Perhaps you've heard there's a chance the Sacramento Kings could end up relocating in the near future. Of course, it's all speculation at this point, as there's nothing concrete either way and the team's ownership is insistent that it's committed to staying in Sacramento.
But let's assume for a second that the Kings are on their way to a new market. Assuming that's the case, would that make the Kings the NBA's worst franchise ever?
As a lifelong Kings fan, the prospect of the team moving is one that I don't like to consider. For the record, I think the team will end up finding a way to make it work in Sacramento. But if it doesn't, there's an argument to be made for the Kings as the worst franchise in NBA history.
Part of the problem, and what makes this a valid question to ask, is the simple fact that the Kings franchise is one that hasn't necessarily been loyal to its fans over the years.
In its 65 years of existence, the team has played in four different locations. It was the Rochester Royals from 1949-1957, and won its only title during that time (1950-51); the Cincinnatti Royals from 1958-1972; the Kansas City Kings from 1973-1985; and has been in Sacramento since the 1986 season.
If they were to move to another location, that would make it five different cities for the same franchise. That's something no other NBA franchise could claim. In fact, the only other franchise with four different NBA locations (others have had four locations but were also in the ABA) is the Atlanta Hawks.
Despite moving the same number of times, the Hawks are a better franchise than the Kings because they have had more success than the Kings. Like the Kings, the Hawks have only won one NBA championship (1957-58). But they've had more overall success, qualifying for the playoffs in 41 of their 64 seasons; compared to playoff berths in 29 of the Kings' 65 seasons.
Taking frequent relocations and overall franchise success into consideration, there's currently only one NBA franchise that I'd rank lower than the Sacramento Kings. It's the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers have relocated three different times. They were in Buffalo for eight years (1971-78); San Diego for six years (1979-84); and have been in Los Angeles for the last 29 years (1985-present).
Undoubtedly, the Kings have been in more locations (four) than the Clippers (three). But throughout the life of each franchise, the Clippers have been much worse on the court than the Kings have.
The Clippers have only made the playoffs eight times in their 43 years of existence (19 percent of all seasons). They've never won an NBA title, conference championship or even their own division. They've also posted a .367 winning percentage.
The Kings, meanwhile, have qualified for the playoffs in 29 of 43 seasons (45 percent), won one NBA championship and five division championships. They also have a .434 winning percentage.
However, while the Clippers have been worse than the Kings overall, and the NBA's worst franchise ever, they're in better shape than the Kings going forward. They've got better players and have had more recent success.
If the Kings don't turn things around soon, then the Clippers might pass them due to overall team success.
But if the Kings do end up relocating in the near future, they'll be the NBA's worst franchise regardless of how well the team performs on the court.
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