I know many of you prefer to be cautiously optimistic than outright hopeful. And I understand that. But all of the recent evidence, to me, points to Sacramento being in strong position for the Kings -- stronger than Seattle. Let's look at all that we have in our favor right now:
- The Whales. There's no confirmation yet, but most everyone is certain that we have Mastrov and Burkle merging to buy the team. Both are incredibly wealthy and friends of the league -- the latter of which Hanson/Balmer are not.
- The group relocation committee. Of the owners on there, 6 represent moderate to large markets. However, two of those owners are in substandard large markets -- Phoenix and Toronto -- that actually better identify with small markets due to similar player perception. It unnerves me a bit that Bennett is the head of the committee, as he may want to make it up to Dallas, but I think he's too smart of a businessman to base something purely on the pathos of the situation.
- David Stern. As much as I've disliked him through the years, he's really pulling through for Sacramento. And he has a lot of say in what goes on with the committee, even if he doesn't have a vote. The man is powerful.
- The Longshore lawsuit. As unfortunate as it is for Seattle, it could end up being a major proponent of whether or not this team goes to Seattle. Many speculate that any Seattle team would be stuck in Key Arena until 2019 -- much further than the two (or so) year build that Sacramento can get finished. We're literally being helped by the city of Seattle in this aspect
- The Right of First Refusal. I don't know how big of a priority this has been on Johnson's list, but if nothing else, it could make for a convincing plan B, should we lose the intial fight. This could even boost our initial plight, as thecommittee would want to avoid a lawsuit that would likely come with the violation of the Right of First Refusal.
- Finally, the support of the community, which matters more than people give it credit. More than 20 ordinary citizens of Sacramento have pledge $1 million each. Two years ago, we raised around $10 million -- with no guarantee of a reward -- so that the Kings might stay. Fans are present anywhere something Kings-related happens. More than 10,000 people have signed a petition to keep the Kings in Sacramento. Almost 5,500 people have pledged over $23 million in season tickets for next season should we recieve new owners. Most importantly, our mayor cares about us and what we want and what we know is necessary for the economy and morale in Sacramento. Everything in this paragraph are things that Seattle lacked in 2008. They made a valiant effort, but lacked the heroism of our community and our mayor.
Are we guaranteed our team? No. But I'm not afraid to say that we have leverage right now over Seattle.