It’s a dark hour in Sacramento Kings history – but we’ve been here before. The same sources who’ve reported this sale also reported the Anaheim relocation – don’t forget, a move that was also a “done deal” in their eyes. That’s not to discredit any of those reports or these current reports – they’re only reporting what they hear, but what they hear and what happens are two different animals. Until papers are signed and the NBA cracks their gavel, nothing is done, especially with the Maloof’s. From Anaheim to Virginia Beach to Kansas City to the arena situation – they’re all deals that varied in depth, but none of which came to a head. Call it denial if you must – but we’ve seen first hand how easily things go from being complete to completely falling apart and there always seems to be one common theme – the Maloof family.
Yes – the Maloofs didn’t sell to Henry Samueli for fear of denial by the NBA’s Board of Governors, but given their current financial situation (they’re bleeding money, quickly) and the apparent too good to be true rumors of the deal ($30 million upfront with or without a sale of the team, maintain small ownership percentage, etc) – the Maloofs had no choice – they had to sell. Were they greedy? It’s the Maloof family – so of course. All they know is greed. But there was no way the rumored deal between they and a single Sacramento investor was this good – nor was there anyway that said owner (who we don’t have a name on) was going to front them money and let them retain some ownership in the team. Both of those reek of desperation, but for Chris Hansen and his group – they have no other options. The Hornets and Grizzlies are no longer for sale – the Bobcats? Who knows what happens with that – it’s a few years down the road easily and Hansen and his group want their team quickly as possible – they’ve waited long enough, in their mind. It’s a perfect scenario for the Maloofs – stop the money bleeding AND find a desperate sucker? They found one in Anaheim – they’ve found another in Seattle.
Still – despite the gloomy forecast, it’s not raining – not yet.
Mayor Kevin Johnson still has his appointment with the NBA’s BOG to present his case – a case – just like Anaheim – where he came out with his guns blazing and all but created the doubt the BOG needed to shut down the Anaheim situation. Can he do it twice? It’s obviously a tough task but he nor the city are going down without a fight. The NBA’s relocation committee doesn’t just approve moves for the sake of doing it and the NBA prefers to keep the franchise in it’s original city, especially if there is fan support. Their main issue is financial – can the said franchise be profitable in its current location? Keep in mind – there were plenty of buyers out there looking at the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Hornets when they were up for sale – but they all wanted to do one thing – move them. The NBA wasn’t having it and went out of their way to find a local buyer to keep the Hornets in Louisiana and while they may not extend that same hand to Sacramento, they’ve always maintained their support for the city and fanbase, which they deem as one of the premier in the NBA.
This sale to the Hansen group was something we all knew was bound to happen – how could it not? As mentioned above, this deal almost is too good to be true for the Maloof’s. From their own personal perspective, they’d be stupid not to take the deal – but – there are still so many hoops for all parties to jump though, so assuming this is a done deal would be wrong. Right now – Seattle is having their day and from a basketball fan perspective, I couldn’t feel better for them – they deserve the NBA after being so wronged before – but as a Sacramento King fan, my heart breaks. Still – just like they’re having their day, Sacramento will have theirs. The next few months will be filled with contradicting rumors – full of overjoying and gut wrenching news for both parties.
But until the papers are signed and the moving trucks are backing up to the Sleep Train loading docks – King fans are going to fight. Call it fruitless if you must, but we’ve been here before and won. This is a tougher fight – no doubt – but King fans wont go down without swinging. And hey – you might not win the fight, but if you don’t throw a couple haymakers – you’ll never have a chance.