It’s insensitive to those losing jobs because of the Sacramento Kings’ likely departure to Seattle, but it needs to be said: The Kings leaving is for the best.
It's for the best because it's no secret that a majority of Sacramentans don't want to use public dollars to pay for a new basketball arena. Even internal polling by the mayor's Think Big Sacramento initiative last March revealed that a scant majority, 51 percent, actually wanted to take those first steps down the arena-building rabbit hole. Let alone fork over the gold.
But, as we all know, handing over a few hundred-million dollars is what the city would need to do to keep a team in Sacramento. And that's an unworthy ransom—Maloofs or Ron Burkle or whoever is running the Kings.
And, in retrospect, nearly giving the Maloofs the keys to a new arena—actually trying to work with those bozos—appears to be Sacramento's most regrettable moment.
We proved to the NBA that the city could build a palace with public money, but not only did this not matter, it also in some odd way exacerbated the Maloofs' bad blood for Sacto. Should city leaders have foreseen this during last year's frustrating and agonizing negotiations? Maybe.
Not like we needed any omens: Sacramento had already given the Maloofs beaucoup chances. City leaders stood behind the brothers while trying to pass Measures Q and R in 2006—only to have the Maloofs stab supporters in the back. Then, there was the near-decade of crappy Kings teams and slumlordism at Arco Arena. After that, there was Anaheim. Then, last year's arena handshake “deal” gone sour. Then, Virginia Beach. And now, selling the team without giving Sacto a shot to buy.
Maloof me once, shame on you. Maloof me twice, thrice, countless times—we should've known better.