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Sacramento makes new case for keeping Kings

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Sacramento makes new case for keeping Kings

April 19, 2011
KINGS PAGE KINGS VIDEO

SACRAMENTO (AP) Business and political leaders in Sacramento have another chance to persuade the NBA that the Kings should stay in town, and they'll put a full-court press on league officials this week.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star, said Tuesday that the city had feared the Kings' move to Anaheim might be a done deal. But he said at least some of the NBA owners at last week's league meetings appeared impressed when the city presented 7 million in commitments for new advertising, ticket purchases and other financial support from local businesses and other backers.

On Tuesday, the tribe that operates Thunder Valley Casino northeast of Sacramento agreed to commit an additional 1 million to back the Kings in Sacramento, bringing the total to at least 8 million. None of that money would go toward the multi-million dollar cost of building a new arena, the repeated sticking point in years of efforts to keep the team happy in Sacramento.

"The fact that we're here and we bought two more weeks, that is a big, big deal," Johnson said at a City Hall news conference, his first since returning from the meetings in New York City. "We get a chance to put our best foot forward."

RELATED: Johnson takes plea to NBA
Commissioner David Stern said last week that the league wanted to "do a little bit more fact-finding" and the NBA granted the Kings' owners another extension until May 2 to file paperwork requesting a relocation. The original deadline passed April 18.

The NBA will send two representatives to Sacramento on Thursday, including relocation committee chairman Clay Bennett, chairman of the ownership group for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The franchise was the Seattle SuperSonics until 2008, when Bennett relocated the team amid calls for a new arena.

Besides giving the Maloof family, which owns a controlling interest in the Kings, more time to formally request league approval for a move, the extension also gives Sacramento more time to make its case to keep the Kings and show how it could build a new arena the team wants.

Local backers want both the Kings and the Maloofs to stay in Sacramento, Johnson said. Failing that, they'd like to keep the team with new owners, or attract a different NBA franchise. The emergence of supermarket tycoon Ron Burkle as an interested buyer for the team created a buzz last week, but Johnson said he may not be a factor in the discussion if the city can make the case that Sacramento is a viable market for the Maloofs and the Kings. The Maloofs have insisted they won't sell the team.

To make their case to the NBA, Johnson said, local backers will stress the strength of the fan base, the fact that Sacramento is in a top 20 media market with no other pro sports team, and the new surge of support from businesses.

RELATED: Kings' application extended
While a full financial and feasibility analysis of a sports and entertainment complex in Sacramento won't be complete by May 2, Johnson said he hopes to present some preliminary data on alternatives and revenue streams to the NBA by that date.

Johnson kept beating the drum for the local effort Tuesday. His visit to the tribal council of the United Auburn Indian Community won a commitment of 1 million, said Doug Elmets, spokesman for the tribe and Thunder Valley. The tribe, he said, "sees value not only in keeping the Kings in Sacramento, but in being part of the business community commitment that Kevin Johnson is seeking." The tribe already pays for a luxury box at Power Balance Pavilion, and expects the 1 million would largely go for advertising and sponsorships, Elmets said.

The mayor also was working out the details for a meeting Wednesday with political leaders around the Sacramento area to present a broad regional appeal to the NBA.

The mayor declined to identify what businesses were involved in the 7 million in new commitments of support, but said he hopes to disclose them after they've been discussed with the league.

Johnson said he didn't know much about an effort to collect signatures in Anaheim to force a public vote on 75 million in financing for a Kings deal, not expected until June 2012. "I'd be dishonest if I didn't say I was glad that was going on" because it may buy Sacramento more time, he said.

Rob Stutzman, a Sacramento political consultant who is organizing the signature drive, said the effort is in its final stages and could be wrapped up by the end of the week. The signature drive has been backed by many small contributors, he said, and has not worked with the Burkle group. Among the backers and organizers of the Committee to Save the Kings are former city councilman Robbie Waters, real estate investor Ethan Conrad and steel company executive Steve Ayers.

LeBron joins 30,000-point club with buzzer-beater vs Spurs

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USATSI

LeBron joins 30,000-point club with buzzer-beater vs Spurs

SAN ANTONIO — LeBron James has joined the NBA's 30,000-point club.

James became the seventh player with 30,000 career points when he hit a jumper with one second left in the first quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers' game against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.

James was recognized by the arena before the second quarter and got a standing ovation from Spurs fans. James patted his heard and said "thank you so much."

James needed seven points Tuesday to get there. He missed his first two midrange jumpers before making two driving layups and a 20-footer. He hit the milestone jumper over Danny Green from 19 feet out.

The 33-year-old James joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) and Dirk Nowitzki (30,808) on the list.

At 33 years and 24 days, James is the youngest to reach the mark. Bryant was 34 years and 104 days when he got there.

The 14-time All-Star has averaged 27.1 points since breaking into the league as an 18-year-old in 2003.

Warriors have four All-Stars for second consecutive season

Warriors have four All-Stars for second consecutive season

OAKLAND -- The Warriors on Tuesday captured their first repeat of the season. For the second consecutive year, they’re sending four players to the All-Star Game.

Forward Draymond Green and guard Klay Thompson were announced as reserves for the game scheduled for Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. They join Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, who were voted in as starters.

It’s the ninth time four players from one team were selected, but the first time it has happened in consecutive seasons.

The same four players made the team last season, when the Warriors went on to win the NBA Finals, but the format was strictly Western Conference vs. Eastern Conference.

Though reserves are still determined by a vote among coaches, the roster format has been altered this season. The top voting leaders in each conference -- Curry in the West, LeBron James in the East -- choose from the pool of available players, irrespective of conference affiliation. Those voted starters are first off the board.

With so many talented forwards migrating to the West -- including newcomers Paul George and Carmelo Anthony moving to Oklahoma City -- Green on Tuesday morning voiced some trepidation about being selected as reserve.

“It’s something that you want,” he said after shootaround. “It’s something I’d be excited about. But I do know it’s a tough pool.

“I want to be an All Star, one of the top guys in the league. But I’m here to win championships.”

Green is fourth on the Warriors in scoring, averaging 11.3 points, but leads them in rebounds (7.9) and assists (7.6). Despite missing seven of the team’s 47 games, he is making his third consecutive appearance in the All-Star game.

Thompson, who has played in all but one game this season, is making his fourth consecutive appearance in All-Star game. Third on the Warriors in scoring, at 20.6 points per game, he is having his most efficient season, shooting 48.6 percent from the field, including a league-leading 45.3 percent from deep.

Here is the full list of All-Stars:

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Starters: Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins
Reserves: Jimmy Butler, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Draymond Green, Karl-Anthony Towns, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Starters: Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid
Reserves: Kyle Lowry, Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Love, Bradley Beal, John Wall, Al Horford, Victor Oladipo