SACRAMENTO KINGS STATUS UP IN THE AIR
There seems to be some new trouble in Sacramento, disheartening for King’s fans since a few months ago it appeared that a new arena would be built in that city and the Kings would remain.
The Maloof brothers, owners of the Kings, stepped away from negotiations with the city, saying that the proposal would not work. At the same time, they repeated their desire to move the team to another city, most likely Las Vegas, if they could not come to agreement with the city of Sacramento. They also reiterated their claim that they had no desire to sell the team.
Meanwhile, fans in Seattle, understandably upset that the Oklahoma City Thunder, formerly the Seattle Sonics, are in the NBA Finals, have ramped up their efforts to attract a team back to Seattle. Chris Hansen, the San Francisco financier, added some formidable partners to his team, most notably Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and two members of the Nordstrom family. Hansen and his team are going ahead with plans to build a state-of-the-art facility just south of Safeco Field and there is no doubt they have the financing to pull it off. It would also appear they have the financing to purchase an existing team and they would gladly purchase the Kings franchise should it become available.
On the executive front, NBA Commissioner Stern has stated that he would not approve of the Maloofs moving the Kings to another city. It remains to be seen whether Stern has the power necessary to back up his words; many an NBA owner is unhappy with Stern and quietly calling for him to retire from his position.
There is no way to know how this soap opera will play out. The Maloof brothers may be saying they won’t sell simply to up the price of the franchise, so their claim of not wanting to sell may simply be a marketing ploy.
What is obvious is that this situation cannot continue as it is. Look for a break in the proceedings during the summer. By fall we should have a much better idea of the future of the Kings, but don’t be surprised if the Kings become the Sonics within another year.
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