Dan Feldman

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 12:  Alan Williams #15 of the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos drives during a game against the UNLV Rebels at the Thomas & Mack Center on November 12, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UC Santa Barbara won 86-65.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Suns guarantee Alan Williams’ contract

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Alan Williams produced in four years at UC Santa Barbara. He produced in summer league. He produced in China. He produced in 68 minutes with the Suns last year.

Yes, the competition levels and sample sizes leave something to be desired, but Williams has answered every call.

Now, maybe we’ll see more of him.

Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:

his contract became guaranteed at 2 p.m. Thursday once the Suns kept him on the roster for $874,636 next season.

“It was an easy decision for us,” Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough said. “He’s played well at two summer leagues. He’s really improved from the end of last season. He’s transformed his body. He’s developing his touch outside the paint and added a push shot.”

Williams didn’t look like an NBA athlete in college. The 6-foot-8 power forward often took advantage of smaller competition in the Big West. If he has transformed his body to go with his tremendously effective basketball intelligence, that’d be huge for him.

Phoenix now has 14 players with guaranteed salaries plus John Jenkins on an unguaranteed deal. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Suns add someone else to compete with Jenkins, but Williams has secured his place on the regular-season roster.

Kings on hook for higher cost of new arena

Kevin Johnson, Vivek Ranadive
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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The Kings’ new arena deal is bad for taxpayers.

Thankfully, it won’t be as bad as other stadium deals, I guess.

Dale Kasler of The Sacramento Bee:

Barely a month before opening, the Sacramento Kings continue to pour money into their new downtown arena, bringing the latest estimate of Golden 1 Center’s construction costs to $556.6 million.

The estimate has risen by $21.7 million in just a month, according to a construction consultant’s report submitted to Sacramento city officials late last week. The $556.6 million price represents a more than $79 million increase since the Kings broke ground in October 2014 on what was envisioned as a $477 million project. When the arena was first proposed to city officials in 2013, Kings officials said it would cost $447 million – bringing the total increase in price to around $109 million.

With the city’s subsidy capped at $255 million, all the additional costs are coming out of the pockets of Kings Chairman Vivek Ranadive and the rest of the team’s owners.

Let this serve as a lesson to other cities. If you just have to spend taxpayers’ dollars on an arena that enriches billionaire owners, at least make sure those billionaire owners cover overages. New stadiums commonly cost more than initially projected.

Lakers sign Julian Jacobs

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 09:  Julian Jacobs #12 of the USC Trojans passes against the UCLA Bruins during a first-round game of the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 9, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. USC won 95-71.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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If the Lakers waive Nick Young, they have potential replacements lined up.

The Lakers have 14 players – one shy of the regular-season roster limit – plus Yi Jianlian, who’s very likely to last past the preseason. But dropping Young would create a vacancy.

Zach Auguste and Travis Wear are ready to vie for it.

So is undrafted USC guard Julian Jacobs.

Lakers release:

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Julian Jacobs

The 6-foot-4 Jacobs has excellent hops, and he scores at the rim and rebounds well for his position as a result. But his shaky jumper is a major negative.

Jacobs enters this potential competition firmly behind Auguste and Wear.

It doesn’t help that a team with D’Angelo Russell, Jose Calderon, Marcelo Huertas, Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams probably doesn’t need another point guard.

Most likely, the Lakers waive Jacobs and assign his D-League rights to their affiliate. But, if he’s in camp, he’ll at least have a chance to buck the odds and stay into the regular season.

C.J. McCollum says Stephen Curry can’t guard him

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 11:  C.J. McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers is guarded by Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs on May 11, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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C.J. McCollum has never been shy about speaking his mind on the Warriors.

His latest target: Stephen Curry.

A dismal Finals and terrible shoes have made it open season Curry. Is McCollum just riding that wave and piling on?

I don’t think so.

If asked the same question about Kawhi Leonard, Tony Allen or anyone else, McCollum probably would’ve given the same answer. This is about the confidence of someone who went from Lehigh to a quasi-max contract, not someone denigrating specifically denigrating Curry’s defense (though that McCollum probably wouldn’t be the first if he were doing that).

I mean, look at McCollum’s standards for who can guard him:

Craig Sager hangs tough in leukemia battle

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16:  Legendary TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager talks with Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Sager is on a one game assignment for ESPN. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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HOUSTON (AP) — Craig Sager’s once lustrous chestnut hair is down to a few unruly strands because of chemotherapy, and on this day of hope a simple green T-shirt and blue shorts adorn the broadcaster known by millions for his ostentatious wardrobe and easy rapport with the NBA’s elite.

He methodically extended a long, skinny arm to an IV pole holding the stem cells he is counting on to save his life. There was silence as he cradled the tube, watching the crimson liquid drip, drip, drip in a perfect cadence into the cannulai that feeds it into his cancer-stricken body.

TNT’s beloved basketball broadcaster received a rare third bone marrow transplant on Wednesday to fight an aggressive form of leukemia. The 65-year-old Sager has battled acute myeloid leukemia since 2014 and announced in March he was no longer in remission.

Sager knows the odds are against him. Yet, he seems unfazed.

“I like to gamble,” he told The Associated Press. “I like to bet on horses, I like to bet on dogs, I like to bet on a lot of things. I’ve bet on a lot of things with a lot higher odds than this.”

