Ailene Voisin

Opinion: With New York so frigid, Sacramento’s bid could heat up

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media before Tuesday nights game between the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors at Sleep Train Arena, February 3, 2015 in Sacramento.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media before Tuesday nights game between the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors at Sleep Train Arena, February 3, 2015 in Sacramento. jvillegas@sacbee.com

NWhile the Kings will have to overcome the region’s limited number of hotel rooms to land the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, there are a number of reasons to recommend Sacramento as host.

Let’s start with weather.

The fans, owners, sponsors and players who have been arriving for the All-Star Game the past few days have been greeted by frigid temperatures and biting wind. At 1:40 p.m. on Friday, for example, the temperature in the metropolitan region was 20 degrees, according to Weather.com. At the same time, Sacramento was listed at a very comfortable 70 degrees.

In other words, catching a cab here has been tough, with the worst to come. Snow showers are expected today with a high of 38.

But what about Sacramento – its deficit of hotel rooms, and the commute to Napa or the nearest decent golf course? A few more frigid days in New York and the Kings’ bid will heat up.

Cousins keeping his cool – Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who makes his All-Star Game debut Sunday, has been pestered with questions about new coach George Karl since he arrived Thursday afternoon – by ESPN, Grantland and Bill Simmons, The Bee – and made an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

But in a departure from his careful, diplomatic remarks of the past few days, Cousins was somewhat more forthcoming as Friday’s media session progressed.

Asked yet again about the coaching change, the fifth-year center said, “I think everyone will benefit. Change isn’t always a bad thing.”

Hawks still flying – While he monitored four Atlanta Hawks during Friday’s media sessions, longtime team publicist Jon Steinberg couldn’t stop grinning, understandably.

The Hawks are arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference. The famously apathetic fan base is stirring. And several deep-pocketed groups are attempting to buy the franchise and being vetted by the league.

Then there’s the appealing style of play. Second-year coach Mike Budenholzer, a former San Antonio Spurs assistant, credits his success to having good players, an exceptional mentor (Gregg Popovich) and lessons learned while playing and coaching in Denmark.

“We’ve been stealing and trying to be more European, more international, for a lot of years,” said Budenholzer, whose Hawks have been first or second in assists for the better part of two seasons. “I think there is value in moving the ball, moving the people.”

One leaves, another stays – With reviled former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling selling his franchise to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, New York Knicks owner James Dolan appears to have taken over as No. 1 on the NBA’s worst-owner list.

The tabloids and other news outlets here continue to excoriate Dolan for sending a nasty email to a fan who urged him to sell the team. In the response first published last weekend by Deadspin, Dolan called Knicks fan Jim Bierman, 73, “a mess” and said “you most likely have made your family miserable. Alcoholic maybe.”

With thousands of media members covering All-Star Weekend, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is sure to be asked during Saturday’s media session why Dolan wasn’t fined.

Duncan quietly appreciated – San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, making his 15th appearance in the All-Star Game, doesn’t command a stage, but he hardly needs an introduction.

Besides leading the Spurs to a fifth NBA title last June, the St. Croix native is a two-time league MVP, three-time Finals MVP, 10-time All-First Team selection, etc., etc., etc. As Warriors coach Steve Kerr noted, anyone associated with the league appreciates Duncan.

“But he doesn’t have the same sort of reputation, I guess, as Magic (Johnson), Michael (Jordan) or Larry (Bird),” said Kerr, who is coaching the Western Conference team. “The charisma that those guys had, all the endorsements and everything else, made them sort of global icons. Tim prefers to go about his business and play hoop.”

Not the retiring type – Former NBA Commissioner David Stern, who stepped down from the job a year ago, never really went away. The league’s longest-tenured top executive consults for Silver, approximately a dozen other companies and charges a hefty fee for speaking engagements. Stern, 71, rents an office on the top floor of a building that overlooks Central Park.

Unique dish of the day – The concession stands feature the usual array of arena/stadium fare of hot dogs, popcorn, pretzels, nachos, sodas, etc. But for $12, folks also could purchase an “Alligator Sausage Poboy.” The dish resembles a hot dog on a bun, but, yes, it truly is alligator.

Call The Bee’s Ailene Voisin, (916) 321-1208.

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