Sac Time

David Stern offered a bottom-line (flat-line?) statement on the future of the Kings in Sacramento during his annual preseason conference call with the media Friday, saying his hopes for a new arena there have “faded completely.” It just wasn’t an original statement.

Stern sent the exact same message when the league said it would no longer have an active role in the negotiations going nowhere fast. That was about a month ago, and that was the moment the relationship between the team and the city went on life support, not Friday.

Why did some so wrongly portray this as a watershed moment? Maybe because Stern’s words sounded so ominous. Or maybe because there were Stern words attached to it at all. But it was more re-stating the obvious than sending a message to a city.

The city had already gotten that message, no matter what some may think from afar. Brian Robinson, for one, wrote on SonicsCentral.com that “We’d been asleep at the wheel during the negotiation time,” apparently referring to fans in Seattle, and that the Stern comment signaled how Sacramento just lost its team even though “I doubt they know it yet.” Wrong. Among the many who may be saddened by developments, it’s impossible to imagine anyone shocked after what has been an exhaustive process there.

Robinson had been among the most visible Sonics fans during the packing-up days and his passion is exemplary, but to compare Seattle and Sacramento is connecting two situations that have no connection. Same league, around the same time, but that’s it. The Sonics were one of many prominent businesses in a region with an international corporate reach, the Kings are the only major-league team in a town that regards them as part of the identity. The Kings were not sold to an ownership group from a place trying to land a pro franchise, as was the case with Clay Bennett and his hometown of Oklahoma City. There is zero chance the Sacramento arena issue gets any play at the state level, unlike the Sonics and Washington. With the Kings, it’s a local issue and nothing more.

Whatever happened in Seattle, and it’s easy to find fans there still seething about being double-crossed, there have not been misleading statements from the league regarding the future of the Kings in Sacramento. In truth, they’ve been there this long only because of Stern – if the commissioner had told the Maloof family to move years ago, the team would have moved. Pulling out of the negotiations and appearing Friday to napalm remaining hope came only after countless failed arena proposals and years of mismanagement by the city and the team. When he thought there was hope, he said so. Now that he doesn’t think there is hope, he said so.

Is it a done deal the Kings are leaving? No. If some new plan unexpectedly poofs into a realistic option, the Maloofs will listen and the NBA will surely listen. Stern does not want to leave a market that has been a proven success for more economic uncertainty elsewhere. But are the Kings leaving? Probably. And that was the case before Friday.

The greatest hope to re-igniting the former love affair of team and city, strangely, has nothing to do with how either side looks at the other. Leaving is one thing but ending up somewhere is something else, and the Kings simply do not have an option that guarantees a better future. Seattle and Las Vegas have major arena headaches of their own and there are doubts whether Kansas City, with a building in place, can sustain an NBA franchise.

One member of the Board of Governors was asked about the dilemma: Are there any sound options for relocation, for the Kings or anyone?

“I would say none,” came the answer.

That is the last best hope for the Kings to stay – that everywhere else has problems too. It’s not much, but it’s something. Actually, it’s all Sacramento has right now.

41 Comments

  1. Damon says:

    bring them to Anchorage ALASKA!!!

  2. Every day for news on current affairs. Always looked frightened, more and more human conflicts. How to do later

  3. May I use the word ‘mythical’? (Victoria is a genius and you are too!)

  4. i grew up in sacramento and it’s very frustrating to see certain city officials do there best to stymie new plans for an arena. it’s a big mess down there and hope is def fading. interestingly enough, the fan base is as supportive of the team as ever, it’s just that the non-sports fans are so vocal about their unwillingness to (partially) public fund a new building, no one knows what to do. plans get shelved. the maloofs shrug shoulders and shake their head. and…we’ll see what happens next.

  5. Amit says:

    Montreal Kings, has a nice ring to it. Didnt they do like 22,000 at the bell center for knicks-raptors preseason?

  6. jerseylife says:

    How about Prudential Center in Newark, Brand new arena plus the Nets will be in Brooklyn in 2012.

  7. […] Answer: Ah, there is the rub. And, Scott Howard-Cooper (when he isn’t filing the DeMarcus Cousins is an angry tattoo’d beast angle) pointed out several significant things a couple days ago in a rather important piece. […]

  8. aden says:

    i hope they make another canadian basketball team kings should move to vancouver or montreal they have alot of basketball fans there just look at the preseason games held there this year it was packed and sold out

  9. Fitty Sim says:

    Why the hell doesn’t Delaware have a team yet?

