If all reports are accurate, the Sacramento Kings will be leaving the state capital for the warmer weather of Orange County. That's bad news for the NBA, the city of Sacramento, and the Kings organization.
Sacramento needs the Kings, and the Kings need Sacramento.
But if the Maloof brothers decide to pack up and leave, and they choose Anaheim as their destination, there will be many losers.
Here are six reasons why the Kings moving to Anaheim would be a bad move.
6. Sacramento has great fans. Without another professional franchise, and without a college team to support, the 38th-most populated city in the nation deserves at least one sports team to route for. Kings fans have been rabid over the years, bringing their cowbells to the arena, and selling out 354 consecutive games up until November 2007. The city even elected a former NBA star, Kevin Johnson, as its mayor.
5. Anaheim doesn't want the Kings. There's one thing that Los Angeles and Orange County can agree on: love for the Lakers. In the mid-to-late 1990s, the Clippers played a small part of their home schedule in Anaheim during a time where they called the Sports Arena their main home, and the games sold out. But those fans won't show up over the course of an entire season, especially if they aren't title contenders. They don't want to support a bad version of the Lakers. They want to support the Lakers.
4. Build an arena with private funds. This sounds like it's easier said than done, but a downtown arena is not out of the question. The Maloofs have grown impatient of their outdated home arena, which recently changed its name to Power Balance Arena. The city is in need of a sports and entertainment facility, and civic and business leaders have not exhausted all possibilities with the Maloofs. The potential to land a deal still exists.
3. Seattle is a better option. If staying in Sacramento is no longer an option, the Maloofs have better options than Anaheim. After losing their beloved Supersonics to Oklahoma City, Seattle needs to be on the short list of cities that should have a team. Seattle is one of the biggest markets on the West Coast, but, like Sacramento, couldn't land a new arena. Pro basketball fans in Seattle still exist, even though a great arena currently doesn't. If Seattle gets the Kings, the franchise can change its name back to the Sonics, and will no longer have to share their name with the Los Angeles hockey team.
2. The economy is struggling, not just the Kings. Government budget cutbacks aren't helping the city of Sacramento, but the rest of the nation isn't rolling in dough either. The idea of leaving Sacramento because the city is struggling, and think there aren't fan who would be able to afford luxury boxes to boost revenue, is rather short-sighted. Sacramento's economy is capable of picking up, and that means selling out the luxury box suites in a new arena is conceivable.
1. Build a winner, and fans will come. Every franchise is capable of seeing attendance drop if they aren't putting a winner on the court. In Anaheim, however, putting a winner on the court may not be enough to pry fans away from the Lakers' strong base. Kings fans, on the other hand, have the Kings to pull for and nobody else. The Kings currently have a record of 15-44,and haven't come close to making the playoffs since their last trip in 2005-2006. But like any team, their fortunes can change if they make the right personnel moves, avoid injuries, and wait for the balance of power to shift. Those are facts that affect any franchise, no matter what city you're in.