City of Seattle

And-Ones: Seattle, Summer League, Ledo, Prigioni

Ray Allen has been in the news lately for his beef with his former Celtics teammates, stemming from his move to the Heat. Before he played for either of those clubs though, Allen was a four-time All-Star for the Seattle SuperSonics. The longtime marksman was at his best during his time in Seattle, averaging 24.6 PPG in 296 regular season contests, and he still has a fondness for his old home. As Alysha Tsuji of USA Today details, Allen suggested in a recent Instagram post that he wants to see the NBA back in the city.

“I still can’t believe that there is no basketball in Seattle!!” Allen wrote on an Instagram post that featured the hashtag #bringbackoursonics. “This city is too great not to have a hoops squad. Come on everybody we need to rally and bring the NBA back to Seattle. let’s make this happen people!!! The NBA misses traveling to Seattle, I know I certainly do!!!!!”

As we wait to see if Allen follows Russell Wilson‘s lead and officially joins a group trying to bring the NBA back to Seattle, let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world…

  • The NBA officially announced today that a record 24 teams will compete in the Las Vegas Summer League from July 7-17 this summer. While multiple Summer Leagues take place in July, the event in Vegas continues to be the most popular.
  • As David Pick reports (via Twitter), Spanish team Baskonia made a roster move involving a former NBA player earlier this week, signing Ricky Ledo, a second-round pick in the 2013 NBA draft. According to Pick (via Twitter), the move to add Ledo was made because Baskonia feared that former NBA sharpshooter Chase Budinger would miss the rest of the season with an injury.
  • Pick has another update on Baskonia, tweeting that the Spanish club is considering the possibility of hiring Pablo Prigioni as its future head coach. Although he played four seasons in the NBA, Priginoi spent most of his career in the Euroleague, spending a long stint with Baskonia in the 2000s. He recently retired as a player, and it appears coaching may be the next step for him.

And-Ones: Doncic, Seattle, Jeff Van Gundy, Draft

Seventeen-year-old Real Madrid star Luka Doncic has a new agent, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, who reports (via Twitter) that Doncic has signed on with BDA Sports, and will be represented by Bill Duffy. Doncic won’t be eligible for the 2017 draft, but the investment by BDA has a chance to pay off in a big way down the road — the Slovenian guard is considered one of the best European prospects in years, and is currently viewed as the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the basketball world:

  • Chris Hansen‘s efforts to build a new NBA- and NHL-ready arena in Seattle have been going on for more than five years, but the investor is still confident that it will eventually happen, according to an Associated Press report (link via USA Today). Hansen’s group has increased the private funding in its arena plan and re-submitted it to Seattle City Council, per The Associated Press.
  • Will ESPN and ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy ever return to the sidelines to coach an NBA team? His brother thinks it’s still a real possibility. “Yeah, with the right situation, absolutely. I don’t know if he will, but I definitely can see it,” Stan Van Gundy said, per Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. “He misses parts of it (coaching), but he also has a real good job, so it goes both ways.”
  • Within his latest draft notebook for The Vertical, Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress passes along several interesting notes, writing that player agents aren’t enthusiastic about the NBA’s new two-way contracts and suggesting that 2017 will be a weak draft class for NCAA upperclassmen and international players.
  • Terrance Ferguson is the mystery man of the 2017 draft class, according to Neil Johnson of ESPN.com, who takes a closer look at the 18-year-old who is playing professional ball in Australia.

And-Ones: Blue, BIG3, NBPA, Draft, Expansion

NBA D-League veteran Vander Blue has appeared in more than 150 NBADL games since making his debut in 2013, and once again ranks among the league’s scoring leaders this season. In 35 games for the Los Angeles D-Fenders, Blue has averaged 25.2 PPG and has shot 37.2% on three-point attempts.

Despite his success in the D-League, the former Marquette standout has only appeared in five NBA regular-season games. Nonetheless, at age 24, he continues to believe he’s deserving a longer look in the NBA, telling Alberto de Roa of HoopsHype that he knows it’s eventually going to happen. In fact, as he focuses on producing for the D-Fenders and earning another shot in the NBA, he says he’s not considering more lucrative offers overseas.

