NBA: Scary days ahead for Sacramento

Oct 24, 2006 1:05 AM

Halloween is opening night in the NBA, a potential scary thought for Sacramento.

Not that Kings fans are upset about their team, just the fact the franchise itself is in jeopardy of being moved. The Vegas-born Maloof brothers have long been on record stating their love for Sac-town and its fans, but their great run as owners is contingent upon getting a new facility to replace the antiquated Arco Arena.

Reports are the residents will vote down a plan to raise public funds for a downtown arena on the Nov. 7 ballot. Palms owner George Maloof has told GamingToday on several occasions his desire for the franchise to remain in Sacramento.

Standout point guard Mike Bibby told The Associated Press he did not wish to move from Sacramento. It will be quite interesting to see how the issue affects the Kings in games leading to the Nov. 7 vote.

Hint to bettors: With the vote and now new coach Eric Musselman’s DUI arrest as distractions, Sacramento could be in for a shaky start. Las Vegas, Anaheim, San Jose and Kansas City are eyeing the vote, hoping for a no outcome.

Houston will be another interesting team to watch, with ex-Kings forward Bonzi Wells and Team USA rep Shane Battier (Memphis) joining Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. On paper, this is the best Rockets lineup since the championship years under Akeem Olajuwon.

In the Eastern Conference, the defending NBA champion Miami Heat will again be the team to beat with Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal promising another title and rap album for South Beach. Detroit has been Miami’s chief rival, but the balance of power could shift to Chicago with the NBA’s top defensive player Ben Wallace moving from the Pistons to the Bulls.

Adam Morrison is looking good so far in preseason for the Carolina Bobcats and a likely early favorite for Rookie of the Year.

Just two games on Halloween to tip off the season — Chicago at Miami and Phoenix visiting the Los Angeles Lakers.

Next week: League predictions from a betting angle.