NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is a popular man around Sacramento.
His choice of DeMarcus Cousins as Kobe Bryant’s injury replacement for the All-Star Game gave the Kings their first All-Star since 2004.
Fittingly, Silver was in town Tuesday when the Kings faced the Golden State Warriors at Sleep Train Arena. He regularly visits all the league’s arenas during the season.
Silver also visited the construction site of the new arena in downtown Sacramento and was impressed with the progress.
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“I wish everybody could have a sense of that because it’s a monumental undertaking,” Silver said. “I also remember the presentation that (principal owner) Vivek (Ranadive) and his partners made to our board of governors when they showed the images, when they pulled out the iPad demonstration, and there it is. I was moved to see that it’s actually happening.”
At the time of the presentation, the Kings were in danger of being sold to an ownership group from Seattle. Now the arena is on track to open for the 2016-17 season.
“I can’t wait to be here for opening night,” Silver said.
With a new arena, the question of whether Sacramento could host an All-Star Game arises. Sacramento lacks the hotel space the league prefers, falling about 2,000 short of 5,500 rooms. But that wouldn’t necessarily prevent Sacramento from hosting the game if accommodations could be made.
“We would stretch to try to bring an All-Star Game,” Silver said. “... At the end of the day, we need to accommodate all our guests.”
If and when Sacramento hosts the All-Star Game, there could be changes to the roster selection process and the number of participants.
For regular-season games, teams have 13 active players, while the All-Star Game is limited to 12 for each conference. The most glaring omission this year was Portland’s Damian Lillard, who lost out to Cousins because he trailed the center in the coaches’ voting.
Silver said giving the players a say in the roster, similar to how the NFL does with the Pro Bowl, is a possibility.
“That’s something we should talk to the union about,” Silver said.
Lineup shuffling – Kings coach Tyrone Corbin changed his starting lineup, opting for a smaller frontcourt against the Warriors.
Instead of Jason Thompson starting at power forward, Derrick Williams started to match up with Draymond Green.
Williams regularly has replaced Thompson against smaller teams. Williams did not play in Saturday’s win at Indiana.