Sacramento Kings to Anaheim more than rumors; fans push back

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Things are dire in Sacramento.

Mayor Kevin Johnson (yes, that Kevin Johnson) said yesterday that the talk about the Kings moving to Anaheim was more than just rumors. Then today we learn that the Kings owners asked for, and likely will be granted (by a vote of the other owners), an extension past the March 1 deadline so they can continue to explore a move next to Disneyland. This is the NBA’s Statement:

“The Sacramento Kings have requested an extension of the March 1 deadline to give Kings ownership the opportunity to discuss their options with the Board of Governors at its April 14 – 15 meeting. The Board is currently considering the Kings’ request.”

They want to discuss their options with the other owners? Be afraid, Sacramento. This is picking up a lot of momentum. Anaheim has an NBA-ready building in the Honda Center. It’s a good building, a bit old and not as nice as Kansas City, for example.

But Anaheim comes with a massive, massive television market.

What Anaheim also has is a billionaire in Henry Samueli, the owner of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and co-founders of Broadcom. He is worth an estimated $1.7 billion. The Maloofs have said however they would not be selling the team to Samueli nor accepting a loan from him.

We heard from a league official that if the Kings were to move they would not have to pay territorial rights fees to the Lakers and Clippers (which likely would have killed such a move). The NBA Board of Governors (the other owners) could vote to make the Kings pay fees to the two Los Angeles teams, but that is not likely.

Did we mention there is a lot of momentum here? And it sucks.

Sacramento fans have been good to the Maloofs. Look at it this way: Phil Jackson — who has inspired more hate from the people in Sacramento than any person who has not been governor — thinks the team needs to stay there.

There is a push called Here We Stay, backed by Tom Ziller, one of the best bloggers in the business with his Sactown Royalty, among many others in the city. They are trying to sell out an upcoming Kings game. Then boost attendance at the other dozen home games the Kings have this season. To show that despite the team’s play, despite the economy Sacramento backs the Kings. They really shouldn’t need to display that because they did it for more than a decade. The Maloofs know that.

But it’s about suites and television deals. It shouldn’t be, it should be about the game and loyal fan bases. But it’s always about the money.

It’s clear which way this thing is leaning. And it sucks for Sacramento. For Kings fans. For the NBA.

Warriors’ Andre Iguodala out for Game 6

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Steve Kerr has been searching for a couple of games now for his fifth guy.

With Andre Iguodala out there is no Death/Hamptons 5 lineup and Kerr is looking for a fifth guy to partner with his four All-Stars. Kevon Looney is starting, Jordan Bell is showing potential but also makes some rookie plays, Nick Young has been bad enough that Kerr trusted Quin Cook more at the end of the last game (and Cook missed his looks).

Kerr is going to have to keep searching for a guy in Game 6 because Iguodala is out again.

The Warriors are not the team heading into Game 6 with the most significant injury woes, the Rockets are without Chris Paul. That and the fact the Warriors’ backs are against the wall is the reason they are heavy favorites in Game 6.

However, the Warriors have not been the same without Iguodala. He is a playmaker who can control the ball and settle things down, makes the right decision, get the player and ball movement the Warriors have strayed too much from back, plus is one of their best defenders on James Harden. Nobody else on the roster can do that.

And if Game 6 gets tight late, the Warriors are going to miss those skills. As they have in the last two games.

Marcus Smart on Game 7: ‘It’s not going to be pretty’

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Game 7s are not pretty basketball. Everyone is tight, shots clank off the front of the rim, and players tend to think rather than just react, sucking the flow out of the game. It’s a game for grinders.

Marcus Smart is good with that, and he told Chris Forsberg of ESPN the team is preparing for this style.

“It’s not going to be pretty. You got to be able to get down and get dirty. You can’t go out and try to look pretty. You have to be ready for a dogfight. We got to be ready to come up with our nose bloodied. We got to be ready to come out with our mouth bloodied. We have to come out ready to fight.”

If Boston is going to win this game, they will do so with the physical, smart, and unrelenting defense that carried them all season. That’s their grit. Without Kevin Love (out with a concussion) the Celtics have one less scorer to worry about, but things do not necessarily get dramatically easier — LeBron James is going to get his buckets, but can the Celtics keep George Hill, Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith and the rest of the role players from helping out with big nights of their own.

Which one of these teams is better positioned to win a grinding, sloppy game? Who is willing to dive on the floor and give that little extra effort? A case can be made either way, but Sunday night will decide it.

Report: Warriors’ Patrick McCaw cleared, will be available for Game 6

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We haven’t seen Golden State’s Patrick McCaw on an NBA court since March 31, when he was undercut by Sacramento’s Vince Carter and took an ugly, nasty spill.

McCaw is finally cleared by the team doctors and will be active on Saturday night for Game 6 against Houston, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Golden State Warriors are planning to activate swingman Patrick McCaw for Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

McCaw, on paper, would help the Warriors — he’s a 6’5″ switchable defender who can provide some offense in transition. That’s especially true if Andre Iguodala is out for Game 6 (his status is a game-time decision). McCaw played about 17 minutes a night for the Warriors during the regular season.

However, the idea of taking a second-year player who has not been on a court in six weeks and throwing him into Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals — a win-or-go-fishing game for Golden State — is risky, at best. Don’t expect him to get on the court unless this is a blowout.

Kevin Love in concussion protocol, listed as out for Game 7

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As if winning a Game 7 on the road against a younger, more athletic team that has not lost on its home court all playoffs was not difficult enough, things just got harder for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kevin Love has a concussion and is not expected to play in Game 7 on Sunday.

While it is technically possible for Love to clear out of the concussion protocol in 24 hours, it is highly unlikely. He would have to pass a rigorous physical test and have no concussion-related symptoms, something cleared by both the team doctor and a league-approved neurologist. This is something that tends to take days if not weeks to get over.

Love was injured just five minutes into Game 6. Love had set up position in the midpost and was setting a screen for George Hill, who was curling out to the arc. Jayson Tatum was trailing Hill and he banged heads with Love. It wasn’t pretty.

Love spent a few minutes on the ground, went straight to the locker room, and did not return to the game.

LeBron James is going to have to carry even more load in Game 7, and now more pressure falls on George Hill (the bellwether for this Cavs team), J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson and others to step up without Love there to space the floor and get buckets.