• Big news for Seattle fans: The Seattle Times broke the news late last night/this morning that the City Council and Chris Hansen, a hedge fund manager raised in the Seattle area, have reached a tentative compromise for a plan to build a new basketball/hockey arena in Seattle. There is a lot to work out, including formal approval, an environmental report and Hansen actually buying an NBA team, but finding the right combination of public bonds, private financing and earmarked tax revenue is a huge step toward the return of the Sonics.
• Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus (and a former Sonics employee) commends everyone involved with the Hansen plan for their patience and reserves some special praise for Wally Walker:
Of course, Hansen isn’t the only one who has been patient. The members of the former Sonics ownership group that have joined Hansen also put aside the bitter disappointment of the way the team left. The hidden hero in this entire process was former Sonics president and CEO Wally Walker, who advised Hansen behind the scenes and was responsible for introducing him to the influential local businessmen who lent his investment group credibility. Walker, who voted against the sale of the team to the Oklahoma City group as a member of the board in 2006, has since worked tirelessly to help bring back the Sonics. That, not any of his decisions as general manager, should be his enduring legacy in Seattle.
The rest of Pelton’s post is similarly eloquent and even-handed.
• The Kings appear to be the franchise most likely to relocate, with Robert Pera, the Grizzlies’ prospective new owner, about to lock himself into terms that make it borderline impossible to move from Memphis over the next quarter-century. Tom Ziller of the Kings-themed blog Sactown Royalty reflects on the Seattle threat.
• The Nets have already relocated, to Brooklyn, and their new court looks mighty spiffy.
• This is a much funnier Ziller read on the latest nutty Maloof family news tidbit, complete with a visual multiple choice quiz and a nice bit of moving text that had me laughing out loud this morning.
• Seth Rosenthal of the Knicks-themed blog Posting and Toasting has a cool Q-and-A with the Michael Doret, who re-designed the Knicks logo in the early 1990s. Doret supplied some early logo drafts that were ultimately rejected but look pretty damn cool to me.
• Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! reflects on the idea, reported here, that Michael Jordan has turned over decision-maker power to GM Rich Cho.
• Devin Kharpertian of the Nets-themed blog Nets Are Scorching comes to terms with the pending Andray Blatche signing.
• Updates on the Knicks’ coaching staff, including one starry name who will not be part of it.
• Want to be a sports agent? Read stuff like this first.
• Jason Friedman of Rockets.com takes us inside Omer Asik’s arduous offseason workouts with Carroll Dawson, the Rockets’ former GM and a longtime tutor to Houston centers.
• A really thoughtful piece on Luc Richard Mbah a Moute – his strengths, weaknesses, position and place within a crowded Milwaukee frontcourt.
• Kiki Vandeweghe never played for the Jazz, but he has some interesting past and present ties with Utah.