Tag:Seattle SuperSonics
Posted on: February 7, 2012 11:00 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 11:43 pm

Stern: Seattle return possible if new arena built

Is momentum building for the NBA's return to Seattle? (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

There are basically five standards necessary to land an NBA team: a market with demonstrated interest in basketball, a super rich person willing to cut checks, a working relationship with commissioner David Stern, a building to play in, and an available franchise to poach. Absent any one of those five key features, and it becomes significantly more difficult -- if not impossible -- for a city to land itself one of the 30 NBA franchises.

The good news for Seattle: they apparently have secured three of those five.

Step one: the fanbase has never been in question, thanks to a long history of supporting the SuperSonics. Step two: the Seattle Times reported this weekend that Christopher Hansen, a hedge fund manager with beaucoup Bucks and ties to the Seattle region, is interested in landing a franchise.  

And, now, step three: Stern told the Salt Lake Tribune that he has met with Hansen and that Seattle is now officially back on the NBA's radar for a possible franchise relocation.

“We had heard reports of some interest in Seattle and the name of the person who’s associated with it is not totally unknown to me. I think he came in and I met with him, it must be a year ago. Just a general conversation; he was brought in by a mutual friend,” said Stern, during an exclusive, wide-ranging interview Monday with The Salt Lake Tribune at the league office.

“Everyone says to us, ‘Well, would you consider going back?’ Of course, if they have a building. And so that’s where it’s left. We have no involvement,” Stern said. “But we certainly are — if anyone asks us, we tell them what we know and we’re happy to talk to them. … There’s no shortage of potential sites, but the funding is a huge issue.”

Of course, the key quote there is: "If they have a building." That was one of the key deciding factors in the SuperSonics leaving for Oklahoma City to rebrand as the Thunder prior to the 2008-2009 season. KeyArena simply isn't up to the usual NBA standard, and numerous arena plans in Seattle have been floated in recent years with no firm plans emerging and a reluctance from taxpayers to foot the bill.

The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that Hansen is already at work on the arena issue, stockpiling land near Safeco Field, home of Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners, and communicating in detail with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.
Hansen, who has built a fortune in the private investment world, has acquired property south of Safeco Field's parking garage, between South Massachusetts and South Holgate streets east of First Avenue South, records show.

His investment group has yet to produce a firm proposal to McGinn, who has said that the group must make a substantial financial commitment with no new taxes to fund an arena.

All of that leaves just the one, final remaining standard: Which team would move to the city? The obvious answer would be the Kings, who tried and failed to move to Anaheim after the 2010-2011 season and are now working through an effort to build a new arena so that they can remain in Sacramento long-term. Stern told the Tribune that the Kings had been taking "very positive" steps to remain in Sacramento.

What does all of this mean for the future of professional basketball in Seattle? Nothing definitely, but being back on the map is important. A motivated, patient and hard-working Clay Bennett eventually succeded in landing the Thunder in Oklahoma City. The process took years to play out, but his relationship with Stern was a key factor in getting it done.

If there's a will, three hundred million dollars, and an arena, there's generally a way in Stern's NBA.
Posted on: February 5, 2012 7:42 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 3:46 pm

Officials in talks to bring NBA back to Seattle

By Matt Moore

When the Sonics left Seattle, it was regarded as one of all-time basketball tragedies. Not just because over 40 years of history was wiped away, but because the way it happened left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. And even though Oklahoma City has worked out pretty awesome as an NBA city, talk has persisted that Seattle needs a team back. Apparently some people in Seattle's mayor's office and a wealthy owner prospect are making good on that talk. The Seattle Times reports: 
A wealthy San Francisco hedge-fund manager and officials in the Seattle mayors office have been working behind the scenes for eight months to bring an NBA team back to the city as early as next fall and build a new arena, according to emails and documents that reveal a far more concerted effort than previously known.

