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Seattle, Sacramento make cases; Stern says decision could take longer than expected


The news you actually care about out of Wednesday’s combined meeting of the NBA owners’ sale and relocation committees will leak out over the next few days. That’s when we’ll see which side gained an advantage (if any) and where the owners are leaning on the question of where the Kings will play next season — Seattle or Sacramento.

In a Manhattan hotel Wednesday, both groups make their pitches to the owners.

David Stern came out of the meeting and basically went to the Rasheed Wallace staple — “both sides played hard.” Here is what he said, via Ben Golliver at Sports Illustrated.

“We heard a day full of extraordinary presentations of a complex real estate, arena, construction timelines, potential obstacles and team funding in two really great cities,” Stern said. “It was a long day without any breaks and both sides made, in my view, very, very strong presentations.”

Then he gave the only bit of real news to come directly out of the meeting — the owners may not be ready to vote come the Board of Governors’ meeting April 18-19.

“It’s not at all clear what our precise timeline is for a final determination here is because the most important thing is doing all the work that has to be done,” Stern said. “We’re doing it as fast as collectively can together. It may well slide past the board meeting, but I wouldn’t expect it, if it does, to slide by a lot. Because there’s a combined interest in having some clarity come to this situation.”

The Seattle group is led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. They have an agreement to purchase 65 percent of the team, which is valued at $525 million, and have applied for relocation to take the team to Seattle. The team would play in the Key Arena in Seattle for a few seasons while a new arena is constructed (it is in environmental review). They came out confident, according to reports.

However, whatever happened inside the room Sacramento apparently won the press conferences — they were looser. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, has put together a strong counter offer led by billionaire Vivek Ranadive to go with 24-Hour Fitness owner to lead a group buying the team, and with Ron Burkle behind a deal to get a new arena done in downtown Sacramento.

So now we wait. And we could be waiting more than just a couple weeks for the answer.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”

Knicks’ Rookie Jerian Grant gets up, throws it down (VIDEO)

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The Knicks did well trading for Jerian Grant on date night — he’s going to be able to walk in this year and play quality minutes off the bench.

And, he can get up and throw it down.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points to lead the Knicks to a 94-88 win over the Sixers.