I know this is going to be a trying week for all of us. I get it. I so want all of this to be over and done with, but at the same time- if we have to wait another 4 months (and it means we keep the Kings), I'm game.
I wanted to start off the week by exploring a few things, and laying out why this will be a week that goes down in (the good) history of Sacramento.
I should also take a moment and thank all of those involved with the RV tour. The trip was a success beyond my wildest dreams. We got the word out, brought a little bit of Sacramento to the rest of the country, and none of that would be possible without the help of our awesome sponsors, and all of you stoking the home fires. I can't wait for everyone to see the finished full-length documentary, which (as of now) will premiere at the IMAX theater in the Fall.
As always, keep in mind- I am a fired DJ working out of his house (I return to my network next Monday), and my opinions mean nothing. I am a homer, and completely and utterly irrelevant.
Team Valuations: Lots of misconceptions here. Realize that the Kings in Seattle at 550 doesn't compare to the Kings in Sacramento at 550. The market will understand that the 550 paid by Hansen is a massive overvaluation, paid for the ability to MOVE the team. There are only so many chairs available in the NBA, and a premium needs to be paid to have your city join (or re-join) the club. Should the team move, the market will see that there was a premium paid for the relocation, and will adjust accordingly.
However- IF the team is kept in Sacramento at 550, there is no relocation premium, because there is no relocation. Memphis, San Antonio, Utah, etc will be able to point to Sacramento and say "Hey! They paid that price, built an arena, and kept all the basic small market parameters in place. We can absolutely go dollar for dollar with those guys"
Let's not even get into what that valuation in Sacramento does to NY and LA. Must be nice.
Arena Subsidies: Every owner, every single one, will need a new (or massively improved) arena sooner than you might think. Its just the way it works.
On one hand you have the bigger market in Seattle, LOANING the team 200 million, and about 40% of that is based on an NHL team relocating there. They are not PARTNERING. They are loaning.
In the smaller market, with the worse economy, with no Fortune 500 companies, Sacramento is INVESTING in the arena. To the tune of over a QUARTER BILLION DOLLARS. Not a loan. A PARTNERSHIP. In addition, Sacramento has secured outside investors willing to put in a billion dollars in development of the surrounding downtown area. As another owner looking at this situation, wouldn't you want to go to your city and say "Look at Sacramento! Look what they did for their NBA team! Take a look at the end result for their downtown. Don't you want a piece of that pie?"
The disadvantages in the "maturity" of the two cities' arena proposals are far outweighed by the potential advantages of the Sacramento deal. This is one of many reasons why the NBA has seen fit to further delay the process, they simply want to make sure the Sacramento deal is real and graspable.
If so, huge edge to Sacramento.
So we've knocked out two big dollars and cents arguments: Team valuations and arena subsidies. These are the base foundations of the Sacramento argument, when not including the emotional and "what is right and wrong" arguments. But let's explore those anyway.
When looking at Article VII of the NBA constitution, the first parts of the outline deal specifically with support from the existing market. What Kings fans have done over the past few years, especially recently, to display how crazy in love with the NBA they are is astounding. More importantly, the politicians, both locally and statewide- have staked big time career points on this as well. The NBA covets governmental support, and when you have the President of the California Senate (which houses 3 other NBA teams) personally traveling to New York to make a pitch, that's a pretty huge deal.
I would get into comparing ownership groups, but to me that's pointless. Both sides bring great things to the table, and both sides have assembled a team that the NBA would love to have.
Oh my God, relo vote before sale vote: I completely understand why those on the Sacramento side would freak out at that. I get that before Sac only needed 8 votes to overturn the sale, whereas now they need 16 to overturn relocation. Totally and completely makes sense.
But people are not looking at the history close enough. This isn't a presidential election, there will be no hanging chads or controversies with the Florida teams. The NBA vote will have at least 25-28 votes on either side. There will be no 20-10 or 16-14 votes. In fact, if Seattle gets the team, you're probably looking at a unanimous vote. I would venture a guess that if Sacramento wins, it will be somewhere around 27-3 (Paul Allen, the Maloofs, and Mark Cuban).
The number isn't 8. The number is also not 16.
The Number Is SEVEN.
