An NBA reporter for ESPN says that if the Kings were to leave Sacramento, Vancouver, British Columbia would be a "very viable spot." (AP Photo)
By Jessamyn McIntyre
The Sacramento Kings might be on the move after all now that their arena deal has fallen apart. But now it seems Seattle has a new, unexpected competitor in its attempt to land an NBA team.
Ric Bucher, an NBA reporter for ESPN, told "The Kevin Calabro Show" on Friday that if the Kings were to leave Sacramento, Vancouver, British Columbia would be a "very viable spot."
"Maybe, quite honestly, the most viable spot right now among places that gets the next NBA franchise that is on the move," Bucher said.
With investor Chris Hansen working to build an arena in Seattle, Vancouver wouldn't seem to be first in line for a relocated franchise, but Bucher said the city has a few things working in its favor.
"They have the corporate infrastructure, they have a building that they can readily move into ... they also have a very hot hockey team there currently," he said, referring to the Canucks, who are in first place in the Northwest Division. "It's a place that [the NBA] doesn't want to give up on."
NBA commissioner David Stern has faced turmoil in the past year with several franchises, including the Hornets and Bobcats and now the Kings. What would he think of a move across the Canadian border?
"We know that David Stern has always wanted to make this as global as possible. And everything that I'm hearing is that the China experiment failed, that the current owners are not interested in expanding into Europe anytime soon," Bucher said. "This is a way to expand back globally a little bit without it being too risky."
Some might see this as a blip on the NBA relocation radar, but Bucher insists Vancouver will remain a strong player in the battle for a franchise.
"It was one of those things on the NBA coconut- telegraph that will not go away as far as Vancouver being far more attractive than Anaheim," he said, "and even having the ability to elbow Seattle out of the way."
Time will tell if the Kings will move from Sacramento and exactly where they'll land. The silver lining for Seattle: Hansen is moving forward with his plans to build an arena in SoDo and remains committed to bringing the NBA back to the city.
The question remains as to just how long we'll wait.