  10. rohin says:

    I no the PERFECT place for them… RICHMOND VA

  11. YKR23 says:

    YEEEEE
    bring them to vancouver, this city hosted an olympics, im pretty sure they can support an up and coming nba franchise

  12. Naps says:

    Bring them to Winnipeg, if we can’t have our Jets, lets bring basketball here!

  13. PETE X says:

    THE KINGS SHOULD MOVE TO LAS VEGAS..SACRAMENTO IS NOT TOO DISTANT SO THE FAN BASE WILL STILL BE THERE..”LAS VEGAS KINGS” SOUNDS OK..KING..ACE..QUEEN..JACK..VEGAS..CARDS….HAS A NICE RING TO IT I THINK

  14. JTreke says:

    Move to Anaheim! lol

  15. love the idea. and the tracks too.

  16. Drew says:

    Louisville, KY just built a brand new arena downtown. The city is as ready as it will ever be to support an NBA franchise. Although I do agree with the people talking about the Clippers. I mean come on, does LA really need 2 teams in one building? How about giving another city a chance to have a team that isn’t in California, Florida, or Texas?

  17. elftron123 says:

    wow they really are leaving sac town hahaha .. i feel bad for king fans ..like pro skateboarder Brandon Biebel one of the sickest fans out there… LAKERS BABY ALL DAY EVERYDAY!!

  18. Scott says:

    Send them to South Bend

  19. Travis says:

    Put them in Vancouver.. Have two Canadian teams again. That way the Raptors can have their Western Conference rivals back. Vancouver could easily support a team in this economic age.

  20. Brent says:

    Maybe Sacramento would rather use the money for something useful like public education or infrastructure, that city can’t have much money and it’s not right for the NBA to blackmail them into buying a new arena for a crummy basketball team that no one cares about.

  21. Jamal says:

    Man if Sacramento does leave, bring them to Seattle!!!!!!!

    Baltimore is right by Washington D.C. so they have the Wizards technically.
    Nebraska?? Are you serious they won’t have a fan base strong enough.
    Las Vegas, isn’t a good spot, due to the fact the main population is tourism.
    St.Louis is a city that might have a change, but for the fact of the matter Seattle has a better market then all. Yeah we can talk about Seattle sucking, so what. If they never moved to Oklahoma they’d be the second best in the west right now.

  22. Rip Greenfire says:

    It’s Seattle all over again. They want to move the team right when the team is starting to become stronger. I hope they’ll give Sacremento one more year, let ticket sales speak out.

    • Coyote says:

      They have already said they will give sacramento at least 2 more years to break ground on a project. They will only move if they have to because as the article points out, there is no place to move to. Sacramento is always amongst the fastest growing cities. All the old cities like KC, St. Louis, Pittsburg have peaked. Sacramento is at least 20 years away from reaching it’s peak population. Moving is simply not imminent.

  23. Eric Kinney says:

    Well Sacramento loves their Kings. But a new arean with these new players will bring a crazy atmosphere! Itll be so hott! Doesnt matter where you move this team because they are exciting! SO in Sacramento, Las Vegas, San Diego, all good!

  24. ace boogie says:

    !\ y take our kings when l.a got 2 teams get rid of the clippers not the kings our fans love our team to much for the nba just to snatch them up and leave.The kings are all we have unless you want to count the sacramento lioncats (arena football) you guys already took are sacramento monarchs away and they won a championship.PLEASE KEEP THE KINGS I WANT MY SON TO BE ABLE TO GO TO THE GAMES LIKE I DID WHEN I WAS YOUNG.

  25. McKinley says:

    I had friends in Sacramento. So twice a year , I’d watch my World Champion Lakers beat down the lowly Queens at Arco. Those were the only two games a year that they would sell out. Mainly because all the LAKER fans come out to see the champs. It must be pathetic when at your home arena and the crowd is mainly pulling for the other team. Which leads me to Arco itself. The arena has been out of date for at least 10 years. I blame the Maloofs. Maybe they can’t afford to build a new arena. But if they built a contender they could at least sell out their little gym.

    • ace boogie says:

      HAHAHAHA YOU SOUND DUMB WE HAVE ALOT OF LAKER FANS IN SAC AND THERE IS NEVER MORE KINGS FANS THAN LAKER FANS AND YOU CAN SEE THAT WHEN THEY PLAY IN A FEW DAYS AT ARCO WE HAVE THE MOST ELECTRICFIYINGN FANS

      • McKinley says:

        Your team is a joke. The LAKERS beat them all 4 times last year. I’ve been at Arco the last 3 times the Champs were in your little town. 80% of the crowd was for the Lakers. Sure you have some loyal fans. But nothing like back in early 2000 when LA beat you every year.

