I'm really glad the Hawks let TO go. Not a fan of his and just don't see how he could contribute to this franchise at this stage in his career. Right now it seems like the 2012 Seahawks are the most interesting and inspiring sports story I can remember in this town. I think it would be totally unreasonable to expect Russell Wilson to win a lot of games but somehow the fan in me cannot help but feel like there is a chance. Can't wait for football season.
When I read the quotes coming in from Virginia Beach it really makes me realize how much my perspective has changed over the last year.
I always knew that bringing a franchise to market was a big job. You need a $500M building, a franchise that is in ridiculously tight demand, and an owner willing to endure a ton of adversity (say what we want about Clay but he really went out there and took the shots for his hometown).
Now, having seen the process mature here I realize that I really had no idea whatsoever just how big the job really is. It is crazy how many people have to work at it and how many different equally high priority elements there are to it. I don't even get exposure to all of it but when talking to people and also when reviewing public disclosure documents I am just floored by the level of communication and coordination required to take this from dream to reality.
So I read this comments out of Virginia Beach and without trying to be condescending it feels like they are a bit naive. Their council is just in line to get the first proposal. The hotel/motel association has not formally vetted the tax proposal. They have really just begun this concept.
I don't think that the VB story is fake so much as I think it is premature. Comcast hasn't made its proposal yet. nobody knows the details of the involvement of a sports franchise, the funding of the building, the ownership, etc. This could be an absolute nothing a month from now or it could be something that gains legs.
I can tell you that if they want it to gain enough legs to catch up with Chris Hansen's efforts they had better be willing to up their game really quickly. There will be a huge amount of initial legwork to get the city, state, and NBA all participating in this.
IMO the next big reveal is going to see how much real interest and involvement the Maloofs have in this whole thing. I know from experience that there can be a lot of people who represent that they are "working with someone" on an NBA deal. All we have to do is look at what happened here where over the last 5 years literally a dozen people spoke with Steve Ballmer at some point and said something to the effect of "If I can find a way to get a building built and bring you a fleshed out proposal to bring the NBA back would you be willing to participate in the deal." All that has to happen is a reply that says "Sure. If you get all that done I'll talk." and suddenly a new guy is rolling around town claiming to be "working with Steve Ballmer" on an arena.
I really see now why the smart guys with municipalities wanted to hold those rumors back at that time. They knew(and I didn't) just how fast that stuff could spread and how little basis in fact there was to the rumors. I think that is likely what we are seeing in VB.
The fact is that Virginia Beach has gotten really positive PR out of this and we are likely to see more cities stepping up to do the same. There is a prestige involved in having your name be mentioned with professional sports and you can bet that a lot of other cities are looking to see whether they can talk about luring the Kings without a huge negative perception.
It is amazing that this letter to the Port Commission got buried by the times in this way. Not only did they release it on Friday evening and bury it in the paper the next morning but they erased the headline for it online within hours. This is a letter signed by 14 members of state legislature including the majority leader suggesting impropriety and lack of oversight in an organization that controls $71M in direct public subsidy per year. Lets continue to make sure people know about this. It isn't over.