Reports of the NBA's Kings' death in Sacramento–and rebirth in Virginia Beach–have been greatly exaggerated.
But amid the Virginia news item that put the rumor in play–and the swift media and blogosphere labeling of the report as bullshit–there is a lonely item sustaining the pulse for a Kings move to Anaheim.
The report by Inside Business of Virginia–that the Kings will announce the Virginia Beach move next Wednesday, that Comcast will build the arena, that Live Nation is on board–is being knocked down because Virginia Beach has never before been mentioned as a possible destination for an NBA team, the league has not received a required relocation application from the Kings owners, the team's PR peeps are as puzzled publicly as anyone, and pro basketball hasn't exactly had much luck building sustaining fan bases in small markets lately (see Memphis, Charlotte, New Orleans . . .)
Anaheim, of course, has a huge market to draw from, despite the Lakers and Clippers being just an extremely maddening bumper-to-bumper drive away.
But NBA commissioner David Stern has routinely crapped on the idea of the Kings leaving Sacramento like a cow in a Central Valley slaughterhouse. If the Kings can't come to Anaheim, why would it be OK with the commish for them to hit Virginia Beach.
At this point, I've written off the idea of the Kings moving into the Honda Center as merely a threat the Maloofs pull out when negotiations to stay in Sacramento get bogged down, despite Mayor Kevin Johnson's weak-sauce defense that the city will just land a different NBA team should the Kings skedaddle.
If a Kings-to-Anaheim move is just a negotiating ploy, the Maloofs are still dotting the t's and crossing the i's to legitimize it, however.
Remember the early days of the movement madness, when it was disclosed the Maloof family had trademarked the names “The Anaheim Royals” and “The Los Angeles Royals?” That was after the Maloofs let it be known that they could not continue playing in what was then known as Arco Arena and, with Sacramentans having routinely voted down public financing of a new facility, they would just have to move . . . SoCal?
The idea was the team name from the Sacramento franchise's roots–Rochester Royals, Cincinnati Royals, Kansas City Royals–would be resurrected because there already is a Los Angeles Kings pro hockey franchise (which is an up-and-comer, am told). Even an Anaheim Kings so close in miles (but not with freeway traffic) would create market confusion.
Well, as lalate.com “exclusively” reports, the Maloofs have filed an update with the U.S. Trademark Office for the aforementioned geographical combinations of the Royals team name as well as “The Orange County Royals” and “The Anaheim Royals of Southern California.” (In yer face, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim!)
By the way, these filings are not made by the Maloofs directly but Cricket Corp. of Nevada and attorney Scott Hervey, who works for the Palms Resort and Casino that is of course owned by you-know-who.
Call it sneaky meets sneakers.