NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Report: Bosh frustrated with Heat’s handling of his health situation — Miami Heat big man Chris Bosh made it known on social media this week that he’s ramping up his workouts in hopes of suiting up to play in 2016-17. The Heat, however, have been quiet about whether or not Bosh has been cleared by the team to play this season. That and other issues have reportedly bothered Bosh, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
With Chris Bosh going on the offensive this week, the message to the Heat is clear: Getting salary cap relief for Bosh’s contract, if he isn’t cleared to play, is going to be a mighty contentious struggle.
We’re told the Bosh camp remains frustrated with the Heat’s handling of his situation, and that’s part of the reason Bosh and wife Adrienne have gone on a social media blitz this week. As one NBA official said, Bosh wants the public to know he wants to play amid the Heat’s silence.
The Heat has declined to say if Bosh will be cleared – Bosh has been awaiting word himself – but the team disputes any notion that it is trying to keep him off the court to remove his salary from the cap.
And here’s the problem: Though the Heat can apply to remove Bosh’s future salaries ($25.3 million in 2017-18, $26.8 million in 2018-19) from its cap as early as Feb. 9 (a full calendar year since his last game), the odds are against Miami being granted that relief if Bosh fights this.
The reason: To clear Bosh off the cap, the labor agreement says “a doctor that is jointly selected by the league and players association” must agree his condition “is career-ending, or severe enough to put him at risk if he continues playing.”
Bosh disputes any notion that he cannot play and –– barring another blood clot –– he, in tandem with the players association, likely will oppose use of any doctors who say he cannot play and presumably will try to find a doctor who will say he can. And the process might not even get to that point.
Bosh previously found one doctor who told him about taking a new blood thinner that would be out of his system in eight to 10 hours – an idea the Heat rejected in April but an approach that has again been discussed this summer.
Incidentally, the Heat faces a Wednesday deadline to use a stretch provision on Bosh that would allow Miami to cut him and spread his $76 million remaining in cap hits over seven years. But it’s unlikely the Heat will do that.
On Tuesday, Bosh tweeted a picture of himself and Dwyane Wade after a workout. And Bosh’s wife said this week that Bosh will play this season.
The reason Bosh’s situation is so complicated: There are differences of opinion in the medical community about whether someone who has had two clotting episodes in 12 months (but like Bosh, doesn’t have the gene making him pre-disposed to clots) should remain on thinners, and whether an NBA player – more susceptible than non-athletes to leg trauma – should take the new blood-thinning medication that’s out of the system in eight hours.
No. 2: Lakers hoping new training facility will help in free agency — Seemingly every offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers are mentioned as a potential destination for whichever marquee free agents (Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, et al) are on the market. Yet over the last few offseasons, none of those big names have given the Lakers more than a passing glance. What seems to be the problem? The Lakers are hoping the new practice facility they expect to open by next summer will turn some of that tide. ESPN.com’s Baxter Holmes has more:
With Kobe Bryant retired after two decades in purple and gold, the Los Angeles Lakers are entering a new and somewhat uncertain era featuring a first-year head coach and a roster built around several promising young players.
And as the illustrious franchise seeks to reclaim its place among the NBA’s elite after three straight seasons of missing the playoffs, and after posting their worst record ever last season, the Lakers looked ahead Wednesday to one of the most exciting, and certain, elements of their future: their state-of-the-art $80 million training complex.
Standing before the imposing shell of a two-story, 120,000-square-foot structure that is expected to open by summer 2017, Lakers officials offered a glimpse Wednesday into the new facility while also announcing a “long-term” partnership with UCLA Health, whose name will grace the not-yet-finished building. Lakers officials said the UCLA Health Training Center will be triple the size of the team’s current training facility, the Toyota Sports Center, which sits less than a half mile away. (The Lakers have practiced at the Toyota Sports Center since 2000 and today share the complex with the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League.)
Construction on the Lakers’ spacious new complex — which, for the sake of convenience, isn’t far from Los Angeles International Airport — began in September 2015. It will house the Lakers’ business and basketball operations, as well as the team’s D-League affiliate, the D-Fenders. Other impressive features include a barbershop, multiple whirlpools, cryogenics chambers, a theater, kitchen and more.
