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Kings Conspiracy – Part 2

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I wish someone could tell me why it came to this. Out of all the
places to move to, it ends up being where our arch rival dwells. To
leave a fan base that has given unconditional support for a team that
hasn’t been great for much of the time since they’ve graced us with
their presence says a lot.

Speaking of “saying a lot,” many diehard Kings fans have begged and
pleaded for the Maloofs to reconsider their stance with the franchise.
I remember writing about them making an idiotic move like this in my
last piece, but I never thought it would happen so soon. Ever since
writing the first part of this article (which can be read here), I
have committed myself to following the business side of the team very
closely. With that said, it’s only fit that I speculate on a few
things that could happen in the near future.

Let’s take a trip back down memory lane, when the Maloofs were
negotiating a naming rights deal with an anonymous organization that
ended up being Power Balance. Upon further research, it came to my
attention that they were based out of sunny Anaheim, California. Now,
I’m no rocket scientist, but it doesn’t take two heads to realize that
the Maloofs might have been plotting this move all along.

Furthermore, the Maloofs hold their annual skateboarding competition
in the O.C., and this could be the very reason why they pondered
moving our only professional team down to SoCal. Having all your
sporting events take place in one area saves a lot of air miles, but
will the Maloofs really make more money in Anaheim?

I’d venture to say that they could. Anaheim has a bigger population
and the Honda Center has a lot more to offer than ARCO Arena… Oh,
excuse me, “Power Balance Pavilion.” But- when reality sets in, I
don’t think they’ll survive in the city of angels because of three
glaring reasons.

First off, you have two other professional basketball teams up the way
and they suck up most of the fan base that the Maloofs are looking to
convert. Secondly, there are other attractions in Southern California
besides sports, such as the beaches, nightlife and Donald Sterling.
Last, but not least, how much losing can those fans put up with since
the team is still in rebuilding mode and won’t win a championship
anytime soon?

With all the other choices of entertainment in SoCal, what would make
the Maloofs think that Anaheim fans would choose to come see them
night in and night out?

David Stern has already proven that he shows no remorse for teams
moving from markets that have built solid fan bases. Seattle should’ve
never lost the Sonics, but they did because of weak government
officials. It’s a little bit different in Sacramento because we’re a
small market and the entire state of California isn’t exactly in the
best financial shape right now.

The Maloofs need to recognize that there are other factors beyond the
team not playing well, that keep fans from filling the building. The
real estate market is in shambles at this current juncture and
employment is hard to come by in a city that doesn’t have much
business to begin with. Schools are being shut down left and right
while homeless people have to sleep in tents through dreaded cold
nights. The Maloofs claimed that they wanted to see this rebuilding
effort all the way through, but now here they are, looking to move the
team 422 miles away.

Even though there have been many grass root efforts put together,
including Here We Stay and the Here We Build Movement, it looks like
the team might be packing those moving trucks sooner rather than
later. Seeing that Stern is all about having the NBA in viable
markets, could there possibly be some added incentives for the team if
the move receives approval? I certainly think so.

A lot of negotiating goes on behind closed doors that fans and
reporters don’t know about. The last time the Kings received the first
pick in the NBA Draft was back in 1989 when they selected Pervis
Ellison out of Louisville. I have no doubt that Stern will have those
ping pong balls fall in the “Anaheim Royals” favor to congratulate
them on being in a new lucrative market. Don’t be surprised if this
happens, because it seems like the lottery is rigged every year to
help the larger markets get the better talent in the draft.

Through all of this, the most important thing to keep in mind for any
city looking to have a professional sports team is to have local
ownership. The Grizzlies would still be in Vancouver if they had a
local owner, the Sonics would still be going strong in Seattle if a
homegrown citizen would’ve taken control, and now it’s us who have to
deal with losing the most intriguing choice of entertainment in the
region.

I have faith that Sacramento will get an NBA team back because we have
a fan base that’ll support them through thick and thin. We could
possibly get the Kings back, but it’ll cost a pretty penny to gouge
the team from the Maloofs’ control. A new arena would surely be needed
before that could happen, but a complete regional effort could bring
something to fruition. Gregg Lukenbill even stated this in his speech
at the "Here We Build" rally (view video here).

Keep fighting Sacramento, because there’s only a small chance to keep
the Kings here. Don’t forget that the Maloofs are still keeping all
their options open for moving the team to Anaheim…. The thought of
it just makes me wanna puke!

Photos by Suzanne Hurt, Ben Ilfeld, and Anaheim Arena Management 

 

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