Kevin Durant, future NBA team owner?

I’d like to own an NBA team. You probably wouldn’t mind owning one either. Far more realistic is NBA superstar Kevin Durant, once he eventually retires, pulling it off. And he’s interested. Here’s the Mercury News with reporting his latest words on the matter:

The Warriors’ Kevin Durant has mused about owning and/or operating an NBA franchise. This week he applied some specificity to his dream.

Asked if he had an interest in being the guy who returns an NBA team to Seattle, he did not equivocate.

“Hell yeah, of course I would,” Durant told ESPN after the Warriors had chewed up and spit out the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Wednesday night.

Durant has a sentimental attachment to Seattle. It’s where he broke in as a 19-year-old rookie.

Full article

Blazers owner Paul Allen dead at 65

Tragedy has struck the worlds of pro sports, technology and beyond as Paul Allen has died. Here’s the Oregonian reporting:

Paul Allen, longtime owner of the Portland Trail Blazers and one of the world’s richest men, died Monday in Seattle from complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 65.

Allen, born in Seattle in 1953, was a fixture in the Northwest for most of his life. He co-founded Microsoft with childhood friend Bill Gates and built the startup computer company into one of the world’s most successful corporations, turning Allen into a billionaire.

Forbes values his fortune at $20.3 billion, making him the world’s 21st richest person. The magazine tallies his total philanthropic contributions at $2 billion.

Allen used his considerable wealth in a variety of ways over the years, investing in a host of companies, donating to countless charities and accumulating pricey toys, and the last three decades of life were defined by his passions: sports, the arts and science. After a life-threatening bout with Hodgkin’s disease, Allen resigned from Microsoft in 1983. And although he retained a significant chunk of the company’s stock, Allen shifted his priorities to his passions.

STATEMENT FROM ADAM SILVER

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement today regarding the passing of Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen:

“Paul Allen was the ultimate trail blazer – in business, philanthropy and in sports. As one of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA, Paul brought a sense of discovery and vision to every league matter large and small. He was generous with his time on committee work, and his expertise helped lay the foundation for the league’s growth internationally and our embrace of new technologies. He was a valued voice who challenged assumptions and conventional wisdom and one we will deeply miss as we start a new season without him. Our condolences go to his family, friends and the entire Trail Blazers organization.”

STATEMENT FROM PAUL ALLEN’S FAMILY

This is a time of profound loss for Mr. Allen’s family. On their behalf, Paul’s sister, Ms. Jody Allen, has released the following statement.

“My brother was a remarkable individual on every level. While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend.

Paul’s family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern. For all the demands on his schedule, there was always time for family and friends. At this time of loss and grief for us – and so many others – we are profoundly grateful for the care and concern he demonstrated every day.”

STATEMENT FROM BLAZERS PRESIDENT & CEO CHRIS McGOWAN

“I was fortunate to work with Paul Allen for the last six years, get to know him and witness all the passion he put into making the world a better place. He was an amazing mentor and a great leader for our organization. He truly loved the Trail Blazers franchise, our city, our players, coaches and employees. We are deeply saddened by his loss and the thoughts of Rip City are with his family.”

STATEMENT FROM THE LAKERS

The following statement was issued by CEO and Controlling Owner Jeanie Buss on behalf of the Lakers organization:

“We are terribly saddened by the news of the passing of Paul Allen. He was dedicated to the city of Portland and his Trail Blazers teams reflected his commitment to hard work and excellence. Our condolences go out to his family, friends, colleagues and the Trail Blazers fans.”

The latest on Seattle and its hopes for another NBA team

Anyone who has followed the NBA for a long time knows that a team belongs in Seattle. That’s just a feeling, though. Business doesn’t work that way. People have to work together, on all sides, to make it happen. Can the city get itself a squad again? Here’s ESPN.com with an update on the city’s arena situation:

What it didn’t have was an acceptable arena, the genesis of the reason the Sonics left. After numerous previous proposals failed, last week the Seattle City Council passed a measure to clear the way for a privately-funded rebuild of antiquated KeyArena, ensuring the city will have a world-class venue by late 2020 or early 2021. The end of the long journey triggered a wave of momentum not only that the NHL would come, but that the NBA would soon follow…

The NBA doesn’t have expansion anywhere on its timeline, and Seattle’s arena developments weren’t discussed for a moment at the fall board of governors meeting two weeks ago, league sources said. Some prospective ownership groups that have met with NBA officials have been told expansion may not happen until 2025 at the earliest, when a new TV deal can be negotiated, sources said.

In general, NBA teams have flown up so high in value that it’s tough to think an owner would want to rock the boat by moving to another city. There are exceptions to that, of course, but the vast majority of the league’s teams will likely stay put for a long, long time.

Fans in Seattle shouldn’t expect any positive news on this front anytime soon.

What would be interesting is what the favorite team is of former Sonics fans who still do follow the league and have switched to another squad as the one they call their own.

Steve Ballmer would still like to own an NBA team

Here’s the Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog reporting:

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told the Wall Street Journal Thursday that he would be open to making another play for an NBA franchise, even if it means not bringing a team to Seattle.

Ballmer spoke with the Journal prior to giving the commencement address at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business on Friday.

