Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kings Stay In SacTown; Seattle Should Be Angry

The NBA has made it clear: the Kings are staying in Sacramento.  To make a long story short, the Kings owners are losing money and want a new arena to replace ARCO (or whatever it is called this week).  They had a deal to sell it to an ownership group that would move the team to Seattle and rebirth the SuperSonics.  The NBA was on board until Sacramento mayor and former NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson got together an ownership group that would keep the team in town as well as the funding to finally build a new arena.  Kings owners didn't care and still wanted to sell to Seattle.  NBA owners and Commish David Stern shot it down.

Let me state my top opinion on this.  I agree that the Kings should stay in Sacramento provided they replace ARCO Arena (I just looked it up -- it is Sleep Train Arena.  Yeah).  I agree with Stern that this was a win for the small market cities and that the NBA has been good to those markets.  That's all good to me. 

I grew up in Charlotte, NC and saw how the Hornets turned the town into a city.  I also saw how greedy, down-on-their-luck ownership can shop their team to the highest bidder and screw over the people who support them.  Charlotte saw all sides of it.  They were the small market like Sacramento who saw their owner (George Shinn) become a pariah and do everything to make a windfall of money with a move (the Hornets would ultimately move to New Orleans).  Charlotte was also in Seattle's shoes, a city who lost their team but was promised a replacement would be coming (the Bobcats started play two years later; Seattle holds the rights and history for a new Sonics team). 

Seattle deserves to feel upset.  Back in 2008, Seattle watched their team move to Oklahoma City without the same kind of care that the NBA gave Sacramento.  Sure, in both cases, arena financing was the major issue for relocation.  However, the Sonics move to OKC smelled extremely dirty.  There seemed to be a hidden agenda by Clay Bennett, who bought the team, to move the team no matter what. 

So if you are Seattle, you are wondering why their team ... which was in that city for 41 years ... was easily swept away but the Kings (who have been in California's capital for 28 years) had the NBA's support to find ways to keep the team.  Again, I'm not slighting Sacramento, Seattle or Oklahoma City.  All three deserve NBA teams.  The way both situations were handled seem bogus to me.

I also agree with Stern.  Small markets are a big thing for the NBA and a reason for their success.  The NBA is the only major pro franchise in Sacramento, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, Orlando, Portland, Memphis and San Antonio.  They were the first pro franchise in Charlotte, Indianapolis and Phoenix (and Seattle).  Still, the feeling that the people of Seattle have for the commissioner is valid.

No comments: