While it has not been confirmed, the rumor the Sacramento Kings are moving to Seattle just grew legs today. Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA Insider for NBA Sports Network and NBA columnist for Yahoo! Sports, set Twitter afire with his tweet:
The Maloofs are finalizing an agreement to sell the Sacramento Kings to the Hansen-Ballmer led Seattle group, sources tell Yahoo! Sports.
It isn’t as though the rumor mill had not already started, as Bryan Rosa reported earlier.
The rumor didn’t really grow legs until Wojnarowski posted his tweet. Although, those of us who love the Sacramento Kings or who have followed this story closely know, this story has the ring of credibility. Wojnarowski has credibility as a reporter. He is not going to post something he believes will come back to bite him.
The timing makes sense. With the Virginia Beach deal collapsing, ostensibly because the Maloofs were unwilling to commit to them, it would make sense they have another deal in the works. If they hope to relocate next season, they have to move quickly in order to file for relocation in March.
This is the proverbial dagger for Sacramento Kings fans.
This is our worst nightmare, our beloved team leaving. Nothing is completely confirmed at this point, with many bloggers and journalists attempting to get more information. Our memories are not so short that we haven’t forgotten the Maloofs backing out of the deal with Sacramento for a new arena. There are still obstacles for the owners of the Sacramento Kings to overcome, if these details prove true.
Already, #HereWeStay is organizing a petition to NBA Commissioner David Stern to allow a Sacramento buyer to match any offer of the Sacramento Kings and give Seattle an expansion team.
As Bryan Rosa writes, Sacramento fans aren’t going to go out without a bang.
While Kings fans are gearing up to go into fight mode, here is another option for them to consider. While it may be too early to tell fans that there could be a positive spin to this, keep in mind, there may be more than one option other than keeping the team in Sacramento, especially if that option turns out not to be an option at all.
If the team leaves, fans will be reeling from the pain and hurt of losing their team, not unlike the grief of losing someone you love. This may well be a situation fans have little control over, no matter what the fight. The Maloofs own the team and they will ultimately decide if they want to sell it to the highest bidder.
The old saying, by Alexander Graham Bell may be apropos in Sacramento:
When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.
With the Maloofs, ostensibly selling the team, Sacramento can again resume the search for an anchor tenant to possibly re-erect the plans for a downtown arena.
Although Seattle can be made “whole” again, with a new team, Sacramento will be left with an open, potentially mortal wound. What better time for Mayor Johnson to appeal to NBA Commissioner David Stern for an expansion team in Sacramento? Sacramento has proven itself to have an exemplary fan-base. Sacramento has the basic structure in place to build a new arena. All Sacramento needs is a new team.
There is no doubt, Sacramento will make its voice heard across the NBA. What is in doubt, the final end game for Sacramento. First and foremost, fans want their team. If that is not to be, will the Mayor of Sacramento and the NBA clear the way to bring an expansion team to Sacramento?
UPDATE: Bryan Rosa and others are reporting the Maloofs have rejected the offer by Seattle investment group. This story is hard to stay ahead, with the deal appearing to be on track. That final pen mark has yet to be made. Maloofs have a history of pulling out at the last second, so hang on as details continue to unfold.
UPDATE: 2:41 Pacific Daylight Time. Sacramento Bee, reports Sacramento Kings are talking with Seattle, but no sale yet.
UPDATE: 3:45 Pacific Daylight Time. Mayor Kevin Johnson gives news conference. He indicates it is the first time he is made aware the Sacramento Kings are for sale. He wants to locate a potential buyer to ensure the Sacramento Kings remain in Sacramento. “We should be in control of our destiny.” He says, “Here We are with another opportunity.” He sees a lot of advantages to keep the team in Sacramento, citing being a top-20 TV Market and having best fans in the NBA. He plans to do his part to being competitive in keeping the the team here in Sacramento.