As of late, I have had a number of opportunities to explain the plight of our Kings to many who are not as "in the know" as most of us on StR. Most I talk to have been ill-informed and genuinely unaware of the details. When I'm done with my usual 30 minute rant and explanation I make sure my friends, colleagues and family understand the situation then ask for their opinions. The number one response I get from people is..."What about Sleep Train Arena?" It is a valid question and one that has yet to be answered. It is either too far down the tunnel or inconsequential to Sacramento's long term plans. That being said, I believe this elephant in the room is far to big to ignore. Since we don't know the terms of sale between the Maloofs and the Hansen group all the below scenarios I've listed are purely hypothetical but may become reality.
Scenerio #1: The Hansen Plan
This is the worst of all possible scenarios. The Hansen group buys the Kings and relocates the franchise to Seattle. As part of the deal, the Maloofs include STA (Sleep Train Arena) and walk away completely from Sacramento. The Hansen group, having no desire to own or operate STA defaults on the loan and hands the keys over to the City of Sacramento. Sacramento is then left with a lame duck arena and no team to occupy it.
In Version 2.0 of this scenario, the Hansen group pays off the city in full for relocating the team and continuities to operate STA as a sports and entertainment venue until sold to some other promoter. Either way Sacramento is screwed.
In Version 3.0, which is highly unlikely, the Maloofs retain ownership of the STA and continue to operate it as a sports and entertainment venue. They'd just be opening themselves up to some incredible vandalism.
Scenario #2: The Whale Plan
To preface, this is purely speculative because we have no idea the intentions of the whales (let alone who they are), the sellers, or the city's are in what to do with STA. So here we go...
The whales purchase the Kings and keep them in Sacramento. They stay in STA for 2 more season before moving to the new downtown, AEG built, Burkle Bavillion. This is the dream and something we all want, but there are some unrealized snags to this scenario.
1. Do the whales buy STA as part fo the purchase agreement of the Kings, and for what price?
This is assumed as part of the purchase agreement but what happens to STA once the new downtown arena is built. To the buyers, STA is a sunk cost. You can't renovate it, no one is going to buy it, and it is only then worth the land it is built on once the new downtown area is built. This could give new local owners pause in buying our Kings
2. Is the STA even for sale?
I am sure it is, but what if the Maloofs want to continue to operate the arena and rent the building to the new owners (no doubt at a high rate). I only include this question because no one can assume to know what the Maloofs are thinking at this point.
3. Do the Whales assume the debt to Sacramento which then includes a non-compete clause?
This is something, I believe, that has not been discussed in great detail. Say our dreams come true and the whales swoop in for the team and arena deal, but what happens to the loan owed to the city? Most of us know about the non-compete clause that states the city cannot build an new sports and entertainment complex while the current STA houses the Kings. Once the new downtown arena is built the money owed to the city by the franchise is null and void. Don't think for a second the whales are going to pay off the loan out of the kindness of their hearts when this clause exists. How do the new owners and city of Sacramento address this situation? Maybe this is a reason for the delay in presenting the Sacramento plan? Either way this is an issue that must be addressed and is full of many details.
I am sure there are additional scenarios and details that I am overlooking but those listed above are what have been floating around my head for the past 24 hours. I've stated before that I believe that the perceived delay of the Sacramento plan is because KJ is getting a water tight deal together to preset to the NBA. These details include the competitive purchase price, an ironclad downtown aren deal, local sponsorship and corporate money, and of course dedicated fan support. The elephant in an arena full of whales is, however, the future of STA in Natomas. Only time will tell what the future holds, lets hope the issues of Scenario #2 are the problems we are lucky enough to deal with.