Ray Ratto

Ratto: Kings fans can thank Lakers owner


Ratto: Kings fans can thank Lakers owner


We presume now that Sacramento is allowed to keep its basketball team that it will do the polite thing and send a nice fruit basket to Jerry Buss in Los Angeles.

Yeah, yeah. The Laker guy. Hes the one you thank.

It may be romantic to think that everyone was sold on Sacramentos fervent love for the Kings. It may be good real estate policy to think that this will provide the impetus for a new arena, presumably at public cost.

But thats not the way things work, ever. Seattle lost the SuperSonics because Clay Bennett didnt have enough opposition to his plan to move to Oklahoma City, come hell or high water. Oh, there was Mark Cuban, but who listens to him? Certainly not his partners.

There was, however, plenty of resistance to the Maloof Brothers' plan to find their bliss in Disneyland, and it began with Jerry Buss, who simply didnt want the television audience for his LakerTV network to be splintered further by the addition of a third Southern California team.

There were impressions all along that Buss had gotten the votes he needed to beat back the Kings, and the reports that the Kings were staying in Sacramento were at least two weeks old before they were confirmed.

It also helps that leagues like to look distressed when they enter into labor negotiations, and the Kings in Sacramento looked more threadbare than the Royals in Anaheim.

Do the Kings need a new arena? No. Does Sacramento need one? Thats up to the citizens who would be asked to pay for it. Money, as you might have heard, is kind of tight these days.

But when Gavin Maloof was asked if there was any unhappiness with the Lakers role in foiling their escape plan, he didnt answer for a good 10 seconds before saying he wanted to focus instead on Sacramento and its fans.

Thats code for, Were only staying because of them. And its true. Leagues are not just amalgamations of franchises. They are political organizations, with political figures running them. Buss played politics with his fellow owners, and David Stern didnt get in his way. Thats a tough pair to beat.

Sacramentos future remains cloudy in the longer term, and no, dont start in with the Bay Area again. Joe Lacob paid twice the value of the Warriors to own the Warriors, and if the league can screw one guy so eager to buy a team, the act of screwing him would dampen the resale market for other teams. San Jose, in short, is closed until the politics change.

But if it helps, Jerry Buss wouldnt mind the Kings going there.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor


Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”