A Dec. 13 agenda for a meeting between the parties shows they were talking about details such as a "Review of Basic Deal Structure," "Financing Issues," including "City Debt Capacity," and "Security for Public Financing."

The documents, released Friday to The Seattle Times under a public-disclosure request, also provide the first glimpse of how the largely unknown hedge-fund manager, 44-year-old Seattle native Christopher Hansen, approached the city about his desire to buy an NBA team and build an arena south of Safeco Field.
via Local News | Seattle sports-arena talks well under way, documents show | Seattle Times Newspaper.

So how would Seattle get a team? The Times  reports that Hansen could be targeting the sacraamento Kings, who are undergoing their own arena crisis, with a February 14th city council meeting effectively Judgment Day for the future of professional basketball in Sacramento. To date the Maloof family who owns the Kings have yet to indicate any interest in selling the Kings. 

The report comes as a surprise that discussions have already progressed to this point. Any arena discussions with Seattle have to ensure profitability for the city under a voter provision. Trying to put together an arena plan, acquire a team and relocate them by fall is extremely improbable, but not impossible. However, things would have to move at an accelerated pace.

The group is also looking at a hockey franchise, as our guys at Eye on Hockey detailed.
Posted on: January 25, 2012 4:53 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 5:04 pm

Report: Vin Baker sues adviser over $86 M losses

Vin Baker is reportedly suing a financial adviser over millions in losses. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

Vin Baker's nickname might as well be "cautionary tale."

After making four All-Star games and earning more than $97 million during a 13-year NBA career, it's been nothing but financial hardship since his retirement in 2006.

Baker has owed more than a million dollars in back taxes to Connecticut, according to NBCConnecticut.com, he's had foreclosures on multiple properties, according to CNBC.com, and now he's reportedly suing his long-time financial adviser for allegedly squandering his fortune.

CourthouseNews.com reports that the 1993 lottery pick has taken legal action against Brodeur & Co. Certified Public Accountants because he believes the company mismanaged his finances between 1997 and 2009.
Retired NBA All-Star Vincent Baker claims his financial adviser lost nearly all of his $86 million nest egg through negligent investments.

Baker says: "During the time that Brodeur and B&C acted as Baker's manager, virtually all of Baker's earnings were spent and/or his investments lost all or nearly all of their value, such that Baker's home was foreclosed and he was forced to liquidate substantial assets for little or no value, leaving him without resources to meet his financial obligations and living expenses."

Baker claims that Brodeur and his firm breached their duties to him "through inadequate oversight and/or failure to implement systems to track sources of money and discourage fraud ... inadequate accounting ... inadequate reporting ... mismanaging Baker's assets, upon information and belief, through commingling of funds and the use of personal credit cards ... by mismanaging Baker's assets, upon information and belief, through transactions with Brodeur and B&C's manager's friends and family; and ... through transactions with Brodeur and B&C's managers, affiliates, business associated, and like entities."
Courant.com reports that Baker admitted to problems with alcohol abuse in a 2010 interview. He was arrested on DUI charges in 2007.

Baker, now 40, averaged 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds per game during a career that included stops with the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers.

Hat tip: ProBasketballTalk
Posted on: November 18, 2011 7:21 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 12:02 pm

NBA All-Star Walt Hazzard dies at 69

Posted by Ben Golliverwalt-hazzard

Former NBA All-Star and UCLA standout Walt Hazzard died in Los Angeles on Friday night at the age of 69, KTLA.com reports. Hazzard had been battling a "long illness."
"This is a sad day for the UCLA basketball family," said Bruin athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a press release from UCLA.

"Walt was the catalyst for Coach John Wooden's first championship team and played the game with a style that excited Bruin basketball fans everywhere. He contributed to his alma mater in numerous ways, including as a student-athlete, coach and honored alum, and he will be greatly missed by all of us know knew him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Jaleesa, and their four sons."

