‘Here they stay,’ but Seattle deserves their own NBA franchise
The old adage “It’s not personal, it’s business,” is very common in interpersonal dealings, especially ones that involve politics and large sums of money. It’s simple rhetoric used to bring perspective to contentious settings. In the case of the Sacramento Kings’ relocation drama, it is simply not apt.
When the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008, sports fans understood. They questioned the morality, but they knew that with no plan to build a new arena or legal grounds to keep team owner Clay Bennett from relocating, they knew it was happening. This will not be the case this time around.
The NBA has an opportunity to make an extremely impactful decision—one that could pay hefty dividends for decades. When a franchised business has an opportunity to add first-class ownership groups that plan to invest nearly $1 billion in their respective markets, each of which is filled with hundreds of thousands of people willing to support those franchises through ticket sales, merchandise, sponsorships and media consumption, one could say it would be wise to figure out the logistics.
A league only 18 months removed from a lockout and constantly advocating that state-of-the-art arenas are critical to the success of its teams simply cannot afford to look at two lucrative offers in top-20 television markets and decide to snub one, especially not when the Indiana Pacers are reportedly unable to turn a profit with a 49-win team. It would be silly to say that either of these markets don’t deserve a team, while the Atlanta Hawks are struggling to sell more than 10,000 tickets during the playoffs.
The relocation committee has recommended that the Kings stay put; the NBA should make plans to place another franchise in Seattle. If expansion is not an option, relocation needs to be. It’s a business decision, not a personal one. There is no way the league could look at both Seattle and Sacramento’s offers, arena plans, fan bases, media markets, and political will to accommodate NBA franchises.
If it’s not sticking it to the Maloofs, or trying to show Seattle investor Chris Hansen who’s boss, or an embarrassed group of owners trying to avoid a PR nightmare, it should be an easy choice to make. It should not be difficult to decide whether or not you’d like $2 billion dollars.