Study shows Sacramento arena would bring billions to surrounding area

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While the NBA stumbles all over itself trying to divide up a multi-billion dollar pie, the folks in Sacramento are making moves to put their own pie into the oven.

The Think Big Sacramento coalition, which is the ever-changing moniker of the grassroots political coalition to keep the Kings in town (formerly Here We Build), released a report on Thursday showing that a new Entertainment and Sports Complex (ESC) would bring the area $7 billion of economic activity and 3.1 million new visitors to the region over 30 years.

As sources close to the proceedings reported to us in late May, this report provides the backbone of financial proof necessary to convince Sacramento area voters that the ESC is a necessary and worthwhile venture.  And while a public vote is not expected, the public’s blessing on the matter is obviously a key to its success.

The coalition, which includes politicians, city leaders, and consultants not just from the city of Sacramento, but from the neighboring counties as well, also struck it big when the report found that those neighboring counties would receive $26 million in revenue annually, while the county of Sacramento would receive $131 million of its own.

This information comes at a time when growing regional support for building an ESC in the city of Sacramento has challenged residents in the outskirts of the region to see and understand how economic benefits go beyond the proposed downtown site.

It also follows a previous report from Capitol Public Finance Group estimating that 4,095 jobs would be created in the Sacramento region during the completion of the ESC, which has a 12.8% unemployment rate, with another 400 new jobs being provided on an ongoing basis.

While politicians have hesitated in the past to get behind public financing for sports arenas, the tenor of the discussion in Sacramento has changed significantly, as regional leaders face the impending loss of those revenues should the Kings leave for Anaheim.

“The return on investment the public would get from this is enormous,” said Executive Director of Think Big Sacramento to Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee.

Rob Fong, city councilman for the city of Sacramento added that the ESC would be “not only good for downtown, not only good for Sacramento, it’s good for the six-county region.”

Add into the equation the excitement generated by the drafting of Jimmer Fredette and the acquisition of promising power forward J.J. Hickson, things look about as good as they can for a city that wouldn’t resign itself to the fate of losing their team. Heck, if they can re-sign free agent center Samuel Dalembert or otherwise bring in a veteran big man, there could even be a playoff series to properly eulogize the old Arco Arena (currently known as Power Balance Pavilion).

And if things continue heading in the right direction within the Sacramento City Council and the Think Big Sacramento coalition, the tone of that sendoff will be much more celebratory than the one this past April.

That is, if there is basketball to play.

Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman, possible first-rounder, staying in 2020 NBA Draft

Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman
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Michigan State power forward Xavier Tillman went No. 23 in the last mock draft by Kurt Helin and Rob Dauster.

That’s the type of confidence in Tillman that has him staying in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Michigan State release:

Michigan State men’s basketball rising senior Xavier Tillman Sr. (Grand Rapids, Mich./GR Christian) announced today that he would remain eligible for the 2020 NBA Draft and plans to hire an agent.

Tillman doesn’t look like a typical first-round pick. He’s an upperclassman, 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds and not an elite athlete.

But he just knows how to play.

Tillman is a physical interior defender who’s mobile enough on the perimeter. His basketball intelligence typically outshines his physical limitations.

That also goes for offense, where Tillman is also hamstrung by lackluster outside shooting. But Tillman can screen and finish or pass – a useful combination for a roller in the NBA.

I’m not sure whether Tillman will go in the first round. Teams tend to value higher-upside players, as the draft is often the best opportunity to acquire a star.

But Tillman was darned effective in college and has a reasonable chance of being effective in the NBA. In this draft, that should make him a first-round pick.

Must watch: Lonzo Ball halfcourt alley-oop to Zion Williamson

Lonzo Ball Zion Williamson
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Damn. This is just a thing of beauty.

Lonzo Ball and Zion Williams have a connection on the court and the Grizzlies got a look at it up close and personal Monday.

