David Stern non-committal on whether NBA would like to keep the Kings in Sacramento

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HOUSTON — David Stern gave a bit of a status update on where the potential sale of the Sacramento Kings stands on Thursday, but was non-committal on whether or not he would prefer to keep the team in Sacramento in the event the city comes up with a perfect counter-proposal.

“Right now there’s a contract of sale with Seattle, an application to move, and we’re awaiting Sacramento’s delivery of what Mayor Kevin Johnson says will be a very substantial offer to buy the team, keep it in Sacramento, and build a brand new building,” Stern said, before speaking at an opening ceremony for the All-Star weekend festivities at the George R. Brown Convention center in Houston.

When asked if Mayor Johnson’s offer came through with everything that was being promised if he would prefer to keep the team in Sacramento, Stern didn’t say one way or the other. But he did make sure to point out that the decision wasn’t his to make.

“That’s what I tell the owners, it’s up to them,” Stern said. “That’s why owners exist, not just little old commissioners. This is a subject for the Board of Governors.”

The Board of Governors will meet on April 18, which is the deadline for Johnson to submit his proposal to keep the team in Sacramento. Stern believes the league will receive it before then.

“If the mayor follows through on what he’s told us, we’ll have it comfortably by March 1,” he said.

The commissioner also commented briefly on the Kings’ ownership group’s right of first refusal that was first reported by Aaron Bruski here at PBT.

From Chris Daniels of KING5 TV in Seattle (via Twitter):

Stern said in response to my question on legal issues with#NBAKings deal: “I have a sense the first refusal right will be accommodated…

Stern (cont) “…in some shape or form. I can’t speak about lawsuits against pending buildings or environmental reviews.”

More Stern, to me, on #NBASeattle deal “I’m not expecting something bad from a legal perspective”.

There is obviously a long way to go here between the upcoming proposal from Mayor Johnson and the outcome of any pending or future litigation.

You get the idea, however, that no matter the outcome, the league doesn’t mind having two major media markets clamoring for the ownership of one of its franchises.

“It’s a very good situation to have,” Stern said. “Two world-class cities, in effect, would like to have one team that’s available.”

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.

DeMarcus Cousins on Confederate statues: ‘Take all them motherf—ers down’

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DeMarcus Cousins grew up in Alabama, played collegiately at Kentucky and now plays in New Orleans.

So, yeah, the Pelicans star has an opinion on Confederate statues.

Cousins, via TMZ:

“Take all them motherf*ckers down,” Cousins said … “Take ’em all down.”

These statues glorify people because they fought a war against the United States in the name of preserving the racist institution of slavery.

Not whom I want to honor, either.

Kevin Durant: Kyrie Irving-LeBron James situation ‘just a regular NBA problem’

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Kevin Durant knows something about star teammates not always getting along.

So, the Warriors forward is not freaking out about the disconnect between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James and Irving’s subsequent trade request.

Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“It’s just a regular NBA problem, right? A lot of teams have gone through this before,” Durant told ESPN. “They’ll figure it out. That’s a great organization, a championship organization. They’ll figure it out.”

“It’s not the end of the world,” Durant said. “Both of those guys won a championship together. They love each other. If Kyrie wants to do something else, that’s on him. I’m sure whatever happens, it’ll work out for the best for both of them. But it’s just a normal NBA problem. It’s just two big stars that it’s happening to.”

Durant is definitely right in the larger sense. Teammates spat and requests trades more often than we realize. Remember, both Irving and the Cavaliers probably prefer this never became public.

But I’m not sure Cleveland will figure this out with the ease Durant suggests. David Griffin, who had proven so adept at putting out these fires, is gone. LeBron’s free agency looms. This could be extremely destructive to the Cavs.

The fact that this “regular NBA problem” became public only intensifies it – and raises it something greater.

Report: Heat signing Jordan Mickey

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Jordan Mickey – the No. 33 pick by the Celtics in 2015 – became the first second-round pick in memory to sign the year he was drafted and receive a higher initial salary than first-round picks.

He’s keeping the checks coming.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Mickey will be the Heat’s 16th player with a standard contract, though Matt Williams (unguaranteed) will likely be waived to meet the regular-season roster limit.

I’m not sure where Mickey fits on this team, which already has several bigs. Hassan Whiteside, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk will likely play ahead of him. Miami also has A.J. Hammons (who might be just dead salary) and Udonis Haslem (who might provide nothing more than veteran leadership).

The Heat could just see Mickey as someone they can develop. At that point, how he fits into the current roster doesn’t really matter.

Mickey – 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan – is a mobile defender with nice timing for blocking shots inside. He even possesses a work-in-progress 3-pointer in his arsenal. There’s plenty for Miami to help mold.