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Burkle meets with Stern in latest pursuit of Kings

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Burkle meets with Stern in latest pursuit of Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Billionaire Ron Burkle has taken his interest in the Sacramento Kings all the way to the top.

Burkle met with NBA Commissioner David Stern for two hours at the league's New York headquarters Thursday, NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed Friday. No other details of the meeting were given.

USA Today first reported the meeting Friday.

A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press earlier this week that Burkle, a Southern California-based businessman and co-owner of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, was in ``serious talks'' with 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov to collaborate on a counteroffer for the Kings. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the discussions.

The Maloof family already has a signed agreement to sell the Kings to a group that includes hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who intend to move the franchise to Seattle and restore the SuperSonics name. The NBA Board of Governors must approve any sale.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is doing his best to block the move.

Johnson, a former NBA All-Star, will get a chance to present a bid to NBA owners that will keep the team in California's capital city - with a plan to help finance a new downtown arena. Earlier this week, the mayor introduced 20 investors who have pledged at least $1 million each to be minority investors in the team. Johnson said he hopes to secure the heavy-hitters who will anchor the plan and produce a ``fair and competitive offer'' by next week.

Burkle expressed interests in buying the Kings two years ago, when Johnson convinced league owners to give his city another shot at financing a new arena when the franchise was exploring a move to Anaheim. Mastrov was among the final bidders for the Golden State Warriors before Joe Lacob and Peter Guber bought the team for an NBA-record $450 million in 2010.

The Maloof family has a pending purchase agreement that will give the Hansen-Ballmer group a 65 percent controlling interests in the franchise, which has a total valuation of $525 million, and move the team to Seattle and restore the SuperSonics name, another person familiar with the decision said earlier this week. That means the group will pay a little more than $340 million.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is waiting to be approved. Hansen's group also is hoping to buy out other minority investors.

The main stipulation Johnson is counting on is that the Maloofs are still allowed to receive other offers until the league approves the sale, which the mayor expects to take until at least April, when owners meet in New York. The deadline for teams to file for relocation for next season is March 1, though that has been extended the last two years for the Kings.

NBA owners also can approve the sale at any time once the vetting process is complete.

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Hot day of joint practice between Ravens and Eagles cut short

Hot day of joint practice between Ravens and Eagles cut short

PHILADELPHIA — On a day with the heat index at 100 degrees, the Ravens first joint practice in Philadelphia against one of the favorites to come out of the NFC ended about 45 minutes short.

This week is the Ravens' second joint practice of August, the first of which came when the Jaguars came to Baltimore for two days of practice before the preseason opener. 

“The best thing is I think the tempo ramps up a little bit,” coach John Harbaugh said on joint practices. “You get different guys, different schemes. I do think it notches up one or two clicks, which is good for you. This is a really talented football team, the Eagles, so we get a chance to see some really good players.”

Even with some positive feelings from the practice, there were, and still are, a few question marks about the Ravens and their available bodies. 

Kenneth Dixon, Gus Edwards, and Miles Boykin were notable absences from practice from the start. Left guard Jermaine Eluemanor left practice early, and Ronnie Stanley and Mark Ingram didn’t take reps towards the end of practice.

With the heat beating down, it’s unclear if they were related to the weather. Harbaugh had no updates after practice, for players that missed the entirety, or players that left early.

The practice was ruled by defense, though, as the Ravens offense had trouble scoring in the red zone most of the afternoon. One of the biggest highlights, however, was a diving catch by Mark Andrews in the back of the end zone. 

“The red zone is tough, the red zone is faster, coverage is tighter,” Harbaugh said. “Things have to be executed more quickly, more decisively. The windows are going to be closing quicker, they’re going to be smaller. Timing is really important, execution is everything. For a young quarterback, it’s a fast game as it is.”

Defensively, the Ravens secondary held its own against a talented Eagles offense. 

Notably, however, Earl Thomas was beaten on a deep route by Alshon Jeffery on a pass from Carson Wentz.

“What I’ve drawn from the last two joint practices is the competitive juices you get from going against a new team,” Thomas said. “Carson Wentz is not a pushover, it’s good to go against him. It’s good to go against that offense. Tight ends are pretty good, receivers are pretty good.”

The Ravens will practice with the Eagles once again tomorrow before a day off on Wednesday. The two will play, officially, on Thursday in the team’s third preseason game. 

Until then, they’ll just focus on getting better against a team that’s one of the league’s best.

“You see different routes, you see different combinations in the passing game, you see different quarterbacks,” Thomas said. “All of that is great.”

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Jonathan Allen is experimenting with a new helmet and may wear it in 2019, which would be awesome

Jonathan Allen is experimenting with a new helmet and may wear it in 2019, which would be awesome

One thing stood out on an otherwise quiet August Monday at Redskins Park, and that was Jonathan Allen. More specifically, what Jonathan Allen was wearing on his head.

In fact, if you focused solely on the defensive lineman, you might've gotten confused over what decade you were in.

Usually, Allen suits up in a fairly standard helmet and facemask combo. But on Monday, No. 93 experimented with both a dark visor and a totally different facemask that featured a single, vertical bar down the middle of it, the kind of thing you saw on legends like Deacon Jones or Bruce Smith.

To put it simply, he looked awesome. Soooo awesome:

While walking out of the locker room following practice, Allen explained that he was recently watching NFL Network and felt inspired to try it out after seeing throwback footage on his TV. When asked if he plans on actually bringing it on the field with him for regular season action, he answered: "I'm planning on it."

As you — and the Raiders, especially — are aware of by now, the NFL has specific regulations regarding helmets and facemasks, but Allen seemed to believe he'll have no problem rocking his vintage setup.

Daron Payne, on the other hand, does have a problem with it.

"It's terrible," Payne said, while also shaking his head like a slightly disappointed parent. "It's terrible."

Payne is a smart and reasonable guy most of the time, but here, he's wrong. That look is the exact opposite of terrible. It's sick and it needs to be shared for every one of Washington's 16 games in 2019.

In fact, Allen should probably receive a Pro Bowl nomination strictly for even thinking about making that his new helmet. Bringing back the single bar would be truly epic.

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