January 10, 2013

Could the Sonics be back?


Could it be? Are the Sonics coming back?

News broke yesterday that a possible deal by the Chris Hanson investment group to buy the Sacramento Kings is in the works. The Kings have had their own arena problems, have royally sucked the past few years and the Maloof brothers are ready to sell. So much so that the Sonics could be back in the Key Arena for the 2013-14 season.

There is, however, the old business of stealing another cities team that Sonics' fans will have on their minds.

In Seattle, there was excitement that the NBA might return after its exit five years ago. In Sacramento, there was despair among fans and defiance from public officials, punctuated by Mayor Kevin Johnson vowing to fight to keep the team in town.

"It's a significant day for the community because it appears it's the first day that the Sacramento Kings are for sale," Johnson said at a news conference.

Johnson, a former NBA player, said that if the report is true, it marks an opportunity for his city to find local buyers to keep the team in Sacramento. Indeed, the team's owners, the Maloof family, have never stated publicly the team is for sale, instead pursuing options in the past to secure a new arena or move the team themselves.

Keep in mind that a new arena in Seattle hasn't even started to be built, and that it will suck up $200 million in public funds. There is also several groups in the city opposing it being built (including the Mariners). While it will get paid back from revenues from the arena... isn't Seattle already paying for other sports venues for other professional teams?

While this should be time to rejoice, nothing it set in stone yet. There's a lot of tape to go through and a lot of obstacles still to overcome. If they do move here... does the Kings' team history come with them, because how many NBA fans rooted for the Kings when they faced the Lakers in players in the early 2000s? And how many Doug Christie jokes can we make?

(If you want to get ready, buy some Sonics gear here.)

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