The news was bittersweet.
The NBA appears on the brink of return to the hoops-starved city of Seattle. An ownership group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer are close to finalizing a $500 million purchase of the Sacramento Kings (according to what league sources told Yahoo! Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski).
According to the report, the Hansen-Ballmer group hopes to move the franchise to the Pacific Northwest as soon as the 2013-14 season. They're even set to reinstate the city's beloved Sonics, logo and all.
Of course, a franchise gained for Seattle is a franchise lost for the loyal Sacramento fanbase. The city has appeared destined for this fate since an agreement between current owners, the Maloof family, and the municipality on a new arena deal fell apart in 2012.
The two cities are just among the groups who will feel the affect of this transition, though.
Assuming, of course, everything goes as planned—always a risky assumption when the Maloofs are involved. Something that could already be happening, according to Steve Large of CBS Sacramento.
The raucous arenas packing Chesapeake Energy Arena 41-plus nights a year may do well to mask it, but there's been an underlying guilt experienced by the Oklahoma City Thunder fans.
As thrilled as the city was to welcome the team in 2008, they did so with heavy hearts knowing that the once-proud franchise had been uprooted from Seattle at no fault of the Washingtonians.
If this deal holds true and the NBA does indeed return to Seattle, Oklahoma City fans can finally sleep a little easier. Both hoops-crazed cities will have their own basketball teams to cheer, with each likely to make dents in the league's attendance rankings.
The fact that Oklahoma City clearly wound up with the superior franchise won't hurt the Oklahoman's sleeping patterns, either.
The sorrows extending from the Kings reported move will span the entirety of the United States.
And that won't come courtesy of a disenchanted national fanbase.
Rather, these two cities (Anaheim and Virginia Beach) were both reported suitors of the club during this sale process.
The arrival that wasn't will be a little easier on Anaheim natives, though. They've still got the Angels of the MLB, the Ducks of the NHL and Disneyland, after all.
As for Virginia Beach, they've got little more to fall back on other than a hefty $1.2 million price tag thanks to an expensive, and ultimately fruitless, courtship (according to Aaron Applegate of The Virginian-Pilot).
The Golden State Warriors experienced their own regime change just over two years ago, and the first order of business for the new brass was transforming the kind of culture bred only by decades of futility.
A coaching change, a few solid draft picks and some wise investments on the free-agent market have the Warriors (22-11) entrenched in the Western Conference playoff race.
As for a profound change among the NBA's global audience, though, that simply hasn't happened. The team houses a fiercely loyal fanbase in the Bay Area, but that doesn't amount to much in a league dominated by the major markets.
A Kings departure, though, would give Golden State a stranglehold on Northern California hoops, a region housing a cool 13,000,000-plus people. Think that population wouldn't garner the Warriors more national broadcasts in the coming seasons?
Forget Yankees vs. Red Sox, Giants vs. Dodgers, Michigan vs. Ohio State or North Carolina vs. Duke.
There was no greater rivalry in the early 2000s sports world than the Lakers vs. Kings.
The two teams met in the postseason for three consecutive seasons, starting in 2000 when the eighth-seeded Kings pushed the top-seeded Lakers to a series-deciding fifth game.
Shaquille O'Neal dubbed Sacramento the "Queens." Robert Horry and Mike Bibby traded postseason game-winners. Sacramento's Doug Christie and L.A.'s Rick Fox exchanged blows in a 2003 exhibition game.
What else could fans ask for out of a great rivalry?
If the deal becomes finalized, the Lakers won't just be losing a fellow California club, but could be losing the Kings altogether.
With a population over 3.5 million, the major-market-loving NBA has to be salivating over the idea of a return to the region.
The fact that Sonics fans matched the loyalty given from Kings fans is just an added bonus.
Commissioner Stern has been pining for the return of professional hoops to the region. The move would round out what's quickly becoming quite the impressive departure for him, who announced he'll leave his post on February 1, 2014.
In just the past calendar year alone, Stern has witnessed the coronation of mega-star LeBron James, the league's entrance to Brooklyn and, now, could be well on his way to reuniting a Seattle fanbase with its beloved Sonics.
Prior to Chris Webber's arrival in 1998, the Kings had just three playoff trips in 17 seasons. The franchise hadn't won a postseason series since heading west from Kansas City in 1985.
With Webber on board and the savvy-veteran Vlade Divac, however, the Kings had six consecutive playoff appearances (and two series wins).
Webber played just six of his 15 NBA seasons with the Kings. As for Divac, it was just six of 16 seasons.
Yet conjuring up images of these players (or other Sacramento staples like Mike Bibby, Peja Stojakovic and Doug Christie) always brings with it a purple and black color scheme.
They were franchise-defining players, legends on the streets of Sactown.
But the reported deal would leave these players without their adopted home or even a franchise they could still recognize as their own.
The Maloofs might be closing in on a nine-figure payday, but there may no one happier about the move than Isaiah Thomas.
The diminutive Washington native carved his basketball future with an impressive collegiate career as a member of the Huskies.
Mr. Irrelevant of the 2011 NBA draft was anything but in his rookie season. He posted 11.5 points and 4.1 assists per game, getting the starting nod in 37 of his 65 games.
He recently recaptured his starting spot and has since tallied double-digit efforts in five of those seven games.
Few athletes ever realize their dreams of making the big leagues. But a far more selective group gets to live out those dreams in front of its hometown family and friends.
Keith Smart has never enjoyed an enviable perch on the NBA sidelines.
He got his first head coaching gig with the Cleveland Cavaliers as in interim filler in the 2002-03 season. Yes, that would be just months before the arrival of James.
He then moved on to the Golden State Warriors, learning under the tutelage of Don Nelson. He earned the head coaching job when Nelson was fired, then guided the team to a 10-game improvement from the previous season. But the aforementioned Warriors regime had new visions for their coaching staff and showed Smart the door after just one season.
He landed with the Kings as an assistant on Paul Westphal's staff in November 2011. Westphal was out by January, and Smart again found himself in an interim coaching role.
He lost the interim tag over the 2012 offseason but gained a roster short on talent, with major question marks surrounding his team's biggest stars (DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans).
And now he's well on his way to perhaps a new set of employers, a typically disastrous prospect for incumbent coaching staffs and front offices.
Ask the casual fan about Cousins and they might offer that he's a talented player with more than a few screws loose. Push that casual fan, though, and I'd wager they don't truly appreciate just how talented he is.
Such is life for stars on struggling, small-market teams.
If the NBA reinstates the Sonics, expect a heavy dose of nationally televised games on the horizon.
It'll be just the kind of exposure that the 22-year-old has been waiting for. He has 11 20-point outings and 16 double-digit rebounding efforts in his first 30 games of 2012-13.
Of course, his antics may force his way off the team before any potential move is finalized.
In that case, consider Cousins a major winner for leaving behind the 13-22 Kings.