Today is the day that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people have waited for. Two cities, both with hopes of an NBA team playing in their town next season expect the decision of NBA team owners on the future of the Sacramento Kings franchise.
The back story has been well documented here at SSC as well as many other local and national media outlets. I won’t go into that in this post. If you need to get caught up you can read that by clicking the following links.
It started with:
Then evolved into:
There, now you’re all up to date.
Here is what both sides want to hear from the NBA tomorrow.
What Sacramento wants to hear:
Sacramento expects to hear that the NBA will not allow the relocation of the Kings to Seattle, upholding the 7-0 vote by the committee, and will also not approve Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmers to purchase the Kings from the Maloof family.
They would like the Maloof’s to then sell their share in the Kings to the ownership group led by Vivek Ranadive. Ranadive currently owns a stake on the Golden State Warriors and has become the “whale” that Sacramento Mayor, Kevin Johnson, was in search of since the sale of the Kings to Hansen was first reported.
What Seattle wants to hear:
Seattle fans on the other hand would love to hear an official announcement that the NBA Relocation Committee has approved the request to relocate the Kings to Seattle, something that the Maloof family had submitted paperwork for months ago.
Following the approval of the move, the NBA would support the sale of the team to the Hansen/Ballmer group for a record amount and the Sonics would be playing in Key Arena in a few short months.
This would not only set the precedent that all NBA owners can sell their franchise to whomever they wish, but would also establish a new record for what an NBA team is worth – upwards of $600 million or more. Every franchises value would go up. Ownership in an NBA team would be even more sought after and profitable, partly because the NBA would be bringing the Kings to a larger TV market and would be guaranteed to receive yearly payments from the Sonics for the competitive balance pool.
What will likely happen:
The NBA is in a very difficult situation. It’s a no-win kind of situation if you look at everything that has been reported in the past few days and months.
The only, and I mean only way that the NBA can truly come out of this looking like the good guys is by allowing the Sacramento Kings to stay in Sacramento with a new ownership group. An ownership group that does not include Chris Hansen or Steve Ballmer. Or the Maloof’s, who the NBA desperately wants to exile from the ownership ranks.
Seattle fans have to admit that Sacramento has fought tooth and nail for their team. It absolutely deserves to keep it.
This however wouldn’t be a winning situation for the NBA. Not with another city deserving of a team and that has gone beyond what they should have to do to get a team after theirs was stolen years ago.
This is why I think the NBA will announce that it will grant an expansion team to the city of Seattle. Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer will be allowed to pay expansion fees and a new team will be established in the Pacific Northwest within 2-3 years.
It’s likely Hansen will consider this somewhat of a loss as he has fought for the NBA to begin playing games in Key Arena this upcoming season. This is the best scenario that the NBA can come up with to please two rabid fanbases as well as maintain a positive image across the country.
Expansion would cause other issues. The league would have uneven teams and Commissioner David Stern has claimed expansion was not possible for at least three years. I think Seattle is an exception in this case.
Today is the perfect opportunity for the NBA to please the millions of fans in both markets with what they want – to watch NBA basketball in their city again.