Anaheim mayor says city excited, “closer” to landing Kings

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As expected, the Anaheim City Council postponed action Tuesday night on a plan to float bonds that would make upgrades to the Honda Center — redoing the locker rooms and building a practice facility among other things — to lure the Sacramento Kings to town.

But for the first time an Anaheim city official spoke publically about the effort — Mayor Tom Talt addressed the issue at the council meeting, reports the Orange County Register.

“The good news is that we are continuing to move closer to bringing a professional basketball team to Anaheim,” Tait said. “Because there are ongoing discussions and negotiations, I have just a few details to share tonight. More information will be forthcoming in the next week or so.”

Meanwhile, up in Sacramento, that city’s mayor — former NBA player Kevin Johnson — called the process a “slow death” and said this “will likely be the Kings’ final weeks in Sacramento after 26 years” in a personal blog post.

Talt did talk about one detail, confirming that the plan was to keep public money out of the deal.

“First, I can tell you that a financing structure is being proposed that would allow for private investment to fund improvements at Honda Center,” Tait said.

“We have all seen the speculation in the media, but I want to assure everyone that should a deal go forward, the city taxpayers and the city’s general fund will not be put at risk in any way,” he added. “All of my colleagues on the City Council and city staff share my concern that the taxpayers cannot be exposed to any risk with this potential new deal.”

What this likely means is revenue bonds — where private investors purchase the bonds and are paid back, with interest, on money generated from the building. In this case, the extra money generated when the Kings — likely to change their name to the Royals — move into the Honda Center.

Because the city of Anaheim ultimately owns the Honda Center, it will likely have to guarantee the loans in some fashion — investors are big on guarantees, they want their money back — but that can be set up in a way that there are multiple layers of sources of funds in between the revenue falling short and the city having to pay.

The revenue may not fall short of paying off the bonds. However, selling a notoriously fickle market (the NHL’s Ducks are in the bottom 10 in the league in attendance and percentage of building filled) after a protracted and ugly NBA lockout this summer may end up being more of a challenge than the Kings owners and the city expect.

Hall of Famer Paul Westphal diagnosed with brain cancer

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Paul Westphal, the Hall of Fame guard who played at the peak of his career with the Phoenix Suns (and earlier won a championship with the Boston Celtics) has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Longtime sportswriter Mike Lupica made the announcement.

Glioblastoma is a particularly aggressive and difficult form of cancer to treat.

Westphal was born and raised in the South Bay area of greater Los Angeles and went on to play his college ball at USC. He was the No. 10 pick of the Boston Celtics in the 1972 NBA Draft and went on to play three seasons with the Celtics, winning a title with them in 1974.

After that he went on to Phoenix, where he was an All-Star player and was named to the All-NBA team four times. Westphal also played for the Knicks and Sonics during his career. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame last September.

After playing he became a coach, spending at least part of seven seasons as the Suns head coach, plus he coached the Kings for three seasons.

One of the best-liked people in NBA circles, there are a lot of people in Westphal’s corner today and going forward.

 

Draymond Green fined $50,000 for tampering with Devin Booker

Draymond Green fined
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
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“It’s great to see Book playing well and Phoenix playing well, but get my man out of Phoenix It’s not good for him, it’s not good for his career. Sorry Chuck, but they’ve gotta get Book out of Phoenix. I need my man to go somewhere that he can play great basketball all of the time and win, because he’s that kind of player.”

That was the Warriors’ always outspoken Draymond Green on Inside the NBA on TNT Thursday, talking about the play of Devin Booker and the fast start of the Suns in the bubble.

The second he said it, Ernie Johnson asked, “Are you tampering?” Green said, “maybe.”

The NBA said yes and has fined Green $50,000 for “violating the league’s anti-tampering rule.”

In past years the NBA has mostly ignored player-to-player tampering, but after complaints from owners last season the league is cracking down on — at the very least — public tampering by players. Going on a popular national show to say Booker should leave Phoenix qualifies.

Just a reminder for fans of a team desperate for a star and suddenly looking at Phoenix, Booker has four years left (after this one) on his max contract extension. The Suns are building around him and Deandre Ayton — and right now it looks like it’s working (coach Monty Williams should get a lot of credit for that). The Suns aren’t looking to trade, Booker isn’t looking to leave (and has no leverage anyway), and the Suns seem to be building something real down in the Valley of the Sun.

 

Watch Luka Doncic post 36-19-14 with just dazzling passing (video)

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The Bucks’ have one of the best defenses in NBA history, allowing 7.9 fewer points per 100 possessions than league average. The Mavericks have the highest offensive rating (116.5) in league history.

Something had to give.

And it was Luka Doncic – to teammate after teammate after teammate.

Doncic had 36 points, 19 assists and 14 rebounds in Dallas’ 136-132 overtime win over Milwaukee yesterday. He was in complete control as a scorer and passer, showing just how far he has come.

The Bucks already secured the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. But they played hard, forcing overtime. Giannis Antetokounmpo looked like the MVP with 34 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.

Doncic was just better.

Report: NBA could play next season at multiple regional bubbles

Warriors star Stephen Curry
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Other than waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to subside – a possibility – the NBA faces MAJOR challenges next season.

The bubble is working for finishing this season. But that’s with just 22 teams rather than the full 30. And this is just for a few months, not a full season. Players are already bristling about how long they’re separated from their families.

Yet, what’s the alternative to a bubble? It looks like the only safe way to play professional sports.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated

We’re a ways off from next season, but league sources have told me that the NBA is looking at options that include creating regional bubbles, should the COVID-19 pandemic still prevent normal business in the fall. Teams would report to a bubble for short stints—around a month—which would be followed by 1-2 weeks off.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Orlando is a consideration, and Las Vegas — a finalist for this summer’s restart — would reemerge as a possible site too, sources said.

This is an interesting possibility.

Smaller bubbles would reduce the odds of a coronavirus outbreak that undermines the whole league. But what happens if one bubble has coronavirus issues? Teams’ schedules could get significantly unbalanced quickly.

The shorter bubble lengths would allow players to spend time with family more frequently. But how many players would contract coronavirus while between bubbles? Look how many players got coronavirus during this last layoff.

There are no easy solutions amid this pandemic. This is one of many imperfect ideas that should at least be considered.