Among the many things I do in my life, I am an actor, a writer, and also an avid poker player. I mention these three things because each provides the wild swings of the greatest highs and the lowest lows. In each, you deal with rejection as much as, if not more than, you do success. Having also done sales for long stretches, that can be just as exhilarating and infuriating on that win/loss table.
The point being that each prepares you for -- or, at least, forces you to face -- both possibilities. Due to that, as we near the expected recommendation from the combined relocation & finance committees as to which city, Seattle or Sacramento, should get the Kings, I am ready.
The league has played decidedly coy this week over when the meeting that Commissioner Stern announced at last Friday's presser is to take place. The assumption from Stern's words was that it would be either this Thursday or Friday. Brian made the suggestion that it could take place today (Thursday) and the recommendation & accompanying analysis report forwarded to the remaining owners. Today, primarily because the NFL Draft begins and should expectedly dominate the sports news cycle, allowing any leaks on the recommendation to slip through relatively unnoticed. (Of course, fans on both sides are going to be keenly aware of any possible leaks.) It's a fair suggestion and seems quite likely.
As much as we're all ready to get some news and hear some forward progress, how many are actually ready for the specific news, for the specific recommendation of the committees? To now, it's been a nebulous debate back and forth, but this recommendation will finally make everything real. It will put the official stamp on where things are and likely where things are headed. It's the weightiest day (or two) of this entire process.
I am ready. I am ready to hear that Seattle is recommended to be awarded the franchise, based on the strength of market; the power and potential of the ownership group; the anticipated revenue engine that will contribute to the league's coffers rather than rely on the league for support; the media potential; the stronger arena proposal and further progress on the construction timeline; and the generally more tangible money and lower overall risk offered by the Seattle option. By all measures, the Seattle sale is the more sound business decision between the two. As the league is a business, this would suggest that this is the obvious direction for the league and should be recommended wholeheartedly.
More importantly, I am ready for this to go Sacramento's way. It's the less logical choice and would appear to be full of far more questions and uncertainties than the Seattle option. Incumbency of the team is a huge factor, and no one can discount the role that admiration for the effort put in by Mayor Kevin Johnson and his assembled group will play in this. It's impractical, but it's not inconceivable that the owners could place a lot of strength on the first qualifications of Article VII in the NBA constitution, the ones that deal with support in the current market. While I don't truly believe that this is a 50/50 proposition currently, the recommendation could side with Sacramento.
I am ready for that. I'm not saying I would be happy. I'm not saying I wouldn't be crushed by it, particularly because it would bug my logical mind beyond comprehension. I am ready because it can happen. In poker, it would be known as a bad beat. A situation where you have done everything right, played your cards right, dealt with the pot odds and betting odds perfectly, played the other man to a tee, and yet a card comes on the river that thoroughly discounts everything you've done and gives the other man a winning hand. There's nothing you can do about it. It is simply part of the game.
It is its own struggle to be confident, quite a bit less so when you have solid reason to be. As part of the game, though, you have to be able to accept that it can go the other way. I am. As a Sonics fan, are you? For those in Sacramento, are they ready for the possibility that this team can be going to Seattle?
UPDATED: The NBA has officially scheduled the meeting of the relocation & finance committees on Monday, April 29th. One more weekend to wait before getting some true gauge of what is happening.