By DWIGHT JAYNES
It is being reported that the Maloof brothers are finalizing a deal to sell the Sacramento Kings to the Hansen-Ballmer group in Seattle. I would remind everyone that deals like this aren't done until they are officially done and the Maloofs are not generally predictable.
That said, it makes sense and with a reported 500 price tag, that's about as high as that franchise could be valued for sale.
A few random thoughts and reactions:
-- This thing would affect the Portland Trail Blazers, of course. The most obvious is that fans would now have the opportunity to view their team easily and inexpensively on the road. Those trips up I-5 are a legendary part of Blazer history, as is the rivalry between the teams, which at times was intense. For players, too, it's a change, with two road games per season becoming 40-minute flights instead of longer journeys.
-- It also could mean some division realignment. Seattle should be in the Northwest Division, since it would become the most "northwest" team in the NBA. But the Kings were in the Pacific Division. Could Oklahoma City switch with Sacramento and move into the Pacific? Not sure, but it make a lot of sense.
-- The franchise could call itself the Sonics. It should call itself the Sonics. The Seattle Kings, located in what for decades was officially called the "Queen City," would make no sense.
-- You can feel sorry for fans of the Kings, just as you felt sorry for fans of the Sonics when their team left for OKC. But really, everyone by now should know the unfair set of standards that rule pro sports. Some cities get stuck with lousy owners, some don't. And some cities refuse to get blackmailed into giving carpet-bagging owners free stadiums and arenas.
That's fine. Take that stance with my blessing. But at the same time, don't cry too hard when the team moves to another town. Remember, this whole thing isn't fair and never has been. Owners are there to make money -- off you, the fan. And they want to make lots of it. If you're disturbed by that and can't take consolation from having that team come to your town to satiate your fandom, just don't get involved. Don't invest in the team with your heart or your wallet.
It's business, whether you want it to be or not. And sometimes it's dirty business. And if you want a team in your town, you play the game the way it's played -- not the way you think it ought to be.
-- I hope this happens. Be fun to have a team up north again, even if it seems destined to look a lot like the woebegone Sacramento Kings for a few years.