12 people on the combined relocation and finance committee. 12 owners that will all but assuredly decide that fate of two cities. Asking around, the NBA is not obligated to disclose the vote tally from the committee, nor is the committee obligated to disclose the tally to their own owners. They simply make their recommendation.
Rest assured, about 98% of the rest of the NBA owners will go with whatever the committee recommends. His Airness said it best last week when asked about the relocation snafu, "I'm just worried about my own team."
Most owners are thankful they don't have to be bogged down in bank accounts, MOU's, term sheets, CEQUA, EIS, LMNOP, etc.
They will see what the committee says, and cast their vote accordingly. This renders the order of the vote pointless. Except.......
The NBA can turn down Hansen and Ballmer without turning down Hansen and Ballmer:
It's a bit of a save face, but an important one. There's really no reason to turn down these guys, they're about as flawless as it gets. Local cats with big bucks determined to bring a championship to their wronged city. Sure, we in Sacramento don't like that they're trying to stab us in the throat to do it, but most of us wish they were on our side. Honestly, if they just simply wanted to buy the team and keep it in place, this thing would've been over with last week.
Make no mistake, the NBA will return to Seattle, and that team will be owned by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. They aren't going to lose this battle, its just simply that Sacramento is the incumbent, and will win the fight.
In denying relocation, it allows a settlement to be made with all parties. Seattle will understand that the war is over, and will simply want to be made whole again (and be assured of a team in the future). The Maloofs will likewise want to get paid and go off into the sunset, and there's no way the NBA allows them to leave without getting every penny from the Sac contingent that they would've from Seattle. The offers and dollars aren't the issue here.
So why the delays?
If, by now, you cannot see the forest for the trees, I'm sorry. It is beyond obvious that David Stern and the NBA do not want to relocate if they don't have to. It's a sign of weakness, and the only signs Stern wants in his final year as commissioner are those that point to the NBA as a growing powerhouse.
This thing could've been effectively over in Oakland a month ago, when it was disclosed that the Mastrov bid was short.
This thing could've been over when the Maloofs announced that they still wanted the Seattle bid, and sent a letter stating such to the NBA.
This thing could've been over last week at the meetings, when Stern said the Sac offer was continuing to evolve.
Sacramento is getting the time it needs to catch up to the Seattle bid.
Its really not rocket science.
As funny as it sounds, in the end Kings fans will owe a strange sort of debt to Seattle, for two reasons:
1. This city would've never gotten off its rump and come up with 550 if it didn't HAVE to. Say what you want about the Maloofs "not selling", but Hansen threw his wallet at them and got their signatures. And yes, the counter is that the Maloofs wanted to stick it to KJ, but do you really believe without Hansen, this Sacramento ownership group would've magically materialized?
Remember, it was BURKLE and MASTROV the whole time, with Burkle alone for much of it.
Now, its Vivek in the lead role, and Burkle isn't even in the purchase/arena end of things. The amount of shift on the fly as been, as Stern put it, Herculean.
2. The other part of the debt is the Seattle history. The NBA has seen Sonicsgate. They understand that to do something like that again, especially to a rabid, smaller market (without NFL and MLB to fall back on) would be unconscionable. Sacramento fans have always been unique in the NBA. It is very much like a college town atmosphere in the building, only the college team is the Kings. There is no better fan support in the NBA. Seattle being gutted and fileted in front of the entire NBA world has become a cautionary tale, and in the end- Seattle fans may in fact play a large role as to why Sacramento fans don't make a "Kings-gate"
So what happens this week?
A committee vote will happen on Friday. Expect some maneuverings both above and below the surface, some we will hear about, most we won't. The vote will come out in favor of Sacramento, giving the NBA about a week (if they want it as clean as possible) to make all parties whole, and there will be a vote the following week (if not the week after) to approve the sale of the Sacramento Kings........to Vivek Ranadive.
Any questions? You can always hit me up on twitter @carmichaeldave.
And remember, I know nothing. I am nothing. We are all but simple fans.
Seattle fans- have fun chewing this up. I can all but guarantee there are some things in this piece that will end up being off, we shall have to see which ones. And make sure to join my favorites list on my twitter page, we should hopefully begin awarding prizes (a personalized tweet or twelve from me) in the next week or two....