Nationals

Minn. gov.: No plan to redo Vikings stadium plan

Minn. gov.: No plan to redo Vikings stadium plan

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday downplayed the sluggish start of a statewide gambling initiative being counted on to help fund the new Minnesota Vikings stadium, saying doesn't plan to redo the financing package during the upcoming legislative session.

Dayton told reporters the early revenue projections are worth watching but shouldn't cause alarm about the merits of the electronic terminals that are only starting to appear in bars and restaurants. Relatively few establishments now offer the iPad-style machines that patrons to play low-stakes games, but the availability has as much to do with vendors working to clear regulatory hurdles.

The bill to finance a $975 million stadium that will be built in downtown Minneapolis won approval last spring. The legislation authorized electronic pull-tab and linked bingo games, making Minnesota the first state to permit that form of gambling statewide.

The novelty of the games and the challenges of constructing a new gambling system from the ground up take time, Dayton said in arguing against revisiting the financing plan next year.

``I certainly wouldn't favor it unless it becomes absolutely necessary and I don't think it is at this point,'' Dayton said.

Republican state Sen. Julie Rosen, who sponsored the stadium plan, also warned against jumping to early conclusions. She said she favors a public relations campaign to market the games to the public before dwelling on whether an alternative money source is needed.

``It's too early to do anything to correct it,'' Rosen said. ``Let the entire program work like it should.''

Since September, one company has been cleared to provide terminals but others are in the pipeline. Others potential vendors have background checks pending or are hanging back to see how robust the Minnesota market is.

That's meant the proceeds flowing to a special account don't come close to the benchmarks established when the bill was approved. The projected tax revenue had been $34 million, but this week state finance officials trimmed it to $16 million. Expected revenue for future years has also been scaled back a bit.

The state is depending on the expanded gambling to pay off debt from its $348 million share. The city of Minneapolis and Vikings owners are coming up with the rest. Aside from the stadium, a portion of the new gambling money goes to the charitable organizations that sponsor the games in bars and restaurants.

The governor plans to meet next week with his revenue commissioner and the top gambling regulator to determine future steps.

The Vikings hope to break ground next year after environmental reviews are complete. If all goes as planned, the stadium would be ready for the 2016 season.

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Phillies are 2-for-2.

Tuesday night's game was postponed following a two-hour rain delay. Monday's game was postponed after a three-hour rain delay.

Tuesday's game will be made up as part of a split day-night doubleheader Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., bumping a four-game series to a five-game series. The Nationals and Phillies are scheduled to also play a split day-night doubleheader Wednesday.

The day was not without news. Nationals ace Max Scherzer broke his nose in batting practice when a ball bounced off his bat and struck him in the face. Scherzer was attempting to bunt at the time.

Scherzer's injury and the multiple postponements throw the Nationals' pitching plans into disarray. They're not sure if Scherzer will pitch as expected Wednesday. It appears Austin Voth, who was scratched from his Thursday start for Triple-A Fresno, will be available to pitch in one of the Wednesday games -- should they be played. More rain is expected Wednesday.

The Nationals will bump Patrick Corbin, who was slated to pitch again Tuesday, into a Wednesday spot. Wednesday's other starter is TBA. It could be Scherzer if he is ready. It could be Erick Fedde, and Voth could be used in the bullpen as the 26th man. That would provide Scherzer a chance to pitch Thursday and Strasburg on Friday against Atlanta. 

Or, Scherzer could be provided more time off. There's a lot to sort out once again thanks to the rain.

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Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

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USA Today

Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

This summer is shaping up to be lucrative for NBA free agents and big man Bobby Portis is well-positioned to cash in. After spending the final three months of the 2018-19 season with the Wizards, Portis is already seeing a healthy market develop ahead of the June 30 start of the league's negotiating period, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

The Wizards are likely to first extend a qualifying offer on June 30 to make him a restricted free agent. According to Spotrac.com, it will be about $3.6 million and that will give the Wizards the right to match an offer sheet from another franchise.

But teams are already indicating they want Portis, who is just 24 and coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in 50 games. That market includes 5-10 teams and could grow once free agency opens.

Portis is expected to draw interest from the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Magic and Knicks among others, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Despite restricted free agency, Portis has a few things working for him. For one, there are a lot of teams with cap room. Spending won't reach 2016 levels, when the new CBA spiked the salary cap, but there will a lot of money to go around.

Also, guys in Portis' tier will only be helped if the top free agent options continue to dwindle. Klay Thompson looks more likely than ever to stay in Golden State after tearing his ACL. Winning a title could increase the odds Kawhi Leonard re-signs in Toronto, according to reports. And Kevin Durant's torn Achilles has thrown a wrench into the plans of teams with the most money to spend.

There is also the possibility Kemba Walker stays in Charlotte. And Kyrie Irving signing with Brooklyn, if it happens, would leave others exploring backup plans.

Portis isn't directly competing with any of those players, but could benefit if the top options are off the market. His name will only move up the list if that is the case.

Portis also has a unique selling point going for him. He shot 39.3 percent from three this past season and held a 40.3 percent clip to close the year in his 28 games with the Wizards. Three-point shooting is more valuable than ever and he brings that to the table at 6-foot-10.

Portis, who averaged 3.8 three-point attempts per game this past season, was one of only six players 6-10 or taller to shoot at least 39 percent on 3.5 attempts or more (min. 50 G). 

The question for Portis will be whether he gets the money he wants. He turned down an extension with the Chicago Bulls last fall just hours before the deadline to sign one. According to the Chicago Tribune, the deal was worth about $50 million and he wants to be paid in the range of $16 million annually. His asking price was partly why the Bulls traded him to the Wizards in February.

Even if the Wizards clear money, and they are expected to free up some by declining Jabari Parker's $20 million team option by the June 29 deadline, Portis could price himself out of Washington. It might not even take $16 million per year for that to happen.

The Wizards are set to operate through free agency with interim team president Tommy Sheppard at the helm, as the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. Sheppard making the call increases Portis' odds of staying, but that doesn't mean the price will match for both sides.

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