According to ESPN.com, the Sacramento Kings are seriously considering applying to be able to move to Anaheim, California next season because they haven’t been able to get a new arena built in Sacramento. Putting aside the fact that I don’t like it when sports teams move to begin with, I think this would be a serious mistake.
As of right now, the Los Angeles area already has two NBA teams in the Lakers and the Clippers. Two years ago, the Clippers finished 22nd in attendance in the 30-team NBA. With the arrival of Blake Griffin this season, the Clippers are more relevant than they’ve been in at least five years and they STILL didn’t finish better than 20th in attendance for 2010 or 15th for the first two months of 2011. If the Kings haven’t been able to draw crowds in Sacramento, where the only regular NBA competition is the Golden State Warriors about 8o miles away in Oakland, I doubt they’re going to do any better 26 miles away from, depending on the night, Kobe Bryant or Blake Griffin.
The other problem with moving into a crowded sports market like L.A. is that it’s well, a really crowded sports market. The Los Angeles area might not have an NFL team right now but besides the Lakers and Clippers, they also have two MLB teams, two major college sports programs, one WNBA team, two MLS franchises and two NHL teams, one of which would probably force the basketball team to change its name because it’s already called the Kings (they’d have to share an arena with the other hockey team in the area.) I’m not even counting the two NBA D-League teams in L.A. and Anaheim that stopped playing in the area after last season. As much criticism as the NBA received when the Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City, at least they didn’t exactly have much pro sports competition in the state, let alone the OKC area.
There are plenty of other cities that would love to have the chance to get their own NBA team. Vancouver would probably love to make up for the Grizzlies having moved to Memphis. Seattle seems interested in bringing back professional basketball. I’m sure Kansas City, which lost the Kings to Sacramento in 1985, wouldn’t mind having the team back since the Sprint Center’s been open there for over three years now and still doesn’t have a major sports team as one of its tenants. As for the good people of Sacramento, they still seem to want to watch the Kings play. I’m not so sure the people of Anaheim and Los Angeles would feel the same way.