Kevin Johnson

Sacramento reaches terms on new arena deal. All part of the plan.


In the bid to buy the Kings, the Seattle group — led by Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — are largely working quietly, behind the scenes to make their case. Outside of setting up a place where fans could show their support by getting on a list to buy season tickets, and releasing renderings of their arena proposal, they have worked behind the scenes.

Sacramento’s process is much more public by design — they want to win public support, plus they have a very heavily involved civic government (mayor Kevin Johnson is helping spearhead the effort).

The latest step is the formal announcement they have an agreement to build a new arena near the city’s downtown plaza area (something we reported on before and we all knew was coming). The Sacramento Bee has the details.

Sacramento officials announced Saturday they have reached a deal for the largest redevelopment project in city history – a $447.7 million arena at the Downtown Plaza, with up to 1.5 million square feet of offices, housing, stores and a high-rise hotel….

It would require the city to commit $258 million in value, or 58 percent of the arena cost. Of that, $212 million would come from selling bonds backed by future revenues from city downtown parking garages. The city’s contribution is the same as it was in last year’s aborted project to build an arena at the downtown.

Tuesday night the Sacramento City Council is expected to sign off on the deal.

A group of NBA owners from the committees considering the sale and relocation of the team are meeting April 3 with the Sacramento and Seattle groups. Both sides will make their case. The Maloof family has an agreement to sell 65 percent of the Kings to the Seattle group, which has an arena in the environmental review stages and would want to move the Kings to Seattle starting next season.

Those committees from the April 3 meetings will report to the full NBA Board of Governors on April 18 and those owners will have to vote up or down on the sale (requiring 2/3 approval, meaning 8 owners can block it) and the relocation (a majority vote allows the move).

But expect this race to be won or lost before that big vote.

Tony Parker wants to play six more seasons with Spurs

Tony Parker
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Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.

Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.

Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”

That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)

Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.

But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.

I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.

Report: Pelicans signing Greg Smith

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The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.

Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.

Enter Greg Smith.

Scott Kushner of The Advocate:

Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.

But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.

Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.