I believe: That the meetings at the St. Regis went well for Sacramento.
The Seattle group was going to be fantastic no matter what. This isn't and cannot be about finding flaws in their plan, quite frankly there probably aren't any.
This was always about David Stern and the NBA's instinct to want to keep the team in Sacramento. Small market, one-horse town, etc. At this point, its really the only conclusion you can come to, other than the laughable "keeping tickets sold ‘till the season is over" routine.
The NBA could've ended this thing back in Oakland, by simply smiling and accepting Mastrov's offer, and then announcing weeks later that it was too short. Didn't happen.
The fact that Stern said the talks could go past the BOG meetings can mean one of two things: Just like during the Anaheim threat, they need to get lawyers on the ground to vet the Sacramento process again. I would again point out they simply could've accepted Seattle's "signed PSA", accepted the Maloofs' interest in "moving on", and they themselves: moved on.
Multiple sources on both sides have solved the "fair and competitive" question for me. The Sacramento group has an offer submitted that is 30 million less than the Seattle group. The source? The deposit. The goal is simply to make the Maloof family whole. Either way, they now walk away with 341 million dollars in exchange for the Sacramento Kings. Our group is in effect using Hansen's non-refundable deposit as the cost of doing business.
Is it a gamble? Can they pull this off?
Consider, when David Stern was asked if the Sacramento offer needed to be increased, he simply replied that it was no longer an issue.
Convinced as to where Stern's motivations lie?
The second possibility (and both options could be on the table simultaneously) is that there simply isn't a strong majority. Key: Sacramento ONLY needs eight votes, and most likely has them right now. Yet that doesn't in any way mean the fight is over, consider that there were 17 owners not present at the meetings that need to be debriefed. Rest assured the NBA doesn't want 16-14 or even 20-10. They want a referendum. Stern and co cant spin this one way or the other without making the dissenting owners look stupid if there isn't a lockstep situation.
I believe: Seattle is further along on their arena deal right now. But not by much.
Consider how recently Seattle had a massively powerful ownership group ready to go and fully active, while Sacramento was scrambling with Burkle and Mastrov. A month ago? Seems like a lifetime.
Yet in a short period of time, Sacramento went from the starting blocks stuck in the mud, to catching Seattle ¾ around the track. Sacramento has momentum. Sacramento is faster. And in a masterstroke, Sacramento has the President of the State Senate on their side in Darrell Steinberg. He may have been the second most important person they brought to NYC, outside of Vivek.
I believe: This fight is almost at its conclusion. And because of that, the gloves are off. Much talk has been happening on either side of the internet lately, much of it positive interaction between fanbases. As much as I love to see that, I do not think this should be a priority in any way. We need to discredit Seattle. We need to discredit their fans. We need to discredit their arena plan. We need to discredit their efforts.
I am certainly not advocating telling stories, but I'm not going to worry about a "Sacramento Slant" or being polite. If the other side gets offended because we are insulting them or their plan or their efforts, oh well. They are trying to take what's ours, and I personally can't handle that. If you feel a twinge of guilt, please picture Scott Moak or Jerry Reynolds or any of the 1000+ jobs that will be lost should this team move.
If you feel a twinge of remorse, look at our barren and boring downtown, and think of what it could be. Look at your children or the children in your life and think about their RIGHT to be a Kings fan being stolen from them by a city with 3 major league teams (plus major league college athletics) within a few minutes' drive.
This is a prizefight, one in which two people(s) are going to battle. The lead-up is all talk and hyperbole. We don't have time to be polite. We don't have time to be classy. If even 5% of this is fought in the court of public opinion, we need that 5%.
Make no mistake, this is a war. It is a fight to the bitter end for our team, our city, and our civic fabric.
We can all be friends when one arm is raised in victory.
I believe: Now is not the time to sit and wait. Now is not the time to say "It's above our pay grade".
Do the fans matter? I love that question. Time and time again our leaders and those around the league marvel at the efforts we have put forth, saying "we keep them (leadership) in the game."
The media shapes much of public opinion. Owners are public guys, with egos 100 times that of ours. Every article or tv spot they see showing Sacramento as the David, showing Sacramento as the good guys, is one more heartstring to pull on.
Yet here's the rub: do we ACTUALLY make a difference? I can't answer that honestly, I really can't.
Look at the landscape since we first heard "1st and 10 on the goal".
Listen to how the media talks now. Look at the St. Regis crowd. The crowd every media member walked through.
Make no mistake- this is a war, and we are winning the propaganda side of it. Can't hurt.
But I BELIEVE we do. And I KNOW that doing NOTHING will never make a difference.
It may be a barren pond we are looking at, but we all know you can't catch a fish if your pole isn't in the water.
At the St. Regis, I saw an entire block taken over by Kings fans. Sacramento dominated a tiny sliver of NYC. A sea of purple for NBA officials to surf on as they made their way into deliberations. This can't hurt. I didn't see a single Sonic fan there. I was told a nice lady in Sonic apparel showed up later, and that's great. One against a Ton. This matters.
I believe that it is time to pull out all the stops. Identify owners and mail short, concise letters. Not form letters, personal letters. Wear purple for two weeks. Grow playoff beards. Dye those purple. Paint your nails purple. Buy a gallon of purple dye and pour it in every public water feature in town. Encourage our local media to go and stay purple on set.
Be creative. Be smart. Don't wait for others to come up with ideas. JUST DO IT.
I BELIEVE THIS IS IT- Its here. The final stretch.
Let's stay organized. We are continuing out here on the road, we will pass a message to Ted Leonsis in DC today, and to Dan Gilbert in Cleveland tomorrow. We have 10 more cities to hit and 13 days to do it in.
Back home- this is where it counts. Laser focus. All forces combine like a basketball-flavored Voltron into one grassroots super-unit. Playing to Stay Crown Here We FANS. Whatever.
We need eight votes. EIGHT.
Eight out of 30. In truth, we probably already have eight. We need to KEEP those eight votes. That's all that matters. Keep encouraging our council members, they need our support and we still need theirs.
Its crystal clear. This is it.
Eight men (or women) are all that stand between utter failure and devastation, and 35 years of guaranteed basketball and economic revival. This isn't about the Kings, its about US. I don't even care what the team is doing right now and have probably watched 10 minutes of basketball in a month. They are irrelevant right now (on the floor).
Its about you. And me. Our kids. Our Dads. Our Moms.
Its about the Robert Horry shot. Its in the air as we speak. Spinning toward the net, and a dagger in our heart.
Take a deep breath. Scream.
We have a chance here. The die is NOT cast.
Go crazy. Be significant. Make a change.
The time is now.
UPDATE 11:03 AM:
A little clarification from Dave from the comment section:
In my hyperbole
I'm not advocating actively warring or trolling Seattle.
I'm saying, don't be afraid to talk about their lack of fans at the St Regis.
Don't be afraid to talk about how they lost their team, and we haven't.
Don't be afraid to point out our fan support, even if that means offending their fans.
I'm NOT saying besmirch Seattle, but if in the course of shouting our strengths, they are so besmirched, then them's the breaks