The Sacramento Kings have to stay in Sacramento.
If the Kings relocate, the NBA will lose a great basketball city.
Small market NBA teams have struggled financially. Many have struggled because it's difficult to build a contender in a small market. Free agents usually prefer playing in larger markets for personal reasons. There also isn't as much money in small markets.
The fate of the Kings franchise will be decided soon. They will either stay in town if they present a sufficient plan to build a new arena, or they will relocate.
Here are five reasons it would be bad for the NBA to relocate the Kings:
One of the reasons the NBA just had a lockout is because of revenue sharing.
The small market teams in the NBA are suffering. Today it's more profitable to own a bad team in a large market, than it is to own a good team in a small market. There isn't as much wealth in smaller markets, which results in fans who are selective about what games they want to go to. When a small market team isn't a contender, most fans choose not to spend their hard earned money watching a sub .500 NBA team.
Small markets are at such a disadvantage, and moving the Kings out of Sacramento is proof of that. How can other small market teams feel safe if they have a possibility of being relocated if the team begins to struggle?
The Kings have arena issues, but they've never been closer to solving this problem.
As Tom Ziller pointed out a year ago, there will be serious backlash if the Kings leave Sacramento.
The Maloof brothers already owe the city of Sacramento roughly $70 million. The city is going to get that money one way or another.
Relocation creates a black spot on the league. Many people will rally in anger if the team is forced to move. It will infuriate NBA fans from northern California, turning many of them away from the sport for good.
Ziller also pointed out how Sacramento is full of grandstanding politicians, which could result in a high number of lawsuits.
A year ago, Tom Ziller wrote that if the Kings leave town, "Sacramento would become the largest U.S. market without a major pro sports team."
Sacramento is the No. 20 U.S. media market. All 19 markets ahead of Sacramento have at least one professional sports team. Many of them have multiple.
Like Portland, the city of Sacramento supports the Kings because they are the only show in town. There's no baseball team in Sacramento. There's no football team. There also isn't a large Division 1 college that is prominent in athletics. Sacramento only has the Kings.
Because the Seattle Supersonics relocated, Gary Payton doesn't have a home franchise where he can go to see his jersey hang in the rafters.
On TNT last year, Chris Webber said:
I wont have a basketball home if Sacramento loses the team.
There have been a lot of basketball players who have had great careers playing in Sacramento. If the Kings relocate, Chris Webber, Mitch Richmond, Vlade Divac and Peja Stojaković won't have homes.
That's a shame.
With no NBA franchise to point to, a lot of former players who were important to the history of the Sacramento Kings will be forgotten.
Building a NBA fan base is hard. Just ask Michael Jordan.
In Sacramento, the Kings have one of the best fan bases in the NBA. It supports the team no matter how good they are. The team would already be out of Sacramento if it were not for the great effort put forth by the fans and the city to keep them there.
The Kings have two of the five longest sellout streaks in NBA history. They have sold out every game in 17 of the 26 seasons in Sacramento. That kind of support for a NBA team is rare.
The Kings were once known as the "loudest fans in the NBA." It would be a tragedy to lose such a great fan base.