At This Rate, Why Does Virginia Beach Want the Sacramento Kings Anyway?

Sim Risso@@SimRissoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2012

LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 13:  (L-R) Brothers George Maloof, Gavin Maloof and Joe Maloof watch a preseason game between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Thomas & Mack Center October 13, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lakers won 98-95. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

On August 24, reports came out that the Sacramento Kings were being courted by the city of Virginia Beach, Virginia. The city has plans in the works to build a new arena and they wanted to Kings to relocate there to become the new building's anchor tenant.

At the time, Kings co-owner Joe Maloof denied having any talks with Virginia Beach and there have been no new developments tying the franchise to the city.

But assuming Virginia Beach is still looking to the Kings as its anchor tenant for the new arena, would it even be worth it for the city to get the team to relocate?

For one, the Kings have a very committed fanbase in Sacramento. You may be wondering why that matters, considering plenty of relocated franchises—the Sonics in Seattle and the Browns in Cleveland, to name a couple—also had thousands of engaged supporters.

While it may be true that other abandoned markets didn't lack for support, maybe what they did lack is the type of insane and overzealous support that comes with Kings fans.

The perfect case in point came in this little nugget from TMZ, which was reporting on the custody battle between Paul Nassif and his disgruntled wife Adrienne Maloof.

During the proceedings, Maloof, whose family owns the Sacramento Kings, claimed that it's not safe for her children to stay with Nassif because he owns and regularly carries a gun.

In response, Nassif says that the reason he carries a gun is for protection—protection from Kings fans, that is.

Paul says he and his estranged wife -- whose family owns the Kings -- have been inundated with threats over the last year ... all because they're contemplating moving the Kings out of Sacramento to Virginia City -- a move that has Kings fans up in arms.

Paul says the tension with the team, combined with their large fortune, puts them in constant life-threatening situations.

So if Virginia Beach, or any other market for that matter, is able to lure the Kings away from Sacramento, they may face the same sort of threat that Nassif and his family are currently facing.

While it's somewhat comical that fans would get so worked up over their favorite team potentially leaving for a new market that they would physically threaten the team's ownership, the actual thought of going through with it is no laughing matter.

On top of that, it adds another dimension to the possibility of Virginia Beach landing the Kings. Not only would the city be despised by Kings fans, they could also possibly be attacked for having the franchise move.

What's more is there's no guarantee that moving the team to Virginia Beach would be a successful venture for the city. Granted, there are no major professional sports in the city and the region has an estimated population of one million people. So there's certainly the possibility of the team and city prospering financially.

But just because there's the population to support a team, it doesn't mean the fans will automatically come out to the games. Some markets just don't warm up to their respective teams, regardless of the team's success or the presence of a state-of-the-art arena.

And speaking of success, the Kings haven't had a lot of it lately. Even if you're optimistic about the team's future, which I am, it's hard to envision the team competing for a title within the next few years.

So Virginia Beach could dole out a boatload of money to build a new arena, only to have a tenant that just doesn't pique the fans' interest.

However, if being threatened by fans or the viability of the team's future success aren't enough to convince Virginia Beach that it's wasting its time, maybe the simple realization that the Maloofs are running the team will be enough to convince the city.

Don't get me wrong, the Maloofs have done a lot of good things for the franchise. The team's seen its greatest on-court success under their watch. The Maloofs have also been willing to put their money back into the team.

The problem is that the Maloofs just simply don't have the same financial outlook they had years ago. The family took a major hit during the recession and has had to sell off 98 percent of its stake in the Palms Casino to help alleviate some of its debt.

Along with moving the franchise to Virginia Beach would also likely come the Maloofs. After all, they're the ones who have tried to move the franchise to Anaheim in the recent past and they have no interest in selling the team.

What it all comes down to is this: Virginia Beach has good reason to be interested in a major sports franchise. It should have a new arena built in the coming years and it seems the city has a large enough market to support it.

Where the city's wrong is in its desire to bring in the Kings. There are too many pitfalls that could turn the deal sour for Virginia Beach. The franchise is not really close to competing for a title within the next few years, opening the possibility that fans won't be interested in paying to see a losing product.

The ownership that would come with the Kings also leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, they're willing to invest in the team, but if you don't have any money to invest, then it really doesn't matter.

But the icing on the cake is the possibility that some rogue Kings fan will take his or her frustrations with the team relocating out on some unsuspecting city official in Virginia Beach or someone associated with the team’s ownership.

There will come a day when Virginia Beach lands its major sports franchise. But the city needs to do its due diligence in deciding which organization to bring in. And when it examines the situation further, it will realize that the Kings are not the right fit for the city.

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