"Walt was one of the pillars of UCLA's first championship team in men's basketball," said UCLA head men's basketball coach Ben Howland.
Hazzard, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard, played 10 years in the NBA, featuring stops with the Los Angeles Lakers, Seattle SuperSonics, Atlanta Hawks, Buffalo Braves and the Golden State Warriors. He posted career averages of 12.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists and was selected to the 1968 All-Star Game when he posted a career-high 24.0 points for Seattle.

On Friday evening, the Lakers, who drafted him in the first round of the 1964 NBA Draft, issued a statement.
"Walt was a man of extremely high character, who served the Lakers for many years as a player, a scout and a consultant,” said Lakers Owner Dr. Jerry Buss.  “Our sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time, and we feel fortunate that he was part of the Lakers family for so many years.”

“First and foremost, our condolences go out to the Hazzard family,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak.  “Not only was Walt an outstanding player, but his knowledge of the game was extremely valuable to our front office as well over the past 17 years.  In the years since his stroke, he has been an inspiration to many of us with his perseverance and his passion for the game.”
A college All-American and the Most Outstanding Player of the 1964 NCAA Final Four, Hazzard is best known for playing on the undefeated UCLA team coached by John Wooden that won the school's first NCAA title. UCLA retired his No. 42 jersey.  He later won a gold medal as a player at the 1964 Olympics.

After his retirement from the NBA, Hazzard coached at UCLA from 1984-1988, compiling a 77-47 career record, and worked as both a scout and a consultant for the Lakers. 

In 1996, Hazzard suffered a debilitating stroke that reportedly nearly took his life.
Posted on: January 26, 2011 8:18 am
Edited on: January 26, 2011 8:19 am

The Shootaround: LA takes Utah's swagger

Charles Barkley names his pick for best point guard, A Magic writer keeps Dwight Howard's future in perspective, the Jazz take another top loss, Billy Hunter warns the Sacramento Kings to save money and Kendrick Perkins' tough road back to the court is remembered. Posted by Ben Golliver.  shootaround
  • There have been some very early reports that Dwight Howard might fly the coop in Orlando when he's able to be a free agent, but Orlando Pinstriped Post argues that it could be worse for Magic fans, as Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams has already turned up his rhetoric. "Williams' remarks illustrate that Orlando doesn't quite have it so bad with Howard. Apart from complaining about his teammates' defense--something he's obviously entitled to do, given the accuracy of his statements and his status as a team co-captain--Howard's at least remained neutral about his pending free agency.
  • Speaking of the Jazz, they've been struggling, and got crushed by the Lakers last night. Raja Bell tries to explain things to the Salt Lake Tribune, "We just lost our swagger somewhere along the lines. You know, we start pressing, we start trying to do everything so right that it backfires. I think it's a tough way to play."
  • Beyond The Beat catches up with the Sacramento Kings regarding an impending work stoppage. "It could take a year. It could take a day. We really don't know, but I know it's a serious issue and I can see them (players' association) pushing a lockout," Carl Landry told Beyond the Beat. "He (Hunter) forewarned us that there might be a lockout in effect, and he shared different ideas that will help prepare us for the lockout. They (players' association) are there for us and are already thinking about different contestants and things that will help the players."
  • Former Seattle SuperSonics guard Gary Payton says he does not support the Oklahoma City Thunder in any way, notes the Seattle PI. "He would not attend an alumni event in Oklahoma City if invited. 'I didn't play in Oklahoma City,' he said. 'That would be disrespect to Seattle fans. We never played there. Why would we go to Oklahoma City and give the fans that opportunity or privilege?'"
  • Good news for Hornets fans: AFP reports that the team won't be going anywhere. "The NBA New Orleans Hornets will remain in the Louisiana city for at least another season after meeting an attendance goal that prevents an escape clause activation in their arena lease."
  • The Heat Index investigates what using LeBron James as a power forward will look like for the Miami Heat.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com