I don't know how many Royalists are married or have been through a divorce or the ending of a longterm relationship. But the Kings/Sacramento Saga is looking to this Royalist anyway like a dead marriage. A marriage can end in many ways - either from a single betrayal by one partner to full-scale philandering by both; or from isolated insults that rock one partner's world to an accretion of hurts, peccadilloes, disagreements, and infidelities that create an intolerable situation and kill any sense of trust in the other. Death by a thousand cuts.
The Maloofs have definitely been the offending partner in this tattered and irreparable partnership between the Kings and Sactown. Like most fans, I too was swept off my feet by the magnanimity -- believing their spiel that they wanted to Win One For Pops by returning to the NBA to achieve some unfinished business. I think that was the initial intent, but not after 2002. Therein lies the rub or therein lie the lies. From 2003 forward the Maloofs know they were battle a game of attrition in terms of there financial ability to sustain a championship-winning franchise. And when the Recession hit, they were in deep. I truly believe that from roughly 2005 forward they were angling to move the team.
So here we stand on the brink of the complete rending of Sactown's relationship with the NBA. Regardless of what Stern says, the Board of Governors call the shots and their call will be "Hello Again Seattle -- You finally did it." Why? For several reasons.
- Seattle and the Pacific Northwest is a larger media market than Sacramento, which must also share the market with the Warriors. Seattle only shares it with Portland, which is much farther away.
- The Seattle arena deal appears more doable and more immediately doable than the downtown arena which will need the requisite environmental and other vetting to reach a similar point. Not to mention the complete destruction of the mall and traffic issues which might require additional review and buy-in.
- The Seattle Whales are known financial entities who are on record as the buyers of the Kings. Sactown's Whales, except for the Gym King, are only rumored partners. For reasons known only to KJ, the supposed partners have been been formally named.
- The league will garner an additional $300 million relocation tax to distribute among the franchisees which is undoubtedly a welcome bonus to small market teams.
- Seattle will have a richer cable package than Sactown and overall would likely generate revenues beyond Sacramento given the market size, visibility, and fiscal health of the owners who are more likely to spend on FAs. As I said earlier, Sactown's reported Whales are only rumored and in any case, are unlikely to have the same Networth as Seattle's.
- Stern has stated that the owners are against expansion and have even considered contraction which is not technically what replacing Sactown with Seattle is, but it's actually better because they would be trading a smaller market for a larger one and struggling owners for more capable ones. Unlike the Maloofs, Seattle's Whales are self-made entrepreneurs while the Maloofs are mere wannabe impresarios with little talent for business.