Posted by: Kingsguru21 | March 3, 2011

Kevin Johnson announces that a move to Anaheim is likely

Well, that elephant in the room is now out in the open air field that Reggie Theus hunted pheasant in. At least that’s something. It’s better than not being in there and hurting something else down the line. (Like a vote for a new arena for the Kings if somehow, someway they get blocked from moving to Anaheim this time.)

As far as what’s going on, well here’s how I see it.

First, the Maloof’s needed to extend the deadline from March 1st to April 18th (it was April 14th or 15th but the NBA extended it for some reason I forget and don’t care about now) to probably finish and figure out all the rest of the logistics of moving to Anaheim.

Second, this deal is about money. It’s not about the fans or anything else.

Third, the question is how much money the Maloof’s could get in a TV deal by moving to Anaheim. The other question is what their lease and costs would look like by moving down to Anaheim.

Fourth, will the NBA owners block the move? I don’t know. I know the NBA will tell Sacramento get a new arena or they are gone in 2012. It’s quite possible that even if the owners don’t care about a move to Anaheim, they don’t want to have deal with the headache of dealing with another relocation of a long time team to another area. Some may not like it due to the precedent it sets of allowing a third NBA team in the same market (the Nets/Knicks specifically).

Fifth, let’s say the Maloof’s are kept from moving the team to Anaheim. (Which is their preference now. Whether it was always is besides the point. That’s what they want to do now.) There is still the matter of getting a new arena built in Sacramento using tax dollars. That’s the only way the Kings stay in any fashion. That’s the reality. The sooner people come to that realization the sooner they recognize that this is not the price to keep the Maloof’s, but the Kings, a NBA franchise after all, in Sacramento. If you want NBA basketball, you will have to put public dollars in. That’s the reality. Like it, don’t like it. Either do it or you lose your team.

There are plenty that will say that Sacramento is fine. In my opinion, it’s a 2nd rate bush league town with some decent places to eat and little else. If I didn’t have my family there, I would have no interest in the place. I’m not interested in living in a place with an interest in doing nothing while letting the world roll over it. It’s not the arena only that pisses me off. There isn’t any interest in developing a necessary urban core for the region. There isn’t any interest in public transit. There isn’t any real interest in diversifying the economy so that, gasp, a non-bureaucratic monetary interest could survive. It’s not that Sacramento is against corporations; they already buy food, entertainment, products and god knows everything else from those interests. They just want to act like they don’t have to pay for it when they do.

The fact is that not building a new arena means you will have an ugly eyesore for a community the size of Sacramento that is embarrassing where the old railyards is. There will be no reasonable plan to develop that area that wouldn’t be served by keeping the Kings there. In otherwords, if Sacramento builds a new arena in response, I doubt the NBA will ever come back to Sacramento. After seeing the death of Charlotte as a NBA market, and trying to salvage it by putting an expansion team there, the Bobcats have seen little support. (In fact, just read TZ’s piece on SBN today about it. Says it all really.)

In otherwords, the NBA won’t be keen to come back here after losing a team that was heavily supported for a very long time. A new arena couldn’t be done here, and those people who don’t want the Kings here will get their wish. Something tells me they won’t be able to figure out why young people may end up leaving in large numbers. There is nothing for young people in Sacramento outside of a few things. You take the Kings out, and realistically a facility that hosts entertainment for many groups of this demographic, and you lose that revenue from the highest potential earning power group Sacramento has.

It’s stupid on so many levels.

I’m not absolving the Maloof’s for this. They’ve done many difficult and frustrating things throughout the process. Anyone saying that their charity work, that is required by the NBA, is an instance of how much they care about the Sacramento community (like Kevin Johnson in this instance) is hogwash. They have to do that. The practice facility was built very early in their tenure before they really had started arena talks in 1999. It was built on land they own and the building isn’t all that big. It’s nice to have, but the reality is that it was done in part to convince players, and future players, that Sacramento was a good place to be. Those types of things do convince NBA players that ownership is for real. It cost them 15 million dollars, and I’ll bet the profit from the 1999-2000 Kings team paid for every penny of that facility. Don’t expect me to give one iota about them building it. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the price of ownership. If they didn’t want to deal with the reality of keeping a team in Sacramento, they should have never bought ownership of the team. They could have bought the Grizzlies (who were up for sale around that time) if they really had wanted to move a team.

I have no issue with the Maloof’s profiting off the Kings. It’s after all a business. I don’t have an issue with them wanting a new arena. I do have an issue with people such as Grant Napear issuing them a pass while ignoring their many sins in the process. They’ve screwed up plenty both in the arena issue’s and with managing the team. We could go over that again, but really what’s the point?

The truth is I don’t care about the Maloof’s in any way shape or form. I don’t care if they stay as Kings owners because they aren’t any different than a new owner who will have the same view of the team as the Maloof’s do. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.

