I appreciate Jerry Brewer's effort on Sunday in the Seattle Times on explaining why the NBA should choose Seattle "now", or risk that it would be "never" in Seattle. The problem I have is that Brewer implies that the Seattle and Sacramento arena are on par with each other.
It's a complex decision because siding with either city requires unprecedented NBA logic. The owners always approve sales when they make financial sense, and if they go against the Maloofs' desire to sell to Hansen, they're opening the door for future meddling in their own affairs. On the other hand, the NBA has never abandoned a city as adamant as Sacramento is about doing whatever it takes to keep the Kings. These relocations are always about arenas, and Sacramento has a plan, no matter how cobbled together, to build an arena. If the NBA decides that Sacramento's arena plan is solid and moves to Seattle anyway, it would be unlike any relocation in the Stern era. If the NBA wants to return to Seattle, it has to be now
Sacramento has a plan, but, it's just not at the same maturity level.
Sacramento Bee posted a story on Sunday, too. Their county has not yet agreed to the "plan" to have them contribute $600,000 a year.
City officials say they are counting on Sacramento County to kick in an estimated $600,000 a year to help pay the debt on the planned $448 million arena at Downtown Plaza.
But county officials say they have not had any detailed discussions with the city this year about a county contribution – and Supervisors Don Nottoli and Phil Serna expressed surprise at a recent city staff report that says "the county has agreed to contribute" funds.
"To say we've agreed, that's a stretch," Nottoli said.
Sacramento County's financial support for proposed arena not nailed down
Chris Hansen, Seattle City Council and King County Council agreed to financial obligations last year.
The Metropolitan King County Council today gave its unanimous approval to the final memorandum of understanding (MOU) and interlocal agreement (ILA) that will govern the role of the County, the city of Seattle and ArenaCo—the company representing arena investor Chris Hansen—in a proposed arena in Seattle’s SODO district. Today’s vote, along with the adoption of the same MOU and ILA by the Seattle City Council, means that the first step of the needed legislative action for a possible return of National Basketball Association and National Hockey League teams to Seattle is complete.
“While we still have a long way to go, this is is the most significant step the region has made to bring back the NBA since 2008,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “We have come this far because of the diligence of not only Chris Hansen, but Executive Constantine, Mayor McGinn, both councils and the legion of fans who are working to return the Sonics.”
King County, County Council adopts amended SODO arena plan
I know this is kind of minor, unless you are a Sacramento County Supervisor, or on the NBA Board of Governors, but it's not the only minor missing detail.
Seattle's arena has already been through city design review and has moved on to permitting.
And now on Monday, one of the major investor, Ron Burkle, in the Sacramento effort to build an arena and buy the Kings had to back out of any direct involvement in both the arena and team.
"This is something when we presented to the NBA a week ago, we explained this opportunity, we knew there would be a potential conflict. They were trying to work through it. It didn't get resolved, but again, Ron will still be involved in the economic development opportunities," Johnson said.
"You kind of just knew it, because even before when he wanted to buy AEG, it was actually a conflict then, too," said Ernest Wong, a member of the Crown Downtown fan support group, who listened to the mayor's comments.
Burkle exits Kings group, arena plans
The folks in Sacramento knew that a guy in their investment group has a business developing NBA players has a conflict of interest. They went ahead anyway, and are shuffling the players, now.
Two days in a row something has come out on the unstable and incomplete effort in Sacramento.
Look, Sacramento is simply behind and incomplete, and that's why the NBA should approve the sale of the Kings to Hansen. Seattle is ready now.
Seattle is not in a now or never position. We picked up the pieces of 2008 and moved forward to today. We are in a now position because Chris Hansen and we have done the work.