Generally, the collection of owners in any professional sports league are nothing more than a “boys club” – you scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours. It’s a shady and shiest filled way of operation, but it’s reality. Well, a reality until you as an owner start to notice you’ll be on the short end of the stick.
In order for the Kings to relocate, the league owners would need to approve the move and while one could reasonably assume the owner vote should be relatively easily, it might run into some resistance. How big, is the question.
Obviously, both Donald Sterling (Clippers) and Jerry Buss (Lakers) will oppose the relocation – but who else?
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has continually voiced his displeasure with potential moves and relocations – he was one of two owners to vote no on the Sonics move from Seattle. It’s about as sure as can be that he’ll also vote no on the Kings move. That’s three…
The other owner to oppose the Sonics move was Portland owner Paul Allen. No reason was given for Allen’s vote – some have speculated it was a territorial rights vote, others say Allen is also opposed to relocation as is Cuban. Potential vote? Possible – but unlikely.
One franchise that will be opening their arms to prevent the Kings move will be the Golden State Warriors. Tim Kawakami tweeted earlier today that the Warriors will not approve of the relocation and will vote no – mainly to keep the San Jose market closed for any future franchises who’d have the idea of becoming extremely close neighbors of the Dub’z.
So we’re looking at four – possibly five owner groups who’ll oppose the move. Certainly not enough, but it’s a nice start. Could there be more, you ask? Quite possibly, yes.
Anaheim is a major market. Multiple teams have already been in talks of moving there in years past and it’s clear that at some point, they will have an NBA team – it’s just a matter of who and when. There are a handful of teams we know of that are looking into possible relocation in the somewhat near future (or are thinking of it) and they’d have nothing to gain by allowing the Kings to overtake the biggest available market around. In Anaheim, you’re drawing from Los Angeles and San Diego – California’s two largest cities, not to mention the millions not included in their population from surrounding communities. I don’t think it’s out of the question to assume a handful of owners who’ve had the slightest thought of moving would oppose the move. Let’s make one thing clear – no offense to Oklahoma City – it’s not Southern California. Franchises are not going to move to Oklahoma City without a reason, and Clay Benett had exactly that. The Happiest Place On Earth though is a completely different animal – there are going to be owners who want Anaheim for themselves. Maybe not this year, maybe not next, but they’re not going to help the Kings move to a potential future location.
So the question begs – will the resistance be enough? Probably not – but this is no shoe in for the Maloofs. They are going to find themselves facing a respectable amount of opposition.