There’s been this spin out there ever since the Hansen-Ballmer group came to terms with the Maloof family on a purchase of the Sacramento Kings franchise, that this was Seattle’s battle to win.
Why that was ever suggested, I don’t know, but if you’ve ever looked into how the NBA has handled relocation situations before, it’s done by the book. The incumbent city must do something to lose their team and Sacramento refused to bow out, no matter how dimly lit the light was.
Maybe it was some of the National media who promoted that thought – maybe it was some of the Seattle media – more likely it was a combination of both, but the NBA never budged on their morals, odd as that might be to say.
Just as this wasn’t Seattle’s fight to win, it wasn’t Seattle’s fight to lose. The Hansen-Ballmer group despite having a signed and sealed purchase agreement was never in the drivers seat like many suggested, but it wasn’t Seattle’s fault. Make no mistake, the Hansen-Ballmer group is a very unique and special group – a type of group that the NBA wants to add to their Billionaire Boys club and in my personal opinion will eventually, assuming no bridges are burnt – but back to the point. Seattle came to the bargaining table with a wonderful deal and while maybe not flawless, it certainly was a deal that in most scenarios would be enough to swing the pendulum in their favor. However, for the Hansen-Ballmer group – they ran into a buzz saw of passion and desire they couldn’t overcome.
What Sacramento did was incredible, across the board. From the investment group to fan support, it was something we’ve honestly never really seen before – not at this level. Nobody outside of the Kingdom thought Sacramento could do it, but you can never underestimate the amount of fight in a dog when its back is pushed against the wall.
Seattle didn’t lose out on winning the Kings. They have nothing to hang their heads about, despite their current and obvious disappointment. They fought and fought hard – a fight that most likely in another city they win. Rarely do you see a city step up to the plate like Sacramento did. The NBA did their best to poke holes in Sacramento’s bid to keep the Kings – some may say they did that on purpose to assist the new potential Kings ownership group (and that’s a topic for a different day) in putting together winning formula – but every question the NBA had, Sacramento had an answer for.
Since the start, this was Sacramento’s battle to lose – it was never Seattle’s to win. That’s not my opinion, that’s the NBA’s bible. It’s how they operate as we’ve seen it before. However, in almost all other previous scenarios, there was a problem with the incumbent city. Maybe it was an inability to get an arena plan in place, perhaps it was a financially crumbling franchise who couldn’t garner enough fan support. Whatever the case might have been, the NBA had reason to look elsewhere but with every glance the NBA took towards Seattle, Sacramento stepped up and displayed their ability to do it just as well. I know that’s certainly not something Seattle fans want to hear right now, especially after the continued hype for Seattle – especially early in this race, but the momentum began to snowball and there was no stopping it.
In the end, Seattle couldn’t have done much else – and that’s the hard part for Seattle to swallow. Seattle should be commended for the fight they put up. They gave it everything they had but it still wasn’t good enough for the NBA who had already backhanded them once – a feeling I can’t even imagine.
Unfortunately, early in this saga, so many were told that this was Seattle’s fight to lose, but those people were wrong – this was Sacramento’s fight to lose and they refused.
Most cities would’ve lost this battle.
But most cities aren’t Sacramento.