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The Starting 5: Is basketball coming back to Seattle?

Fans of the defunct Seattle SuperSonics team, from right, Andrew Wergeland-Rammage, Kenneth Knutson and Kris "Sonics Guy" Brannon look on during testimony before the Seattle City Council Monday, May 2, 2016, in Seattle. The council was expected to vote on Monday on whether to vacate a stretch of road where an investor hopes to eventually build an arena that could house an NBA and NHL team. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet

1. Seattle Arena group offers to privately finance arena, fix Lander Street – Chris Daniels, KING 5 News

There is unbridled optimism regarding the NBA and its players’ union finalizing a new collective bargaining agreement well before this December’s opt-out deadline, and some rumbling about the possibility of an expansion team in Seattle has accompanied the good vibes. While there is no indication expansion is on the table as part of this CBA negotiation period, a power move like this from Chris Hansen’s would-be ownership group greases the tracks a bit. Hansen has failed to secure franchises (the Clippers and Kings) to move back to Seattle, and a conventional public financing deal with Seattle was narrowly rejected by the city council. Now, Hansen’s group is offering to commence the build-it-and-they-will-come arena project without any public backing. Daniels breaks down the local maneuvers at work, covering all the promising details for Seattle’s fans who have gone without a team for too long.

2. Michele Roberts: ‘I Wouldn’t Mind Routing The League’ – Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated

This headline is pulled from a joke Roberts (the NBPA’s executive director) made about the aforementioned CBA negotiations. There’s actually no hard-line posturing in this interview, but there is plenty of fascinating insight from the new face about to broker a surprisingly early deal for a league at the heights of prosperity. Among other things, Roberts discusses her no-nonsense approach, how the union “got hosed” in the last CBA, the effect of women and minorities being underrepresented in major sports executive wings, and plenty of shade toward the NFL.

3. The Happy Accidents of Steven Adams – Danny Chau, The Ringer

It’s hard to find a Steven Adams hater; the guy has most of the traditional “tough guy” characteristics on the court that endear him to sports fans, with arguably the league’s best off-court sense of humor paired with it. Adams is poised to take on a much larger role in Oklahoma City this season, and Chau examines how the big manages to both improve his play and maintain his affability about his celebrity; “the ability to absorb the importance of a moment, then refract its triviality,” as he puts it.

4. How the Front-Office Analyst Took Over the Nba – Rob Arthur & Rian Watt, Vice Sports

Arthur and Watt decided to move beyond the widespread belief that analytics are a big deal in basketball and do a statistical analysis of their own. They found that, indeed, team staffs now feature many more analytical roles than they did just a few years ago. They also identify teams that were ahead of the curve, and the benefits they reaped: teams populating their front offices with analytical pros at a higher rate in the 2008-2012 period experienced a boon in three-point percentage in the 2012-2016 period, when the rest of the league started catching up with their own hires. The more data-friendly teams have consistently enjoyed higher winning percentages as well. Now that analytics are here to stay, there will be diminishing returns based on staff composition, so the next edges teams find should become evident in the years to come.

5. Why this will be the year Kevin Love finds his groove in Cleveland – EVR1022, Fear the Sword

If anything can save us from an anticlimactic championship path for the Warriors, it is the Cleveland Cavaliers. To match Golden State, Cleveland needs Kevin Love to return to superstar form, and to embrace a style of play that maximizes his talent alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. I’m not as positive that will happen as the author here, but I’m just as hopeful it does, and things got off to a pretty good start for Love on Tuesday night in the Cavaliers’ blowout victory over the New York Knicks. Love finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds.

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