Sports Out West

Sacramento Kings moving to Seattle?: David Stern’s legacy in play amidst deal

Photo by Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons

The Wednesday report that Sacramento Kings’ owners Joe and Gavin Maloof were finalizing an agreement to sell the team for $500 million may have fallen through in the short term, but David Stern may make his presence felt before he retires to push the deal through. 

The abridged version: The Kings need an arena, and they have had a nightmare of a time getting one approved in the fiscal purgatory known as the state of California. The Kings are really bad at basketball, the fans are becoming increasingly disengaged and the Maloofs have a lot of debt that the team isn’t helping them settle as it drains their pocketbooks. 

And Seattle needs a team — it deserves one after having the now Oklahoma City Thunder ripped from them. 

Photo by Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons

All of this chaos has occurred under David Stern, who by the way, has been at the center of two lockouts and could use a cleansing of his reputation. He’s been seen as an autocrat and a ruler with an iron fist. So in his swan song as he nears retirement, it’s fitting that he wants to go out looking like a knight in shining armor, riding off into the proverbial sunset. Make no mistake about it, he has the type of power to do exactly that. 

He’s no Captain America, but he can wield a pretty big shield in capitalist America, where the NBA operates its revenue-generating, well-oiled machine.

That’s the kind of mindset that needs to be taken on here; the NBA is a business, and Seattle is a great market while Sacramento is mediocre at best. The great Sacramento fans that are left don’t deserve this treatment any more than the Seattle fans did when they went through the same ordeal. But they don’t have the resources to win this fight. 

Stern will come out looking like a hero here, because his influence will likely put the finishing touches on a deal to have the Kings in Seattle and playing in Key Arena as soon as the 2012-13 season. 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.
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  • http://www.sportsoutwest.com/2013/01/10/sacramento-kings-moving-seattle/ Pepe

    I grew up a Sonic’s fan and was devastated when they stole the team from Seattle. To this day I will not watch NBA games or drink Starbucks coffee. I really feel bad for Sacramento, you deserve better than this. I do want an NBA team to return to Seattle but I would prefer an expansion team. What I actually want will never happen but I really want the Sonics returned back to Seattle and OKC gets an expansion team. Its the right thing to do. Sorry Sactown.

  • phil

    what a joke of a reporter. how does this guy have a job. Really want to pit Sac against Seattle. I have never seen a replay of a lakers Seattle game on any channel. You can see Lakers Kings replays almost every week. And if you remember nobody nationally cared about Seattle losing their team compared to how many people care about sacramento losing the Kings. Verify with Ice cube that it was just something that rhymed and that’s it!

  • Sean

    It’s laughable how little people know about the situation in Sacramento.

  • Johnny Sound

    On point #1, wouldn’t the $77 million load need to be repaid whether the buyers are local or in Seattle? I don’t see a local sale being more viable in that regard.

    Take that into consideration and the relocation fee is a fairly small cost considering the rumored amound the Seattle group is offering…that offer is significantly ($100M+) more than other NBA teams (including the Pistons) have sold for recently.

    • Mark Prestwich

      $10 million of the $77 million is a pre-payment penalty if the team relocates out of Sacramento that would otherwise not be applied if the team stays locally. Additionally, with a willing business partner, the City of Sacramento could evaluate creative approaches to refinancing the loan.

  • Mark Prestwich

    Your story is devoid of several key facts.

    1. The Maloofs walked away from a viable and generous deal negotiated last year in collaboration with David Stern’s office.

    2. Sacramento is the nation’s 20th largest media market and has no other local professional teams to dilute corporate advertising dollars.

    3. The State of California does not approve local construction projects and in fact adopted legislation last year that facilitates an expedited environmental review process for large scale job-creating construction projects.

    4. Relocation penalties plus a $77 million loan owed to the city of Sacramento suggest that it may be more valuable for the Kings to be sold to a local investment group that until yesterday has consistently been told the team was not for sale.