NBA  > General NBA  > Sacramento-Seattle Drama Builds
January 30, 2013, 10:33 PM
Ask a Sonics fan, and its a done deal. Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer now own the soon to be SuperSonics who will be reborn this October in Key Arena. Ask a Kings fan or even Mayor KJ and this fight is far from over, although many agree this is a case of too little too late for a city that has its time in the spotlight and its many chances to get an arena deal done including new owners that would keep the team local.

While its true this drama is just getting started, there are two underlying details most people seem to forget. David Stern wants to save face and mend his relationship with the city of Seattle after the 2008 debacle that saw the Sonics skip town to OKC to become the present day Thunder. Stern is coming up on Retirement in 2014 and he has stressed he wants to make it up to Seattle and what better way to go out then to give Seattle its team back?. Then there's the highly hated name of Clay Bennett, owner of the Thunder and current chairman of the NBA Relocation Committee. The very man who orchestrated the former Sonics departure from Seattle to begin with after efforts failed to get a new Arena deal done.

Then throw in the money factor and suddenly its not hard to realize just why Sacramento is facing a battle they cannot win. Seattle is the NBA's 12th largest TV market while Sacramento sits at a lowly 20th, those are not good odds for the Sacramento faithful. But who really benefits in all of this? Stern and Bennett. Why? David Stern will be raking in even higher profits due to the increase in market capacity of Seattle and Bennett also profits from the pending relocation to Seattle as well. Approve the move, and its a BIG PAYDAY for Bennett but reject the Relocation and he makes nothing. Its plainly obvious what Bennett will do.

What it will also do for Bennett is ease if not erase completely the bad image he left behind of what kind of man he is to Seattle fans when he uprooted the former Sonics and left with them for OKC in 2008. He may still be looked upon negatively but he would not be as hated if he approved the relocation that would return the Sonics back to Seattle.

Meanwhile Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, continues to fight in vain a losing battle that he mistakenly believes he still has a chance at. Try telling him that this fight is lost and the more defiant he will be in the face of this pending sale to the Hansen-Ballmer group in Seattle that is already completed and just awaiting final approval from the NBA board of Governors. Johnson despite the pending move of the Kings has been assembling minority investor groups in an effort to bring in enough money to present a counter offer to buy the Kings. Another effort which is more then likely in vain due to the fact the Maloof family is not likely to entetain any counter offers from local buyers attempting to buy a team that has already been sold to Seattle.

In short, Sacramento loses and Seattle wins. Its unfortunate that the Return of the Sonics has to come at the expense of another city, but this is a business and in the end, its about the money and not about what the majority opinion of fans.
Comment #1 has been removed
February 5, 2013  01:45 PM ET

It's such a sad shame for Sacramento, however, because here was a team that was supported for thirty years through good and (mostly) bad times. If this deal goes through, and the Kings head to Seatlle, the Maloof Brother should be BANNED from ever owning an NBA team ever again. What they did to the Kings, allowing it to go belly up so they can justify moving the team to a bigger market was simply unconscionable.

Kudos to Seattle for getting an NBA finally team back. They never deserved what happened to them considering the fact it was one of the biggest sports markets and had a long and highly regarded history. Personally, I thought that Bennett should have not been allowed to keep any legacy of the Sonics. The NBA should have treated the relocation as they would with have an expansion franchise--have it start off fresh and clean while having Bennett relinquish as all trademark and branding rights along with the history of the Supersonics to the city of Seattle--kind of like what they did in the NFL when it came to the Cleveland Browns.


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