There will be plenty on this issue in the upcoming weeks, but since the Sacramento arena issue has been part of the arena discussion these past few days in Seattle, here is the latest from the Northern California end: David Stern absolutely wants another franchise in Seattle - the Sonics' departure four years ago remains a sore spot within his administration - but he doesn't want it to be the Kings, which would tarnish his legacy after a brutal offseason, protracted labor dispute and his personal attempts to solidify the Kings future here these last several years.
Also, the last thing Stern (and his fellow owners) wants is the relocation of another team with a history of stability and success - albeit, of late, addled by some serious mismanagement. Thus, he continues to work behind the scenes with Mayor Kevin Johnson on the financing of a new sports and entertainment complex in the downtown Railyards. Assuming the community and Sacramento politcal/business leaders continue making progress toward the financing of a new facility, I keep hearing Stern will remain committed to Sacramento. Given the stunning last-minute reprieve when the Kings appeared head to Anaheim last April, nothing would surprise me. I keep hearing whispers that Stern has a dramatic play yet to come - something "up his sleeve," as they say.
By the way, the Kings are winning
A few thoughts on the Kings' impressive comeback victory Monday at New Orleans:
* DeMarcus Cousins has come up with 20 and 16 rebounds in the last two games, while playing 40 and 38 minutes, respectively. I will say it again: Contrary to what a number of national NBA writers suggested when Paul Westphal was fired, the second-year center wasn't the problem. The Kings' faster pace under coach Keith Smart has played to Cousins' strengths and improved his conditioning. Smart actually communicates with Cousins and his teammates - not a novel concept. It will be interesting to see how he responds Tuesday night in Minnesota in a back-to-back situation.
* John Salmons has been a different player under Smart. Even when he struggles with his outside shot, he is making quicker decisions, taking the shot or moving the ball, instead of overdribbling and killing the shot clock.
* Isaiah Thomas is quickly emerging as a fan favorite. On a team known for its sluggish, one-on-one play, his energy and tempo are driving the Kings out of their dreadful offensive style.
* Ricky Rubio awaits Tuesday night in Minnesota. Even with Kevin Love unavailable because of his two-game suspension, one suspects the Timberwolves' point guard will try to run the Kings into exhaustion. I would love to see Evans defensively challenge Rubio; with his long arms, quick hands, strength and anticipation, Tyreke has the potential to be a special defender.
* For those who might have forgotten, the Kings' last four-game win streak occurred last season between March 23-March 29. Seriously, in a 24-win season, who cared?
* The Oklahoma City Thunder visit Thursday, in the Kings' only scheduled appearance on TNT. Of course, that all changes if they start winning a few games. Chris Webber will be back to provide commentary.