“I told my agent I don’t really wanna hear about overseas right now,” Blue said. “I feel like if I start thinking about that I’m gonna lose focus about what I need to do here. And I want my mind, my soul, my body all to be in one spot so I can really be the best I can be.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the NBA:

  • The BIG3 has confirmed another new team, announcing in a press release that Chauncey Billups, Stephen Jackson, and three other players will team up on a club called the Killer 3s. Previously, we heard that Rashard Lewis and Jason Williams would co-captain a team called the 3 Headed Monsters.
  • TNT’s David Aldridge spoke to NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, engaging in an interesting Q&A on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and her role as an advocate for the league’s players.
  • ESPN’s Chad Ford (Insider link) has updated his latest 2017 mock draft in the wake of this week’s trades, which saw two first-round picks change hands. The Trail Blazers and Magic acquired first-rounders from Denver and Toronto, respectively, so Ford has incorporated new picks for those teams.
  • There’s no indication that the NBA is seriously considering expansion at the moment, but that didn’t stop Tom Ziller of SBNation.com from identifying his top 13 candidates for a new NBA franchise, from an obvious choice (Seattle) at No. 1 to a surprise choice at No. 13.

Aldridge’s Latest: Hornets, CBA, Seattle, Casspi

The Hornets had several players eligible for free agency in the summer of 2016, and while they lost some players, such as Courtney Lee and Jeremy Lin, they were able to re-sign key pieces like Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams, much to the relief of Kemba Walker.

“I was nervous as hell,” Walker told David Aldridge of NBA.com. “I didn’t want to lose those guys. I knew we couldn’t pay everyone. I wish we could have gotten a lot of the guys back, but unfortunately, the way this business works is it can’t happen all the time. Nic and Marv were high priority … I got a chance to go out to Dallas and be a part of Nic’s meeting. Me and [Michael Kidd-Gilchrist] flew out. It was super cool. We got a chance to sit in the room and say a few words.”

General manager Rich Cho admits the team was worried about potentially losing Batum. As Aldridge details, teams like the Mavericks and Wizards were interested in the veteran forward, but the Hornets didn’t want him to take a meeting with another team — and he didn’t.

Here’s more from Aldridge:

  • Barring any last-minute complications, the NBA and the NBPA will likely reach an official agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement during the week of December 5, reports Aldridge. The league and the union will likely take the week after Thanksgiving to make sure everyone’s up to speed on the new deal before formally announcing it.
  • According to Aldridge, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson approached Chris Hansen and his investment group about getting involved in the Seattle arena project, rather than vice versa. While it may still be years before a new Seattle arena is built, Wilson’s cache and his willingness to invest in the project should only help, Aldridge writes.
  • While there’s no indication that they have interest, Aldridge believes the Wizards should look into trading for Omri Casspi, who has fallen out of favor in Sacramento. Casspi told Matt George of Cowbell Kingdom that he and Kings head coach Dave Joerger haven’t spoken since the preseason.

Adam Silver Talks CBA, Expansion, Draft Lottery

Appearing on SiriusXM NBA Radio on Thursday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver reiterated that he remains optimistic about the league and the players’ union reaching a deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement sooner rather than later. As Silver explains (Twitter link), he views the opt-out date of December 15 as a deadline of sorts, and is hopeful that the two sides can reach an agreement on or before that date.

Silver also weighed in a few more issues of note, so let’s round up a few of the highlights…

  • On the new CBA giving teams “additional opportunities” to lock up their own players (Twitter link): “One of the things that we’re talking about is coming up with some… advantages in terms of being able to negotiate earlier, to extend the contract. Under the way our rules our structured, your current team can offer you a longer contract [and] they can offer you more money. I think if we early-up some of those opportunities, at least teams will be in a better position to know whether they can keep that player. And if they can’t, there will be more of an opportunity to deal that player and get value for that player if it seems likely that player is going to leave.”
  • On the possibility of expanding the NBA beyond 30 teams (Twitter link): “In addition to the so-called super-team issue, we also have to be sure that we have 30 competitive teams, made up of strong rosters. I’m not sure right now that expansion, which would then in turn dilute the competition on our teams, is necessarily the right direction to go. … As much as I’d like to bring teams to other communities, I have to take into account what impact it’ll have both in terms of competition and financially on our existing teams, who will then get their payments from our national TV partners diluted.”
  • More on expansion: “I’ll say that we owe to our owners, our players, and our fans to take a fresh look at it on a regular basis. I think once we ultimately get this new Collective Bargaining Agreement done, I’m sure a committee of owners and people at the league office will turn back to it and do a very sophisticated analysis about whether expansion does make sense.”
  • On draft lottery reform (Twitter link): “I’m not exactly sure how I would change it at the moment, because it once again seems to be working pretty well.”
  • Addressing the practice of resting non-injured stars, Silver said he’d like to see teams do it in home games rather than road games, but noted he’s “super-reluctant” to try to set any rules for how teams and coaches should manage their players’ minutes (Twitter link).
  • Silver also suggested that an NBA team in Europe is unlikely to happen anytime soon, pointing to rest and logistics as roadblocks (Twitter link).

