Nick Hunt/Sacramento Press
Arco Arena sign removed. Hopefully Kings won’t be too.
Commissioner David Stern was on the BS Report with Bill Simmons this week and started discussing NBA arena situations briefly.
Bill Simmons – And you said on the last podcast that you had some regrets with how Vancouver went the last go around.
David Stern – I have both regrets about Vancouver and Seattle.
BS – You have regrets about Seattle? You’ve never said that.
DS – Oh yes, I did.
BS – What are your regrets?
DS – My regrets are that somehow we weren’t able to do a better job of getting a building moved around so that we could have kept a team there.
Roughly four years ago, the NBA stepped in to save the Sacramento Kings by getting involved with an initiative. After a putridly misguided attempt to put an arena at Cal Expo and then the complicated land swap that fell apart to keep the sanctity of eating deep-fried Snickers bars with people in sleeveless t-shirts and jean shorts in an appropriately sized setting, the NBA pulled out of the arena dealings in late September of last year.
I would never imply that the NBA didn’t give a proper effort to the arena situation because anyone who has been following knows just how complicated it is. Everybody seems to want a downtown arena, only the downtown area is need of a major facelift if a brand new state of the art arena is going to replace the K Street Mall or the rail yards or wherever. And if you’re putting one out in the suburbs again, you miss out on a great chance of revitalizing what could easily become the heart of the city.
But the economy is terrible and the taxpayers are going to want the millionaires to pay for it and it’s almost become a lose-lose situation in some respects. The City Council seems to have found someone that will have some time to put together a new proposal but nothing seems to be giving much light at the end of the tunnel.
Basically, the Sacramento fans might be screwed here.
Stern’s quote above struck me as something to worry about. He knows the NBA hasn’t been batting 1.000 when it comes to NBA arena situations. He has regrets about what happened with the Vancouver Grizzlies and the debacle that resulted in the Seattle Sonics moving from the great northwest to the great plains of Oklahoma. If he knows just how disappointing the situation can become and that there potentially could have been things to prevent it, why not jump back in to the arena talks in Sacramento?
Back in 2006, Stern was calling the Kings “a ‘model’ franchise in the sport, ‘a spectacular success story.’” A little over four years and winning percentage of 33% later, the league’s office is nowhere to be seen as the franchise is slipping through the grasp of the city of Sacramento.
This is a fixable situation. Yes, it’s complicated and it will be hard to figure out. But it doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. Orlando just put up a huge and beautiful facility for their Magic fans. Complicated situations can be fixed.
The effort from the right people just has to be there and be consistent. It was once there from Commissioner Stern and his task force. It just is no longer consistent because they decided to pull out from the mess and focus on whatever it is they are focusing on.
It’s not the responsibility of David Stern to get this done by any means. I just don’t want him being interviewed on The Basketball Jones a few years from now and solemnly stating his regrets on keeping this kingdom intact.