Same old story. NBA Owner cries broke-ness, and says the team needs a new arena. Team attendance is dwindling and speculations swirl about moving the team. It isn’t the Sonics this time, it is the Kings.
When Microsoft Owner Steve Ballmer sold off more than a billion dollars in company stock last week, plenty of people speculated that he was about to make a move to buy a team. Ballmer has never been shy about his love for professional basketball, and led an effort to renovate Key Arena before the Sonics left for Oklahoma City.
Why not the Kings?
Sacramento has had an NBA Franchise since 1985, when the Kings left Kansas City. They’ve played since 1988, in Arco Arena, outside the downtown core. After only 22 years, the Maloof family which owns the Kings, and Arco, says it’s not up to current standards and a new arena is needed to keep the team in the arena.
The city agrees.
“It was built on the cheap, for $40 million dollars,” Graswich said. “There is no club seating level. The restaurants are all serviced by an antiquated kitchen.”
That’s why Sacramento Mayor and former NBA All Star, Kevin Johnson has been actively attempting to find a solution. On Tuesday, he was out of town, meeting with a Chicago developer about mixed use arena project at the city’s downtown rail yards.
But building an arena may be a tall order. 80 percent of Voters rejected an arena tax levy, and a complicated land swap deal also recently fizzled out. Plus, California has a 13 percent unemployment rate, and the real estate market is in rough shape.
“We’ve done everything we can, except write a check, and we can’t because we’re broke,” said Graswich.
The Maloofs have brilliant business minds and have kept their plans under wraps. In fact, George Maloof admits he did meet with Former Sonic Part Owner Wally Walker in Seattle earlier this year, but claims it was to talk about financing ideas and not about moving the team. Sure George… Stay tuned.