More important than Tyreke's jumper, more than important than who starts at point guard, more important than any on court issue, the biggest questions about the Kings entering the season are, once again, about the future of the team. Most of us expect the Maloofs to file for relocation this coming March, but ultimately the future of the team is a complete unknown.
As I detailed this past week, we've been in this situation before. A situation where we as fans feel powerless to do anything more than sit back and watch the events unfold. But that's not exactly true. We've seen regular fans emerge and become figureheads of the Here We Stay movement. We've also seen surprises. Whether it's an organization like Jiffy Lube coming out with major public support for Here We Stay, or Mayor Kevin Johnson dropping the Burkle Bomb, we've seen surprises.
It's easy to forget, but most of us had never heard of Ron Burkle before Kevin Johnson unveiled him as a potential buyer at the NBA Board of Governors meeting. He'd obviously been in discussions with the Mayor for some time. Who knows, maybe he'd been in talks with the team itself. It was a surprise to all of us, but it had clearly been in the works for some time.
Over the past year we've grown accustomed to Think Big and the Mayor's office providing us with regular updates. They did a great job keeping the public up to speed on what was happening, what the next steps would be, and what would be the next important deadline. If it suddenly feels like we're completely in the dark, it's only because we saw what it was like to be in the light.
Right now we're back in the norm. We don't know what the Maloofs have planned. We don't know what the Mayor has planned. Neither side may be planning anything, or both sides could be making plans. We don't know, but that's exactly how things were before there was public funding being used on the arena project. In the absence of public funds being used, it makes sense that the flow of information has ceased.
The question now is who will be our next savior?
I'm not willing to accept that this is over. There's no way the team relocates without a fight. But right now we don't know who the players are.
Our next savior could come in many forms. It could be another big play by the Mayor's office. It could be another push by the fans, in a renewed effort in partnership with Think Big. It could be the NBA Relocation committee, or David Stern. Who knows, it could even be in the form of the Maloofs committing to stay. Or reaching an agreement to sell the team to a buyer intent on keeping the Kings here. Yes, there is a scenario where this ends with us saying "Thank you, Maloof family", no matter how unlikely that may currently seem.
For now, though, we will sit in the dark and wait.