Nationals

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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Scott Boras: Davey Martinez gave ‘a real lesson’ in how to believe in his players

Scott Boras: Davey Martinez gave ‘a real lesson’ in how to believe in his players

When the Nationals stumbled out to a 19-31 start to last season, Davey Martinez didn’t panic.

He was only in his second season as an MLB manager, but Martinez had a roster of players far more talented than what its record was leading others to believe. Amid swirling rumors about his job status and the future of the franchise, Martinez trusted that his players would be able to turn things around.

Five months later, those very same players took down the Houston Astros in seven games to win D.C. a World Series title for the first time since 1924. Longtime baseball agent Scott Boras, who represented several stars for Washington such as Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, was among those who was particularly impressed with the way Martinez kept his clubhouse together.

Boras talked with NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas and Chase Hughes on Friday’s episode of the Nationals Talk podcast about what stood out to him when it came to Martinez’s approach.

“I really credit Davey Martinez because the one message he kept giving everyone was a true lack of concern for the moment and trusting very much about who all those players were,” Boras said. “Every player brought that to my attention at the end of the year, where this was not a compromised manager.

“This was not someone who questioned who we were. It was not someone who showed up and was really making more out of the future other than, ‘Be who you are today and go forward.’”

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

With sports pushed to the side while the world grips with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, fans have a lot of more important things on their minds than baseball right now. Yet Boras felt that Martinez’s approach was something everyone should try to emulate when dealing with the uncertainty that the future holds.

“It’s a real lesson for a lot of people,” Boras said. “I think particularly when you’re in an environment, ironically that’s in Washington, D.C., [with] what we’re going through with this pandemic and the focus on our leadership and our country…we really have to make sure that we’re looking about what’s within and not looking about the vague aspects of what the future may bring.

“The Washington Nationals represented their city and our country really well with that message.”

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Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Salivating and awe came first. Distribution will have to wait.

The Nationals revealed their jewel-laden championship ring during a slow-moving, hour-long telecast Sunday night which was originally supposed to include select players receiving their rings. After pushback from the players -- who wanted to receive the rings together when it was safe to do so -- the night was converted to more of a reveal than reaction.

The ring itself included several nods to the D.C. area, markers from the championship season, and specific personalizations.

Here’s a blow-by-blow:

-- The ring is 14-karat white and yellow gold

-- The “W” logo is made from 30 rubies to represent the 30 runs the team scored in the four World Series game

-- Around the logo are 58 pavé-set diamonds

-- Above and below the logo or the words “World Champions” set over the ring via 32 sapphires. This number represents the sum total of the team’s 2019 walk-off wins (7), shutout wins (13), longest winning streak (8 games), and playoff rounds won (4).

-- An additional 108 diamonds are featured along the ring top, representing the number of regular season and postseason wins (105), plus one diamond for the World Series title and two diamonds for the locations -- Washington and Montreal -- of the franchise.

-- The top and bottom of the ring have 12 rubies to represent the total number of postseason wins

-- On the left side in yellow gold is the player’s name

-- Beneath the name is a flag, the Capitol Building and the Roman numerals MMVI to represent the year the Lerner family purchased the franchise

-- The player’s number is in diamonds on the bottom left side

-- “Fight Finished” is on the right side

-- The interior of the ring is engraved with a shark symbol holding a yellow gold trophy. So, yes, a nod to “Baby Shark” has made it onto the rings

-- Also on the interior are the team logos of each opponent the Nationals defeated in the postseason

-- “Go 1-0 every day” is also engraved inside

-- In total, the average championship ring contains 170 total diamonds, 32 custom-cut sapphires, 31 custom-cut rubies, and 24 princess-cut rubies for a precious total stone carat weight of 23.2 carats.

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The lead up of the ring reveal included congratulatory messages from a slew of people associated with the Nationals in the present and past.

Former closer Chad Cordero and catcher Brian Schneider started the video messages. Denard Span and Adam LaRoche followed. Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, former Redskins player Brian Mitchell, chef José Andrés and Dr. Anthony Fauci were among several others to send congratulations.

In a post-reveal show, the players emphasized they were looking forward to receiving the rings in a group.

“I think the only thing better than seeing it is going to be wearing it,” Howie Kendrick said.

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