The Emerald City just got a kick to the groin: The Supersonics have just been bought by some fellows from Oklahoma City, and the team is out of Seattle in 2007-08 if there's no new arena deal.
Why did the Seattle ownership group sell? Because the arena is small and outdated, and because the public doesn't want to fund new digs.
The Maloofs will not sell the Kings - not in the next decade, at least. But this just reinforces that it's not unthinkable in today's NBA to see teams with fairly intense fanbases skip town. It happened in Charlotte, it's happening in Seattle.
On the other hand, one NBA-ready market would now seem to be off the table. If New Orleans can't keep the Hornets after 2006-07, I'd expect Anaheim or even San Diego to make a strong run for them. That leaves Kansas City as the only other NBA-ready market (besides Seattle) without a team. And Las Vegas, the conventional wisdom destination of the Kings, isn't too far away.
The guys at SonicsCentral are understandably apocolyptic, and also pass along the rumor that Hornets owner George Shinn today petitioned for permanent relocation to Oklahoma City. That would be fantastic drama, but it certainly bears taking with a grain of salt. (If the above actually happened, Shinn is going to end up dead in a dumpster with David Stern's bootprint branded on his forehead.) Meanwhile, SuperSonicSoul is turning to the bottle.
Wake up, Sacramento. We're next.