Speaking of fan ownership, and Mom I know you’re already mentioning this again, let me tell you specifically why this won’t happen since you’re going to read this anyway. You have to remember the NFL was not a big corporation in 1933 with widespread billions of dollars to split. It was a small collective business built largely off the success of a fellow named Red Grange. Eventually it was built into a bigger sport until the 50’s, and then the 60’s convinced a few owners in a few markets who were shut out of the NFL to create the AFL. These leagues co-existed until 1970 until you have the current NFL (plus a few expansion teams). This is better known to sports fans as “The Merger”. (And where the AFC/NFC came from.) The NFL has been the most popular league since the 1970’s, and remains so. But it didn’t take big money to buy a NFL team in the 70’s (especially in relation today), and I’m pretty sure 50 million was enough to buy a team back then. (By comparison, NBA teams were selling anywhere from 3-5 million.) Hopefully you can see why I’m not optimistic fans could even own a team.

I guess my point is that the NFL probably tried to get the shareholders of the Packers to sell, and couldn’t. They simply showed financial wherewithal to keep holding on. I’m not convinced that the fans, especially at the money being thrown around in each league now, could even run a team anyway. It just simply takes too much time, and, quite honestly, energy that a lot of fans don’t realize. Right now the Maloof’s are getting pummeled with negative messages by a lot of people. At this point, that takes a lot to recover from. That may even convince the NBA owners who don’t want Anaheim spoken for by the Kings that there is too much poison in the Sacramento veins to even continue.

The truth is that even if fans were in position to buy a team, the billionaires club would do everything in their power to keep that team from succeeding. It’s a losing proposition.

What sucks is that Sacramento has always hinted at being a second class city for a long time. Lots of people deserve anger for this. Like, everyone. Congratulations! We did it! We made Sacramento a worse place! Yay!

I’m tired of arguing for a new arena. I think it’s necessary, and, yes, somewhat my view has changed on it. Since it’s so easy to see how emotions and feelings are leveraged in this scenario, it’s how the NBA gets away with it. The problem is too many cities want NBA teams, and while that happens that’s the marketplace. Right or wrong doesn’t apply.

If you want Sacramento to remain somewhat viable in the future, I hope you consider voting for a new arena if the Kings end up somehow getting blocked. Using that vitriol and aiming at the Maloof’s for poor decision making in this process will not end up helping Sacramento in the long run. Plenty will spin it that way but it will be wrong.

It’s not that I hate Sacramento for it’s attitude or anything. I just don’t think you can sit on the sideline and expect the capitol to be enough to draw businesses. It’s enough to draw lobbyists and many other things, but Sacramento is not like most capitol’s in the US. It’s a big big community that is big enough to be it’s own market despite 2 other massive markets in the same state. However, the unfortunate part is that too many see it as a bedroom community rather than a potential thriving urban market. Essentially, you are getting the 70’s viewpoint of Sacramento colliding with the 21st century viewpoint of what Sac should be.

The other point you have to consider is that while there are other state capitols that are big cities in their state (Boise ID, Phoenix AZ, Salt Lake City UT, Denver CO, Oklahoma City OK, Austin TX, Nashville TN, Indianapolis IN, Columbus OH, Atlanta GA and Boston MA), and look at those cities I just listed. Boise, Austin, Nashville, and Columbus are all big college towns. SLC, Denver, OKC, Indy, Atlanta and Boston all have pro teams, and in many cases a big college program in it’s area as well. These are not all little things to have. I guess Sacramento is the only major market in the country not interested in being a major market. Why?

At any rate what I know is this. I’m not going to bother with hiding my intentions are. When it’s announced and decided, I’m shutting this blog down. I’m not going to devote my personal interest in where I don’t get paid (or much attention for that matter) on my personal viewpoint. Who wants to read: I hate the Maloof’s, Socal, and the fact my team is down there, and a whole bunch of other stuff similar to that. I’m not sure that if the NBA moved back to Sacramento (or Seattle since I live here) I would even want to support the league. I’ve walked away enough times, and have always felt curious about what my actual breaking point would end up being. I think in this case it’s going to be seeing the NBA rob 2 franchises out of 2 fanbases that essentially supported their team well.

What bothers me is that Sacramento has no sporting interest in anything else. The Sac State athletic program is a joke, and will remain so because it’s not likely there will be a major booster for a Div 1-AA program without any back money available. Sacramento is not Kentucky.

