The Relocation That Never Happened

There's an impression that a vote for relocation from NBA owners is simply a rubber stamp, and that's mostly true. Only two owners opposed the Sonics' move to Oklahoma City. Only one opposed the Hornets' move to New Orleans. We can only come up with three sure opposition votes (Lakers, Clippers, Warriors) for the Kings' expected relocation attempt.

But it's not always a rubber stamp. One relocation attempt, in fact, failed miserably.

The Minnesota Timberwolves of 1994 are far, far different from the Sacramento Kings of 2011. The Wolves back then were for sale; specifically, due to some incredible debt on the Target Center to go along with bad crowds and an awful team, the owners of the Wolves needed to pawn the franchise off. The Maloofs have financial troubles -- anyone (cough Grant cough) who reports otherwise is lying, plain and simple -- but they aren't pawning off the franchise. They refuse to discuss the potential sale of the franchise, because they realize (based on their father's brief ownership of the Rockets) that NBA franchise value is a highway to sky, and that it's incredibly hard to get back into the league once you've sold out of it.

The Maloofs aren't selling. In 1994, the Wolves were for sale.

Bids came in. A New Orleans group made a $150 million offer, and the Wolves began to plan the relocation, looking for the right arena situation while a new gym was built. It looked like it would happen, it looked like the Minnesota Timberwolves would become the New Orleans Somethingorothers.

But the NBA's relocation committee, made up of several franchise owners, rejected the move out of the blue. An investigation by the committee -- and one would assume the league -- found that most of the money the N.O. group was putting up was fake money, nothing too much set in stone and solid. Seeking to avoid getting into a house of cards, the NBA held up a stop sign.

The league then worked with local officials in Minneapolis and St. Paul to iron out some arena debt issues and find a local owner, Glen Taylor. And today, the Minnesota Timberwolves exist. I think. We're pretty sure.

Again, the 2011 Kings are not the 1994 Wolves. We know David Stern is on board with this relocation. We know Henry Samueli is funding the loan to the Maloofs through the city, and that Samueli has lots of money.

But we know it's not a done deal until it's a done deal. We know there can be salvation. We can hope.

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