Unlike the Sacramento Kings themselves, the city of Sacramento refuses to go down without a fight.
Though the Kings' eventual sale to a Seattle-based group of investors was reported as inevitable, Sactown's Mayor, Kevin Johnson, says otherwise.
Johnson (via NBA.com) issued a "stern warning" to all the Seattle hopefuls, one that stated Sacramento would not go quietly into a the night:
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson had a stern warning for Seattle SuperSonics fans who are excited about the prospect of the NBA returning to the Puget Sound next season.
"Don't celebrate too early," he said.
The three-time NBA All-Star turned mayor unveiled 19 local investors who have pledged at least $1 million each to be part of a group that would buy the franchise. Johnson said the major partner he hopes will anchor the last-ditch deal to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle will be revealed as soon as this week.
"We've been here before," Johnson said. "Our backs have been against the wall. They told us it wasn't going to happen. But each and every step along the way, as long as there is time on the clock, our community always finds a way to stand up for itself."
Unlike the Maloofs' effort to effectively rebuild a dying franchise, the community of Sacramento has indeed stepped up.
Per Aaron Bruski of NBC Sports' ProBasketballTalk, Sacramento has reeled in two "mega whales" and will attempt to concoct a bid worthy of keeping the Kings out of Seattle:
Sources familiar with the situation tell ProBasketballTalk that “mega whales” Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov are in serious talks with the city of Sacramento to collaborate on a bid to buy the Kings and keep them in California’s capitol.
Additionally, sources report that there is no shortage of bidders as at least five groups have approached the city and have NBA-level credentials.
Kudos to Sacramento for the efforts they're putting forth. Had the Maloofs tried even half as hard to build a winning combine, the Kings would probably be contenders by now.
That said, some are probably inclined to scoff at such a cause. After all, the deal has seemed all but done.
Yet "all but done" means nothing to the city of Sacramento. They have yet to allow any reports of a completed sale deter their collective endeavor and have remained loyal to their team (not the owners) through and through. If they're going to go down, they're going to go down swinging.
Which is exactly why I wouldn't "celebrate too early" if I was Seattle.
Because the people of Sacramento are nothing if not persistently resilient. And if they're inclined to continue battling, we must accept that anything can happen.