And-Ones: USA Basketball, Seattle, Rumors, NBL

Earlier this month, USA Basketball announced that Jerry Colangelo was stepping down from his position as USA Basketball Chairman, with Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reporting at the time that retired general Martin Dempsey was on track to replace Colangelo. Dempsey’s election as the new chairman is now official, according to an NBA.com press release. The vote took place at USA Basketball’s annual Board of Directors meeting.

“I am excited to join USA Basketball and to become part of a legacy of excellence both on and off the court,” Dempsey said in a statement. “Playing for USA Basketball is about commitment, sacrifice, and pride.  It’s about developing young men and women who are exceptional athletes but also exceptional leaders.  It’s about respecting the game and our international competitors. It’s about representing our country with honor, and it’s about winning.  I look forward to working with the USA Basketball staff, coaches, players, and families.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has partnered with Chris Hansen‘s Seattle arena group, as Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com details. As we heard last month, Hansen’s group is willing to forgo public funding in order to get approval to move forward with a new arena.
  • In a helpful piece for SBNation.com, Seth Rosenthal explains the difference between fake NBA rumors and legit ones, and how to tell the difference between the two.
  • Top recruit Terrance Ferguson ultimately chose to play this season in Australia’s National Basketball League rather than playing college ball at Arizona. A report from the Australian Associated Press (link via ESPN.com) explores whether Ferguson’s decision, along with the NBA’s one-and-done rule, could be a boon for the NBL.
  • Chris Patrick, formerly a member of Relativity Sports, has left the agency to start the Sports Law Group, which will represent athletes, coaches, and schools, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.

KeyArena Could Be Renovated To Attract NBA Team

Seattle’s KeyArena could be developed into a multi-purpose facility that would allow it to house an NBA franchise, thus enhancing the prospects of the league returning to the city, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports.
A city-hall source confirmed to Baker that Los Angeles-based Oak View Group is interested in renovating KeyArena into a facility that could accommodate an NBA or NHL team. Last year, an architectural firm oversaw a KeyArena study that concluded the arena could be remodeled at a cost of $285MM, Baker continues.
One of the partners in the Oak View Group, Tim Leiweke, has a pro sports background after previously serving as CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment owns both the Maple Leafs’ NHL and Raptors’ NBA franchises.  The Oak View group has held several meetings regarding a KeyArena upgrade with Seattle officials, a source told Baker.
Seattle’s Mayor’s office is expected to issue a Request for Proposals to renovate the facility by December, according to Baker, and the city is then expected to seek bids on a potential renovation. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told The Seattle Times during the spring that the league remains open-minded to a KeyArena remodel, Baker adds.
The NBA, of course, has some history of returning to cities that lost franchises, mostly recently in Charlotte, as well as New Orleans. It would come as no shock if Seattle, who lost the Sonics franchise to Oklahoma City, becomes a viable destination for a new or current franchise if the KeyArena renovations are made.

And-Ones: Stephens, Seattle, Childress, NBPA

Former University of Memphis standout D.J. Stephens has been arrested and charged with domestic aggravated assault, writes Yolanda Jones of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Stephens, who was in camp with the Grizzlies this month before being waived last weekend, is accused of attacking his child’s mother. The alleged incident reduces Stephens’ chances of getting another shot with an NBA team, but if he does sign with a club at some point, he could be facing a suspension, depending on the outcome of the case.

