Rumors on where the Sacramento Kings of the NBA may wind up, if they go anywhere, have been a moving target. Along with Anaheim and Seattle, the Canadian destination of Vancouver, the former home of the NBA Grizzlies, has been mentioned.
That destination, in spite of a recently released report from the Conference Board of Canada that in part suggests Vancouver is a viable NBA city with a growing population base, has now taken a back-court seat to Virginia Beach.
Virginia Beach: set to join NBA?
While only the United States' 43rd largest metropolitan area, Virginia Beach has reportedly been in talks aimed at bringing the franchise to their resort city. The magazine Inside Business said Thursday that a deal and transfer could be announced as early as Wednesday. It would involve Comcast-Spectator, owners of the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL and the former owners of the Philadelphia 76ers, who would build the arena and lease it to the club for 25 years and get naming and broadcasting rights in return.
The Maloof family, owners of the Kings, are not known to be in talks with the city of Sacramento about keeping the franchise there. Three months ago talks between the two fell apart when a deal to build a $391 million entertainment complex could not be reached.
NBA return to Vancouver unlikely
It is not known the degree to which the Maloof family was engaged in talks to bring the franchise north to Vancouver, or if they even spoke to city officials or potential partners at all. The Vancouver Grizzlies, who moved in 2001 to Memphis, played in Vancouver for six seasons and despite an overall record of 101-359, had strong attendance figures.
A move to Virginia Beach, Vancouver, or any other city, should it happen, would be the sixth city for the Kings franchise. They began in Rochester as the Royals when the NBA was launched in 1951 and won the NBA's first championship (the only one the franchise has won).
Keeping the name 'Royals' they moved to Cincinnati in 1957 but changed the name to the Kings when the franchise was operated jointly out of Kansas City and Omaha beginning in 1972. The move to Sacramento came in 1985.