Kings

Sacramento approves arena plan to keep Kings

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Sacramento approves arena plan to keep Kings

SACRAMENTO -- The only place the Sacramento Kings are moving to is a new downtown home in California's capital.A year after almost being wiped off the NBA map, Sacramento cleared the most critical political hurdle late Tuesday night when the City Council approved a plan to help finance an estimated 391 million arena. The non-binding term sheet, signed off by the Kings and the NBA last week, will keep the team in Sacramento for at least another 30 years.Cheers rang out from supporters who cramped the council's chambers when the plan passed by a 7-2 vote and pushed the city's portion of the agreement forward. Binding contracts from all sides, which are expected to be a formality, could be signed as soon as April.
"This is a culmination of a journey that started many, many years ago," said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star who spearheaded the project. "I think this community did everything it could to put us in this position for this historic Sacramento moment."Tonights vote was an important next step in the process to construct a new entertainment and sports complex in Sacramento," the Maloof family said in a statement. "On behalf of our entire family and the Kings organization, we want to thank everyone who has helped move this forward, especially the NBA, City Council, Mayor Kevin Johnson, the Think Big Sacramento Committee, and most importantly, our dedicated employees and loyal fans. Were all excited.
Under the agreement, the city will contribute 255.5 million to the project, mostly by leasing out parking garages around the facility. The city is also exploring an option to establish a parking authority instead.The Kings have agreed to pay 73.25 million and arena operator AEG will contribute 58.75 million. The remaining gap will be covered by a ticket surcharge, advertising around the facility, the sale of public lands and a sponsorship campaign to sell bricks and plaques around the complex. Construction is expected to begin in the late spring or early summer next year on the arena, which would open for the 2015-16 season in the downtown rail yards.The meeting packed the council chambers to its capacity of about 500 and residents on both sides clogged downtown with signs, shirts and even songs.
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Kevin JohnsonWe scored one for the home team! Thank you Sacramento! No one thought we would be here but us!
Mar 07 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply
City Manager John Shirey told the council that the decision would be "one of the toughest votes of your career" and implored members to approve the plan for the economic benefit, job creation and immeasurable notoriety of remaining a major professional sports city, saying "there are only 30 of those (NBA) franchises in all the world and we happen to have one of them.""The status quo is not really an option before you this evening," Shirey said. "If we do nothing, the Kings will likely leave Sacramento."Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof walked into the chamber just before the meeting to a light standing ovation. He was later joined by rookie point guard Isaiah Thomas, who also drew light cheers.A line of residents snaked around City Hall and seemingly every TV truck and radio station in the Central Valley was broadcasting outside. One fan wore Johnson's old Phoenix Suns jersey among the scores of Kings signs and jerseys in the crowd. A group of about 120 supporters of the plan wore white T-shirts with black letters that read "5 Votes.""This is bigger than basketball," said Michael Tavares, one of the leaders of the group called (hash)Fans, which stands for Fund Arena Now Sacramento. "It's about making Sacramento a destination."Opponents and proponents of the plan were allowed to speak for 2 minutes. Each side was granted 45 minutes, and those who couldn't reach the lectern in the allotted time were allowed to stand in acknowledgement of their support afterward.The four-hour plus meeting brought out some animated speakers, including a man who wore a hard hat and sang a song to start construction soon, one young woman who started to cry while arguing other public works such as schools and parks were being ignored, and others who raised their voices and pounded their fists. Most, however, remained civilized.Those against the plan argued it steers public money toward a private company, that sports arenas don't produce enough - or any - economic benefit and that the project is being rushed. Some also asked for the plan to be put to a public vote."This city is on the verge of insolvency. As far as I know, we still technically qualify for bankruptcy under federal law," said Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy, who opposed the plan. She added the project "will scoop up every nickel and dime" left in the city's budget.Proponents echoed the mayor and city manager's stances, trumpeting job creation and saying the economic loss if the Kings left would be even worse. In the end, those voices spoke to the majority.The passage of the plan highlighted a turnaround for a town that once seemed assured of losing its only major professional sports team.The Kings appeared determined to move to Anaheim last year before Johnson convinced the NBA to give the city one last chance to help finance an arena. At one point, Johnson seemed so certain the team was gone he called the process a "slow death" and compared the city's efforts to keep the Kings a "Hail Mary."Johnson made a desperate pitch to the NBA Board of Governors last April, promising league owners the city would find a way to help finance a new arena to replace the team's current outdated suburban facility. He also bought time by presenting more than 10 million in commitments for new advertising, ticket purchases and other financial support from regional businesses for this season.The NBA's relocation committee, headed by Oklahoma City owner Clay Bennett - who moved the team now known as the Thunder from Seattle in 2008 - recommended that the league give the city a shot to follow through and handed down a March 1 deadline to come up with a plan to help finance an arena. Johnson delivered the agreement last Thursday - on March 1, no less - to send the plan to the City Council."A year ago, this was the longest of long shots," Johnson said. "That's one heck of a comeback."The Associated Press contributed to this report

Kings hire VP of professional development

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AP

Kings hire VP of professional development

It’s been a summer of change for the Sacramento Kings. A roster upheaval has 10 new players vying for minutes once training camp opens on Tuesday. The coaching staff has been bolstered and fresh blood was added to the front office in the form of analytics guru Luke Bornn and assistant general manager Brandon Williams. On Thursday, one more piece to the puzzle was brought in to help develop the team’s young core.

