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Should the Kings Stay, or Should they Go?

April 4th, 2013 · No Comments

Wednesday, April 3rd was the day of reckoning for Sacramento Mayor and ex-Phoenix Suns All Star ‘KJ, nee Kevin Johnson to present his latest rescue plan to the National Basketball Association to keep the city’s only major professional sporting franchise from leaving his city.

Having grown a bit weary of the will they, won’t they made for TV drama that’s been occurring in Sacramento for the past three years now. In a nutshell, without going into the whole enchilada of details, the Sacramento Kings have been teetering upon relocation for the last three years, after the current majority owners, the Maloof’s reneged upon a handshake promise to keep the team there and occupy a new, purpose built basketball arena, after Joe and Gavin Maloof had tearfully told a sell-out crowd at center court with Kevin Johnson alongside that they loved the city and were staying put for the foreseeable future - the next thirty years when announcing their new Arena financing scheme whilst beating the Utah Jazz on Feb 28, 2012.

Yet, this like previous deals were scuttled ultimately by the Maloof brothers, sending Mayor Johnson scrambling to secure the Kings staying put by making last minute “Three-pointers” from Downtown, when presenting NBA Commissioner David Stern rescue plans, as Johnson and his latest entourage will present his second rescue package in the past three years in New York city after the combined professional basketball’s relocation and Finance 12-member committee hear Seattle’s Chris Hansen group pitch first.

The Maloof’s, who tried moving the NBA Franchise unsuccessfully to Anaheim once, made a pending sales agreement with Chris Hansen, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and the Nordstrom’s to purchase their 65% majority stake back in January for $341-million, upon which the team would be relocated to Seattle and a new purpose built 18,500 seat Arena would be built in Downtown Seattle, nearby the current homes of the Seattle Seahawks/Sounders FC and Mariners, with the brand new facility costing $490-million, which $200m would be financed by the city.

Meanwhile, in his last ditch heroics to save the Kings, Johnson has rustled up a new ownership group along with orchestrating a new $448m Arena project which would utilize $258m public funds while renovating a fast decaying portion of the cities downtown corridor.

The part I’m not crazy about is how the NBA has issued a gag order against the Maloof’s and Chris Hansen’s ownership group while letting ‘KJ have the public spotlight all to himself. Yet, I feel that perhaps it’s all just more theater? As it seems the important caveat finally disclosed is: the league is purely meeting to discuss whether or not to approve the pending sale, which it’s only blocked once in recent history, back in 1994 involving the Minnesota Timberwolves.

But with today’s meeting solely focusing upon whether or not to approve the pending sale and subsequent relocation, which the sale only needs 75% approval and the relocation 50%, coupled with the fact that George Maloof says he wishes to complete the pending sale.

Along with the fact that Seattle’s new ownership group’s deal is already in writing, plus having the twelfth largest television market vs. Sacramento’s twentieth; eight Fortune 500 companies vs. 0 and Chris Hansen just divulging that 44,000 people have placed their names upon the priority ticket waiting seating list, not to mention 268 potential suite owners and 983-interested business sponsors, I’d have to say that the ball certainly seems to be bouncing in Seattle’s favour.

Yet after a five year void of no professional basketball team here, and once again having had to cancel our yearly waterfront Fourth ‘O July Fireworks extravaganza; not to mention that the World Cup Soccer qualifying match this summer is being capped to only 42,000 tickets due to a Mariners game taking place at the same time, does Seattle really need another professional sports team? As I cannot say I’ve overly missed them, yet we’ll all find out when the entire NBA Board of Governors meet for their annual meeting upon April 18-19…

Tags: NBA Basketball

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