NBA TV has another angle

In a must-win game for 0-2 New Orleans, Zion played more in the first half than we have seen recently, but he was still under 10 minutes total. He had 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting, leading an energized Pelicans team that led by seven at the half.

Thunder’s Dennis Schroder leaves bubble for birth of child

Dennis Shroder child
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Dennis Schroder was not in uniform when Oklahoma City lost to Denver Monday. He wasn’t even in Orlando.

Schroder left the bubble to be with his wife for the birth of his child, something the team knew was coming but came up suddenly Monday morning, coach Billy Donovan said pregame (reporting from ESPN’s Dave McMenamin inside the bubble).

 

“I’m not gonna leave my wife by herself while she’s having a second baby,” Schroder said when he talked about this with reporters previously. “(Dennis) Jr. is still 17 months old, so I’m for sure gonna go there and support her and try as much as I can to be there for my family.”

Congratulations to the Schroder family, we hope everyone is happy and healthy.

The Thunder will miss Schroder while he’s gone. He is a Sixth Man of the Year candidate averaging 19 points per game while shooting 38.1% from three. The Thunder are at their most dangerous when Schroder is paired with Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a rotation that we will not see for a while.

The first round of the playoffs starts Aug. 17. Schroder can return to the team, the question is how long he will be in quarantine when he does. If Schroeder has a negative coronavirus test for seven consecutive days before his return, he will be in quarantine for four days. If he does not get tested, or if he exposes himself to the virus unnecessarily while outside the bubble — for example, picking up wings from a strip club for dinner — he will have a 10-day quarantine.

The Thunder could use him for what will be a tight first-round playoff series in a very balanced West. Schroder may or may not be there, he has higher priorities right now.

Oklahoma state Rep. threatens to increase Thunder’s taxes for kneeling during national anthem

Oklahoma City Thunder kneel during national anthem
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The Oklahoma City Thunder – like all NBA teams (minus a few individuals) – kneeled during the national anthem.

That powerful protest calls attention to racism, particularly through police brutality. It is highly patriotic to work toward ending those shameful practices. Though some have distorted the underlying message, the protests have largely worked. In the years since Colin Kaepernick first kneeled, Americans have developed a heightened sensitivity to racism and police brutality.

Of course, there are still many opponents of anthem kneeling. The demonstration causes a visceral reaction (which is also why it has been so effective). At this point, it’s hard to stand out among the critics of anthem kneeling who keep making the same, tired arguments.

Oklahoma state representative Sean Roberts found a way.

Roberts, via Oklahoma’s News 4:

“By kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, the NBA and its players are showing disrespect to the American flag and all it stands for. This anti-patriotic act makes clear the NBA’s support of the Black Lives Matter group and its goal of defunding our nation’s police, its ties to Marxism and its efforts to destroy nuclear families.

If the Oklahoma City Thunder leadership and players follow the current trend of the NBA by kneeling during the national anthem prior to Saturday’s game, perhaps we need to reexamine the significant tax benefits the State of Oklahoma granted the Oklahoma City Thunder organization when they came to Oklahoma. Through the Quality Jobs Act, the Thunder is still under contract to receive these tax breaks from our state until 2024.

Perhaps these funds would be better served in support of our police departments rather than giving tax breaks to an organization that supports defunding police and the dissolution of the American nuclear family.”

This is outrageous.

It’s outrageous that the Thunder get such a targeted tax break. The franchise is a private company that should succeed or fail based on its own merits. While it’s easy for NBA fans (like readers of this site) to get caught up in the league, professional basketball isn’t actually important for the greater good.

It’s outrageous that a company’s tax status could depend on how its employees exercise their freedom of expression. The First Amendment still exists.

Ultimately, Roberts almost certainly doesn’t have the power to do what he’s threatening. This is grandstanding for political gain. It gets Roberts into national headlines and little else. Mission accomplished, I guess.

So, Roberts builds a reputation as another big-government politician – someone who wants to use the heavy hand of government to dissuade free expression.