“We want players to treat this place like a second home,” said Lakers chief operating officer Tim Harris.
Lakers president Jeanie Buss echoed that point, adding, “We just retired a player who played 20 years in the NBA in Kobe Bryant and maybe we can keep pushing that, and certainly with the partnership with UCLA Health, that will give us those kind of resources.”
Wearing hard hats, fluorescent orange safety vests and goggles, Lakers players toured their future home.
“It’s more than helpful,” said guard D’Angelo Russell. “The 82-game season, plus more including the playoffs, is wear and tear on your body. It starts with the rehab and trying to keep your body 100 percent before every practice, before every game, before every road trip. [It’s great] just knowing that you have the best people going into the practice facility every day to help your body do that for you.”
Speaking of the facility, Lakers rookie head coach Luke Walton, a former Lakers player, referenced many new features, such as an underwater treadmill. But one change especially caught his attention: larger ice baths. The Toyota Sports Center features single-person metal tubs; the new center, which will house three rehabilitation pools, can hold up to 15 at a time, Walton said.
But will the glittering new facility help attract potential free agents, especially after the Lakers have struck out on big-name targets in each of the past four summers?
“I think it can,” Walton said. “I don’t think you strictly rely on it. I think the way we play and the way we compete helps lure free agents. I think when players from across the league come and see this place, they’ll be very excited about it. But to me, the most exciting [thing] is the ability to train the guys we already have in here. We’ve got a great group of guys, a good young core, and to be able to have them in a place like this and work with them every day is going to be a lot of fun.” Buss pointed out that, regardless of the new facility, she believes “free agents have always been excited about the Lakers.”
She added that she believes the new facility will further establish the commitment of the organization to be on the cutting edge. In the Lakers’ current training facility, 11 championship trophies line the window of Buss’ office that overlooks the practice court — and a smiling Buss said that feature will continue at the new facility “so that the players will always be reminded of what the goal is and to be inspired by the work that they have to put in to get that trophy.”
No. 3: Cost of Kings’ new arena jumps by millions — When the 2016-17 season gets rolling in about two months, the Sacramento Kings will finally get to enjoy their new arena, the Golden 1 Center. The project has been under construction since 2014 and is on target to be open for the season’s start, but the cost of the arena itself has well exceeded initial projections. Dave Kasler of The Sacramento Bee details what led to the skyrocket in the price:
Barely a month before opening, the Sacramento Kings continue to pour money into their new downtown arena, bringing the latest estimate of Golden 1 Center’s construction costs to $556.6 million.
The estimate has risen by $21.7 million in just a month, according to a construction consultant’s report submitted to Sacramento city officials late last week. The $556.6 million price represents a more than $79 million increase since the Kings broke ground in October 2014 on what was envisioned as a $477 million project. When the arena was first proposed to city officials in 2013, Kings officials said it would cost $447 million – bringing the total increase in price to around $109 million.
With the city’s subsidy capped at $255 million, all the additional costs are coming out of the pockets of Kings Chairman Vivek Ranadive and the rest of the team’s owners.
The latest estimate was included in a report by the city’s construction consultant, Merritt & Harris.
Kings officials declined comment on the new estimate. But in the past they’ve said the increases aren’t cost overruns. Instead, they represent the costs of design changes implemented since the project was initially proposed.
Building the team’s practice facility downtown, instead of leaving it at the site of the old arena in Natomas, added $30 million alone. Millions more have been spent on reconfiguring the basic interior design to move hundreds of additional seats into the lower bowl, bringing more fans closer to the action. Some of the added costs represent dollars spent renovating the former Downtown Plaza, now known as Downtown Commons.
“What we have done is we have increased, by choice, the amount we are putting into the building to improve the fan experience, mainly in and around technology,” Kings President Chris Granger said earlier this year.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Portland Trail Blazers have rounded out their new TV broadcast team for next season by hiring Lamar Hurd … Blazers forward Noah Vonleh will be out 3-4 weeks after undergoing a procedure on his right thigh … Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore lost his puppy and is using social media to try and track him down … Speaking of the Kings, they officially signed point guard Ty Lawson yesterday …