We won't have long to find out if the Virginia Beach deal has any legs at all.
Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms told Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee today that a lease would need to be signed with a tenant (which is likely the Sacramento Kings) by Monday or he will cease the city's arena efforts for the year.
"We have a timeline that is right upon us to go to state to ask for a substantial amount of money," Sessoms said. "We are not going to go up there and make a fool of ourselves. I need to know something by Monday.
"I don't want to be wasting people's time or my time if we are not going to bring some conclusion to these negotiations quickly."
The reason for the rush is because Virginia Beach needs to be able to present a viable plan to the state in order to be considered for a $150 million arena subsidy, the majority of which would go directly to the tenant (the Maloofs) for relocation costs. Almost a month ago, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell denied Virginia Beach their initial subsidy request when he submitted the state budget.
Comcast-Spectacor, along with Sessoms, has been the driving force behind this project, and it will be up to them to reach out to the Maloofs to get them to sign a lease. Signing the lease and presenting the plan to the state still will not guarantee that they will be granted their subsidy however.
The Maloofs have yet to publicly comment about Virginia Beach at all, and did not return the Bee's calls, which isn't surprising. If they sign their names to a lease in Virginia Beach by Monday and they do not get their proposed funding, it will be yet another hit to their already low reputation.
Sessoms believes that should the state funding go through, Virginia Beach will be given a fair shake by the NBA Board of Governors if the Kings file for relocation by March 1st. But as Tom mentioned earlier today, the inside word on the situation is that the league does not want to leave Sacramento and Seattle empty-handed while moving into an unproven small market.
The relocation deadline is officially March 1st, but circle Jan. 7th on your calendars as well.