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Sacramento mayor to present counteroffer for Kings

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Sacramento mayor to present counteroffer for Kings

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is taking his fight to keep the Kings in California's capital city to NBA owners.

Again.

Speaking at the annual State of Downtown breakfast on Tuesday, Johnson said he has received approval from NBA Commissioner David Stern to present a counteroffer to the league from buyers who would keep the team in Sacramento. He said the city is in a ``six-week sprint'' to put together a proposal for the NBA's Board of Governors to consider over a potential sale and relocation to Seattle.

The league's deadline for teams to apply for a move for the next season is March 1, though that has been extended each of the last two years for the Kings. And both times, Johnson - a former NBA All-Star - has convinced the league that Sacramento could help fix the franchise's financial woes and secure its long-term home in a new arena.

``We want this to be the final act of a saga that's gone on for far too long,'' Johnson said.

People with knowledge of the situation said last week that a group led by San Francisco-based investor Chris Hansen, who wants to return the NBA to Seattle, has contacted the Maloof family about buying the Kings. They spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because no deal has been reached.

One person said the Kings could sell for more than $500 million, topping the NBA-record $450 million the Golden State Warriors sold for in 2010. Some reports have suggested up to $525 million.

The Kings' future in Sacramento has been uncertain because the Maloofs and the city haven't been able to agree on a deal for a downtown arena.

``While I am sensitive to the important role of the news media in informing the public, our position has not changed, we will not comment on rumors or speculation about the future of the Sacramento Kings franchise,'' Maloof family spokesman Eric Rose said in a statement Tuesday.

The NBA declined to comment on Johnson's remarks Tuesday.

Hansen's goal has been to find a team and restore the SuperSonics name after they were moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City in 2008. He reached agreement with local governments in Seattle last October on plans to build a $490 million arena near the city's other stadiums, CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field. As part of the agreement, no construction will begin until all environmental reviews are completed and a team has been secured.

Johnson commended Seattle's efforts to bring the NBA back to the Puget Sound. He just doesn't want it to be at the expense of Sacramento.

``We have a city and a community that have done every single thing that is required,'' Johnson said. ``I hope Seattle gets another team. They deserve another team. They didn't deserve to lose a team in the first place. It just won't be the Sacramento Kings if we have anything to do with it.''

The Maloofs backed out of a tentative $391 million deal for a new downtown arena with Sacramento last April, reigniting fears the franchise could relocate. The Kings said the deal didn't make financial sense for the franchise.

In 2011, the Kings appeared determined to move to Anaheim before Johnson convinced NBA owners at a meeting in New York to give the city one last chance to help finance an arena. That pitch bought Sacramento time, before the brokered deal between the city and the Maloofs - negotiated by Stern and league lawyers - fell apart last year.

Johnson said the Maloofs could still ``participate in some way'' in the new local ownership group ``if they want to remain a part of this team and this community.''

The mayor called the potential $500 million to $525 million price tag for the Kings an ``outrageous number.'' He admits potential buyers he could pull together in Sacramento will not top that figure, but he also doesn't believe it has to.

Johnson said the Maloof family still must repay a $77 million loan to the city and other lenders if they leave. There also could be a potential relocation fee from the NBA that new owners wouldn't have to pay if the team stayed.

Subtracting those totals and adding the ``proven support'' Kings fans have shown in the past, Johnson's goal is to line up buyers willing to pay about $400 million to $425 million for the team and argue Sacramento's side to the league.

``We were there two years ago and we prevailed,'' Johnson said. ``We have a very compelling case.''

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John Wall puts 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas on a poster

John Wall puts 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas on a poster

WASHINGTON -- Things were not looking good for the Washington Wizards to start Game 4. Honestly, there were some flashes back to the team’s performance in the first two games of the series against the Toronto Raptors.

That all quickly changed when John Wall did what he does best: drive to the basket.

Not only did Wall drive to the basket, he went and put Raptors' center Jonas Valanciunas on a poster.

Valanciunas is a 7-foot Lithuanian.

We get it John, it’s your city and we’re all your residents.

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Capitals one win away from facing the Penguins ... again

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Capitals one win away from facing the Penguins ... again

The Washington Capitals are one win away from advancing to the second round of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

If they do beat the Blue Jackets in Game 6 or Game 7, a familiar foe awaits them.

The Pittsburgh Penguins ended their series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday with a 8-5 win in Game 6. They will play the winner of the Capitals-Columbus Blue Jackets series.

Because of course they will.

The Penguins have beaten the Capitals in the second round in each of the past two seasons. The series went six games in 2016 and seven in 2017.

Washington’s biggest rival has been a thorn in the side of the Caps throughout the team’s history. Washington and Pittsburgh have met in the postseason 10 times. Only once have the Caps come out victorious, in 1994.

Pittsburgh has won five Stanley Cups in their history and each time, they had to beat the Caps in the playoffs to do it.

The emergence of Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin helped to reignite the Washington-Pittsburgh rivalry, but that too has been one sided. Crosby has won three Stanley Cups while Ovechkin has never advanced past the second round.

Before you despair, however, consider this. Coming into the season, no one knew what to expect from the Capitals. Expectations were low. Somehow, Washington managed to overcome the loss of several players in the offseason and managed to win the Metropolitan Division.

In a season in which the Caps have already defied expectations, perhaps this will be the year they finally get past Pittsburgh and advance to the conference final. Maybe? Please?

First things first, they still need one more win against Columbus. Game 6 will be Monday at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

MORE CAPITALS:
How the Caps stymied Artemi Panarin
Nick Backstrom's Game 5 heroics, explained
Capitals' PK unit the series difference-maker
John Tortorella makes Game 7 proclamation