NBA Commissioner David Stern listens at a news conference before the All Star slam dunk competition during the NBA basketball All-Star weekend in Houston

As owners meet in New York, Stern says vote on Kings fate weeks away


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.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.