Las Vegas

Sixers' Amir Johnson, a Las Vegas resident, shaken by Strip massacre

Sixers' Amir Johnson, a Las Vegas resident, shaken by Strip massacre

CAMDEN, N.J. -- When Sixers forward Amir Johnson bought an offseason home minutes off the Las Vegas Strip three years ago, he never imagined there would be an attack in the city.

On Sunday night, more than 50 people were killed and over 500 hurt when a gunman opened fire into a crowd of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

“Devastating,” Johnson said.

Johnson was visibly shaken by the incident Monday afternoon at practice. His mother texted him from Las Vegas to let him know she was safe. Those who were harmed were on his mind.

“It almost leaves you lost for words and it had me tear up this morning just to kind of see, just think about the people that had the kids and all that shooting, shooting on the Strip,” he said. “It’s a very sad moment.”

Johnson said he plans to research more details of the shooting as they become available. He pointed to the possibility of tougher gun laws.

“I feel like we should make the gun laws a little bit more strict because I hate to hear stuff like this,” Johnson said. “With the school shootings, too, and they have guns in the school, they should just clean up this mess, man.”

The Las Vegas area has become an offseason home for many players around the NBA. Many, like Johnson, train at the well-known Impact Basketball on East Sunset Road in the summer. Las Vegas is also the site of Summer League as well as Team USA Basketball events.

Johnson, 30, didn’t think twice about being in the city. Now he does.

“It almost kind of second guesses you like, ‘Man, should I go to Vegas?’” Johnson said. “Because people [are] constantly coming in and out, hanging on the Strip. Then you’ve got to kind of second guess, man, maybe another massacre shooting is going to come out.

“It’s really scary, man, when you think about all the stuff that’s going on and now you’ve got to be worried about protesting, you’ve got hurricanes coming, and you just want to be safe. All you can do is really sit back and pray and keep your head on a swivel.”

The Sixers discussed the shooting before practice as part of a regular team discussion on current events.

“I would have never thought Vegas,” Johnson said. “Vegas is the fun spot.”

Rockets' 2018 NBA championship odds soar after trade, Sixers moving up

Rockets' 2018 NBA championship odds soar after trade, Sixers moving up

Houston, we have liftoff ... at least on the Rockets' odds, that is.

Bovada on Thursday released its latest odds for the 2018 NBA championship and Las Vegas seems to think Houston's chances have soared after the Rockets picked up All-Star Chris Paul in a trade with the Clippers on Wednesday. After opening at 20/1 when the 2017 Finals concluded June 12, the Rockets are now third among all 30 teams at 12/1.

Golden State and Cleveland remain at the top with 4/7 and 15/4 odds, respectively, with Boston and San Antonio tied for fourth at 14/1.

But if you look just a bit further down the list, you'll see a bit of a surprise lurking in a tie for ninth at 66/1.

Yep, you guessed it, the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers share their spot on the list with the Clippers, Lakers, Bucks and Thunder, but are ahead of several playoff teams from last season including Utah, Memphis, Portland and Atlanta.

Clearly, it's not just Philadelphians trusting The Process. The Sixers opened at 100/1, and unsurprisingly, their trade up to draft Markelle Fultz has now pushed them even higher in the minds of Vegas oddsmakers.

Also of note, Bovada has a number of interesting offseason prop bets listed. Although Vegas thinks Blake Griffin, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka are more likely to stay put than not, they give Gordon Hayward 10/11 odds to land with the Celtics and Paul Millsap 4/5 odds of moving out to Denver.

NHL Notes: Awards, expansion draft collide in Las Vegas

NHL Notes: Awards, expansion draft collide in Las Vegas

It's 116 degrees in the ice hockey capital of the world.

For the next few days, Las Vegas is the place to be on skates. The desert gambling mecca is hosting the NHL's annual postseason awards show on Wednesday, when the league also will reveal the Vegas Golden Knights' choices in the expansion player draft to stock the club with talent for its inaugural season in the fall.

Las Vegas has hosted the awards show for several years, welcoming the NHL's best for a red carpet presentation and a short week of partying in a city that knows a little something about entertainment.

But Vegas' hometown team is in the spotlight for the first time this year, reaching a major milestone in its process of becoming the NHL's 31st franchise -- and doing it during a heat wave.

Combining the awards show and the expansion draft should only enhance the fun for Vegas fans welcoming their city's first major professional sports team. Thousands of those fans are expected to gather at T-Mobile Arena after the expansion draft for a raucous "Round Table Rally" to celebrate the Golden Knights' first major acquisitions.

"You don't always have to do things the same way," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said of the two-for-one Vegas show. "We're not afraid to try something a little different. We think it's going to be a lot of fun for our fans, particularly those here in Las Vegas" (see full story).

Devils: Constant in recent years has been missing playoffs
NEWARK, N.J. -- If anyone needs the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft, it is the New Jersey Devils.

After making the playoffs for 20 of 22 seasons, the Devils have fallen on hard times. They have missed the postseason for the last five years and they are coming off their worst season in nearly three decades.

In some ways, it's not surprising. After years of success that included three Stanley Cup championships and two other trips to the championship round, New Jersey ran into problems after going to the final in 2012.

The team was aging. Its drafts were weak. High-scoring wing Zach Parise used free agency to sign with Minnesota after losing the Cup to the Kings. Forward Ilya Kovalchuk returned to play in Russia after the following season. There was a lack of scoring, a little less defense and little depth throughout the roster.

A team that knew how to make the postseason suddenly didn't have the assets to get there (see full story).

Red Wings: Judge denies request to block funding tied to new arena
DETROIT -- A judge has denied a request to block some public funding for Little Caesars Arena and the Detroit Pistons' move from the suburbs.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith issued his decision late Monday, saying a requested injunction would cause "catastrophic damage" to Detroit.

The lawsuit says Michigan law prohibits spending school property tax revenue on the projects because a tax voters approved in 2012 was to be used exclusively for Detroit's public schools. It said a vote from Detroit residents was needed first.

The lawsuit sought to block the Detroit Downtown Development Authority from using the money. The City Council on Tuesday approved $34.5 million in taxpayer-funded bonds for the project.

The arena, which will be home to the NHL's Detroit Red Wings and the NBA's Pistons, opens this fall.