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

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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.

Larry Nance Jr. throws alley-oop to himself, throws alley-oop to himself (video)

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LOS ANGELES — Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. immediately motioned for the replay to be shown of this dunk. It was necessary to properly appreciate it.

Best dunk of the night.

Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest, though.

Larry Nance Jr. plays tribute to father — rock-the-cradle dunk in Suns uniform

Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES — Back in 1984, high-flying Larry Nance Sr. won the first NBA All-Star Dunk Contest with this set of dunks — most famously a rock-the-cradle move.

Larry Nance Jr. came into the 2018 Dunk Contest and went nostalgic — all the way back to the Suns’ throwback uniform and the same dunk.

That and a good second dunk got him into the Dunk Contest finals. In that round, Nance Sr. threw an alley-oop to his son for the windmill.

Donovan Mitchell throws alley-oop to himself – off second backboard (video)

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LOS ANGELES – Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell set a high standard with the first slam of the 2018 dunk contest.

Very creative. Very well-executed.

Looks like all that preparation paid off.

Devin Booker’s 3-point-contest victory bright spot for Suns (video)

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Los Angeles – Devin Booker‘s Suns have the NBA’s worst record (18-41).

“I think everyone is fed up with the losing, from the top to the bottom of the organization,” Booker said this afternoon. “So, for us, it’s what’s next?”

A 3-point contest victory.

Overcoming Phoenix’s poor record to draw an invite to All-Star Saturday Night, Booker won the 3-point contest with a whopping 29 points in the final round.

That score left little margin for 2016 champion Klay Thompson, who capped the event with a 25-point round that was otherwise the night’s high. Clippers forward Tobias Harris, in his new home arena, finished third.

Booker was all smiles after the rare victory.

“Season not going how we planned, but I know a lot of the city was ready for this All-Star Weekend, having somebody participate,” Booker said. “So, I’m glad I could win it.

Where he and the Suns go from here is still questionable, but he has a plan.

“I’m going to win the dunk contest next year,” Booker said. “No, I’m just kidding.”

Full results

First round

Klay Thompson 19

Devin Booker 19

Tobias Harris 18

Wayne Ellington 17

Bradley Beal 15

Eric Gordon 12

Kyle Lowry 11

Paul George 9

Second round

Devin Booker 29

Klay Thompson 25

Tobias Harris 17