WEDNESDAY, 10:34pm: Steve Miletich and Lynn Thompson of The Seattle Times report that Christopher Hansen will reveal his proposal for building a sports arena in Seattle on Thursday.
MONDAY, 9:03pm: The project manager for Think Big Sacramento, a group tasked by mayor Kevin Johnson to come up with ways to fund a new building for the Kings, believes it's possible the city council could vote Tuesday not to proceed with arena plans, according to J. Michael Falgoust of USA Today. Such a move is not likely, said project manager Jeremiah Jackson, but it could put the prospect of the Kings remaining in California's capital in further jeopardy.
6:07pm: The battle over the fate of the Kings is heating up. A March 1 deadline looms for the city of Sacramento to come up with a plan for a new arena to replace the Power Balance Pavilion, known for years as Arco Arena. Meanwhile, a San Francisco hedge fund manager is teaming with the city government in his native Seattle to help fund a new arena and lure a team to replace the Sonics, who left for Oklahoma City in 2008.
David Aldridge examined the situation today in a column for NBA.com. He notes that Christopher Hansen, the man behind the rumored Seattle building who recently bought a prime patch of real estate downtown, intends to raise more than $375MM of private money to build an arena without using public funds. The idea of public financing, particularly at the state level, is what tripped up the Sonics when they were bidding for a new arena a few years ago.
While Aldridge points out there's skepticism in Seattle that such a plan could be pulled off, Hansen is seen as enough of a credible threat to draw attention from Sacramento arena proponents. According to Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee, the group Think Big Sacramento sent a letter to Hansen, challenging him to a debate with a Sacramento area construction worker, a Power Balance Pavilion arena employee, and a kid who's a Kings fan. Hansen probably won't be engaging in any debates in the near future, but the letter demonstrates a sense of urgency, as does Ailene Voisin's column in the Bee imploring Sacramento to keep the Kings or "be regarded as a underperforming community co-opted by petty politicians and others who couldn't get things done."
Support is one thing, and money is another. Sacramento government's latest plan is to raise $200MM by privatizing the city's parking garages, meters and enforcement, as Aldridge notes. That leaves another $200MM that will likely have to come from private sources, Aldridge says. Principal owners Joe and Gavin Maloof are one the most probable sources for that money, but there are questions whether the brothers, whose bank accounts took a hit in the most recent financial crisis, have the necessary capital.
It all adds up to what are sure to be a nervous next few weeks for both cities, just as Sacramento and Anaheim went through last year when the Kings came close to moving south.