Over the next two days in Manhattan — in between expensive dinners and reports on the NBA’s efforts to get a marketing foothold in India — the owners are going to hash out the fate of the Sacramento Kings. In a lot of detail.
But they will not vote on it.
We’ve told you about that delay before, but on Wednesday NBA Commissioner David Stern said it likely will be early next month before the league votes on approving the sale of the team to a group (led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer) that want to move the team to Seattle.
“I would be charitable to say the first week in May, but it could slide a bit,” Stern said. “That’s where we are.”
The combined relocation and finance/sale committees of owners have met the last couple days in New York and will brief the other owners, but that group has not yet made a formal recommendation. That recommendation is expected to carry a lot of weight with the owners.
The owners are deciding between a deep-pocketed Seattle group with plans for a new arena, and a strong counter proposal put together by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson that has its own billionaire and its own arena plan.
If you want to see how owners are torn — and why it feels like Sacramento still has a slim lead in the process — look at what Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen told the Oregonian.
“I think it’s a tough call. Because, although I supported the Sonics staying in Seattle when they ended up leaving, I think in general, there’s some feeling that if there’s good fan support in an area and there’s good political support sufficient enough to have a state-of-the-art facility, that’s more than enough to keep a franchise in the same place. Then you can get all the parameters of who’s made the best offer, who hasn’t made the best offer, all those things. So it’s a very difficult thing. And, of course, Steve Ballmer is a very good friend of mine. I think he’d be a great owner. So I reserve my final decision.”
The owners will make their votes — either in a phone or email process — in a couple weeks.
Now that former Heat assistant David Fizdale has accepted the Grizzlies’ head coaching job, he’s starting to put together his staff. One name to keep an eye on, according to John Martin of ESPN 92.9 in Memphis: J.B. Bickerstaff, who served as the Rockets’ interim coach this season after the team fired Kevin McHale in November.
The Rockets were a chemistry disaster this season, but Bickerstaff is highly regarded around the NBA in coaching circles. He was a candidate to keep the coaching job in Houston when the Rockets’ front office began their search, but he withdrew his name from consideration when he started receiving interest around the league as a lead assistant. It sounds like Memphis is one of the teams going after him, and he’d be a good hire for Fizdale’s staff.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr called Thompson “ridiculous.” That may be an understatement.
Thompson had 41 points, hit an NBA record 11 three-pointers in a playoff game, and the Golden State Warriors don’t force a Game 7 without him.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob may have had the best response, he drops to his knees and does the “we’re not worthy” bow before Thompson in the hallway postgame. (As there are reports a return trip to the Finals again could be worth $40 million to the franchise, Lacob should be bowing to Thompson for making that even possible.)
Hat tip Eye on Basketball.
The Bucks have a promising young core — led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, John Henson, and Kris Middleton — but one that took a step back this past season. Setbacks can mean changes in the power structure of an organization, and there are changes coming to Milwaukee.
However, not in the coaching ranks — Jason Kidd isn’t going anywhere, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
The Bucks are moving toward a contract extension with Kidd as coach, league sources said.
There will be changes further up the ladder.
John Hammond, the GM who was the architect of the current roster, has just one year left on his current contract, and the Bucks are bringing in Utah’s Justin Zanik as a GM in waiting, according to Wojnarowski.
Zanik, an assistant general manager with Utah, will join the Bucks with a similar job title – and an agreement that he will eventually become the successor to Milwaukee GM John Hammond, sources said.
Zanik has constructed a strong reputation within the league as a front-office executive and previously a player agent. Milwaukee was aggressive in pursuing him to eventually lead the franchise’s basketball operations.
The key is can Zanik and Kidd work together — Kidd has consistently pushed for more power in personnel decisions.
Bucks owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry have been aggressive since buying the team, and you can expect Zanik will be under orders to get this team back to the playoffs and back on an upward trajectory. That may just take time as all their young talent comes together. Well, that and they have to figure out how to make Greg Monroe fit with everyone else.
“Klay Thompson was ridiculous. His shooting was some of the most incredible shooting you will ever see.”
That was how Warrior coach Steve Kerr described Thompson’s night — a playoff record 11 three pointers on his way to 41 points, sparking Golden State’s Game 6 win on the road. It wasn’t just the threes, it was the degree of difficulty on some of those shots — he was just in the zone. Not the Blake Griffin commercial zone, the real one.