A new arena for the Bucks moved one step closer to reality today, when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a bill that calls for $250MM of public financing, write Mary Spicuzza And Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Walker has long backed the arena project and said when the bill emerged from the state legislature late last month that he’d sign it. The team must still arrange for a land sale with Milwaukee County and receive approval for construction from the Milwaukee Common Council, Spicuzza and Stein note, but Bucks executives have said that can take place between now and the fall. Groundbreaking must take place soon for the team to stay on schedule to meet a league-imposed deadline, lest the league seize the franchise from its owners and move it elsewhere, but today’s news indicates that the Bucks remain on track to stay in Milwaukee. Here’s more from around the league:
- Former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden will take part in a weeklong workout later this month for Jiangsu Kentier of the Chinese Basketball Association, the Altius Culture agency tweets. It’ll constitute an audition for the team, the agency indicates. He reportedly drew eyes from the Mavs, Hornets and Grizzlies early in the summer.
- Josh McRoberts had a frustrating, injury-riddled year for the Heat last season after his breakout campaign for Charlotte in 2013/14, and the subtraction of his nearly $5.544MM salary would go a long way toward preventing the Heat from paying repeater tax penalties this season. Still, he’s eager to return to playing in Miami, as he tells Kyle Neddenriep of his hometown Indianapolis Star. “I feel confident and comfortable going back there,” McRoberts said. “I kind of saw how things were last year. I’m excited to be back and part of the team because when you’re hurt, you are kind of isolated on your own. You’re not practicing and playing in games with them every day. I’ve worked with the coaches throughout the summer different times and feel good about the direction we’re headed.”
- Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov agreed to push back today’s deadline for minority owner Bruce Ratner to pay back his company’s debts to Prokhorov’s company, reports Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg.com (Twitter links). Ratner’s group now has until September 8th to pay or let their 20% share become 8%, with Prokhorov’s group taking over the other 12%.