The departure of the Sacramento Kings from the city of Sacramento seems all but certain, Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area writes, and if it isn't to Virginia Beach it will be to somewhere else.
Virginia Beach has reportedly worked out a proposal for the city to build a multipurpose arena where the Kings would be the primary tenant. As Ratto writes, there is still plenty of work to be done and plenty to go wrong in the proposed project, the Maloof family's financial situation will send the team elsewhere.
But the marriage between Sacramento and the Kings is now pretty much one in name only. Those who care about the Kings have watched their personal needles move from the purple of loving the team to the red of hating the Maloofs more. They know that even if Virginia Beach doesn't happen, Seattle is heating up in the bullpen ready to make its play. And they know the Maloofs are down to the strings in their pockets, and would happily sell the team to Nova Scotia interests to get out of their ever-worsening financial jam.
If the Kings move, it will be yet another city in a long and illustrious line of hometowns, from Kansas City, Omaha, Rochester and Cincinnati. The Virginia Beach deal isn't set in stone quite yet. The State of Virginia still needs to loan out $150 million for the project to be completed, and if Virginia Beach falls through, the city of Seattle is waiting with open arms after agreeing with investor Chris Hansen to build an arena to lure an NBA team.
But the failure of this deal would only mean a new one down the road, and more of the scab-picking that has already wrecked Sacramento's links to the Kings. The city seems done with the entire process, and even those who still believe in some deus ex machina to save the team must know that it is just one more band-aid. They have learned that their team really isn't theirs after all, and there is no repairing that feeling once it is lost.
The Maloof's have been asking the city of Sacramento for a largely taxpayer funded arena for the Kings to move into. After agreeing in principle to a deal with the city and the NBA in February, the Maloofs backed out of the agreement in April.