Yesterday it was reported that the Maloof family was negotiating the sale of the Sacramento Kings franchise to an ownership group based in Seattle. This news was a long time coming as the Maloof family and the city of Sacramento have failed on numerous occasions to put a plan in place to build a new stadium. There were talks about moving to Anaheim (a deal which the Maloofs backed out of) after the Maloofs backed out (yep another back out) of a $391 million deal with Sacramento in 2012 as they wanted the city to cover more of the cost of the stadium.
Well, while the Maloofs were busy being their stubborn penny-counting selves, Chris Hansen (no not that Chris Hansen) was busy making a deal for a new arena to be built in downtown Seattle, in the sports district that includes both the homes of the Seahawks and Mariners. The new $490 million stadium deal would include $200 million of public funding which would be paid back in rent and taxes. If the deal goes through, and that is a big “if” as the Maloofs are known to back out of deals (zinger), the Kings could become the Supersonics as soon as next NBA season (2013-2014). They would play in Key Arena for the first two seasons as the new stadium was constructed,
While of course it’s a shame for the Sacramento Kings fans to have to lose their team. They had some great seasons and some great players, namely the 2002 and 2003 division winning teams led by Chris Webber, but the team fell into perpetual mediocrity behind poor drafts and poor trades. The Kings relocated to Sacramento in 1985 from Kansas City and despite those few years when they were elite with a team that included Mike Bibby, Peja Stojakovic, Doug Christie, Vlade Divac, sixth man Bobby Jackson and of course the aforementioned Webber, this franchise has been near the bottom of the league consistently. Kevin Johnson, the mayor or Sacramento even referred to the pending relocation as a “slow death” last year as the writing was clearly on the wall.
Well now Seattle may get its wishes and get a NBA team again. Hedge fund manager Hansen, Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer, and members of the Nordstrom department store family have come together in an ownership group that looks like they will be willing to spend. The sale would break the all-time high for an NBA franchise previously $450 million for the Warriors, as this would be around or eclipse $500 million. The Seattle Supersonics were Seattle’s first major sports franchise, founded n 1967 and had a reign until they were relocated to OKC in 2008. This timing is particularly frustrating for Sonic fans as the relocation coincided with the team finally having a young super-star talent in Kevin Durant that would take them to a level of success they hadn’t enjoyed in a decade. While the inherited Kings certainly won’t have a player like Durant to inherit, maybe some unnamed player on their team grows up in a new location (cough…Cousins…cough) and Seattle, the franchise who brought you the Glove Gary Payton and the Rainman Shawn Kemp, can have something to cheer about soon.
Sound off in the comments, which city deserves this franchise more?