He wouldn’t commit after reporter Shira Ovide’s asked if he was interested in bidding for the Los Angeles Clippers. NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned longtime Clips owner Donald Sterling for life on April 30 following the release of audio tapes in which Sterling is heard making racist remarks. Ballmer and Silver were spotted together on Sunday when the Clippers hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Playoffs.

Big victory for Sacramento is keeping the Kings

The big victory for the Kings in recent years, as far as Sacramento is considered, is that the team is still in town and did not wind up being relocated to Seattle or elsewhere. Here’s the Sacramento Bee:

Kings

Standing at center court in Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday night amid smoke from exploding fireworks, new Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, microphone in hand, uttered a few words.

“Sacramento, I have just one thing to say to you,” he said, pausing, his face a mask of seriousness. “This is your team. And it is here to stay.”

A standing-room-only crowd in Sleep Train Arena exploded in cheers. It was a moment many here thought just six months ago would never happen. And yet, the Kings hosted a noisy, purple-hued celebration Wednesday in Natomas, launching their 29th and most improbable season in Sacramento.

The game, which the Kings won 90-88 over the Denver Nuggets, capped a triumphant night.

Many in the crowd said they had come to bask in the fact that Sacramento had somehow, over the last three years, fended off serious attempts by two cities to take the team – both of which seemed, at points, to be done deals.

Bill Russell arrested for carrying gun at airport

Hall of Fame center Bill Russell was arrested this week at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after Transportation Security Administration officials found a loaded gun in his luggage.

Russell was arrested Wednesday night as he attempted to go through security. Airport spokesman Perry Cooper confirmed Friday night that Russell was cited for having a weapon in a prohibited area. Russell’s gun was confiscated and he was released.

Russell’s gun was a .38-caliber pistol and was loaded with six rounds, according to a TSA spokesman.

Reported by the Associated Press

Sacramento Kings to impose Sleep Train arena ticket surcharge

The price of admission to Sleep Train Arena has just gone up 5 percent.

As part of a complex deal between the city and the Sacramento Kings for a new downtown arena, the team this month added a 5percent fee on tickets to all arena events. The funds will be used to speed up payoff of a $74million loan the city issued to the Kings in 1997 to help previous team owners refinance arena debt. The Kings still owe the city $62million, after making a $2million July payment, City Treasurer Russ Fehr said.

The fee is expected to be in effect for upcoming events, including a Josh Grobin concert in two weeks, Disney on Ice and Kings pre-season and regular season games.

The surcharge is part of a series of expected agreements between the team and city as part of a joint plan to build a $448million arena at Downtown Plaza.

Reported by Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee

Effort to build new Sacramento NBA arena still faces roadblocks

Kings

A fresh fight broke out Wednesday over the proposed public subsidy for Sacramento’s new NBA arena, this time over an allegation that opponents of the subsidy are illegally using voter-registration information for commercial purposes.

In a complaint to the California secretary of state’s elections fraud unit, the pro-arena group DowntownArena.org accused its opponents of using voter lists to pitch the services of a for-profit energy company. “Voter registration information shall not be used for any commercial purpose,” reads the letter from DowntownArena.org.

But John Hyde, a spokesman for the anti-subsidy group STOP, for Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, called the charge “absolutely false.”

The exchange was the latest flare-up between DowntownArena and STOP, which is working on a ballot initiative to force a public vote on the city’s proposed $258 million subsidy for the arena. Last month, DowntownArena filed a complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Commission that resulted in the dramatic disclosure that a portion of the signature-gathering effort was secretly financed by Chris Hansen, the investor who tried to buy the Kings earlier this year and move them to Seattle.

Reported by Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee

Sacramento push for new Kings arena continues

Sacramento Kings
Sacramento push for new Kings arena continues
This new arena stuff is taking a while to materialize

Eight local legislators joined Friday to back a bill to shield Sacramento’s downtown arena plan from lengthy litigation that could cause the building to miss a tight, NBA-imposed deadline for opening.

The 11th-hour effort, championed by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, would speed up the judicial process for handling environmental lawsuits, limit the courts’ ability to stop construction, and add mediation to the mix.

Steinberg, who promised the league in New York this spring he’d help shepherd the arena project through the state’s often lengthy environmental process, said the bill keeps the arena on a fast track to open in 2016.

NBA officials have said they are willing to give Sacramento an extra year, but Commissioner David Stern has warned that the league reserves the right to force the team to move to a new city if the project lags.

Reported by Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra addresses the Seattle Seahawks

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra addresses the Seattle Seahawks

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra clearly has the football bug. He apparently also carries a message that resonates beyond basketball.

Three weeks after attending practice and then addressing the University of Tennessee football team in Knoxville as a favor to friend and Volunteers coach Butch Jones, Spoelstra was in Renton, Wash., on Tuesday, addressing the Seattle Seahawks.

“Just having him here in front of the team and just having him in meetings with us and having him out here in practice is an unbelievable experience for everybody,” quarterback Russell Wilson said after Tuesday’s practice. “For him to be able to talk about how his basketball team was successful and the way that they went about their business in terms of sacrificing . . . just that whole idea of sacrificing everything, the players, LeBron [James] coming to Miami, and Dwyane Wade sacrificing all that, all that type of sacrifice that it takes to be great and to be great so often, is kind of what he talked about for the most part. And having that discipline, as well, too, is something that he talked about, and just working hard, continuing to work hard, continuing to believe in yourselves and ignore the noise.

“That’s the main message he gave. And it clicked right with us.”

Reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel