NBA AM: Kings Get New Arena Deal, Staying Put
City Council Approves New Arena Deal For Sacramento Kings: Overcoming all odds and the predictions of most at the beginning of the journey, the Kings, local community leaders and the NBA were able to finally get past its last obstacle as Sacramento’s city council approved a financing plan which essentially clears the way for a $391 million arena set to open in September 2015.
The council voted 7-2 to approve the term sheet.
“Long live Sacramento, and long live the Kings,” Sacramento mayor and former NBA guard Kevin Johnson shouted to a sea of supporters after the council’s vote.
The move will keep the Kings in Sacramento for at least the next thirty years.
The council’s vote also ends the 2011 bid by Anaheim which was attempting to lure the franchise to Southern California. Another city, Seattle, had also recently begun discussions on a new arena deal of their own hoping to secure the Kings if they relocated.
But in the end, Johnson spearheaded an improbable comeback for the city of Sacramento after relocation seemed imminent at the end of the 2011 season.
“A year ago, this was the longest of long shots,” Johnson said. “That’s one heck of a comeback.”
A comeback for the ages indeed.
Last April, the club appeared to be Anaheim bound until Johnson pleaded with the NBA to give the city of Sacramento another opportunity to find financing for a new arena.
Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett, who is head of the NBA’s relocation committee, ultimately decided to recommend the league give Sacramento until March 1 of this year to come up with a plan on the new arena’s financing.
On March 1, Johnson delivered the proposal to the league which would be submitted to the city council for approval.
Under the terms of the agreement, the city of Sacramento will contribute an estimated $255 million to the building of the new arena, while the Kings ($73 million) and arena operator AEG ($58 million) will fund the large majority of the remaining balance. The selling of public land, tickets surcharges, sponsorship programs and advertising will cover the remaining owed.
“I want to thank you on behalf of my family and our organization for taking the next step forward,” Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof told the council after the vote. “We look forward in working with you throughout this process and we are excited about this. We appreciate your efforts. This is a great day for Sacramento.”
According to reports, the new arena will be located in downtown Sacramento and will seat 18,500. The project is set to begin building the facility within the next 30 days.
Carmelo Anthony, Trouble Adjusting To Jeremy Lin? Before the All-Star break the New York Knicks were one of the league’s hottest teams going from just mere observers in the Eastern Conference postseason chase with a head coach seemingly on the hot seat to a squad some began predicting capable of pulling off a first round playoff upset.
The talk was driven by the rise of point guard Jeremy Lin from relative obscurity and the fact most of the team’s success during that run came with All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire on the shelf due to injury.
The belief was once Anthony returned from injury the team would continue its rapid ascent in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Knicks are now just 2-4 since Carmelo Anthony returned from his recent injury and understandably frustrations are now running high in New York.
In fact, Anthony admitted he just hasn’t been able to consistently find his groove without having the ball in his hands to make the plays.
“Any time you go from having the ball and me distributing and now just waiting for it to come to me . . . that’s part of the adjustment for myself,” Anthony said after Tuesday’s loss to the defending champion Dallas Mavericks.
There will probably be too much made of the team’s recent struggles.
The Knicks weren’t playing sharp basketball all season but were able to catch fire during Lin’s historic run, but now since he’s returning to earth, as expected, it’ll be an adjustment period for all parties – especially for Anthony who no longer can dominate the rock for extended periods of times.
“It gets frustrating out there when things aren’t going your way,” Anthony said. “As far as me, I’m all right. I’ll figure it out what I have to do out there.”
Josh Smith, Franchise Player? The Atlanta Hawks lost All-Star center Al Horford for the remainder of the season just eleven games into the current campaign. They’ve also had to endure nagging injuries to six-time All-Star guard Joe Johnson at various points throughout the season.
But the injuries have yet to pull the plug on the team’s winning ways.
The primary reason of the team’s ability to overcome its early season adversity is the play of power forward Josh Smith.
In the national sense, the pecking order of Atlanta’s big three has always been considered Johnson, Horford and Smith – in that order.
However with Smith’s consistent and stellar play, while carrying the team on his shoulders, it’s becoming increasingly hard to ignore that it may be time to rethink the previously stated pecking order -if you haven’t done so already.
Hawks head coach Larry Drew plans to continue riding the Smith wave for the foreseeable future.
“With no Joe and no Al, he’s the guy,” Drew told Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We are going to go through him as much as we can and hope he makes the right plays. He’s been phenomenal.”
The Hawks are 12-0 when Smith scores more than twenty points this season and over his past four games the eighth year veteran is averaging 23.4 points and 12.4 rebounds per contest.
“I’m playing confident basketball,” Smith said after carving up the Indiana Pacers for 27 points and 9 rebounds In Tuesday’s win. “My teammates are looking for me. I know they need me to score a little more than I have in the past. They need me, and I feel like I can’t let them down.”
Smith is admittedly playing with a chip on his shoulder since he believes he was snubbed from the All-Star team. He’s definitely putting the league on notice with his play.