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NBA Saturday: Give the Kings to Seattle
Posted By Joel Brigham On August 25, 2012 @ 8:49 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Seattle Deserves the Kings
Yesterday reports surfaced that the Sacramento Kings, who just a year ago looked destined for relocation to Anaheim, might be headed for Virginia Beach. The Kings declined to comment on that, and Steve Kyler has already explained why a move to Virginia is far from done, but the real question behind this rumor is why Seattle isn’t first in line for getting an NBA franchise?
For NBA fans that haven’t been paying attention to what’s been going on in Seattle since the Sonics left for Oklahoma City, an investor named Chris Hansen has put together a plan with the city to build a nearly $500 million arena in the SoDo neighborhood, which is where SafeCo Field is located. That plan, as of late July, was moving along nicely, earning approval from the Metropolitan King County Council with just a handful of amendments.
That’s a great thing for Seattle’s chances at getting a new pro hoops team. The absence of a new arena was a big reason Thunder owner Clay Bennett was able to move the team in the first place, so Hansen’s ability to get a new arena built would go a long ways towards purchasing a team like the Kings and bringing them back to the Emerald City.
Even if it took 4-5 years to build the new arena, however, KeyArena (where the WNBA’s Storm still play) is actually still in good enough shape to house an NBA team in the interim. In fact, the proposal for the new arena includes provisions for KeyArena to serve as the “New Sonics’” home while the new building is constructed.
But despite the city’s approval and the fans’ support, ground can’t break on a new building until Hansen gets the keys to a franchise, and it’s no secret that the Kings are the next group up for relocation.
So why are we talking seriously about a city like Virginia Beach when Seattle has made a pretty nice bed for the Kings to go north rather than east? There are great fans in Seattle, an established NBA history, and even a team name, a classic green-and-gold color scheme, and a championship banner just sitting in storage somewhere, dying to see the light of day again.
Virginia Beach, obviously, has none of those things.
Actually, there are probably 10-15 U.S. and Canadian cities better for the Kings than Virginia Beach. Vancouver is still a viable market despite what happened to the Grizzlies, Chicago is a big enough market to support a second team, Kansas City and Pittsburgh are both great sports cities, and even Cincinnati is worth considering since that’s where the Kings (formerly the Royals) came from, anyway.
Seattle is the strongest suitor though, with an investor ready to buy, an arena ready to be built, and a fan base ready to welcome a new organization home with open arms. Nothing against Virginia Beach as a city, but they just can’t compete with that.
Griffin Back to 100% Already And Talking Championship
Knowing Blake Griffin’s history with knee problems, seeing him hurt one in the weeks leading up to the London Olympic Games this past summer was more than a little disconcerting. He immediately got surgery on the torn cartilage—which luckily had no connection to the stress fracture in his left patella that knocked him out for his entire rookie season—and now tells Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times that he’s back at full strength. Yes, already.
“I came back after surgery and started rehabbing and getting back into it. I’ve been shooting and lifting [weights] and all that for a while now,” Griffin said.. “So, I’m pretty much back at 100%, been back at 100% for a little bit.”
While it did keep him from a gold medal, at least the knee injury wasn’t particularly serious. With Clippers training camp opening up on October 1, it looks like Griffin will have no problem getting back to work in about five weeks.
“In talking to my doctor, he told me if this was the season and the playoffs were coming up, I would have been out two or three weeks,” Griffin said. “We’re kind of taking our time with it and really making sure we meet every single area and making sure that my strength is 100% back to where it needs to be.
“But it’s been there for two or three weeks now. So, really, I’m just kind of working myself into condition and still getting my basketball work in and getting my lifts in.”
It should be an exciting year for the Clippers, who are coming off a relatively successful first campaign under the leadership of Chris Paul. There’s optimism that, with a full training camp and a host of great new additions like Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford, and Lamar Odom, the “other” team in L.A. could actually have a real shot at a championship this year.
Of course, having Griffin and Paul on the roster is a big reason the Clippers attracted all those great new pieces in the offseason, and that’s a huge change from years of free agency past.
“Everybody knows the state that the Clippers were in, or have been in, for the last however many years,” Griffin said. “I think that shows a lot about where we’re at and where we’re going, that guys want to play here and that guys want to buy in. You’ve got a guy like Grant Hill who is at the end of his career and he chose us.
“So, I think we can be very good. I think we can contend in the West and for a championship.”
The Clippers’ moves weren’t as mighty as their Staples Center housemates’, but even without Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Clippers have enough to contend. Griffin’s health has so much to do with that, however, so it’s good to hear that he’s doing so well with a quick rehab as we gear up for the not-too-distant start of the 2012-2013 season.
Griffin will be ready. Actually, it kind of sounds like he’s ready right now.
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