I was going to write a definitive piece on what happens next now that the NBA's relocation committee has recommended rejecting Chris Hansen's bid to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle. But really, there's not much to say other than to emphasize that the Sodo arena deal was never predicated on acquiring the Kings per se.
Hansen insists he has a binding purchase agreement, and says he'll continue to fight for the Kings. Hansen can clearly afford some pretty scary lawyers, so there's always that. And there's more than a little speculation that the league might yet award Seattle an expansion franchise. Maybe. The owners are expected to make their final decision on the Kings next week, and presumably that would be a good time to vote on expansion as well.
But whatever the league decides, it's important to remember that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build a new arena in Sodo was negotiated and approved long before Hansen struck a deal to purchase the Kings. There was never any expectation that Hansen would secure a team this quickly, and his window for doing so doesn't expire for another five years. Meanwhile, the MOU was always written in a way that the public financial commitment would not come due until after the environmental reviews had been completed and a new team was firmly in hand. Losing the Kings doesn't change that.
I will say that if Hansen's plans ultimately fall through due to lack of a franchise, the NBA will have permanently tarnished its reputation in Seattle. The longer the city goes without the NBA, the less we miss it. And twice burned by the league, it will be twice as hard to garner the political support for any sort of public contribution next time around. Hell, it may already be too late. Sodo arena opponents are determined to kill it, while arena supporters are justly disheartened and insulted by this latest rejection.
Which brings me to my final and most salient point. Which is that the Seattle Times editorial board are fucking idiots:
THE return of the NBA and professional basketball, a desirable goal, will depend on the durable mantra that guides any commercial enterprise: location, location, location.
The right setting and a deal without public money will set the stage for NBA basketball in this competitive pro sports environment.
First of all, the location of the proposed arena in Sodo as opposed to the Seattle Center or Renton or Bellevue had fuck all to do with the relocation committee's decision to reject Hansen's bid. If location was at all an issue, it was only in that Hansen did not propose a location in Sacramento.
Second, by all means, if somebody wants to build an arena entirely with private money, more power to them. But nobody's proposed that. Anywhere. Ever. Not since Sicks' Stadium opened in 1938 has Seattle built a professional sports arena or stadium entirely with private money. So if the Seattle Times is really editorializing in favor of a 100-percent-privately-funded arena, what they're really editorializing for is no arena at all. Which means no NBA. Which is fine by me, because I'm not a basketball fan.
But they should at least be honest about it.