Yesterday a report in the Seattle Times showed that the city of Seattle is ready to pounce on the Sacramento Kings should the city of Sacramento not be able to get an arena deal together by the beginning of next month. Seattle as many of you know was the host city for the SuperSonics from 1967-2008 when they moved to Oklahoma City and are now the Thunder. The SuperSonics also won the city’s lone professional sports championship in 1979.
Chris Hansen, a wealthy hedge-fund manager based in San Francisco and Seattle native, has been working to get a team back to Seattle and has purchased land south of Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, that could be used for a new arena. This was something the SuperSonics could not get and was the main reason for their departure.
I know the city of Seattle misses basketball, they loved their team a lot, I even miss the SuperSonics. I also know that they would feel bad for fans here if Seattle was to take the Kings away after another city took their original team. Two wrongs never make a right, but if Seattle is going to get a team anytime soon, relocation is going to have to be the way they get it. The league has no plans to expand and has talked about contraction as well (something I am against).
I personally don’t see this happening for a couple reasons. First of all, the city has worked so hard to get the team to stay around for this season let alone future seasons and is closer than ever before to getting an arena funded and built. Second, there’s already another team closer to relocating than the Kings are, the New Orleans Hornets. The league owns the team and can’t own them forever. Seattle could get the Hornets and have them play in an outdated KeyArena until a new facility is built. The Kings are not owned by the league and are still not for sale anytime soon, and even if they were, I doubt that the new owner would move the team.
There’s also been too much relocation in the league anyways with the Sonics leaving in ’08, the Nets moving to Brooklyn next season, and there are even rumblings of the Golden State Warriors possibly going across the bay back to San Francisco. It’s bad business for your league when teams keep moving around. Sure it happens, but it shouldn’t happen this often.
I’ve said it before and will again, I am prepared to see the Kings leave and have been for a while. I thought it was a slam dunk last year for them to move to Anaheim and it surprised the hell out of me when they decided to stay. The day I see a brand spanking new arena in downtown Sacramento is the day I know that team stays put. Seattle has great fans and eventually I think they will get another team, but fans there will have to wait their turn. But not to worry, there’s bound to be some team itching to change geography, and the Emerald City could be the place they relocate to.