With the hiring of Galen Duncan as the franchise’s new Vice President of the Kings Academy and Professional Development, Sacramento is making a major investment in the future of their team.

According to the team’s official press release, “Duncan is responsible for implementation of the Kings Academy program, a developmental, player-centric curriculum aligning multi-faceted organizational philosophies and ideals to help athletes mature into well-rounded professionals. Under Duncan’s oversight, Kings Academy will augment on-court progress with access to practical material and experiences that help balance on-court priorities and personal responsibilities with opportunities to become impactful contributors in the community.”

After 10 years with the Detroit Lions, Duncan is making the jump to the NBA game. He’s already had a taste of the league, working with the league office as part of the NBA Rookie Transition Program.

With five rookies and another four sophomores on the roster, the Kings are investing in a seasoned mentor and life coach. Armed with a Ph.D. in health psychology from Walden University, Duncan will aid the players in everything from finding an apartment to dealing with the stress of life as a 19-year-old millionaire with no experience paying a bill.

“My passion has always been sports,” Duncan told NBC Sports California. “Sports has done wonderful things for me. I don’t care what level they’re at or how much money they make, I think there is something to learn and I have something to teach.”

With the Lions, he brought incoming rookie classes through everything from etiquette courses to teaching them how to tie ties. His goal is to transform a group of young men into professionals, who just happen to be professional athletes.

It’s not just about making a polished product for the media and general public. Duncan will work with players on a variety of personal issues, including money management, dealing with family and professional on-court performance.

“Unfortunately, sometimes family can be your worst enemy,” Duncan said. “But if structured correctly and if nurtured, I think the education goes beyond just the player. I think you have to educate the family as well about what they’re doing.”

The transition to the NBA game will be interesting for Duncan. He comes from a game where the incoming rookie class can be anywhere from 10-15 players. He hasn’t dealt with 19-year-olds at the NFL level and guaranteed contracts are new as well, but the job is very similar.

Sacramento has always had a support staff to help with the transition to the NBA game, but the addition of Duncan is a new level of commitment by the team. They have a huge group of young players and they are making an investment into their futures and the future of the franchise. It’s a clear step in the right direction.

Kings finally get to unleash highly skilled weapon Bogdan Bogdanovic on NBA stage

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AP

Kings finally get to unleash highly skilled weapon Bogdan Bogdanovic on NBA stage

The legend of Bogdan Bogdanovic grows. After another deep run against European competition, the 25-year-old shooting guard is headed for the NBA with plenty of fanfare.

Bogdanovic and his Serbian teammates fell short of the ultimate goal of winning EuroBasket 2017. Goran Dragic and Team Slovenia took home the gold, pulling away from Serbia for the 93-85 victory in the finals on Sunday.

Dragic scored a game-high 35 points in 28 minutes of action, giving Bogdanovic a taste of what the competition will look like on a nightly basis in the NBA. Bogdanovic led Serbia with 22 points on 9-of-21 shooting, but he struggled from long range, knocking down 2-of-11 from behind the international 3-point line.

The Kings acquired Bogdanovic from the Phoenix Suns, along with the rights to Georgios Papagiannis and Skal Labissiere for Marquese Chriss on Draft night 2016. Phoenix had failed multiple times in their attempts to bring the sharpshooter over from his Turkish league team after taking him with the 27th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Vlade Divac couldn’t get Bogdanovic to come over for last season, but he found traction early this summer and added the talented wing as part of his July shopping spree.

After dominating league action overseas, Bogdanovic became the highest paid rookie in NBA history, signing a three-year, $27 million deal with Sacramento. He’ll make close to $9.5 million in his first season in the league, more than double what fifth overall pick, De’Aaron Fox, is scheduled to make.   

Bogdanovic walks into a crowded situation in Sacramento. He’ll compete for minutes with Buddy Hield, Garrett Temple and Malachi Richardson at the shooting guard position. Both Hield and Temple worked under coach Dave Joerger for parts of last season, but the Kings front office is very high on their European import.

Listed at 6-foot-6, 205 pounds, Bogdanovic has great size for the two and he might even be able to shift to the small forward spot for short stints. He is not the defender that Temple is and Hield might have an edge on him as a volume scorer, but Bogdanovic has an advantage over both players in versatility.

He’s a highly skilled offensive weapon that should make an immediate impact on the floor. He spent plenty of time manning the point guard position for Serbia and can even act as the primary ball handler. Bogdanovic is blessed with an extremely high basketball IQ and he’s shown advanced playmaking skills, both with Fenerbahce and the Serbian national team.

Bogdanovic can light it up from distance, having knocked down 43 percent of 3-pointers this season for Fenerbahce, but he’s not just a catch and shoot player. He hit 50 percent from the field overall using a variety of moves to create space. He has a killer crossover and step back jumper, a nice floater in the lane and he is fearless going to the rack.

Where he has the biggest advantage over his competition is in the pick-and-roll. Bogdanovic uses hesitation dribbles and crafty maneuvering to create looks for both himself and his bigs moving to the hoop. He also has nice court vision and is an unselfish distributor.

If Bogdanovic’s European game translates to the NBA, Sacramento has a rotational player and possibly much more. He’ll likely struggle on the defensive end initially, like most rookies coming into the league, but he plays with effort and has solid instincts.

Joerger has a lot to work out during training camp and the early season. He has multiple bodies at every position and the competition for minutes is going to be intense. While it’s early to make predictions, it appears that Bogdanovic will have a substantial role as the Kings enter year one of their rebuild.