Lakers and Clippers to oppose Kings move to Anaheim?

The New York Daily News reports that a possible move by the Sacramento Kings to Anaheim is likely to be opposed by the two teams already in the L.A. area.

The move to Anaheim will be opposed by the Lakers and Clippers, who see it as an encroachment on their territory. But sources close to the Maloofs say they’re willing to pay the two L.A. teams whatever it takes to relocate. That would be in addition to the league’s relocation fee of $30 million.

Anaheim Honda Center and Ducks owner Henry Samueli is prepared to help the Maloofs with the financing, offering a $100 million loan. Samueli tried to buy the team last year.

I live about six miles from the Honda Center and I’d love to see the Kings play there. I go to about one or two Clippers/Lakers games a year, and I’m thinking about getting season tickets to see the the Anaheim Kings (or whatever they end up calling themselves), so I don’t see the Kings as major competition for the Lakers or Clippers. If either franchise (especially the Clippers) were serious about courting Orange County, they’d move to Anaheim. As it stands, the 45-mile trek into the city (oftentimes during rush hour) is more than most OC folks can handle.

Orange County has more than 3.0 million residents, while Los Angeles County boasts 9.8 million residents. The OC’s population is greater than the metro areas of these current NBA cities: Denver (2.5 M), Portland (2.2 M), Sacramento (2.1 M), Cleveland (2.1 M), Orlando (2.1 M), San Antonio (2.1 M), Charlotte (1.7 M), Indianapolis (1.7 M), Milwaukee (1.6 M), Memphis (1.3 M), Oklahoma City (1.2 M), New Orleans (1.2 M) and Salt Lake City (1.1 M).

In short, there’s plenty of room for a third team in SoCal, though the best move would be for the Clippers to head south. That isn’t going to happen as long as Donald Sterling is the owner, and he isn’t likely to sell anytime soon, so I don’t blame the Maloofs for trying to capitalize on a move to Anaheim.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (talk about a dumb name for a baseball team) were #5 in average attendance in 2010 and 2009. The Anaheim Ducks have been in the #15-#25 range over the past four seasons.

Orange County will support a professional team if it’s good. Southern Californians are notoriously front-running, and will only go out of their way to support a winner. A team that loses like the Kings have this season is unlikely to outdraw Sacramento or Las Vegas, but Anaheim has a respectable arena and the Maloofs are finding that they have a lot of support from Samueli, who owns the Ducks and the Honda Center.

So the Clippers and Lakers may oppose the move, and why not? There’s no downside for them. If they put up a stink, they’ll at the very least get some extra cash out of the deal to grease the wheels.

But it’s not fair to basketball fans in Orange County, who would like a local team to root for that wouldn’t require an hour-plus white knuckle drive to see in person. It’s nonsensical that a metro area this populous and spread out has two teams sharing an arena when there’s a comparable arena in Anaheim.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Donald Sterling’s Black History Month ad raises eyebrows

This ad ran recently in the L.A. Times. Take a good look.

On the surface, Clippers owner Donald Sterling was trying to do something nice. He wanted to admit 1,000 “underprivileged children” free to the Clippers/Rockets game on March 2 in honor of Black History Month.

Only Black History Month is in February. Why is he celebrating it in March? And why is he associating “underprivileged kids” with Black History Month in the first place? Is he implying that all “underprivileged kids” are black? And how did the Staples Center employees know if a kid was “underprivileged” or not when he/she showed up for the game? By the color of his skin?

If this were any other owner, people would have a chuckle and write it off as poor planning by the team’s public relations department, but Sterling has a long history of racial missteps, from discrimination lawsuits in his real estate ventures to comments he allegedly made in the Clipper locker room.

The guy just can’t get out of his own way.

Breaking down the Baron Davis/Mo Williams trade

Los Angeles Clippers guard Baron Davis scores past Miami Heat center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and forward Chris Bosh in fourth quarter action in Los Angeles on January 12, 2011. The Clippers defeated the Heat 111-105. UPI/Jon SooHoo

The Los Angeles Clippers just pulled off the unthinkable: they managed to trade away Baron Davis’s untradeable contract. But it cost them a lottery pick.

Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer has the details.

An NBA source has confirmed to the Plain Dealer that the Cavaliers are about to send guard Mo Williams and forward Jamario Moon to the Los Angeles Clippers for guard Baron Davis and a No. 1 draft pick in the 2011 draft. That likely will be a lottery selection, although this draft is not considered to be particularly strong.

Below you’ll find a table with each player’s age, ’10-11 Player Efficiency Rating (via John Hollinger of ESPN) as well as their salaries for the next two seasons. Both contracts expire in 2013.

The Clippers are going to save approximately $11.7 million over the next two seasons with this trade. Even though Davis has a higher PER this season, they’re probably getting the better player in Mo Williams, who has battled injuries this year and hasn’t been the same since LeBron left last summer. I suspect he’ll be revitalized playing with Blake Griffin just as Davis was for the first half of the season.

When I first saw the headline about the Cavs trading for Davis, I chuckled, but with the Clippers’ first round pick included in the deal, it makes a lot more sense. The Cavs are basically buying the Clips’ #8 overall pick (which could end up being quite a bit higher or a little lower) in the 2011 draft for around $12 million.

Side note: It just goes to show how out of whack the NFL rookie salaries are for the top picks because it’s almost impossible to find an NFL team that wants to trade into the upper part of the draft. And here the Cavs are spending $12 million for that right because the NBA rookie salary scale is a much better deal for teams drafting in the lottery.

There’s no telling how this trade is going to work out until we see what kind of player the Cavs get with the pick. One thing it does buy the Cavs is hope. Mo Williams wasn’t going to take this team anywhere and neither is Baron Davis. Williams has more value because he’s going to provide about the same production at a fraction of the cost, but by acquiring a lottery pick, the Cavs have another building block for their rebuilding project.

The short-term winner in this trade is definitely the Clips. Not only did they shed themselves of Davis and his terrible contract (which they gave him in the first place), they also freed up enough cash in the summer of 2012 to make a run at a max free agent, assuming the next collective bargaining agreement allows for this. There are already rumors swirling that Deron Williams could join the Clips that summer, and Chris Paul could be a free agent next summer as well.

One thing is certain — the Clips have to sign/acquire a great player to play alongside Blake Griffin before he has an opportunity to sign elsewhere. If they can sign Deron Williams/Chris Paul, re-sign Griffin, and can keep Eric Gordon in the fold as well, the Clippers will really be in business.

Blake Griffin’s 137 dunks [video]

This video should get everyone ready for the dunk contest tonight (8 PM ET, TNT). It compiles all 137 of Griffin’s pre-All-Star dunks.

Blake Griffin bangs his head on the backboard [video]

We all knew this day was coming…

Related Posts