At any rate, what bothers me most I guess is that I feel like much of my personal interest in Sacramento was the Kings. Without them, I have family and nothing else. Nothing. Nobody invests in anything there. I have no interest in moving back there now. (I would have entertained the thought had the Kings stayed there. Now I won’t. I see it as an option of very last resort now.) I’m 31 years old. I’m not a child. I know what I’m staying here. I know people have made their homes around the area, and I’m sorry you have. My family lives there, too. I don’t want them to struggle anymore than anyone else. The problem is that when you take away something meaningful in someone’s life, you lose something. The Kings are meaningful to me. And I know many people in my family do not really understand that. They don’t care about playoff losses the way I do. It’s no-one’s fault really; it’s just the way it works. That’s why I write, and probably argue so intently. I have little else to discuss, and little else interest in discussing. This is my passion and hobby. I enjoy doing it. That’s not the Maloof’s fault; that’s mine. I don’t blame them for wanting to increase their business interests elsewhere, but I do blame them for not investing more in a process that for the first time had an actual chance of succeeding had they shown any backbone or interesting in participating. In a way, I think it may help Sacramento forge a real identity rather than a sleepy, dis-interested, un-engaged town with more interest in forcing outside interests out rather than creating an environment to make life for those who live in Sacramento a greater possibility.

I can’t understand why spending dollars in the Bay Area/Tahoe/Reno or wherever on similar entertainment that you could have retained by keeping the Kings in Sacramento. Unless you’re LA/NY/Chicago, to get that entertainment, you need to have a building like an arena. To have an arena, you need to fill dates. The best way to fill dates is with a sports team, and only 2 leagues play in arena’s: The NHL and NBA. Trust me, I don’t think Sacramento fans will take to Hockey. Call it a hunch. I’ve lived in Sacramento a long time out of my lifespan. The NFL, NBA, MLB, College Sports are what consistently is talked up. Oh, did I mention the NCAA refuses to come back to Arco because of how crappy and antiquated it is?

I’ll bet over time that the dollars that flow out to the Bay Area/Tahoe/Reno for entertainment/sports will be greater in 10 years than what it would cost to build a new arena. Because that money will go somewhere, and in this case it will be the Bay Area. Congratulations: You just made the Bay richer. I hope you’re happy.

Screw it, I hate everything about this. At least, however, it’s out in the open. Maybe people will change their mind if the NBA keeps the Maloof’s from moving, but I doubt that. Too many knuckleheads who can’t see the writing on the wall.

I hope you’re happy. You got what you wanted.


  1. Clearly I don’t know what exactly is the state of the city of Sacramento, but, in these days, reading from you and the guys at StR, it seemed to me that Sacramento is for California what Italy is to Europe (and, to some extent, the world). Capitol of the State, as Italy was a couple of thousands years ago, filled with inept politicians and bureaucracy, unable to move a finger to keep the treasures it has.

    No one in the world embodies the concept of corruption and uselessness as Italian politicians, so I can easily recognize a sick situation when I see it: with the exception of Kevin Johnson, it seems to me that no one from the Sacramento authorities has shown real commitment to the fight that thousands of Kings’ fans have put on in their city; many readers of Sacramento’s most important journal comment on the internet that “losing the Kings is not such a big deal since they sucks lately.” This is a sick situation when many of those who are actually going to lose a big part of their community and, a big source of money/national exposure, they aren’t even realizing this value as of yet. It’s also increasing the likelihood of losing this value to the Sacramento community.

    It’s easy to despise the Maloof for abandoning a loyal fan base, probably the best in the NBA to get some more money in Anaheim, and, sure, they’re deserving of some of the hate that is thrown at them lately. In my opinion, Sacramento as it is now, wouldn’t have been able to keep the team were the Kings owned by someone else.

    • Ed note: I slightly changed some of Panz’s words and made it into paragraphs. The point is still the same, but with slightly better editing and turn of phrase.

      On these points, I don’t know if I’d compare the fall of California to Rome for a couple reasons. One, California and Rome had very different versions of “democracy”, and thus I’m not sure the politicians had much comparison other than being completely worthless (as all politicians–and politics for that matter–are).

      Having said that, Sacramento lacks any real progress of any “metropolitan area”. I’d be fine with this sentiment if Sacramento had 150K of population right now. The city has about 450 thousand, and could easily gain another 200K of population if all the area’s that should be annexed and put into the city limits right now would be.

      No place with roughly 650K of city limits is just going to downgrade into nothing. It could take 50 years, like it has with Cleveland and the greater Ohio area, or Buffalo, but Sacramento has something they’ve never had: The greatest growing area of food in the world. Not US, not in North America or Western Hempishere; world. Think about that for a moment.

      If you urbanize the area’s that are already built up (and put in growth limits for chrissake), and make it a place for those food growing area’s to bring their food (they have to bring it somewhere right?), and this does already happen to some extent, as well as a destination spot for an entire region, Sacramento is very much a powerhouse for a NBA team. Especially when you consider how difficult NBA franchises have gaining traction with almost every team facing competition from either A) a high level college team or B) 1 or 2 pro franchises in the same city.

      Thanks for stopping by Panz. Hope all is well for you on your side of the pond my friend.

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