problematic, because the current ownership is going to want to (obviously) maximize any profits gained through a potential sale.

Again, nothing is final until it is actually final. And with one legitimate potential buyer emerging locally who would keep the team in Sacramento, things are likely to get much more complicated before they are ultimately settled.

Gordon Hayward’s agent says return this season unlikely

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Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.

There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.

Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a social media message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.

Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.

The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.