NBA players returning to Seattle for exhibition

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It was five years ago Tuesday that the Seattle Sonics were sold to the group — Clay Bennett’s The Professional Basketball Club, LLC — that a couple years later would move them to Oklahoma City.

Kevin Pelton has a must-read post on his recolections of that day. There are a lot of good basketball fans in that city eventually screwed over by politicans and team owners, fans who had the audacity not to want to pitch in to help billioaires build a new stadium. (They did that in Oklahoma City, residents there voted to tax themselves to get an arena.)

But for one night, some NBA players are coming back to Seattle for an exhibition game, reports the Oregonian.

Three years after the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City, Seattle will get a small taste of the NBA with an exhibition game Saturday at KeyArena, one that will feature plenty of Trail Blazers and state of Oregon connections.

Blazers guard Brandon Roy headlines the field of the H206 Charity Basketball Classic, billed as “a state-wide public celebration showcasing the contribution of basketball to the Pacific Northwest….”

Roy’s Seattle team includes former Blazer Martell Webster, who plays for Minnesota; former University of Oregon star Aaron Brooks, who is a restricted free agent with the Suns; and Atlanta guard Jamal Crawford, a former NBA Sixth Man of the Year award winner.

The League team includes Nolan Smith, who was drafted by the Blazers out of Duke last month; Kyle Singler, the former South Medford High School star who was Smith’s teammate at Duke and was drafted by Detroit; and former University of Portland star Pooh Jeter, who played for Sacramento this past season and is a free agent.

Sounds like a good night of basketball for a good cause. And now the tables are turned — Seattle will see NBA players while Oklahoma City and other NBA cities may not for a long time.

The Pooh Jeter watch is over, he lands with the Sacramento Kings


Thumbnail image for Kings_logo.gifPeople just like Pooh Jeter.

He’s an undersized underdog who is a solid floor general and a good point guard. After graduating college he has spent the last four seasons either in the D-League or Europe. He blogged for DraftExpress. He was a Summer League staple. And he just kept working hard.

Today the Sacramento Kings announced that they have signed Jeter to a deal. DraftExpress reports this is a fully guaranteed deal, so he will make the Kings roster.

There are not a ton of point guard minutes to go around in Sacramento as Tyreke Evans gets the lion’s share. As he should. But Jeter is easy to root for as a backup, a small guy (5’11”) who seemed to find a way to make it work. The drawback was always that not only was he small, his shot didn’t fall often enough — but that he could change. He shot 48 percent in Vegas Summer League this year with the Cavaliers, scoring 14 points per game.

Bottom line is now he gets his shot. Good guy earns his way on to a big stage. People who love the underdog should be happy.