Let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the NBA…

  • One NBA team owner tells Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net that getting a franchise back in Seattle is “a big priority” for the league. A new arena proposal from Chris Hansen‘s investment group has created renewed optimism about getting the NBA back to the city, though it doesn’t sound as if the league has gone too far down the road on planning potential expansion or relocation. “I don’t think it’s been thought out that far along yet,” a source tells Amico.
  • A Wednesday report from Chris Reichert of The Step Back suggested that former Hawks forward Josh Childress, who last played in the NBA during the 2013/14 season, had signed a D-League contract. However, Reichert has since removed his tweet, and Childress’ agent – Daniel Moldovan of Entersport – denied the report (Twitter link).
  • Jon Wertheim of SI.com spoke to NBPA executive director Michele Roberts about the optimism surrounding the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations, and what she and the players’ union hope to get out of a new deal.

Seattle Arena Group Offers To Forgo Public Financing

The Seattle investment group led by Chris Hansen has offered to privately fund a new sports arena in the city’s SoDo neighborhood, forgoing public financing, reports Chris Daniels of KING 5 News. In a letter submitted to Seattle’s mayor, the King County Executive, and Seattle’s city council members, Hansen’s group says it’s willing to build a new arena “at no cost to the City or the County.”

As Daniels details, the arena group is also willing to cover a funding gap to build an overpass over Lander Street, though the offer would be conditional on the city vacating a one-block stretch of Occidental Avenue and agreeing to a few tax credits. Within the letter, which was signed by Hansen, Wally Walker, and Pete and Erik Nordstrom, the group notes that “economic landscape has changed” since it made its initial proposal that called for about $200MM in public bonds.

“The recession is behind us and we are deep into this new economic cycle,” the group said in its letter. “Interest rates have declined and the NBA has completed its new national television contract, creating more financial certainty in the industry. … These considerations lead us to suggest a new proposal.”

Although Seattle’s city council voted against the previous arena proposal from Hansen’s group by a 5-4 margin, the new proposal is described as a “game-changer” by city council president Bruce Harrell. When the city voted down the previous proposal, there was some concern about the fact that the NBA had made no promises to Seattle regarding expansion, meaning the arena project would have moved forward using public funds without being assured of landing a major professional sports team. However, if the arena is funded using only private funds, the city may more willing to get on board without any guarantees from the NBA or NHL, since the private group would be assuming the risk.

“In order for us to reconsider we urged them to remove public financing from the project, and they’ve done that, so the ball is back in our court,” Seattle city council member Tim Burgess said to Daniels after receiving the letter.

There have been whispers that the NBA may consider expansion in the not-so-distant future, though there’s still plenty of skepticism that team owners would want to reduce their share of the league’s revenue pie. It may not be a coincidence that the push from Hansen, who recently bought more land in the SoDo neighborhood, comes as the league and the players’ union are negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. A new CBA deal could allow for expansion to be weighed more seriously, and Seattle would likely move to the front of the line if the city approves the construction of a new NBA-ready arena.

NBA Considering Possibility Of Expansion?

As the NBA and NBPA work toward finalizing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the league is also reportedly considering the possibility of expansion, according to Kevin Nesgoda of SonicsRising.com. While no NBA teams are expected to relocate anytime soon, the league apparently hasn’t ruled out the possibility of moving into a new (or old) market via expansion.

According to Nesgoda, he asked dozens of media and league sources whether NBA expansion is on the table, and the overwhelming majority suggested the possibility is being discussed. Nothing is certain at this point, but Nesgoda hears that Seattle remains on the league’s radar. Nesgoda identifies Louisville, Pittsburgh, Omaha, Las Vegas, Vancouver, and Mexico City as other cities that could attempt to vie for a franchise if given the opportunity.

The possibility of expansion is an interesting one for the NBA, particularly if there’s a city with an NBA-ready arena prepared to make a play for a team. Unlike Major League Baseball, where teams play nearly every day, the NBA could conceivably function with an odd number of teams, so adding a single franchise would be realistic. That scenario would dilute the league-wide talent pool slightly, but not significantly enough to have a real impact on the quality of play.

As Nesgoda cautions, there are still plenty of roadblocks between NBA expansion becoming a reality in Seattle or another city, even if the league were to open up bidding. A potential ownership group would require the land, the funding, and the approval for an NBA arena in order to be taken seriously as a potential location for a franchise. Still, it’s something worth keeping an eye on as the league and the players’ union negotiate a new CBA deal.

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