    • Coyote says:

      Sacramento has the two of the top 5 longest sellout streaks in NBA history. Both over 300 games. Our last streak ended when we let Rick Aldeman go and hired Musclehead. We have been rebuilding and attendance slumps when teams are rebuilding and not in the playoff hunt. There has never been a game in ARCO history when more than 10% of the fans were Lakers fans. I don’t know if you are a fool, but I know for a fact you are a liar. Look it up. The forth longest sellout streak in NBA history of 354 games ended in 1999 and the fifth longest sellout streak in NBA history of 358 games ended in 2007, The Trail Blazers hold the all time record of 799 which is ridiculous. The Bulls and the Celtics hold the 2nd and 3rd spots and the Knicks hold the sixth spot with 350games. So Sacramento’s 354 streak and 358 streak both beat the New York Knicks longest streak of 350. Los Angeles isn’t even in the conversation. So your insinuation that lakers fans outnumber kings fans at kings games is patently false. If you’ve ever actually been to a Kings Lakers game at ARCO then you know you’re lying. The fact is you probably havn’t and are spreading rumor, hearsay, and speculation. Most people’s favorite source of information.

      • McKinley says:

        Do you go to the games? Ive been going to See the World Champs in Sac for years now. Pre Pau Gasol. You would see 10-20% Lakers fans in the crowd. I was there the day after Christmas 2009. There was a see of purple and gold jersey’s. The hometeam was booed when they took the court. The crowd rose and applauded the LA LAKERS. I was also there March 16th 2010. There was another pro Laker crowd. You get off the plane in Sac and they have Laker Jerseys up front at the airport.

  26. DIcey says:

    Kings don’t need a team.They’re a small ass town & they’ve got the Warriors right there.Cali has enough teams.Get rid of them & Clippers.Send them somewhere useful like KC,St Lou,Pittsburgh or somewhere.

  27. gun says:

    wat we need is a team in OMAHA we need a pro basketball team.

  28. nic says:

    need a team in las vegas or st louis

  29. george says:

    Bring the team to Baltimore. WE can support an NBA team. Baltimore is a hot bed of talent and a pipeline to major colleges and the NBA. This tiwn has been craving for a team since the Bullets moved to D.C. They had a rich tradition with Earl Monroe, Wes Unseld, Gus Johnson,Kevin Loughery and Jerry Sloan. WHO woulda quest !!!

  30. Loose says:

    The NBA “Where screwing the fans happens” no other major league screws around the fans and forces teams to move like the NBA.

    • Ryan says:

      All sports move teams. Remember the Rams and Raider leaving LA?? It’s a business and businesses move. Unfortunately most businesses are moving over seas.

      • Joe says:

        And the Browns and the Colts, and the Cardinals. They are constantly talking about moving the Jags.

        Not to mention major league baseball, Dodgers, Giants, Braves, Senators, Expos.

        I’m sure there are a lot more, but like Ryan said, it’s not just the NBA.

      • David says:

        What!!!! iam am not even a kings fan but still the kings should not leave cause they have like one of the best rivlries with the Lakers…..still if u watch the kings games its always packed against the Lakers and every game comes down to the wire really fun i think their playing the LAKERS ON ESPN LIKE IN COUPLE WEEKS??????

      • HUh says:

        WHY?????? KINGS HAVE THE RECORD FOR LOUDEST FANS 130 DECIBLES……IS A RECORD IN GUENNISS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS.

    • R4 says:

      The problem the NBA is very simple. They need to control player movement and allow the refs to call fair games. NO more superstar calls and stop blowing the whistle everytime there contact. When the NBA become more competitive, then more small market teams will not need to talk about relocation. New CBA should fix everything that is wrong with the NBA. They need to take a NFL approach with they journalist. It is becoming boring to see tv reporter like Charles, Chris W, and Kenny Smith putting down small market teams every night. When you watch the nfl network at least they try to respect each team in the nfl not like NBA. Where if you are not in the Top 4 in the conference then tv reporter then not to see purpose a for them to report anything about your team. And if NBA tv reporter refuse to watch games that they think bear no meaning then they should be fire. The Kings had a strong fan base in late 90s and early 00s that has been missing for sometime. I wonder why??? could it be because The Kings along side 2/3 of the team in the NBA are never talked about unless it about players leaving or the Team being relocated. I just wonder.