The drama is not totally over. We can hope it is, but David Stern reminded us on Friday that we still need to see an arena built in Sacramento in the next four years, or ... well ...
NBA Commissioner David Stern revealed that the Ranadive group must meet "a series of benchmarks" for a new arena - or risk losing the Kings to another city.
If deadlines are blown, Stern told The Sacramento Bee, the NBA has the option of pulling the Kings out of Sacramento and arranging for the team's sale to new owners.
The Bee also reports that Seattle agreed to the same conditions; this concession was not a deciding factor, but a mitigation measure the NBA took to ensure that the cities' "rosy predictions," as Stern calls them, are backed up. The deadline is one year beyond Sacramento's aggressive timeline.
Four years should be plenty of time. The new ownership group will do everything necessary to make the process go quickly -- remember that the Kings are stuck in the aging, low-revenue Sleep Train Arena until the new building opens. The revenue factors will be vastly different, and Vivek Ranadivé surely can't wait to unveil the new place. The only timing concerns are really from legal challenges.
It'll be interesting to see if Chris Hansen elects to find a way to build his arena in Seattle to cross that hurdle off the board moving ahead. That'd give him a nice advantage if future Seattle targets fight the way Sacramento did. He'd have to give up the public subsidy to get it done, though.