What a yo-yo of a day Wednesday was – first the Sacramento Kings were moving to Seattle. Then they weren’t. Then they were again.
What’s the situation today?
We’re still in a holding pattern right now. There are great sources of both sides of this story saying the deal is done or imminent and others are saying it isn’t. There’s no definitive answer because neither Seattle’s Chris Hansen nor Sacramento’s Maloof family nor the NBA is speaking about the situation.
What we do know is that Sacramento isn’t going to give up its team without a fight. It’s been here before fighting to keep this team. For six years now, the city has been under the cloud of this team leaving. Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star, said he’s not giving the team up without a fight.
“Sacramento has a fighting spirit,” he said. “Our fans show up every game and they fight tirelessly for their team. Our community has had its back against the wall on more than one occasion, and this is going to be no different.”
“There’s no guarantees in this scenario,” Mayor Johnson said. “We’re in a fight, and we’re used to being in this situation.”
The Maloof family, which owns the Kings, tried to move the team to Anaheim in 2011. They backed out of a new deal with Sacramento last year. So fighting for the Kings is nothing new in California’s capital.
Even if this deal goes through and Chris Hansen buys the Kings, there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to build the $490 million SoDo arena that he wants. The Longshoreman’s Union believes it has a very good chance to prevent it. It has filed a lawsuit challenging the deal Hansen cut with Seattle and King County.
The lawsuit claims the deal was completed before an environmental review which violates the law. Attorney Peter Goldman represents the union.
“This is a public project,” he said. “The city and the county have to follow the law in siting a public facility, and they have not followed that law.”
The case will be heard Feb. 22 in King County Superior Court. “This lawsuit is about challenging Mr. Hansen’s right to anoint this location for the arena,” Goldman said.
Here’s what we know about the proposed deal to buy the Kings as it stands now, if it actually exists.
It’s reportedly worth about $500 million, with the Maloof Family still owning a small piece of the team. The team would play in KeyArena for two years. Play would begin this fall if the NBA approves the deal.