You may not have noticed it lately but the Democrats are not the only ones proclaiming the need for an exit strategy. Closer to home, the Maloof brothers are slowly working their plan for an exit strategy from Sacramento.
The local bond measure to build the new arena for the Kings is likely to fail. This half-baked idea by city and county leaders has been on shaky ground from the very beginning. Once these politicians let this bond idea deteriorate into a money grab for local governments the whole idea was mortally wounded.
The city’s insistence on the railyards as the location for the new arena created the real possibility that we could have a new sales tax with no team. The arena might never be built due to the environmental issues related to the railyards. It could take billions of dollars and decades of clean-up to get the railyard ready for development.
Another concern that is not favorable for a new arena is the insistence that the arena be within the geographical boundaries of the City of Sacramento. By limiting the arena to the handful of possible sites in the City, it increases the cost of land for these sites.
Thirdly, the number of government entities that are involved in negotiations creates a distinct advantage for the Maloof brothers.
I think at the end of the day, it will be impossible to get tax money to build an arena in Sacramento. Once this point is reached, it will trigger the Maloof brothers announcing that with great disappointment they need to move the team to a new city, probably Las Vegas.
My other reason for this belief is the way that the team has been managed over the last few years. The team has gone from first to worst. As the win/loss record has been deteriorating, the ticket prices have continued their upward march. The Maloofs have seemingly lifted a page from the Al Davis owners’ manual. Used up veterans past their prime are cheaper to sign and happy to be playing. There is little chance for Post Season action but the roster can be changed every year to create the illusion of new blood on the team. Should home games fail to sell-out; there is more ammo for the move the team scenario.
I think the die is cast. The Maloof exit strategy has been quietly executing for several years and should reach fruition in about three years. The Maloofs only need to firm-up their case with the NBA that another city would be more supportive of their team than Sacramento.
Sacramento will soon face the future without an NBA franchise bearing its name. We have a few more years to get used to the idea.