The NBA got one right. And, sure, getting it "right" might be a byproduct of several NBA teams looking out for their own interests instead of the interests of Sacramento Kings fans or Sacramento Kings owners. But the NBA board of governors assured Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof that they would not get the votes needed to move the Kings to Anaheim, Calif. As a result, the Maloofs announced Monday they have decided to stay in Sacramento for the 2011-12 season.
(Assuming there is one.)
And, in the Maloof's inimitable style, the release came with a threatening caveat. Get us a new arena soon, Sacramento, or we're going to drag you through the same nonsense this time next year.
From the press release via Sactown Royalty (your one-stop show for all things Kings-related):
During this process, Mayor Johnson has strongly indicated to both the community and the NBA that he is capable of getting the support to build a state-of-the-art entertainment and sports facility that the Sacramento Region and the tremendous Kings fans so rightly deserve. We look forward to seeing Mayor Johnson bring his vision to reality. However, if an arena plan cannot be finalized in a timely fashion, the NBA's relocation committee has assured Maloof Sports and Entertainment that it will support an application to move the franchise to another market starting in 2012-13.
Though the last few months of this saga have been rife with rancor and ill will toward the Maloofs, the overwhelming themes that weave throughout this mess have been that of positivity or nostalgic sadness. Anger was present, but never all that pervasive. Nothing all that nasty really sustained.
Well, it's about to get consistently nasty. Because the Maloofs don't want to be in Sacramento, they're going to lose money as it is on this season, and the season might be lost or truncated due to the NBA owners locking out their players in order to save the owners from their own shortsighted selves. Securing an arena paid for by a city that works as the capital of a state deeply in debt will be no easy task, and the Maloofs have been all but on record as preferring to move to any city that will take them if it just meant coming closer to breaking even. They'll sell out in an instant for a slight upgrade to their bottom line if they got the votes.
But they didn't get the votes, did they? And the Kings will be in Sacramento next season.
Lucky (?) them.
In spite of Anaheim's Orange County placement, the area still remains the most move-ready of all potential NBA cities simply for the fact that they have an arena already in place to accommodate a team looking to make money.
Michael Schulman, Chairman of Anaheim Arena Management, released this statement earlier Monday:
"We wish the Maloof family and City of Sacramento well and hope they are successful in their endeavors. Since we began working toward bringing an NBA franchise to Orange County, we have maintained that this process is about getting a team for the fans, as basketball is a sport loved by Southern Californians. With the nation's second most populous region, one which serves as home to nearly the same number of people as the entire state of Texas, we are continuing our pursuit of an NBA team for our venue.
"Southern California has long proved its ability to support major league sports franchises, yet both of our area basketball teams share an arena in the northern-most part of the region. If an NBA franchise came to Anaheim, nearly 10 million people will have greater access to regularly attend professional basketball games due to the location of Honda Center."