Sager has twice before received a bone marrow transplant with stem cells and each time he went into remission for several months. His son, Craig Sager II, was the donor then. This time, an anonymous 20-year-old donor was considered a perfect match.

Sager has been hospitalized for a month and has another monthlong stay ahead. He hasn’t thought a lot about the man whose bone marrow could change everything for him. But when he learned of his age, he expressed a half-serious concern.

“My only thing was I was afraid that when he signed up to be the donor, he may have been in some drunk fraternity house trying to impress his date,” said Sager, with a smile. “And they call him up the next day and say: `Want to come down to the hospital?’ and he’s like: `What?”‘

His fears turned out to be unfounded.

“He came through,” Sager said.

The latest of nearly 100 procedures Sager has endured in his well-publicized fight was performed at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and took more than 10 hours to complete. Dr. Muzaffar Qazilbash, Sager’s stem cell transplantation physician, researched thousands of such transplants at MD Anderson over the last 15 years.

“It’s less than 1 percent of the total number of transplants,” Qazilbash said. “It’s very rare to have three transplants.”

Sager, who has worked for TNT for more than three decades, says he’s open to trying anything doctors think might help.

“I’ve had every chemo in the alphabet, most of them more than once,” he said. “Some of them that aren’t even in the alphabet, they’re just numbers – clinical trials. But I bet if you added all those up it would have to be like 60- or 70-something. I’ve had 23 bone marrow aspirations. Having one isn’t fun and I’ve had 23. So that’s been tough.”

Despite the rigors of treatment and how they can ravage his body, he’s never thought about giving up. He gets angry when he meets other patients who say they’ve grown weary of fighting.

“Man, life is too beautiful, too wonderful, there’s just too many things,” he said. “It’s not just you. It’s your family and kids and all. Fight. Fight until the end. Fight as hard as you can.”

With his radiant smile and TV-perfect persona, it takes time to peel back the layers of positivity and catch a glimpse of how hard that fight can be.

“His attitude is, nobody wants to hear it,” said his wife Stacy, his full-time caregiver and No. 1 fan. “And so it makes you reflect on yourself and the things that you say when you’re complaining about little things in life and trivial things, and it just puts things in perspective.”

But there are times, often as night creeps into early morning, where it all becomes too much. No medication can help.

“I’ve never had any of those days where I’ve actually said `why me,’ or `I can’t do it,”‘ he said. “But I’ll have some dark nights where I’ll be here by myself and maybe getting some medicine that’s making me jump around like a rabbit. And I’m in pain and I’ve got chills and I’ve got fever and I’ve got everything mixed into one and I’m throwing up and have diarrhea … and I’ll just say: `Stacy, I need you. I need you.’

“And she’ll come to me and just hold me and it just makes it better,” he said.

A few days before his transplant, Stacy came down with a bad cold and doctors sent her home, fearful she’d transmit her illness to her husband. Hall of Famer and TNT colleague Charles Barkley heard she couldn’t be there for a couple of days and hopped on a plane from Phoenix.

However, Sir Charles had hip replacement surgery less than a month ago and wasn’t cleared to travel. He said his doctor was livid when he learned Barkley had defied orders and flown halfway across the country. Barkley informed the doctor that it was an emergency.

“Craig Sager is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met,” Barkley said. “We go to see Sager to cheer him up and by the time you leave you’re like, `Is anything wrong with him?’ He has the most positive attitude … When you go to try and cheer him up his attitude is so upbeat he cheers you up.”

Sager found inspiration in a girl who lost her fight with cancer before her ninth birthday. He befriended Lacey Holsworth and her family while working on a story about her illness and remained friends with her parents after she died in April 2014. Holsworth had cheered on the Michigan State basketball team and had a close friendship with star Adreian Payne.

Last weekend, her parents visited Sager in his Houston hospital room. They left him with a more tangible reminder of her bravery.

“They brought me little Lacey’s boots that she used to always wear to games and a picture of her wearing them,” said Sager, clutching the high-top cheetah footwear with laces made from silk ribbons. “That little girl was so amazing. Fought for all of those years, was always positive, always cheerful, always brought other people’s spirits up. So if I’m laying here feeling bad, I just think about Lacey and it puts everything in perspective.”

Sager’s also bolstered by his drive to be back on the sideline for the NBA season. He doesn’t expect to have recovered from the transplant in time for the season-opener on Oct. 25, but aims to return by early November for more of gentle sparring with the likes of San Antonio Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich .

It would be a victory not just for him, but for all the people his fight has inspired.

“It means that you’re surviving and you’re winning,” he said. “That you’re knocking down obstacles and clearing hurdles that are put in front of you and you’re doing them with flying colors.”

On Wednesday, five colorful balloons were tied to one side of his hospital bed. Several had birthday greetings and two said: “Happy birthday, it’s your big day.”

Festive, yes. But Sager was born in June.

“When you get stem cells they say it’s your new birthday,” Stacy explained. “So this is his fourth birthday.”

Sager tried to downplay the pageantry surrounding the event, saying it wasn’t “a big deal.”

That earned a sweet, yet stern, admonishment from his beloved wife.

“It is a big deal,” she said. “It’s giving you life.”