While many of us had eyes to the East as Virginia Beach discussed its feelings about a nebulous arena project, Chris Hansen, the billionaire who wants to return the NBA to Seattle, made the final land purchase needed for his own arena project. (He paid $8 million for a property assessed at $3 million. This is the type of dude we're dealing with.) He'll be seeking City Council approval for his development in September, it appears.
Seattle remains Sacramento's biggest threat for the Kings, bar none. Not only does Seattle lack Anaheim's neighbor problems (and with it a steep relocation fee), but no doubt David Stern could justify to himself that while relocation in any case is unfortunate, landing a team back in the incredible market of Seattle is worth it. The reason Seattle isn't striking deep fear in Sacramento right now is that Hansen is seeking to buy a team to move there ... not just lure a team for relocation. As Aykis mentioned last night, Carmichael Dave has reported that the Maloofs turned down an offer in excess of $400 million from Hansen.
To me, there are two threats here. One is that we get our wish and the Maloofs decide to sell, and in a perverse twist, they sell to Hansen, the highest bidder. This makes me think we need to be a little more specific in our request that the Maloofs sell ... to someone who will commit to Sacramento. The second threat is that Hansen will read the tea leaves and decide he's willing to build the arena without owning a team, works out a deal with the Maloofs for relocation similar to the Anaheim deal in that it virtually guarantees that when (not if) the Maloofs go fully belly up and lose the team, Hansen gets it. So basically, the Samueli plan, but in Seattle.
We're not there yet, but the growing ring of fire around Sacramento sure makes me rethink how to attack this. This is not going to be easy, y'all.